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As part of the continued growth and expansion of Conference Care in the UK Chris Peacock and Andrew Deakin, the business owners, have signed an exclusive agreement with for their end to end venue sourcing software, GRATIS.

Chris Peacock commented “With Strategic Meetings Management Programmes now so key to our clients and the wider UK business market, it was vital for us to have the best software system in place to meet our client’s needs, both for now and the future. We have known the team at for many years and watched how they have developed a system that is an excellent solution for both our clients’ needs and those of our business”. Andrew Deakin said “As a specialist in the MICE industry content is key to us, work with all the major meeting and events venues in the UK and the key ones globally. They have excellent relationships with the industry and the feedback we have had from our supplier network has always been very positive”

Michael Begley – Managing Director of “This is a significant client win for our business, and is a reflection of the considerable investment we have made into our venue sourcing and management software over the last 5 years. I am delighted to be working with Chris and Andrew, we have some exciting plans to develop the client side of the application to keep them at the cutting edge of technology in the meetings and events industry”

Formed in 1995, Conference Care employs over 50 event specialists, placing more than £25million of event spend annually. They provide venue sourcing services on a contracted basis to a range of clients in the financial, FMCG and media sectors. was launched in 1993 as the first electronic repository for meeting venue data distributing venue data via floppy disk, then CD and now via the internet. Today the company has over 20,000 meeting and events venues in the UK and 40,000 globally, plus over 5,000 additional event suppliers also listed. In 2008 launched the first Meetings Management and Venue Sourcing software, GRATIS. Today this software is used by over 50 specialist businesses and organisations throughout the UK. GRATIS is a key component in any Strategic Meetings Management Programme providing an end to end venue sourcing solution from corporate booker through to venue and supplier. In addition have developed an open API allowing organisations to implement bespoke online client solutions. The Bournemouth based company employs 35 full time staff, develops its own technology entirely in house and is a Microsoft certified partner.

Imago has been raising money for a local charity by encouraging people to participate in a 25 days of Fitmas challenge.

Each year the conference and events arm of Loughborough University supports a local charity and this year it has partnered with TwentyTwenty. To raise money for the charity, it is taking part in "25 days of Fitmas" where staff take part in cumulative daily exercises; one for each day of the advent calendar. So far, exercises have included air punches, side leg lifts and jumping jacks; once they have been completed, people are encouraged to donate money to charity.

Founded in 2007, TwentyTwenty is dedicated to a mission of helping disadvantaged, disengaged, and extremely hard-to-reach young people between the ages of aged 11 and 24 to succeed in education, thrive in their personal lives, and achieve long term employment. 

Natasha Hughes, Business Development Manager at Imago and dedicated fitness fanatic, has been leading the initiative, charting the 25 days of Fitmas on Twitter (@imagolboro). She says: “The 25 days of Fitmas is a great way for people to get active whilst raising money for our charity partner. Each year TwentyTwenty helps hundreds of disadvantaged young people to find and stay in long term employment. We’re encouraging as many people to take part in the challenge and donate to the worthwhile cause.”

To keep up to date with the 25 day of Fitmas Challenge, follow @imagolboro on Twitter. To donate visit

A year after taking over the running of Stockport-based Prestige Hotel Reservations, MD Erica Livermore has unveiled a new-look team, offering and website to take the agency into its third decade of operation.

Former De Vere executive Livermore was appointed a year ago to take the agency forward. 12 months on, a new sales and business development team headed by Erica and comprising Account Director Amy Bewley  and Business Development Manager Samantha Cook is in place to expand Prestige’s portfolio of clients including Siemens, DPD and Fresenius Kabi. The trio this week took to the road to visit key Prestige clients and to unveil the new Prestige website.

As Erica explains “hotel booking agencies have evolved, so we decided to re-brand Prestige Hotel Reservations as Prestige to reflect the fact that we now offer a wider-range of services including travel, event and expense management. The days of just making transient hotel reservations are gone. In today’s market we have to be agile and pro-active to challenge the major TMCs in terms of customer service and simply making travel, meetings and event management easier.”

The new-look website introduces a new strapline –‘at your service’ - and features profiles on every member of the Prestige team. “It’s my job to drive our business forward through continuous improvement and by empowering our entire team to deliver a great service to every client” says Erica Livermore. “We are doing this by creating opportunities for every team member to shine and by giving them the tools to do so. If our customers are happy, we have a sustainable business.”

The very first images of an exclusive new residential brand aimed at business travellers have been released today ahead of its first building opening in Manchester in Febraury 2017.  CitySuites is set to revolutionise the corporate accommodation currently on offer in the city by delivering a ‘no compromise’ offering that combines the comforts of home with the luxury touches of a hotel.

Presently business travellers staying in Manchester have two options when visiting the city. They either stay in a hotel , which is fine for a few nights but any more than that can be claustrophobic, or they book into a serviced apartment, which are more spacious but don’t offer the desired quality. CitySuites bridges this gap; promising an exceptional living experience designed to go far beyond standard accommodation available.

Guests are able to stay on a short-term basis, from as little a week, with options up to 12-months. This flexibility is ideal for those working on a project basis or while relocating.

CitySuites 237 self-contained apartments have the space and facilities for customers to work from home, cook for friends or simply chill on their sofa watching a movie or Sky Sports. Couple this with hotel facilities, such as a pool, on-site gym, valet parking and fully manned reception, CitySuites caters for every need of the modern business traveller.

Gavin Bailey, CitySuites operations director, said:

“We provide the high quality and customer service of a hotel with the space of a serviced apartment. This combination, along with flexible tenancies simply doesn’t exist in Manchester today and will revolutionise business stays in the city.

“Manchester is the name on the lips of millions of domestic and international business travellers and we believe CitySuites will provide city-centre visitors with an unrivalled new place to call home.”

The 17-storey CitySuites building, located in Chapel Street right at the heart of the Greengate regeneration area, and a stone’s throw from some of Manchester’s best shops, bars and restaurants, features 244 apartments in a range of studio, one and two-bedroom designs. It boasts excellent leisure facilities, dedicated valet and a concierge service blended with the space, privacy and comfort of an apartment.

Gavin believes CitySuites’ pioneering ‘no compromise’ approach is exactly what UK business travellers have been crying out for: “We truly believe that we have created a new stylish and signature way of living in this city, providing our guests with the quality they deserve in the space to enjoy it.”

Manchester’s rapid expansion is exemplified by this month’s announcement that Media City, the BBC’s home in the north of England, is set double in size geographically over 10 years as part of a £1bn expansion. It’s crystal clear the number of business travellers to the region is predicated to continue to grow exponentially.

CitySuites is a Select Property Group brand. Headquartered in the North West, Select Property Group is a global developer, retailer and operator of market-leading property investment brands. It was recently named top North West Company and Top Property Company to Work For in the Sunday Times Best Small Companies List 2016. 

If you interested in staying at CitySuites, contact or call 0161 3020202. 

International destinations and suppliers are focusing more closely on the UK meetings market, resulting in increased bookings for The Meetings Show 2017. 

International exhibitors confirmed for the fifth edition of the show include: Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, Atout France, Austrian National Tourist Office, visitBerlin, Convention Bureau Italia, Club Med SA, Croatian National Tourist Board, Dubai Corporation For Tourism And Commerce Marketing LLC, Go Vilnius, Malta Tourism Authority, The DMC Advantage and Visit Finland.

New international exhibitor Heike Mahmoud from visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office commented: “The UK continues to be one of the biggest markets for Berlin, which makes The Meetings Show a must attend event due to the fact it hosts the industry’s largest number of UK based buyers.  Alongside many of our partners we have watched The Meetings Show go from strength to strength over the last four years and look forward to demonstrating the value, creativity and security we can offer as a major European capital when we attend in June 2017.” 

As well as a strong international presence, the show will also feature the following:

·         Major UK destinations: Bath Tourism Plus, Conference Leeds, Coventry City Council, Liverpool Vision, London & Partners, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Sheffield Convention Bureau, Visit Belfast, Visit Blackpool Conference & Meetings and VisitBrighton

·         Hotels including: Brocket Hall, Elite Hotels, H10 Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Hotel Republic, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski Hotels, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Melia Hotels International and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

·         Other suppliers: CH&Co Catering Ltd, CHS Group, Conference Badges & Dataflow Events, CrowdComms, IDentilam and Shocklogic.

“We are seeing significant interest and support from international exhibitors looking to reach our wide range of qualified UK buyers from agencies, corporates and associations,” comments Steve Knight, Event Director of The Meetings Show. “But it isn’t just the international suppliers – domestic partners are looking to capitalise on current opportunities with our international buyers.  One great example being London & Partners following their highly successful #LondonisOpen campaign, which won the Best Marketing Award at the ICCA Congress last month.”

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 13-15 June, 2017 at Olympia, London.  Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

Research launched by Loughborough University and Imago clearly shows that event organisers need to have a stronger focus on style of learning preferred by millennials and the business leaders of the future.

The research was conducted in conjunction with Loughborough University and The Right Solution and measures whether the meetings industry is doing enough to inspire the business leaders of tomorrow. It follows on from last year’s successful report; Does the future have room for face-to-face communication.

Professor Rachel Thomson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching) at Loughborough University, commented: “At Loughborough, we are continually developing our learning and teaching methods to take advantage of the latest developments in technology, including designing flexible spaces to foster learning and collaboration, preparing a new generation of students for the world of work. It is important for their future employers to recognise these different learning styles when delivering training to realise the full potential of their millennial talent, given that they were immersed in technology from an early age.”

Key findings from the research include

  • 82% of delegates and 81% of students said a major motivator to attend meetings was for personal career development yet this wasn’t rated highly as a motivator by organisers.
  • Just 51% of delegates and 37% of students feel fully encouraged to take part in meetings.
  • Delegates see meetings as an opportunity for creative and innovative thinking yet feedback suggests they don’t always get this and that meeting organisers and facilitators could pay more attention to stimulating creative thought.
  • 75% of delegates and 77% of students like meetings to use interactive games and new technology yet only 66% of organisers are making use of them
  • Passion and enthusiasm are the highest ranked elements delegates, organisers and students want from a speaker
  • Whilst social media activity will not necessarily motivate people to attend meetings, 61% of delegates, 51% of organisers and 65% of students believe it is a good tool for creating awareness.

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Imago, commented: “Our role is to provide an environment for continuous education, learning and communication. To achieve this, it is important for us to know what people want to get from meetings, particularly the leaders of tomorrow. The research discovered that millennials place great value on face to face meetings and whilst technology does have an impact on how they prefer to communicate and conduct business, they are looking for a more customised learning experience. They want to learn from inspirational experts to gain knowledge that helps their future career aspirations, and in many cases, their needs are not being met by meetings organisers.”

The research also showed that a company’s vision and goals are a high priority for organisers, but low priority for attendees who want to be recognised and to build confidence in their ability. In particular, students want to learn how to use their strengths to their own advantage. 

Emma added: “Delegates want content that offers inspiration, passion and leadership and they don’t value meetings which are aimed purely at obtaining information about the company’s vision compared to organisers. As a venue, it is important for us to help organisers support millennials so they can learn something valuable and develop relationships that will benefit them – meetings need to be linked to what they want to achieve, not the organisation.

“The results serve as a rallying cry to the meetings industry and British business to do more to encourage passion and enthusiasm for work to maintain motivation and increase productivity in the future. As an industry, we need to work harder, be more flexible and think ahead to provide value to people who attend meetings so it is more worthwhile for them.”

Emma’s sentiments have already been echoed by the HBAA with its Chair and Director of Supplier Partnerships Leigh Cowlishaw saying it is wants to ensure that the industry is equipped to support and motivate the next generation of leaders in hospitality and events and guide them towards sustainable industry growth.

A copy of the research can be downloaded from

The research was undertaken by Loughborough University and Imago.  The Right Solution provided methodology, analysis and validation of the research which was conducted amongst a sample of 430 students, delegates, and event organisers using a series of focus groups, face to face interviews and online questionnaires. 

HBAA has strengthened agency member presence on its new-look Executive Committee with three further senior level agent members:  Erica Livermore of Prestige Hotel Reservations, Jayson Hodgkinson of Venue-Choice and Julie Shorrock of HTS are driving new committees to reflect the business accommodation sector, international projects and agent engagement respectively.

In the second year of HBAA’s five year strategy, 2017 is the year of ‘Moving Forward’ and marks a milestone in the history of the association as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

2017 Chairman Louise Goalen said:  “I’ve been working with current chairman Leigh Cowlishaw this year to ensure the continuity of all we’ve achieved in 2016 and to capitalise on the momentum of our successes whilst keeping an eye on our future objectives.  We’re delighted to have the HBAA’s leadership strengthened through the involvement of Erica, Jayson and Julie who are so readily wanting to share their experience, knowledge and business acumen to help us focus on the agency sector, and how we can best support these businesses as we move into our 20th year.”

Louisa Watson of Wyboston Lakes is the Venue Chair working alongside Louise to represent the interests of the 225 venue companies in membership and she commented  “There’s been a lot of hard work from everyone involved in all the committees this year and it’s great to see the succession planning and creation of new  executive roles to take us forward.  All of our venue members will benefit from having greater engagement with the agencies, and the opportunities their involvement creates.”

Other Executive Committee members include membership and sponsorship chair Ellie Martin of Goodwood, events chair Rebecca Shipley of Ashfield Meetings & Events, and Suzi Johnson of Capita Travel and Events who is now marketing chair.

Louise Goalen summed up: " The  committee brings together a wide range of industry knowledge and experience  right across the spectrum of membership together with talent, commitment, creativity and enthusiasm. I think we have a great combination to take the HBAA forward in 2017."

To provide further insight and sector-specific knowledge,  Alison Makosz of SilverDoor and Chris Gaines of QHotels are also Executive Committee members, and are supporting with all association activity.

HBAA, the trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community, has appointed Clareville to develop and implement a PR programme for the association and to support agent engagement in HBAA activities. 

The campaign is designed to raise the profile of the Association, its members and its new committee within the industry and among potential customers and members. In particular it will highlight the HBAA’s Code of Practice and the many benefits and services the HBAA provides to its members.  

The Clareville team has worked with agencies, hotels, venues and events in the meetings and incentive travel industry in the UK and overseas for more than 20 years.  

Suzi Johnson, marketing chair of the HBAA said; “Following a competitive pitch we’re delighted to have appointed Clareville. Their knowledge and expertise within the industry gave us the confidence that they will support us in meeting our strategic objectives through content delivery and engagement in our HBAA activities; ultimately raising the profile of the Association.”  

John Starr, managing director of Clareville said; “It’s great to be chosen to work with such an important and influential industry organisation as the HBAA, and, using our industry expertise, we look forward to developing the programme and delivering results for the Association.”

Woburn House, central London conference, meetings and events venue, has joined the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), the trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community.

Richard Bull, General Manager at Woburn House says: “We are thrilled to be a member of the HBAA; this membership demonstrates to our clients that we meet the high industry standards set by the HBAA.  We are very proud to be a part of this group of exceptional, quality venues.”

Following a 2016 membership survey, HBAA this year launched the industry’s first simple meetings rate benchmarking tool.

Richard continues, “Having access to on-tap meetings benchmarking data will be incredibly beneficial when negotiating rates for simple meeting enquiries. It will not only help with customer retention but also build confidence with customers, as we can demonstrate that the rates we provide are in line with the rest of the market, if not better.”

The HBAA is the events and hospitality association that promotes and models good business between its members. It champions best practice, ethical working and sound commercial judgement, making HBAA membership the mark of quality assurance for the events sector.

Located in central London’s Tavistock Square, Woburn House is a professional venue with 8 rooms suited to conferences, exhibitions or meetings with a capacity of up to 250 reception style in the Main Hall.  

With a full range of services including free Wi-Fi, AV support, catering and air conditioning, Woburn House is easily accessible, just a short walk from Euston or Kings Cross Stations.

Research from online travel agent HRS has found a decrease in hotel room rates nationwide, some as vast as 20%.

A study of figures from the last quarter ending 30 September 2016 saw Cardiff experience the biggest drop of 20% compared to the same period a year ago, bringing room rates down to £95.

This was followed by a 17% room rate drop in Edinburgh (£124) and at 16% fall in Bristol (£103). Manchester saw room rates fall by 10% to an average of £102.

Liverpool was the city that offered the cheapest rate in the UK at £84 a night, falling by 15% last quarter.

The findings saw London retain its status as the most expensive city to stay in the UK at £153 a night, experiencing a drop of 14% in Q3.

Although the figures follow the Brexit vote, HRS managing director Andy Besent believes it’s too early to say whether referendum result was the cause of the decline.

He said: “Last quarter’s findings showed that Q2 rates had fallen on average by 7%, but for Q3 rates have fallen even further by an average of nearly 14%. While it’s no doubt concerning for the hotel industry, the fall in prices should at least make the UK a more attractive and cost effective destination for foreign business and leisure travellers in the months to come.”

The survey compared average rates at one to five star hotels across the UK.

Declining room rates across UK destinations, according to HRS:
•    Cardiff: £95 (-20%)
•    Edinburgh: £124 (-17%)
•    Bristol: £103 (-16%)
•    Liverpool: £84 (-15%)
•    London: £153 (-14%)
•    Manchester: £102 (-10%)
•    Birmingham: £91 (-8%)
•    Leeds: £101 (-8%)

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