Event of the Month – Institute of Hospitality

Student learning Forum
116 Pall Mall recently hosted the Institute of Hospitality’s Student Learning & Development Forum, which brought together influential figures and bright young talent within the service industry.

Paul Evans is chair of the Institute’s London Branch. Here he explains why the Forum is such an important occasion and how 116 Pall Mall provided the perfect London venue for this annual event…

Who we are and what we do…

The raison d'être of the Institute is that it seeks to promote the highest professional standards of management and education within the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry. The Institute is all about supporting hospitality professionals in their career development.

What we’re also trying to do is make people understand this is a great industry to work in, and it’s not just about service. We’ve got great marketers, lawyers, accountants, cost controllers…

The service industry is the fourth largest in the country and its contribution to the UK’s GDP is unassailable.

I’m currently working with Anglia Ruskin University in London, which has one of the largest hospitality, tourism and events student bodies in the country. I’m a course leader at the University and I’m also developing a new MBA in Hospitality Management.

Nash Room IoH

I’ve also been chair of the London Branch for three years but my association with the Institute goes back in 1979 when I was a student. So, that’s 40 years. Good grief!

What is the Forum…

It brings together prestigious hospitality professionals along with students from a wide range of higher education establishments. For many students, it’s their first taste of conference life.

The Forum provides the opportunity for young people to understand what employers are looking for, how they can sell themselves, how they can interact with other hospitality professionals, how to network and how to improve their social skills. We also look at some of the key issues of the day.

From what was an initial get together of around 100 students it has doubled in size. This year, we had students from seven different universities and colleges from around the country.

Working with 116 Pall Mall…

This year’s event was supported by Alistair Storey, who is our President, along with 116 Pall Mall and Preferred Hotels. Alistair is also the chief executive of WSH, which runs the catering operation for Benugo at 116.

By enabling us to hold this event at 116 Pall Mall, they are investing in the future of young people and putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to career development.

Attendees at IoH Forum

The team at 116, including Serge Pradier (General Manager) and Aiste Uptaite (Hospitality Sales Executive), are consummate professionals.

I think the process took three to four months from the venue becoming available and finding a suitable date for staging the Forum. The most important thing is that the 116 team get it, they understood what we wanted to achieve, and they shared our passion and enthusiasm. It’s not just a student function. This is about developing young careers.

We started off with coffee and breakfast, followed by a combination of four individual speakers and two panel events. The subjects ranged from ‘How to Stand Out’ to ‘The Importance of Diversity’ and ‘What to Look for in an Employer’.

The feedback has been phenomenal, probably the best we’ve had since the Forum began 14 years ago.

How you measure the success of an event…

Firstly, you start off with attendance. How many people turned up on the day? Then you look at the levels of engagement. Are people asking good questions?  Then you get the feedback at the networking luncheon from both the students and the employers.

But above anything else, you get a feeling within the room as to whether it’s working. You want to see a good flow of interaction and people wanting to learn more.

Finding the perfect London venue…

Number one is the location. Two is prestige. There is no substitute for pedigree and quality. Also, I think there is a curiosity about the building and that has a positive impact on the attendance.

Sometimes you can go to a modern venue and it can be a bit faceless. You want the venue to be memorable and that helps to differentiate 116 from the rest.

116 has a warm place in our hearts and long may that continue!

Find out more about Institute of Hospitality here

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Book your event at 116 Pall Mall

One of the most prestigious addresses in London, 116 Pall Mall is situated in the heart of the West End and offers a range of flexible spaces across five floors, perfect for any kind of event for up to 1,500 people. 

You can even hire our whole building exclusively on weekends. 

For more information, call 020 7451 3107 or email info@116pallmall.com