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05/2014

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Trinity Event Solutions have identified a need for a better approach to international venue finding and are sharing their resources to make the process quicker and easier for conference organisers and also deliver better quality leads to overseas venues.  The two companies have developed a results-led marketing strategy for international venues to put their information in front of the range of bookers that use the venuefinder.com website. 

Firstly, the level of data will be increased to bring it in line with UK venues.  Secondly, there will be one point of contact for enquiries so that they can be qualified and given to the most appropriate venues to match the clients’ criteria.  This consultative approach fits with Trinity’s Destination Champion programme, where specialists give help and advice about the suitability and logistics of working in a city or region, because they understand the destination.  They understand the market and regularly carry out site visits and constantly work with the hotels, venues and destination management companies.  Thirdly, enquiries will be managed to help venues understand the priorities amongst the large volume of online and email traffic that is currently being generated.

Jacqui Kavanagh, MD of Trinity said, “This new approach will combine good buying and creativity for event organisers, whilst at the same time help hotels and venues convert enquiries to confirmed business more quickly.  www.venuefinder.com has long been established as the leading website for sourcing UK venues and we believe that this new initiative will make it the first-choice for organisers to find overseas venues as well.”

Publisher at venuefinder.com, Kate Hewitt added, “I’m really excited about this new combined initiative. Venuefinder.com has been working closely with Trinity Event Solutions for over 7 years now and we feel that our new approach really combines our shared company visions of providing excellent customer service and experience for both the users of the site and also the venues that we work closely with. Providing one point of contact and qualifying and managing the international leads should provide a much better service for our buyers and venues.”

Two Holiday Inn Express properties have been sold in Scotland, signalling healthy demand for hotels in the region.

The 78-bed Holiday Inn Express in the Royal Mile, Cowgate, Edinburgh and the 82-bedroom Holiday Inn Express Dunfermline were sold to Chardon Trading for an undisclosed price in a combined package.

Selling agents Colliers International and Savills were inviting offers of about £12m for the two hotels.
Chardon’s portfolio already comprises Holiday Inn Express properties in Glasgow, Perth and Edinburgh Airport. Both businesses will continue to be managed and operated by Interstate, under the Holiday Inn Express franchise.

Julian Troup, director with Colliers International, said: “There was strong demand for both these limited service hotel businesses from not only the UK corporate companies, but also internationally.”

Rob Stapleton, director at Savills, added: “The success of Edinburgh as a destination, where occupancy levels and achieved room rates are being successfully maintained, undoubtedly was a huge draw and appeal.”

See more at: http://bit.ly/1nxEbXd

The De Vere Group has put its six golf resorts up for sale, following Starwood's acquisition of its conference division earlier this year.

The portfolio of properties is expected to sell for around £160m and follows Starwood's acquisition of De Vere Venues, the group's conference division, in March for £232m.

The golf resorts for sale include Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond, Mottram Hall in Cheshire, Slaley Hall in Northumberland, Dunston Hall near Ipswich, Belton Woods in Lancashire and Oulton Hall near Leeds. 

De Vere went into the hands of Lloyds Banking Group during the financial crisis in a £650m debt-for-equity deal.

Last month, De Vere also sold the Grand in Brighton for £50m.

See more here: http://bit.ly/1rg3leu

Spending from domestic tourists is forecast to surge by 25% during the next four years to over £108b, according to new research from Barclays.

The Barclays’ Tourist Dynamics Report 2014 reveals that continuing pressures on the cost of living will contribute to many consumers choosing to holiday at home, rather than go abroad.

It also highlights that London will continue to be the top place for domestic tourism spending, followed by the South East, South West and Scotland.

Pubs and restaurants will be the greatest benefactors of the trend, with spend expected to rise by 26% to £37b as more people dine out, while hotels and B&Bs will see domestic tourist spend increase by 25% to £17b.

Leisure attractions and the retail industry will be the other major winners of the growth in domestic tourism.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality & leisure at Barclays, said: “The economy is improving and confidence is certainly growing, and while this will lead to a gradual rise in the number of consumers looking to holiday abroad again, it is unlikely to precipitate a return to the holidaying habits we were seeing prior to the downturn.”

Saul added that businesses with a clearly targeted strategy will be the ones to benefit most from increased domestic tourists.

“It is key that operators understand their customer base and crucially how to communicate with them via the channels their clients prefer to use, be it through social media, print advertising, television or radio. 

“Online channels continue to present a huge opportunity to drive sales and the increasing popularity of search engines and review websites suggests that time and effort would be well spent monitoring and responding to any reviews of their business.”

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) said the forecasts from Barclays is “a testament to the Olympic legacy” when British hospitality and culture were showcased to their best advantage. 

“These predictions show us that in spite of the recession of the previous years, the hospitality and tourism industry has beaten all the odds and goes from strength to strength,” she said. “Our priority over the coming months should be to capitalise on the feel good factor, spreading the positivity across the UK regions.”

The Barclays survey results have been published  two weeks before the Hospitality & Tourism Summitat the Novotel London West on 5 June, when leading UK industry and international hospitality bosses will debate for the future of hospitality and tourism.

See more at: http://bit.ly/1tiaTcb

Marriott Hotels is to introduce a new dessert to its restaurant menus after inviting Marriott chefs from across Europe to submit ideas in a charity competition.

The white chocolate panna cotta with fresh seasonal strawberries was submitted by Dusan Osadsky from the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott. It will now be served across 131 participating hotels in the UK and Europe for the rest of the season. 

The competition asked participants to submit dessert ideas including strawberries, to help champion young chefs and support the group’s “You Eat, We Give” campaign, which helps to raise money for youth charity the Prince’s Trust.

Over 90 dessert ideas were submitted, with the 12 shortlisted entries including four from the UK, two from Germany and two from France.

The other shortlisted ideas included the wild strawberries and chocolate mousse, jaconda sponge and powdered meringue from Leona Burgher at the Birmingham Marriott, who herself grew up in foster care and pursued her desire to be a chef via a Marriott training exchange programme and an apprenticeship with the group.

The charity programme means that for each lunch and dinner served, the hotel group donates £1 or 1 EUR to the charity.

The funding from the programme is expected to help the Prince’s Trust run employability courses for young people in the UK. It will also go to fund vocational training and scholarships for children across Europe, including at the SOS Children’s Villages, which work to prevent family breakdown among disadvantaged families.

See more at: http://bit.ly/1jcFB0S

The HBAA has this month engaged all 80 Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts properties to its International Charter.

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts originally signed up four properties, but this month has confirmed all of its venues, after reaping the benefits of being associated with the HBAA.

The international upscale hotel management company is represented in 25 countries around the world and currently has 80 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers in operation – with more properties planned or under construction in the future.

Over 3,000 properties have now signed up to the International Charter, which fosters best practice between HBAA intermediary members and the international hotels and venues they work with. Signees commit to the standards of the Charter which protects and strengthens the unique relationship that exists between agents and their venue suppliers.

Steve Ockerby, chair of International Projects at the HBAA said, “This is an extremely positive endorsement for the HBAA. Mvenpick Hotels & Resorts are a valuable and well respected brand and to have them recruit all their venues because they see it as such an advantage to be associated with the HBAA is fantastic. It is a testament to the wealth of knowledge and experience we offer and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Paul Hutton, International Account Director UK & Ireland for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, commented, “We are delighted to have signed the HBAA charter, which underlines our commitment to best practice, and to building on our relationships with MICE agents in the UK. The addition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ international collection of over 80 upscale properties opens up a diverse range of exciting new venues and destinations to HBAA members, covering 25 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”

The Venue Expo is set to be the largest gathering of MICE professionals the north of England has ever seen. The FREE to attend event is organised by Liverpool based events company, UKFE and promises to incorporate all the essentials needed for a successful business to business expo.

Credible show features of The Venue Expo include a number of CPD accredited seminar stages such as a Keynote Stage, Marketing and Branding Stage, Leadership Stage, Live Experience Stage and a Social Media Workshop. Influential speakers taking to the seminar stages include delegates from George P Johnson, Visit England, the International Centre for Research in Events Tourism and Hospitality, ISES UK and EVCOM to name but a few.

Topics covered on these stages range from “How to ensure creativity is hit in the events industry” to “Future thinking for event design”. These seminars will not only offer credible insight into the world of events but will also offer attendees the chance to engage in topics that will inspire and motivate them in the world of work.

Other show features of The Venue Expo will include a number of networking areas which will allow fellow professionals to increase their industry contacts. These areas will not only allow attendees to meet with prospective suppliers/buyers, but will also allow an informal “catch up” with industry professionals over canapés and refreshments.

Continued support for The Venue Expo has been incredible with a number of additional media partners joining forces with the expo including M&IT, EVCOM, ISES UK, and Euro Congres.

With just over 100 days left until the show opens, The Venue Expo floor plan is on target to hit its volume of exhibitors for the 2 day expo. This can also be said of online registrations to date which have also exceeded expectations. The obvious gap in the market for such an event in the North of England has a lot to be thankful for as both media partners and exhibitors are keen to develop their presence in this “untouched market”.

Marketing and Events Manager, Elena Doyle stated “It’s really exciting to see how fast this show has developed and grown in such a small space of time. Although this is the first profile of the show, the support we have received has been incredible so we are really looking forward to 1st-2nd September 2014”.

The Venue Expo is a free to attend event and the one and only available in the North of England.

Register for you attendance at www.thevenueexpo.co.uk.

Strong leisure business over Easter, combined with warmer weather, helped boost hotel performance during April, according to preliminary figures released by accountancy firm BDO.

With around 3.4 million British holiday makers taking a break within the UK during the four-day Easter break, regional hotels recorded a 9.1% year-on-year increase in room yield to £41.36, with the average room rate rising 7.9% to £55.91. Meanwhile, occupancy increased by 1.2% to 74%.

Hoteliers in London also enjoyed a boost in room yield to £95.58, up 8.2% on last year. The average room rate increased 7.4% to £114.93, while occupancy rose 0.7% to 83.2%.

Robert Barnard, partner at BDO, said that the latest hotel data indicated a growing confidence in the UK hotels sector.

“The overall outlook for 2014 appears to be promising, however there might be some bumpy months ahead as the recent dips in economic growth in some EU countries demonstrate that there is still some uncertainty,” he warned.

“While the corporate market is usually down during the Easter period, the leisure market has bounced back as the nation made the most of the four-day break. The good weather will be behind the increase in average room rate in the regions, while increased visitation and poor performance in 2013 will have driven the increase in the capital.”

BDO’s figures are compiled from a survey of mainly three-to-four hotels, largely in chain-operated properties.

See more at: http://bit.ly/1kofw3v

The London Marriott Hotel County Hall has named Francesco Galletti as director of food and beverage, responsible for both the hotel and its restaurant, Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar.

He joins from the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel where he has spent the last three years as food & beverage manager. 

Originally from Tuscany, Italy, Galletti began his hospitality career working in hotels in his hometown almost 22 years ago.

In 2002 he moved to Berlin and spent three years as restaurant manager for Italian hotel brand Jolly Hotels, before heading to London in 2005 to work at a number of properties, including the Langham Hotel.

Commenting on his appointment, Galletti said he looks forward to working with the team to develop the hotel and restaurant’s reputation.

Theresa Maw, general manager of the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, added: “Francesco has a wealth of food and beverage experience gained during his time working in Italy, Germany and the UK. We look forward to the rest of 2014 with fantastic new talent joining our senior management team.”

See more at: http://bit.ly/1jQNh8X

Fairview Hotels has opened a new five-star banqueting and conference centre in its Ibis Stevenage hotel, Hertfordshire, following an investment of £2.5m.

The venue, which was previously empty office space, has capacity for up to 625, and includes a bar and reception area, portable dance floor, and private canopied entrance.

Called the Forum Banqueting and Conference Centre, it is owned and run by Fairview but operated by the group as a separate company.

The banqueting hall is sound-proofed and air-conditioned, with LED lighting and plasma screens, plus access to a new professional catering kitchen. It has been developed with conferences, exhibitions, weddings, civil ceremonies and corporate or other private events in mind.

The hall is also close to an NCP car park allowing guests to park nearby.

Fairview Hotels operates four properties in the UK – the Ibis Stevenage, Mercure Letchworth Hall, Mercure London Bloomsbury and the White Horse in Hertingfordbury.

Director of operations Neil Forbes also confirmed today that the group is currently in negotiations to open three to four new hotels this year; none within central London, but all within a two-hour radius of the Fairview Hotels head office in South Ruislip.

See more at: http://bit.ly/1nYhsCO

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