Each year the Meetings Industry Association celebrates top-performing, passionate individuals from the hospitality, meetings and events industry with the miaList awards. Nominees must go through a rigorous judging process, before finding out the results at a lunch gala. 

We attended the event on 6 October at the Park Plaza Victoria in London to see who came out on top. The Conference and Events title went to Petar Sotirov, conference and banqueting manager at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa. A month on, we managed to grab some of his time to hear his thoughts on the win.   

Petar Sotirov

How did it feel to win this industry excellence award?

First of all, it has to be highlighted that this is one of the most recognisable awards in the industry, so winning both as an individual and for the hotel is fantastic. The main plus is that the exposure of these awards is quite wide – not only within hotels but also with event bookers, organisers and more. I feel very honoured. 

Why do you think you were nominated for this award?
Those that nominated me highlighted my leadership style, in particular how I communicate with and inspire my team here at Luton Hoo. I like to keep a very strong emphasis on individuals, always looking at my team as a sum of individual people. I try to understand each person and their strengths, so we can build on that. To develop your team in a big way you need to focus on the micro, not the macro.  

Luton Hoo

How can you see the conference and events industry changing in the next 10 years?
For me, the main thing is that conferences and events will become a lot more tailored. Previously, everywhere had packages and set menus. The change is now that people are looking for venues that can adapt to specific needs. This can translate into food, the manner of service, and various small extras. I think this is the future for the whole industry.

What should UK venues be doing to attract international conferences, events, and incentive trips? 
It’s all about creating relationships with global organisations. Plus it requires a long term vision. Venues need to think about the future, not just right now. 

What one piece of advice would you give to younger members of your team?
It’s well known to everyone in this industry, but hospitality is more than a job. The key with hospitality is having this passion every day and never losing it. You need to be genuine and able to build relationships. It allows you to not only have a great job, but to really love it. 

You can find out more about Luton Loo Hotel, Golf & Spa here