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Leading hospitality management company Focus Hotels Management has just completed the initial phase of a £1.5 million refurbishment programme at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Heathrow Airport.

The first phase of the refurbishment has included the total upgrade of all public areas at the 200-room hotel, including a stunning new and extended reception, a new lounge area and a fully refurbished bar and restaurant, giving it a stylish, warm and contemporary feel.

Designer Wilma Davidson, of Davidson+Company Interiors of Glasgow, is behind the hotel’s new look, creating a relaxed ‘home-from-home’ boutique style not typically seen in an airport hotel.

Peter Cashman, Chief Executive for Focus Hotels Management, says: “We are delighted to have completed the first phase of this major refurbishment programme at Doubletree by Hilton Heathrow.

“Following the completion of this initial work we have seen an immediate improvement in food and beverage turnover, and this reflects the very positive comments we have already received from our guests.

“The refurbishment programme will now continue over the next year to include guest bedrooms and a new WiFi system, further building on this success.”

Located in Bath Road, Cranford, the Doubletree by Hilton Heathrow Hotel is just minutes away from Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and 24-hour public transport links. Situated outside the London congestion charge zone, there’s easy access to central London and the motorway network.

The hotel offers on-site parking and modern sound-proofed rooms complete with complimentary WiFi access, flat-screen TV with over 100 Freeview channels and 24-hour room service, while six flexible function areas make the hotel the ideal choice for a meeting venue.

Focus Hotels Management is a leading independent hospitality management company with a UK portfolio of 16 hotels, with more than 1,500 bedrooms.

As well as operating independent hotels including Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa and Oxford Witney Hotel, the company also operates hotels under franchise agreements with Hilton, Accor and IHG.

For more information about the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Heathrow Airport, call 020 8564 4450 or visit:

The Conference and Hospitality Show (CHS), one of the UK’s leading events for venue finders, event organisers and PAs, contributes over half a million pounds to the local economy, an economic impact study has found.

The independent economic impact study was conducted by the UK Centre for Events Management at Leeds Beckett University and is based on research undertaken at the 2016 show. The study has revealed that the one day annual event brings £566,925 to Leeds and the surrounding area. CHS 2017 will be taking place on Tuesday 4th April at the first direct arena Leeds.

Emma Cartmell, CEO CHS Group said: “Leeds has been the home of CHS since it was founded eight years ago, so it is very rewarding to discover the financial impact that it has on the area. LeedsBID (Leeds Business Improvement District) is a principal supporter and its investment helped us to keep the show in Leeds when it had outgrown two venues and our only option was to take a huge leap into a much bigger arena. I’m proud that our one day event has such a significant impact.”

Andrew Cooper, LeedsBID’s chief executive said: “Leeds is now the fifth most popular conferencing destination in the UK; It is essential we support the work in conveying that message to continue to attract leading conferences and events to the city of Leeds recognising the valuable contribution they make to the local economy. This is the second year in succession that the event has been held in the centre of Leeds at the first direct arena.”

Now in its eighth year, CHS is one of the UK’s leading events for venue finders, event organisers and PAs; the show connects over 200 national suppliers with over 800 event buyers from across the UK.

Exhibitors include venues, hotels, technology providers and many other national meeting industry suppliers. Venues confirmed to date include Titanic Hotel Liverpool, Horizon Leeds, Feversham Arms Hotel, Elite Hotels, Lincolnshire Showground and The Lowry Hotel. Groups represented include Q hotels, Marriott and Pride of Britain, and suppliers include and Cvent. Running alongside the exhibition is an education programme with sessions designed for event organisers, corporates and PAs.

CHS 2017 will take place on Tuesday 4th April at the first direct arena, Leeds.

Doors open at 9.00am


Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) today announced the expansion of its extended-stay brand, Residence Inn by Marriott, with the signing of two new properties in London. With additional openings in Amsterdam and Aberdeen this year, Residence Inn expects to more than double its European portfolio in 2017.

The opening of Residence Inn London – London Bridge expected in Q2 2017 will mark the debut of the company’s industry-leading extended-stay brand in the capital, and the opening of Residence Inn London – Kensington is scheduled to follow in Q4.

Both properties, owned by a controlled affiliate of Starwood Capital Group, will be operated under a franchise agreement with hotel management company and specialists in the extended-stay market, Cycas Hospitality – London’s second largest operator of serviced apartment and apart-hotels.

Located on Long Lane in Southwark, Residence Inn London – London Bridge will offer 87 generous suites. Well-connected with good transport links, and a short walk from some of the city’s main historic attractions such as Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral, it is ideally situated for leisure and business travellers alike.

Residence Inn London – Kensington will be situated on Warwick Road in Earls Court, with 307 suites. The Kensington Olympia Exhibition Centre is a 10-minute walk away, while cultural attractions such as The Victoria and Albert museum, the Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Natural History museum can be reached within 10 minutes by car.

Both properties will cater to guests looking for longer stays with spacious suites and separate living, working and sleeping areas featuring upscale design and amenities. Fully functional kitchens; grocery delivery service; fitness facilities; 24-hour markets; complimentary breakfasts and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel help guests maximise their time and thrive on long stays. Staying fit is made easier at Residence Inn properties courtesy of custom running routes that guests can access via MapMyFitness, thanks to the brand’s global partnership with Under Armour Connected Fitness.

Carlton Ervin, Chief Development Officer Europe, Marriott International said: “Residence Inn is already the global leader in the extended-stay lodging segment, and we’re excited that 2017 is set to be a pivotal year for the brand in Europe. We see these latest signings as a fantastic opportunity to grow the brand in such a strategic global destination, and we’re excited to be working with Cycas Hospitality, which has a strong history of hospitality expertise.”

John Wagner, Founding Partner of Cycas Hospitality said: “We are thrilled to welcome the world-class Residence Inn brand to the extended-stay sector in London and to our own expanding hotel portfolio.  We look forward to creating memorable moments for all our guests visiting these two new Residence Inn properties. Delivering a first-rate guest experience is in the DNA of all our Cycas Hospitality staff and we have an excellent track record to prove it.”

The two London properties will be joined by new openings expected in Aberdeen and Amsterdam, growing the European portfolio from three to seven hotels. The four additions planned for 2017 will see almost 600 rooms added to the Residence Inn portfolio, and there are a further eight properties anticipated by the end of 2019.


Rockliffe Hall has been named Pride of Britain Hotel of the Year 2017 for delivering exceptional hospitality at every level.

The announcement was made at the Pride of Britain Hotels’ Annual General Meeting yesterday, where the resort’s Chief Executive, Eamonn Elliott, collected the award.

Pride of Britain Hotels’ collection proudly practises the art of great hospitality on a daily basis. Admission to the group is subject to each hotel successfully passing an anonymous overnight inspection and a ballot of the membership, and there are never more than 50 hotels, to guarantee quality and exclusivity.

Peter Hancock, Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels, says: “Every year our member hotels are visited by mystery guests appointed by the collection. Rockliffe Hall and its dedicated team was identified amongst a shortlist of hotels all found to offer exceptional hospitality”.

Eamonn Elliott, Chief Executive of Rockliffe Hall, says: "It's a privilege and honour to accept this award on behalf of Rockliffe Hall. The Pride of Britain collection of hotels is the best of the best in the country so for the resort to be named Hotel of the Year is praise indeed!"

Contact Rockliffe Hall on 01325 729999 or visit

QHotels has launched an innovative new conference menu, bringing street food to conferences and events in the UK for the first time.

The new lunch menu follows an intensive six-month period of research and trials which took QHotels' chefs into cafes, large chain restaurants and small independents, sampling the latest culinary trends to assess customers' eating habits and preferences.

The customer insight and research revealed that the rise of street food remains the biggest culinary trend to hit the UK, and is the cuisine of choice for QHotels' conference customers.

The new 'do it yourself' street food offer allows delegates to play around with key components and flavours, to tailor dishes to their own preferences, as well as choose from a range of different menus, including Pan-Asian, Indian, Mexican, gourmet burger kitchen, Japanese, boutique fish and chips and chicken.

From pho noodle bowls, to steamed hirata buns, lamb koftas and roti wraps, the dishes have been influenced by popular cuisine from around the world.

Also, inspired by the rising trend in clean eating, centrepiece salads will feature a selection of different raw ingredients, from nuts to fennel seeds, giving delegates a choice of flavours and textures to be creative with, as well as a choice of completely 'clean' hot dishes.

Julian Prosser, Group Executive Chef at QHotels, said: "The biggest challenge with conference menus is being able to produce dishes to suit a wide range of tastes and dietary requirements. Historically conference food has consisted of two to three safe and standard options and, as a result, across the industry menus have remained somewhat traditional.  

"So when we came to create the new QHotels menu, we focused on understanding what our customers eat when they're not with QHotels; what they'd choose at home, in a café or a restaurant.  This in-depth research highlighted to us that the rise of street food on the high street was by far the biggest development and proved to be the most popular in our trials with customers at conferences and events across the group. The variety, strong flavours and informality is what's inspired our new and unique conference menu."

Leading hospitality management company Focus Hotels Management has expanded its ownership of hotel properties with the acquisition of the freehold of the Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel in Hatfield, Hertfordshire from Aviva Investors. Focus has for the last seven years operated the hotel under a lease.

The company has immediately started a major programme of refurbishment at this modern three-star hotel covering all guest areas, creating additional capacity and upgrading its rating to four star.

Peter Cashman, Chief Executive for Focus Hotels Management, says: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of the Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel, which complements our existing UK portfolio.

“The Mercure Hatfield Oak is already a well-regarded establishment with high occupancy rates, and our refurbishment programme will build on this existing success to enhance the business the hotel delivers.”

Located in Roehyde Way, the Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel is popular with business and leisure travellers alike, thanks to its close proximity to three motorways – the A1(M), M1 and M25 – and easy access to central London, which is just 25 minutes away by train. Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are also all within easy reach.

The hotel currently offers 76 fully-equipped en-suite bedrooms, with family and accessible rooms available, complimentary wi-fi and free parking.

The £1.5 million refurbishment programme, which commenced in early January and will complete its first phase by mid-March, will see the conversion of several offices, unutilised back-of-house areas and a number of small meeting rooms into nine stunning new executive bedrooms, taking the hotel’s total capacity to 85 rooms.

The hotel’s Gallery Restaurant and lobby is being transformed to provide a fully open plan flexible ground floor area to meet the various meeting, relaxation and dining requirements of today’s guests. At the same time, two new meeting/board rooms for up to 20 people are being formed from what was an underutilised upper section of the old restaurant, both fully fitted to meet all the technical needs of today’s meeting space.

The Orchard Suite, the largest of the hotel’s conference and banqueting rooms, is also being fully refurbished and will be available to use as one large room or two separate rooms, to suit the customer’s requirements.

Following the completion of these works, full refurbishment will commence of all the existing bedrooms, including the addition of Air-Conditioning.

Focus Hotels Management is a leading independent hospitality management company with a UK portfolio of 16 hotels, with more than 1,500 bedrooms.

As well as operating independent hotels including Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa and Oxford Witney Hotel, the company also operates hotels under franchise agreements with Hilton, Accor and IHG.

For more information about the Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel, call 01707 275 701 or visit:

meetingsclub, is delighted to announce they raised over £12,000 at their first Charity Ball held at THE RUNNYMEDE ON THAMES Hotel in Surrey on 11th March. The funds raised will help their two nominated causes for this year, Beyond Food and Fight For Sight.  Guests were wowed by a magical performance from Jamie Raven from ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and the fantastic Patriot Girls, three sensational West End singers.

Alison Jenkins, Founder & CEO of meetingsclub, commented, “When I started meetingsclub I wanted to help two good causes every year. 10% of our profit goes to the causes and each member of the team gives their own time to help, plus we run an event to raise money. I am so proud that we raised over £12,500 at our very first charity ball, It was fantastic that the apprentices from Beyond Food were able to help cook for the event and Rose Roberts, who suffers from Stargardt disease had the opportunity to meet Jamie Raven.  Rose is an incredible young girl and for us to be able to raise funds to help support eye research that will create a future she may one day be able to see is a wonderful thing.”

Simon Boyle, Chef & Founder of Beyond Food said "We are so grateful to meetingsclub for arranging such an incredible night. What really struck me was how everyone really grabbed a hold of what we're about at Beyond Food and could understand the journey our apprentices are on. The money raised will make such a difference to us and thank you so much to everyone who came and supported us and Fight for Sight. On top of that, our apprentices had a fantastic experience cooking alongside the Runnymede Hotel catering team for over 100 people- a big event for their first week". 

Michele Acton, CEO of Fight For Sight, said: “A huge congratulations to everyone involved – what a fantastic night of fundraising! It was wonderful to witness the incredible support for Rose and her mum, Tina, who both do so much to help raise funds for eye research. Fight for Sight’s share of the money raised will be a real boost and will help us continue to fund important studies into eye disease.”

NYS Corporate’s Event Management Service has almost doubled in size this financial year

As the 2017 financial year draws to a close, the NYS Events Team are anticipating record breaking year-end figures. 

NYS Corporate’s event management billings for 2016/2017 are already 75% higher than the previous financial year (at £2.1 million so far), with final figures for March 2017 still to come.  Growth has accelerated this year, exceeding the budgeted “best case scenario” by over 32%, with event management expecting to account for a substantial proportion of NYS Corporate’s overall margin for 2017.      

Event Management is a relatively new service offering from this award winning TMC, but it has developed and grown rapidly, particularly over the past six years under the leadership of Events Director; Caroline Medcalf.  This year, the team won their largest ever contracted event management client (with billings of over £1m per annum) and completed their largest event to date (with 2,200 delegates in attendance).  To accommodate the rising demand for their services, the team has expanded to include two new appointments.   

While the NYS Events Team has won some significant new business this year, a key driver of growth has actually been repeat business and extended business from existing clients, including Siemens and major pharmaceutical clients across Europe.   When asked why they had chosen to remain with NYS, key reasons sighted included: the quality of the service and account management provided, the technologies included within NYS Corporate’s offering and the transparent pricing structure.  The “Scope of Service” provided by NYS enables clients to “pick and mix” the exact services they require, ensuring clients are only charged for the elements they need.  In addition, the agency has recently launched the ground-breaking new tool: “MeetingsPro”, and have worked in partnership with start-up companies to deliver mobile applications tailored to their clients for a fraction of the typical cost.

“I am delighted to see the results of the team’s hard work paying off.  It is especially rewarding to build solid relationships with our clients and have them returning to us year after year. With our increasing presence in Europe, new on-site app and further technology offerings in the pipeline, 2017 is set to be an exciting year for the NYS Events Team.”

Caroline Medcalf, Events Director, NYS Corporate

Grass Roots Meetings & Events US has appointed a new Managing Director and Head of Americas for the Meetings & Events Division.

Howard Givner took up his position on January 31. With more than 25 years of industry experience, he is a widely recognised business and thought leader in the field of meetings and events. He was Founder and Executive Director of the Event Leadership Institute and also founded event agency Paint The Town Red, Inc.  Givner created the award-winning mobile app Super Planner, and was the co-creator of the Event Innovation Forum, a TED-style conference for industry leaders. 

In his new role, Givner will be leading the growth of the company and the team in its New York office. He joins after the close of a successful year which saw accolades such as appearing on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America, the Crains Best Place to Work in New York City and certification by the Great Places to Work® Institute. Grass Roots provides a broad range of Strategic Meetings Management services to Fortune 100 clients, managing meeting and event spend to drive efficiencies, cost savings, and data analysis to improve the R.O.I. of their clients’ various programs.

On his appointment, Givner comments:I had the pleasure of facilitating a two-day management offsite for the Grass Roots team and instantly clicked. I felt there was tremendous potential for this business here, to build on the great work they've already done with their amazing clients. When the opportunity to lead the team came up, it was a natural fit. One of the things I'm most excited about is to bring a Big Data approach to the trove of analytics generated by the company, and leverage that on behalf of our clients. This will allow us to uncover trends to provide detailed, but easy to digest, analysis that can be used to drive efficiencies, cost savings, and improvements in ROI.  We're at a very interesting point in the industry. The pace of change is only getting faster, and this offers an opportunity for industry professionals to truly prove value in properly identifying these developments, and advising their clients and stakeholders accordingly.”

David Taylor, Managing Director of Grass Roots Meetings & Events, comments: “Howard brings a deep knowledge of the industry and I look forward to seeing the impact his ideas and experience will have in both the short and long term. This is an exciting time for Grass Roots’ M&E team.  There will be changes ahead that will allow us to use our market leading position to invigorate the M&E category as a whole.” 

Nia Robinson joined the Worldspan team on 27th February 2017.

Reporting to the Head of PCO Services and Live Events, Nia will support and deliver project work for the agency’s global association clients.

Nia’s immediate prior employment was with the University of Cambridge, where she held the role of Engagement Manager. Other prior positions include Event Manager at London’s Barbican Centre.

Sophie Morris, Managing Director, said “We are delighted to welcome Nia to the team with her respective wealth of experience and knowledge. Our association events practice continues to expand and with plenty of new  opportunities in the  pipeline, we are forecasting continued robust growth within the sector”. Morris added “ As we continue to grow, we look forward to making further investment in staff in due course”.


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