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04/2014

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At the second annual Stamford and Rutland Business Awards last week, Jacqui Kavanagh, Managing Director of Trinity Event Solutions was awarded Business Person of the Year. It was a double celebration for Trinity which was also named runner up in the Contribution to the Community category. 

Trinity was founded by Jacqui in 2006 and now employs 30 people in venue finding, event management and to book accommodation. She was delighted to receive the award and commented, “I am a firm believer that if you give 100 per cent, you will be rewarded. 

"Winning this award will give me the chance to create more opportunities for people, whether it is through work experience, mentoring or encouraging people from all walks of life to work hard to achieve their goals. I could never have imagined that I could start a business which would be recognised as one of the top companies in the region and in its industry. Our success also means that Trinity is able to support local communities through our annual Triple Challenge fund raising initiative.” 

The judging panel praised Jacqui’s “focus on staff development and its key importance to the growth and success of the business”. They also said that “Jacqui has created a sound platform for growing the business” and “she demonstrates a good understanding of her market and is developing a range of strategies for securing their place within in it”.

The Stamford and Rutland Business Awards attracts entries from micro businesses through to national SME’s and covering an extensive range of market sectors. The judging panel included Miranda Rock, the Chairman and House Director of Burghley House; Ian Leech, Chief Financial officer of BGL Group and CEO of Coral Administration; Tony Worth, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and Brian Edwards, the MD of Swynford Consulting.

At the second annual Stamford and Rutland Business Awards last week, Jacqui Kavanagh, Managing Director of Trinity Event Solutions was awarded Business Person of the Year.  It was a double celebration for Trinity which was also named runner up in the Contribution to the Community category.

Trinity was founded by Jacqui in 2006 and now employs 30 people in venue finding, event management and to book accommodation.  She was delighted to receive the award and commented, “I am a firm believer that if you give 100 per cent, you will be rewarded.  Winning this award will give me the chance to create more opportunities for people, whether it is through work experience, mentoring or encouraging people from all walks of life to work hard to achieve their goals.  I could never have imagined that I could start a business which would be recognised as one of the top companies in the region and in its industry.  Our success also means that Trinity is able to support local communities through our annual Triple Challenge fund raising initiative.”

The judging panel praised Jacqui’s “focus on staff development and its key importance to the growth and success of the business”.  They also said that “Jacqui has created a sound platform for growing the business” and “she demonstrates a good understanding of her market and is developing a range of strategies for securing their place within in it”.
The Stamford and Rutland Business Awards attracts entries from micro businesses through to national SME’s and covering an extensive range of market sectors.  The judging panel included Miranda Rock, the Chairman and House Director of Burghley House; Ian Leech, Chief Financial officer of BGL Group and CEO of Coral Administration; Tony Worth, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and Brian Edwards, the MD of Swynford Consulting.

The figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) follows April’s IPA Bellwether Report, which revealed that event budgets had risen by 6.2% during the same period.

Rick Stainton, managing director at Smyle, said: "We are noticing better conversations with clients as briefs are more speculative and are supported by bigger budgets.

"Last year companies started to budget for an economic recovery and now the money is beginning to cascade down, with events seeing the positive effects of this. We have had a pharmaceutical client double its activity with us and the automotive sector is at a record high in the UK."

The figures mark the longest positive run of GDP growth since the financial crisis.

Jane Baker, commercial director, CWT Meetings & Events, said: "We are definitely seeing both an uplift in the number of events enquiries and the budget size. For March 2014, our venue-finding team have seen an increase in budgets of around 34% versus March 2013.

"We are expecting similar trends across our live events team where we are seeing a particular boost in the number of incentive event requests. Consumer confidence is definitely back and business confidence is following suit."

Head of project management at DRP Group, Nick Ruffles, said that as the economy picks up so too will costs: "Event budgets are going to have to increase because the cost of everything is going up.

"All sectors have realised that they have to take a different perspective than they had five years ago, but we are forecasting for a continued rise in budgets."

However, in the wake of an election and with interest rates likely to increase by 2015, issues on the horizon could dent future growth. Stainton added: "Confidence and nervousness is usually very mixed during an election as businesses are unsure how the Government’s economic strategy will fair.

"The ongoing situation in Ukraine could also dent confidence."

For the full story visit: http://ow.ly/wi0nD 

Down Hall Country House Hotel, on the Hertfordshire and Essex borders, unveiled its £1.5m refurbished West Wing at its Summer Showcase, 24 April.  

Officially re-opened by the Town Mayor of Bishop’s Stortford, Cllr Janice Elliott, the West Wing refurbishment included the renovation of 71 bedrooms, a kitchen refit and installation of a high-tech gym with adjoining sauna and steam room facilities. An additional investment of £150,000 is going into a refurbishment of the hotel’s meeting rooms with four conference rooms to be completely redecorated. 

Down Hall GM Andrew Oxley, said: “We are thrilled to have the West Wing ceremonially re-opened by the Town Mayor. The completion of the refurbishment enables us to reinforce our position as a four-star superior hotel with excellent meeting and event facilities.” 

A hundred guests including corporate clients, local business owners and event agencies attended the summer inspired event. 

The Motivaction Group, specialists in corporate teambuilding, showcased both the new and established teambuilding activities available at the hotel. Guests had the opportunity to try their hand at laser clays, get involved in a GPS tablet trail, solve clues to crack a safe, create a business empire and keep it on track and make their own chocolate creations.

All of Down Hall’s 26 meeting rooms and event spaces were styled for guest show rounds as were a selection of executive bedrooms in the West Wing.

For the full story visit: http://ow.ly/weVUw

Meeting room hire helped drive up profits for Newcastle's hoteliers in March, according to the latest HotStats results.

Hotels in the north-east England city experienced year-on-year increases across all key performance indicators for the month, with the total revenue per available room (TRevPAR) increasing by 6.9 per cent. Gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) also soared by 6.5 per cent.

Increased occupancy and a hike in the average room rate (to £66.92) helped contribute to a rise of more than 4 per cent in revenue per available room - with a boost of almost 25 per cent in meeting room hire also helping, according to the data.

It was also a positive springtime story for the south west of the country, with hotel owners there mirroring the UK hotel market's solid start to the year - also driven by a boost in meeting room hire.

A hike in gross operating profit per available room just tailed behind that of Newcastle, at 6.2 per cent, while TRevPAR rose by 4.9 per cent in comparison with the previous year.

The average room rate rose by six percentage points to £72.92, lifting the revenue per available room by 6.5 per cent. 

In comparison Cardiff remained challenged: despite an uplift of 0.9 per cent in revenue per available room for March, both TRevPAR and GOPPAR showed year-on-year negative movements by 0.7 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.

The average room rate decreased slightly from £70.99 in 2013 to £70.75 in 2014, though occupancy rose by just under 1 per cent. Rising payroll, operating costs and overheads badly affected the gross operating profit, according to the HotStats report, but March’s downturn was not enough to offset the generally good start to the year for the Welsh capital's hoteliers.

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Payment terms are getting worse, according to a number of UK events agencies, with many waiting up to 90 days to get paid by larger companies.

"Payment terms have shifted from 30 days to 60 days to quite often 90 days now," said Rory Sloan, director at agency RPM. "I was shocked recently when we were asked to pay to be on a client's roster, which is a very scary thing. Corporate firms have a responsibility to look after the whole supply chain. We are not charities."

During the recession many agencies tried to enhance their competitive edge by accepting tougher payment terms. Dale Parmenter, DRP Group, added: "We won't run an event until we have 50% in the bank, but there is the fear for many agencies that they will lose the opportunity to win repeat business."

Eventia-IVCA chief executive officer Marco Forgione says he is currently lobbying the UK Government on the issue of late payment terms. He told C&IT: "SMEs are 'underwriting' big business' economic growth in the UK. Some £30bn is owed by big business to the UK SME market. If that were released, it would allow our sector and the creative industries to grow, to invest and to seize overseas market opportunities.

"We're calling on the Government to take drastic action. It is not acceptable for SMEs to face 90-day, or even 120-day payment terms."

A recent government initiative threatened to 'name and shame' FTSE 350 companies that refused to sign up to a fair payment scheme, but it failed to have the desired effect. Forgione says: "Agencies are not going to embarrass their clients. The power is with big business. This scheme wasn't good enough. What we need is a set maximum term so big businesses know that if you are working in the UK, you cannot pay beyond 30 days - 60 days as an absolute maximum.

"We need a clear and measurable commitment from government that it is going to tackle this issue and readdress the power balance to ensure big businesses in the UK play fair by SMEs."

The renovated home of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has been officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Phillip unveiled the new-look 30 Euston Square, a venue for events as well as the college's official headquarters.

As patron of the college, the Duke of Edinburgh was keen to see the radical revamp that the once-derelict building has undergone to become a global centre for primary care. The Victorian building has undergone extensive renovations to modernise it, including the creation of a high-tech examination centre used by more than 3,000 trainee GPs each year.

Yvette Bradley, general manager at 30 Euston Square, said: “Having His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh officially open 30 Euston Square was a great honour. The venue is a wonderful place and the redevelopment has added to the aesthetic splendour of the building. I’m sure the many GPs who visit each year will appreciate their new headquarters.”

Read the full story here

Ashfield Meetings & Events (formerly Universal World Events) has announced the appointment of David Kerr as senior director of creative & production services.

Based at the agency’s Ivyland office in the US, Kerr will be working in close collaboration with all of the account teams, as well as the agency’s global Engagement team, to help ensure the continued success and growth of their creative services offering.

Kerr has 17 years’ experience in operations, sales, client oversight and team management and has produced live events and conferences for large, international corporations including Johnson & Johnson, Comcast and Lockheed Martin.

Ashfield CEO Americas, Gavin Houston said: "I am delighted to welcome David to our team. His experience with event production and understanding of the industry can only further enhance our engagement and creative service offerings.

"David will add value to our client’s production, creative, digital and communication activity surrounding their events. We continue to see an appetite grow for these services and will be launching a secondary brand in the near future to help position these to market."

The Q1 2014 IPA Bellwether Report has revealed the largest rise in marketing budgets for 14 years, with event budgets rising by 6.2%.

Marketing budgets have grown for the sixth successive quarter and have risen in Q1 to the greatest degree in seven years, according to the Q1 2014 IPA Bellwether Report, published today (17 April).

All areas of marketing saw growth, with main media advertising being the primary beneficiary of the uplift, recording a series record net balance of +11.7%. 

It also supplanted internet advertising as the best performer of all categories for the first time in just under three years and indicated a growing confidence and willingness amongst marketing executives to commit to high-profile campaigns. 

The breakdown was as follows:

Main media advertising: +11.7%

Internet: 8.5% and within Internet, Search: +13.9%

Events: 6.2%

Sales Promotions: +3.4%

Other +2.8%

Direct Marketing +2.6%

PR: +2.1% 

Market Research: +1.1%

The report found a 20% rise in companies registering an increase in budgets during Q1 2014, up sharply from Q4 2013’s +11% and the previous Survey record of +12.3% in Q3 2013.

Also, there was a 26% rise in companies expecting to see growth – the best recorded by the survey for seven years.

The sustained period of upward revisions meant that the 2013/14 financial year proved to be positive for marketing executives, with a net balance of +17.2% from companies reporting that their budgets had been increased. 

Chris Williamson, chief Economist at Markit and author of the IPA Bellwether Report, said: "Last year saw the biggest rise in marketing spend since 2006, and 2014 looks set to be even better.

"The fact that companies have already revised these budgets higher to an extent not seen in the 14-year history paints a remarkably buoyant picture for the rest of 2014.

"Companies are ramping up their markets and advertising expenditure in the face of growing optimism about the economic outlook. As higher marketing spend is also usually accompanied by rising business investment and job creation, this augurs well for economic growth to top 3% this year."

The Bellwether report has been conducted on a quarterly basis since Q1 2000.

Coventry-based Heart of England Conference and Events Centre has announced a trio of new appointments at the venue. 

Craig Cotterill has joined the company as Sales Manager and will focus on winning new contracts covering conferences, corporate fun days, team-building and corporate events. Cotterill has over 15 years’ experience, most recently as MD of his own consultancy company. 

A new position of Marketing Executive has been filled by Maggie King, who recently moved back to the UK from New Zealand where she worked as Sales and Marketing Manager for a SEA LIFE Aquarium operated by the Merlin Entertainments Group.

The position of Special Events Co-ordinator will be filled by Genna Wheeler who will take up the post from 28 April. Wheeler comes from a background in conferencing and events and will manage corporate entertainment as well as weddings at the centre.

"The new team brings with them a wealth of experience that will help to grow opportunities for the business and deliver an even higher level of customer satisfaction," said Steve Hammond, MD at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre. “We are thrilled to welcome Craig to the team and I feel his skills and years of experience in Sales and Business Development will be a real asset to the venue.

“We have over 20 years’ experience in the events industry and with the creation of the new marketing position we can further promote our services and ensure that our brands remain relevant," he added. 

As part of his plans for the centre, Hammond is currently seeking planning permission to build a new 30-bedroom hotel, a visitor centre, an extra function suite to accommodate more weddings and a new 4x4 and quad biking course. 

The new positions are all part of Steve’s expansion plans for the centre. He is currently seeking planning permission to build a new 30-bedroom hotel, a visitor centre, an extra function suite to accommodate more weddings and a new 4x4 and quad biking course.

The new hotel would add to the current accommodation offered in the Old Hall House and would be a boutique hotel with 30 individually designed en-suite bedrooms and include a gym and beauty room.

The visitor centre would create additional catering space to house a café area and also classroom facilities teaching visitors about the rural Warwickshire countryside and the history of the landscape.

The expansion would help to create additional employment opportunities in the area as 30 extra staff would be recruited if the proposals are given the go ahead. 

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