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10/2017

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As one of London’s top event venue’s, 30 Euston Square has continued its investment in cutting edge technology with the creation of an immersive virtual reality tour featuring genuine event footage.

“Site visits are the most important part of the sales process, however there are times when a client cannot attend in person or certain parts of the venue are in use when they do so.  Our interactive and immersive virtual reality tour gives them a chance to experience all we have to offer from afar,” comments Stuart Gavin, Sales and Marketing Manager, 30 Euston Square.  “It allows potential clients to see the venue in action, walk amongst other guests and truly appreciate what 30 Euston Square actually feels like during different types of event.” 

The virtual reality tour takes 30 Euston Square’s ability to showcase its offering to the next level, going beyond the standard virtual tour.  Using the venue’s core messages as a story board, the video takes event professionals on a journey that includes meetings and conferences, as well as Summer and Christmas parties.

Stuart adds: “Throughout the virtual reality video we wanted to demonstrate how our Meetings Rooms, State Rooms and Rooftop Terrace, as well as our Auditorium and Exhibition Space can be used for varying event styles.  In today’s market good photography and a standard virtual tour is no longer enough. We knew we needed to provide event professionals with an experience both on and off site, enabling them to visualise an event at 30 Euston Square.”

The video has also been shot in a cinematic style, providing 30 Euston Square with a new hero video for their website as well as shorter clips and bloopers to use across their other digital channels.   

Stuart concludes: “We’re extremely pleased with how the two videos have worked out. We previewed the virtual reality video at SquareMeal Venue and Events Live 2017 and received very positive feedback so we’re excited to introduce this to the market. Clients’ best understand a venue by physically being there and we are delighted to be the first event venue in the Searcys collection to make the most of such new and exciting technology.”

30 Euston Square, home of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), is a conference, meetings and events venue in the heart of London. Conveniently situated next to a major transport hub, 30 Euston Square is an ideal venue for both domestic and international delegates travelling to London for business.

For more information on holding an event please call 020 8453 4600 or email 30eustonsquare@searcys.co.uk

Background
The HBAA Annual Forum is a one day event attended by over 260 delegates. As a well established forum, it brings professionals together from across the events and hospitality industry to discuss the most pertinent and current topics, and to exchange ideas, learn from each other and to support the development of people.

The format for the event included key note speakers, interviews with industry leaders, panel discussions and debates incorporating audience polling, plus campfire sessions and leadership workshops.

Challenge
Apps provided for previous events by other suppliers had failed to attain high levels of adoption due to insufficient training and guidance on how to use them in the most effective way. Our brief was to facilitate meaningful engagement for delegates, provide relevant information and knowledge to the event team, ensuring sufficient training and guidance was given to all stakeholders to maximise adoption.

Further to this, as a newly condensed one-day event, the event organisers needed to streamline the organisation of individual delegates’ agendas, to ensure they could move seamlessly from session to session throughout the day.

Crystal Interactive, the UK’s largest full-service event technology company, has relaunched its brand and website, unveiling a new look, following its acquisition of the UK arm of Lumi earlier this year. 

The relaunch also follows a move to new offices in Godalming, Surrey last week, where the company’s expanding teams from London and Hampshire have been brought together into one headquarters.

Chris Elmitt, Crystal Interactive’s Managing Director explains, “We have been on an exciting journey over the last few months to define the values of our newly merged organisation and part of this has been to review how we present ourselves to the outside world.  True to our nature, this has been a very collaborative exercise, giving all staff a voice in the shape and direction of our business. 

As we continue to grow the scale and range of our products and services and strengthen our onsite resource teams, our new brand and website will elevate our position as the leading audience engagement specialist in the UK.”
To celebrate the new brand and website launch Crystal Interactive is running an enticing autumn promotion.  The company is offering 20 free Wi-Fi audits (to the value of £400 each) to clients considering using Crystal’s technology and services at their next event.  For full details of the offer please click here.

You can visit the new website here www.crystalinteractive.net

QHotels has been awarded a top industry accolade in the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards, scooping gold in the Emerging Talent Initiative category.

The group, whose 26 four-star hotels across the UK are managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels (RBH), picked up the coveted award for its impressive apprenticeship scheme and its efforts engaging with schools, colleges and universities across the UK and Europe to drive young talent into the business.

RBH – the UK’s leading independent hotel management company – which has recently assumed management of the QHotels portfolio, was shortlisted in the Employer Branding Campaign and Learning and Development categories.

The awards are organised by hospitality recruitment specialists Caterer.com and celebrate the very best programmes in hospitality recruitment, retention and development.  The winners were announced at a glittering ceremony at Park Plaza Westminster, London.

QHotels was recognised for its 'Get into Q' apprenticeship programme, which launched in 2016 and has recruited 138 apprentices to date across a range of specialist areas, such as operational management, maintenance, accounts, food and beverage and spa.

In addition, QHotels' Professional Hospitality Operations Management programme – awarded by the University College Birmingham – is the first qualification of its type to be provided by a UK hotel group.

The group has also undertaken over 400 school, college and international work experience placements in the past year, with 80 young people securing employment at QHotels following their placements.

Lisa Redding, Group Resourcing Manager at QHotels, said: “Being recognised in this way is testament to the work we’ve done to bring talented young people into our business. 

“Our objective is to continuously improve training and development opportunities across the group, which is why our ‘Get into Q’ apprenticeship programme is designed to introduce young people to sustainable employment in hospitality and promote the industry as a great place to work.”

Neil Pattison, Sales Director for Caterer.com said: “The landscape of the hospitality industry changes each year and recruiting and retaining the best talent remains a challenge. Our amazing winners demonstrated determination, ingenuity and invention, not only in finding new ways to recruit, but also in developing skills and very importantly, adapting to an ever-changing workforce.”

 

A SUSSEX chef has risen above hundreds of his peers across the UK and Ireland to scoop a top honour.

Hrvoje Loncoravic, head chef at the American Express Community Stadium – home to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club - has been voted Best in Class at the Sodexo 2017 Salon Culinaire.

Held annually by Sodexo, Salon Culinaire sees 700 chefs compete head to head in a range of live and static cooking contests.

A Sodexo Chef of the Year finalist earlier this year, the Salon was Hrvoje’s 17th national and international competition and it was his skill in the Sodexo Fish Challenge that led him to victory.

In order to test each candidate’s ability to respond quickly and innovatively, they were given just 10 minutes to decide how to cook a selected fish and Hrvoje’s treatment of a medium-sized sea bass, flavoured with fennel, earned top marks from a panel of judges.

Croatian-born Hrvoje, who represented the UK in the prestigious Escoffier Challenge 2008, finishing third against 13 countries, said his experience and training played a key role in his success.

Previously executive head chef for former Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne’s hotel chain in Hastings, he also worked for Elite Hotels, at The Grand, Eastbourne, as senior sous chef, for six years and spent 16 months as executive head chef at Ashdown Park, East Sussex.

“When the clock is ticking and you have just a few minutes to make a decision, all your experience comes in to play,” he said.

“I have a classical training and that stood me in good stead – fennel and fish are a perfect pairing and I’m just glad I kept a steady hand and was able to cook the dish to the judges’ satisfaction. It was an amazing experience.”

Tony Crosbie, general manager for Sodexo Prestige Venue & Events at the stadium, said the award is well deserved and also paid tribute to Hrvoje’s commitment to mentoring the next generation of chefs.

“Hrvoje is an avid competitor. He wants to win and needs to win,” he said.

“He is also a great developer of young chef talent and coached our former kitchen porter, Taylor Turner, to a best in class in the Pasta Dish Live competition at the same event. Taylor is now a commis chef.”

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.

 

Stewart Middleton is looking forward to helping shape a new era at Focus Hotels Management after being appointed Finance Director at the leading hospitality company.

Stewart, 47, took up the role in July and has a wealth of experience in hospitality finance, previously working for the Principal Hotel Company (formerly the Principal Hayley Group), De Vere Hotels and The Doyle Collection (previously known as Jurys Doyle Hotels).

“It’s a fantastic challenge,” he says. “The company has so much potential in regard to what it’s already delivered, and I enjoy playing a part in influencing the decision-making process. I’m looking forward to contributing to the growth of Focus Hotels Management in what is a challenging global financial climate.

“I came here looking for a change after working mainly within a very large organisational structure at companies such as Principal Hayley. In my new position I am able to get more involved in the overall operation and that was something that very much appealed to me.

“Coming from a very structured, controlled background gives me the opportunity to incorporate some of that into a smaller company, developing our accounting and ensuring accountability for all its particular functions. I strongly believe that accounting can add value to the business and impact positively on the organisation itself.”

“These are challenging times,” he adds. “Inward investment into the UK is facing its uncertainties in regard to Brexit, for example, but our focus for now is to remain operating within a UK environment and to continue looking for new development opportunities going forward.”

Focus Hotels Management is a leading independent hospitality company with a UK portfolio of 16 operationally-managed or under-development hotels with more than 1,500 bedrooms.

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

THE catering and events team at one of the UK’s leading football stadiums has beaten off stiff competition from across the country to host one of the hospitality industry’s most prestigious events.

The American Express Community Stadium – home to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club – and the Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events team have been chosen to host the 2018 Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards.

Held annually to recognise the UK’s best football and rugby stadiums, the awards attract entries from scores of sports venues across the country.

This year, the Amex was among the big winners on the night, as the team took gold in the Media Choice category as Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events swept the board, taking eight accolades in total.

Paul Barber, Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive, is looking forward to welcoming the cream of the hospitality industry to the venue.

“We are absolutely delighted to host such a prestigious awards ceremony here at our stadium,” he said. “A lot of work has been carried out at our stadium over the summer to improve our already fantastic facilities in time for our first Premier League season.

“This event represents another great opportunity to showcase the tremendous work that our project team has undertaken. A lot of credit also goes to our catering partner, Sodexo, who managed to beat stiff competition to host the event, and our working relationship remains as strong as ever.

“Historically, our club has performed very well at the awards too, and hopefully we will be able to continue this success at the 2018 ceremony.”

Tony Crosbie, general manager for Sodexo Prestige Venue & Events at the stadium, said the whole team is delighted to have been chosen to host this year’s ceremony.

“The Stadium Events and Hospitality awards are very much regarded as the Oscars of our industry, so it is a real honour for everyone at the American Express Community Stadium to be chosen to host such a major event,” he said.

“It will give us the opportunity to showcase everything we have to offer, and give the industry’s most important and influential figures the chance to see what we do, how we host big events and give them a taste of why we are leaders in our field.”

“Sodexo has won a large number of Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards in the past, and we will certainly be hoping we can win some more in 2018 – and what better way than to do it in one of our own venues?”

Around 400 guests – all big hitters in the world of hospitality and events – will enjoy a four course dinner, awards ceremony, a live band and DJ at the event, which will be held on 31 May 2018.

“Every year I am surprised with the commitment shown from all our members to bring stadiums to their fullest potential so they can match the high expectations of the ever-changing customers and their requirements,” added Collette Salmon, voluntary chair of Stadium Experience, which organises the awards.

“I am looking forward to celebrating the amazing hard work that goes on behind the scenes in Brighton in 2018.”

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.

Lime Venue Portfolio is encouraging late Christmas Party bookers to get the best value for money this season. Recent research on the Christmas party market has shown event planners, with flexibility on dates, make the most of last minute deals, and LVP is keen the industry makes the most of this saving by putting on the very best events.

The announcement is timely with the beginning of October historically seen as a peak time for late bookings on Christmas Parties.

“Over the years, we’ve seen businesses really understand the motivational and incentivising powers of a Christmas Party,” commented Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. “We’ve seen a shift in the emphasis from something that the company has to do, to something the company wants to actively invest in. This means the quality of the product, and the expectations, has gone up.”

According to the Venue Search London, Christmas Party Survey, the industry is seeing a split in booking times for Christmas Parties. “When it comes to the larger high production events, the client is usually keen to get the best dates in the best venues, so will naturally book pre-summer,” commented Rosalind Shelley, MD of free venue finding service, Venue Search London. “However, for those organisers with smaller events and flexibility over dates, there is opportunity to get good late deals in the Autumn.”

Lime Venue Portfolio is encouraging businesses who get late deals to make their investment count and get the best ROI by putting more production into the event. “From our point of view, its important the organiser gets the best value, and if they can save money, it gives them the opportunity to put on an event better event,” continues Jo. “We’d advocate putting the spend into a better venue, amazing food and potentially working with a specialist organiser to make the experience really memorable.”

Venue Search London also advocate the benefit of working with a boutique agency, to make the most of budgets and save money, “Yes, it is a little more expensive, but a good agency will be able to create a better production, save money by working seamlessly with quality suppliers, and getter a better ROI on the experience,” concludes Rosalind.

Selina Donald, CEO of The Bulb, an event production agency often asked to add more creativity into events, agrees with the sentiment, she commented: “The world of business really understands Christmas Parties now, they see the influence the event has on work force, customers and stakeholders, and they want to invest in getting as much bang for their buck as possible. For me that’s about making it memorable, and using the best people, be it an outside agency, quality suppliers and creatives, or a specialist venue.”

The Venue Search London, London Christmas Party Survey was launched in the spring 2017.

Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa in Hinckley, Leicestershire, is delighted to announce two exciting new additions that will strengthen its management team.

Jo Phillips has been appointed as Sales Manager, while Ian Reynolds takes on the role of Restaurant Manager at this four-star hotel, which is operated by Focus Hotels Management.

Jo, 42, began working at Sketchley Grange in August with the ambition of working with an independent operator, which she felt opened up more opportunities to build and invest in longer-term relationships – both locally and nationally.

“The property itself appealed to me straight away as it looks amazing,” explains Jo. “The hotel is back on the radar after an ongoing refurbishment project ensuring it is competitive not just in the local market, but also stamping its mark in the Midlands as a key destination.”

Jo, who lives in Leicestershire, has enjoyed a varied career in customer-facing sales roles, and is excited about bringing her experience to this position.

She says: “Since taking the appointment I have thoroughly enjoyed being the face of Sketchley Grange and I have had the opportunity to meet with many local businesses whilst receiving sponsorship requests too, and I can see the huge potential for business at the hotel.

“We already have a substantial amount of business on the books for Christmas and for the New Year and in my opinion the future is looking very bright.”

Ian, 51, joined Sketchley as Restaurant Manager in July and has spent 19 years in the hospitality sector, his previous position being food and beverage manager at Scalford Hall Hotel in Melton Mowbray.

“I’m absolutely loving it here,” he says. “Sketchley is a very modern, high-tempo hotel and I really like the recent refurbishment they’ve done. When I saw it at the job interview I knew I only wanted to go to one place.”

Ian started his catering career as a kitchen porter at Loughborough University, working his way up to assistant cook, chef de partie, sous chef, head chef and then executive chef before stepping out of the sector for a sales management role at a mobile phone company, returning to hospitality again 13 years later.

“I’m looking forward to bringing real stability to the restaurant team,” he adds. “Training and developing the staff appealed to me about the role, and I’ll be using my experience in hospitality to make us stronger going forward.

“My aim is to add to the already flourishing reputation that the Garden Restaurant has by driving the service standards and products that all of our guests over the years have come to expect.”

For more information about Sketchley Grange, call 01455 251133 or visit www.sketchleygrangehotel.co.uk.

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 & Spa and Oxford Witney Hotel, the company also operates hotels under franchise agreements with Hilton, Accor and IHG.

For more information, call 01707 266 156 or visit www.focushotelsmanagement.co.uk.

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