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The Meetings Show has promoted Julie Mayeras to the role of Hosted Buyer Programme Manager.  The newly created role will see Julie join the Show’s senior management team as she focuses on the delivery of buyers to the 2016 event.

“This promotion recognises Julie's hard work and focus, comments The Meetings Show’s Event Director, Steve Knight.  “She has consistently contributed to the growth of our buyer numbers over the course of the last three shows, building close relationships with the community, whilst ensuring their needs are met.  In particular Julie’s role has included the development and implementation of key innovations such as our semi hosted buyer offering, which provides significant flexibility for attendees based in London and the South East.”

Julie joined The Meetings Show’s hosted buyer team in June 2012 following six years specialising in the meetings and events market for Atout France.  Prior to that she held positions in the food and beverage departments of leading hotels.

The Meetings Show is currently recruiting for an account manager within the hosted buyer team to support the Show’s continuing growth.

Applications to attend The Meetings Show as a qualified semi or fully hosted buyer are available via

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 14-16 June, 2016 at Olympia, London. Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

Grass Roots Meetings & Events has promoted Philippa Murray and Nicola Cunningham to the role of Account Director in the wake of business growth.  Wins include a global Strategic Meetings Management programme for a major retailer and the provision of venue sourcing for training facilities for a leading financial services firm.  

Philippa Murray, who has risen through the ranks at Grass Roots M&E - from a venue consultant to Account Director - during the last eight years, leads a variety of clients across the energy, banking and professional services sectors.  "Grass Roots provides a unique working environment with fresh challenges every day.  The opportunity to have a more strategic approach, working with a diverse range of people to deliver creative solutions for clients is something I truly enjoy," she comments.  "In particular I am looking forward to working closely with clients as we move towards a more integrated global approach to events, delivering complete services across not just the Meetings and Event division but the whole of the Grass Roots Group, who already offer dynamic performance improvement and employee engagement."

Having moved from a role focused on negotiation with key hotel partners for large scale financial events to an Account Management role based in Putney three years ago, Nicola Cunningham's focused portfolio of financial clients will benefit in particular from the changes.  "We are a fast growing team," says Nicola. "And it is the people here that make it such a great place to work.  It is a really friendly environment where a true team spirit is evident every day. I am lucky to work with some great clients and the additional responsibility as an Account Director will allow me to deliver more effectively for them than ever before.” 

Grass Roots Meetings & Events is one of four divisions at Grass Roots Group PLC.   Learn more by visiting


Philippa Murray

Nicola Cunningham

Grass Roots Notes to editors

The Grass Roots Group is the world’s leading provider of employee and customer engagement solutions.

Founded in the UK in 1980, we have offices in 10 countries throughout the world, and provide services in over 100 countries. Grass Roots is an affiliate of WPP.

Grass Roots Group companies have over 14,000 clients, including 41 of the FTSE 100, 104 of the FT Global 500.

Grass Roots in the UK has been listed in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Sunday Times list of Best 100 companies to work for.

Four specialist divisions operate globally:

  •          Employee Solutions
  •          Customer Engagement
  •          Promotions & Incentives
  •          Meetings & Events

For further information please contact:

Adam Baggs
01285 648248

James Brown
01285 648248

Ashfield Meetings & Events is delighted to announce that it is a finalist in the UK Employee Experience Awards 2016.

The awards recognise and celebrate the delivery of exceptional employee experiences in businesses across the UK.

Ashfield has been shortlisted within the Learning & Development category for their internal development programmes, including the already award winning programme, Bitesize.

Ashfield was awarded the gold award at the Training Journal Awards in December 2014 for Bitesize, a flexible training programme that is run and delivered by the training department and expert employees, which has continued to develop and adapt to the fast-paced, changing industry. Since this award win, the training department has continued to grow and invest in further development programmes including the recently announced Future Focus programme. These all work alongside each other with the addition of SPARK THINKING sessions that encourage and teach creativity and challenge traditional ways of thinking.

Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International, said the standard of entries for 2016 has exceeded all expectations. He commented: “We are delighted to announce the finalists of the UK Employee Experience Awards. The quality of entries has been outstanding and it is fantastic to see how businesses throughout the UK are delivering outstanding employee experiences. We would like to congratulate all of the finalists and look forward to celebrating and rewarding their success at the awards ceremony.”

The second part to the judging of the awards will take place on 4th May, followed by the awards presentation on the evening.

Nicola Burns, Global Managing Director commented on the finalist announcement: “I am incredibly proud of the training department at Ashfield Meetings & Events, they work extremely hard to ensure all of our employees continue to develop their skills and knowledge and have a clear career path ahead of them. The programmes they have introduced over the last few years have shaped the way the business runs today and ensures the values of the business underpin each and every decision.”

Caleb Parker and Leigh Cowlishaw

The HBAA announced it has created the Technology & Innovation (T&I) committee, (formerly combined with Sustainability as part of the TIS committee), and tapped CEO Caleb Parker as Chair.  Sustainability will form its own committee.  Parker will also sit on the HBAA’s Executive committee.

The T&I committee will support the HBAA’s Back to Basics initiative by driving communication and engagement between association members, and creating awareness of new tech and innovation within the industry.

Parker commented, “I’m honoured to serve the association as Chair of the Technology and Innovation committee.  The HBAA represents experts within our hospitality industry.  As experts we must always remain on the cutting edge, constantly ask tough questions and challenge the status quo.  The T&I committee will ensure members are on top of the latest trends, tech and innovation that can improve business and deliver better customer experiences.”

Parker and the committee are focused on the 2016 & 2017 objectives, which among other things will include the launch of a new HBAA website that represents the professionalism and high quality of the association’s membership.  The new website will give an interactive experience to users and drive engagement for the HBAA membership. The committee are also looking to recruit tech experts to educate and inspire at member meetings.

HBAA Chair Leigh Cowlishaw, director of supplier partnerships at Capita Travel and Events, comments, “Technology and Innovation have become such an integral part of our activities, and we see this as only increasing in the years to come.”

Technology & Innovation Committee members include: Jonathan Ashley-Cowan (PHR), Sacha Griffiths (SilverDoor), Adam Simpson (etc. venues) and Phillip Allsopp (Lea Marston Hotel).

Scotland’s The Edinburgh Collection, the owners of The Howard and Channings, two of Edinburgh’s most prestigious five and four star hotels, announced today that it has signed a franchise agreement with Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the largest hotel companies in the world, that is planned to  bring increased business to Edinburgh.  (More)

With immediate effect the two hotels will join the Choice Hotels strong European portfolio, which is comprised of nearly 500 hotels, and be the first in the UK to become Ascend Hotel Collection members, Choice’s most upscale hotel offering. 

Ascend Hotel Collection members are distinctive, independent hotels that are located in prime business or leisure travel destinations, providing guests with an upscale boutique hotel experience with superior service.  The two properties will be known as The Howard, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, and Channings Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection member.

Ricky Kapoor, Commercial Director, The Edinburgh Collection, commented: “Joining Choice’s Ascend Hotel Collection enables us to maintain autonomy and the hotels’ distinctiveness while leveraging Choice’s industry leading technology, marketing and distribution to optimise demand for the hotels and generate more revenue.  This will not only benefit our own business, but with increased occupancy rates we will be bringing more business and leisure travellers to spend their money in Edinburgh.” 

The Howard is an intimate and discreet 5 star luxury Edinburgh hotel that occupies three Georgian townhouses in the heart of Edinburgh's New Town.   Its bedrooms, suites and two bedroom serviced apartment Mews Cottage are served by a collection of butlers, who take care of everything from valet parking to ironing to late-night room service to theatre bookings. 

Channings Hotel is a wonderfully quirky property that comprises a number of townhouses with a Scottish country house feel, full of charming Victorian paintings, prints, books, furniture and memorabilia. One of the Channings’ townhouses was home to Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer. 

Part of Palm Holdings, the international hospitality and business services group, The Edinburgh Collection  ( own and operate a number of hotels in Edinburgh and have a proven track record of successful hotel development, branding, sales and marketing and operations.  Established in 2010, in addition to The Howard and Channings Hotel, it operates the 3 star Old Waverley Hotel on Princes Street and the 4 star Holyrood Aparthotel in the heart of the Old Town just off the Royal Mile. 

Choice originally launched the Ascend Hotel Collection in 2008 and now has 148 hotels in key business and leisure travel destinations such as New York, Miami, Napa Valley, Sydney, Stockholm and Dublin. 

“The launch of the Ascend Hotel Collection here in Edinburgh is part of our strategy to continue diversifying our portfolio and provide the UK with a new upscale hotel offering.  These two Edinburgh properties, which perfectly fit the Ascend Hotel Collection portfolio, give us a critical foothold in the UK that will support the accelerated rollout of the Ascend Hotel Collection in the UK and across Europe.  We are delighted to welcome both the The Howard and Channings Hotel as the first UK Ascend Hotel Collection members,” said Mark Pearce, senior vice president, international division, for Choice Hotels.

The Choice Hotels Europe portfolio of franchised hotels offers business and leisure travellers a full spectrum from premium economy to upscale hotels. Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe that are either open or under development. Brands franchised by Choice Hotels Europe include Clarion Collection, which is three to four star rated; Quality, which is three-star rated and provides a mid-scale full service offering and Comfort, which is two to three star rated and is the largest Choice Hotels International brand worldwide, known for value, customer service and reliability.

Choice also provides guests with an upscale, boutique hotel offering through Ascend Hotel Collection, a portfolio of 4-5 star rated independent hotels located in key cities and destinations.

Newbury Racecourse has announced a 93 per cent uplift in conference and event attendance, in comparison with its 2014 figures.

The increase in delegate numbers to 18,176 in 2015, indicates a 93 per cent increase in event attendance from the previous year. Similarly, a 94 per cent increase in events occurred, as 2015 saw the racecourse attain a total of 212 events.(More)

The increase can be attributed to additional investment in expanding the sales and events team, and providing additional training to existing staff. New additions include Tracy Skinner, head of sales, Sarah Birch, business development manager and Martin Wales, head of catering – along with additional team members all joining since November 2014.

Skinner has led the strategic push to grow the client base and offer a wider selection of products and services to customers across Berkshire and beyond, almost doubling revenue and attendance for events including conferences, music concerts and weddings.

She explained: “Following a review of our customers’ requirements, we created a range of all-inclusive packages to enable a more efficient booking process. This resulted in our staff being able to bundle everyday services such as parking or Wi-Fi into the packages, therefore simplifying the entire process for our customers. The feedback we are receiving is that it has worked.

“We’re highly motivated to keep this momentum going, with a large number of conferences and events already booked for 2016, including an Asian wedding open day. Our aim is for 2016 to be our best year yet!”

Sarah Moralee has joined Grass Roots Meetings & Events as a Project Director and will take a leading role with high profile client accounts and large events.

Sarah, who joined the division earlier this month, brings vast and varied experience across the events industry having worked with IBM and Deutsche Bank. The appointment follows a number of changes which has seen David Taylor take over as the divisional director. (More)

“Grass Roots Meetings and Events is a leading player within this industry so the opportunity to work here was something I couldn’t resist,” explained new Project Director, Sarah Moralee. “Throughout my career I have worked on events ranging from the weird to the wonderful but joining Grass Roots really is a new challenge for me. Already I sense something special about the team here at Putney and I can’t wait to continue what is a tradition of creating fantastic events and client relationships.”

This appointment won’t be the last with the meetings and event division of Grass Roots aiming to expand the team over the coming months including new managers in both marketing and production departments.

“Sarah brings not only experience but a whole new dynamic to the meetings and events team,” comments Amber Keats, Head of Events at Grass Roots Meetings & Events. “She has worked on a variety of events in her past roles and this appointment comes at an important time for the division. We now have a very experienced team but future appointments are key to enable us to continue our growth within the market as well as maintain our ability to provide events excellence across the board.”

The HBAA has shared details of the association’s chosen beneficiary, Brigade, and some of its plans for the two year relationship.

Initially announced at  the HBAA’s annual kick-off on 14 January, the Brigade is a not for profit social enterprise that runs programmes to inspire people who are at risk of, or have experienced, homelessness to gain meaningful employment.

HBAA Chair, Leigh Cowlishaw, said: “Brigade, like the HBAA, provides support and guidance to people in the hospitality industry and we feel it is a perfect match for the association and the HBAA’s 2016 ‘back to basics’ theme. We’re delighted to help create awareness of Brigade’s work and to raise money to support people who are, or have, been through a difficult time.”

Cowlishaw added “We presented Brigade’s work at the recent Q Hotels sales conference and the group was immediately inspired to take action. We are really pleased that it has already funded a set of knives and a uniform for an apprentice. We will be sharing details of the next steps and new initiatives in the coming weeks in order to drive the campaign.”

Brigade was established in 2011 as a unique triple sector partnership between PwC, De Vere Venues the Homes and Communities Agency and Beyond Food Foundation which was set up in 2004 by Simon Boyle. Since 2004, Simon has worked tirelessly to help homeless people across London to rebuild their lives. Using food as a catalyst, Simon has set about imparting his passion, skills and knowledge of cooking and food on to participants of the training programmes and the Brigade apprentices, encouraging them to move their lives forward in a positive and meaningful way.
Simon Boyle, Chef Founder, commented. “We’ve been making a huge difference to people that have either experienced or have been at risk of homelessness through our Freshlife, and United Kitchen programmes. The partnership with HBAA will help sustain and grow these amazing projects to inspire and motivate even more vulnerable people back into long-term sustainable employment, hopefully with many HBAA members. We’re also really excited to start planning all of the creative foodie fundraising activities that we can do together, which will help us break the cycle of homelessness.”
Brigade hosts the educational programmes and employs and trains the  United Kitchen apprentices, but, as a social enterprise, it also reinvests any profits into other community projects.
Ian Conder, Group Sales Director, De Vere Venues, says “Brigade represents a unique collaboration and is a great business that delivers significant social value. We are delighted that HBAA has chosen Brigade as its beneficiary and we are confident that by exposing it to our agency, venue and customer community we will see huge value to the programme participants, apprentices and customers alike.”

A surge in business has seen the Guildhall School’s venue Milton Court record year on year growth of 50% whilst The Barbican itself has also recorded strong growth ahead of a big year for the Business Events team.

The Barbican, Europe’s largest combined conference and arts venue, is now 3% up year on year. This news comes ahead of a year in which the Barbican is set to begin improvements across the venue. (More)

“It is a big year ahead for us and these figures only serve to solidify the foundation in which we are going to build upon,” comments Jackie Boughton, Head of Sales at Barbican Business Events. “Year on year we are increasing commercial awareness both domestically and internationally but the figures show real growth across the board. Growing interest in the use of Barbican Hall and Theatre has helped whilst Milton Court is another success story. Changes are afoot across the venue and these figures should only make us more excited about the future of the Barbican.”

Milton Court, a £90million development for the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, has seen 63% growth in business events compared to this point last year which is an increase of more than 50% year on year. The hall boasts a maximum seat capacity of 608, world-class acoustic design and state-of-the-art technical capability. The venue, located in the City of London, is perfect for AGMs, conferences or product launches.




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