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03/2013

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Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has promoted David Taylor to the role of head of commercial for the UK & Ireland Managed Estate

Taylor will be responsible for developing and leading IHG’s commercial activity across the UK and Ireland.

He was formerly head of meetings and events for UK&I, a role that has been filled by former Qhotels group events manager Rosemary Pritchard.

IHG managing director UK & Ireland Managed Estate Stephen McCall said: "I am in no doubt that David will provide significant energy and expertise in driving the commercial performance of our hotels forward."

Don't miss your chance to be ranked in C&IT's top 50 agency league table and to share your views on the health of the events industry in the magazine's flagship annual report.

C&IT is compiling its authoritative State of the Industry Report, which will give readers a comprehensive view of the UK events landscape, both from an agency and client perspective.

HBAA members can share their views in C&IT's State of the Industry survey. Key trends including budgets, emerging destinations, ROI, sustainability and technology are all being examined in the survey of event agencies and corporate event planners.

Survey responses will form the backbone of State of the Industry, which will be packed with analysis, statistics and the popular agency ranking results.

Agencies and corporates who complete the survey properly will automatically be entered into a prize draw for a stay in a luxury hotel. Prize to be confirmed.

The deadline is 30 April 2013.

Agencies can respond to the survey here. This year, in order to present a level playing field, C&IT is going to rank agencies by UK-based turnover, so please ensure you give a separate figure for your UK and overseas business turnover, if appropriate.

University of London’s Senate House has launched an Al Fresco package in conjunction with the release of the venue’s new seasonal menu in time for the spring season.

Following the recent £600k refurbishment of Senate House’s kitchen, the new menu showcases the improvements to the venue’s catering offering. Developed by the in-house catering team, the bespoke menu offers event organisers nearly 100 seasonal items to choose from in the form of hot, cold and sweet hand crafted canapés, a finger buffet, and starters, mains and desserts – all incorporating locally sourced ingredients.

Highlights include ‘Crayfish Salad with Shaved Truffle, Smoked Paprika, Gazpacho Dressing and Asparagus Salad’, ‘Crispy Fillet of Salmon with Lemon Risotto and Blistered Tomatoes, Sweet Fennel, and Lemon Olive Oil Sauce’, and ‘Champagne and Summer Berry Jelly with Vanilla Cream and Almond Biscotti’.

Created for Senate House’s private Georgian Garden Squares, the Al Fresco package gives delegates a chance to enjoy the new menu and the warmer weather at conferences, events and evening receptions during the spring and summer seasons. The package is available for a minimum of 150 guests at a price ranging from £20 to £40 + VAT per person including garden hire.

Charlie Vernon, business development manager, Senate House, said: “We are always looking for new ways to keep our catering offering fresh, and we are very proud of our new seasonal menu as it demonstrates the improved quality of food here at Senate House. With the Al Fresco package, we hope to give guests a chance to sample the menu in the tranquility of our popular garden spaces.”

InterContinental Hotels Group claims it has become the first in the industry to commit to free internet access for all loyalty members worldwide.

The move comes as IHG research reveals that free internet is more important than room service to travellers.

The global online survey shows that nearly half of adults (43%) would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.

Also, 23% of respondents said that free internet in rooms and throughout the hotel is the most important amenity when staying in a hotel for business, compared to 7% who chose room service.

Travellers from the UK (18%) and the US (14%) both listed paying for internet as the second most annoying thing when staying at a hotel after noisy guests (22% and 24% respectively).

The move comes as IHG announces it will rename its loyalty programme Priority Club Rewards as IHG Rewards Club in July and introducing a range of new benefits for members.

Richard Solomons, chief executive, said: ‘In today’s fast-paced world, we know that travellers need to stay connected and free internet access is increasingly important.

‘I am proud that IHG is the first hotel company to offer free internet globally to all our loyalty programme members.

‘Renaming our industry-leading loyalty programme as IHG Rewards Club will help our guests understand that all our brands are part of the same IHG brand family.’

Six HBAA venue members including the Fairmont Monte Carlo, ACC Liverpool, Conference Park, Warwick Conferences, Imago Burleigh Court, Sundial Group and Scarman, Warwick Conferences received Gold Award accolades at the celebrated M&it Industry Awards on Tuesday 19th March 2013.

Organised by Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine and held at London events venue Battersea Evolution, the awards event brings together various sectors of the business to measure market reaction and reward excellence of service and products. A total of 19 awards were voted for by the readers of M&it magazine, including ‘Best Value for Money Conference Centre’ and ‘Best Venue Group Meeting Product’.

Winners from the HBAA’s prestigious roster of venue members include Scarman, Warwick Conferences for ‘Best Value for Money Conference Venue’, the Fairmont Monte Carlo for ‘Best Overseas Hotel’, and ACC Liverpool for ‘Best UK Conference Centre’. The service standards award for ‘Best Conference & Banqueting Staff’ was won by imago, Burleigh Court, and ‘Best Venue Group Meeting Product’ went to Sundial Group. Warwick Conferences also won the ‘Best Academic Venue’ accolade for Conference Park, Warwick Conferences.

Jurys Inn is carrying out an extensive refurbishment programme across its estate with over 1005 bedrooms and public areas having already received a complete makeover in 2012.  As part of an on-going refurbishment programme, which has also seen a number of hotels refurbished in 2011, Jurys Inn has earmarked a total spend of £25 million for projects up to the end of 2014.  The investment focuses primarily on refurbishments however, it also includes some IT and systems spend which will provide guests with improved comfort and facilities.

The bar and restaurant areas have been re-designed to provide guests with warmer spaces with voile partitions that afford a more intimate atmosphere.  Contemporary, comfortable bedrooms with crisp white linens, now boast darker wood furnishings, warmer fabrics, new large comfortable tub armchairs, all of which contribute to a more relaxed experience. And, the spacious bathrooms now have cream tiles that give a softer tone and the new chrome power showers, along with complimentary toiletries, provide an invigorating start to the day.

John Brennan, CEO, Jurys Inn says: “We have recently invested significantly in developing our new brand identity, positioning and product offering and this investment programme will help bring some of our older hotels in line with our newest properties to ensure that all our facilities are consistently of a high standard and fully meet the needs and expectations of both our leisure and business customers. This coupled with our steadfast commitment for delivering great customer service, continues to drive us forward.  In fact, last year Jurys Inn was awarded Best Independent Hotel Brand at The Business Travel Awards for the second time.” 

Jurys Inn takes pride in providing consistently high quality service, excellent facilities and central locations with midweek rates typically ranging from £65 in Liverpool and £75 in Manchester as well as great, non-refundable advance purchase rates.

The rooms all have adjustable heating and air conditioning, Wifi, high speed internet access as well as flat screen TV’s.  Guests can also chose to upgrade to a superior room which includes complimentary internet access; early check-in from 12 noon; iron and ironing board in rooms; complimentary national newspaper; complimentary still and sparkling water as well as 10% discount off all food in the hotel’s restaurant and bar.

Jurys Inn refurbishments to date include the following hotels, with more plans in the pipeline across the estate over the next few years:

2011

  • Jurys Inn Croydon - complete refurbishment of all bedrooms, public areas, restaurant, bar and conference facilities
  • Jurys Inn Islington – complete refurbishment of all bedrooms
  • Jurys Inn Belfast – complete refurbishment of all bedrooms and lobby area

2012 to date

  • Jurys Inn Birmingham - all bedrooms, meeting rooms and public areas, restaurant and bar refurbished
  • Jurys Inn Newcastle  - all bedrooms, public areas, restaurant and bar refurbished
  • Jurys Inn Chelsea – all public areas, restaurant, bar and bedroom floors refurbished
  • Jurys Inn Leeds – refurbishment of all public areas, restaurant and bar
  • Jurys Inn Glasgow – refurbishment of all public areas, restaurant and bar
  • Jurys Inn Milton Keynes – refurbishment of 10 Meeting rooms and ballroom
  • Jurys Inn Galway – refurbishment of all bedrooms
  • Jurys Inn Christchurch – refurbishment of all public areas, restaurant and bar
  • Extensive signage replacement 

Growing membership driven by household names sweating their assets

Analysis carried out by the HBAA underlines the growth in unique and sporting venues utilised for meetings and events.

The research shows a 16% growth in membership between 2007 and 2013, with the association now boasting 9,698 ‘unique’ secondary stream venue properties in the UK and Europe. 

Unique venues made up of stadia, universities and museums are key contributors to HBAA's growth and changing membership demographic. Household names including Lord’s Cricket Ground, Epsom Downs Racecourse and Warwick University are tuning in to the HBAA in order to drive supplementary revenues in addition to their recognised core product offerings.

An emergent membership from apartment companies also goes to emphasise a shift in demand from corporates for their accommodation and conferencing requirements. 

The HBAA is recognised for driving best practices in the procurement of conferences, meetings and accommodation, a benchmark of quality for corporate buyers. All members abide by key protocols that contribute to the driving of professionalism, thought leadership and help create government legislation for the wider business tourism sector. 

Chris Parnham, Chairman of the HBAA, said, “We have noted that more unique venues want to be part of the HBAA; this is not only because of the significant buying power of the agency members, but also for our best practices and recommendations for transacting business. Demand for membership continues to grow in the UK and in particular internationally as agents see their remits widen to procure and manage on a global basis.”

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