Incredible 11-year evolution of BAHA into HOSPA under outgoing Chief Executive Carl Weldon
Incredible 11-year evolution of the British Hospitality Accountants Association (BAHA) into the thriving Hospitality Professionals Association for Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management and IT Professionals (HOSPA) under the outgoing Chief Executive Carl Weldon
By Julian Demetriadi FIH MHOSPA
After 11 years of exemplary service to HOSPA – the Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management and IT Professionals Association – Chief Executive Carl Weldon is leaving in March to join HOSPA’s strategic partner, US-based HFTP (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals), and take up the newly created position of HFTP Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Europe.
Carl Weldon was appointed Chief Executive of HOSPA’s forerunner BAHA (British Association of Hospitality Accountants) in 2005, and was responsible for the development and growth of the Association – resulting in the transformation of BAHA into HOSPA, with a broader remit to meet the current needs of hospitality professionals. This was not only for those in finance, but also the major growth areas of Revenue Management and IT. Allied to the 2011 rebranding, the BAHA Annual Conference and Exhibition became HOSPACE; and last year’s HOSPACE 2015 attracted a record 460 delegates.
During Carl’s tenure, the Association has been reorganised and re-energised. For example in 2012, HOSPA invested in Social Media – starting with 178 followers on Twitter, which now has risen to 15,431 followers. Today, HOSPA’s LinkedIn Group has 5,417 members. In addition to BAHA/HOSPA Professional Development’s long established Financial Management Education and Training Programme (ETP), 2011 saw the introduction of the HOSPA Revenue Management ETP. In 2015, a record number of learners enrolled on HOSPA’s Education and Training Programmes.
Commenting on Carl’s departure, HOSPA Chairman Chris Upton said: “Carl will be greatly missed – we owe him a great debt for his drive and determination to transform BAHA into HOSPA and make this Association relevant to today’s needs, and one to be proud to belong to. Under his tenure, HOSPA has become a major voice in the industry, its membership has grown significantly, global recognition has been gained; and HOSPACE has become one of the biggest and most successful annual events on the hospitality calendar.”
Carl said: “I will remember my time with BAHA – where I was a member before I was Chief Executive – and then the transformation into HOSPA with fond memories. I would like to thank all of those Members and sponsors who have seen us through and into HOSPA – and also those who make HOSPACE the great event it has come to be. As with many of these things, it’s the people – who have helped and contributed along the way – that make for an enduring success. I will not be going too far away as I will be responsible for maintaining the relationship with HOSPA for HFTP.”
We wish Carl Weldon the very best of luck for his new job.
Carl Weldon, has steered first BHA and then HOSPA through the most momentous period in the Association’s 47-year history. Here are some of the landmark highlights:
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- 2005: Carl Weldon appointed Chief Executive of BAHA (British Association of Hospitality Accountants)
- 2005: moved administration office from Harrogate, Yorkshire, to Wimborne Dorset, under the management of Debra Adams
- 2006: Very first BAHA Conference and Exhibition was held in London
- 2007: BAHA formed the strategic alliance with Texas-based HFTP (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals), with whom HOSPA works very closely today
- December 2007: Paul Dukes was ratified by Council as Chairman of BAHA. Paul brought to BAHA the benefits of his vast experience and knowledge, gained during an extensive and distinguished career, of some 40 years, in the international hospitality and leisure industry in a broad range of senior positions across the sector – including seven years City experience gained with two leading merchant banks
- 2008: BAHA officially changed its rules to integrate hospitality industry representatives from Revenue Management and IT
- 2008: the Open University considered the BAHA Education and Training Programme (ETP) in Finance and assigned a credit value to the learning – an endorsement of the quality, amount and level of the learning within the Framework for Higher education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ)
- 2008: first Hospitality IT Directors event held
- 2009: the 40th Anniversary of BAHA, which was originally called the British Association of Hotel Accountants
- 2009: official introduction of hospitality Revenue Management and IT members to BAHA’s increasing sphere of finance-related influence within the industry
- 2009: two UK Hospitality Finance Dinner Forums held in London
- 2009: record attendance recorded at BAHA Annual Conference and Exhibition
- 2009: BAHA LinkedIn group created
- 2009: strategic alliance formed with the environmentally focused Considerate Hoteliers Association
- 2009: course development work began on a BAHA ETP in Revenue Management, in conjunction with Oxford Brookes University
- 2010: first time BAHA had a presence (networking lounge) at Hotelympia 2010 – Important lasting partnership created with Toby Wand and Fresh Montgomery
- 2010: Official launch of BAHA Hospitality Revenue Management Community
- 2010: 5th Annual BAHA Conference again broke all attendance records – for the first time HOSPA introduced its ‘Career Development Investment Scholarships’ for talented people, under the age of 30, in Finance, Revenue Management and IT related jobs within the hospitality industry. The winners were publicly recognised at the BAHA Conference, and were given the opportunity to learn and network at the event
- 2010: ‘Hospitality Revenue Management Director of the Year’ and ‘Hospitality IT Professional of the Year’ award categories introduced at BAHA’s annual Christmas awards
- 2011: BAHA Networking Lounge at NEC Birmingham’s ‘Hospitality 2011’
- 2011: BAHA strategic alliance formed with HSMAI
- 2011: start of regular regional BAHA programmes outside London – in Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham
- 2011: funding received from Savoy Educational Trust for the development of the Revenue Management ETP
- Summer 2011: finalising major rebranding of BAHA as HOSPA – Hospitality Professionals Association for Finance, Revenue Management and IT. The Annual BAHA conference and Exhibition to become known as HOSPACE; and the BAHA Times to changes its name to The Overview. In line with these innovations, logos are selected and a brand new state-of-the-art website is under construction to accommodate the three newly created HOSPA Communities of Finance, Revenue Management and IT, HOSPA’s Professional Development Services, HOSPACE and other innovations such as the HOSPA Blog and The HOSPA Solutions Showcase – a one-stop shop where members can review suppliers’ technology systems and service solutions by category specific to their field of hospitality.
- September 2011: HOSPA is officially launched (thanks to HOSPA Founder Sponsorship Programme) to great acclaim, together with HOSPACE 2011 and the new website. At the launch, Robert Cook, then Chief Executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin Hotels and recipient of Caterer & Hotelkeeper’s prestigious Catey award for ‘Manager of the Year’ in 2006 – began his term of office as HOSPA President, having been elected by the HOSPA Council to replace outgoing President David Cook, who had been BAHA President since 2004
- September 2011: With the launch of the new HOSPA brand, the Association reaches 1,000 members for the first time in its history
- September 2011: first cohort of students study new HOSPA Revenue Management ETP
- November 2011: first Annual HOSPACE Conference and Exhibition – entitled ‘New Approaches to a Bright Future’ – once again beat all attendance records. The event also saw the addition of HOSPA’s ‘Future Career Investment Development Scholarships’, open to the most talented final year hospitality college/university studies’ students. The five winners were publicly recognised at the event and had the same opportunity as the ‘HOSPA Career Investment Development’ industry scholarship winners to network and learn from the conference programme. The two categories of HOSPA scholarship winners are now firmly established as an integral part of the annual HOSPACE Conference and Exhibition
- November 2011: ‘EHTEC@HOSPACE’ – HFTP partnered its popular Hospitality Technology Education Conference EHTEC (held on 25 November) with HOSPACE 2011 (held on 24 November) to make a two-day event
- December 2011: Special Lifetime Achievement Award made at HOSPA’s Annual Christmas Awards to former BAHA Secretary, Chairman (1988 to 1994), Councillor, and one of the world’s most distinguished and respected hotel advisers Russell Kett, in recognition of his ‘outstanding commitment to improving best practice financial management’, right from the Association’s inception in 1969
- 2012: redevelopment of the Patronage Scheme, following the switch to HOSPA – created a new sponsorship brochure attracting such sponsors as Barclaycard, HP, and Fourteen IP. Over 40 sponsors enabled HOSPA to support its membership services and activities, as well as the Association to contribute to, and be part of, the Savoy Educational Trust and the Springboard Mentoring Scheme
- 2012: further strengthened links with HFTP with discussions on USALI (Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry) and HOSPACE. HOSPA Chief Executive invited to HFTP Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, to address over 8oo delegates and spread the word about the Association
- 2012: HOSPA Hub to become the Association’s brand at major outside events – such as Hotelympia2012, Hospitality Show 2013, and the Independent Hotel Show 2013/2014
- 2012: from 2012 onwards, Weldon was invited to be a judge of the Hotelympia Innovation Awards
- 2012: HOSPA social media strategy launched with the help of partners in this area, such as Born Social. HOSPA’s Twitter gathered a worldwide following, the LinkedIn group was rationalised and developed; and the HOSPA Facebook page redeveloped
- 2012: Launch of ‘Director Level’ events for Finance, Revenue Management and IT hospitality Directors. Breakfast seminars and an ever increasing number of meetings/ workshops etc for the three HOSPA communities significantly increases HOSPA’s influence within the hospitality industry
- 2012: HOSPACE2012 attracted a record 400-plus delegates, exhibitors and speakers
- 2012: Annual HOSPA Christmas Awards: first HOSPA Revenue Management ETP student award winners for stages 1 and 2 announced.
- 2012: Annual HOSPA Christmas Awards: the recipient of the first ever special ‘HOSPA Paragon Award’ – for outstanding and exemplary work in the field of Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management and IT – was Debra Adams, HOSPA’s Head of Education Services. She was honoured for her ground breaking achievements in Education for BAHA then its successor HOSPA, and for the highly efficient and inspirational way she managed the Association’s membership services over the previous seven years
- 2013: HOSPA Hub at NEC Birmingham’s Hospitality Show 2013. There was also a HOSPA Hub at the Independent Hotel Show in London
- 2013: launch of Revenue Management eBook, published on Apple iBook store and as a PDF – with the rapid rise of Revenue Management as one of the most important tools in hospitality management, HOSPA published a FREE introductory interactive iBook and an eBook version to the world of Revenue Management and how it can be used in the hospitality industry.
- 2013: HOSPACE 2013 exceeded the previous year’s record attendance! In 2007, the BAHA conference attracted just 150 delegates, speakers and exhibitors. HOSPACE 2013 saw this figure reach the 400 mark!
- 2013: First HOSPA Revenue Management ETP graduates named
- 2013: HOSPA further developed its relationship with the top weekly trade publication The Caterer – Weldon was invited for the first time to be a judge for the industry’s ‘Oscars’ – The Cateys – and ever since, has been a regular judge for the annual Technology Catey and the Hotel Catey Revenue Management
- 2014: New office created in Haslemere, Surrey, for HOSPA Membership and Events run by HOSPA member Jane Pendlebury, of the Penrose Partnership. HOSPA Membership and Events were moved from the office in Wimborne, Dorset, to enable Debra Adams and her team to concentrate on HOSPA Education to meet the rapid expansion of HOSPA’s Professional Development Services, which is now delivering two ETP programmes in Finance and Revenue Management. HOSPA’s Professional Development Services to be expanded not just in the UK, but also overseas.
- 2014: HOSPA membership reaches a record number of nearly 1,100 members
- 2014: After seven years’ devoted service as Chairman of BAHA (British Association of Hospitality Accountants) and its successor HOSPA, Paul Dukes stepped down from his role, due to ill health. 2014: At the HOSPA Annual Christmas Awards Luncheon, a special ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ – an engraved crystal trophy – was presented to former HOSPA Chairman (2008-2014) Paul Dukes, who became only the fifth ever recipient of the award, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Association at perhaps the most momentous time in its history
- 2014: HOSPA becomes an established regular contributor to The Caterer’s Technology Supplement
- 2014: HOSPA Council ratified the appointment of the Association’s Deputy Chairman Chris Upton as the new Chairman. Chris Upton, a Chartered Accountant, worked for over 20 years in senior financial positions in the hospitality sector
- 2015: In February, Weldon was invited by HIT Scotland to speak about ‘Future Technology’ at HIT Scotland’s ‘Emerging Talent Conference’
- 2015: HOSPA’s international reputation continued to grow with Carl Weldon’s visit to HFTP’s HITEC – the world’s largest hospitality technology show – in Austin, Texas. In addition, he and the HOSPA team attended the Hilton Europe Middle East and Africa Finance Conference in Prague to promote HOSPA Professional Development and Education. In October, Carl was invited by Guilain Denisselle , Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TendanceHotellerie.fr, to address French hoteliers in Paris about HOSPA’s work
- 2015: Record number of learners enrolled on HOSPA’s Education and Training Programmes (ETPs)
- 2015: HOSPA Hub became the HOSPACE Hub for Partnerships with NEC Birmingham’s Hospitality Show 2015 in January; and October’s Independent Hotel Show in London.
- 2015: HOSPACE 2015 again broke all previous records, attracting 460 delegates. It also marked the first time that, due to a partnership between HOSPA and HIT Scotland, that HIT Scotland Scholarship winners won the opportunity to attend HOSPACE 2015 and ones in the future
- 2015: Hospitality Financial Directors dinners re-established (originally introduced by the Association when it was BAHA)
- 2015: Weldon was invited to take part in The Caterer’s Digital Summit in May where there was a HOSPA panel session; and Weldon was asked to be a speaker at The Caterer’s Summit 2015 in November
- 2015: For the first time, HOSPA produced a joint Technology Supplement with The Caterer
- 2016: HOSPA announced that Carl Weldon would be joining HFTP in March
- 2016: Hotelympia2016 in February will feature the HOSPACE Hub, seminars, and during the show, there will be a HOSPA Dinner for both Hospitality Finance and IT Directors