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imago has appointed Richard Money as Senior Business Development Manager as the organisation focuses on building long term relationships with clients

Richard previously held business development roles at Zibrant, Q Lifestyle (Bonvo Travel Singapore), De Vere Belton Woods and The Belfry Hotel & Golf Resort and worked as Head of Sales and Marketing at 2BP Ltd. 

In his role with imago, Richard will be proactively looking for new opportunities to increase the number of business events taking place across imago’s diverse portfolio of venues – Burleigh Court, Holywell Park, Loughborough University campus and The Link Hotel. Of his appointment he says: “imago offers businesses an unique package for a wide range of events. It is a well established company that has already experienced significant growth. I have a passion for identifying and securing new business opportunities, as well as offering excellent customer care across all aspects of my work, which will help imago increase business even further.” 

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at imago, commented: “We are delighted that Richard has joined our business development team. He has a proven track record in this field and will help us reach our goals as we target new areas of business and look to increase sales across imago’s portfolio of venues.” 

Launched in 2003, imago unifies Loughborough University’s conference and events venues under one brand which offers high quality meeting spaces, venues and accommodation along with excellent sports and leisure facilities. For more information visit or call 0845 036 4624. 

Sodexo has been awarded a seven-year catering and cleaning contract at Holyport College in Berkshire worth £2.6m.

Services will commence when the co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11 to 19 years old opens in September 2014.

Sodexo will initially cater for around 120 pupils on-site which will rise to 500 within five years, with 45% set to be boarding students.

James Bell, the bursar for Holyport College, said: “We have every confidence that our pupils will be receiving nutritional, high quality food to help prepare them for learning every day. Together with our own staff and other partners, Holyport College is looking forward to working with Sodexo to create a clean, healthy and vibrant learning environment.”

Jeremy Alderton, managing director of Sodexo Independent Education, added: “Holyport College will be our first state boarding school which gives us a great opportunity in this growing market. Our resources and extensive client list in Berkshire helped us win this prestigious free school which has Eton College as its sole educational sponsor.

“The local Sodexo teams including our team at Eton College will help support the success of the brand new school that opens its doors for the first time in September.”

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The great and the good of the UK events industry turned out in their hundreds at The Hub in London’s Regent’s Park, 23 July, to support the 16 teams contesting this year’sLiveBuzz Sticky Wicket Trophy.

The teams came out to bat and bowl in the blazing summer sun, their efforts raising £37,500 for The Lord’s Taverners. 

After the group stages UBM Live and dmg events won their respective semi-finals, with UBM Live winning a hard-fought final to be crowned this year’s champions.

Freeman UK won the inaugural Plate Final by beating ISS.

“A big thank you to all our teams, sponsors and partners and those that came and supported from the Sticky Wicket Committee and The Lord’s Taverners,” said event organiser Mervyn Ramsay.

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has lost the management contract to run the Westminster hotel it opened with considerable fanfare less than two years ago.

Supreme Hotels, part of the Splendid Hospitality Group and owner of the 256-bedroom property, and IHG have mutally agreed to part company, and Supreme has signed a franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide to rebrand the InterContinental Westminster as the Conrad London Westminster from September.

It will be the first time in seven years that Conrad Hotels & Resorts - the luxury, contemporary brand from Hilton Worldwide – has been present in London.

The brand previously adorned the 160-unit all-suite hotel at Chelsea Harbour until 2007 when the Wyndham Hotel Group took over the property’s management. Earlier this year the hotel was re-branded again as the Chelsea Harbour hotel as the first in a new group of hotels called the Monogram Collection from Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

A spokesperson for IHG confirmed that it has signed an agreement with Supreme Hotels to terminate the management agreement for the property.

“This agreement will take effect from 31 August 2014, after which Supreme Hotels will be free to seek an alternative brand for the hotel,” she said.  

“The InterContinental brand will continue to have a strong presence in London, with InterContinental London Park Lane and InterContinental London The O2, which is due to open in 2015.”

The loss of the InterContinental Westminster will be a major disappointment for IHG, which opened the hotel in December 2012 as only the second InterContinental hotel in the UK following the launch of InterContinental hotel on Park Lane in 1976.

However, IHG and the Splended Hospitality Group continue to enjoy a good working relationship. Splendid, through Sojourn Hotels, a sister company of Supreme Hotels, operates six IHG hotels under franchise agreements: Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, Holiday Inn Express Leeds - East, Holiday Inn Express Glenrothes, Holiday Inn Express York and Holiday Inn London - Wembley, with a seventh, Hotel Indigo York, set to open in 2015.

At the time of its opening Andrew Coney, the then general manger, told The Caterer that IHG was positioning the hotel as being at “the hub of the locality, somewhere politicians, lobbyists, journalists and civil servants will migrate to meet and gossip”.

An extravagant party held soon after its opening, attended by many politicians, indicated that the hotel quickly established itself as a popular watering hole for MPs.

Coney moved to the Kensington hotel, London, a Doyle Collection property, in April.

The hotel, which is situated in the Broadway between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, is the first of two properties owned by Supreme Hotels to open under a Hilton Worldwide brand within a year. Next summer will see the launch of its Hilton London Bankside hotel.

John TA Vanderslice, global head, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, said: “Conrad creates inspired experiences for our guests in the world’s gateway cities and most sought after leisure destinations.  London continues to be a political, cultural, and economic powerhouse in the world, which makes it a natural destination for international travellers.” 

Shiraz Boghani, chairman of Supreme Hotels, said: “It is supremely exciting to be announcing our second involvement with Hilton Worldwide in as many weeks!  Together with Hilton London Bankside, we will be offering two significant destination hotels for London.”

The Conrad brand currently operates 23 hotels worldwide.

The Splendid Hospitality Group is the owner, operator and developer of 13 hotels in the UK, ranging from budget to luxury properties. It currently works with IHG, Hilton Worldwide and Choice Hotels in operating eight branded hotels and has a further five hotels under development

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Glh is launching a limited service brand in the four-star sector called Every Hotels, in response to many full-service properties it describes as “dinosaurs”.

The brand will get off the ground with the refurbishment and conversion of four Thistle hotels in London, starting in November with the Every Piccadilly and followed by properties in Hyde Park, Leicester Square and Bloomsbury. The hotels are currently part of the 31-strong Thistle brand operated by Glh, the London-based subsidiary of Singapore-listed GuocoLeisure Group.

Up to 50 Every hotels are expected to be launched globally by the end of the decade, through both the conversion of existing and building of new properties.

The new brand aims to provide maximum yield for owners by focusing on bedrooms, without the addition of meeting and event spaces which can often stand empty in regional locations.

Mike DeNoma, chief executive of Glh said that the four-star, full-feature hotel is “a dinosaur” for many cities around the world.

“We estimate half of all four-star hotels outside gateway cities have too many restaurants and barely used meeting facilities. The four-star sector continues to bury its long neck in the sand, in the face of changing customer needs. Every is our direct response to owners and developers burdened with legacy buildings who are keen for a new four star option that responds to the changing market”.

Ian Gamse, director at hospitality advisors Otus & Co, said that Every Hotels will fill the gap for a brand that offers bedrooms without the investment and overheads that accompany extensive non-rooms facilities. 
 “The big old four-star hotels were designed to meet a demand that scarcely exists outside gateways cities,” he said. “However much customers say that they like hotels with lots of restaurants, ballrooms, meeting spaces, spas, swimming pools and whatever – they hardly use those facilities.  It’s so much wasted space. Property owners know this and are exasperated.”

Glh was rebranded from Guoman Hotels in June 2013 and has now introduced three new brands, with Every Hotels sitting alongside the recently launched Clermont (luxury) and Amba (four-star) brands and the established Thistle group. 

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the addition of three new Holiday Inn Express hotels – one in London and two in Greater Manchester.

They include are a 132-bedroom hotel in Vauxhall Nine Elms (pictured), 135-bedroom hotel at Leigh Sports Village and 87-bedroom hotel in Wigan. Launched in 1991, the Holiday Inn Express brand is currently expanding at an average rate of two per week world-wide. There are 219 in Europe, with a further 38 under development.

Richard Arman, director of development, UK and Ireland, IHG said: “These three latest signings demonstrate that the Holiday Inn Express brand continues to be the smart choice for hotel owners and guests across the UK. The three properties are being developed in key locations and once open, will offer business and leisure guests a comfortable nights’ stay and friendly efficient service.”

Set to be rebranded from an existing hotel, the Vauxhall Nine Elms property will open later this year as part of one of London’s largest regeneration projects. It will operate under a franchise agreement with first time IHG owner Heathdeal.

The newly built hotel at Leigh Sports Village, which is home to Leigh Centurians Rugby League Football Club, and also hosts Blackburn Rovers and the Manchester United youth team, will open this summer operating under a franchise agreement with KS Hotels Limited. It will be part of a multi-purpose venue which hosts concerts and conferences for up to 250 delegates. 

Opening in 2015, the Holiday Inn Express Wigan - located close to DW Stadium -  will operate under a franchise agreement with Viking Bear Limited.

Holiday Inn Express is one of nine hotel brands operated by IHG alongside InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Even Hotels and Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts.

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The parent company of Ashfield Meetings & Events has acquired KnowledgePoint360 Group, further strengthening its healthcare communications offering and helping it to win several new clients.

UDG Healthcare PLC, which owns the Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services division, snapped up the successful medical communications agency in March.

Nicola Burns, global MD of Ashfield Meetings & Events, said the move was a significant boost to two of the group's areas of expertise: healthcare communications, and events. 

She said: "This is aligned to current client demand for our business to combine services across these specialist areas and provide innovative solutions that add real value to the educational content of the meetings.

“KnowledgePoint360 Group also significantly enhances our creative, digital and e-learning capabilities. In addition, it also adds a new and exciting in-house offering of exhibition services through Medex-Media.” 

KnowledgePoint360 Group, which is based in Macclesfield in the UK and in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, in the US, unveiled a 10 per cent growth in profit before tax to £8.6m for the year ended 31 December 2012. The company, which has more than 700 staff across 12 global locations, also increased turnover by nearly 6 per cent to £42.8m during the period.

Medex-Media, a division of KnowledgePoint360 Group, has worked with healthcare clients on exhibitions and live events since 1985, delivering around 70 projects annually at major international congresses. 

Luke Flett, head of sales and marketing for Ashfield Meetings & Events, said the firm's alignment with Medex-Media placed it in a market-leading position - and had already helped to secure several new clients.

“The recent acquisition has really resonated with our client base, particularly the addition of exhibition services. We have already had several successful collaborative new business wins and have numerous on-going discussions with clients from both sides of the business," said Flett. 

"The services are naturally aligned so it is very easy to demonstrate how we can add value by combining the delivery. In addition, the experienced in-house creative and digital resource that KnowledgePoint360 bring to the table augments our engagement and full service offerings. By working together we will be able to create more impactful events with highly engaging and immersive environments.”

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Event spend has increased by 8 per cent as marketing budgets were revised upwards for a seventh successive quarter, according to research from IPA Bellwether.

The Bellwether report, compiled by financial information services provider Markit, reveals 28.3 per cent of the survey panel reported an increase in overall marketing budgets in the second quarter of 2014, compared to just 13.1 per cent registering a fall. The resulting net balance of 15.2 per cent was down on quarter one’s survey high (20.4 per cent), but still the second highest in 14 years of the report. For events, the survey reported a net increase of 7.8 per cent. 

The report said: “An ongoing willingness amongst companies to raise their marketing budgets again in Q2 2014 reflected continued optimism regarding their own and wider industry financial prospects.”

And with the Bellwhether predicting 3 per cent growth for the UK economy this year, report author Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, says there is a ‘body of evidence’ which points to a strong, sustained growth.

“Marketing spend is surging higher as companies remain upbeat about the future,” he said. “The extent to which business confidence has shown continual improvements over the past year is remarkable, generating a major inflow of investment in marketing.

“Companies reported that spending on marketing and advertising activities showed the strongest rise for a decade last year. This year’s budgeted spend, which was already set higher than last year, has been revised up again in the second quarter, setting the scene for a bumper year.”

Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 has announced plans to pilot a new scheme aimed at helping young people with learning disabilities get into work.

It will be the first employer in the UK to trial the scheme, which will be run in partnership with and funded by Ealing Council and UK charity Mencap.

The scheme is based on an American employment model called SEARCH which gives young people the chance to spend their last academic year in the workplace instead of the classroom.

Commencing in September, 12 students from Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College will gain work experience at the airport property within food and beverage, meeting and event operations, housekeeping and reception.

Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 general manager Meredith Bevan said: “By helping these young people into work we are raising expectations of what they can achieve. Not only is the scheme helping young people gain valuable experience, it is also opening up life choices.

“We will place the young people within our departments in roles that match their skill sets. They will be continually assessed, supported and set targets for them to achieve.”

Caroline Lowe, director of human resources at the hotel, added: “Sadly, less than 7% of young people with learning disabilities make the transition from education into paid employment.

“We have a duty to challenge that statistic and this experience empowers those young people to seek employment. By their final year most students have completed their academic studies so the placement gives them real work experience.

“The hotel will benefit from the participants enthusiasm and the valuable contribution they make. It will also help break down barriers and change people’s perceptions. Everyone has been positive about the scheme and we are excited to be welcoming the students in the autumn.”

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Center Parcs has expanded the events team for its new Woburn Forest 'village' with three new appointments.

Event manager, Ronnie McNamee; event coordinator, Daisy Williams; and sales delivery coordinator, Hermione Gingell have joined the events team, following the village’s launch on 6 June.

McNamee has a strong background in events and marketing, holding managerial positions in various companies including ING and Selfridges. In her new role as event manager, she will have responsibility over all corporate events, ensuring high standards are maintained and that outstanding customer service is provided.

Williams was previously junior events manager at Milton Keynes agency Automotive Events,while Gingell joins from Silverstone Circuits, where she held the position of corporate sales executive.

Daniel Whittemore, head of corporate sales for Center Parcs, said: "We are extremely pleased to have appointed such experienced and enthusiastic staff as Ronnie, Daisy and Hermione. We have worked hard to ensure that we have the finest facilities on offer for clients and now we have the best team in place to guarantee that any event, meeting, conference or team-building activity is managed with the utmost care and attention to detail."

Bookings for Center Parcs' primary event space The Venue are being taken now, for conferences and events available from the autumn.

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