Life of Brian

What has the Institute ever done for us?

A rather flippant title which paraphrases the old Monty Python scene in Life of Brian, but it underlines my basic premise here that you only get out of something what you put in.

Although I only joined earlier this year, the Institute of Hospitality has been a little bit of a revelation for me. The networking opportunities, the chance to discuss and share industry trends and business latest with like-minded professionals and ultimately, having a forum where I can put something back into the industry, are some of the main reasons why I enjoy being a member. In short, it's that satisfaction of being part of something really worthwhile that counts and I happen to like what the Institute of Hospitality stands for and the people it represents.

But not all members are made in the same mould and I suspect there are one or two who begrudgingly fire off the annual cheque and wonder what good it has done them beyond a quarterly magazine and a shiny plastic card in the post. From one end of the year to the next, they shy away from attending events or spreading the Insitute's message. Whether or not they can be encouraged to participate more, I'm not sure. I guess at least they are sending in a cheque. And I know that it is gratefully received, so please keep doing that.

With this in mind, I was very interested at the Annual Lunch to hear two or three different conversations on the challenge of attracting new members. As an organisation, the Institute has a lot to offer, but I have a feeling that not too many people in the wider industry are aware of what it is or what it sets out to achieve. People who don't have the words Hotel or Director on their business cards for example. Or don't even have business cards for that matter. Although from what I have seen, this does look set to change with some renewed energy.

Now, if you’re not a member and wondering what it is the Institute does, then go to their website here and have a look. It’s a professional body that offers training resources, industry guidance, personal development and the most fantastic networking opportunities imaginable to really boost your career prospects, business credentials and industry profile.  Whether you are a student (especially if you are a student!), a manager or an entrepreneur, I would urge you to consider becoming a member. And if you’re still not convinced, then give them a call to see if there is an event happening near you. Go along and see what you think. And whatever you do, make sure you follow them on Twitter (@IoH_Online).

If however, you are currently a Member or Fellow of the Institute reading this, don’t pat yourself on the back too soon, because (upstart that I am) I have a challenge for you. Why not pay it forward? I am sure you have been rewarded by your membership over the years, but the Institute needs new members and revitalised energy in the pipeline. Why not pick out an aspiring and talented younger member within your team and reward them by sponsoring their first year’s membership fee. Get them involved, get them motivated and get them talking about the Institute’s good work. That small contribution could make such a big difference to the future of the Institute. More importantly, it could make a profoundly big difference in the future of their lives.

It’s what you put in that determines what you get out. So perhaps the title of my post should have been ‘What have you done for the Institute lately’?