Lucinda Bence Studying: BA (Hons) in international hospitality management at Bournemouth University
- Why do you want to go into the hospitality business? "My family has a hotel called the Berry Head hotel, on the border between Devon and Cornwall, near Looe, where my mum and dad are hands-on directors. So it's in the blood."
- Where was your placement? "I worked for Macdonald Hotels & Resorts at the Southgate in Exeter."
- What was it like? "It was an amazing experience. I started off as trainee manager but I worked across all departments including maintenance, accounts, reservations, duty management and human resources. I wanted to take on any responsibility they threw at me, so it was brilliant that they allowed me to get stuck in."
- You come from a small family-run hotel business. What was it like working for a big corporate? "Completely different. I have a passion for conference and banqueting, and Macdonald allowed me to do it on a bigger scale. I worked in all departments of the hotel and that was great, but of course there are downsides to working for a big corporate - it can become less personal. I don't think I could say that I preferred it."
- What's your next step? "I'm ready for a challenge, such as an assistant manager's role - and I want to get started straight away."
- Have you enjoyed the Forum? "Absolutely. I have met loads of people, from the Ministry of Defence to contract caterers to hoteliers."
- Any job offers? Nothing formal, but lots of discussions.
- How could the hospitality industry make itself a more attractive place for students to work? "There needs to be a better link between industry and education. The industry should upsell itself more, too. I would only have considered glamorous parts of contract catering before - now I can see there are many other exciting elements."
Joanne Coates Studying: International tourism management at Sheffield University
- Why do you want to go into the hospitality industry? "I come from a little village outside Lancaster, called Ingleton, which is quite a touristy place, so I have always wanted to work in the sector. I also had a teacher at college, called Roger Carter, who was really passionate about the industry."
- Where was your placement? "Orlando, USA, with Loews Hotels. It was at the 1,000-bed Royal Pacific Resort, which opened in 2002. I did roles ranging across greeter, bartender, server and supervisory roles."
- What was it like? "Orlando was amazing - just so different from England: the sunshine and the passion for customer service."
- Will you go back? "Well, I've been offered a job with Universal Studios by Nigel Williams, who recruited me in the first place. I have some reservations about going back, such as missing my family and whether I am missing out on other opportunities, but I could definitely live there."
- How have you found the Forum? "The first impressions when we got on here were ‘wow' - the detail of organisation from Richmond Events has been amazing."
- What have you learnt, then? "Loads of people have given us lots of really good advice and some direction. I've already got job offers from Accor and Universal, but other opportunities have been made available on this event. At the moment, I feel I need to take a step back and reflect before deciding which way to go."
- How could the hospitality industry make itself more attractive place for students to work? "Better communication - many students don't know what's out there, so more workshops and seminars with students would help."
Rumour has it that Catering Forum delegates consume more alcohol than delegates at any of Richmond Events' other forums. No surprise there, then, it is hospitality!
Average number of hours of sleep on board per passenger? God knows, but if you got five hours a night you did well. A couple of people were spotted at breakfast still in their DJs - does this mean they didn't sleep at all? Impressive stamina.
650 suppliers and delegates, covering all parts of the industry, ranging from hotels, contract caterers, school caterers through coffee shops, pubs and bars to restaurants … and the Press.
Gossip… Well, it's known in the trade as the love boat, but with so many men on board, most of the lovin' is probably directed at a pint glass. Some, in the past, have found "lurve" on the boat - designer Noel Pearce and Springboard supremo Anne Walker met on board and have since become a couple.