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09/2017

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This year’s HBAA pack of wolves was certainly supported by some great HBAA member companies both agent and venue.   Conference Care supported with a 3 strong team, along with Prestige Reservations, SilverDoor, Off-Limits, Warwick Conferences, Inntel and The Principal Hotel Group, it was certainly a powerful pack!

Louisa Watson, HBAA Venue Chair and Marketing Director for Wyboston Lakes says, “I am totally overwhelmed at the support from our agent and venue members, they have been brilliant in both competing in the event and donating.  Beyond Food focuses on helping the most lost and vulnerable of our society and the funds raised will really help make a difference.”

This year’s Wolf Run took place in Warwickshire on Sunday 3rd September, a wild running race with a unique combination of three kinds of off-road running. Voted the best OCR in the UK, it’s a hard-core 10k run across raw natural terrain, including open ground, woodland, lakes & thick mud. Designed to test mental & physical strength, skill and stamina, the HBAA pack ran, jumped, climbed, waded and crawled through a course designed to challenge on every level.

Chris Peacock, Director at Conference Care recalls, “I had a bit of an argument with a hay bale (on the 2nd obstacle!), lost my footing and twisted my knee, but heroically carried on!  The HBAA Wolfpack was a great help all the way– going over stuff, under stuff, through stuff and very often right in the stuff, and we managed to keep the group together the whole way right to the end.

The combined total raised for their muddy efforts, is just over £3000, this will be money well spent and much appreciated by Beyond Food and Brigade.

The mission at Beyond Food is to inspire people who are at risk of, or have experienced, homelessness to gain meaningful employment. Simon Boyle, and his team work tirelessly to better the lives of our young homeless people. Giving them respect, hope, skills, job security, and a future. Through his charity Beyond Food, he works with the most vulnerable of individuals many with challenges way beyond being homeless.

The team was joined by Leon Seraphin, Chef Trainer from Beyond Food.  He said of the event “Amazing team work everybody looked out for each other and supported each other.”

Alison Makosz, Group Head of Partner Relationships at Silverdoor also competed in the 2016 race and says “The course had changed this year which made it all the more exciting. The slide was a great opportunity to get clean for all of 30 seconds. It wasn't tough - it is there for pure fun!   The most challenging part is the open lake swim. Fatigue has started to set in and you are tired, cold and hungry. The weight of your clothes and shoes make you wonder if you can make it across. But the sense of achievement for me when I did it just amazing.”

Makosz concludes “The highlight - we started as a team and we finished as a team. Everyone helped everyone. Teamwork at it's best and it was all for a truly worthy cause that we all felt passionate about.  A great achievement all round.”

HBAA would like to thank all those that donated and supported this year’s Wolf Run event; your generosity will make a big difference to the lives of our most vulnerable.

View the full gallery here.

Spending on meetings and delegate numbers are both growing strongly year on year in 2017, according the new HBAA Meetings Barometer.

The first HBAA Meetings Barometer, developed in partnership with The MeetingsBenchmark Ltd, shows that average spend per meeting in the UK has risen from £1624 in the first six months of 2016 to £2133 in the same period this year, an increase of 31 per cent.

Total spending on meetings with HBAA members in that period was £70.6m compared with £64.8m last year, an increase of 9 per cent. In the same period, average spend per delegate increased by 29 per cent, from £72.87 to £93.83.

Another factor that is driving up the average spend per meeting is the growing number of delegates. The average meeting size this year to the end of June was up 12 per cent to 55 compared with 49 a year ago. Yet the average Daily Delegate Rate has decreased very slightly, from £33.29 to £32.94.

It is also interesting to see that the average lead time for meetings is increasing, often an indication of growing confidence in planning.  It has increased from an average of 66 days last year to 79 days this year while average conversion time has increased from 16.8 days in early 2016 to 17.5 days in the first half of this year.

Where the meetings business was placed around the country in the first half of this year is fascinating. While London, not surprisingly, was the most popular place capturing £24.6m of meetings business, Birmingham was not far behind with £23.6m. Glasgow was third with £7.7m closely followed by Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester.

Louise Goalen, HBAA Chair said; “Our first Meetings Barometer has certainly produced some fascinating and often encouraging revelations.  This gives a real-time snapshot of trends, and is so valuable to all in the industry when forecasting, budgeting or responding to RFPs.”          

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is celebrating British Food Fortnight with a traditional British menu showcasing the best in local, seasonal produce. Continuing the Hotel’s ongoing commitment to supporting local suppliers, the menu features a selection of dishes using ingredients from across East Anglia. The British Food Celebration menu will be available in the Hotel’s award-winning restaurant, Squires, from 8 – 10 September.

British Food Fortnight is the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink. Established in 2002, British Food Fortnight encourages everyone working in food and drink to come together and promote the benefits of buying and eating British produce.

Sean Melville, Executive Head Chef at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, commented on the celebration: “The principles behind British Food Fortnight align perfectly with Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s own ethos and values. The kitchen team is committed to sourcing the best local produce to create flavourful dishes for our menus and the British Food Celebration menu is no different. A variety of ingredients from across the region are showcased on the menu, including goats’ cheese produced in Suffolk, Norfolk-grown beetroot and East Coast haddock.”

Also making an appearance on the menu is: Newmarket toad in the hole; roast Suffolk pork loin with apple compote; and Chapel & Swan oak smoked salmon.

You can preview the full British Food Celebration menu online here. For more information or to book a table call 01638 663175.

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