Last year we joined the HBAA which is a representative body for UK meeting agencies, conference venues and technology providers. Patrick Heaphy our Head of Sales & Strategic Partnerships attended their annual forum during the summer and came back with very positive reports. I attended my first event last week, the AGM and annual dinner at the Hilton Bankside in London. These are the top 4 things I learned from the event.
1) The HBAA is seriously impressive.. you should join
It takes a lot to impress me. But the HBAA really impressed me. The association has approximately 300 members who really represent the key players in the UK meetings sector. I found the event very personal, relaxed and intimate. You can see the members know each other very well and have built up a strong relationship and respect with each other over the last number of years. The association is very well organised and structured so if you're not a member already I suggest you join!!
2) Outgoing chairman Leigh Cowlishaw did a great job
I don't know Leigh but based on her presentation at the AGM she really brought energy and passion to the association as chair in 2016. You could see she invested a huge amount of time and drive into the association with some key initiatives last year which has really strengthened HBAA.
3) Smart committees
Even though we have been members for over a year I didn't realise the HBAA had so many sub-committees covering a wide range of important topics. I was particularly interested in the International and Tech & Innovation committees for obvious reasons. The International committee is chaired by Jayson Hodgkinson while the Tech & Innovation committee is headed up by Caleb Parker pictured below. Each committee chair gave a 5 minute presentation on their plans for 2017 in all cases they welcomed feedback and input from all members which was refreshing to see.
4) Venue: The new Hilton Bankside combines Hilton brand with new modern feel
It was my first time visiting the Hilton Bankside hotel, they joined Meetingsbooker.com last year and seem to be popular with our users. I can see why! Its not your usual Hilton hotel. The lobby and bar area are very relaxed with a nice modern feel. The atmosphere is similar to CitizenM and Hoxton hotels. I liked it.
Ciaran Delaney, Meetingsbooker.com