We are sponsoring a Beehive 🐝

I am very happy to announce that this summer (2021) we decided to sponsor a Beehive at Gwenyn Gruffydd of https://gwenyngruffydd.co.uk/ thanks to the owners Gruff and Angharad.

We are proud to be able to Sponsor the creation and construction of a new Beehive, for a new Queen (that we have christened ‘Betty’) and her workers to inhabit and create plenty of nature’s wonder food. This of course also supports a small developing new business in the Welsh countryside 😊

We have always wanted to do something like this and so (during Lockdown 2020) we looked around a fair bit – especially local to us in Berkshire – and there were not many options available really – Bee Farmers and Honey Makers do not appear to be the best at Marketing…whereas Gruff and Angharad at Gwenyn Gruffydd are ‘right on it’ with plenty of options and products – and loads of information about their bees, their progress and what ‘it is all about’ – specifically and in the wider “honey and bee farming” topic on their website and their YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu8KxA2At405_QPjPlGs87A

We managed to visit Gruff and Angharad this June (2021) to meet Betty and see their nice new “house” and understand the various processes before we receive our personalised jars of honey in November.

We had considered ‘raising’ our own bees once but decided against it when we had experienced the bees up close and personal(#scary). It was slightly different looking at the beehive and the trays of bees up close – but knowing that they were being well looked after by Gruff.

It is quite humbling to meet a young couple in the early days of their new business in what is really a traditional craft’ business and we are very happy to support them.

If you are thinking about sponsoring something sustainable and food producing – please look at it and say you heard about it from us.

For those of you who know me well – you may well receive a jar of Weldon Honey this Christmas  😊.

Information for you in the Crisis

You want the latest information in or on Hospitality. Where to start – let me help you searching..

Many people have called or emailed me asking for information during this Stay-at-home crisis – especially in terms of the Hospitality Industry and its latest information or status…so below some useful links for you – some of which are fairly specific and some of a more general nature and all FREE

Above and beyond the below there is always Linkedin  – a great source for business – you can find me (https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlweldon/  ) there sharing this kind of information and also being interviewed occasionally such as in the Video bottom right.

There are links on latest Statistics, the economy of Hospitality and Revenue Management plus links to updates and online discussions – for FREE

I include the Bill Gates links as I believe he has genuinely foreseen the current threat way in advance in 2015 and so had more time to think about the solutions and challenges now facing us all – across the globe. I really think he should be put in charge of a (Charitable) Organisation to be funded by all of us – a kind of Virus Pandemic NATO if you will?

Bill Gates Washington Post article

More Recent interview updating his views for the current crisis

BTW – if you want to see Bill Gates’ original 2015 Ted Talk: Bill Gates: 2015

Hospitality Specific:

STR info: https://str.com/data-insights-blog/coronavirus-hotel-industry-data-news

HOTSTATS (Similar to STR information) : https://www.hotstats.com/covid-19-hotel-industry-impact

HFTP Hangouts – latest schedule:


Hospitality Net Information (largest Hospitality Website in world) : https://www.hospitalitynet.org/hottopic/COVID-19-survival-guide

The Hospitality Net World Panels on various topics: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/panel/

E-Hotelier always interesting: https://insights.ehotelier.com/insights/2020/04/07/how-can-your-hospitality-business-survive-this-pandemic/

Operational and Tech Updates: https://www.hotelmanagement.net/operate  

Revenue Management and coming back up: https://www.revenuebydesign.co.uk/blog/three-revenue-strategies-new-normal

And finally..HFTP’s latest Blog and info always here..


Plus you can always search on HFTP’s  specifically dedicated Hospitality Search engine – Pineapple Search: https://www.pineapplesearch.com/

If you would like to hear some of my views via a recent LinkedIn interview with Venza see below:

General useful stuff:

Good Business and Investment Markets info: https://www.fisherinvestments.com/en-us/marketminder

Latest data always here on COV-19: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#count

If you would like me to add some resources – or think I should know about some – just email me or Linkedin Message me?


So we are at the start of another Calendar Year

So we are at the start of another Calendar Year – well just past it at the end of January 2020.

Time moves really fast these days – especially if you are sitting in front of a PC or Tablet – so here I am three years since I did this last and its moving even faster

So I am now looking at what I said at the start of 2016 and judging relevance now (2020)

WI-FI – This still stands – and I am amazed that some places it is still awful. WI-FI. Just do it. But ‘do it good’. Bad free WI-FI is like a bad free cup of coffee at the end of a great meal. It’s the last thing you will remember about the experience.

Be Social. Choose your Channel and go for it. Get yourself and or your Business on Twitter, Facebook or (say) Pinterest or Instagram – since I said this in 2016 Instagram has really taken off especially in the younger end of the market (bizarrely using much  less emails) and Facebook has gone ‘older’ apparently. Linkedin is even more seriously about business (except for the US apparently) and now very trackable.  

This is still true – Think of technology like a Utility – it’s what the world is riding around on today. People want to stay in touch and on-top and do so via their Smartphones or what I call their Human Communications Device. Please make sure you have it insured and not in your back pocket. It is interesting how much easier it is to restore your phone data these days as providers wise up. More and more travel and experiences is ordered via mobile and it will only increase.

Big Data. Insights through your own information. There is loads of it – right there – much more than three years ago. Get an expert in or even give the responsibility to someone in the business already. But please do not waste your own opportunity. “Take the time to work on your business while working in it.”

Brexit – I was right – after a big hullabaloo this time last year which was really an issue with the Parliamentary System and a hung-Government we are now gently jogging through it with a degree of certainty. A recent RBS Economist article called it a ‘Warmer environment’ – which I agree with. Things can be dealt with now with much less emotion – so making the disentanglement process much more ‘business-like’. It will be interesting to see if any other Eurozone countries follow suit…?

Where will I be soon?  At HITEC Europe – in Palma – in Mallorca – in April 20-23. (Yes… I know – it is a truly fantastic place for an event 😊 ). If you are in the hotel industry you can always get a Free Pass of some sort. Also come and see the Hospitality Tech Start-up competition called E20X – always fascinating. (I will also be at Hotelympia – sorry – the HRC Show in March in Excel in London)


Feeling humble – Outstanding Contribution Award

Taken completely by surprise…

HOSPACE 2016 on 11th November at Sofitel T5 Heathrow UK – I was there as part of the HFTP team sponsoring the event –  an event I effectively started up in 2006.

It was a great day meeting so many people that I knew and having the time to meet and greet with so many that I would previously been too busy to spend any time with

The evening Gala Dinner was different this time in that HOSPA included their professional awards at the dinner rather than a separate event at Christmas

So..I was taken completely by surprise when the HOSPA Chairman Chris Upton took the stage after the three main awards for another –  for Outstanding Contribution to HOSPA –  only awarded a few times previously and of course usually organised by myself in the past.  This one it turned out was for me.

Chris talked about how he and I had originally met 23 years ago, as Hotel company FDs and how we had ended up working together two more times since.  He then talked about what we had achieved at BAHA (originally) and then HOSPA since –  in effect summarising eleven years of my life☺

As Chris started to go through all this I must admit a lump started to come into my throat.  When called up on stage I had become quite emotional. Just as I still started to get a hold of myself –  I realised that everyone in the room was standing and applauding. Everywhere I looked there were memories… people cheering and laughing.  It took a while to get a grip again and some of the pictures are quite funny looking at the expression on my face 😁

I had to then speak… What do you say about eleven years? I started at the beginning of course. I had not prepared anything of course. I realised that is of course the people who you remember and their efforts and contribution you remember –  especially at key or critical moments in those eleven years…or at really ‘fun’ moments J

I tried to go through who those people are or were and recognise them in the room. I realised afterwards of course how many I left out. It is amazing how clear it all seems afterwards when you are not on stage and a little emotional –  or when you bump into them in the bar afterwards….where hopefully I did say thank you to those I had not mentioned. 

It is amazing to think about all those people who support an Association in your industry and how they are going to help and support what you are trying to do.  Hospitality is always about people –  it must be. Making it entertaining, fun and professionally interesting and rewarding is always a good plan. 


I have thought about why I got so emotional.  And why so many people came up and congratulated me on my “speech” afterwards despite it not being prepared in any way. 

I think it’s because people in general like to know you care and recognise a passion in other people for something they care about. 

When you realise that all this is being laid bare in front of an audience it must be emotional.

When you are in the audience and listen to how the event you are at and have enjoyed over the years –  has come to be with a person you know then that must be enjoyable too. 

A few weeks on and I am still humbled and proud of the award –  and of all the coverage since of course. A big thanks to Chris Upton and Jane Pendlebury of HOSPA for organising it.

Hospitality is a great business to be in. I have quite literally been in it all my life (I was born in a hotel) 

I look forward to being part of this great industry for some time yet and will continue to say “thank you” to all those people that have helped and supported my endeavours.

In the meantime my tweet (that went with the picture above) on the following morning still says it all.. “Feeling very humbled and honoured this morning.”

Other reports via HFTP on:



See the brief video here:











Brexit and recent effects in Hospitality

What’s really driving some of the effects of Brexit? and is it all that bad or good for Hospitality?

The famous phrase – do you want the good news or the bad news? Well it depends on where you look and what you want to see apparently.

On the one hand it now looks like Brexit – together with its Exchange rate swings has been worth £1.4Bn to the Tourism Economy


Other sources in London saying they have seen a huge swing (+31%) – especially via Foreign visitors https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/22/tourist-spending-uk-surges-following-pounds-brexit-slump

On the other hand –  US Travel and US Travel Search more precisely have dropped – http://bit.ly/2biIkPX by up to -20%

All this is essentially – at the ‘bottom line ‘– Exchange Rate based – although terrorism  would have undoubtedly had an impact. So perhaps less on the Brexit please and more to do with the $ or £ in everyone’s pockets 😛 

Another impact just received is …wait for it..on Bacon Sandwiches or Bacon Butties (I prefer mine with Brown HP Sauce). The price of Bacon is going up as announced by Beacon Purchasing on http://bit.ly/2biJryT . To quote the article “the surge in Chinese demand has been fuelled by recent floods, which have devastated the Chinese domestic pork industry, and the devalued British pound post-Brexit that has made British bacon more attractive and affordable to import.” So it’s a particular surge in demand from China plus…Exchange rates again.

Even retail sales appeared to have bounced back albeit from a small data set – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/25/uk-retail-sales-brexit-slow-puncture-not-car-crash

Even the “good and the great” got caught up in the bluff and counter bluff. The IMF were very clear they thought Brexit would be catastrophic https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/18/imf-says-brexit-would-trigger-uk-recession-eu-referendum

with commentary in the build-up saying “The IMF used its annual report on the British economy to say Brexit would plunge the UK into recession next year” and “A vote to leave the EU next month could precipitate a stock market crash and steep fall in house prices, the International Monetary Fund has warned”.

Well we saw the dip in the week after in the FSE 100 and now where is it? 15% Up….  However more recently the commentary goes “the IMF all but admitted on Tuesday that it had been bluffing, forecasting that the impact would be largely benign after all.” https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2016/jul/19/imf-to-cut-global-growth-forecasts-following-brexit-vote-business-live

The one headline said “IMF ‘clowns’ admit they got it wrong with Brexit doom and gloom warnings”

Interestingly the overall comment is now one of “Instead of Brexit, prospects for the world economy will be shaped far more by the outlook for China and the US. Recent data suggest that growth in both economies is holding up fairly well” – and there just may be something happening in November in the US that affects all this – or is it October or December Donald?

The longer run future picture and view of course is much more complex. The government and its Exit team, have got to extricate the UK from a whole heap of complex agreements that the UK has managed to permeate itself into with Europe. I can imagine we will never quite be completely ‘out’ as we once were – it cannot possibly be done unless you take the Alexander the Great approach to the Gordion knot and just slice right through it (see  http://www.alexander-the-great.co.uk/gordian_knot.htm) – but no one is that brave in today’s politics.

One of the areas the UK can take action on of course – that affects rates whichever way you look at it – is Hospitality VAT. As Ufi Ibrahim (Chief Exec of the BHA) said upon seeing Theresa May on holiday in Switzerland where the Hotel VAT rate is 3.8% the BHA Chief Executive said “A reduction in tourism VAT would create 123,000 jobs and improve the UK’s trade balance of payments by £20bn over 10 years and generate investment for regional businesses right across the country

Well that would be easier than all the complex trade agreements – just to start with 🙂 

Event Models and Options 1

There are a number of different angles or approaches to an event or Conference.

There is always Content and a Timetable, Meals or Food and Beverage (F&B).

(I am really ignoring the large Exhibition Format here but some of the options listed do apply)

Options or angles could be:

  • A Keynote or a really Big Speaker or speakers even?
  • Educational Workshops or Technical Updates – in a Programme?
  • Opening Party? Gala Dinner? Entertainment? Pre-Dinner Drinks?
  • Speed-dating session? Voting? Tweeting? Social Media – interactive?
  • Delegates pay or a “Closed invitational” event (where Delegates attend Free – but effectively the Sponsors pay). Or even just a completely open free event – how does that work?
  • F&B included or do Delegates pay for the food during the day?

I have seen a number of different approaches – all of which work in their own way? Normally as a result of tradition

Some of this will depend on your event Budget. If you do not have the big speaker Budget – do you know someone famous enough in your industry to persuade them to speak? This can take time and not guaranteed. If you do have the Budget – go early. Book them ASAP. Make a loud noise. This is quite common in the US where the range of speakers is really extensive.

Some leaders in an industry do not like having to prepare a full presentation – but are happy indeed to sit on a panel and participate or answer questions on their views. This effectively means it is easier to get for or five leaders than one sometimes. Yes- really.

Entertainment – needs planning. Needs to be appropriate to your audience. Needs a good choice and range. A good Entertainment Agency can be a great benefit as they see a wide range of acts. Some even put this range on show for you to judge for yourself. Team type Entertainment is excellent sometimes – best when it links to a theme. But sometimes just as a surprise.

Warm the audience up before-hand also – set the scene. Get them in the mood.

Some Technology is always good these days. What do I mean by this? Essentially an Event App. One that each delegate (and sponsors and exhibitors) can download before the event. These Event Apps are becoming easier to find and the cost is getting more palatable as the competition hots up. There are some clever ideas out there also – adding into in-session voting, messaging and Social Media Walls and integration with main stream Social media (where the event Twitter feed can be shown on screen for example)

All of this needs a good Excel model to examine the possibilities and establish a break-even if nothing else?

Hopefully there are some ideas here to consider. We can always discuss directly. More in a later Blog

OTA’s and Enchanted Objects

What have OTA’s – got to do with Enchanted Objects? (OTA sometimes known as Online Travel Agents?)

Well in this case OTA actually stands for Over The Air Update – aha. No really – the definition being “An over-the-air update is the wireless delivery of new software or data to mobile phones and tablets.” you can find a definition here from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-air_programming that says “Over-the-air programming (OTA) refers to various methods of distributing new software updates”.

What’s this got to do with us everyday people? well in future or in fact right now ‘things’ such as Cars can benefit from this.

Still don’t believe me – then see this article – http://www.computerworld.com/article/2880150/over-the-air-software-coming-soon-to-your-next-car.html which says “OTA software upgrades will not only affect your entertainment system but power train and vehicle safety systems.” One car company upgraded all their cars ‘over the air’ to be able to crawl at 3mph in traffic.

In his book ‘Enchanted Objects’ (that I have just read) David Rose talks about simple everyday items that can help the world and its people using simple, very easy-to-use items connected to Technology that relies on OTA basically.


A classic example being the Glowcap. http://www.vitality.net/glowcaps.html It reminds you when to take your prescription medicine. Can re-order it for you.

The Ambient Umbrella that is connected to the internet weather in your area and so can glow and remind you to take it with you when its going to rain. http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/the-ambient-umbrella-30-12-2009/

Yes it could be called Geeky – but also useful? I bet the first time you put an appointment in your phone diary it felt that way?

Wireless networks and systems now enable all kinds of things – with the ‘big name’ being put on it of ‘The Internet of things’. What’s a thing? Not a trick question – it’s anything that can have a URL or be connected to the internet. Systems like Hive and Thermostat 2.0 are the beginning of this – controlling your home(s) temperature via an App. No wires!

Will this all help Hospitality? Yes – in the end it must – but we must embrace it. Food and meal ordering online at big events and shows. Stadia are leading the way in this area. Hotels could be advised that guests are on their way into the hotel to check in – the air conditioning or heating set in advance. Restaurants advised their customer is within x yards/metres and imminent for their table so that their wine or aperitif is already on the table when they arrive.

No queues – imagine. TV channels already set. Films already queued up perhaps? What customer would NOT want that ?