St Moritz Hotel, set in pretty Trebetherick between Rock and Polzeath in North Cornwall, has opened 'In Your Element' - its first hot and cold contrast therapy ‘Wild Spa’ to resounding praise. The current ‘pop-up’ indoor/outdoor spa is a new addition to the transatlantic resort-style location whilst the St Moritz team undertakes a £2+ million rebuild of the indoor swimming pool and surrounding wellness areas. The new state-of-the-art facilities will open in June 2024 placing the Cornish hotel, and its Cowshed spa, at the forefront of the south west wellness industry.


Across the UK, people are realizing the positivity of the chillier season and St Moritz’s new luxury inside/outside elemental spa provides the invigorating, energising benefits of cold water exposure alongside the restorative, warming effects of heat therapy. Nestled into the secluded North Cornwall gardens, with fire pits and a full rejuvenation programme, hotel and day guests alike are now finding there’s no better way to embrace the elements this winter.


The pioneering new St Moritz Wild Spa is an exciting collaboration with Cornwall-based Water and Stone - the leading experts in hot and cold contrast therapy in the South West. Together the team has designed an original Nordic outdoor spa, all within the beautifully landscaped gardens at the hotel, as well as utilising the stunning setting of the hotel’s unheated outdoor pool.


A full Wild Spa experience programme of special events and workshops, with leading experts and additional wellness elements, will run throughout the Winter and Spring. A key part of those options will be a Lithuanian style of sauna – a ‘Pirtis’ and a sauna ceremony – both guided hot and cold contrast therapy options that have rarely been available in the UK.


Filling the sauna with scents of the forest through ‘whisking’, this Lithuanian sauna tradition is all about creating a connection with nature. A ‘Pirtis’ involves guests entering the sauna and steam mixed environment and being massaged with a mild whisking technique, using fresh birch and oak leaves bound together to create a tool.  Breathwork, alongside intention setting, ensures the guests begin to feel aligned as they drift towards a state of tranquility. They then ‘ground’ themselves afterwards using an ice-tank and the natural grass and stones that surround the Wild Spa.


St Moritz Hotel has also launched its ‘Cold Water Coffee Club’, an early morning cold water swimming club offering the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool as a safe alternative for sea swimmers. The club, which is already proving to be very popular, allows locals and visitors alike the opportunity to have a cold water swim, surrounded and encouraged by others, and to warm-up afterwards with a hot coffee in the hotel’s stylish surroundings.


Sara Last, Director of Operations at St Moritz Hotel, says, “When we opened St Moritz almost 15 years ago, we dedicated ourselves to being at the forefront of the needs and wants of 21st century Cornish holidaymakers, short-breakers and locals. For 2024, we’re undertaking a £2+ million rebuild of our indoor swimming pool as an extension of our extremely popular coastal Cowshed spa and in doing so, are stepping into a new leadership position of the UK luxury wellness landscape. Our new H2O area will reimagine the immersive spa experience, with an outdoor hydro pool, a new steam room and sauna alongside ice fountains and sensory showers.”


Sara continues, “In the meantime, what we intended as a creative, ‘interim’ measure - our outdoor Wild Spa – is bringing a major amount of inbound interest and bookings. Knowing the phenomenal interest in both cold water swimming and hot and cold ‘plunging’, trends that are most certainly being led by the Cornish market, we knew this would take off. However, although we’ve only just opened, we’re already considering how this new St Moritz Wild Spa experience could become a long-term fixture here on the North Cornish coast.”


Before, throughout and after Wild Spa experiences guests are invited to retreat to the cocoon of the St Moritz’s Wild Tipi where designated relaxation spaces, open fires and cosy corners mean that rest and recovery are sorted.


Overnight packages and day Wild Spa visits are now available. Guests can opt to:

  • Take a 2 hour solo Wild Spa journey for just £35 per person
  • Create a group booking for up to 12 people to have the Wild Spa to themselves – from £30 per person
  • Indulge in a Cloud Gazer or Star Gazer package to experience the Wild Spa followed by a welcome (non-alcoholic) Pentire and Tonic or glass of bubbles to accompany an elemental lunch or dinner – from £45 per person
  • From £190 per person per night, guests can immerse themself in the untamed beauty of the Cornish coast with the Wild Spa Elemental Package: a bed and breakfast stay, complemented by a 2-hour Wild Spa experience designed for luxurious hot and cold therapies amidst the elements. They conclude the day with an Elemental Dinner in the enchanting tipi setting


Bookings are available for optimum cloudwatching and stargazing, both for in-house and day guests (over the age of 16.) To book, go to the St Moritz Hotel Website

Q&A with Adrian Ellis

Adrian Ellis MI FIH, General Manager at The Lowry and Chairman of the Hotel Leadership Conference.

How important is technology for the future of the hospitality industry?

Technology is moving at an alarming pace in the Hospitality industry and businesses need to adapt quickly. The importance of understanding what is available and how to use this is becoming increasingly important for industry leaders. There are opportunities here to improve efficiencies, guest services and the work environment for team members and therefore understanding how this can be impacted by technology is crucial to the success of a business in the future.

In your experience, how can hoteliers balance technology and the personal customer experience?

The advancement of technology shouldn’t be confused with replacing our customer service. The idea of much of what is available today and in the future, is to enhance the guest journey. Technology should be able to provide more information, create new guest experiences and improve the overall service to our guests. The ability to create bespoke packages/offers or experiences will be there for Hoteliers to use and the availability of more and faster information to help the guest make choices will enhance the overall experience.

What do you think has held back the industry from investing in new technologies previously?

I believe that there has been some nervousness about new technology and how it can work alongside a people driven business. There is also the investment and research budgets which typically have been low for hotel companies. There is a concern from operators that guest services might be impacted, and that technology would replace staff in their properties. I think there needs to be much greater emphasis on enhancement of service and efficiencies with technology rather than replacing team members.

What should attendees expect from the Hotel Leadership Conference?

The conference will provide an insight into new technologies that are coming to the market. On day one the conference explores the technologies that are available today and what is coming up or being talked about for the coming 10 to 15 years. It will encourage Hoteliers to embrace the future and to get on board with technologies that are being discussed. The second day is much more about the human aspect of managing with technology talking about how to prepare your employees managing the ethics around technology and preparing leadership styles for the future.

How did you come up with the theme Breaking Boundaries?

We wanted a conference that looks past the next twelve months. We wanted to look at what’s out there for hospitality 10 to 15 years from now. We wanted to break down the fear of technology and ask hoteliers to embrace the future. We want our delegates to break down their mental boundaries about what’s possible and give them some tips and ideas of what they need to be thinking of, to prepare their businesses for an exciting future.

How do you think that Hoteliers can Break Boundaries in the future?

I think the guest experience and travel will reach a point where technology allows the customer/guest to make travel easier without the need for documentation and hotels will adapt to provide more than just a place to rest your head or have breakfast in the morning. Hoteliers will be more creative in their offers providing increased technology alongside multiple guest experiences which will allow hotels to become community hubs or destinations in their own right.

How do you plan to implement further technology at The Lowry?

We are looking at advancements that can be made in back-office functions and how we can further improve our services to our guests. We are looking at introducing technology to help our inventory and laundry management whilst front of house we are looking at apps for personalised services/experiences for our guests and for guests attending events.

What is your advice to Hoteliers that are on the fence about implementing new technologies?

My advice is to embrace the new technology that is out there and don’t be concerned/frightened about its impact. The opportunities are there to learn and adapt and technology providers are keen to talk to operators about how this can be introduced into operations. I would recommend that Hoteliers attend an event like the Hotel Leadership Conference or speak to any of our amazing sponsors to see how technology is advancing and the opportunities that are now becoming available.


The Hotel Leadership Conference is being held at Park Plaza London Riverbank on January 15-16 2024, where industry leaders will meet and discuss the future of the hospitality sector. To find out more about the conference and to book tickets, please click here.


PPDS to reveal major expansion plans at ISE 2024, with new products, new markets and exciting Nou partnerships kicking things off in Barcelona

Open2 all elements: Celebrating 20 years of ISE, PPDS will again be heading to Barcelona to deliver exciting business announcements, including a major extension of its product portfolio, opening opportunities in both new and existing markets, to create the industry’s most complete range of professional displays. This and much more on Philips stand, 3P500.

PPDS, the exclusive global provider of Philips digital signage, interactive displays, videowalls, direct view LED, professional TVs, and complementary solutions, is delighted to confirm its participation at ISE 2024 (30 Jan - 2 Feb), with an exciting array of new performance and experience enhancing products and major partnership announcements, including official entry into a multi-billion-euro market, plus another series of world first displays kicking things off in Barcelona.

Labelled internally as the company’s ‘most disruptive’ and biggest ISE launch show to date, PPDS’s global leadership team, together with local, regional, and international sales and product specialists, will assemble on the company’s all-new, visually spectacular, 344m2 Philips stand 3P500, joining over 1,000 exhibitors and 60,000 visitors at the world’s leading audiovisual expo inside the famous Fira Barcelona Gran Via.

Continuing PPDS’ Open2 approach – with zero barriers of entry to view and experience its solutions – PPDS team members will be on hand to answer questions, provide live demonstrations, and deliver a plethora of important business announcements – impacting all major market verticals – that will guide and define PPDS’ market strategy in 2024 and beyond. A number of panel discussions offering insight into trends and new technologies will also be open to all visitors, with a direct correlation to new solutions being unveiled.

New markets, new opportunities

Ron Cottaar, Director of Global Marketing at PPDS, commented: “ISE 2024 is building up to be yet another important and exciting event for PPDS, one that is guaranteed to get people talking across the industry, including big news on another world-first AV debut, the next Wave of remote device management opportunities, and entry into a brand new market space for us. At ISE 2024 we will be showcasing what we believe to be the most complete portfolio of professional display solutions found anywhere in the current market. We can’t wait to finally reveal the results of the behind-the-scenes development building up to this moment.”

Zonal play

As with previous years, the Philips stand will be divided into a series of dedicated, digitally activated zones, showcasing the benefits and capabilities of its latest Philips Professional Displays, as well as new world firsts. These will include dvLED, interactive, digital signage, ePaper displays, and professional TVs, each tailored to deliver business solutions across the vertical markets, including retail, education, corporate, hospitality, transportation, plus food and beverage, and others.

While full details will be confirmed at the show, PPDS can reveal that, among this year’s big announcements at the show, will be the launch of a new series of professional TVs, a further extension to its ePaper portfolio, together with new dedicated hardware and software, adding extra levels of quality and affordability for the hospitality and healthcare markets.


Blue sky thinking

In what will arguably be PPDS’ biggest-ever reveal at an ISE show, the company will also be announcing a major extension of its product portfolio and capabilities in the global market, with the introduction of two brand new lines of high impact dvLED displays.

Marking a significant evolution of the business, and due to be announced on the opening day of ISE 2024, these exciting additions will mark PPDS’ official entry into a growing multi-billion-euro market, extending opportunities for its partners and customers in all markets.


Android commitment

Alongside ISE’s own 20 year celebrations, ISE 2024 will also mark the third anniversary of PPDS’ business-defining rebrand and transformation. This has seen the company continue to evolve at pace, extending beyond simply a supplier of displays into a provider of highly innovative and advanced ‘total solutions’, with the latest examples of this strategy – including its long term commitment to its Android SoC – prevalent on the Philips stand and in its announcements. This includes solutions developed in-house, as well as with leading third party partners.


Wave of sustainable updates

ISE 2024 will also provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the latest working examples of PPDS’ sustainability strategy, and solutions announced at the back end of 2023 and ahead of ISE 2024, which will be debuting to the public for the first time.

These include, but are far from limited to, the newly announced 32” Philips Tableaux 5150 – the world’s largest full colour ePaper display, featuring E Ink’s Spectra™ 6 technology and augmented with Android, and therefore PPDS Wave capabilities – and the Philips Signage 3650 EcoDesign, offering unrivalled 4K picture quality, using just half the power (and running costs) compared to other market models of the same size. The new 4K Philips Signage 4650 Modular D-Line, plus the new Philips SoundBar for Philips MediaSuite TVs, will also be on display following recent unveilings.

With PPDS’ advances and investments into developing dedicated AV software, the latest evolutions of ‘Wave’ – the company’s cloud based platform taking a fresh approach to the way businesses manage, monitor, and control their display fleet – will also be on show and available for demonstration. Officially launched at ISE 2023, Wave allows users – including those in corporate, retail and education – to take full control and unlock the full power and potential of their Philips Professional Displays.


Sporting greats/charity donation

Finally, in what is set to be another major announcement, further extending PPDS’ growing affiliation with some of the world’s most iconic sporting teams – which include Oracle Red Bull Racing (F1) and Harlequins RFC (rugby) – the company will be announcing some exciting news with footballing giants, FC Barcelona, who are currently upgrading the club’s iconic Camp Nou stadium in the city, due to reopen in 2025.

PPDS will be donating €20 to a Barcelona-based charity partner for every person who registers for ISE 2024 using the unique Philips code 1RSHCRQR and who then has their badge scanned at the Philips stand reception desk – activating their donation during the show. Those who do so will also be entered into a prize draw for an FC Barcelona experience, including match tickets, with PPDS.

Martijn van der Woude, VP Global Marketing and Business Development at PPDS, added: “The transformation of PPDS in these three years has been nothing short of incredible, delivering outstanding choice and value to our partners and customers around the world. With our specialist teams, and a deep focus on building and nurturing relationships, PPDS has its finger on the pulse for developing and delivering new, highly innovative and advanced technologies when the market needs them. And with our total solutions approach, that includes software too, which will continue to be a major driver in 2024, and beyond.”

Ron Cottaar concluded: “Befitting of such a momentous occasion with ISE celebrating 20 years, this year's event will mark another major milestone in PPDS’s evolution and expansion to bring even greater, market-leading choice and unique benefits to businesses globally. We look forward to welcoming you to the Philips stand 3P500 for what is guaranteed to be another eventful ISE in Barcelona.”


To arrange a meeting with a member of the PPDS team in Barcelona, please contact Michael Garwood by email at or by calling or messaging via WhatsApp on +44 7834 964589.

To learn more about PPDS and to explore the full range of Philips Professional Displays and solutions, please visit the website here, or contact your local PPDS sales manager.  

Chef’s insight: Bull’s-Eye unveils trends to shake up 2024 menus

Chefs reveal that emerging flavours and key dining styles are crucial to keep up with consumer demands in 2024 and beyond. Kraft Heinz’s premium BBQ brand, Bull’s-Eye polled industry culinary experts via its esteemed Table 57 community and The Craft Guild of Chefs network to discern the pivotal trends that will help operators prepare for the new year.

Flavour Explosion: 

Chefs at the forefront of the industry predict a flavour revolution in 2024, with Korean (38%), Caribbean (35%), and Mexican (32%) emerging as the  leading flavours poised to dominate. This indicates a growing appetite among diners for adventurous tastes and a desire to explore new and exciting ingredients when eating out of home.

Not to be overlooked, Eastern European cuisine also emerged as a top choice by chefs surveyed (12%). And with nearly half of consumers interested in trying Hungarian food and 3 in 5 eager to explore Polish food, it’s evident that the curious consumer is looking for more variety.

Authenticity Pays: 

Authenticity (54%), value (58%) and innovation (32%) are identified as key drivers to attract diners. As diners actively seek more genuine experiences when eating out, it is increasingly important for operators to engage further with consumers by aligning their dishes and communication to tap into this growing trend.

Culinary Adventures Beyond Meat: 

While new flavours take the spotlight, cooking styles have also been explored. A significant 51% of surveyed chefs anticipate a resurgence in street food popularity, with fire pit (51%) and BBQ (38%) cooking styles expected to influence consumer demands.

Bull’s-Eye’s recent consumer research adds another layer to the evolving culinary landscape, revealing a growing preference for vegetable-based options over traditional meat alternatives. This aligns with the 71% of chefs who regard mushrooms as an excellent vegetarian option to serve. The versatility and potential of vegetables are being looked to when considering how to enhance plant-based offerings. One chef shared, “Vegetables, with a bit of creativity, shine – think celeriac steak, aubergine shawarma, cauliflower wings, or corn ribs.”

Artemis Argyrides, Foodservice Marketing Lead, Northern Europe at Kraft Heinz says “Gaining insight from chefs and those at the heart of our industry is key to ensuring we continue to support operators.  By sharing this, we seek to help operators adapt their offering and create winning menus that keep up with diner’s evolving preferences.

“Consumers want authentic and new flavours to try, this can be difficult for operators in a time where there is still a skills gap in the industry. Bull’s-Eye sauces are so versatile, helping operators to recreate these authentic dining experiences diners crave. Consider adding Bull’s-Eye Original sauce to pork ribs or to add zing to a pulled mushroom burger.”

Bull’s-Eye is available at all major wholesalers or to find out more, contact

To register interest in attending future Bull’s-Eye supper club events, email

The North’s leading boutique hotel, Seaham Hall, wins an AA Best UK Spa Award

The 5 red-star luxury, boutique hotel and spa Seaham Hall is delighted to announce that it has been awarded an AA Best UK Spa Award. The award is a new addition to the AA Hotel Scheme, which highlights noteworthy spas across the UK that offer unparalleled luxury and wellness experiences.

The win is testament to its unrivalled spa experiences and guest service at its 5 Bubble-rated Serenity Spa, an impressive 44,000 sq ft spa offering treatments from its spa partners Temple Spa and ishga, offering guests a blissful location for a relaxing British weekend or a mid-week escape in the north east.

Spas winning the AA Best UK Spa Award are recognised for their dedication to providing guests with transformative wellness experiences that go beyond the traditional spa offering. Paired with luxury accommodation, whether it be by countryside or coast, chosen spas are recognised for implementing cutting-edge wellness practices and innovative spa treatments that focus on relaxation and rejuvenation, ultimately offering a wellness oasis for guests to retreat to.

Ross Grieve, Managing Director of Seaham Hall, said “We’re thrilled to have won AA’s new award that recognises leading spas across the country, which I am proud to say is due to our dedicated team at Serenity Spa. Our team is made up of determined and dedicated teams that are passionate about hospitality and offering an unrivalled guest experience. Whether it be through our strong spa partnerships, regular and immersive wellness events, or launching innovative spa packages and treatments, we’re dedicated to ensuring that our guests and spa members alike can escape to Serenity Spa for a luxurious and relaxing wellness escape on the Durham Heritage Coast.”

Serenity Spa has taken top titles at other various prestigious spa awards, including Spa of the Year (Western Europe & Scandinavia) 2022 at the World Spa and Wellness Awards and winning Spa Team of the Year 2022 at The Boutique Hotelier Awards.

Serenity Spa offers new and innovative spa experiences for its guests and members year round, including its most recent launch of innovative ‘Blue Health’ spa and wellness packages. The new offering is part of Seaham Hall’s ongoing commitment to harnessing the mental and physical benefits associated with close proximity to the coast. The new packages and treatments have been carefully formulated, taking inspiration from the hotel’s stunning surroundings and the natural landscapes of the Durham Heritage Coast.

Situated on Durham’s Heritage Coast, Seaham Hall provides guests with striking views from inside this impressive Georgian country house that seamlessly blends Heritage and modernity. The property's enviable location is just one of its alluring aspects; combined with sheer understated luxury throughout its 21 chic suites - plus two new Bungalows. Taking the top trophy for Small Hotels of the Year 2022 in VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence, and recognised as North of England Hotel of the Year 2023 by The Times, Seaham Hall earns its merit for immaculately tailored customer service and a perfect stay.

Grove of Narberth Wins ‘Hotel of the Year 2023’ Award by Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Founders Neil & Zoe Kedward of five-star, boutique country house hotel, Grove of Narberth in Pembrokeshire, are delighted to be awarded their first major international hotel award last week. Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s™ (SLH) ‘Hotel of the Year’ Award was presented to them last week at the SLH Conference at the Puerto Romano Hotel in Marbella, attended by over 300 hoteliers, corporate partners, travel media and industry luminaries from across the globe.

SLH is a community of independently minded travellers and independently spirited hotels across the world.  Grove of Narberth is one of 540 hotels in the consortia across more than 90 countries. As the overall winner from the SLH hotel portfolio, Grove of Narberth was also awarded $2,000 to plant trees with Tree Nation, to start their own forest.

Award winners are judged on their annual mystery inspector's report score, customer feedback across all platforms, hotel sustainability, and engagement with the SLH brand. Grove of Narberth's inspector report scored 98.8% and its customer feedback scores and engagement with SLH were all exemplary, whilst their commitment to sustainability in every aspect of the hotel is sincere.

In announcing Grove of Narberth as the winner, SLH shared that what Neil and Zoe have achieved is remarkable, and Grove exemplifies everything that is great about independent hotels. The story of growing the hotel from a derelict unloved country house to one of the finest country house hotels in the world is a true inspiration for independent hotel operators everywhere.

Neil Kedward, Founder and Chief Executive of the Seren Collection said: “Everybody plays a part in our ongoing success across Seren in so many ways, but Grove is where it all started and so this award in particular brings great joy to Zoe and I. Our warmest congratulations to Grove of Narberth Hotel Manager, Karen Weisheit, and her entire team. I know they're over the moon to have been acknowledged by one of the leading international hotel consortia – for sure it’s one of our proudest and most humbling moments in our 15 years of operating.”

Grove of Narberth is a lovingly restored, independent country house hotel, idyllically set in the heart of Pembrokeshire and nestled in the rolling hills of Narberth to offer an intimate countryside escape. As part of family-owned hospitality business Seren, people and community are at the centre of all that Grove of Narberth do. Staff are on hand to offer an unrivalled guest experience throughout each stay, leaving guests to focus on nothing but precious moments with their loved ones.

Grove of Narberth’s tranquil setting is just one of the many alluring elements which makes the property perfect for a relaxing British escape. With 25 individually designed rooms and suites that boast a seamless blend of Welsh heritage and modernity, in close proximity to the stunning Pembrokeshire coast, guests of Grove of Narberth can lose themselves in all that this picture perfect, rural destination has to offer. Guests can also enjoy fine-dining at the 4 AA Rosette restaurant Fernery for a special dining experience to accompany their relaxing retreat to the Welsh countryside.


 Hotel Indigo Coventry appoints new General Manager

Hotel Indigo Coventry has appointed a new General Manager, Michael Lyons, ahead of its much-anticipated opening early next year following the completion of a multi-million-pound project.

Michael Lyons is a highly experienced Operations Director, with significant experience in award-winning hotels. He has 36 years’ experience, his first role being Assistant Floor Housekeeper at the Belfry Hotel.  He has also worked as Director of Operations for Kew Green Hotels and Director of Europe Hotel Operations, UK & Ireland for IHG. Other past roles have included General Manager for Holiday Inn, Leicester, Four Pillars Hotel, Oxford and Holiday Inn, Birmingham as well as Operations Manager for Crowne Plaza, London Heathrow. Michael is married and counts running, reading, and cycling amongst his interests.

Mark Lee has been appointed as Food & Beverage Manager and will be bringing with him a wealth of experience from the Lovely Pubs and the NEC Groups. He lists himself as a Restauranteur, talent scout, serial foodie, small hotelier….and not always in that order.

Marek Jani has been appointed as Head Chef for Cogs Restaurant & Bar. Marek has worked across branded hotels with 150+ bedrooms and multi-outlet catering offerings, as well as smaller boutique hotels. He has previously worked as Head Chef at Strawberry Bank Hotel in Meriden, Group Executive Chef for the Innventive Leisure Group Holdings LTD, as well as Head Chef for The Three Swans Hotel, Market Harborough, Queen’s Road Restaurant at Ramada Hotel & Suits in Coventry, The Manor Hotel Meriden Best Western, and The Saxon Mill in Warwick.

Michael Lyons said, “It is extremely exciting to be a part of Hotel Indigo Coventry and to work for such a fantastic brand. I want to make Hotel Indigo Coventry the best place to stay, drink, eat and relax in this amazing, vibrant city. I am really looking forward to introducing such an interesting hotel to the industry and opening our doors to showcase all that we have achieved”.

Carl Davies-Phillips, Operations Director  at Castlebridge Hospitality said “We’re delighted to appoint Michael as our new General Manager at Hotel Indigo Coventry as well as the appointments of Mark and Merek. All three bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in the hospitality industry, and I know will be a fantastic asset to the team".

Hotel Indigo Coventry is situated at Friargate, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2GN, UK. For more information, please visit

HotelREZ interface with Cloudbeds' PMS opens market for independent hoteliers

Connection improves to speed to market for hoteliers to compete and secure business at an improved cost per booking.

Cloudbeds, one of the hospitality industry’s fastest-growing PMS platform partners, and HotelREZ, one of the world’s leading hotel representation companies, have recently joined forces completing the development of a direct two-way interface.

The certified HotelREZ ‘REZswitch’ two-way API connection between Cloudbeds cloud-based hotel Property Management System (PMS) and CentralREZ, HotelREZ’s Central Reservation System (CRS) provides real time updates to manage inventory, rates, availability and bookings for distribution to the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), primarily used by travel agents, as well as to millions of other bookers using websites powered by the GDS worldwide. Hotel customers benefit from seamless connectivity between both providers.

This interface will ensure hoteliers receive real-time reservation delivery and availability updates from these channels, via the PMS, which is available to all existing and new Cloudbeds customers.

As market specialists, HotelREZ customers typically benefit from a significant growth of channel business via the GDS agency market as a result of strong account management, worldwide demand partners and optimising marketing and sales opportunities. HotelREZ works closely with each client to ensure a growth in this channel that in some cases can be up to 70%.   

Mark Lewis, CEO & Founder at HotelREZ, said “We are constantly striving to find ways to help hotels improve their efficiencies, save time and automate processes to reduce pressure on staff but also maximise revenue potential. This new interface into CentralREZ not only enables hotels using Cloudbeds PMS to manage their GDS inventory with greater efficiencies but will also reduce the potential for errors and overbooking.”

Sebastien Leitner, Vice President, Partnerships, added: “We are pleased to be able to offer our Cloudbeds users a simpler way of distributing their inventory directly from the GDS and other key third party channels. The GDS is of great importance to hotels’ bottom line, being a great source for additional bookings, and HotelREZ is recognised as a global leader in the hotel representation sector. Our certified two-way interface will be highly beneficial to hotels, providing them with optimal revenue and yield capabilities."

Cloudbeds customers can also benefit from access to HotelREZ’s own network of preferred travel agencies and consortia partnerships, as well as its global demand programme, which includes corporate and MICE RFP generation.

Hospitality's Next Frontier: The Generative AI Wave

InnovationArtificial IntelligenceTechnology, Written By Charlie Meek

In recent years, the hospitality industry has seen a significant transformation thanks to the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The rise of contactless experiences, AI-powered e-commerce, and messaging platforms have reshaped the way hotels and travel-related businesses interact with their guests. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated these trends, making AI-driven chatbots more prominent, leading to an enhanced customer experience through instant responses. Within this AI landscape, Generative AI has emerged as a powerful tool, offering new possibilities for personalized service at scale. This article explores the impact of Generative AI in the hospitality sector, emphasizing the importance of striking a balance between AI and the human touch.

The Impact of Contactless Experiences

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a rapid shift towards contactless experiences in the hospitality industry. With health and safety concerns on the rise, hotels and travel-related businesses had to adapt quickly. As a result, AI-powered solutions played a pivotal role in maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring the safety of guests.

Messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and WeChat became essential tools for guest communication. These platforms enabled hotels to provide instant replies to frequently asked questions (FAQs) through AI chatbots. Notably, AI-driven instant translation capabilities ensured that language barriers were significantly reduced, enhancing the overall guest experience. With the rise in messaging usage, the volume of messages exchanged between hotel staff and guests tripled compared to the pre-pandemic period, reflecting the growing acceptance of these platforms.

One of the most remarkable impacts of contactless experiences is the convenience it offers. Guests appreciate the familiarity of using platforms they already use in their daily lives, making interactions with hotels smoother and more efficient.

Empowering Guests with AI Chat and Real-Time Digital Itineraries

Combining AI chat functionality with real-time digital itineraries on guests' smartphones has proven to be a game-changer in the hospitality industry. This combination not only enhances the guest experience but also results in a substantial increase in the average customer spend per stay, typically by around 30%.

AI chatbots can assist guests in planning their trips, offering information on local attractions, providing dining recommendations, and helping with reservations. Real-time digital itineraries ensure that guests have all the information they need at their fingertips, allowing them to make the most of their stay.

However, it's essential to acknowledge the limitations of AI in the hospitality sector. There is a misconception that chatbots can fully replace human interaction, which can lead to customer frustration. Instead, a blended approach is necessary, where AI handles routine FAQs and straightforward queries while human staff are readily available to respond to more complex and personalised requests.

“While AI has played a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction, it cannot fully replace the human element that makes hospitality unique.”

Streamlining Operations with AI

One of the foremost advantages of AI in the hospitality sector is the ability to streamline operations and automate routine tasks. AI-enabled help desks and chatbots excel at handling mundane inquiries, such as answering frequently asked questions and providing essential information about hotel amenities. These AI-powered systems, often utilizing services like Chat GPT, are adept at managing basic customer queries, room service requests, and booking inquiries. By automating these routine tasks, hotel staff can redirect their efforts towards addressing more complex and personalized guest needs, ensuring that every guest enjoys an exceptional experience.

Personalized Interactions and Valuable Insights

AI also offers the invaluable ability to capture and analyse customer information, enabling hotels to tailor their interactions accordingly. This personalization extends to room preferences, dining choices, and other guest-specific requirements. With AI, hotel staff can provide a more personalized and efficient service by anticipating and meeting individual guest preferences.

Enhanced Efficiency and Cost Savings

AI-driven solutions provide hoteliers with the advantage of increased efficiency. These systems can handle multiple customer inquiries simultaneously, ensuring that service quality remains consistently high. Moreover, the implementation of AI can lead to cost savings as it reduces the need for extensive customer service staff, as many routine tasks can be automated. This not only optimizes operational costs but also contributes to improved customer satisfaction, as AI is available 24/7 and provides accurate responses to a wide range of queries.

The Challenges of Implementing AI

While the benefits of AI in the hospitality industry are undeniable, there are challenges that hoteliers must address. AI technology is still relatively new, and its optimal performance often requires fine-tuning and debugging. Additionally, while AI can handle many common inquiries, hotel staff must be trained to manage complex issues that demand a human touch and a deeper understanding.

Balancing Technology and Human Interaction

While AI continues to streamline hotel operations and provide valuable insights into guest preferences and behaviours, it's crucial to strike a balance between AI-driven automation and the human touch. The genuine warmth and personal recommendations provided by human staff remain invaluable in the hospitality industry.

Human interaction is essential for handling unique requests, addressing complex issues, and creating memorable experiences. Guests often seek the personal touch of a knowledgeable concierge or front desk staff who can go the extra mile to make their stay exceptional.

While AI technology can offer convenience and efficiency, it may not be suitable for all guests, particularly those who are less tech-savvy or prefer a more personal touch. The essence of human interaction is unmatched when it comes to providing personalized recommendations, offering advice about the local area, or responding to unique guest needs. There's an intrinsic value in having a real person behind the desk, ready to assist and offer a warm smile.

Achieving a Harmonious Blend of AI and Human Touch

In the end, hoteliers must recognize the importance of finding the right balance between artificial intelligence and human interaction to deliver a great guest experience. Whether it's offering technology-driven solutions like automated check-ins or having dedicated staff available for guest assistance, a blended approach is essential. By seamlessly integrating AI with human interaction, hoteliers can ensure that all their guests, regardless of their technological preferences, feel welcome and well-cared for during their stay. This harmonious blend of AI and human touch is the key to ensuring that the hospitality industry continues to evolve while maintaining the core values of exceptional guest service.

In conclusion, the Generative AI revolution in the hospitality industry has brought about significant improvements in guest experience, from streamlined communications to personalized digital itineraries. While AI has played a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction, it cannot fully replace the human element that makes hospitality unique. The balance between AI and the human touch is crucial for providing a holistic and exceptional experience for travellers, ensuring that technology complements rather than replaces the warmth and personalization offered by human staff in the hospitality sector. As the industry continues to evolve, finding this equilibrium will be key to its continued success.


Mercure has partnered with Munchies and TOPJAW to inspire the palates of world travellers with 50 amazing food & drink experiences around the globe.

To mark its 50th anniversary, Mercure is pleased to announce the launch of its very own 'Bucket List' designed to inspire guests, travellers and passionate foodies to embark on a journey of local discovery. Mercure's Bucket List is a selection of 50 handpicked food and drink experiences from around the world, representing some of the best and most unique places to eat and drink, whilst staying at a Mercure property.

“At Mercure, we believe that food and beverage are universal symbols of welcome and are at the heart of how we experience new cultures,” said James Wheatcroft, Global SVP Midscale Brands at Accor. “In honour of our 50th anniversary, Mercure invites travellers to ‘Discover Local’, everywhere. For many of us, that means sampling the best food and drinks that each unique corner of the world has to offer. With the help of our partners at TOPJAW and Munchies, we are thrilled to share these 50 amazing culinary adventures that we hope will inspire our guests, fans, and followers.”

The Bucket List is an extension of Mercure popular Discover Local’ program, which highlights local specialties and reveals unexpected local stories to our guests. To create the foodie-driven Bucket List, Mercure engaged its global network, asking hotel teams and staff to submit their top local culinary experiences. The submissions were reviewed by a panel of food and travel experts including TOPJAW- food and travel filmmakers, and Munchies - Food by Vice, as well as Mercure Global Marketing team.

Each of the 50 Bucket List experiences is tied to a Mercure hotel destination. With over 950 hotels worldwide, from Jakarta to Oxford, Mercure’s presence around the globe is incredibly wide-ranging, with hotel teams who are not only genuinely knowledgeable about their cities, but also dialled into the evolving culture of their neighborhoods. Listed below are a few experiences featured on Mercure’s Bucket List, with the full list available at

  • Stroll among a lavender haze and slurp fresh oysters while staying at Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge. One of Australia’s well-hidden secrets, pristine Kangaroo Island is home to Emu Bay Lavender, a fifth generation family lavender farm,  where guests can sip small batch brews such as Miss Donnington’s wild lavender gin and Miss Lemington’s lavender limoncello. Next up is a favourite of local seafood enthusiasts and epicureans – Oyster Farm Shop – for a tour of the oceanic farm and a sampling of seasonal bivalves.
  • Harvest a batch of fresh seaweed from the Atlantic Ocean and turn it into caviar, while staying at Mercure La Baule Majestic, in the oceanside town of La Baule, France. Founder Jean-Marie Pedron and his wife Valérie happily give guests a tour of their algae farm which is built on their family’s former saltworks, a site nourished by the sea for over 500 years. Ferme Marine at Le Croisic is a favourite supplier of top chefs across France. After gathering seaweed, guests will learn to make seaweed caviar, a dish which mixes various raw algae and bursts with sea flavours.
  • Learn from a Thai fishing master at Bophut Beach, in a beautiful and historic fishing village of Koh Samui in Thailand, during a stay at Mercure Samui Chaweng Tana. Guests have the chance to meet Mr. Arwae Lermae, an 80-year-old native of Koh Samui, who shares his knowledge of ancient fishing traditions to support the community. After a stroll through the lively night market, guests are treated to a sumptuous seafood dinner at Auan Tai restaurant, which offers an authentic “from sea to table” tasting menu.
  • Stir up some authentic Spanish paella while staying at Mercure Benidorm, along the Costa Blanca in the Valencia region of Spain. At Molino Roca, the restaurant owned by the world-famous rice producers, guests can partake in a master class on making authentic paella. The culinary team atMolino Roca prepare this famous dish in true Valencian style for locals and visitors every day. A private workshop will provide a hands-on paella demonstration, along with a lesson on sangria, the famous Spanish cocktail made with red or white wine and fresh fruits.
  • Indulge in a trifecta of Japanese traditions with a rich experience of wagyu, sake, and geisha, while staying at Mercure Kyoto Station. Nestled in the heart of Kyoto’s famous Gion District – one of the country’s rare and prestigious geiko districts – Ryotei Bungo resides in a heritage-designated building that sets the tone for an evening of history and culture. Guests will be delighted by multiple course servings of the finest wagyu beef and perfect sake pairings, while delighting in the fun and fascinating performances of an authentic geiko and maiko.
  • Create your own blend of Indonesian coffee while staying at Mercure Tangerang BSD City. Among the serene garden atmosphere of Kopi Kebon Kita, coffee enthusiasts are invited to delve into the art of blending their own personalized coffee flavours, with a private workshop guided by expert baristas. Guests will learn about the various types of local coffee beans, get to know the distinct characteristics of each, and experiment with ratios to create a signature blend. Light snacks are served alongside the final coffee creations.

After checking off one of Mercure’s Bucket List foodie experiences, guests can return to a warm, authentic and locally inspired Mercure hotel for a comfortable and cozy night’s sleep.

“Helping our guests discover the heart of a destination is what Mercure is designed for – it is how we train our hotel teams and the many ways in which we inspire our guests,” said Mr. Wheatcroft. “We hope our new Bucket List will inspire more people to venture out into the world, go beyond the tried-and-tested landmarks, and join us at a Mercure destination where we will happily share our favorite experiences of authentic culture, outstanding food and drinks, and joyful encounters with local characters.”

To start planning your next trip and discover Mercure’s Bucket List experiences, visit Mercure’s Bucket List website.


About Mercure

Inspired by Mercury, the Roman god of travelers, Mercure hotels offer so much more than a place to find comfort and sleep – they are a portal to discovery, a springboard to exploration. Since its founding in 1973, Mercure prides itself on offering high-quality standards with a true take on locality. Through its “Discover Local” program, Mercure welcomes guests – be it in Rio, Paris, Bangkok or any other destination globally – and instantly immerses them in a locally inspired atmosphere. Everything from the decorative design to our passion for local food and beverage discoveries is rooted in the unique features of each destination. Mercure hotels are conveniently located in city centers, by the sea or in the mountains, with more than 950 hotels in 60+ countries. Mercure is part of Accor, a world-leading hospitality group counting over 5,500 properties throughout more than 110 countries, and a participating brand in ALL - Accor Live Limitless – a lifestyle loyalty program providing access to a wide variety of rewards, services and experiences. | |