Skip to main content


You are: home > news archive > 05/2013

Zibrant’s Anthony Coyle-Dowling was named Business Development Manager of the Year at the prestigious People Awards, as the venue finding and events agency looks to expand.

The awards recognised outstanding individuals and teams across the supplier sector of corporate business travel management. Coyle-Dowling, global sales director at Zibrant, won his category for his ‘uncompromising professionalism and proven sales record’.

He said: “It is great to be recognised in this way, but it’s not just about me, it's about the team at Zibrant.  We strive to offer the best in account management practices to all of our clients and will continue to look for improvements as we grow and strengthen our positioning across the events sector.”

HBAA members Zibrant’s growth is set to include the creation of two new business development manager positions following business wins including two international incentives for the payment processing company Elavon.

“We know that those we employ are integral to the on-going success of Zibrant; for this reason we are looking to recruit two more high-calibre candidates, whose support will become essential for Zibrant looking towards the future,” Coyle-Dowling added.

This year’s HBAA Chairman’s Charity, the Make A Difference Trust, hosted its first fundraising event of 2013, the sixth annual West End Eurovision contest, at the Dominion Theatre last week.

HBAA members camped out late into the night to back 2013 Chairman Chris Parnham’s chosen charity, which brings together the British entertainment industry and its audiences to support those living with HIV and AIDS or facing hardship as a result of another long-term medical condition. 

The late night show commenced at 11.30pm, once the curtain closed on the stages of London’s West End, and paid tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest. 10 West End shows including Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia were pitched against each other, singing past Eurovision songs to win the votes of the audience, the competing entries’ judging panels and a host of celebrity judges. It was new Irish musical Once who won the coveted trophy with their adaptation of Dana's All Kinds of Everything.

2013’s contest was judged by a star-studded panel which featured X Factor’s Rylan, Lisa Riley of Emmerdale and Strictly Come Dancing, astrologer to the stars Russell Grant and I’d do Anything winner Jodie Prenger.  Gok Wan, Sinitta, Ben Richards and Christopher Biggins were guest presenters on the night, which included performances by former Eurovision winners Katrina and the Waves. 

Chris Parnham, Chairman of the HBAA, said: “The MAD Trust is a terrific charity, and the event was a huge success. HBAA members treated some of their partners and clients to a truly unique evening – 10 West End shows in one exclusive event.

London’s Hoxton Hotel has refreshed its meetings and events offering with the opening of The Apartment.

The new-look facilities, created in collaboration with the Soho House Group, feature individually-designed meeting rooms set around an open-plan kitchen that’s available to all users.

Meeting planners can choose from the Library, Living Room, Study, Dining Room and Play Room, each with capacity for between ten and 20 delegates. The rooms are adorned with designer prints and eclectic bric-a-bric, and are equipped with Samsung flatscreens and free wifi access.

The kitchen is stocked with a range of complimentary refreshments and snacks including a fridge stocked with soft drinks, plus jars filled with sweets and a selection of hot drinks, chocolates and biscuits.

Moveable walls mean the venue can be transformed into an event space for up to 200 people that features a bar, DJ booth and Bose sound sytem.

Day delegate rates are from £65 per person including VAT and access to the kitchen pantry.

Zibrant, George P Johnson and Smyle will represent the events industry at the E20 meeting at The Athenaeum, Mayfair, this month to discuss the export of UK events.

The forum, brought together by ISES UK Chapter and the Britain for Events campaign, will also see agencies Freeman UK and Mayridge discuss the subject, as well as major destinations and venues.

The event will also be attended by James Samuel, event director of International Confex; Michael Hirst, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership; Visit Scotland and London & Partners. The meeting will be facilitated by Philip Atkins, President of ISES UK Chapter. 

Atkins said: "Its our belief that the UK stands apart from its competition in terms of the creativity of our events industry, and it is our role as an association to both promote its worth and look to extend our reputation globally.

"We're privileged to have creative powerhouses around the table; these agencies are doing work that represents the very best of UK event production and are the envy of our competition around the world."
Findings of the E20 will be shared with the industry following the event as part of ISES UK's promotional and educational agenda.

Research by sector skills council People 1st has revealed that the number of people taking up apprenticeships in hospitality has more than doubled over the last three years with completion rates up 10 per cent in the same period.

The HBAA has welcomed Brunel University, Cambridge City Hotel and The Hotel, Brussels to its roster of domestic and international venue members.

As part of their membership, the venues will benefit from the various initiatives undertaken by the HBAA to provide a framework for recognised personal professional development within the industry, informal and formal networking opportunities, and encouraging and nurturing innovation that will advance the industry. 

The diverse range of venues to have recently joined the HBAA (which includes Drayton Manor and Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi, besides those venues previously mentioned) highlights the value the association is able to provide academic venues, hotels and sporting stadia whose facilities are utilised for meetings and events

Iona Courtenay-Warren, business development manager at Brunel University, said: "We are very excited about joining the HBAA and developing our business relationship with various communities. The training offered by the HBAA is one of the reasons we have joined, as it is tailor-made to the sector and will assist the team in their learning and development."  

As part of the drive to deliver more value to its members, the HBAA has joined forces with well-known benchmarking specialists BDRC Continental to provide mystery shopping and benchmarked ranking for its agency members.

Included as a new benefit to membership, all agency members will be mystery shopped by the specialist agency to assess the level of client service employed when dealing with a new business enquiry. The benchmarking will evaluate the speed and efficiency of the primary customer connection, the agency's assessment of initial client need, the manner and approach to the call, and the follow-up provided to the enquiry.

Benchmarking has been employed by the hotel membership for some time, and BDRC Continental provides this service to all the major hotel groups.

This will be an on-going annual process with four interventions per year. The results of the benchmarking will also be used to judge the 'HBAA Agency of the Year' award, making it the most objective recognition of agency performance in the industry.

Chris Parnham, Chairman of the HBAA, said: "My objectives for the HBAA this year are well known, I hope. I have promised to deliver more value to members, more inclusion for all members, more relevant content at meetings, and more training. This is an example of delivering more value to membership, as this whole benchmarking project is delivered free to agent members, and is a new benefit to continued membership. It would actually cost a small agency more to conduct their own benchmarking project than it would cost them to join the HBAA and get it for free, so I am also hoping this will attract more small agents to the association."

Under Parnham's Chairmanship this year, the HBAA has already welcomed venue members onto the Executive team for the first time, re-invigorated the members meeting agenda, and altered the HBAA’s image to make the association more dynamic and meaningful for today’s challenges

London's Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) and Central Hall Westminster (CHW) have joined forces to offer delegates one of the largest event spaces in the city centre.

The two venues, which are located next door to each other, have launched a joint initiative – Central London International Conference Centres (CLICC) – and can be hired together to accommodate up to 2,160 people theatre-style in one room. The QEIICC and CHW are separated by a 300 sqm outdoor square and lawn and this space can also be used for events.

The venues also offer receptions for up to 1,500 people in one room, banqueting for up to 930 in one room, 36 breakout rooms and 2,067 sqm of exhibition space in one room. CLICC also has more than 5,500 beds in a range of accommodation nearby, offering preferential rates with seven hotels.

Sue Etherington, commercial director, The QEIICC said: “By working together we can offer the only extensive conference facility in central London for large conference events. Hosting the 2012 Olympics has raised London’s profile with large international organisations, and now they have the opportunity to hold their events in a very convenient, central London location right in the heart of Westminster, overlooking London’s historic skyline of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.”

A new guide to help organisers cut through events red tape has been published by the Events Industry Forum (EIF).

The Purple Guide is a collaboration between event industry professionals and Government designed to replace the Health and Safety Executive document titled: ‘HSG195 A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events’ to help negotiate the legislation and guidelines surrounding the industry.

Initially the new guide is being published in draft form online, at with a view to gaining further input from the industry over the summer before it is finally completed towards the end of this year.

“It has taken a lot more time and negotiation than we originally hoped to get to a publishable guide but I believe it has been a worthwhile journey,” said EIF secretary Jim Winship. “We now have a Purple Guide that is up-to-date and within the control of the industry, which means that we can ensure that it is kept up-to-date as practices and legislation change.”

The EIF is inviting organisers to trial the draft guide and suggest amendments by the end of October, after which a final version with be published.

Excel London has appointed a new member to its corporate team.

Jamie Ades joins Excel from the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, where he was responsible for developing new business as account manager.

His new role as as senior account manager will include working with national and international corporates and managing relationships with new agencies and venues.

Excel London, which was acquired by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company in 2008 and opened the International Convention Centre in 2010, has recently welcomed Blackberry and Barclays to its brand portfolio.

Jane Hague, head of corporate account development at Excel, said: "Our corporate business is growing rapidly, with a 45% uplift since we opened ICC London."

She added: "We look forward to Jamie joining the team – his skills and experience will be of huge benefit as we embark on what’s set to be our most successful year to date."


News archive

Member Log In