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The HBAA is looking ahead to next year with the unveiling of its incoming vice-chairs, Louise Goalen and Alison Makosz, as association and venue vice-chairs respectively.

Business director, venue finding at Ashfield Meetings & Events, Louise Goalen becomes association vice-chair and will support next year’s chair Leigh Cowlishaw with her plans for the association throughout 2016. Louise will also continue her role as chair of the HBAA events committee.

Alison Makosz, director of sales, MICE at The Belfry Hotel & Resort and Village – The Hotel Club, continues her involvement with the HBAA by taking the role of venue vice-chair. Alison will continue to support the membership executive committee as chair, as well as backing new venue chair Dawn Jaynes.

Louise Goalen said, “I feel honoured to have been elected as vice-chair of the HBAA for 2016. The association is very close to my heart as I have been working in the venues and events sector for over 20 years. The executive committee is hugely passionate about our industry and value the partnership with our member venues and ensuring we are represented as the voice of our industry.”

Alison Makosz added, “I am thrilled to be venue vice-chair for 2016 and to see the association progress even more in the next couple of years. I believe that the HBAA is integral to our industry and to be involved in the evolution of it is going to challenging, but I’m looking forward to the journey and supporting our members in achieving their objectives.”

Juliet Price, HBAA consultant executive director concluded, “We are delighted to announce Louise and Alison as our incoming vice-chairs. Their combined expertise, knowledge and time spent working with the association will undoubtedly prove great support for Leigh and Dawn next year.  It’s great to have them onboard to help with the future strategic development of the association, as we are eager to build on the work and results of this last year.”

The announcements coincide with Leigh Cowlishaw taking over from Jacqui Kavanagh as HBAA chair following the association’s annual dinner on 14 January 2016 at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Following a period working as a consultant to Tim Clark has now been appointed to the Board of as Strategic Development Director. Tim joined Velvet Software as Managing Director back in 2005, which was acquired by Passkey in 2011, and Passkey was subsequently acquired by Lanyon in 2013.

Michael Begley – Managing Director of commented ‘I had known Tim through the industry for many years and following an opportune meeting last year we agreed it was time for us to work together. I am delighted to welcome him to the company and I am really looking forward to working with him on the new developments in the pipeline’ has grown since Michael took over the helm from the founder Richard Parkin in 2008 and last year handled over 400,000 Meeting and Event transactions on behalf of its clients.

Tim will be heading up new opportunities for, looking at new relationships and exploring where our extensive venue data can be harnessed to extend our businesses reach with the MICE industry. Tim commented ‘This is an exciting time to join and they have achieved a great deal over the last 7 years and I am looking forward to staying in the industry and exploring new challenges with latest technology  to grow the business’ is based on the south coast of England in Bournemouth and has 36 full time employees. The core product is the GRATIS software solution that offers an end to end booking solution for meeting planners starting with the initial online search and select, through to raising the final invoice and commission claim. Other products include the API solutions for venue data, white label versions of their own venue finding site and their on premises software solution Events500.

The Link Hotel, part of imago’s award-winning portfolio of venues, has re-positioned itself as part of an on-going business strategy.
Located on the outskirts of Loughborough, The Link Hotel has undergone significant investment in infrastructure and staff training - £2 million over the last five years, which has been critical in increasing sales. The hotel has seen an increase in business from all of its core markets, resulting in growth of 16% year on year.
As The Link Hotel looks to build on this success, the property has re-positioned its branding to focus on its locality and outstanding customer service.
Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at imago, commented: “Many of the hotels in the area are focused on specific markets, such as conferences or leisure guests. So there was a real opportunity to reposition The Link Hotel and focus on its unique selling points to maintain the sales growth we have been achieving year on year.
“As part of our customer journey, we actively engaged with guests to seek their views on what was important to them and their feedback has been integrated into our business strategy. The Link Hotel is a highly versatile property and offers guests – whether they are travelling around the country on business or are visitors to Loughborough University – all the facilities they need for a comfortable stay and we hope to see its growth continue as we reposition it in the local marketplace.”
The Link Hotel is situated half a mile from the M1 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.
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

The Tourism Alliance has welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that the cost of long-term visas for Chinese visitors to the UK will be significantly reduced in order to boost tourism.

Although outbound tourism numbers from China have been increasing by over 200% to 109m per annum over the last 10 years, the UK’s share of this market has decreased by 45% over the same period, largely due to the poor value of the UK visa compared to a Schengen visa and the introduction of requirements that all Chinese visitors have their fingerprints taken as part of the application process – something not required when applying for a Schengen visa.

Tourism Alliance Chairman, Bernard Donoghue, stated “In 2014, visitor numbers to the UK from mainland China actually decreased by 6.5%, even though the total number of Chinese travelling overseas increased by 12.4%. As a result, the UK is missing out on significant revenue and job creating opportunities. Reducing long-term visa costs will help reverse this decline by presenting the UK as a more welcoming destination”.

Last year, only 185,000 mainland Chinese visitors came to the UK, down from 200,000 visitors in 2013. This is less than 20% of the number that visited France. China is the World’s most important growth market for tourism, with Chinese visitor spending more than twice the amount of average visitor spend to the UK. It is therefore important that the UK does all it can to secure a larger slice of this market.

Founded on successful, trusting business relationships, integrity is a value De Souza Associates pride themselves with, working alongside customers and suppliers alike. De Souza Associates’ venue finding service is friendly, personal and efficient, their vision is for “Perfect conferences, events and venues every time".

Customised exactly to company and customer needs, the experienced event organisers source venues for a variety of corporate events which include:

•    Meetings
•    Seminars
•    Conferences
•    Training days
•    Recruitment days
•    Networking events
•    Product launches
•    Team building events
•    Private dinners
•    Summer parties
•    Christmas parties
•    Entertaining staff/clients and;
•    Accommodation booking services.

 “Collectively, the team at DeSouza Associates has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the events industry & has established relationships with a variety of venues, hotel groups, event suppliers and opinion leaders in the UK & worldwide”  says Lida DeSouza.

GRATIS partners like De Souza Associates confirmed over £132 million worth of enquiries across the UK over 2014 and is on track to break that figure for 2015.

Fully listed venues with have complete visibility to our 39,000 web users and all 36 Agents. Fully listed venues have over 200 searchable items of key venue information, which means venues will be found easier and results in increased quality enquiries.

Lime Venue Portfolio took centre stage last week at the Meetings Industry Marketing Awards (MIMA), the most respected marketing awards in the UK events industry. At the annual ceremony the brand picked up three awards; two silvers and one gold, making it the joint best performer on the night.

The awards recognised Lime Venue Portfolio for its performance in the Best Use of Social Media (Silver), Best Direct Mail (Gold) and Best Use of Budget (Silver) categories; underlining the breadth of marketing expertise the brand has delivered for its venue clients over the last 12 months.

Lime Venue Portfolio received the Gold award for its “GIANT” campaign, which saw a targeted number of key customers sent oversized advent calendars and huge chocolate Easter eggs. The campaign communicated the message that the portfolio offers the largest collection of unusual venues and then further engaged the audience with a concurrent social media campaign.

Speaking after the awards, Richard Kadri-Langford, Head of Marketing at Lime Venue Portfolio, commented, ”This is an outstanding accolade for the brand and one we couldn’t have gained without the support of our venue clients across the country. To be recognised as delivering excellence in both social and direct marketing means we’re performing in new and more established mediums, whilst Best Use of Budget shows our campaigns are cutting through the “noise” and delivering more bang for our buck..“

“Our primary role is to support our venues with high quality sales and marketing; the awards are given based on strong creative strategies, implementation, but most of all on return on investment, so this is a real pat on the back for us all,” concluded Richard.

Lime Venue Portfolio is the UK’s largest collection of unusual, sporting and cultural venues. The brand delivers sales and marketing support as a division of Levy Restaurants UK the sport, leisure and hospitality division of Compass Group UK & Ireland. / @AHintOfLimeVP

The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers’ (ASAP) Annual Convention will take place at etc.venues St Paul’s, London on Thursday 3rd December.

Now in its 6th year, the convention is a high-quality, one-stop-shop opportunity meet with key operators, suppliers, agents and decision makers within the sector.

During the day you will hear the latest industry insights, share best practice and take part in a seminar programme packed full of educational discussions.

Tickets cost £450 +VAT but HBAA members get 20% off the non-member delegate rate.

Click here to book your place and quote HBAA20:

“1 in 4 female business travellers have suffered a safety related incident whilst on company business, ranging from theft or personal belongings to serious sexual assault.” (Maiden Voyage, Female Traveller Safety Report, 2015)

CTI have become the first travel management company to join forces with female traveller safety experts, Maiden Voyage.

As part of the agreement, CTI can now offer certified female friendly hotels to their corporate clients. These world-wide hotels are personally inspected and must meet the strictest of security standards. The criteria includes 24/7 staffed reception, double-locking hotel doors and being located in a safe area.

The agreement also means that CTI have access to female business traveller safety awareness training, advice on gender specific travel policies and can offer clients access to the secure network for female business travellers.

Clive Wratten, Commercial Director for CTI said, “Ensuring the safety of all of our travellers is one of our top priorities.  However, lone female business travellers can face a particular set of risks that many companies fail to acknowledge. Our partnership with Maiden Voyage now means that we are the first travel company to have access to an independently verified collection of hotels that have been inspected for both safety and comfort.“

Carolyn Pearson, founder of Maiden Voyage said, “This is not about discrimination or being patronised, this is about providing pragmatic support to a section of your workforce in a sensitive way. 51% of our survey respondents told us that they had felt vulnerable in the hotels provided by their employers. Many of those women felt that it would be ‘career limiting’ to voice their concerns and so said nothing.  If employees don’t get a good night’s sleep whilst on business travel they are not going to perform at their best the next day.

We are delighted that CTI have had the foresight to work with us on creating a better experience for the female business traveller.  We are already seeing an increase in corporate managers requesting services for lone female travellers and this trend is set to increase. “

CTI will be at the Office Show (London Olympia) on the 13th & 14th October 2015.

For further information please visit

clic+, the award-winning event for event organisers, returned for a second year to inspire and engage professionals from across the conferencing and meetings sector.

Organised by Robinson College, Cambridge, clic+ 2015 brought together a host of seminars and workshops designed to explore key concerns, including: maximising ROI, finessing content and ensuring sustainability.

Keynote speakers included Victoria Darragh, the applauded EA from Hays PLC who used her speech to highlight how event attendees could gain maximum ROI from their experience.

Her talk also included a range of personal bugbears which negatively impacted on events as well as some practical advice for improving engagement before, during and after an event. Particularly, she was keen to point out that event managers are often under-appreciated in the work they do and, as a result, pay scales fail to match the heavy workload.

In the afternoon, HR powerhouse, PutneyRed’s Linda Moir took to the stage, using examples of her time at Virgin Atlantic and London 2012 to inspire delegates, exploring different methods in which to offer exceptional customer service. From grand gestures to small touches. Importantly, it’s about getting the basics rights but adding a magic touch to differentiate from others.

The day also incorporated a series of interactive workshops, built around the main theme of the conference, and provided by market-leading companies: Media House, Speakers Corner, Live Group, Inspired and Green Moon Events.

In response to feedback from delegates at the 2014 event, a conscious effort was made to provide more networking opportunities for visitors to meet, greet and most importantly, connect.

The day concluded with a dynamic debate over the topic of ‘Degree vs Experience’ where Leeds Beckett’s Glenn Bowdin and Natasha Lowman, Inspired’s Ben Cole and Michael McGrath, founder of the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) definitively agreed that the industry needed to look beyond this contrived conflict and see the value within both platforms. There was no doubt it was felt that formal qualifications and higher education has helped increase awareness and made the industry more attractive to young people.

A special gala dinner was also hosted by Robinson College, both to welcome attendees, speakers and exhibitors to clic+ 2015 but also celebrate and support the work of the MHF. A four-course dinner was followed by a raffle and live auction where the 65 assembled guests managed to raise over £2,500 for the charity. Post event entertainment was then provided by Off Limits who offered plenty of fun and games to round of the evening.

Commenting on the event, Nick Milne, College Steward at Robinson College said: “The success of last year’s event meant that we had big shoes to fill and expectations, from both new and returning guests were high. Buoyed by the C&IT Award win for clic+ just days before the event, we threw ourselves into the occasion and delivered a convivial and educational day of content and networking. What made this event a success, was the strong links we have with our suppliers, agents and partners who all contributed their time and resources to make this event even better than last year.”

Much of the day’s action took place in Robinson College’s new Crausaz Wordsworth Building, the culmination of £5 million of investment into the academic venue.

Lime Venue Portfolio (LVP), the UK’s largest collection of unusual, sporting and cultural venues, has attained the Accredited In Meetings (AIM) hallmark of excellence at an additional 14 of its venues.

Joining more than 500 of the UK’s leading AIM venues, LVP’s accredited destinations, including Edinburgh Zoo, Kia Oval, Edgbaston Stadium and Leicester City FC, have all met a rigorous set of agreed standards and a strict code of practice. Each team has demonstrated excellence in terms of legal compliance, ethical business operations, capability, quality of the facilities and overall fitness of purpose.

AIM is the UK’s only nationally recognised quality standard for meetings venues and suppliers to the industry. These 14 venues further strengthen LVP’s variety and first class services for meetings and events, reflecting their consistent, open, decent and ethical values and join Lime Venue Portfolio’ s other AIM accredited venues such as Twickenham, Aintree and Kents Hill Park.

Tracey Astles, Head of Conference and Events Development at LVP, says: “Achieving AIM accreditation at these 14 venues is a proud moment for us. It’s a strong message to deliver to our customers and, supports our objective of offering an industry leading meetings and events product.”

Jo Austin, Sales Director at LVP adds: “We’re recognised as a collection of unusual and unique venues, and the AIM accreditation means we are providing everything that our customers are looking for and it’s all supported through our strong client partnerships. The accreditation really underpins our meetings and events service delivery and to be associated with AIM is a testament to our hard-working teams’ professionalism and quality of our venues.”

Jenny Sheehan, Communications Manager, AIM says: “We’re delighted to present 14 of LVP’s venues with the AIM accreditation. This is a celebration of LVP’s best practice which guarantees excellence within the meetings and events offering. Corporates now have a greater understanding of the scheme’s importance and, LVP is playing a big part in leading the way for high-standards and customer care, from event enquiry to completion.”

LVP’s newest AIM accredited venues include: Cardiff City Stadium, Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, Chill Factore, Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Dartmouth House, Hatfield House, Sheffield United FC, the Museum of Science and Industry, Bristol Zoo Gardens and SnowDome. The accreditation is endorsed by Visit Britain, Visit Wales, Meet England, ABPCO, MPI and HBAA.

LVP is a division of Levy Restaurants UK the sport, leisure and hospitality division of Compass Group UK & Ireland.


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