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Event specialists, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, has appointed a new Corporate Sales Manager to support its ambitious plans to grow revenue from conferences and events at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Rebecca Gabb joins the attraction from DoubleTree by Hilton, Edinburgh, where she held the role of Conference & Event Sales Manager.

With nine years’ experience within the hospitality sector across Scotland, Rebecca will head up a team of three and hold responsibility for securing sales opportunities, as well as ensuring sustained success and demand for the Botanics’ high-quality meetings, conference and events facilities.

Prior to working at the Hilton, Rebecca was Marketing and Events Manager with G1 Group, where she was in charge of creating sales & marketing plans for Edinburgh venues including The Murrayfield House Hotel, The Ghillie Dhu and the Granary.

Fraser Sharp, General Manager for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: “Rebecca joins us at an exciting time; we recently completed a full refurbishment of our main events space, the John Hope Gateway Restaurant, creating a brand new outdoor kitchen, and have also added the venue’s Lecture Theatre to our portfolio.

The Botanics offers a variety of unique indoor and outdoor events spaces and its idyllic location, just a few minutes from the city centre, makes it the ideal host for gala dinners, drinks receptions, board meetings, conferences or more informal occasions and outdoor events.

Combined with our first-class event planning, Rebecca and her team will provide a seamless experience for corporate guests.”

The venue’s Lecture Theatre can sit up to 240 people and has the added benefit of enjoying a separate break out space, ideal for catering. Event planners are being offered half price room hire and the first round of tea and coffee for free, with all bookings made until September. For more information, call 0131 552 1974.

Catering and events specialists, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events unveiled its new events and wedding spaces, following an £800,000 refurb, with a taster evening for local businesses.

Around 80 members of the local business community were given access to the new-look venue as well as a sneak preview of the 2017 events and hospitality menus.

Following the major renovation project, which saw the venue’s suites, events spaces and meetings facilities updated to provide modern, elegant facilities, the Racecourse is now able to offer weddings in its Duke’s Suite, which has been expanded and can now seat 160 guests. The former Conservatory Café, now renamed ‘The Hill’, has also been transformed to offer a brand new events space for private celebrations and corporate dinners. While its brand new outdoor serving area makes it the perfect base for BBQ fun days.

The venue’s catering & hospitality offering has also received a makeover for the new Spring/Summer season, and guests were treated to a selection of Scottish dishes, each of which feature on the events menu.

Taster plates of Hickory roast Shetland salmon, Roast smoked Rannoch Estate beef and Hebridean sea salt baked beetroot with ham and whipped goats cheese, were served as starters. Dishes including slow roasted maple glazed pork loin with potato croquette, Ayrshire bacon and a jus flavoured with Cuddybridge apple, and roast breast of chicken with Orkney butter and crispy leg bon bon followed. Scotland’s national soft drink was given a twist for dessert, with Iron Brewlee tart, clotted cream, salted candied almonds, white chocolate and mandarin, among the sweets served.

David Trotter, Account Director with Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, said, “Treating guests to the best food made with the best Scottish ingredients, is at the heart of what we do at Hamilton Park Racecourse.

“The renovation project enhances our offering for private and corporate events and with the addition of The Hill, which represents a brand new opportunity, we are confident will be a huge success.

“Guests can look forward to celebrating in premium dining, bar and hospitality areas as well as hosting conference and meetings in our fresh facilities.”

Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events recently extended its partnership with Hamilton Park Racecourse for a further 10 years.


QHotels has been recognised as one of the top six employers in the UK hospitality industry by trade bible The Caterer, in its annual ‘Best Places to Work in Hospitality Awards 2017’.

Based on the feedback from anonymous staff questionnaires, the league tables recognise organisations that put people at the heart of the business, supporting employee development to deliver exceptional products and services.

QHotels was praised for its award-winning training programmes, including its bespoke Hospitality Management Foundation degree.

The accolade is the latest recognising QHotels’ commitment to staff development and retention. In February, the group received the Distinction in Developing Future Talent award at the national HR Distinction Awards, and in November 2016 it received three Springboard Excellence Awards, including one for the best Education and Industry Partnership.

The Best Places to Work in Hospitality Awards 2017 required more than 77 per cent of an organisation’s employees to have filled in questionnaires, which were analysed to see how the employer had performed against a set of national benchmarks.

Key criteria for judging included recognising the needs and aspirations of its employees and that the organisation ensured that, “everyone who works for them is happy, motivated and working toward their own goals.”

QHotels was specifically recognised for its “clear remit to develop talent”. In 2016, the group launched its ‘Get into Q’ apprenticeship programme with 52 apprentices, and now the group is looking to recruit a further 100 apprentices this year. The apprenticeships are available in a range of specialist areas such as operational management, maintenance, accounts, food and beverage and spa.

In addition, QHotels’ Professional Hospitality Operations Management programme is the first qualification of its type to be provided by a UK hotel group and is awarded by University College Birmingham.

The bespoke hospitality course has given employees a hands-on education whilst in operational, managerial and sales roles. It is offered to current employees and external applicants to learn while they work on a full-time basis.

Michael Purtill, Managing Director at QHotels, said: “This is a stunning result for QHotels. We put a huge amount of focus on team development and particularly on finding the right people with the right attitude, which we can foster, regardless of background or experience.

“The return is an engaged and motivated team that know there are real opportunities for them to progress their careers with QHotels and be fully supported by the business. This inspires them to listen to customers and able to take decisions to help improve the experience of staying at QHotels and guests recognise and appreciate that. I’d like to thank the team for their fantastic effort and this recognition is richly deserved.”

Rudding Park Hotel Spa & Golf, Horizon Leeds, Hilton Group, Center Parcs, and Trident Hospitality were amongst the venues, hotels and suppliers to win at the CHS awards, held last night at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. More than 250 event industry professionals, including many of the agents who contributed to the judging, attended the third annual CHS Awards which were preceded by a glittering gala dinner.

Rudding Park Hotel, Spa & Golf took the coveted Chairman’s Award and also won the Best Anticipated Launch and Best External Space Awards.

Horizon Leeds won the Best Day Delegate 24 Hour Rate and the Best Onsite Audio Visual Awards and was highly commended in the Best Board Room/ Small Meeting Room Award.

Other success stories from the evening included awards for The Grand Hotel York, Conventions Malta and Cameron House.

The CHS Awards are organised by CHS Group who deliver the annual Conference and Hospitality Show in Leeds and the nominations for this year were announced at the Show in April. The judging process was managed by Paula Kelsey and Cloud 9 Event Management. The judging panel consisted of over 50 agency event professionals, with Richard John as Chair.

The Awards were supported by Conference Leeds, LeedsBID, AS Audio, Hospitality and Events North Magazine and the Royal Armouries Museum. Sponsors included Off Limits,, Jurys Inn, Leeds Hotel & Venues Association, Ibis Styles Hotels, Mercure Hotels, Ta Dah Furniture Hire and Stadium Experience.

HBAA Chair Louise Goalen has joined Top Banana as Head of Venues.

Top Banana Venues has been particularly successful in recent years and Louise’s arrival will help build on this by growing the offering and contributing to the wider business success.

Louise spent 20 years with Ashfield Meetings & Events and combines this experience with time spent on the venue side in her early career to bring a unique perspective to the role.

As chair of the HBAA, Louise is responsible for helping agencies and venues work together for the benefit of all parties; she sees building new partnerships and developing existing ones as an important element in her new role at Top Banana.

“This is a great fit for me … it’s such a creative environment here, full of people who want to deliver great work for their clients and always go a step beyond to achieve that. Their values chime with my own and I can see loads of potential to grow the business in ways that complement the existing services on offer.”

Top Banana’s Creative Director and co-founder Richard Bridge agreed: “We’ve been looking for someone to really take the venue finding side of the business to the next level for some time and we see Louise as the ideal person to do this. Her experience speaks for itself. She’s got a great team alongside her and we’re excited to have her on board.”

Top Banana recently announced the introduction of its Banana Leadership Team, created to draw on all the expertise the business now has in its 50-strong team. Louise’s position on the BLT will help bring the company’s venue finding services firmly into the spotlight and support ambitious growth in the coming months.

Lancaster-based serviced apartment agent Citybase Apartments, and its sister company SilverDoor has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2017 E3 Business Awards, which will be held at the Macron Stadium in Bolton on Thursday 13th July 2017.

The company, which sources and books serviced apartments, providing business and leisure travellers with a smarter alternative to hotels, was selected from amongst hundreds of nominees to become one of the finalists in the prestigious Customer Service of the year category.

Speaking on behalf of the company, Operations Director Imogen Brettell said

As a specialist agent, our brand and service is built on boutique, not ‘big business’ values: Outstanding customer service, tailored recommendations and a friendly approach are the cornerstones of our business. We are immensely proud of all our people, without whom we would not be up for this award

"Each year, it becomes more of an achievement to win a finalist's place," said Mubarak Chati, managing director of 1 Events Media, which hosts the E3 Awards. "Every year since we've started, we've seen an increase in nominations and a corresponding increase in quality. This year, across all seventeen award categories, we've seen an increase of around 18% on last year.”

"We've had nominations from throughout the North West and we've seen real strength in all areas. One of the big surprises has been the number of entries from new businesses, digital, creative and media sectors, women in business and voluntary organisations.

It's always been a key purpose of the Awards to celebrate the achievement of all parts of the community - not just the mainstream –  women, charities and social enterprises coming forward in such numbers is very gratifying indeed.”

"Given the number and the high standard of entries, we certainly gave the Nominations Panel a difficult job. They have risen to the challenge, though, and their final selections represent the very best of the whole North West region. For SilverDoor and Citybase to have been named as a finalist for 2017 is an achievement of which it should be very proud."

More information about SilverDoor and Citybase can be found on its website   and or by calling 01524 544244.

More information about the E3 Business Awards, including a full list of finalists, can be found at www.

Central London meetings venue Woburn House has appointed Ivan Ward as Head Chef. 

With 20 years in the industry, Ivan joins from The HAC and trained at The Savoy. His international experience also includes time onboard prestigious cruise ships where he developed his flair for international cuisine.

Ivan will be responsible for overseeing all food operations for meetings and events at the London venue, as well as designing new seasonal menus to delight the delegate’s palate.

Richard Bull, General Manager at Woburn House comments: “Ivan’s experience with international flavours is the perfect fit for Woburn House, where we welcome in delegates from both the UK and overseas. Ivan has created menus to cater to all tastes and he is an excellent addition to the team.”

Ivan says: “I’m thrilled to have joined the Woburn House team and to be taking on a new challenge. My passion is for taking classic favourites and recreating them with a twist of new and exciting flavours.

“I’m looking forward to putting my stamp on the dishes at Woburn House, creating delicious food that will sustain delegates during a busy day of meetings.”

Woburn House is a professional venue, located in central London’s Tavistock Square, just a 5-minute walk from Euston station. With 8 versatile rooms and spaces, the venue is suited to conferences, exhibitions or meetings and has a capacity of up to 250 reception style in the Main Hall.  

With a full range of services including catering, AV support and free Wi-Fi, Woburn House is an easily accessible, versatile venue.

For more information visit

Stephanie Wolstenholme, Reception Manager at Rockliffe Hall, won the Shooting Star Award at the North East Hotels Association Excellence Awards 2017 last night, with two additional team members being named as finalists.

The five star hotel, golf and spa resort, near Hurworth in County Durham, had several team members shortlisted for various awards. Steph, 22, from Newton Aycliffe, scooped ‘Shooting Star’ while Gemma Pott, the hotel’s Business Development Manager, was a finalist in the Sales Excellence category and Richard Allen, Executive Chef in The Orangery, was finalist in the Inspirational Leader section.

The winners were announced at a glittering awards ceremony at the The Boiler Shop in Newcastle on Thursday 11th May.

The NEHA Excellence Awards actively seek out the best individuals in each hotel and recognises them for their outstanding achievements, exceptional service and professionalism. Its ethos is to reward hard work and ensure recognition is given to those who show real future potential and whose positive attitude makes a real difference to the visitor experience.​

Steph joined Rockliffe Hall 5 years ago as a part-time receptionist whilst at sixth form college and she hasn’t looked back. She took on a full time job in the resort’s reservations office, was next promoted to Reception Supervisor and then her current role of Reception Manager. Alongside working, Steph also studied a Hospitality Management degree at Teesside University and achieved a First Class Honours.

She says: “I was honoured to be nominated for this award and couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d been short-listed for the finals. So to win the category last night was a big shock, I’m absolutely thrilled. It means so much to be recognised for the hard work I’ve put in over the last 5 years.”​


Inntel is delighted to have been recognised in the latest edition of the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2017 report, published today.

The report lists the UK’s 1000 most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across more than 40 business sectors. All of the companies have demonstrated positive revenue growth and a strong sector performance over the last three years and, according to the London Stock Exchange Group, have “enormous potential for innovation, growth and job creation”.

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said:

“Four years on, LSEG’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs. The strength and diversity of these companies is readily apparent with a broad mix of UK regions and sectors represented. These companies are the very heart of an ‘anti-fragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust. We must ensure we continue doing all we can to support high growth potential businesses like these.

“London Stock Exchange Group is fully committed to supporting and implementing initiatives which improve access to and cut the cost of finance for growing companies. We welcome the Government’s focus on supporting SMEs as part of its Industrial Strategy and await the outcome of its review into long-term patient capital.”

This is more good news in what has already been a very good month for Inntel, which was recently placed at number 3 on the Buying Business Travel (BBT) Top 50 list of travel management companies on the fast track, which is defined by calculating new business as a percentage of total sales.

Douglas O’Neil, CEO of Inntel, said, “What makes this news all the more exciting is that we are growing fast and gaining recognition while remaining fully independent. Any success we enjoy is the direct result of the hard work we put in to providing existing and new clients with efficiency improvements, added-value services and policy management. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone at Inntel for the part they have played in bringing us to this point.”

For the full report, please visit

Ashfield Meetings & Events, a full service global event management company that specialises in serving the healthcare sector and part of UDG Healthcare PLC, has announced its results for the financial year ending September 2016.

EBIT (Earnings Before Interest & Tax) for the period was £5.482m compared to £4.91m in the previous 12-month period, showing an increase of 11.6%.

This is the second year running the agency have demonstrated double digit EBIT growth. The numbers have been consolidated from accounts covering the company’s operations across Europe, the US and Asia. 

Commenting on the performance, Nicola Burns (Global Managing Director) said: “We have had a number of new business wins, both in Europe and the US, that has helped achieve a strong set of results. This has included numerous consultancy projects, dedicated client teams and strategic meetings management programmes. In addition the continued commercial development of SPARK THINKING has helped enhance our creative service offering and diversify our client base.”

Burns concluded: “The healthcare meetings market continues to evolve and we are looking to expand our leading position by investing in technology, prioritising our growth in the US and further connecting our healthcare expertise across the Ashfield division to add new types of value for our clients. Our focus internally will be on driving productivity and leading through our people. It has been especially rewarding to see so many of our talented people take the next step in their career with us over the last 12 months. These internal promotions, combined with a series of new business wins in 2017, has resulted in a number of openings across our UK and US offices.”


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