Derry’s ‘hotel heroes’ from DaVinci’s, The Everglades and White Horse honoured at hospitality awards

Three local ‘Hotel Heroes’ from Derry were among those honoured at Hospitality Exchange - NI’s largest tourism and hospitality event in Belfast last week.

By Brendan McDaid
Monday, 18th October 2021, 8:18 am

John O’Doherty from Da Vinci’s Hotel, Soulef Bounaaja from Everglades Hotel and Derek Wylie from Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel each won a Hotel and Hospitality Hero Award

Taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on October 12 and 13, the awards were part of a two-day conference offering a cocktail of analysis, advice and support for the hotel and hospitality industry following what the organisers said was “possibly the most challenging period in recent history”.

Organised by the NI Hotels Federation (NIHF), the 2021 event had three central themes: Reflect, Recruit and Restore. The programme considered the previous success of the sector, the challenges of staffing in a new era and how to restore trading to its £1bn pre pandemic levels of spend. This year’s high-profile and experienced speaker line-up ensured that delegates got practical guidance with insights covering this year’s three themes.

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John O'Doherty from Da Vinci's Hotel wins Hotel and Hospitality Hero Award.

Stephen Meldrum, President of the NIHF, said: “People are without doubt our greatest asset. In many ways, they are the unique selling point for local hotels, helping visitors to discover a collection of new and unique Northern Ireland experiences. The role that employees play is integral to the success of the business and the sector as a whole. The Federation recognises this and that is why staff were the star of the show at Hospitality Exchange 2021.

“As part of this year’s event, we asked employers to nominate a person who has made an exceptional contribution to the sector, or gone above and beyond the call of duty, for a Hotel and Hospitality Hero Award.

“Over the last eighteen months, the mettle of staff has really been tested. I am immensely proud of the contribution they have made in helping the sector on its road to recovery,” he added.

“Hospitality Exchange 2021 is very much about looking to the future. Our plan is to acknowledge the challenges and impact of COVID-19, while looking at solutions and learn how businesses are addressing them and moving forward”.

Soulef Bounaaja from Everglades Hotel wins Hotel and Hospitality Hero Award.

The hotel and hospitality sector has a wealth of talent. These awards shine a light on the hard work being done within the industry and help to showcase the talent and diligence of those working within the industry.

Derek Wylie from Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel wins Hotel and Hospitality Hero Award.