Jersey: Future positive

The directors of two different Jersey hotels talk about C&I trends and plans for 2012

Hotel de France, Jersey
Hotel de France, Jersey

HOTEL DE FRANCE

John Vibert is sales and marketing director for Hotel de France, the largest hotel in Jersey with 16 meeting rooms, one of which seats 800.

How has the way you work with the UK C&I market changed in the past five years?

The key aspect has been in the way we have widened our target market in the past two years. The hotel has 284 bedrooms, so historically we aimed at events with 150-200 attendees. Now we focus on smaller groups of 50 to 100. Pharmaceuticals was a big market for us until 2006, but it is no longer what it was, although we do have two holding for this month and one in May. We have made a conscious decision to target the associations market, with its longer lead times, and this appears to be paying dividends - having recently hosted Rotary conferences, the Whaling Commission, the 41 Club and the Association of Obstetricians.

How is future C&I business looking?

This year has been significantly better. I am feeling very positive about next year too. We already have four conferences contracted for spring 2012, including corporates. This leaves us in a much stronger position than this time last year.

What are the key trends for corporate b2b events and what are you doing to meet their needs?

We have always been relatively flexible in terms of lead times, but enquiries made six months ago are now often booked only weeks ahead. The market is a lot more competitive and price sensitive, but we have not changed our booking rates a great deal, as we still maintain our policy of value for money. We have spent £15m on a new wing for the hotel in the past few years and now have a wellness spa as an added incentive, which can be block booked.

Contact: 01534 614291; jv@defrance.co.uk; www.defrance.co.uk


THE CLUB HOTEL AND SPA


Lawrence Huggler is director of the 46-room The Club Hotel and Spa, which has a Michelin-starred restaurant and three meeting suites with total capacity for 800

What trends have you seen in the UK C&I market?

There has definitely been a cutback in UK client budgets, but smaller incentive and training-based events for eight to 20 delegates are not so badly affected. As a relatively new, small boutique hotel we have tended to attract more celebratory groups, keen to have an away-day from the UK that will be seen as different, yet not too extravagant. Their wine budgets are definitely smaller.

How is C&I business looking for the rest of 2011 and for 2012?

We have noticed an increase in corporate business since March, both from local and mainland UK clients. We feel more confident about rates in 2012 and doubt if we will discount. Our food and beverage standards cannot be dropped, because of the importance of our Bohemia restaurant.

What changes have you made to attract corporate b2b events?

Clients are attracted by the proximity of Jersey hotels to team activities. Nowhere is very far away and this appeals to those looking for shorter stays. We have invested in a new member of sales staff - shared with our mainland sister hotel - to boost business via face-to-face contact and plan more C&I fam trips to Jersey.

Contact: 01534 735581; lph@huggler.com; www.theclubjersey.com

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