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04/2017

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Two of Glasgow and Edinburgh’s top hotels have been recognised at this year’s Scottish Hotel Awards.

In Edinburgh, the newly-refurbished Principal Edinburgh took the evening’s top prize – Scottish Hotel of the Year – as well as City Hotel of the Year.

It was also awarded a prestigious Gold Laurel Award as a result of its recent multi-million pound refurbishment and rebrand.

The General Manager of five-star Blythswood Square, Murray Thomson, scooped Large Hotel Manager of the Year while the Glasgow hotel’s Stuart Chapman was named Hotel Restaurant Manager of the Year.

Andreas Maszczyk, General Manager said: “It is an honour to win three awards at such a prestigious ceremony. Being named Scottish Hotel of the Year and City Hotel of the Year is testament to the hard work of the hotel team. We believe in offering the best experience for guests visiting Edinburgh, and both awards are a true reflection of this.

“The Gold Laurel was just the icing on the cake, and recognises the sheer scale of investment that has gone into the hotel over the past year. I’m exceptionally proud to look after such an iconic hotel and to lead such a wonderful team.”

Murray Thomson, general manager of Glasgow’s Blythswood Square, said: “Winning two titles at the Scottish Hotel Awards is a real highlight. I’m honoured to be considered one of the country’s top general managers, but I firmly believe that a manager’s success is as much a reflection of their team – and that is certainly the case for Blythswood Square.

“Stuart’s award is very well-deserved – he’s a top-notch restaurant manager and ensures our guests get the best possible experience when they dine with us.

“The hospitality sector in Glasgow is so vibrant that this is the best time to be working in the industry.”

The Principal Edinburgh, formerly, The George Hotel is one of Edinburgh’s oldest and most iconic hotels. In 2016, the hotel was refurbished from head to toe, courtesy of a multimillion-pound investment by owners Starwood Capital Group.

Following the opening of brand new restaurant The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen and coffee shop, Burr & Co., the main hotel has also undergone its own transformation.

As well as the lobby and library, the stunning King’s Hall – which plays host to major functions and many city centre weddings – has been fully refurbished to showcase many of its original period features.

Blythswood Square is one of the city’s most exclusive five-star spa hotels with 100 stylish guest rooms including a number of suites and a spectacular penthouse.

The elegant Salon, rated ‘one of the world’s best bars’ by Class Magazine, offers beautiful garden views along with delicious food, fizz, cocktails and one of the city’s best afternoon teas.

Renowned for its champagne collection, The Salon offers some of the world’s most loved champagne brands such as Moët & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Ruinart and Cristal.

Capita plc today announces the acquisition of York-based NYS Corporate Limited. The acquisition will bring expertise and scale to Capita’s existing operations in the business travel, meetings and events market.

NYS Corporate will further strengthen Capita Travel and Events’ service offering across events, meetings and travel. Bringing a specialist focus in meetings and events, innovative meetings technology and a wealth of experience, NYS Corporate will support Capita Travel and Events combining leading edge technology with their renowned personalised, high quality service to a broad range of customers.

James Parkhouse, chief executive officer of Capita’s travel and events business said: "The acquisition of NYS Corporate will add significant value to our customers and partners, further enabling us to help make their business events, meetings and travel smarter though the application of quantitative and qualitative insight.

“NYS Corporate has built a great reputation for innovative technology, aligned to a strong service ethos and deep knowledge in the meetings industry. Our combined expertise enhances our existing capabilities and positions us strongly in the UK’s events, meetings and business travel sector”.

NYS Corporate, which employs 62 employees, will retain its market identity, operating with the same staff and no change in name, creating two powerful brands appealing to very specific audiences. Trevor Elswood, chief commercial officer of Capita’s travel and events business will be the managing director of NYS Corporate within Capita.

Together, the two companies will have over £560m in managed spend, and employ nearly 1,000 people in seven UK locations. 

Warwick Conferences, nestled within 700 acres of rural countryside on the University of Warwick campus, is celebrating after being awarded Business Tourism Provider of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2017.

Warwick Conferences beat off stiff competition from Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa in County Durham and London’s The Crystal to secure the prestigious accolade.

Working collaboratively with the industry, VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence celebrate the best in English tourism. Winners were revealed at the awards ceremony on Monday 24 April at the Hilton Waldorf, London.

Rachael Bartlett, Head of Sales and Marketing at Warwick Conferences, said: “We are delighted to have won Business Tourism Provider of the Year at VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence 2017. We attract a number of businesses to the region each year who host their conference and training events with us and we’ve worked hard to build and maintain a reputation for excellence in business practice and high levels of service. Our staff play a huge part in this and take considerable pride in demonstrating our core values of professionalism, commitment to service and value.”

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “This year’s awards were fiercely contested and we had some terrific applications, showcasing not only the excellence on offer within English tourism but also the outstanding innovation and the sheer diversity of experiences throughout the country.”

Situated on the outskirts of Coventry, 3 miles from the city centre, Warwick Conferences offers over 300 flexible meeting spaces across its five top-quality venues – The Slate, Scarman, Radcliffe, Arden and Conference Park, all of which provide an ideal environment to learn, inspire and achieve.

The purpose-built venues welcome over 177,000 delegates per year and offer a focussed learning environment free of any distractions and equipped with everything necessary for a successful conference, training session, meeting or workshop. 

The events and catering team at one of the UK’s top sporting venues has been shortlisted for a record seven key awards.

The Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events staff at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium is in the running in a series of categories at the Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2017.

The awards celebrate the hard work and dedication that make stadia events and hospitality run seamlessly and the winners will be announced at a ceremony at Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield ground on Thursday 1 June.

St James’ Park will take on sporting stadia from across the UK when it competes in the prestigious Overall Matchday Hospitality category.

The Sodexo PV&E team has also been nominated for the Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award,

the Operations Team of the Year and Directors’ Choice awards and the Best Sales or Marketing Initiative Award category.

The team will then go up against a shortlist of other nominees in the hope of securing the Matchday Hospitality Awards in the large stadium category and the Media Choice Award – voted for by visiting regional and national media.

 “Our team at St James’ Park has had a superb year and I am delighted we have been nominated in so many categories at these awards, which really are highly regarded within our industry,” said Frankie Angus, general manager, at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events.

“I wish all nominees in each category the best of luck.”

 

The events and catering team at one of the UK’s top sporting venues is in the running for a number of top awards.

Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, which manages the entire catering contract at the Amex Stadium, for Brighton & Hove Albion FC, has been shortlisted in six categories at The Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2017.

The awards are designed to recognise the efforts and dedication of those working in matchday, catering and hospitality, along with conference and events at every football and rugby stadium across the UK.

And the winners will be announced at a Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield ground on Thursday 1 June.

The Amex Stadium team has been shortlisted for Matchday Hospitality for a Medium Stadium and Overall Matchday Hospitality, along with the Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award 

Other nominations include the Media Choice Award, voted for by visiting national and regional media and the Directors Choice category, while retail and beverage manager Sonny Pettett has been nominated for the Shining Star award.

A new category for 2017, the Shining Star Award – sponsored by Sodexo Sports & Leisure – recognises individuals who are outstanding in their role.

 “These nominations follow a memorable season for everyone connected to the club, with Premier League football now secured for the first time in the club’s history,” said Tony Crosbie, General Manager for Sodexo at the Amex Stadium Brighton.

“Our catering and events team is dedicated to delivering excellent service across the board and these nominations reflect that.”

For further information contact the Conference and Events team at the Amex Stadium on 01273 878272 or at events@bhafc.co.uk. More details about The Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2016, sponsored by Heineken can be found at - www.stadiumexperience.com/awards/2016 .   

Rockliffe Hall can now reveal more details about the latest investment at the luxury five star resort.

Earlier this year the award-winning hotel in Hurworth, near Darlington, County Durham, announced plans to develop one and a half acres of land adjacent to the Old Hall into a multi-functional parkland for guests.

Work is now well underway on the £750,000 development, which will be called Mischmasch – inspired by a periodical written and illustrated by Lewis Carroll for his family. It’s due to open at the end of Summer 2017.

Lewis Carroll, the author of the much-loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, spent some of his childhood in nearby Croft, while his father was Rector of Croft Church and Archdeacon of Richmond from 1843 to 1868. Historians think Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat and his famous smile were inspired by a carving in Croft Church.

Mischmasch will have a strong Lewis Carroll theme, introducing a wide range of activities for younger visitors to Rockliffe Hall in its “Wonderland of Curiosities”. These will include an Alice in Wonderland Nature Trail and Sculptures (some of which will be well hidden for children to find), a large Eco Adventure Playground including climbing frames and slides, Interactive Water Fountains and a Maze. A main feature of Mischmasch will be six Arctic Pods, nestled in the woodland, featuring different indoor experiences including interactive and electronic games and the start of a journey to “Find the Cheshire Cat”.

The new development will also feature a stunning glasshouse, which will become the venue for pop-up events, dining, corporate events, children’s tea parties and an additional location for weddings. Adjacent to this will be a walled kitchen garden where chefs from Rockliffe’s three acclaimed restaurants will grow their own produce to use in their dishes. For the fitness fanatics, there will be two artificial tennis courts. A wildflower nature trail will meander around the outskirts of the new development where visitors can stroll, play and enjoy nature.

Warwick Brindle, Chairman of Rockliffe Hall Limited said: “This is a significant investment for Rockliffe Hall as we continue to strive to maintain our position as the premier hotel, spa and golf resort in the UK. We already offer so much for our guests but want to further enhance what’s available to our younger ones while also opening up opportunities to hold functions and events in a new setting. Mischmasch will offer children and parents a unique interactive experience whilst improving the facilities for all our guests whether enjoying a game of tennis, indoor activities in the pods, and events in the magnificent glasshouse.

“In addition, Rockliffe Hall is set in the most beautiful grounds and we want to take advantage of this by offering our guests more of an outdoor experience, alongside fishing the Tees, handling Birds of Prey, or outdoor concerts.  There will be something for everyone when Mischmasch opens later this year.”

Rockliffe Hall has engaged the services of many local companies to help create the new development, including Wharton Construction, Darlington; Baker Mallet (Quantity Surveying and Project Management), Stockton; Billing Hurst George (Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers), Stockton; Xsite Architecture, Newcastle.

The Mischmasch development is the latest in a string of large investments into the award-winning resort, to ensure it remains one of the best in the country. The Orangery restaurant underwent refurbishment at the beginning of the year, while other parts of the hotel will also see further improvements in the coming months, and the £1 million Spa Garden was launched at the end of 2015.

www.rockliffehall.com – 01325 729999.

 

Focus Hotel Management’s Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre hotel has received an ‘outstanding’ grade after scoring a stunning 99.26% in a recent Hilton company inspection.

This excellent result for the 186-keys hotel in the heart of Bristol makes it one of the top-rated Hilton branded hotels in the entire EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

The hotel’s General Manager Imran Ali says: “The building is great and the excellent location in a vibrant city is there, but that’s bricks and mortar. This score is really down to the excellent guest-focussed team who work here.”

The team of nearly 50 members at Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre had to show effective responses to guest queries over a period of a year as well as maintaining pristine front and back of house cleanliness, all while maintaining a high level of room occupancy.

“We’ve got a very high level of repeat clientele, many of whom started as business clients and now, they bring their families along, which I think is the best advertisement for our hotel,” says Imran.

“We have some luck too, in being in such a great city with a really nice vibe. I love the city myself and would recommend it to anyone!”

Peter Cashman, Chief Executive for hospitality management specialist Focus Hotel Management, adds: “This is a superb result, and a credit to everyone who works at Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre.

“It reflects expertise across many key areas – guest services, cleanliness and even finances – and shows that this excellent hotel gets all the basics exactly right, which demonstrates professionalism across the board by the staff and is of course great news for our guests.”

The stylish Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre is a contemporary and stylish hotel in a former office building on Bond Street in Bristol, a fantastic city-centre location close to both business and leisure areas of the lively, historic city.

The air-conditioned rooms are equipped with everything needed for a relaxed, productive stay including free Wifi, a large desk with ergonomic chair, a comfortable Hampton bed and a 32” flat screen TV.

There is easy access from the hotel to the M32 and many regional motorways.

Focus Hotels Management is a leading independent hospitality company with a UK portfolio of 16 hotels, with more than 1,500 bedrooms.

As well as operating independent hotels, including Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa and Oxford Witney Hotel, the company also operates hotels under franchise agreements with Hilton, Accor and IHG.

For more information about Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre, call 0117 944 6888 or visit http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hampton-by-hilton-bristol-city-centre-BRSBCHX/index.html

The event and catering team at one of the UK’s most prestigious football stadia has been nominated for a clutch of five key awards.

The Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events staff at Goodison Park – home to Everton Football Club - is in the running in a series of categories for the Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2017.

The awards celebrate the hard work and dedication that make stadia events and hospitality run seamlessly and the winner will be announced at Anfield – home of Everton’s footballing rival Liverpool FC - on Thursday 1st June.

Goodison Park will take on sporting venues from across the UK when it competes to win the prestigious Overall Matchday Hospitality category and it is also hoping for success in the Media Choice Award, voted for by journalists and broadcasters.

The Sodexo PV&E team has also been nominated for the Chef Team of the Year and Directors’ Choice awards and will go up against other nominees for the Matchday Hospitality Awards in the medium stadium category.

 “These awards are very highly regarded within our industry and I am delighted that our team at Goodison Park has been nominated in so many categories,” said Natasha Carr, UK Venue & Events marketing manager, at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events.

“It promises to be a fantastic evening and I wish all the nominees in each category the very best of luck.”

For further information about Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events venues, call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Warwick Conferences has announced that The University of Warwick’s new £19m teaching and learning building The Oculus, which was officially opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, is now open for academic and conference events.

The Oculus was developed as part of the University of Warwick’s commitment to enhancing the student experience by creating its first stand-alone dedicated teaching facility. It has been designed to be an integral part of university life and landscape, as well as supporting the application of advancing technologies enabling world-class academic activity. The name of the building reflects these objectives and symbolises the next phase of the University’s built form. It highlights the ‘vision’ for the future of teaching and learning at Warwick as an interactive, empowering and transformative experience.

The Oculus, which is now open and in full use by the University’s community, will also be available outside of term time and will have a particular focus on hosting academic conferences, training sessions, meetings and workshops, as well as other non-academic events.

The new building on the central campus offers two large state-of-the-art lecture theatres with capacity for 500 and 250 delegates respectively, 12 flexible teaching spaces, innovative social learning and networking spaces, as well as a café area.

With 500 seats, one of the lecture theatres is the largest on campus and features a spectacular timber roof and excellent charging point facilities. Advanced audio technology has also been installed in the space to enhance the meeting experience. High tech features run throughout The Oculus – in the central atrium there is a four-screen video wall, which can display art and timetables, as well as live-streams of events in the main lecture theatres. Some of the ground floor teaching rooms provide users with fantastic views over the landscaped area outside of the building. 

Rachael Bartlett, Head of Sales and Marketing at Warwick Conferences, says: “The Oculus is not only a fantastic addition to the University of Warwick campus, from which students will greatly benefit, but it is also a great space that will further enhance our offering to academic users and external event holders.  Available outside of term time, the building features a range of spaces that can accommodate anything from a high-tech conference for 500, to training sessions and smaller meetings in the informal social learning and networking spaces.

Across its five top-quality venues, Warwick Conferences welcomes over 177,000 delegates per year and 100% of the net income is reinvested into the university to continue to provide world class teaching and research. 

Ian Quartermaine from Dezika and Louise Goalen, 2017 Chair of the HBAA are very pleased to announce that they are now working together on the issue of commission in the MICE industry. 

This often-frustrating process is currently one of the hot button topics in the events world. With hotel chains, venues and other providers who pay commission finding the process too complex and resource heavy, many hotels and venues are looking for a way to simplify the process and enable both suppliers and agents to be able to cost effectively collect, reconcile and report commissions. With many suppliers now looking at streamlining their systems, and with many smaller agencies in danger of not receiving commissions, it is vital that we simplify the process, as well as communicate as a  group to ensure that our voices are heard.

This cooperation will give HBAA members access to the Dezika automated commission collection process for all of their meetings and events at a reduced fee. 

Ms. Goalen, the Chair of the HBAA said, “We are really pleased to be working with Dezika.  Commission has always been one of the cornerstones of the HBAA Code of Conduct.”

Dezika CEO, Ian Quartermaine, has expressed his enthusiasm for working with the HBAA to ensure that their members can deal with commission collection in a smoother manner, thus freeing them up to bring in new business.

Rachelle Valladares, Regional Director Europe for Dezika, will be moderating a panel discussion on commission at the Meetings Show in London in June on behalf of the HBAA. 

For further information –

Rachellejv@dezika.com

juliet.price@hbaa.org.uk

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