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An internationally renowned venue finding and conference management agency is celebrating 20 years. DeSouza Associates was established in 1995 after founder Lida decided to leave her position in the pharmaceutical industry and set up on her own. The agency specialises in sourcing the ideal venue for corporate events. 

Proudly surviving two recessions, Lida DeSouza said “Twenty years feels like a milestone we should celebrate, particularly in this day and age. I’ve always felt that our strength in being small allows us to establish personal relationships with clients over a long period.” 

DeSouza Associates have maintained their client base for many years and continue to grow the business mainly from referrals. She said “Our philosophy is all about truly understanding each of our customer’s requirements and collectively, the team at DeSouza Associates has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the events industry”. 

Having the medical link, DeSouza Associates regularly act as a professional conference organiser for an international medical society, providing full event management for their international meetings and Workshops.

Due to growth and expansion, their office is now based in one of the most prestigious streets in Farnham, Surrey with a team of 5. 

ACC Liverpool will welcome 6,000 international delegates to the city after winning a series of global conferences.

The venue will host the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) in 2020, attracting 4,500 delegates to the entire complex - BT Convention Centre, Echo Arena and Exhibition Centre Liverpool - over three days.  The annual meeting is recognised worldwide as a meeting of high scientific and educational quality, aiming to improve the clinical care of children and adolescents with endocrine conditions including diabetes.

Professor Mehul T Dattani is head of clinical service in paediatric endocrinology, head of section of genetics and epigenetics in health and disease at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and UCL Institute of Child Health and chair of the programme organising committee of ESPE.  He said: “We host our annual congress all over the world from Athens to Vienna to Washington and these meetings are highly successful with attendance by more than 4000 delegates. 

“The venue is usually selected by the membership of the society and, this year, the organisation was impressed by the bid submitted by ACC Liverpool and voted for the venue with a clear majority.  We are confident that our delegates will enjoy their stay in such a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that has a great cultural heritage.”

ACC Liverpool also recently confirmed the International Conference on Pseudomonas and Global Greens - both events will take place in the venue in 2017.

Kerrin MacPhie, director of conference and exhibition sales at The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “We are delighted to confirm this series of international conferences, which in total will bring around 6,000 delegates to Liverpool.

“Each win comes as a result of the extensive research carried out by our international bid team and the relationships with our clients.  It’s fair to say we are competing against global venues and destinations.

“Global Greens is also an example of how hosting a successful national event, as we did this year, can lead to securing an international congress at a later date.”

The news comes as ACC Liverpool prepares to exhibit at IBTM this week.  The team will be on stand G15, part of the VisitEngland pavilion, throughout the show.  Updates will include the latest on Exhibition Centre Liverpool which opened in September. 

Forthcoming conference highlights include the Low Carbon Networks and Innovation Conference and UK Stroke Forum.

Wyboston Lakes are delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Jones as Operations Director for this £multi-million family business.  Steve joins with a brief to further improve the Hospitality skills, operational efficiency and guest care - thereby delivering an even more secure future for this largest of independent specialists.

With over 24 years in hospitality, Steve’s career has followed consistent early promotion and four general management roles in his earlier career.  He was instrumental in creating the enormous success of Four Pillars Hotels through nine years rising to be the Board Director responsible for operations across all 6 properties with over 900 bedrooms. Most recently he has been the General Manager of the prestigious 414 bedroom Beaumont Estate following the purchase of Four Pillars, PH Hotels and De Vere Venues by Starwood Capital.

“Wyboston Lakes is a family business with a 50 year history and a long-term view of the Hospitality industry and the team that makes our success possible. Steve Jones joins us as Operations Director because he embodies all the Values and Principles that are at the core of our business and is hungry for further success and the opportunity to bring his ideas and wide experience to bear on our future.” Mark Jones, Managing Director.

The Barbican has been awarded with a 4 star certificate from the Venue Standard following a rigorous assessment process put in place by the industry standard.

The certificate acknowledges high standards in both operational processes and procedures throughout the Barbican. The assessment also recognises a dedication to ensuring memorable experiences for delegates and clients whilst delivering excellence as a quality venue.

“The 4 star rating given to us by the Venue Standard is recognition of the standard of venue, facilities and service that we offer to our clients,” comments Lee Dobson, Head of Event Management at the Barbican. “Not only does it highlight what we have done well but it also gives us a solid platform on which we can build. With many venue improvements to come in the summer of 2016, we are confident that we can continue to exceed client expectations.”

The Venue Standard is designed to help organisers and planners identify what standard of venue they are dealing with. Similar to hotels and restaurants, the Venue Standard is a rating based on specific criteria that has been checked and verified by Excellence Squared, a UKAS accredited body.

"Congratulations to the Barbican on being recognised with a 4 star rating for the Venue Standard,” comments Gary Swarbrooke, from the Excellence Squared. “Achieving this level of Venue Standard is a real accolade to the way the Barbican develops and delivers its services with the customer in mind.  The Standard does a quality assessment against customer feedback, physical appearance, service delivery and administration.  The Barbican has every reason to be proud of their recognition as a quality venue in London”

Further information about utilising event space at the Barbican can be acquired by contacting the Business Events Team: +44 (0)20 7382 7043 |

Alton Towers Resort has recently taken home the following awards at the Staffordshire Tourism Awards:

GOLD – Best Large Hotel
GOLD – Best for Business Tourism
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Large Visitor Attraction

As a result of their Gold award wins Alton Towers Resort will now automatically be entered into the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2016, showcasing the venue as an exceptional and unique conference and events destination.

SilverDoor, the world’s leading serviced apartment agent, picked up the award for Corporate Housing Provider of the Year at the EMEA Expatriate Management & Mobility Awards 2015.

The awards, held by The Forum of Expatriate Management at the Lancaster London Hotel, recognised the leaders, business successes and rising stars of the mobility industry in 2015.

The judges were impressed by SilverDoor’s commitment to providing a service that appreciates the complexities associated with mobility and provides tools to help manage assignees expectations.

The judges commented, “SilverDoor has produced fantastic, innovative documentation to improve the client experience and provided great examples of enhancements and attention to detail.”

It’s the first time that SilverDoor has won an EMMA and Commercial Director, Stuart Winstone, is delighted to have received industry recognition on a night that celebrated excellence in global mobility.

“We’re all very proud to have received the award for Corporate Housing Provider of the Year. I believe our employees are the experts when it comes to temporary accommodation for relocation and I’m delighted that their hard work has been recognised by the leading global mobility awards.”

The award continues a successful year for SilverDoor after winning Serviced Apartment Provider of the Year at the Business Travel Awards 2015 in January.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) have welcomed a new book, published by event industry experts Tony Rogers and Rob Davidson, ahead of its launch during ibtm world in Barcelona next week.

The book, entitled 'Marketing Destinations and Venues for Conferences, Conventions and Business Events' (second edition), introduces students and practitioners to key areas of marketing and promotion that are essential if conference destinations and venues are to compete successfully in the rapidly expanding global business events sector. It achieves this by looking at issues surrounding business event marketing, strategic planning, destination and venue selling and future challenges.

Michael Hirst OBE, Chair of the BVEP says; “This updated publication is a very welcome addition to the store of knowledge about industry good practice. In addition to the launch of this important book, the industry is also looking forward to the work currently being undertaken by Tony Rogers to map current industry research, compile a comprehensive analysis of what is available and determine the research gaps that need to be filled.”

Scott Taylor, CEO of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, also welcomes the new book, saying; “Destinations and Venues compete to win and this book will help you stay in pole position. When you’re overtaking, keep accelerating! - An essential read for professional development and hungry-for-success individuals.”

The book is available to purchase online now at

imago, the conference and events arm of Loughborough University, has won Gold in the Business Tourism category at the Leicester and Leicestershire Excellence in Tourism Awards 2015.

The fifth annual awards were hosted by Leicester Shire Promotions and held as part of the inaugural Leicester Business Festival 2015, with the awards ceremony being held at the Leicester Mercure Grand Hotel last week (November 5, 2015). Its winning entry will now be re-judged for the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016.

This award acknowledges the importance of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector of the tourism industry. The judges felt imago’s winning entry was creative, inspirational, and passionate with a focus on detail in all areas, being committed to guest requirements and constantly striving to better themselves.

It is not the first time imago has been recognised for excellence at the awards – Burleigh Court has twice won Gold in the Large Hotel of the Year category. The Link Hotel was also shortlisted in the Accommodation Provider of the Year Category at this year’s awards.

imago is one of the region’s leading business tourism providers – renowned for its commitment to excellence and customer service - offering high quality meeting and event venues and accommodation alongside sporting and leisure facilities. Its award winning portfolio includes Burleigh Court, Holywell Park, The Link Hotel and Loughborough University. These are complemented by its event management service which allows event organisers to make the most of its local knowledge and expertise.

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at imago, comments: “Winning the Business Tourism award highlights imago’s strength as a leading provider to the meeting and events industry within the region. Winning awards such as this is a testament to the hard work of the entire team and I would like to thank them for their enthusiasm and commitment in helping us achieve our goals. This is a fantastic accolade and recognition of our hard working, customer focused staff.”

Launched in 2003, imago unifies Loughborough University’s conference and events venues under one brand. For more information visit or call 01509 633030. 

Following a comprehensive Quality Assessment from the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), Executive Serviced Apartments (esa) has retained the coveted Quality Marque for the second year since the programme began.

The Quality Assessment programme was established by the ASAP in 2014 to evaluate and benchmark its members’ properties and services. To achieve accreditation, serviced apartment operators undergo an annual quality assessment and compliance review.

Assessors stay overnight in a selection of apartments and experience a guest’s journey from initial booking to check out. Each element of the experience is scored and compared with other operators, to ensure the accommodation and service meets the ASAP’s exacting standards.

By retaining the Quality Marque, esa has not only exceeded the required standard for guest experience; it has also demonstrated its legal and health & safety compliance.

Commenting on the company’s accreditation, Charlie Turner, Chief Executive of esa, said:

“Being awarded the Quality Marque again this year is a fantastic achievement and something for which the team can be justly proud. As a trusted accommodation provider for leading global businesses, we have a responsibility to our clients to deliver on their expectations. Guest satisfaction is incredibly important to us, so ensuring all aspects of our accommodation and service reach a consistently high standard remains our priority. “

Fernando Diez, esa’s Guest Relations and Operations Director said:

“We have a robust system in place for monitoring our apartment standards and we regularly perform quality audits across our portfolio. Receiving such an excellent score from an independent assessment is a great endorsement and ensures our guests can have complete confidence that they will be safe, comfortable and well looked after when they stay in an esa serviced apartment.”

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa has been accepted into the Pride of Britain Hotels consortium, one of the most established and sought after hotel membership organisations in the UK.

The Pride of Britain Hotels syndicate is a not for profit organisation recognising hotels that have a longstanding reputation for excellence. The group is a collection of never more than 50 independent, mostly family-owned, luxury hotels in some of the most picturesque locations around the British Isles. Hotels currently part of the group range in size from 11 to over 140 rooms.

Noel Byrne, Chief Executive at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, commented: “Many hotels are rejected at the initial application stage so it is an honour to be welcomed into this prestigious group of hotels. In order to achieve acceptance into the Pride of Britain Hotels group, the hotel had to pass the rigorous application process and a mystery shopper visit, the results of which highlighted the impeccable standards we ensure are maintained at all times throughout the hotel.”

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa joined the consortium following a unanimous decision from the Pride of Britain Hotels board which is managed by Chief Executive, Peter Hancock, and his team made up of member hoteliers and chaired by David Morgan-Hewitt, Managing Director at The Goring.
Noel Byrne continued: “Joining the Pride of Britain Hotels group formally recognises our established reputation for excellence and we look forward to working with like-minded hoteliers who share our passion for great hospitality.

“Whether our customers’ visits are for business or pleasure, they can be assured of the highest standards of service from the dedicated team at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa who work tirelessly to ensure every customer has a stay they will never forget for all the right reasons.”


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