- live at last!

At the Jersey Hospitality Association AGM we had been told that the re-launch of the new website was imminent. Lo and behold this morning there it is.

It all seems to be working OK and the page load speeds have been sorted out. They've replaced those awful maps with Google mapping and the Events page is a whole lot better. I am still disappointed with the imagery - I don't think the size of images forms a big enough impression of the island.

Anyway - it's live at last and that must be a relief to all concerned. There will need to be some answers provided as to why it took 4 months to sort out all the issues and more importantly - how much over and above the initial £250k budget was spent to get to where the website is now.

Surfing.....for real and on the web

It's been a big week at Seymour Hotels this week. I don't normally write about what's occurring here, but we've seen two major switch-on's for the Group in the past two days.

Firstly, the much talked-about Flowrider at the Merton Hotel saw it's first riders sample the ride on Thursday. There's been a real buzz around the hotel at the prospect of this amazing facility 'going live' and we were not disappointed. I believe that this attraction is going to prove a huge draw for the hotel, both for staying guests, club members and corporate events. It's early days and at the moment we are concentrating on fine-tuning the flow and finishing the last bits of landscaping. By this time next week we expect to be fully open for business with regular daily sessions. If you would like to see the Merton Flowrider being christened then look at the movie I've just put up on You Tube - click to view.

Secondly, Seymour Hotels' new websites went live. Since this project was down to me, it's been a busy past few days to make sure all the final details were sorted out. We've worked with Webreality on this project and they've done a great job for us. With a total of over 250 pages and a huge amount of content, it's not been a straightforward project, but on Thursday morning it all went live in just 15 minutes, with hardly a hitch! Take a look yourself - click here - and make up your own mind.All constructive feedback gratefully received.

Now, let me check that Jersey Tourism site. Nope - as of today, still no sign of the new site.......

More support for a Conference Centre

The Jersey Hospitality Association held its AGM yesterday at The Radisson. Robert Jones of Jersey Pottery took over the role of President from Robyn Lapidus - the first non-hotel member to do so in the 50 year history of the trade body.

As regular readers of this blog know, I am keen supporter of a purpose built conference and events centre in St Helier. Yesterday, the idea received further support. Firstly, the JHA confirmed that, in response to the request for comments on the proposed new National Art Gallery, they would not be supporting the project but would rather see the money invested in a conference centre.

Further support came from the guest speaker at the lunch, James Bidwell. James is Chief Executive of Visit London and was invited to speak on the benefits of a Public Private Partnership for Tourism marketing bodies (of which Visit London is a excellent example). However, James also gave his thoughts on what Jersey needs to continue to develop a successful visitor economy and top of the list was.......a conference and events centre.

By way of inspiration, take a look at the River Centre in Tonbridge. Tonbridge and the surrounding district has a local population of about 100k - not dissimilar to Jersey. The centre can accommodate up to 750 people for a conference and is about the size we need here.

Hopefully those involved in the consultation process will take on board the feedback coming loud and clear from our industry - an art gallery will do little to attract visitors to Jersey, whilst a conference and events centre would open up a number of new markets for the island.