“Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering,” writes Brené Brown, the bravest of modern writers and researchers to tap into the uncomfortable and dig deep as she herself calls it. I think that the theme for this year’s Sleep & Eat event, Social FlexAbility, could not be more appropriately explained. In an age where we spend an ever- increasing amount of time training our scrolling thumbs and teaching robots how to do our jobs, the value of connecting on a human level expands exponentially.
I do not believe that all hope is lost. Far from it.
On a recent trip to New York, part of which was to confirm one of my keynote speakers, I took the time to stroll down the streets and walk up the avenues of this vibrant city, perusing the latest hotel openings and sampling some of the best new restaurants. What I noticed on a consistent basis was the innate urge to socialise. The late summer weather definitely played its part, but it seemed that even the busiest of New Yorkers was keen to give time to filling these large social spaces with chatter and life. Being privy to this gave me an enormous amount of comfort that all is still well in the world. We are choosing connection.
The keynotes and panels at this year’s Conference reflect the brands, design studios, architectural practices, operators, astronauts, engineers, owners and leaders who are great examples of fostering meaningful connection as it pertains to hospitality. Whether the discussions are focused on design language, underwater architectural engineering, environmental responsibility, delivering hospitality in space, F&B concepts or daily operational management, they will all dance around the same theme of facilitating human interaction.
The full programme will be released at the beginning of October but, as a preview, here are some of the companies represented in the talks. They include The Standard Hotels, NeueHouse, Virgin Galactic, Rocco Forte Hotels, CitizenM, The Langham London, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Michaelis Boyd Associates, Grzywinski+Pons, MEGRE INTERIORS, and Baca Architects.
Taking over the reins from Guy Dittrich who ran the Conference for many years is, for me, equally exciting and daunting. I hope I will not disappoint. I look forward to seeing many familiar and a lot of new faces at Sleep & Eat on 19th and 20th November at London Olympia.
Sleep & Eat Conference Curator and Host
Exploring The Anatomy of Connection phrase used by Brené Brown in her book “Daring Greatly”