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Ashfield Meetings & Events is delighted to announce the appointment of Janina Monaghan to Global Sales Support Manager and Angie Dewey to Operations Manager – Venue Finding.

Janina has 15 years’ experience in the events industry across a range of sectors including automotive, financial services and healthcare. She has held a variety of positions in the events industry both operationally delivering global events, and in sales and business development teams as a proposal writer.

Janina will lead a team that works in close collaboration with the agency’s operational, engagement and business development teams to ensure continued new business success for the agency.

Janina commented: “I’m excited to be part of Ashfield’s global Sales Support department. It is a fantastic opportunity to use my experience and insight to bring a fresh perspective to an existing and successful team. We want to ensure we continue to challenge ourselves and each other to find innovative solutions, not only for our clients, but the ways in which we work as a team and gather inspiration.”

Penny Callaghan (Director) commented: “I am delighted to welcome Janina to Ashfield. With her experience, I look forward to her contributions in identifying and promoting strategic solutions for new and existing clients. In the short time with the company she has already become a valued part of the team, sharing the team’s learnings and winning solutions with the wider business through a series of lunch and learns.”

Angie brings 24 years’ industry experience to the Venue Finding Team. During her career with several travel management agencies she has held positions across supplier relations, operational, account management and business development roles. Angie has experience of working across a variety of sectors including banking, healthcare, legal and retail.

Angie said: “I am delighted to be working for a forward thinking full service event management agency like Ashfield. The venue finding team is expanding as a result of client wins, I am looking forward to utilising my skills to lead operational excellence and drive further growth over the coming months.”

The Link Hotel, part of imago’s portfolio of venues, has seen corporate bookings increase by an incredible 43%.

The AA three star rated venue puts the increase in business down to its central location combined with its affordable facilities which make it the ideal location for meetings on a budget.

The Link Hotel – located on the outskirts of Loughborough - situated half a mile from the M1 on the outskirts of Loughborough, making it easy to reach by road, rail and air. Its meetings facilities include six training and meeting rooms and break out areas – all of which have high speed Wi-Fi access - with a capacity of 200 people as well as 94 en-suite bedrooms, lounge, bar and dining facilities.

Emma Boynton, head of sales and marketing at imago, comments: “The Link is a highly versatile venue, offering people travelling around the country on business with all the facilities they need for meetings with colleagues in a relaxed environment and at an affordable price. The Link’s popularity has also increased as it is also ideal for people to stop of and catch up with work while they are out on the road. With modern and comfortable accommodation also provides an ideal base for overnight business guests. More and more people are discovering the benefits of The Link and we hope to see its success continue.”

imago unifies Loughborough University’s conference and events venues under one brand, offering high quality meeting spaces, venues and accommodation along with excellent sports and leisure facilities. For more information visit or call 01509 633030.


Robinson College, one of Cambridge’s most forward-thinking academic institutions, has achieved the prestigious AIM Gold accreditation, for excellence in its meetings and events division.

This prestigious award comes at the culmination of a lengthy and detailed assessment process which drilled-down into the finest minutiae of what makes Robinson College an outstanding space, and why it should be at the top of event organisers’ and agents’ preferred venue list.

The assessment was all-encompassing, taking into account: business planning, service delivery, understanding customers’ needs and continuous improvement amongst many other criteria. In particular, the assessors singled out the College’s commitment to continuous improvement from low carbon menus to group check-in arrangements; additionally the longevity of staff tenure and their high-levels of experience were noted.

Commenting on the achievement, Nick Milne, conference and catering manager at Robinson College said: “This is an amazing result, marking yet another milestone for us. As a college we are committed to investing in our facilities to make sure that we are always improving and keeping up to date with the needs of residents, stakeholders and clients. This accreditation reinforces this approach to our business. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the staff across the College who work tirelessly day in and day out to offer our students, faculty and corporate guests the standards they expect, and for their sustained passion, in helping to build Robinson’s reputation as one of Cambridge’s most dynamic academic destinations.”

Gary Payne, chair of the AIM Development Group added: “This is a well-deserved and fantastic achievement for Robinson College, and a welcome addition to the growing list of AIM gold venues.”

The AIM Gold accreditation comes hot on the heels of another gold standard win for Robinson College from the Green Impact Awards, recognising academic institutions which adapt their systems and procedures to provide a more sustainable service.

Taken from the July issue of Hospitality & Events North magazine, Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of the HBAA talks about the need for a return to face-to-face meetings

Being able to work quickly and easily while on the move has become a vital component in our daily lives and more prevalent in the hospitality sector. Our constant need for instant access, through emails and remote working, has meant we are an industry attached to our smart phones. 

However, earlier this year (19 May) Bill McDermot, CEO of SAP, addressed an audience at IMEX Frankfurt and spoke about the importance of the Meetings & Events industry, in particular highlighting the significance of face-to-face events and the motivation they provide staff. 

The biggest and most important meetings are always discussed in person. A private environment allows delegates to get straight to the point, to get our message across quicker and deliver it in the way it was intended. Meeting face-to-face, attendees often become encouraged by the outcomes discussed, which in turn helps staff perform better. This just isn’t achieved through group email conversations – in fact it can be misleading and cause tension.   

The reality too is that millennial’s are attracted to shorter, bite sized bursts of information. We read more this way; that’s why Skype calls and dial-in conference meetings are now commonplace and filling the traditional face-to-face void.

However, as with everything, there must be a compromise. Companies are transforming the way they host meetings to appeal to those put out by the thought of endless board room conferences. Meeting concepts now incorporate everything from shorter, condensed sessions; stand up meetings; meetings in inspiring locations; outside events and interactive sessions. 

While the industry took a beating during the recession years, social meetings took over the landscape. It is important to remember though the need for personal, face-to-face interaction. Let’s hope that as budgets continue to grow, so will the number of get-together business meetings. 

Read this month's issue online here: 

The HBAA has secured behavioural economist and strategist Roger Martin-Fagg along with Jonathan Bradshaw, CEO of the Meetology Group as speakers for its Annual Forum 2015, on 20 and 21 July at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole. 

An authority when it comes to the UK and global economy, Roger is a leading business educator, whose motto is, “Simplicity is the end point to understanding.” Martin-Fagg will be sharing insight on being economically intelligent, how the economy really works, why Government is not the cause of austerity or the driver of growth, where we are today and the outlook for the next three years. 

Hosting a session on the science behind human interaction, Jonathan is passionate about human behaviour and founded the Meetology Group in 2010 with the goal of using psychology and behavioural science to aid business interaction. With his team of psychologists, Jonathan helps businesses and organisations in a variety of industries gain competitive advantage by training and coaching staff on the fascinating psychology behind human interaction. 

The Annual Forum is a highlight in the association's calendar and gives delegates the opportunity to address and debate market trends, hear from high-profile keynote speakers, and widen their knowledge through tailored sessions. This year’s theme is the ‘Better Business Toolkit’ with a nod to all things British.  

The HBAA Annual Forum will also offer members a choice of workshops focusing on subjects such as event technology and crisis media management, as well as a better business boot camp. This year, the Annual Forum has been moved from September to July to accommodate its members’ work schedules.

Juliet Price, consultant executive director of the HBAA, said: “We are delighted to welcome Roger and Jonathan to our 2015 line-up. Between them, Roger has worked for the New Zealand Treasury and the UK’s Air Transport Industry, while Jonathan has presented in over 30 countries and is an award winning columnist. Their collective experience is hard to beat, and we are all looking forward to learning something new in their addresses.”

The Professional Convention Management Association [PCMA] has partnered with The Meetings Show as part of its ongoing focus on the delivery of superior and innovative education, whilst promoting the value of professional convention management.

Sherrif Karamat, the PCMA Chief Operating Officer commented: “As one of the world's leading associations for convention and meeting planners, the PCMA is continually looking to work with like-minded partners working at the heart of both the corporate and association side of the meetings and events industry.  The Meetings Show has firmly established its position as the UK’s leading trade show for domestic and international events, particularly in terms of the quality of their buyer attendees and high quality exhibitor list.  Working alongside the show allows us to become even closer to the UK buyer market, which is strongly represented at the show.”

Education content tailored specifically for corporate and association meetings and events planners has been created by the PCMA including:

Data - Increasing Revenues while Diversifying Revenue Streams: In a digitalised economy we frequently hear buzz phrases such as predictive analytics and data driven decision making, however they are usually broad-based and frequently only scratch the surface of the topic.  This session takes a deep dive into how we can effectively use data to drive new revenues while most importantly diversifying revenue streams.

Straight Talk from Corporate Meeting Professionals: What We Really Want from the Meetings Department: In an era of globalisation, rapid integration of technology and an ever increasing demand for better returns on your meeting investments, meeting professionals are not only demanding more from all their stakeholders and partners, they are also demanding to be a part of the development of the objectives and strategy for their programs.  This session will explore how to get that strategic seat at the table and fulfil executives' expectations once you get there.

“The Meetings Show is the ideal place for planners to meet, learn and network but we need to continue looking for new ways and new content to ensure their continued attendance and support,” comments event director, Steve Knight.  “The Meetings Show is the only show in the UK where hosted buyers and visitors can engage directly with the PCMA.  Our partnership adds significant value and credibility to the whole visitor buyer experience, whilst these focused education sessions give attendees something genuinely new and directly relevant to their role.”

Organised by Centaur Live (a division of Centaur Media Plc), The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, taking place 7-9 July 2015 at Olympia, London. Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

About PCMA

PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,700+ members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization's face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at



Growing head counts, globalisation and investment in new branding are key trends highlighted in C&IT's State of the Industry 2015 report.

2014 was a year of growth for the majority of agencies Last year (2014) was significant in UK event agency land, with the shock demise of pharmaceutical specialist W&O and Nigel Cooper buying Zibrant from Motivcom, which was in turn sold to Sodexo Motivation Solutions UK (SMSUK).

Yet despite this shake-up, C&IT's annual Top 50 agencies ranking, which ranks agencies by their event-based turnover, did not change dramatically:

REVEALED: State of the Industry 2015 – Top 20 event agencies

In terms of the key agency trends, most agencies continue to upsize - 86% expanded their headcount in 2014 and 84% expect to expand further in 2015 - resulting in a talent gap as companies struggle to find the right people to fill an increasing number of vacancies, particularly at senior level.

A fifth (20%) of the 87 agencies surveyed and interviewed said that recruitment woes and finding and keeping talent are the biggest challenges for their business in 2015.

In addition to investing in staff, there has been a significant increase in investment in new branding, be it a complete rebrand - for example, Universal World Events becoming Ashfield Meetings & Events.

The growing trend towards globalisation continues, with a number of agencies expanding to new shores. Banks Sadler opened a China office in Shanghai in February, while Ashfield Meetings & Events opened its third US office, in California, and WRG opened a branch in Basel, Switzerland to target pharmaceutical clients.

However, recent news that WRG was scaling back in the Middle East and closing its Qatar office in April serves as a reminder as to how difficult it can be establishing a presence in overseas markets. "We launched in Qatar in 2008 and Abu Dhabi in 2011. We have established ourselves well in the Middle East and have a long heritage there," says WRG chief executive David Sharrock.

"But the Middle East market is quite a different place to do business in compared to the UK. We're still serving the region but with much more emphasis on our core sectors."

The Barbican will be re-launching its Conservatory event space at The Meetings Show on stand G22 next month.

The Conservatory is a hidden tropical oasis. Home to exotic fish and 2,000 species of plants and trees, it is the second largest glass house in London, and one of the Barbican’s most popular event spaces.

“The Conservatory is undoubtedly a unique event space in the City of London,” comments Oliver Hargreaves, Deputy Head of Sales at Barbican Business Events. “Its versatility when it comes to events really makes it popular amongst delegates here and by re-launching it at The Meetings Show in July we hope to bring it to a whole new audience that may otherwise not have known about it. If you’re looking for a unique venue in the heart of London then come and see us on stand G22 and learn more about the Conservatory.”

Protected by its glass roof the Conservatory is suitable to be used in any weather conditions and can accommodate up to 100 delegates for a standing fork buffet or 150 guests for a drinks reception. A staircase leads to the terrace which creates a flexible networking space for events overlooking the tropical treetops of the Conservatory. Up to 200 delegates can be accommodated on the terrace for either a drinks reception or private dining.

New research into the UK’s conference and business events sector, entitled the ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2015’ (UKCAMS), values the sector at an estimated £21.6 billion in venue and destination direct spend in 2014. The total represents an increase of some £2 billion compared with the previous year, due mainly to an increase in event size.

The ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey’, now in its 22nd consecutive year, has a specific focus on the value and volume of the market and the performance of meeting venues. It also highlights key market trends identified by venues. The results provide a definitive insight into the business events sector and are widely used to inform investment, advocacy and marketing activities.

The research findings also reveal that the overall number of business events in 2014 (an estimated 1.28 million) was similar to 2013. However, the increased average size of events led to a total of 104 million delegates generating 162 million business event days, compared with 91 million delegates and 148 million business event days in 2013.

Increasing optimism in the market was reflected in higher levels of investment by venues, with 78 per cent having undertaken some investment in 2014. The proportion of venues investing more than £100,000 was up on 2012 and 2013 levels. Venues also indicated that their overall business performance was up in 2014 compared with 2013, and 65 per cent anticipated that 2015 results would show further growth.

Other key findings from the research include:

·       There was an average of 366 events per venue in 2014 – this was on a par with 2013 (356 events) and 2012 (373 events). The majority of events (61 per cent) were held in hotels

·       The average event duration was 1.6 days, although most events (64 per cent) lasted a day or less. Average duration varied from 1.4 days for non-residential events to 2.0 days for residential events

·       The average daily delegate rate achieved by venues for business events was £46 (inc VAT). The average 24-hour / residential rate was £126 (inc VAT). This compares to an average for the period 2010 to 2014 of £43 (inc VAT) for day rates and £129 (inc VAT) for 24-hour / residential rates.

·       The lack of growth in rates achieved suggests that the market is still highly competitive. It may also highlight the influence of company procurement departments, identified by venues as one of the main challenges to their conference and meetings business

·       Other challenges noted by venues were keeping pace with technology demands and the provision of Wi-Fi with sufficient bandwidth

·       Interestingly, issues around compliance, contracts and T&Cs, staff recruitment and retention, and the payment of commission to agencies were rated as only a moderate challenge by venues.

Simon Gidman, Head of Business Visits and Events for VisitEngland and principal sponsor of UKCAMS 2015, comments: ‘England’s events industry has a lot to look forward to over the next few years. In addition to major global sporting events such as the England Rugby World Cup in the autumn of 2015, England plays host to a series of significant scientific and business events including the prestigious European Science Open Forum in Manchester (2016) and the International Festival of Business in Liverpool (2016). The ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2015’ provides important confirmation of the energy and vitality of the sector, and really positive indicators for its future growth.

Other sponsors of the research are: The Meetings Show,, Visit Guildford for Business, Conference Centres of Excellence, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, and Hiscox Event Assured.

The research was carried out by Tony Rogers of Tony Rogers Conference & Event Services and Richard Smith of RJS Associates.

Copies of the full UKCAMS 2015 report are available priced £145 + VAT. Visit to download an order form.

Georgia McKay, 22, from Strathaven has been appointed Sales Manager at the exclusive venue, with responsibility for bringing in a host of events on non-race days.

Her new position is with Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, the exclusive catering and hospitality partner at the racecourse. It makes her one of the youngest ever Sales Managers with the company, which partners with 17 exclusive venues across Scotland.

The hospitality specialist has built its reputation on using locally-sourced and sustainable produce wherever possible and is delighted to also be employing the best local talent.

Georgia joined Sodexo after leaving Strathaven Academy, opting for the career move instead of taking up a place on an Event Management degree course at the University of West of Scotland.

Her promotion comes after four years at the racecourse as a Sales Coordinator and the first year of her new position will be spent in a maternity cover role at Hamilton Park.

Georgia said: “I am incredibly lucky to have been employed by Sodexo Prestige and to have had four fantastic years with the company so far. I have loved every minute of it.

“When I first took on the role as Sales Coordinator, I had little to no experience in the field, but Sodexo Prestige and staff at Hamilton Park Racecourse really supported me and helped me get to where I am today.

“It was a great opportunity for me to take on the Sales Manager role and I am very much looking forward to seeing where this experience will take me in my future career with the company.”


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