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The Barbican has overseen a £2.2million development across the Centre this summer with a £644,000 refurbishment of the Frobisher Rooms and Level 4 being showcased at IMEX Las Vegas in October.

The Frobisher rooms and Level 4 of the centre has seen a £644,000 refurbishment as part of the Barbican’s wider investment strategy. The focus of the work was designed to create a stronger connection between the centre’s main conference and meeting facilities and its arts spaces.

“Undoubtedly IMEX America gives us the biggest stage in which to showcase the new look Frobisher rooms and refurbishment to the industry,” commented Oliver Hargreaves, Head of Sales at Barbican Business Events. “We are making great strides internationally as a venue and the investment into transforming the Frobisher rooms and Level 4 will further increase our ability to offer excellence to buyers and organisers. The work will further connect the Barbican’s arts offering with its business event capabilities creating something unique. We look forward to once again being part of IMEX America and taking advantage of the global connections it brings.”

The Frobisher refurbishment included:

•         Relocating the Frobisher reception desk 
•         Introduction of art and performance related décor into to Level 4 public areas
•         Development of key spaces such as Auditorium 1 Foyer into a lounge space
•         The creation of a central hub area in the middle of the Crescent that can be flexible depending on the type and style of events being held in the vicinity.
•         Replacement of conference and lounge furniture
•         General refurbishment of the Frobisher Rooms, including décor, flooring and AV upgrades
•         Replacement of house and production lighting in Auditorium 1 & 2

The Frobisher Rooms refurbishment will also be showcased at SquareMeal (21-22 September) on stand G21.

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

More than 60 supercars revved up at Hamilton Park Racecourse last weekend (Sunday 4th September) as the venue hosted a special children’s charity fun-day.

The Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation, which aims to make the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses come true, staged its annual Dream Car Day with 250 guests, including sport stars and celebrities turning out to help raise funds for its work.

Ranger’s striker Kenny Miller, Motherwell’s Louis Moult and cast members from TV’s Still Game threw their weight behind the cause, while youngsters enjoyed a spin in cars including Rolls Royces, Porches and Ferraris.

The Racecourse’s grounds were transformed in to a mini fun fair, with bouncy castles and rides, while guests enjoyed a buffet lunch in the venue’s Duke Suite and a fundraising raffle.

Georgia McKay, Sales Manager at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events for Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “The Foundation does amazing work and it was a pleasure to be involved in such a fun and heart-warming event. We organise and cater for a number of different events, from birthday parties and weddings, to meetings and conferences and it is always a thrill to see the variety of ways in which the Racecourse can be used.

Sunday’s event with its super-cars, fun fair and fantastic guests, made for a really special day, which we were proud to play a part in.”

Charity champion Les Hoey, MBE, who set up the charity more than two decades ago after his daughter became ill, said: “We would like to thank Hamilton Park Racecourse and all of the staff for their support in making our DreamMaker Super Car day the huge success it was.

“The location and amenities were perfect and we hope to hold many more events there in the future.”

Warwick Conferences, the collection of meeting venues based at the University of Warwick, has been named as a finalist in both the Business Tourism and Customer Service/Team Award categories at the second Coventry and Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Awards.

The awards are organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Quidem, and showcase the diverse attractions, venues and experiences on offer in the region.

In total, 14 awards will be presented at the ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 22 September at The Ricoh Arena.

Rachael Bartlett, Head of Sales and Marketing at Warwick Conferences, says: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted in both the Business Tourism and Customer Service categories at the Coventry and Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Awards 2016. It is fantastic to have been recognised alongside the many other world class tourism and cultural attractions in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“We are proud to support the region by offering a high standard of facilities, knowledgeable venue teams and a first-class service that attracts businesses to the destination and puts Coventry and Warwickshire on the map as a great place to visit and do business in.

“We are very much looking forward to being part of the celebration of the best of the region at the awards ceremony later this month!”

Two young apprentices are following their dreams of working in the hospitality sector – thanks to a North East-based accommodation, conference and event management specialist.

Hospitality Guaranteed, which offers a range of online solutions for corporate event, conference and accommodation management, has taken on two new apprentices – Renata Stiklinskaite and James Daley – in a move which further boosts its growing workforce.

Based at Wynyard Park, Hospitality Guaranteed offers a ‘one stop shop’ system for bookings, plus a venue finding service and support from a dedicated team of hospitality specialists. Launched in 2006, it developed a unique bookings and management system, HG One Stop - this provides the foundation for its online systems which include Apprentice Stop, used by businesses running apprentice or staff residential programmes, and Conference Stop, an online venue finding and conference management tool.

Renata, who moved to the North East from Latvia four years ago, has joined the company’s specialist Apprentice team, which works in conjunction with Apprentice Stop.  Her role includes assisting the team in sourcing accommodation and training facilities for companies throughout the UK, and managing hotel bookings for residential training courses.

James, from Hartlepool, originally trained as a plumber, but wanted to make the switch to a more customer-driven environment and decided to go into the hospitality industry.  His new role includes working on Hospitality Guaranteed’s reception, supporting the administration department and liaising with clients and venues.

Both James and Renata are undertaking Business Administration apprenticeships through Hartlepool College of Further Education, and they join a company which has seen staff levels increase from 12 to 18 since summer 2015.

Launched by Amanda Jackson and Victoria Brunton, Hospitality Guaranteed celebrated its tenth anniversary in June, when it announced a 33 per cent rise in sales over the last year. The company now works with more than 2000 conference and meeting venue suppliers in the UK.

Commenting on her new role, Renata Stiklinskaite said: “My mum works in a hotel and I guess that’s where my passion for hospitality comes from! I’ve had experience of the restaurant business but wanted to follow a different route – and Hospitality Guaranteed has given me the chance to learn about the corporate hospitality from a brand new perspective.

“Working with hotels across the country has been really exciting so far and I’m looking forward to developing new skills here and building my career.”

James Daley added: “It’s exciting to be part of the Hospitality Guaranteed team – I was looking for an apprenticeship where I could work with customers day in, day out so this role was perfect for me.

“There is an excellent learning environment here and I jumped at the chance to take up the role when I heard about it.”

Victoria Brunton, director and co-founder of Hospitality Guaranteed said: “We are firmly committed to developing the next generation of corporate hospitality specialists and are delighted to have Renata and James on board, in what is shaping up to be a landmark year for Hospitality Guaranteed.

“They have brought a real passion and dedication to their respective roles and have an important role to play as we drive the company forward into our next decade in business.”

For more information on Hospitality Guaranteed, visit

Wynyard Park-based accommodation, conference and event management specialist Hospitality Guaranteed marked its tenth anniversary this summer with a special celebration at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter hotel.

Hospitality Guaranteed offers a range of online solutions for corporate event, conference and accommodation management, including a ‘one stop shop’ system for bookings, plus a venue finding service and support from a dedicated team of hospitality specialists.

The team – which has grown from 12 employees to 18 in the last year – had plenty to celebrate at the anniversary event as it looked back on ten years in business.

Since 2006, Hospitality Guaranteed has booked more than 6000 conferences and meetings, and 787,998 delegates have attended events it has booked for clients. The company’s turnover has grown at least 30 per cent year on year since it launched in 2006.

The company now works with more than 2000 conference and meeting venue suppliers in the UK – including the recently opened Crowne Plaza Newcastle – and has access to more than 80,000 accommodation venues worldwide.

The company developed a unique bookings and management system HG One Stop, which provides the foundation for its online systems. These include Conference Stop, an online venue finding and conference management tool and Apprentice Stop, a system that supports businesses running apprentice or staff residential programmes.

Launched from a home office by Amanda Jackson and Victoria Brunton, Hospitality Guaranteed moved to a site in Castle Eden in 2007 before locating to new premises at Wynyard Business Park in 2013.

Victoria Brunton, director and co-founder of Hospitality Guaranteed said: “We were delighted to hold our tenth anniversary celebrations at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle, which we now work with on a regular basis. It is a magnificent venue that has added a great deal to the North East’s already vibrant hospitality scene - staff really looked after us and made it a night to remember for the whole team.

“The last year has seen significant growth for the company and we’re proud that so many new clients have come on board during that time. By offering a quick, streamlined route to effective accommodation, conference and event management – through our innovative online solutions and specialist support – we are helping businesses to cut administration costs and save valuable time, and this has proved to be highly popular.

Amanda Jackson, director and co-founder of Hospitality Guaranteed, added: “Ten years is a major milestone for any company to reach and we’re excited about what the next decade has in store.”

Amanda McBride, director of sales at Crown Plaza Newcastle - Stephenson Quarter, said: “Congratulations to Hospitality Guaranteed on a successful 10 years in business. It’s always a pleasure to work with the team and we were delighted to host their anniversary event, making it a memorable celebration for them.

“On behalf of all of us here at Crowne Plaza Newcastle, I wish them continued success and we look forward to working with them in the years to come.”

For more information on Hospitality Guaranteed, visit

SilverDoor is excited to announce a new partnership with AirPortr, an on-demand secure luggage transportation service that collects, stores and delivers bags between London and its airports. For business travellers in and around the capital, this means lighter, quicker and stress-free travel to and from their serviced apartment. 

Upon landing in London, guests are able to leave their luggage with the AirPortr teams in the arrival halls at Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports. An AirPortr driver will then deliver their bag(s) to their serviced apartment at a time that suits them later in the day – or at a later date if required. Guests receive live status updates via text/email, the location of their luggage can be tracked online via real-time GPS locator and all bookings are insured up to £10,000.

Flying out of London is much the same. Luggage is collected from the apartment at the guests preferred time and delivered back to the AirPortr team in airport departures.  With one less thing to worry about, business travellers are free to make the most of the final day of their stay.

The AirPortr luggage delivery service will be available to all SilverDoor guests staying in London and the cost is determined by the proximity of the serviced apartment to the airport. 

For a full breakdown of costs or for further details on how to book the AirPortr service, click here.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has extended the deadline for its industry survey as part of initial reviews being carried out by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).

The BVEP will continue surveying the entire industry, at the request of Government, and reporting the results with one clear voice in representation of the industry’s interests.  

The ‘BVEP Events Industry Referendum Impact Survey’ includes questions surrounding primary concerns and key priorities for event businesses, what EU legislation they would like to see kept and what they would like to see scrapped plus also the chance to comment on any further challenges and opportunities they have noted since the referendum.

Following the results of the survey, representatives of the BVEP and the newly formed UK Events Industry Board, will meet with ministers and officials following the summer recess to discuss the initial findings and begin to formulate an approach to ensure that the views of the events industry are fully taken into account during any Brexit negotiations.

Simon Hughes, Vice Chair of the BVEP comments; “The new Government has asked for our help in determining the views of the industry and we want to make sure that those opinions are gathered as widely as possible. Therefore, it is imperative that the industry makes their voices heard and contributes to this vitally important piece of research before the deadline of 16th September.”

The BVEP Events Industry Referendum Impact Survey can be found here and will be live until 16th September. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) has selected Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering division, to provide a range of services at BMA House, their impressive conference and events venue and headquarters in Tavistock Square, London.

The new five-year contract, will see Ampersand provide catering services to 29 individual event spaces within BMA House, a stunning Lutyens building offering facilities with historical elegance and a contemporary twist.  Venue space includes a stunning courtyard and garden – both wonderful settings for weddings and special events.  In addition, Ampersand will provide catering for the newly refurbished 1832 Café and Restaurant, (named after the year the BMA was founded). 

Sarah Bright, Head of Events for BMA House says: “The BMA is delighted to announce our new catering partnership with Ampersand. We carefully considered our options, and were particularly impressed by Ampersand’s versatile approach. At the BMA we have a wide range of needs, from our events market to the large staff force working at BMA House.

“We believe Ampersand’s strong connections with healthy eating, led by award winning nutritionist Amanda Ursell, provide the perfect fit with the BMA’s vision for a healthy nation - we are excited to be working with them.

“In addition, the service they have to offer via ITA*, Ampersand’s sister company and bespoke venue booking service, is of great appeal and will no doubt open up new and exciting market opportunities for us.”

According to Paul Jackson, Ampersand’s Managing Director, the deal is very exciting news for the company.  “BMA House is one of the best venues in London and we’re delighted to have been chosen to work with them as their catering partner.  Our distinct approach, proven expertise and professionalism in venue and event catering will complement and enhance the food and service offer at BMA House.  We have created exciting and innovative menus for the restaurant and café facilities and for its bespoke conferences and events - and of course, all served with the flair and precision you would expect from such an impressive venue.

“Customers can expect a fresh and efficient culinary journey, supported by a deep commitment to service excellence, including: more interaction with our talented chefs; information on the menu about ingredient choices and provenance; innovative healthy alternatives that are appealing as well as nutritious, and developed with our nutrition guru Amanda Ursell; and attention to the small details that escalate a good catering experience to an exceptional one.”

Ampersand’s authentic Indian culinary concept, DAWAT, will also see the venue offer this quality catering proposition to the vast Asian market for the first time, and as an interactive buffet choice for conferences.

Grass Roots (Grass Roots Group Holdings Ltd), a leading employee and customer engagement solutions company with a well- established meetings and events division, has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., a leading prepaid and payments global company based in California. The acquisition is expected to allow Grass Roots to offer new products and capabilities to its current clients, as well as take advantage of Blackhawk’s global network to broaden Grass Roots’ international reach.

This acquisition is also expected to be an opportunity for Blackhawk to extend its global footprint in the UK by offering global reward and incentive products to its clients through Grass Roots’ leading employee and customer engagement solutions. One of the business divisions of Grass Roots offers services in corporate event planning and production, strategic meeting management, delegate management and registration technology. This acquisition allows Blackhawk to tap into Grass Roots’ existing expertise of meeting and events management and add an important element to its portfolio.

"We are really excited about the opportunities this partnership brings to Grass Roots,” said Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots. “Joining Blackhawk opens up significant growth opportunities for Grass Roots, transforming us into a leading global business and allowing us to inspire more people worldwide. Together, the two companies will have increased scale and scope, and we will bring those benefits to our clients and partners.”

“The acquisition of Grass Roots complements the existing client portfolio of Blackhawk's incentives business, and enhances solutions for customers requiring global reward and incentive platforms and products,” said Bill Tauscher, executive chairman of Blackhawk. “We will also offer new products and capabilities to Grass Roots’ clients.”

“The Grass Roots team has extensive industry experience and a proven track record of success in the consumer and employee engagement markets. We are thrilled to welcome them and over 2,000 managed service clients to the Blackhawk family,” added Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk.

Grass Roots will operate as a subsidiary of Blackhawk. Matthew Howe and Jonathan Kenny, co-managing directors of Blackhawk’s UK-based Europe operations, will lead the European operations of Grass Roots. Stewart Rigby, managing director, Blackhawk Asia Pacific, will lead the Asia-Pacific operations of Grass Roots.


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