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A new manifesto for the events industry will be put together ahead of the 2015 general election to shine a light on what the sector wants - and already provides.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), which wants to highlight the work being done by its members, has announced a number of new ventures to boost its profile.

Brian Kirsh, head of regulatory affairs at Eventia and MD of Event Assured, will lead a group to develop the manifesto. He was appointed at the partnership's recent meeting in Belfast, which also saw Juliet Price, CEO of the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), elected to lead on professional development and represents the partnership on the establishment of the Institute of Event Management. 

Michael Foreman, representing the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), will tackle several collaborative initiatives, including a joint internship programme and a joint industry event, the first of which is likely to be held in Liverpool in 2014 during the International Festival for Business.

Samme Allen, one of the BVEP's four vice chairs who were re-elected for the next two years, and who represents MPI UK Chapter on the partnership, said it was time to take action to show what the sector was capable of.

"Over the last few years the BVEP has become a valuable knowledge-sharing forum which represents the wide diversity of the UK events industry. Now it’s about taking this intelligence and using it to best benefit the future growth and sustainability of our industry,” she said.

As well as Allen, Richard Foulkes, Simon Hughes and Chris Skeith were re-elected as vice chairs. They will continue to work with chairman Michael Hirst on developing ways to support growth and to raise awareness of the sector's social and economic benefits.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has praised both VisitEngland and outgoing Minister for Tourism, Hugh Robertson MP, for seeing through the establishment of a Ministerial Support Initiative for business events, designed to help the UK events industry win more international business as part of its Subvention and Bid Support Practices report (2011). 

Despite the governmental re-shuffle, which saw the minister leave the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to take up a new role at the Foreign Office, the initiative was seen through by Robertson, and is fully supported by his successor Helen Grant MP, due to its global and economic benefits, making it a high priority.     

VisitEngland has led on the introduction of the initiative and has now established a working process alongside which involves other DCMS government ministers and departments as appropriate to the event subject to the bid process.

The support of Ministers is expected to have a major impact on the winning of international convention business, in primary economic sectors, such as life sciences, emery, engineering and the creative industries. 
Simon Gidman, Head of Business Visits & Events, VisitEngland said, “These events bring together thought-leaders from around the globe and we want to ensure those influential leaders are discussing and debating the latest issues in their field in England - as well as spending their money in our towns and cities of course!”

New Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant has also added her own support for the initiative, commenting: “The London 2012 Games put the UK in the international spotlight and has boosted our ability to compete successfully for major global events. It’s important we capitalise on that further and attract international events”

It is now up to event organisers to make full use of this opportunity and activate the resource that is now in place to win more business.

The Global Business Travel Association has published the results of its fourth GBTA BTI™ Outlook – China 2013 H2 report. The GBTA commissioned Rockport Analytics, LLC to create a semi-annual business travel outlook for China. Sponsored by Visa, it provides insights for corporate travel professionals and the broader business community into both short- and long-term trends in Chinese domestic and international outbound business travel activity. Sponsored by Visa, it provides insights for corporate travel professionals and the broader business community into both short- and long-term trends in Chinese domestic and international outbound business travel activity.

After expanding by 7.5% in Q2 of 2013, China’s economic growth has consolidated, and is expected to register between 7% and 8% for the full 2013 year.

The Chinese authorities remain committed to rebalancing the economy to stimulate domestic investment and consumer demand. The export sector continues to be impacted by weak economic performance in the US and Europe, with export growth being driven mostly by intraregional trade.  

Despite weaker than expected business travel growth in H1 of 2013, China should surpass the U.S. as the world’s most dominant business travel market as early as 2016.

China’s total business travel spending is forecast to increase by 14.3% in 2013 to $224 billion (RMB1,371 billion). The projected expansion of 17.2% in 2014 is more than twice the rate of the U.S.

Domestic business travel continues to outperform international outbound (IOB). In 2013, domestic travel spend should grow 14.3%, followed by another 17.2% in 2014.

Growth in IOB has been revised slightly downward in 2013, with forecast growth of 12.8%, followed by a stronger than previously expected 16.5% in 2014.

Beijing Capital International airport is set to surpass longstanding incumbent, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, as the world’s busiest airport. 
Welf J. Ebeling, regional director, GBTA Asia, remarked: “Our forecast for Chinese business travel remains in line with our outlook published in the first half of 2013. Diminished trade activity to and from China, particularly in Europe and North America, has undermined the demand for long-haul business travel. We do, however, see annual growth pushing back towards 20% over the next few years.”

“As China’s economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global solutions at Visa Inc. “Led by anticipated strong growth of domestic business travel, the BTI predicts China will be the world’s top business travel market by 2016.”

Camden’s legendary venue The Roundhouse has now joined the HBAA’s diverse list of members.

The London venue is a Grade II* listed building is now home to a bold and exciting programme of live music, theatre, dance, circus, installations and new media.

The Roundhouse has a dedicated approach to the promotion of young people in the industry, with projects and activities for 11-25s, giving them the experience to help plan and perform at Roundhouse events.

The venue is now able to enjoy all of the benefits that come with being an HBAA member, including unrivalled networking opportunities, support and training. 

The HBAA’s increasing directory of revered venues shows the associations unquestionable significance within the industry as a facilitator of personal, professional and innovative development. 


A survey of European hoteliers by Expedia-owned has found that 75% believe discounting is having a negative impact on their brand.

The survey reveals that since the recession began five years ago, consumers had become ‘addicted’ to discounts. This addiction to a bargain has caused some hotels to worry about the impact of constant discounting, according to Michelle Rosinsky, senior manager at

‘Hoteliers are concerned that if their brand is seen as ‘always on sale’, it will be devalued and end up going the way of other companies and industries where consumers are never prepared to pay a premium,’ she said.

‘We’re not expecting that hoteliers will suddenly give up on discounting, because it is still an effective way to increase occupancy; however, we believe they’ll become more selective about the channels they use, the value of discounts and the timing of their offers. Discounting will become more last-minute and increasingly they will utilise opaque sites and mobile.’

According to the latest Hotwire survey, of 75 hoteliers who manage over 13,000 rooms in 45 countries, mobile is becoming an increasingly popular way to offer exclusive discounts, targeted mostly at last-minute customers. It found that 21% of hoteliers are offering mobile-only discounts, while 40% said they discounted on mobile more now than they did a year ago.

Meanwhile, there has also been an increase in ‘super last minute’ discounts, with one in 20 hotels offering their deepest cuts inside the final 24 hours.
And the opaque model is also on the rise, with reporting strong demand for its so-called ‘secret hotels’ from both properties and consumers. ‘Hoteliers see opaque as one of the safest methods for discounting, because the name of the hotel is not disclosed until the customer has paid,’ Rosinsky said.

‘It helps hoteliers to reach the desired occupancy without making any of its premium customers aware that the hotel is available on Hotwire. Seventy-five per cent of hoteliers told us that brand protection is one of the reasons they use opaque.’

Hoteliers are dealing with a new type of customer: one that’s less loyal, more price-conscious and more savvy in finding a deal, Rosinksy continued.

‘In this environment, discounting is a necessity for hoteliers, but as most of them now realise, they need to be careful how it’s done, because there are some inherent risks. It’s about choosing the right way at the right time for the right type of customer,’ she concluded.


The Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has appointed Grass Roots to run Sibos, its annual conference and exhibition for the financial industry. 

Sibos brings together 7,000 decision-makers and experts from financial institutions, market infrastructures, multinational corporations and technology partners to debate the issues of the day. The event is broken into half a dozen conference tracks, includes a hundred speakers and as many conference sessions. It also attracts up to 200 exhibitors and networking events. 

On the back of delivering Sibos 2013, in Dubai in September and attended by 7,600 delegates, Grass Roots Meetings & Events has secured contracts for the next two Sibos events, to take place in Boston in 2014 and Singapore in 2015.

The contract includes services including website build, customer service, hotel management and onsite delivery. The onsite delivery will feature access and session scanning, as well as lead capture for exhibitors.

Giselle Ripken, MD of delegate management at Grass Roots Meetings & Events, said of the continuation of the relationship with SWIFT: “This event plays to our key strength of being able to manage a complex portfolio of visitor requirements and our appointment is testimony to our proven track record in first-class delivery”.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has welcomed the support from outgoing minister for tourism Hugh Robertson before the ministerial reshuffle this month.

The initiative, led by Visit England, aims to help the UK event industry win more international business. The idea behind it is that any event organiser can approach VisitEngland to ask for government help in supporting their event.

It will be managed through Visit England working with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and will be applicable to international congress and convention bids.

The tourist board has now established a working process alongside the DCMS, which was confirmed before Robertson took up his new role in the Foreign Office.

Simon Gidman, head of business visits and events at Visit England, said: "The support of ministers can have a major impact on the winning of major convention business. n partnership with England's leading event destinations, we are targeting international events from our priority economic sectors including life sciences, energy, engineering and the creative industries.These events bring together thought-leaders from around the globe and we want to ensure those influential leaders are discussing and debating the latest issues in their field in England - as well as spending their money in our towns and cities."

Michael Hirst, chair of the BVEP, said: "As sports and tourism minister Hugh Robertson understood how important ministerial involvement has been recently in attracting world-class events."

Helen Grant, Robertson’s successor, added: "We will continue to work in partnership with Visit England and other stakeholders to see where government can play a role in supporting event bids from UK destinations."


DCMS will appoint an event management agency to work on an invitation-only First World War centenary commemorative event next year.

The government department has opened a tender process to find an agency to deliver the event in St Symphorien cemetery in August 2014.

The event, which will be filmed live by the BBC, will take place in a rural location with challenging access and with a setup that will be more time consuming than a classic event venue.

In addition to families of soldiers, the event will include guests from the armed forces and international figureheads.

Due to the nature of the event, it any potential events agency must be multi-lingual in English/French/German/Flemish.

The contract is set to begin on 6 January and run to the beginning of August next year.

DCMS has noted that the contract may be suitable for SMEs and the deadline for submitting a tender or request to participate is 18 November.

View the original article via C&IT magazine:

Association Eventia is hosting a free consultation meeting in response to its regulation committee's agreement with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on VAT accounting for events.

Taking place on Wednesday 13 November at Saffrey Champness' offices in London, the free seminar will give event businesses the chance to have their say on the reform of the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), which Eventia revealed last month. 

The reform involves agencies managing events that involve any element of the Tour Operators Margin Scheme (TOMS) – anything to do with travel services. This has meant that companies have had to pay VAT on the full amount of the non-travel part, and VAT-registered clients were unable to recover tax.

After negotiations between Eventia and HMRC, it will now be possible for agencies to issue VAT invoices on the non-TOMS element of an event - known as in-house supplies - which they were previously unable to do.

The consultation meeting will consist of two, two-hour interactive sessions led by Eventia regulation committee chairman Brian Kirsch, who is managing director of event insurance business Event Assured.

The first session will look at the PTR reform with travel industry lawyer Kylie Mather. Both will lead the exchange on the key points from the BIS Call for Evidence, seeking direct member feedback to help drive a response.

David Bennett of Saffery Champness, and Chris Parnham, chairman of the Hotel Booking Agents Association and managing director of Absolute Corporate Events, will lead a second briefing and interactive session on how changes to TOMS will affect events and travel businesses.

London venues are steering away from discounting and offering added value in order to win events business, according to new research.

The 2013 London Venues Business Report surveyed 110 venues and hotels across the capital and found that only 8 per cent won business by offering clients ‘added value’ (down from 26 per cent in 2012), while just 18 per cent used a discounting tactic.

Day delegate rates (DDRs) were used by 57 per cent of venues to offer price flexibility – with the maximum level of discounts varying between 21-38 per cent, while 40 per cent of venues surveyed said they did not flex their prices in high or low demand periods at all.

The report was commissioned by Unique Venues of London (UVL), The Westminster Collection (TWC) The Conference Bench and the London City Selection. They said in a joint statement: “Discovering such interesting results last year meant we were all very keen to team up again in 2013. We are pleased that there are so many positive results in this competitive market – and proud of the fact that we are able to display them in a way that is so valuable to the industry."


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