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Venue finding and event management agency, Conference Care ( held its first mini-expo of the year this week, opening its doors exclusively to independent venues.

The Independent Venue Expo was an excellent opportunity for venues that are not part of a major hotel group to spend quality time with events consultants, and gain a true insight to scope and scale of work undertaken on a day to day basis. 

Attendees received a presentation on the business by Director Andrew Deakin, followed by an open forum, where an engaging question and answer session took place.

Representatives from the HBAA’s membership included, Rudding Park, The Mermaid Conference Centre, Heart of England Conference & Events Centre, Longleat House & Safari and The National Motor Cycle Museum.

Andrew Deakin said, “Our clients often require something a little unusual or unique in their choice of venue - in 2013, Conference Care placed £5 million pounds worth of business into venues which were not part of a group. In order for our clients to benefit from the added value of strong relationships, it is vital that we continue to communicate openly and work in partnership with these venues as the market gains strength.”

Jacqui Kavanagh, managing director of Trinity Event Solutions has been elected to the position of vice chair for the 2014 membership year. An active member of the HBAA since its inception in 1997, Jacqui will continue to help the association raise its profile within the industry with the aim of increasing membership and will be responsible for driving best practice and innovation within the association.

A long-standing advocate of the HBAA and an active agent member of the association, Jacqui previously held the position of chair of the association’s marketing committee. Jacqui re-joins the executive committee and becomes a board director with the primary objective of supporting current chairman Chris Parnham’s plans for the association throughout 2014. 

Jacqui Kavanagh is a specialist in the hotel booking and event sector running her own agency for ten years. In 2006 Jacqui founded Trinity, which specialises in venue finding, event management and booking accommodation for multiple industry sectors worldwide. Since its conception, Trinity has expanded significantly, and having been an HBAA member since 2006, was honoured for ‘Promoting Excellence within the Industry’ at the association’s 2011 awards.

Jacqui’s commitment to driving standards in the sector has seen her influence span across several committees, sitting on hotel groups’ advisory boards and panels for GIBTM in Abu Dhabi and the German Convention Bureau as well as acting as an executive council member for the Meetings Industry Association (MIA). In 2006, she won the Shine Awards, Business Owner of the Year.  

In September 2013 Jacqui picked up the HBAA’s John Rees Community Award on behalf of Trinity. The award recognised the agency for its impressive fundraising efforts, which saw the company raise more than £20,000 for three local charities. 

Jacqui Kavanagh said, “After being away from the executive committee for the last three years, I have been very impressed by the achievements of the HBAA executive team.  I am delighted to be working to support Chris, Juliet and the Committee to achieve next year’s objectives and ensure that the HBAA is the voice of all industry matters in our sector.”

Chris Parnham, HBAA chairman said, “We are thrilled that Jacqui will once again be bringing her unrivalled experience and influence to the HBAA’s executive committee. 2014 is set to be an exciting year, as we are working hard to continue the implementation of positive changes for our members, in line with our new strategy.

No-one understands the importance of the HBAA’s work more than Jacqui, and her personal commitment to maintaining and promoting the HBAA’s code of conduct will ensure that the association continues to move from strength to strength. I am extremely dedicated to the HBAA and can think of no-one better to take on the role of vice chair.”


Thousands of guests at US hotels may have had their credit and debit data stolen, suggests a security researcher.

The cache of data seems to have gone astray from computers belonging to White Lodging Services said independent researcher Brian Krebs.

The service company runs 168 franchised hotels in the US for the Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton and Westin chains.

White Lodging said it was currently conducting an investigation into how the data had been taken.

Mr Krebs said White Lodging's role in the breach emerged as banking industry fraud investigators were looking into a sustained pattern of purchases made on faked cards in Marriott hotels. Oddly, said Mr Krebs in a blogpost, the fraudulent purchases were made only at Marriott hotels in six separate cities rather than across the entire chain.

Further investigation revealed that the common factor in all those hotels was they were run by Indiana-based White Lodging.

The fraudulent purchases were made at the gift shops, restaurants and other shops at the hotels and were not used to pay for rooms, said Mr Krebs.

In a statement issued to Mr Krebs, White Lodging said: "We will provide meaningful information as soon as it becomes available."

In a separate statement, Marriott said it was "working closely" with its franchisee on the investigation.

The latest breach comes in the wake of other much larger attacks on US retailers that saw payment card details for millions of customers stolen.

Barceló Gestion Hotelera, Longleat and &meetings have joined the HBAA as new members, continuing the ever-increasing domestic and international venue and agency membership. 

Barceló Gestion Hotelera is one of Spain’s leading tourist companies, owning and operating over 140 hotels in 17 countries. The company was established in Palma de Majorca and also provides services in transport, travel agencies, and hotel property development. The group is owned by the Barceló family and has been run by three generations of family members.

Longleat House in Wiltshire is one of Britain’s most beautiful and inspirational stately homes. The venue offers corporate days out, memorable conference facilities, and unique team-building events, as well as bespoke and customised ideas to meet individual client needs and budget.

&Meetings are one of the UK’s leading providers of flexible meeting solutions with a portfolio of over 100 meeting rooms across London and Southern England. &Meetings offer rooms available for hire within one hour with competitive pricing. It operates an all-inclusive policy, offering meeting room facilities, such as refreshments free of charge.  

2014 has already started as an incredibly exciting year for the HBAA, with membership standing at an all-time high. The new members will seek to benefit from the association’s reputation for providing a platform for venues and agencies striving for best standards within the sector. 


Universal World Events has changed its name to Ashfield Meetings & Events and will launch a secondary brand for engagement and live event services in the first quarter of 2014.

Universal World Events parent company, UDG Healthcare PLC (formerly United Drug PLC) today announced it has integrated its sales, marketing and medical service offerings within one division to better meet the needs of its clients. 

The new division, Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services, combines eight service areas, including meetings and events, under the Ashfield division umbrella. As part of this transition Universal World Events, will officially become Ashfield Meetings & Events. 

Global managing director Nicola Burns said: "We have been working in partnership with the Ashfield group of companies for quite some time now and established an excellent team spirit. This is a natural progression for our brand, our staff and our clients. 

"It will make us more attractive to clients and we will be able to provide enhanced and complimentary services, such as healthcare communications, across a wider geography."

Head of sales and marketing, Luke Flett, added: "The new branding has now been implemented and staff across our global offices in the UK, US, mainland Europe and Asia came into work in the morning to be greeted by new signage, posters, screen savers and other branded materials.

Richard King has been named as non-executive chairman of Grass Roots after joining the agency in January 2013 as non-executive director.

King takes over from Nat Solomon who became acting chairman when David Evans, former executive chairman, retired.

Soloman will continue at Grass Roots as director in a non-executive capacity.

King said: "After a year of significant change within the Grass Roots Group, the company is now well placed to take advantage of its scale and market-leading position.

"I very much look forward to overseeing the next stage of its development. We have a strong executive team in place and I am eager to be a part of the exciting plans for future growth."

Prior to joining Grass Roots, King was managing partner at Ernst & Young, a role he took up in 2006 after being at the company for more than 30 years.


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