by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion it is undertaking a number of initiatives to celebrate the incredibly talented people working in the sector. Gavin Carroll, President of the Federation says: “While guests often focus on the number of stars a hotel has when they are booking, hoteliers in Northern Ireland have long recognised that the true stars of the industry are the dedicated and hardworking staff.

Their passion for the industry drives innovation and generates excellent reviews that encourage more visitors to come and sample all that we have to offer. Without such good people, working in so many diverse roles, our industry wouldn’t be thriving in the way that it is.” 

He continues: “The NIHF celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and as a collective we’re keen to recognise those who make a hotel stay a truly memorable experience. We’re aiming to identify 20 stars, one to mark each year. These can be unsung heroes, long serving employees or someone who has been instrumental to the hotel’s success.”

 “We’re keen to celebrate these Hotel Heroes, to let their families and friends know that the job they do is valued and appreciated. By nominating cherished staff, members can reward those who are really making a difference, boost morale and recognise the key role people play in a business’s success.”

 Entries for the Hotel Hero Awards can be made by NIHF members by logging on to

 The stars of the industry will be honoured at a reception in The Observatory at Grand Central Hotel Belfast on Tuesday 10th September and will be invited to attend the 20th Birthday Gala Ball at Hospitality Exchange. 

 Hospitality Exchange is Northern Ireland’s flagship hospitality conference and trade exhibition. It takes place on the 15th and 16th October in Crowne Plaza Belfast. This annual event appeals to everyone working in the hospitality sector. Whether you own, manage or work in hotel, B&B, pub, restaurant, museum, airline or coffee shop, if you want to tap into innovation to drive business, then log on to for further details.

 In a year which has seen unprecedented growth in the hotel sector, the conference will include the launch of an industry forecast for the Northern Ireland market by leading benchmarking company, STR. This study will unmask the opportunities and challenges created by the influx of new product and provide in-depth analysis of the local hotel landscape.


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NIHF President Gavin Carroll, Pamela Ballantine and Stephen Meldrum.


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