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20 years on getting stronger and stronger

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This year marks a milestone in the HBAA’s history.  It’s 20 years ago this year that the HBAA was formed during a Christmas party with Peter Ducker, Simon Scott and Bob Dixon, among others. They realised the real benefit of an association where knowledge ideas and challenges could be exchanged and together they could be a stronger force than as individuals.

So what was happening in the market 20 years ago?

  • In Europe 67% of hotels were privately owned or Independent.
  • The average room rate in London was £59.
  • Marketing was hard copy print produced and a smattering of the first very poor websites.
  • Many hotel groups did not ‘trust’ or questioned the value of HBA’s – especially small ‘niche’ agencies.
  • In those days Some agencies published annual hard copy rate guides, as an income stream – Which hotels paid to advertise in.
  • Distribution via GDS was limited and only TMC’s utilised this.
  • The process was manual to call hotels to make reservations with fax confirmations!

Today we are different; 

Technology has transformed the way we communicate, the way we sell and buy and the way we run our businesses.  We have influencers that are instant – Trip advisor and social media – connectivity and distribution is different.  We now have Online agencies (OTA’s) and an “On Tap” B2C market.

Corporate Procurement – governance, policy and security is far more influential in corporate compliance.

The relationships have changed, there is an open Agency / Corporate and Venue contacts – Venues able to openly meet and discuss business.

So the landscape has changed and much for the better, thanks to the consistency and commitment of the HBAA committees' and its members.  However there is one fundamental element that has remained as true and as vital today as it was then and that is this; business is built and won around people and the relationships they form with each other – so let’s build great relationships here together and move forward in the next 20 years in partnership.


Louisa Watson

HBAA Venue Chair

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