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08/2014

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Accor hotel group is to open five new UK-based properties in 2014 and 2015.

The Novotel Brentford is the first of the London openings, with 202 rooms. Accor has also announced a new-build Novotel at 40 Marsh Street, Canary Wharf, which is due to open during 2016.

The second London opening, Mercure London Heathrow, will open in the spring with 184 rooms.

Three of the upcoming openings will be ibis properties, Accor’s economy brand, which includes the 115-bedroom ibis Styles Kensington.

Two hotels will be opening in Edinburgh, which includes the ibis Edinburgh Park, with 161 bedrooms, and ibis Styles, St Andrew Square, with 103 bedrooms.

Thomas Dubaere, managing director, Accor UK & Ireland, said: "These openings further strengthen our presence in the key business and leisure locations of London and Edinburgh and are another important step in expanding our UK network. As part of our ambitious expansion plans we are demonstrating our commitment to strengthening the portfolio across our budget and midscale brand segments."

See more here: http://bit.ly/1tSWBRU

More than eight million international business visitors travelled to the UK in the 12 months to June 2014 - a 5% increase year-on-year.

The VisitBritain International Passenger Survey (IPS) revealed that business visits to the UK in the first half of this year also rose by 2% to more than four million people.

With the International Festival for Business and London Tech Week taking place in June 2014, the UK saw a record number of business visitors for that month, showing an increase of 6% on the previous year to 7.5 million people.

Michael Hirst, chairman of the business visits & events partnership (BVEP), said: "Events are a big driver of the business visits sector and continue to make a massive contribution to the UK visitor economy.

"June has been a record month for the sector, and again shows that business events can drive footfall throughout the year."

See more here: http://bit.ly/1lw6fd0

French hotel group Accor has reported a strong half-year performance with operating profit before tax up 38.6% to €192m (£153m).

The solid set of results, which also saw like-for-like revenue increase 2.8% to €2,593m (£2,065m), were published alongside the announcement that HotelInvest, Accor’s hotel owner business, has purchased a portfolio of 13 hotels from investment fund Tritax.

At a cost of €89m (£71m), the acquisition is part of the company’s strategy, announced in November 2013, to consolidate its owned hotel base under HotelInvest, which now runs alongside Hotel Services, the operator and franchisor part of the business.

The portfolio include 12 Ibis hotels and one Ibis budget hotel, with a total of 1,194 bedrooms in Coventry, Coventry South, Birmingham Holloway Circus, Birmingham, Bordesley, Leicester, Plymouth, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and London (Stratford, Thurrock and Barking).

Three Accor-owned F1 hotels adjacent to the properties in Liverpool, Barking and Thurrock will now be restructured as extensions of the newly acquired Ibis and Ibis Budget hotels to rationalise the HotelInvest portfolio.

John Ozinga, chief operating officer of HotelInvest, said the acquisitions are “an important step” in the restructuring of the company, which will see HotelInvest increasing the contribution of owned hotels from 54% in 2013 to more than 75% over the medium term.

The intention, explained Ozinga, is for Accor to become “the largest owner of economy and mid-scale hotels in key European markets”.

Sébastien Bazien, chairman and chief executive of Accor, added: “The strong results for the period, with an increase in margins, reflect good momentum and the work of highly committed teams to deploy our new strategy. Each business now has the means to respond effectively to its specific challenges.”

Accor is the owner and operator of 12 brands across more than 3,600 hotels worldwide, including Sofitel, Mercure, Novotel, Adagio and Ibis.

See more here: http://bit.ly/1rxAyCB

The wait is nearly over for a leading national expo and conference that is coming to the North, with just under a week to go until the doors open.

The Venue Expo, organised by UKFE and held at Manchester’s EventCity is the first event of its kind in the North of England, and it’s coming at the right time with the recovering economy ready to flourish. 

The UKFE event will bring together countless business professionals, event organisers and anyone with an interest in the events industry.  
The North of England has often been described as an “untouched” market for such an event, and so exhibitors and partners are keen to join the expo, expand their presence, and become a part of the North’s thriving business sector.

The Venue Expo is showcasing some of the North’s great venues, including businesses such as the AJ Bell Stadium and the Monastery Manchester, who are hoping to entice new custom at The Venue Expo.

Although the event is being held in the North, businesses are travelling from all over the UK to showcase what they have to offer. Companies such as Evolution Dome from London, Visit Scotland from Inverness and Hipswing Events Ltd from Sandbach are exhibiting, hoping to gain new clientele in the North.

The Venue Expo will offer opportunities for team building exercises, networking and workshops on leadership, social media, marketing and much more.

Elena Doyle, Head of Marketing and Events from The Venue Expo, said “The high quality seminars available at The Venue Expo are a credible element of the show and are the reason why any attendee should visit as well as the hand selected exhibitors showcasing the latest technology and products. 

“It is quality news that an event like The Venue Expo is finally due to be hosted from the North of England.” 

To register FREE for The Venue Expo please go to www.thevenueexpo.co.uk.
-ENDS-
Notes to Editors
The Venue Expo is a free to attend event and the one and only available in the North of England.  
 Register for free to attend The Venue Expo – EventCity Manchester 1st – 2nd September 2014
 Show website: www.thevenueexpo.co.uk
For more information:
 Elena Doyle: 0151 702 7788, Amal Aziz: 0151 709 4034, info@thevenueexpo.co.uk

Olympia London says a host of its events are growing, with organisers confirming bookings for events in its larger spaces.

Organisers of Cloud World Forum at Keynote World Media Limited have recently confirmed bookings for 2015 and 2016 at Olympia Grand, a move from the show’s regular slot in Olympia National. The first time Olympia hosted this event it was held across three meeting rooms in Olympia Conference Centre.

Ad Tech also started in the conference centre and has been at Olympia National now for several years.

The London Drum Show is to return to Olympia London this November and instead of occupying Olympia Conference Centre it will be staged on two levels, Olympia Central Level Two and Olympia Conference Centre.

“It’s exciting to work with organisers to see how Olympia London can accommodate their business plans for growth and to witness the evolution of events across our spaces,” says Nick Graham, Head of Sales. “We spend a lot of time and care on this process, which is reflected in the number of events that we retain and help grow.”

For more on this story, visit: http://bit.ly/1zc06U3

 

A shortage of talent is driving a rise in salaries, according to a number of recruitment agencies in the UK events industry.

UK recruiters have said that event professionals are lacking experience for mid-level and senior roles in the events industry as a result of agencies and corporates failing to properly nurture talent during the recession.

"There is an unequal balance between the number of people against the number of jobs," said James Walton, director, Live Recruitment. "As a result, businesses are paying the upper end of salary brackets to get the best talent because there are not enough good people.

"Before the recession, people were employed by agencies and corporates at junior levels and then were promoted to more senior roles within the company.

"However, in the last few years this hasn’t been happening and, as a result, there is no talent pool."

Liz Sinclair, director, ESP Recruitment, agreed: "Its has changed from a client market to a candidate market. Before, clients could pick and choose the best candidates for the role but now if they wait too long they get snapped up."

All three recruitment agencies stated that the industry has significantly picked up in 2014, with the volume of businesses recruiting event professionals rocketing, according to Walton: "In the first quarter, the larger agencies took on new people across all areas from event delivery to director roles.

"In the second quarter, we saw smaller agencies ramp up their recruitment. Overall, 2014 has been much better than last year, but there is a smaller pool of talent competing for the best jobs."

Sinclair stated that recruitment in August, a historically quiet month, was up by 62% thanks to improvement in both corporate and sporting event sectors.

Chris Mear, director, told C&IT that Right Connection Recruitment is expecting 2014 to be its biggest year, with an increase in senior appointments from corporates.

For more on this story, visit: http://ow.ly/Az4kN

David Preston has joined WRG in a consultancy role after leaving Kaspersky Lab in in June.

Preston, who left his role at Kasbersky Lab where he was vice-president of marketing for Europe in June, will focus on developing a sector-specific business strategy for WRG.

Preston said of his appointment: "Insight and experience are at the heart of what WRG are about, so I’m delighted to be able to add mine to their growing global network."

Head of London, WRG, Kath Goodson, added: "Both parties are excited by the potential to leverage David’s 20 years of global experience. His career to date has spanned the event marketing industry across both client and agency side.

"He’s worked across the UK, USA, France Japan, China, Singapore and Australia, most recently as VP of Marketing, Europe, for internet security company, Kaspersky Lab.

"The sheer breadth of knowledge he offers brings many possibilities for future growth to the table."

For more on this story visit: http://www.citmagazine.com/article/1307906/kasperskys-david-preston-join...

Inbound tourism to Britain for the period January to June 2014 has broken all previous records, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The number of inbound visits to the country increased 8% year-on-year to 16.4 million.

June also broke the record for the number of visits from overseas, at 3.18 million, up 10% from the same month in 2013. Spending for the month was also up 4%, setting a new record spend of £1.97b.

Holiday visits to Britain in June accounted for 44% of trips (at 1.4 million), setting a fifth monthly record for holiday visits so far this year, and 12% up on the same month in 2013. Business visits also increased (up 6% year-on-year), although they are not yet as high as 2008 levels.

The majority of visitors come from within the European Union, but visits from the rest of the world (Asia Pacific, Middle East, Latin America and Africa) were also up 2%.

David Edwards, head of research and forecasting at national tourism agency VisitBritain, said: “Tourism is an essential part of the wider success of our economy and these first six months have set us up for what could be another record year for inbound tourism.”

He also said that the number of visits from emerging markets in Asia and Latin America was “hugely positive”.

Minister for tourism Helen Grant said: “It’s fantastic that Britain’s tourism industry is performing so strongly with a record number of visits for 2014 so far and highest ever spend for June. It shows the government’s tourism strategy is working - creating more jobs, encouraging greater spend and growing the economy.”

The head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Bank, Mike Saul, also commented on the results, attributing the year’s success to increased spending from emerging economies, along with high spending from the US, France and Germany.

“The UK’s fine heritage, world-leading attractions and vibrant retail offering continue to attract increasing numbers of overseas visitors,” he said.

“With industry leaders signalling increased marketing spend this year at the expense of more aggressive pricing, the industry is currently experiencing an upturn in fortunes.”   

The results come just three months after the ONS announced record inbound tourism levels for 2013.

See more here: http://bit.ly/1oOhBUc

Olympia Conference Centre’s event management team has revealed it gained a 93 per cent rating in customer services to event organisers for Q1 and Q2 of 2014. 

This follows the West London centre winning Best Conference Venue - Customer Service at the Conference Awards in June. 
 
Olympia London says its positive results are mirrored by growth in bookings for the venue, with a projected increase of 26 per cent in events currently planned at the conference centre for 2015.
 
“We are delighted with the recognition our teams and venue are getting for their hard work and dedicated customer service,” said Halls Director at Olympia London, Gillian Kiamil. “Winning awards is a visible demonstration of all the behind-the-scenes hard work from our teams and people, while our high scores in post event research from organisers is further proof of the care we give each client.”
 
Sarah Elton-Wall, Head of Conferences at Olympia London, added: “It’s great to have recognition of the considered approach that goes into managing every event and client relationship.”

See more: http://bit.ly/1yAouOS

The Hotel Collection claims 'business as usual' after parent company UK Group of Hotels enters administration.

Duff & Phelps has been appointed to restructure the hotel group's banking facilities and stated that the process will affect none of the subsidiaries of the hotel company, which includes The Hotel Collection, formerly known as Puma Hotels, with all properties continuing their day-to-day operations as normal.

Duff & Phelps added that existing bookings will be honoured and supplier relationships will continue.

A statement from The Hotel Collection said: "The administration of UK Group of Hotels Plc (previously Puma Hotels Plc) has no effect on The Hotel Collection and for us it is business as usual.

"There will be no changes to staff, suppliers or vendors. This development in fact leaves The Hotel Collection well positioned to optimise its market position, initiate strategic investments to upgrade its portfolio and pursue targeted growth opportunities."

See more at: http://bit.ly/1vHW49m

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