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The Mermaid Conference and Events Centre, London, has expanded its team with three new appointments.
Glenn Mainwaring joins the team as Business Development Manager. He previously worked as Sales and Marketing Manager at Searcys at the Barbican. In his new role, Mainwaring will oversee the company’s development strategies and lead innovation.
The business development team will also be further strengthened by the appointment of Business Development Executive, Melissa Spanton.

Also joining the venue is Helen Coles as Commercial Manager on a consultancy basis. Coles’ new role will see her take charge of the venue’s sales and marketing strategy, with the aim of maximising all revenue opportunities.

Alicia Duncan, GM of The Mermaid, said: “The past year has been great for The Mermaid in terms of business growth, and it’s due to this success that we have expanded our team further. We are very pleased to welcome our new recruits and are confident that they will contribute to the ongoing success of the venue.”

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Organisers of corporate events, meetings, incentives and conferences can now book exclusive use of the Barbican’s Art Gallery for events such as the forthcoming Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, which opens on 9 April and runs until 25 August. 

The initiative is part of Barbican Business Events long term partnership with the Barbican’s arts offering that will see future art exhibitions made available for private events and viewings. 

Barbican Business Events says bespoke packages will be created for each exhibition depending on client needs and the scope of the event. Curators can also be included as part of an event to offer insight and information on the exhibition, its content and background. 

"We are constantly developing new ideas and new ways to bring together our artistic offering and the professionalism and service driven ethos of our business events team," says Head of Event Management at Barbican Business Events, Lee Dobson. 

"Following on from the success of the Bond exhibition [in 2012] we are building a long term partnership with the Barbican’s Arts team that will create a different and exciting venue here in the Barbican every time a new exhibition opens," he adds.

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Thank you, this was my first time attending these meetings and I found it very interactive, easy to network amongst agents and other venues. All in all is was full of energy and very well organised. Anna Glazebrook,  One Great George Street

Good networking opportunities and good event overall. Good energiser by Off Limits and great way to put faces to names of agents. Ellie Jones, Alton Towers Resort

Sessions excellent & really useful to see how the HBAA supports & fits in with wider Industry initiatives. Venue superb too. Jo Egan, Hotel Desk

What a great day! It was fantastic to meet so many people in such a short space of time and really enjoyed the team building activity, will be using that again!! Almost a shame we can't do it more often?! Rachael Betts, Leicester Tigers

Inspirational session from Mark of a Leader, felt very empowered to change something for someone and make a difference. Ann Marie Gildea,  Barcelo Hotels and Resorts International

Another wonderful meeting and a great mix of content and activities and of course the opportunity to meet with old and new friends. Helen Burgin, EEF Venues

Changing the agenda around on the day was excellent, and I loved the team building. I thought Richard John was very inspirational and really enjoyed his presentation and point about telling stories.. very good stuff. Gemma Mitchell,  Elite Hotels

Fun interaction, interesting speakers and a perfectly timed day. Well done all. Isabel Hargreaves,  Cannizaro House

Great day well spent as usual - engaging, relevant and fun!! Sarah Barker,  Warren House

The HBAA has extended its international reach with the news that the Chateaux & Hotels Collection has signed the HBAA International Charter.

The Chateaux & Hotels Collection, which consists of a series of properties across France and Italy in regions including Paris, Limoges and Normandy, joins several other existing national and international affiliates including Maritim Hotels, Germany, Rocco Forte Hotels, Park Plaza Hotels and IHG.

Over 3,000 properties have now signed up to the International Charter, which fosters best practice between HBAA intermediary members and the international hotels and venues they work with. Signees commit to the standards of the Charter which protects and strengthens the unique relationship that exists between agents and their venue suppliers.

Steve Ockerby, chair of International Projects at the HBAA said, “We are delighted that the Chateaux & Hotels Collection has signed our International Charter, as we strive to represent the greatest breadth of hotels and venues to add weight to our voice in the industry. Improving the relationship between agent members and international suppliers is of great importance, and we are pleased that we are building on this.”

Loïc Duranson, Director of Corporate Sales at the Chateaux & Hotels Collection, adds, “With a very interesting collection in France, Chateaux & Hotels Collection has great variety for HBAA members. Whether organising small or medium events for their clients, we have a perfect range of unique hotels offering charm, gastronomy and history. We look forward to helping everyone find opportunities in our collection of 585 independent hotels & restaurants.”


Five hotels operating under the Quality and Clarion Collection brands have been sold out of administration.

The leasehold hotels have been sold to West Register (Property Investments) Limited and will be managed by Jupiter Hotels, saving 133 jobs. 

They were previously owned by Barinbrook Limited (formerly known as Akkeron Hotels), which went into administration on 26 February this year. 

The addition of the properties to Jupiter’s portfolio, takes its collection of owned and managed properties from 26, up to 31 across the UK, however the hotels will remain under their current brands. 

The hotels include four Quality Hotels in East Anglia; in Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Peterborough and Kings Lynn, and the Clarion Collection Cromwell Hotel Stevenage.

Shane Harris, CEO of Jupiter Hotels said: “The addition of these five new hotels is a positive move for us, representing an increase of almost 20 per cent in the size of our portfolio and establishing us as a multi-brand leader in the midscale hotel segment. These management contracts enable us to establish a strong foothold in East Anglia, one of the UK’s fastest growing regional economies after London and the South East.”

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The Mere Golf Resort & Spa has promoted Janice Crosbie to Commercial Manager at its 150 acre luxury resort. Crosbie joins the 12  strong senior management team at the award winning hotel & spa which underwent a £15 million refurbishment in 2012 and celebrates 30 years with the Boler family at its helm this year. 

A long serving employee, Crosbie joined the company over 16 years ago and has worked her way up the ranks within the organisation. Originally employed as a receptionist, Crosbie's passion for working with people and her first class organisational skills soon became apparent and she joined the events team in 2001.  

She was fast-tracked to Conference and Events Manager in 2007.  Janice has worked on some of the resort's most prestigious events from the Boodles Classique corporate tennis event to Steven Gerrard Foundation Golf Testimonial day. She has also been the main point of contact to the thousands of couples who have tied the knot at the picturesque venue over the last few years.  

Her promotion sees her remit increase. Crosbie is now responsible for driving all revenue streams through the hotel from meetings and events, weddings to corporate and society golf. She will report directly to the board and manages a team of eight in the commercial office.  

On her new role, Mark Boler, Co-owner and CEO of the 81-room resort said: "Janice's promotion is testament to her talent, hard work and commitment to the business. She is a great asset to the resort, very switched on and always goes the extra mile for our clients. She is an integral member of the operations team and played a significant role in the transformation of the resort in 2012.”

The Mere Golf Resort & Spa boasts an excellent reputation for its conference and event facilities, it can cater for up to 550 in its James Braid suite. Regular blue chip clients include Maserati, Vimto and Barclays, Bentley, Audi, Tommy Hilfiger/Calvin Klein and NES Global.

The resort celebrates 30 years of the Boler family's ownership this year. The family took over the property in 1984.  Originally launched as Mere Golf and Country Club, the resort was bought by the late father of Mark Boler - the present owner - and became renowned for its championship golf course and country club.  Boler, started running the resort, with Chairman, Gary Corbett, with a plan to re-develop the property. His vision of the future came to fruition with the £15m refurbishment in 2012.

The anniversary will be marked with a number of initiatives this year including a 30th anniversary dinner in September. 

Chancellor George Osborne should have done much more to help small businesses forced to deal with ‘extortionate’ rents, especially in London, according to one industry stalwart.

JJ Jackson, Managing Director of the Performing Artistes agency, said SMEs’ welfare should have been far higher up the Budget agenda.

Jackson said that George Osborne’s failure to tackle business rates in the Budget was “a glaring omission”.
“Our response to the Budget was broadly positive, but much more should have been done to tackle prohibitive business rates and planning,” he said.
“In London, in particular, business rates can exceed the cost of rent and are a serious consideration for companies such as Performing Artistes who are on the verge of moving and expanding.”
The Government has pledged to introduce business rate reform, although this revaluation is not expected to take place before 2017, according to business commentators.
“It’s a real shame that our Government doesn’t appear to be more favourably disposed towards the UK events sector, whose expertise is recognised worldwide and which generates billions of pounds for the British economy every year,” Jackson added. 

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Visitor registration for The Meetings Show has opened at

Building on the success of last year, visitors to the show will benefit from an enhanced experience from the moment they walk through the doors at Olympia, London, from 8-10 July.

In particular, the education programme will address issues faced by agencies, corporates, associations, PCOs, AMCs, PAs and key sectors such as medical and manufacturing.  In addition to the dedicated Association Meetings Conference on 7 July, the education will include keynote sessions, seminars and Meet the Expert round tables throughout the three days of the show.

With a growing exhibitor list, made up of more than 400 exhibiting companies, visitors will be able to meet with the UK’s most impressive range of meeting industry organisations under one roof including: major domestic and international destinations, venues, hotel groups, DMCs, trade associations and suppliers.

The Meetings Show’s event director, Steve Knight says: “The Meetings Show is organised by meeting professionals, for meeting professionals, a fact that is demonstrated through both the calibre of our exhibitors and the quality of our education programme. If meetings are key to your business you will find the suppliers you want to see and education designed for your needs at our event.”

Applications for The Meetings Show’s hosted buyer programme are also open. Applicants will be reviewed by a team of expert qualifiers and benefit from scheduled meetings with organisations of their choosing, complimentary travel and accommodation, transportation to Olympia from host hotels and networking venues, as well as a choice of hosted buyer lounges complete with refreshments.

The Meetings Show is a major event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, organised by Centaur Exhibitions and taking place 8-10 July 2014 at Olympia, London. Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

Airlines and business travellers have welcomed the reform of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) on UK flights announced by ChancellorGeorge Osborne is his Budget, 19 March 2014. 

The flight tax’s existing banding system sees travellers’ rate of APD calculated according to the distance between London and the destination country’s capital city. That means flying 4,500 miles to Jamaica costs £300 in APD while travelling 7,000 miles to Hawaii sees the tax charged at £240. But the Chancellor announced a change to the banding rules so that all long-haul flights will now carry the same tax as a flight to the US. He also put a tax on private jets, which had previously been exempt.

“Treating all long haul flights the same is a welcomed economic initiative from the Chancellor,” according to the Dale Keller, Chief Executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK).

“The Government has finally acknowledged what the industry and business knew all along - that the highest rates of aviation tax in the world were a brake on driving the UK’s economic growth with emerging markets,” he added.

“Of course, we would like the Chancellor to go further still on reducing APD but this is a step in the right direction and BAR UK will continue its engagement with the Government to deliver the fair and proportionate aviation tax that the UK deserves,” Keller said.

APD has risen by up to 470 per cent since 2007. A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said: “This is a very welcome simplification to remove some of the biggest distortions of the current system, which the Chancellor himself admitted is crazy and unjust. The Government has rightly recognised the damage APD is having on exporters and the travelling public alike.

“A tax system which penalised high growth emerging economies such as China and India was always contrary to the Government’s stated policy on trade and exports, so this is a positive step that recognises the impact of this economically damaging tax.

“There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the huge economic benefits to the UK of reducing or abolishing APD and we hope that the Government will continue to go further in the long run.”

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Birmingham based Searcys’ venue REP, Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Restaurant in Nottinghamshire and St James’s Court Hotel in London are the latest venues to be added to the HBAA’s growing membership list. 

The newly refurbished Reportary Theatre (REP) has opened adjacent to the iconic Birmingham Library and the ICC. As well as the restaurant, cafe and bar, fantastic state-of-the-art event space is available including new hospitality suites with stunning views of Centenary Square, which can host between 120-150 people.

Searcys joined the REP as a catering partner in September 2013 and has brought its reputation as one of the UK’s leading operators in marketing and managing conferencing & banqueting activity to the Birmingham venue.  

Ye Olde Bell hotel & restaurant is a four star situated in Barnby Moor near Retford, Nottinghamshire. It is perfect for business travel, conferences, celebrations, short breaks and holidays and offers 57 uniquely different rooms ranging from singles to family rooms and stunning suites.

A wide range of suites, styles and capacities are available, from traditional to contemporary with capacity from 2 to 250 and ideal for a conference, meeting, event or an interview. The location provides a relaxing break-out areas and extensive grounds for team-building activities.

St James’ Court Hotel is a luxury venue located central London, just footsteps away from the iconic Buckingham Palace and St James’ Park, as well as a short distance from Westminster, The Houses of Parliament.

St. James’ Court offers 17 perfectly appointed meeting and event rooms with various break-out areas, each featuring wireless internet, state-of-the-art technology and other business services, such as secretarial support, conference phones, videoconferencing and even Telepresence – the only publicly available facility in the United Kingdom.       

To become a member of the HBAA, all members agree to sign and adhere to a Code of Conduct, which promotes best practice throughout the industry.

A number of training and networking events are held over the course of the year, including the Spring members meeting taking place at Beaumont Estate in Berkshire on Friday 21st March, open to both agent and venue members.  


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