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01/2017

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Imago Venue’s research “Is the meetings industry of today doing enough to inspire the business leaders of tomorrow” has been well received by the meetings sector since its launch last month.

The research was conducted in conjunction with Loughborough University and The Right Solution and the results revealed the reality of life in the workplace compared to students’ expectations as they embark on their career. The findings show that delegates see meetings as an opportunity for creative and innovative thinking yet feedback suggests they don’t always get this, that facilitators could be paying more attention to creative thought and any meeting they attend needs to be linked to what they want to achieve, not the organisation. 

Sally Greenhill of The Right Solution commented: “This valuable research really focuses the minds of all of us in the meetings industry to make sure that all the time and money put into meetings is used wisely. We need to listen to what the attendees want if we are to gain maximum ROI and ensure that messages and actions communicated at meetings are acted on effectively, for the benefit of all businesses.”

Jonathan Bradshaw, Founder of The Meetology® Lab, comments: “Neuroscience research suggests that, as humans, we are social creatures and wired to want to connect, interact and communicate with one another. This important report highlights how, in a business meeting scenario, preferences on the best environment can differ hugely between those organising and those attending the event. Understanding these preferences is paramount in making business meetings more effective and I encourage those charged with designing and delivering them to learn from the valuable insights it delivers.”

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Imago Venues, comments: “Our research serves as a reminder to the industry – whether you are a venue, organiser or supplier – that we need to work harder to meet the needs of meetings attendees, especially millennials. Since conducting the research we have had a lot of positive feedback, and the results have been fed into our business strategy so we can shape the way we deal with business enquiries and work alongside clients. We want to provide them with all the tools they need for a successful event, not just sell them a meeting space.”

A copy of the research can be downloaded from http://go.welcometoimago.com/is-the-meetings-industry-doing-enough-to-inspire

The research was undertaken by Loughborough University and Imago Venues.  The Right Solution provided methodology, analysis and validation of the research which was conducted amongst a sample of 430 students, delegates, and event organisers using a series of focus groups, face to face interviews and online questionnaires. 

The business travel specialist explains why they are rebranding as they celebrate 30 years of business and relocate to brand new offices.

Having doubled in size in the last three years, Managing Director Jonathan Ashley-Cowan believes that their people-led service is the secret to why their long standing clients and service providers continue to work so closely with them.

“Our number one priority has always been about making a difference through what we do and how we do it. It’s all about relationships and partnerships. We only continue to succeed and grow because everyone here shares our passion for excellent service and making that difference.”

In addition to handling the usual accommodation, meetings and travel bookings, PRIORITY has become an expert in managing major projects and events for retail, construction, media and infrastructure clients, and it’s this attention to detail that is guiding their three-year development plan.

“Technology has now matured to a point at which we now feel we can translate that personalised service into a broader range of business solutions which start and end with a company knowing their employees. The better you understand where people are coming from, the better you can understand behaviour, and the more effective your policies will be.”

PRIORITY stands by their commitment to work tirelessly towards making a difference and will be announcing key developments over the coming months.

Scottish five-star resort, Cameron House, has revealed plans for phase two of their ongoing multimillion-pound renovation, including an extensive new terrace overlooking Loch Lomond.

Phase two of the refurbishment, due to be completed in May 2017, has commenced at the loch-side retreat.  A brand new outdoor terrace is being created to showcase the unique and stunning panoramic views from the hotel, across Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and will offer guests a greater connection with the natural beauty of the area.  A redesign of the hotel’s bedrooms is also underway. 

Cameron House has appointed award-winning architecture firm, 3D Reid to manage the design and build of the new terrace.  It will act as both an alfresco bar area and an outdoor events space and has been designed with material choices and intricate detailing to enhance the existing building at the resort and make the most of the setting. 

Frameless glass balustrading to the terrace will ensure views are maximised, with a covered timber deck creating a warmth to the space both from within and when viewed from the surrounding areas. The existing glazing will also be replaced, with doors opening out on the terrace and larger expanses of glass introduced, giving a minimal, contemporary feel.

Phase two of the refurbishment will see Cameron House invest a further £1 million into the resort. Cameron House invested £3 million earlier this year as part of phase one of their ongoing refurbishment, which focussed on revamping the food and beverage offering, including The Cameron Grill and new cocktail bar, along with the hotel’s other public spaces.

Andy Roger, Resort Director said: “We are continuing to invest in Cameron House and are committed to making it the ultimate luxury destination in Scotland. We are truly privileged to have a unique setting that boasts such an abundance of natural beauty. The terrace will bring an exciting new dimension to our offering, with guests able to relax outdoors and take in the stunning panorama.”  

The new terrace will accommodate 60 seated or 120 standing and access will be through the Great Scots Bar or via a staircase at the front of the hotel.

Jen Samuel, Associate Director at 3D Reid said: “The Great Scots Bar has one of the finest views in Scotland, overlooking Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The addition of the terrace allows a greater connection to the great outdoors while expanding the guests experience of the hotel, allowing anything from a Champagne reception in the sun to a warming whisky amongst the snow.”

Cameron House is a five-star resort situated on the banks of Loch Lomond. It offers a range of amenities, from Michelin star dining, seaplane trips and loch cruises to the ultimate relaxation spa and golf days. To find out more visit: www.cameronhouse.co.uk

 

Rockliffe Hall’s beautiful 19th Century Old Hall wing has had a makeover.

As well as freshly-painted walls, rejuvenated wooden floors and new furniture, Rockliffe’s management commissioned two up and coming artists, one from the North East, to create bespoke artwork for the walls of the award-winning Orangery restaurant.

Rachel Armstrong, from Consett, was asked to create four unique paintings while Jo Downs, from Cornwall, has created a special piece of glass artwork on display at the far end of the Orangery above the entrance to the Campernella private dining room.

The restaurant and Old Hall, which incorporates the Old Hall Arches, Drawing Room, Morning Room and Cocktail Bar, were closed for a week in January while the renovations and decorations took place. Redcar-based Beautiful The Blind Company also designed and fitted bespoke wooden venetian blinds to cover all the windows in The Orangery.

Eamonn Elliott, Chief Executive at Rockliffe Hall, said: “As a five-star resort, it’s important to keep Rockliffe looking its absolute best. We have a full time decorator based here to ensure every corner of the hotel, spa and golf club looks fresh all the time. The Old Hall is one of the most beautiful parts of Rockliffe, and the oldest, and we’re delighted with its new look. We are also thrilled to have Rachel and Jo’s beautiful, specially commissioned artwork adorning our freshly painted walls.”

Rachel Armstrong’s work is a direct response to the environment: Lichens, rust, and mosses are just some of nature’s wonders that inspire her thoughts and painting process. The transformation of the organic forms and their metamorphosis is captured by her art, which is built up in layers. The process can take from weeks to years, paintings are matured and re-defined using a variety of media, including dyes, waxes and acrylic and oil paint. She has exhibited throughout the North-East, London and Japan.

Jo Downs is one of the world’s most respected fused glass designers. Working from her Cornwall studio, Jo’s work draws inspiration from the beautiful coastal landscape while her advanced fusion techniques allow for the creation of abstract designs of great individuality and depth. Along with her popular range of handmade giftware and statement interior pieces such as wall panels and art frames, Jo has developed her studio to undertake large architectural and interior projects. This unique facility and her innovative designs have earned her commissions for cruise liners, churches, other hotels and corporate headquarters.

This year Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) will welcome a diverse calendar of national and international conferences to the Granite City, a region rich in science, academia, commerce and history. 

Highlights of this year’s conference calendar include two health science conferences which will visit AECC in March: the annual national Alzheimer’s Research UK conference which is brought to Aberdeen by Professor Bettina Platt and her team at the University of Aberdeen; and The UK Molecular Epidemiology Group Conference Spring Meeting, chaired by Professor Susan Duthie of the Robert Gordon University.

Following on from this The European Conference on Information Retrieval brings an international audience to the city in April, led by the Robert Gordon University (RGU); before The Society of Radiological Protection’s Annual Conference takes place in May.

The OCEANS conference returns to AECC, for the second time, in June.  Organised by the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) and the Marine Technology Society (MTS), Oceans was last held in Aberdeen in 2007.  Professor John Watson of the University of Aberdeen, local co-chair for the event, has been key in securing this conference for the city, he commented:

“We look forward to welcoming IEEE OCEANS to Aberdeen, the fact that the city has once again been chosen to hold this event highlights the importance and size of the oceanic industry to the region, and its growing experience in the renewable energy market.  The high standard showcased in 2007 has set the stage for an exceptional event and delegates can expect an interesting and informative conference programme, technical framework and social events calendar at the 60th OCEANS Conference.”

The International Conference on Natural Products Biotechnology descends on Aberdeen in September, before the first joint conference between The International Conference on Mechanisms of Action of Nutraceuticals (ICMAN) and the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) Natural Products Section will bring their biennial meetings to Aberdeen in September; which is set to attract 500 global delegates to the city.

AECC work closely with VisitAberdeenshire to bring these events to the region, assisted by subvention funding from VisitScotland.

Aberdeen is an exciting place to be at the moment, with major developments taking place including the new state-of-the-art venue which will open its doors in 2019.  Boasting an impressive 47,000m2 of internal event space as well as on-site hotels, including a four star Hilton, the new venue is located next to Aberdeen International Airport and offers easy accessibility for visitors.  There are already events confirmed for the new venue, including The Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Conference which will take place in 2020.

AECC’s Associations Sales Manager, Steven Daun, commented: “We are excited to welcome such a broad range of conferences to the venue in 2017; it is testament to the success of the city’s team approach through the Aberdeen Ambassador Network, which assist events in coming to the region.”  

Venue finding and event management agency Conference Care are moving to new, larger premises this week after outgrowing their three previous sites.

The move follows a period of sustained growth, significant account wins and investment in new technology, resulting in the current office bursting at the seams. The agency will close the doors on their current address on Friday 27th January and begin trading at Watling House, Leicestershire on Monday morning.

‘We’re all very excited about the move’ said Director, Chris Peacock. ‘The new premises are twice the size of our current location and give us the scope we need to continue expanding. We bought the offices in November 2015, but have taken the time and expense needed to carry out a complete refurbishment, designing space that inspires our team, offering innovative solutions for our clients and reflects our brand and values.’

The Head Office is in addition to the company’s Scotland Sales Hub, at Pitreavie Business Park, Dunfermline, which opened for business on the 1st April 2014.

Director Andrew Deakin said ‘There’s a real buzz in Conference Care; the move will have a really positive impact on the team. A new year rings out the old and brings in the new - we are embracing 2017 with open arms!’

  

On the evening of Monday 23rd January 2017, NYS Corporate’s Managing Director – Oliver Garside – joined 1,250 industry leading professionals for the Business Travel Awards Ceremony at Grosvenor House. The 2017 awards were one of the most fiercely contested in recent years, and even being shortlisted was considered a tremendous accolade.  As such, Mr Garside was overjoyed to be called to the stage to accept the award for: “Best Travel Management Company (less than £50m UK annual sales)”.  The trophy was presented by Travelport’s Paul Broughton, who read the following quote from the judging panel: 

“The judges liked NYS Corporate’s business model and its use of ‘smart’ working, and were impressed by the substantial investment in staff and IT, not to mention the excellent results achieved in the last year.”

Judges’ Comments, Business Travel Awards 2017

The following morning, Mr. Garside brought the trophy to the agency’s Head Office in York to celebrate with his team.      

“I’m immensely proud of the whole NYS team who have been working tirelessly over the last few years to help NYS become a market leading and world class TMC. It’s a huge privilege to work with them and it’s great that our work and our investments in technology and service have been recognised not just by our clients but also by the rest of the industry!”

Oliver Garside, Managing Director, NYS Corporate

NYS Corporate’s submission for the award focused on four key differentials of their business model: their people; their values and work ethic; their commitment to their clients; and their in-house developed technology.  The team at NYS have an average of ten years’ industry experience and work within the company’s OPAL-inspired values: taking Ownership, being Proactive, being Accurate and Listening to clients.  This ethos informs the delivery of every single project they undertake, no matter how large or small, and has resulted in customer satisfaction rates of over 99%.  Over the past financial year, NYS Corporate have seen an 18% growth in turnover thanks £6.2 million of new business wins and exceptionally high client retention rates (over the past five years, 100% of their corporate travel clients chosen to renew their contract or reappoint NYS). 

To keep pace with growth and enhance their technical offering, NYS Corporate have recently doubled the size of their in-house IT Development Team, who have delivered a succession of bespoke innovations tailored to clients.  The latest of these, a state-of-the-art platform for Strategic Meetings Management, is due to be unveiled at the Business Travel Show on 22nd and 23rd February 2017.  NYS Corporate will be demonstrating “MeetingsPro” at Stand B960 of the show.    

  

After three very successful years, the Venue Expo co-located with PA Expo has built an unrivalled reputation for being a leading exhibition for the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) industry across the North of England.

Year on year, Venue Expo co-located with PA Expo has delivered high quality exhibitions, including the best products & services, leading content and industry renowned keynote speakers. It has attracted an array of visitors, including agencies, PCO’s, corporate firms, associations and exhibition/event organisers. It’s a pleasure to finally announce that the Venue Expo co-located with the PA Expo is expanding to Wales. The two day event will be hosted at the stunning Celtic Manor on the 24-25th of May 2017.

Celtic Manor is one of the most exceptional venues for convention and events that Wales has to offer. Previously hosting the Ryder Cup in 2010 and events such as the NATO summit, it’s fitting that this is going to be home to the impressive Venue Expo co-located with PA Expo.

Celtic Manor Resort Sales Director, Danielle Bounds says: "We are delighted to be hosting Venue Expo 2017 and bringing this prestigious event to Wales for the first time. Venue Expo has built a reputation as one of the leading MICE industry exhibitions and hosting this event gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase the fantastic facilities we have for staging meetings, conferences and events here at Celtic Manor. When we exhibit at other show venues, we always say you really need to visit Celtic Manor to truly appreciate the size and scale and quality of our facilities and the great thing about hosting Venue Expo 2017 is that we can show the delegates all that while they are here for the event."

Previously we have seen masses of attendees and hosted buyers visiting the event, directly interacting with industry leading suppliers. The UK events industry is continuously developing and it’s only fitting that Wales is able to benefit from this. It’s not only an honour but a privilege to be providing the platform to enable this.

It’s exciting to see that there is a lot of interest regarding the event at such an early stage, The Leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Debbie Wilcox says: “The visitor economy is a strategically important growth sector for the City of Newport, which has seen tremendous changes over the past few years. The Business Tourism and Business Events side of this is especially important, and we continue to support the Celtic Manor Resort with their new developments.

The city has excellent transport connections and a range of products and venues that we hope will give you a reason to return. We are delighted to have the chance to host this event, Venue Expo Wales 2017, for the ‘event specialists and organisers’, on the first time it has come to Wales, and offer a warm welcome to all.”

All attendees to both the Venue and PA Expo are encouraged to attend CPD accredited seminars and benefit from invaluable networking opportunities. Not to mention the enormous variety of exhibitors offering services and products directly relating to the MICE industry. “We are all very excited as it’s an incredible time for the Venue & PA Expo. Cementing these events as the largest MICE industry and PA focused exhibitions in the North has been a long but worthwhile journey. The fact we have expanded these profiles to include Scotland and now Wales is incredible. I am very pleased to be announcing this fantastic news and looking forward working with such a prestigious venue like Celtic Manor.”
-President of UKFE Brett Bienias
 

QHotels has once again been named as the No.1 Large Group in the annual VenueVerdict Awards, the sixth consecutive year it has held onto the top spot.

Strengthening its grip on the title, as the brand that conference and events bookers are most likely to recommend, 11 of the group's hotels ended the year with Gold Standard Accreditations - the highest in QHotels' history.

Awarded by BDRC Continental - the UK's largest independent research agency - the awards are given based on the scores given by conference customers across the year and based on the likelihood of them recommending a venue.

The 11 hotels in the group which secured a VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation are: Ashford International Hotel, Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort, The Midland, The Oxford Belfry, The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort, Dunston Hall, Hellidon Lakes, Belton Woods, The Park Royal, Mottram Hall and Norton Park.

2016 was a record-breaking year for QHotels, with the group receiving 38 quarterly Gold Standard Accreditations, the most it has ever achieved, demonstrating the consistently high levels of service and commitment to quality that is at the heart of the group's ethos.   

Dunston Hall in Norwich, acquired from De Vere in 2014, achieved the Gold Standard Accreditation for the first time in Q1 of 2016, held onto it throughout the year and ended 2016 as the highest rated hotel in the QHotels group.

Michael Purtill, Managing Director at QHotels, said: "These are outstanding results for the group and particularly meaningful because they come direct from our conference customers.

"We strive to deliver consistently excellent levels of service that go beyond client expectations and the fact that this is now the sixth consecutive year we have been named Number One Large Group is a demonstration of that consistency. It's also an indication of the extent to which our teams, led by our Operations Director Vivien Sirotkin, live and breathe exemplary service, every single day of the year.

"We never stop listening to our customers, and while we're always delighted to receive these types of accolades, we also get value from the detailed feedback VenueVerdict elicits from those who've used our hotels.  The teams look forward to using this insight to make the services we deliver in 2017 better than ever." 

Researchers at BDRC Continental analysed over 16,410 responses throughout the year across each quarter and 360 participating hotels in the UK and Ireland.

James Bland, Director - Hotels and Hospitality at BDRC Continental, said: "Once again QHotels has demonstrated their passion for and commitment to high-quality service. The results speak for themselves, retaining the title at a group level by continuing to drive improvements at a hotel level delivers outstanding customer satisfaction and the plaudits that come with that.

"Our awards are the result of real customer feedback and are a chance for brands to benchmark themselves year-on-year, as well as measure themselves against their competitors. But at heart they are about driving better quality customer service and QHotels understand that."

Scotland is the first of a number of new markets for Inntel and the appointment of Seoras Lyons as National Account Manager is the first move in a full rollout of services in the region.  Seoras is based in Scotland and brings over 20 years’ experience in the financial sector which will enhance Inntel’s strategic direction in the area.

Seoras’ role will be to strengthen relationships with strategically important existing Inntel clients and support with new business growth.

Inntel already have strong client presence in Scotland, including the UK’s largest mutual life insurance and pensions company, Royal London Group, who welcome the expansion and are excited about the developments.

“Royal London have been working with Inntel since August 2016, and we are really excited about the expansion of their offices to Scotland.  Inntel have been a welcome addition to Royal London, and in a short space of time have provided us with service and support that has exceeded our expectations. This appointment has added tangible value to our meeting and event sourcing process, and we are thrilled to be working with such an innovative and fresh thinking company.”

Royal London Group

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