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02/2017

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For the fourth consecutive year Wyboston Lakes has reached the Sunday Times ‘Best Companies to work for’ List and this year achieved 28th position.

The 380 acre resort is home to a two conference venues, 4 star hotel, spa, and golf course and employ nearly 300 people in a variety of roles both customer facing and office based.

Founded in 1983 by Peter Hutchinson, the family owned business invests in not only the facilities and the rooms but also the people something which Chelsey Hutchinson, People and Culture Director feels very strongly about.

“Last year we invested in upgrading facilities and bedrooms and this year we are looking to invest further funds to carry on the improvement of our facilities. But it’s not just the facilities that are important, it’s also the guest experience, and this comes from the genuine hospitality and customer service we delight our guests with. It is vitally important to us to help our employees grow and develop their skills so that we can offer the best service possible. Our development programme has been a great success and has seen many people flourish and meet their career goals.”

In addition to development opportunities, employee feedback is rated as part of the Best Companies process and a star rating issued with one star acknowledged as ‘very good’, two stars as ‘outstanding’ and three stars as ‘extraordinary’. 

Wyboston Lakes has been awarded the three-star accreditation status meaning that the venue is considered an ‘Extraordinary’ employer in terms of the way it engages with its staff.

The survey also revealed that 72% of employees do not feel under too much pressure to perform well, with 76% being satisfied that their work doesn’t interfere with home life, a great testament to the family environment the Hutchinson family have instilled in their culture and values. 

Outside of the Best Companies competition the business is also keen to listen to the views of its employees. The Senior Management Team has implemented an anonymous suggestions scheme which has helped to develop different ways of working and led to an improvement in the way waste is recycled and an RSPB bird garden. Informal catch ups, called The Big Conversation are also held on a regular basis inviting people to share their opinions. 

Mark Jones, Managing Director of Wyboston Lakes said “It is vitally important for us to know that we have a happy and engaged team as our employees are the most valuable asset we have. As a company we are absolutely thrilled to be recognised as part of the Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for especially achieving the 28th place ranking.”     

2017 will be the 17th year that the Best Companies competition has been running.  In 2006 Best Companies produced an Accreditation standard to acknowledge excellence in the workplace. This accreditation is regarded as among the UK’s most reliable and thorough processes for assessing the merits of organisations from all sectors in terms of the way they encourage, motivate and engage with their employees.

With a fantastic remuneration packages including perks such as staff discounts and performance bonuses along with the promise of growth for both the business and its employees personally Wyboston Lakes offers a fantastic place to work for all of their employees. 

Sean Wilson, the award-winning cheese maker and former Coronation Street actor will be delivering the keynote speaker session at the Conference and Hospitality Show (CHS) on Tuesday 4th April in Leeds.

Titled “My journey: from actor to award-winning cheesemaker and chef”, Wilson’s keynote will share the ups and downs as he followed his passion and made such a life changing transition. Wilson is now the brains behind The Saddleworth Cheese Company and the author of the popular Great Northern Cookbook, but for two decades the former actor was better known for playing Martin Platt in Coronation Street – the nation’s favourite soap.

Wilson stated: “I’m very much looking forward to speaking at CHS and being able to share my journey and talk about my lifelong passion for food. When I left Coronation Street in 2005 it was a perfect opportunity to re-invent myself, so that’s exactly what I did. If you have a passion and the positive opportunity to follow your passion, that’s what you must do!”

Emma Cartmell, CEO, CHS Group said: “We are thrilled to have Sean speaking at CHS17. He has a fascinating journey to share that will really resonate with our audience - and I’m sure he will deliver it in a fun and entertaining way.”

My journey: from actor to award-winning cheesemaker and chef will be presented by Sean Wilson at 2.30pm on the Event Management Stage.

Now in its eighth year, CHS is one of the UK’s leading events for venue finders, event organisers and PAs; the show connects over 200 national suppliers with over 800 event buyers from across the UK.

Exhibitors include venues, hotels, technology providers and many other national meeting industry suppliers. Venues confirmed to date include Titanic Hotel Liverpool, Horizon Leeds, Feversham Arms Hotel, Elite Hotels, Lincolnshire Showground and The Lowry Hotel. Groups represented include Q hotels, Marriott and Pride of Britain, and suppliers include Venues.org and Cvent.

Running alongside the exhibition is an education programme with sessions designed for event organisers, corporates and PAs.

CHS 2017 will take place on Tuesday 4th April at the first direct arena, Leeds.

Doors open at 9.00am

#CHSRocks

http://www.chs17.co.uk/

Leading meeting facility has been designed with the latest technology designed to boost creative thinking.

This month, the Radisson Blu Edwardian London, Heathrow hotel, owned and managed by Edwardian Hotels London, launches its ‘Brain Box’ room. The new facility provides an innovative meeting space designed to encourage and inspire guests’ working efficiency and creative thinking using clever design and technology.

The breakout room caters to all kinds of creative minds - combining simple creative solutions such as flexible furniture layouts and Squiggle glass, allowing you to write ideas on walls; clever technology such as Barco Click, the USB connected button allowing you to share your screen in one click, and Samsung 65inch touch screens. This unique offer provides an ideal environment for flexible working, brain storm sessions and more traditional meetings.

The features and design of the room are based on the growing trend for environments that encourage innovative ideas. According to recent research, 65% of people feel that environments designed to enhance thinking have a positive impact on the performance of their organisation. In addition, 95% found that these spaces consistently provide better ideas, solutions and decisions, productive working relationships and produce a positive impact on performance indicators or organisations.' 

Simon Wong, General Manager, Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow, said: “The Radisson Blu Heathrow has always prided itself on providing excellent meeting space near the UK’s largest travel hub, making it a convenient choice for international visitors as well as domestic. However, now we’re able to build on that experience and offer a unique and exciting space with the latest technology to become a catalyst in creative thinking and work.”

The space utilises multiple forms of interaction, including VGA and HDMI cables for presentations, as well as Microsoft Skype Business applications and Freeview TV, Sony PlayStation, Xbox and Blu Ray, the combination of which allows for meetings to be more efficient, engaging and spontaneous.

Based on the famous quote from Albert Einstein, ‘we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’, the space can be modified from a standard meeting set-up to a creative environment depending on individual needs. Edwardian Hotels London has previously been announced as the first hospitality group to partner with Imperial College London’s Business School.

Bruno Cotta, Director of Imperial’s new Enterprise Lab and Visiting Fellow at the School, commented: “Having a variety of technology diversifies not only the way people communicate with each other, but also the way they communicate with those not present. It is good to see not only the next generation of work related technology incorporated into this space, but also the consumer platforms. It often helps that users see familiar tech from the home environment, to break down barriers and encourage more relaxed, original thinking. We use a similar approach at the Enterprise Lab, where staff, students and visitors can engage with personalised technology such as Amazon’s Echo, but also state-of-the-art and life-size touch screen displays that get them out of their chairs and thinking on their feet.”

Chad Lion-Cachet, Chairman of investment company Clico Capital, is calling for more investment in the events industry, ahead of his UK Events Week seminar next week. The industry entrepreneur wants to highlight the lack of investment in the sector and will address the need to encourage new investors alongside two other industry entrepreneurs.

“Throughout my career my two main focuses have been innovation and customer service, its why the events sector has always been attractive,” commented Lion-Cachet.  “However, despite the massive innovations and opportunities for disruption everywhere within this industry, there is a disturbing lack of investment to give these ideas the support they deserve.”

As part of UK Events Week, Chad will be hosting a question and answers session with businesses and individuals who want a greater understanding on how to raise capital and then deliver returns. He will be joined by two event professionals both of which have successfully gained investment and delivered returns; Andrew Needham, Founder & CEO of HeadBox and Chetan Shah, Founder & CEO of micebook.

Andrew created HeadBox, an online marketplace for inspiring meeting, off-site and event spaces, and has just closed the company’s latest fundraise of £1.4 million, which was oversubscribed by 40 percent. HeadBox will use the latest funds to further accelerate its growth in the UK and to prepare its roll-out of the platform into other major cities around the world. Meanwhile Chetan has also just closed the latest round of funding for micebook, the definitive inspiration hub and supplier directory for global eventprofs.

“Every day I see brilliant ideas; event technology, event concepts, new venues and event management companies,” continues Chad. “They all need investment of some sort or another, but the specialist investment options are limited and very few have genuine experience within the events industry of accessing money.”

Chad’s session, ‘Bringing Ideas to Life: Gaining Investment in the Events Industry’ will take place on the morning of 2nd March 17, at Office Space in Town’s Monument campus, as part of UK Events Week. 

Ashfield Meetings & Events, the largest full service event management agency specialising in serving the healthcare sector, is making final preparations for its highly successful university placement scheme’s annual assessment centre.

The assessment centre, which will take place on 24 March at the company’s UK headquarters in Ashby De La Zouch, has already received applicants from a variety of academic institutions offering event management related degrees. This is the sixth year the agency has run the programme and it has been extended to include graphic design applicants  that are aligned to their creative event service offerings.

Since the launch of the scheme the company has assessed in the region of 50 students annually. The current scheme has five students placed in the UK office that have held vital roles in the business, travelled on-site to international events and participated in their award winning in-house event training courses. Each year the agency has several students return to full time positions after completing their studies.

Helen Capelin (Operational Excellence Director, and responsible for implementing and managing the undergraduate programme) said: “Our undergraduate programme has proven to be hugely successful. It is an unrivalled opportunity for the students to gain insights and understanding into the realities of event management whilst developing personally and professionally. By immersing the students in our agency and providing personalised development plans we create a mutually advantageous partnership with our agency benefitting from their hard work, dedication and different ways of thinking. We are looking for the students to demonstrate their passion, commitment and curiousity at the assessment centre which is has become one of our favourite days of the year.”

The assessment itself consists of individual presentations, group exercises, problem solving situations, a question and answer session with existing agency staff and IT tests. The successful undergraduates will be offered a year-long work placement as part of their degree course that will start in July. The closing date for applications is 09:00 on 13 March. For any students interested in applying they can contact Helen Capelin (Helen.Capelin@ashfieldhealthcare.com) for more information. 

Bethesda, MD – 22 February 2017 – Radius Travel today welcomes the United Kingdom’s largest independent MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) specialist, Inntel Ltd., to its global agency network. Leading Radius Travel’s new MICE strategy will be twenty-year travel industry veteran Henrietta Balint.

Whilst the majority of Radius’ 106 member agencies offer MICE services in addition to core transient business, Inntel is the first specialist agency to join the global TMC’s network, and marks a strategic bid to enhance the network’s MICE capabilities in key markets.

Inntel is the largest independent MICE agency in the UK with 30 years of knowledge and experience within the industry. Inntel provides its many clients with strategic MICE programmes with innovative meetings technology and experienced and talented staff.”   

Joining Radius as Director, Global MICE Sales, Henrietta brings a wealth of experience, having spent more than 15 years with American Express in commercial roles covering both MICE and transient travel sectors. A native Australian, Heni has lived and worked in Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America, and currently resides in the United States. 

Kieran Hartwell, Radius Senior Vice President, Global Sales & Services said, “Radius clients value the unique global travel solutions our local network delivers, and as they work to optimize their MICE programmes, they’re looking to us to deliver the same differentiated service. Bringing on Henrietta and Inntel Ltd. are key enablers to maximise the global opportunity for our clients.”

“We are delighted to be joining Radius,” said Douglas O’Neill, CEO for Inntel. “Over the last 30 years we have been delivering specialist MICE services through dedicated teams and innovative technology within the UK market so we are excited about the new opportunities this membership will offer.”  

Realise, the event industry’s first approved training provider for event apprenticeships, have urged the industry to ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to the apprenticeship levy, introduced by the government, that begins in May 2017. The company is also calling apprenticeships a once in a lifetime opportunity for the industry.

The apprenticeship levy will go live in May 2017, and will see a direct taxation on businesses with a payroll over £3m, which equates to 50-60 full time staff, and therefore effects many in the events industry, such as agencies, venues, hotels and supplier organisations. The levy is automatic, but employers can ‘draw down’ funds from it, for investment in the training of apprentices    

“The money will be taken from businesses regardless, so it’s incumbent on us as an industry to use apprenticeships to get this money back and then to spend it on the training and development of new staff,” commented David Preston, Founder of Realise. “Basically, we either use the money or lose the money for the training. It’s a one in a lifetime opportunity for the industry to invest in the next generation of young talent.”

Realise launched earlier this year and remains the first industry approved training provider for level three apprentices. The company will be addressing the industry at International Confex with a session titled ‘Introducing the new Event Assistant Apprenticeship’ taking place 2nd March.

The industry now has a government approved apprenticeship scheme and a programme that has been created for the industry, by the industry. Last month FIRST agency announced its hiring of the industry’s first event apprentice. 

 

After its successful launch in 2016, Meeting Design Institute is bringing the Future of Meetings concept back to The Meetings Show from 13-15 June 2017.

The initiative gives start-up businesses, with less than ten staff and less than three years’ experience in the meetings and events industry, a chance to showcase their products and services to buyers in a technology focused environment.

Maarten Vanneste, from Meeting Design Institute comments: “From the start, The Meetings Show has recognised the importance of design and technology in the meetings industry and has been keen on bringing innovative content to the show floor. Meeting Design Institute has partnered with the show on the education programme and initiating The Future of Meetings was a natural extension to our partnership. Those participating in the initiative get the chance to exhibit at a world-class exhibition to boost their profile – an opportunity smaller, start-up companies don’t usually get. And it gives event planners the chance to meet with organisations who are providing the latest technological solutions.”

There is also a competitive element to The Future of Meetings with hosted buyers and visitors able to vote for an overall winner at the end of the show. The 2016 winner was Event Eye whose CEO and Founder, Frederik Hoel commented: “The Meetings Show brings together a global network of meetings professionals and, with the help of Meeting Design Institute, we have been able to speak directly to them, expanding our target markets and working with more international clients.”

Steve Knight, Event Director of The Meetings Show, recognises the importance of giving start-up companies a platform to promote themselves. Commenting on the return of the initiative he said: “Technology is a huge part of the future of our industry. As the leading meetings show in the UK, it is important we recognise this and provide the opportunity for new companies to showcase their products and services. With the support of Meeting Design Institute, we are able to give them an opportunity to connect with their target markets. The Future of Meetings was a real success last year and we are delighted that it will be a part of the show again in 2017.”

Organised by Centaur Live (a division of Centaur Media Plc), The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, taking place 13-15 June, 2017 at Olympia, London.  Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

Applications for hosted buyers are now open. For more information visit www.themeetingsshow.com

Robinson College will launch its newly crafted, Cambridge inspired team-building service – The Graduate Challenge – on 23 February as it puts on a taster day for businesses to try the unique offering.

Inspired by the city’s University foundations, The Graduate Challenge offers businesses a day of subject-led activities that require teams to work together to successfully complete them. Participants can expect to brush up on engineering skills as well as channel their inner creative and explorer. The aim of the game is to pass all activities with flying colours and graduate with ‘honours’ at the end of the day.

The team-building service is available as a half or full-day package with the option to add an overnight stay or dinner in the College’s facilities, to create a truly immersive Cambridge University experience.

Rose McDonald, head of sales at Robinson College, said: “We understand the importance of team-building within businesses and are excited to launch our new service to help companies do just that. Unique to Cambridge, we’ve designed a team-building day that gives individuals a true University of Cambridge-style experience and offers businesses a fresh challenge.”

Robinson College has partnered with Off Limits Corporate Events to deliver the service; a full programme of broad-ranging activities has been developed to really stretch participants’ thinking and to encourage collaboration, better working practices and stronger, more cohesive team structures. The ultimate aim is to help businesses increase their productivity – creatively and commercially – and to help foster a greater sense of unity, loyalty and achievement amongst employees.

The launch of The Graduate Challenge takes place on Thursday 23 February, 2-5pm. 

DoubleTree by Hilton opens its first hotel in the home of time; Greenwich

GREENWICH, London and MCLEAN, Va. – 1st February 2017 – The Royal Borough of Greenwich welcomes one of Hilton’s (NYSE: HLT) 14 market-leading brands, DoubleTree by Hilton today. Located in the world’s Prime Meridian where royal legacy is combined with contemporary architecture, DoubleTree by Hilton London - Greenwich paves the way as the first Hilton-branded property in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Guests can delve into the culture of Greenwich town, as the award winning 1940’s landmark building is ideally located just steps from the historic World Heritage Sites of the original Royal Residence, Royal Observatory and the famous Cutty Sark. Travellers can soak up the picturesque panoramic views of the River Thames, and the City of London’s skyline from London’s oldest Royal Park, Greenwich Park. DoubleTree by Hilton London - Greenwich also enjoys close proximity to Central London, with the city’s top attractions just a short train ride away.

“The Royal Borough of Greenwich is a unique location that offers guests the option of exploring the town’s notable attractions, as well as being an excellent base to head into the bustling city centre of London,” said Dianna Vaughan, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “We are excited to be opening the newest addition to Hilton’s growing portfolio of DoubleTree by Hilton, and providing guests with a memorable stay, beginning with our signature warm chocolate-chip cookie upon arrival.”

The exquisitely designed Oasis O1 restaurant offers Greenwich a new neighbourhood onsite eatery. The restaurant offers a relaxed and unique setting to dine day or night, and offers international cuisine and locally sourced ingredients which change seasonally. After indulging in the restaurant’s inviting menu, guests can cosy up at the onsite O1 Bar, with some of the best wines, cocktails and Champagnes in the area.

DoubleTree by Hilton London Greenwich also boasts two meeting rooms capable of hosting up to 70 people. Including a pre function area with a private bar, DoubleTree by Hilton London Greenwich can provide great space for corporate events and social gatherings. Guests can also refresh with 24-hour access to the fitness centre, which features top of the range precor equipment.

“We look forward to welcoming guests and providing the warm and caring DoubleTree service throughout their stay,” said Rory O’Leary, general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton London - Greenwich. “We are certain the hotel is going to meet the needs of all travellers, whether a music fan heading to a concert at the nearby O2 Arena or in town for an exhibit at the ExCel, we are the perfect fit.”  

Beyond the iconic warm DoubleTree Cookie welcome, the hotel provides guests with a full complement of services and DoubleTree by Hilton brand amenities, including the Wake Up DoubleTree Breakfast.

DoubleTree by Hilton London - Greenwich is part of Hilton HHonors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton's 14 distinct hotel brands. Hilton HHonors members who book directly with Hilton save time and money and gain instant access to the benefits they care about most, such as an exclusive member discount, free Wi-Fi, the ability to earn and redeem Points for free nights, as well as access to digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (in select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors mobile app.

DoubleTree by Hilton London Greenwich is located Catherine Grove, Greenwich, London, SE10 8BB, United Kingdom

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