In the HIX seat: the journey back to ‘in real life’

Joel Butler, Co-Founder of HIX Event, has become a monthly columnist for Hotel Designs. In his first published opinion piece, Butler contemplates challenging times and asks ‘what’s next’ for the industry and its much-loved series of trade events…

I was on a zoom call last week with a designer. We were discussing vaccines, tests, curves and tiers (I think he meant tiers and not tears) when he informed me that our respective products were the future, ‘because we both do IRL’, you see. Excited by the dynamism and mystique of this fresh acronym I asked what it meant. “‘In Real Life’,” he replied, “events, hotels, travelling, shared experiences…it’s what we do!”

And he’s right, of course, both bizarrely and tragically the 50,000 year-old activity of face-to-face communication has been reduced to a futuristic concept, and hospitality, travel and ‘tangible’ togetherness have all hit ‘pause’ in the process.

So how can we understand the current hotel landscape and the hospitality experience that waits for us in our brave new world? We have industry pipelines and reports, the wonder of social media and the insightful views of experts, but of course it’s not until we all get back to ‘In Real Life’ that things will begin to become clear.

“In answer to the question, ‘what’s next?’, people’s views may vary from the apocalyptic to the utopian.”

For the full article on Hotel Designs: