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Lauren Goodwin has been appointed as the new Group Sales Director for leading UK hotel management company Jupiter Hotels. Formally Regional Director of Sales for The Hotel Collection and with previous senior sales positions held at Marriott Hotels and Best Western, Lauren brings a wealth of over 25 years of hotel industry experience to forward thinking Jupiter Hotels.

With key expertise in driving the Meetings & Events sector through long term corporate and agency relationships, Lauren will play a key role in providing clear direction and leadership for both individual hotel and central sales teams. Working with all hotels across the portfolio, Lauren’s primary aim is to ensure a strong and robust sales plan as Jupiter Hotels continues to adapt through an exciting time of change.

“I am delighted to be part of a growing senior team at Jupiter Hotels. I’m looking forward to using the skills and knowledge I’ve developed over the years to really make an impact on the success of the business as a whole. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Jupiter team as we continue to innovate and develop our offering in the UK,” Lauren said.

Jupiter Hotels own and operate 26 Mercure branded hotels in the UK, with a total of over 2,700 rooms. October 2015 introduced an acquisition by the joint venture between Thailand’s Singha Estate, a public real estate company, and FICO Holding, a subsidiary of FICO Group also based in Thailand.

Injecting high levels of investment and confirming the company’s commitment to double the portfolio of hotels within a two-year period, FS JV Co have strengthened Jupiter Hotels vision for significant growth in the future.

Commenting on Lauren’s appointment, CEO of Jupiter Hotels Shane Harris said, “I am pleased to announce that Lauren Goodwin has joined Jupiter Hotels as Group Sales Director. Lauren’s appointment underpins our commitment to recruit and retain a talented and dynamic senior team as we continue to  propel the business to new heights.”

Jupiter Hotels is a collection of unique UK hotels, offering everything from country houses and period properties to city centre pads. Find out more at  

Thursday 25 August 2016 marked the grand opening of Solent Conference Centre following its recent move to the brand new £30 million ‘The Spark’ building in the heart of Southampton city centre.

The futuristic venue is now part of Southampton Solent University’s main campus, benefitting from views of the city’s extensive parks, additional car parking, interactive spaces for meetings, events and celebrations and state-of-the-art learning facilities.

The launch event was garden party themed with 200 guests, clients, partners and press in attendance. Guests were greeted with a floral buttonhole and arrival drink, many being fooled by Gordon Ramsay lookalike, Martin Jordan who served up canapés. 

Drapes were then pulled back to reveal the Atrium dressed as a summer garden party, complete with grass, picket fences, trees, live music and summer games. A three course meal from the new menu followed, starting with a picnic platter served on a miniature picnic bench which proved to be the perfect conversation starter. After dinner, treasure map style activity sheets plotted various fun and games located around the building to encourage exploration of the new venue.

One room deep beneath the Atrium was transformed into a hidden speakeasy bar serving whiskey cocktails and playing vintage films. Guests could only enter when they had guessed the password from bouncers dressed in 1920s mobster costumes.

The Silver Birch Suite was transformed into a Christmas party preview with circus themed dressing, giant animal props, a balloon artist and face painter. Outside on the hospitality balcony, a pick n’ mix usherette served up goody bags of sweets from a specialist trike.  

The Pod, a suspended free-form meeting room, was transformed into a giant photo booth with fancy dress costumes and professional photographers. The Bridge, the roof top venue above the Pod, was transformed into a bubble tea bar and coffee house hosted by the venue’s sister outlet, Artisan Café.

The occasion was marked by a cake cutting ceremony overlooking the Atrium. The Whitebeam Suite then became a dancefloor and cocktail bar with live band, 5th Avenue performing out to the Atrium. Finally, guests were treated to goody bags including gifts, sweet treats and selfie sticks.

The venue was supported by local event partners from the southern region including Transform Events, Love Cake Bakery, Canon, Diva Entertainment, Signature Balloons, Boutique de Fleur, Perfect Chairs, Express Yourself Costume, Hire Quality Marquees, Jury’s Inn, Destination Southampton and PBWPIX.

Amber Webster, Conference, Events & Hospitality Manager says: “The launch event was an overwhelming success with amazing support and compliments shown for the new venue.

“Not only are we now one of the biggest venues in the city, we are also a key player in the events and meeting industry on the south coast.”


Traveller safety was one of the key topics touched on in July’s HBAA Forum 2016. As it stands, business travellers face a range of safety related issues including lost/delayed baggage, poor accommodation security, the looming threat of international terrorism and the risks attached to sharing economy services.

On-going discussions around women in business travel suggest female travellers are more vulnerable than their male counterparts, due to the gender issues inherent in sexual assault, theft and kidnap.

According to The Women in Business Travel Report 2016 – a survey of more than 200 women across the world, in a range of sectors – 77% of female business travellers feel their company’s travel programmes should take better notice of their gender needs. A further 64% say destinations like the Middle East and South America are almost no-go zones for women.  

A report on ‘stress triggers for business travellers’ reveals women are more  likely to worry about lost baggage, poor internet connections and not being able to eat healthily. As Professor Judi Brownell argues in her study of 13,000 women from Fortune 1,000 companies, female business travellers place increased importance in “covered parking, deadbolts on doors, thoughtful room location, and well-lit hallways”.  But such hang- ups aren’t purely confined to women; men are just as much at risk from poor travel programmes. 

Serviced apartments have a duty of care to ensure accommodation is safe, secure and free from fraudulent activity.  As a serviced apartment agent, SilverDoor visits and inspects property providers on a regular basis to ensure descriptions given to us are legitimate. We also carry out follow up checks on things like local neighbourhoods, apartment accessibility, and even street lighting. Round the clock surveillance, safety deposit boxes and on-site parking provide robust security, and a once weekly maid service means guests can retain privacy minus the constant interruptions.  

Need to notify a loved one of your safe arrival? Free Wi-Fi is available in practically all our serviced apartments, so sending an email or ‘checking in’ on Facebook shouldn’t prove a problem. Guests can also relax in the spa facilities, rooftop pools and breath-taking views available at some of the more luxurious properties.

While there’s still lots to be done to battle the issue of safety and security in business travel, serviced apartments go a long way to allaying travellers’ fears. 

This week Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) welcomed the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS) and British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Health Psychology Conference to the City.

The event, hosted by the University of Aberdeen, welcomed 800 global visitors to the city throughout the four-day event.

The conference was notable in that it celebrated a joint 30th anniversary of EHPS and BPS; with EHPS, who promote empirical and theoretical research in and applications of health psychology across Europe, celebrating their 30th annual meeting and the Division of Health Psychology of the BPS, who aim to promote UK health psychology, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the division.

The theme of the event focused on ‘Behaviour Change: Making an Impact on Health and Health Services’, thus marking the achievements of health psychology over the past 30 years and what can be achieved in the future by fully translating health psychology research into practice.

The event kicked off with an opening ceremony at University of Aberdeen’s historic King’s College Campus, before the four-day conference at AECC, which included a dinner at Aberdeen’s wonderfully picturesque Beach Ballroom, complemented by optional post conference activities; including a city tour and a visit to the Glen Garioch Distillery in the historic town of Oldmeldrum, delegates and visitors were provided with a warm Scottish welcome and a unique taste of Aberdeen.

The Health Psychology Group at the University of Aberdeen, who organised the conference, were delighted to be able to bring this group to the city.  The conference also comprised a range of theme focused workshops, keynote speakers and oral presentations as well as featuring a round-table discussion between policy makers, practitioners and health psychologists.

Nikki Pearce from Aberdeen University’s Continuing Professional Development Services, who provided conference support said: “We have really enjoyed working with both host societies and the Health Psychology Group at the University; it is a real pleasure to see the conference in action and meet all the delegates in person.”

Steven Daun, Sales Manager at AECC commented: “The four-day conference created a real buzz in the venue and was a great event for the city.  It clearly showcased our strong partnership with the University of Aberdeen, and the fundamental teamwork which is demonstrated by Aberdeen when bringing international events to the region.” 

The HBAA’s take on Brexit two months in

As we know, Great Britain voted to Brexit on the 23rd June 2016. From speaking with four of our meetings and events HBAA members and looking at their terms and conditions, had we cancelled an event on D-Day; this would have resulted in between 50% and 75% cancellation charges applied. However has the market driven such behaviours following the majority vote? Overall and from the members we have spoken to the answer is No. Which surely is re-assuring…?

We considered whether we would see a panic and serge in cancellations due to the uncertainty, that maybe venues would start dropping rates further to encourage more business and race for space would be at a premium. However, this is not the case and the picture currently in the landscape is looking one of calm.

Challenges we may face

A considered challenge we are seeing is against our future workforce and the potential impact on European employees to our industry. How is this decision going to affect us in terms of legislation of employees being able to continue servicing us? With the feeling of uncertainty in our country in being able to provide stability, access and long term employment will they literally be downing their tools and heading back to their native countries?

We’ve have seen decline in London on rates, however this could be considered an impact from other macro environment such as closure of venues to become apartments, threat of terrorism, and the recent increase of European attacks; the US presidency and therefore our friends from over the pond are staying more local whilst this campaign runs and determines the next president.”

The decision that our country made was less than two months ago and therefore the full extent of the impact to our industry maybe too soon to call.

What it means to the HBAA

One thing is for sure; that the HBAA continues to provide our members with the business tool kit to drive better business collectively from the Code of Practice. It ensures that all parties (agency, venue and customers) embrace a way of working that delivers business guidance and unites us in the desire to keep focused on servicing customer needs and retaining them within the HBAA network. Over the next few weeks the HBAA will be conducting surveys to our members to understand their business impacts, pace and future plans.


The Barbican is to be the home of The Institute of Fundraising conference for at least the next three years following its search for a new venue for the Fundraising Convention, the largest conference of its kind in the UK.

More than 3,500 delegates attended the Fundraising Convention across its three days last month in what was its first year using the Barbican. The Institute of Fundraising used the majority of the venue’s event spaces including the Barbican Hall and the Conservatory. Following the success of the convention’s first event in its new home it looks set to remain at the Barbican for the foreseeable future.

“We needed a new home for the convention because we had outgrown our previous venue and we needed opportunities for growth – the Barbican provides that,” explained Katie Johnson, Head of Events at the Institute of Fundraising. “We also identified the Barbican as the perfect venue because of its not-for-profit nature, which fits well with the values of the Institute and its members. The range of spaces available to us were suitable not only for the conference but also additional activities such as film screenings and a charity theatre performance. The Barbican provided a collaborative and flexible partnership, whilst also offering us a home that gives us to chance to continue growing in the future.”

The Barbican is a not-for-profit venue with the profit made by business events reinvested back into the Centre’s arts and outreach programmes. It was this link that has enabled the venue to understand the nature of the Institute of Fundraising and its requirements for the event.

“We were of course delighted to win the business because we are always keen to work with clients who share our values,” commented Oliver Hargreaves, Head of Sales at the Barbican. “The content of the conference was relevant to the Barbican and a number of staff were actual delegates during the three days. We are thrilled that the Fundraising Convention was a huge success and there was a real buzz across the venue. It really is the perfect fit for the Barbican and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the Institute of Fundraising.”

The Barbican is showcasing its investment in the Frobisher rooms and Level 4 of the Centre at SquareMeal (21-22 September) and IMEX America (18-20 October) later this year.

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

Inc. magazine has ranked US-based Grass Roots Meetings & Evens Inc at number 1222 on its 35th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.

This is the third consecutive year in which the US arm of Grass Roots Meetings & Events has appeared on the list with a three-year sales growth of 318% ranking the company 13th within the travel and hospitality industry specifically. The sustained growth represents real success for Grass Roots on a list that includes some of the world’s most impressive businesses.

The Inc. 5000 List represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

"We are again delighted to be acknowledged as one of America's fastest growing private companies for the 3rd consecutive time.” commented David Taylor, Divisional Managing Director at Grass Roots Meetings & Events. “Growth like this can only be sustained when businesses have a plan executed by real talent & commitment and I am proud to say we have such a team at Grass Roots."

The 2016 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at and with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc. is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a three-year growth of 433%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $200 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 640,000 jobs over the past three years, or about 8% of all jobs created in the entire economy during that period. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at

"The Inc. 5000 list stands out where it really counts,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “It honors real achievement by a founder or a team of them. No one makes the Inc. 5000 without building something great – usually from scratch. That’s one of the hardest things to do in business, as every company founder knows. But without it, free enterprise fails.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring all the companies on the list will be held from October 18 through 20, in San Antonio, TX. Speakers include some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this and past generations, such as best-selling author and strategist Tony Robbins, SoulCycle co-founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, Cornerstone OnDemand founder, president and CEO Adam Miller, Marvell Technology Group director and co-founder Weili Dai, and New Belgium Brewing co-founder and executive chair Kim Jordan.

Grass Roots New York has also been named on the Crain’s list of Best Places to work in New York City in 2015, and has recently been certified by the Great Place to Work® Institute. This certification is based on annual research on data representing more than 8 million employees, from thousands of organisations of varying sizes industries, maturity and structures in over 90 countries. Great Place to Work® is relied on by researchers, business leaders, media analysts and employees to establish the definitive standard of what a great work place is.

Grass Roots Group is the world's leading performance improvement company helping customers increase sales; deliver change, excite, educate and motivate their audience; and ultimately strengthen and develop relationships with employees, brands, channel partners and customers (

HBAA is unleashing its Pack of Wolves at this year’s Wolf Run on Saturday 3rd September to raise much needed funds for its chosen charity Brigade. 

As one of the Pack and HBAA Chair, Leigh Cowlishaw says, “Brigade is what this run is all about for the HBAA Pack of Wolves; we are all incredibly focused on our goal of raising at least £1500, as part of our overall £20K annual target for Beyond Food to support the incredible work it does with our homeless”.

The Wolf Run is an approximate 10k off-road run featuring a series of man-made and natural obstacles located throughout the course. The concept behind the Wolf Run was to re-create the feeling of running in natural terrain - a wild run that would allow people to experience natural, raw running conditions.

The HBAA Pack of Wolves has undergone a rigorous training programme in preparation for the event and members of the Pack are:

Simon Boyle – The Brigade

Alison Makosz – The Belfry

Juliet Price - HBAA

Leigh Cowlishaw – Capita Travel and Events

Amy Dixon – Macdonald Hotels & resorts

Nina Walker – CCD Global Events

Justine Meek – Warwick Conferences

Jonathan Ashley Cowan – PHR

Simon Rigby – De Vere Venues, Four Pillars and Principal Hayley

James Bee – Macdonald Burlington Hotel

Mark McMahon - Village Hotel Farnborough

Alison Makosz also one of the “Pack” and HBAA Venue Chair, says “We are asking everyone to donate as little or as much as you can afford to support our homeless and help them to change their lives positively.”

Please donate here:

Beyond Food Foundation was established in 2004 by Simon Boyle.  Simon began his career working as an apprentice chef at The Savoy, and has since enjoyed a highly respectable career.  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 Beyond Food Foundation's apprentices, encouraging them to move their lives forward in a meaningful way.

Simon Boyle of Brigade says, “The Wolf run is a unique event that will test each competitor to their limits. We are hugely grateful that the HBAA have chosen to put themselves (and me!) through this challenge in order to raise vital funds for Beyond Food. I am looking forward to reaching the finish line. Good luck to everyone competing!”.

 #HBAAPackofWolves will be trending on 3rd September!


The countdown is on to the international SPE Intelligent Energy Conference and Exhibition, taking place at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) next month.

Running 6th – 8th September, SPE Intelligent Energy is the leading global Exploration and Production technology event, and is organised by Reed Exhibitions and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the oil and gas industry’s largest professional membership organisation.

The three day show is expected to attract over 2,000 industry professionals to the technical conference and exhibition which will focus on digital field technologies, automated workflows and intelligent processes.  The theme for the event is New Horizons: Intelligent Energy in a Changing World.

Intelligent Energy is viewed as one of the major factors for the future of the Exploration and Production value chain, and the event opens with a plenary session on how intelligent energy can be the way forward out of the downturn, focusing on how Intelligent Energy efforts could be a way to manage assets differently, more efficiently, and effectively during this downturn and how to translate and sustain those methods into new modes of operation to prepare for the inevitable rebound of commodity prices.

SPE Intelligent Energy International provides visitors the opportunity to discuss and discover the very latest technology, while keeping abreast of new developments in the conference through exclusive plenary sessions and panel discussions.

Vasyl Zhygalo, Portfolio Director, Energy and Marine, Reed Exhibitions commented: “We are excited to be holding SPE Intelligent Energy in Aberdeen for the first time and to continue our long-standing and successful partnership with the city”

Graeme Cumming, Interim Managing Director at AECC, commented: “SPE Intelligent Energy will bring a large global audience to the city for this highly topical conference and exhibition.  We look forward to hosting the event, which will furthermore showcase Aberdeen as the destination of choice for many other international conferences, exhibitions and events.”

In 2015, Leicester Racecourse’s ‘Family Fun Day’ was a huge success. This is why they chose to recreate an event that was even bigger and better for 2016, whilst supporting local charity LOROS.

LOROS Hospice, one of the Racecourse’s chosen charities for 2016, brought their ‘Slip n Slide’ –  Leicester’s first giant water slide - feature to the day, in hope of raising significant funds for the charity. Rob Bracken, General Manager at the Racecourse, welcomed the opportunity to involve LOROS and encourage the fundraising activity.

”Our Family Fun Day aims to be a great day out for the whole family, and if we can raise money for LOROS as well, then that’s brilliant. As one of our chosen charities for 2016, we were delighted to be able to support them through a fun and exciting day out.”

Events Lead at LOROS, Laura Betts, was excited to bring the ginormous Slip ‘n’ Slide to Leicester Racecourse.

“LOROS were delighted to once again be working with our Charity of the Year partners Leicester Racecourse, to bring something completely new and unique to the City. The LOROS Slip and Slide attraction, which was open to all Family Fun Day attendees on the day, raised funds specifically for our Hospice. The event raised just under £3,000 which could pay for almost 30 Community Nurse Specialists to visit patients in their own home, providing free care and support to patients and their family members.”

With 1735 adults attending on the day, it was a fantastic event all round.

The day was filled with racing, entertainment and various activities including, pony rides, fun run, inflatables, pole joust, gladiator arena and much more. The Leicester City Vs Man United match was also screened live at the Racecourse.


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