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Leading UK based lifestyle hotel group, Harbour Hotels, has joined the HBAA, the leading association for the events and hospitality industry.

The HBAA has more than 300-member organisations including over 80 agency and 225 venue members who work collaboratively in the accommodation, meetings and events sector.

Five hotels from the hotel group’s portfolio have become members, (Guildford Harbour Hotel, Brighton Harbour Hotel, Bristol Harbour Hotel, Chichester Harbour Hotel and the soon to open Southampton Harbour Hotel) featuring over sixteen unique meetings spaces and accommodating more than 960 delegates.

The HBAA drives, 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 sector. It operates a Code of Practice which assures best practice between agents, hotels and venues.

Mike Warren, Managing Director of Harbour Hotels, says ‘‘We are delighted to have joined the HBAA, with membership covering our city properties. As the widely recognised standard for best practice and ethical working, HBAA membership is the mark of quality assurance for the sector. Our hotels have successfully met their criteria – ensuring the highest standards of service and facilities.”

Mike continues ‘‘Joining the HBAA will bring many benefits to our leading hospitality Group and we look forward to working more closely with Agency members showcasing our hotels. Becoming part of this highly regarded association increases our awareness within the industry and allows us to further build our Harbour Hotels brand.’’

Louise Goalen, Chair of the HBAA said; “It’s great that Harbour Hotels has joined the HBAA.  I’d like to welcome them to the association and look forward to meeting many of the team at our future member events.”


Warwick Conferences, the award-winning collection of meeting venues on the University of Warwick campus, has been awarded Gold accreditation by Green Tourism for its newest venue – The Slate – just seven months after opening. In addition, its three other dedicated conference venues – Arden, Scarman and Radcliffe - have received Silver accreditation as part of the organisation’s mission to create an eco-friendlier environment.

In order to be accredited by Green Tourism, businesses must satisfy specific criteria which covers all aspects of sustainability, from energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity to social and ethical choices. As part of the world-leading University of Warwick, Warwick Conferences has aligned its objectives with the University’s mission to make the campus greener, resulting in both organisations working together to ensure a positive impact on the wider community.

The Slate, which opened in December 2016, was designed and built with sustainability in mind, and boasts low-energy consumption. It’s Gold standard accreditation indicates an ‘inspirational and outstanding’ commitment to sustainability with the use of the latest technologies, efficient control of resource use such as flow control values on all taps and WCS to reduce water consumption, and the use of sustainable fish and meat products. 

Arden, Scarman and Radcliffe have all achieved an ‘excellent and progressive’ Silver accreditation, with the venue teams already working towards securing Gold in the coming year. Each of the venues has demonstrated significant use of recycled products, the sourcing of supplies from ethical and local areas, as well as energy and water efficiency.

Food at each venue is crafted with locally sourced ingredients, while all meat complies with the UK Animal Welfare Standards and fish is consciously sourced, in accordance with the Marine Conservation Society’s guidelines. Warwick Conferences commitment to ethical, sustainable and fresh food has also been rewarded with Bronze level accreditation with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark. All of the organisation’s lunch and dinner menus now meet the exacting standards from the association.

Low flush toilets, including dual flush or displacement devices, have been introduced at Scarman, Arden and Radcliffe, alongside the use of dishwashers that are at least ‘A’ rated. A herb garden has also been planted at Scarman for the kitchen to source produce.

As part of Radcliffe’s £6.5m refurbishment, the venue has undergone heating and ventilation modifications, a full replacement of external windows to achieve an improved thermal conductance, and has been fitted with modern double-glazed units to help reduce energy usage through improved thermal performance and light transmittance. This work is set to be completed in September 2017 when the venue re-opens.

Richard Harrison, Head of Conference Centres, said: “We are committed to exploring new and innovative ways to reduce any negative impacts our business may have on the environment. To have four of our venues accredited either Gold or Silver by Green Tourism, the natural leader in green grading, is an outstanding achievement. We’ve made significant investments at each of our venues to ensure that we meet the exacting standards, while reinforcing the importance to both staff and clients of being a sustainable and ethically run business.

“When Radcliffe reopens in September following its refurbishment, clients will notice that we’ve not only revamped the venue with a new modern design for the bar and lounge, but we’ve implemented significant changes to create an eco-friendly environment, which is now evident across each of our four venues.”

As part of its mission to tackle food wastage across the business and to encourage its customers and audience to use up their leftovers, the team at Warwick Conferences will be creating a number of seasonal and locally sourced recipes with this in mind. The first food vlog to be released sees Head of Food Mark Ralph reveal how to make a pork burrito using leftover ingredients [].

Ashfield Meetings & Events held their annual conference - The Lab - on Wednesday 26 July at Holywell Park, an Imago venue, in Loughborough.

The Lab, now in its fifth year, is an interactive event for UK staff, dedicated to delivering continued professional development, building supplier partnerships and driving creativity. It is designed to complement the agency’s award-winning learning and development programme.

This year the theme Outside Inspiration focussed on how staff - both individually and collectively – can find fresh sources of creative stimuli to help enhance solutions for their clients. The Lab had over 200 attendees (including a number of preferred suppliers) and provided staff with the opportunity to learn through a combination of ice-breakers, facilitated workshops, technology demonstrations, crowd-sourced galleries, external speakers and exhibit environments.

Nicola Burns (Global Managing Director) said: “The Lab is an important event and something our staff look forward to each year. It is an opportunity for us to share insight and understanding, develop more collaborative relationships and build strategic partnerships. We asked a number of our suppliers and partners to be involved throughout the event and interact with our staff throughout the sessions. Having them more closely involved in the content allowed us to generate more inspiration from each other. We  invited one of the Ashfield divisional businesses, Pegasus, a multi-award winning communications agency, to share how creative inspiration drives their business. We also listened to an Olympic coach and an actor explain how they found their inspiration to achieve peak performance.”

Luke Flett (Global Head Of Marketing) commented: “The Lab gives us time away from the pressures of the office to reflect on the important issues that we face as an event agency. We developed the outward-looking theme to encourage staff to explore the external factors that are driving the fast pace of change and consider how this might impact our agency, both now and in the future. Our SPARK THINKING brand will be providing staff with tools and techniques to use these insights to spot unconcealed opportunities. We also wanted to ensure that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep their eyes and ears open to the numerous sources of creative inspiration that surround us on a daily basis. Again our SPARK THINKING brand will provide workshops to help staff to use different inspiration to connect dots and ultimately fuel more engaging experiences for our clients.”



Church House Westminster has welcomed a new member to its events team.

Sharnez Ritchie has joined the central London venue as an Event Coordinator, having previously worked for another venue in the capital. In her role, she will work across the event planning portfolio from taking enquiries to assisting with the running of client events.  

Of her appointment Sharnez commented: “Working at Church House Westminster offers a great opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients on their events, and to also broaden my own skills and experience of the industry by working with a dedicated and knowledgeable team.”

Robin Parker, General Manager of Church House Westminster, comments: “We’re delighted to welcome Sharnez to our events team. One of our strengths is our staff and her appointment will allow us to continue offering clients a professional and detailed approach to event management, enhancing our reputation for providing a first-class service.”

Church House Westminster is one of London’s most versatile event venues. The AIM Gold accredited venue offers 19 flexible event spaces, which accommodate between 2 and 664 guests, and hosts a wide variety of events including meetings, conferences, awards ceremonies, gala dinners and receptions. For more information call 020 7390 1590 or visit

Inntel are delighted to welcome Kilianne Clegg as Business Development Manager.

The appointment follows the implementation of Inntel’s 20/20 Vision, a 3 year strategy targeting growth and expansion. Clegg’s role will focus on new client opportunities and developing company presence in the Scottish market.

Clegg said: ‘I am very pleased to have joined the Inntel team as Business Development Manager. I find Inntel to be a passionate growing company with solid foundations and an excellent service offering for clients in all areas of meetings, events and corporate travel. It’s an exciting time to be joining the company to help build on the great successes Inntel has enjoyed so far.’

Since 2009, Clegg has worked for 2 large corporate travel management companies in several client facing roles demonstrating a wealth of experience in the industry.

‘It’s been a fast-paced 12 months for Inntel, and we anticipate that this year will be even busier with our new company strategy underway. We are very proud to have Kilianne join our business development team and I am sure she will do a great job of building client relationships and supporting our journey towards Inntel’s 20/20 Vision.’

Douglas O’Neill - CEO

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa has recognised the hard work and ongoing commitment of its longest serving employee, Wanna Taylor, who has worked at the Hotel for 20 years. In celebration of this milestone, the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa team gathered together to surprise her with gifts including a gold bracelet, a bouquet of flowers, clothing vouchers and a spa getaway, as well as a spread of champagne, cake and nibbles.

Wanna Taylor works with the kitchen team behind Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s 2AA Rosette Restaurant, Squires, and has become one of the Hotel’s most valued members of staff.

Wanna commented on her surprise celebration: “When I started work at the Hotel 20 years ago, I could never have imagined that I would become so close to the people I work with. Every day I am surrounded by my friends, and this makes it a joy to come to work. I am overwhelmed with my beautiful gifts, but more than anything the team has made me feel very important and truly appreciated.” 

The celebration was led by Noel Byrne, Chief Executive of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, who raised a glass to Wanna and presented her with her gifts. Noel said: “Wanna is a core member of the team and on behalf of everyone at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa and its owners I would like to congratulate her for contributing so much to the Hotel over her 20 years of employment. As well as working hard every single day, she is a little ray of sunshine in the Hotel and is always there to brighten up our days – we are so proud to have such a special staff member. ”

Ashfield Meetings & Events, a full-service global event management agency specialising in the healthcare sector, have taken four undergraduate students as part of their year-long university placement scheme.

The scheme, now in its sixth year, gives undergraduate students the opportunity to experience first-hand the realities of a career in event management. Students will have the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge whilst learning new on-the-job skills. 

Ashfield Meetings & Events partner with universities throughout the UK with students applying and attending an assessment centre day in May. This year four successful students progressed through the assessment and will join the event delivery teams within the agency. Agnes Morgan (University of Plymouth), Hannah Whittaker, (University of Central Lancashire), Emily Clint (University of Gloucester) and Immy Ford (Manchester Metropolitan University) are all studying Events Management and will all join the business as Project Administrators.

The students are currently completing a comprehensive induction programme, which includes attending the agency’s annual conference – the Lab - taking place on 26th July.

Helen Capelin (Head of Operational Excellence) commented: “We are very proud of our undergraduate programme, for me personally welcoming the new students each year is something I look forward to. The recent recruits performed outstandingly in their assessment centre and each has slightly different skills gained in and outside of university. We will support and develop the students throughout their year with us and give them opportunities that will fully prepare them for a career in events management when they graduate.”

In addition to the undergraduate students, Ashfield Meetings & Events welcomed back previous placement student Sarah Moore as Marketing Executive. Sarah has now completed her university studies and has returned to the business full-time.

Focus Hotel Management’s Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre hotel has been recognised for its innovative use of social media to engage with customers.

The hotel, which opened in September 2015 following a £20 million conversion of York House, was the winner in the Marketing Campaign of the Year category at the Bristol Post’s Business Awards 2017.

During the regeneration work and run-up to opening, the management recognised the need to engage with its target audience – including corporate guests, tours and groups and individual tourists – providing up-to-date information about the progress of works, room availability and events in the city, and decided the best way to do this was via social media.

The hotel’s General Manager Imran Ali, who was appointed to the role in January 2015 as the conversion work took place, says: “This award means a lot, as we started telling our story on social media when I came on board, keeping our messaging consistent and relevant.

“The use of these channels has continued since opening and we have now become the leading UK (arguably European) hotel within the brand for engagement with our target audience via social media and public relations.

“Customers, guests and staff have been brought along on the ‘hotel journey’ with many social media users having become genuine friends with team members.

“Word of mouth is perceived as being the strongest form of communication for the hotel. If someone has an enjoyable stay then they will tell their friends and peers. The best advocates are the guests who stay at the hotel and staff who work here and all are actively encouraged to interact online.”

Figures demonstrate the success of the hotel’s approach, as occupancy targets are continually exceeded; often leaving the hotel completely full.

“Being able to react to events has been key,” says Imran. “Devising innovative offers based on events or news has then driven room sales and has proven successful.”

An excellent example followed the announcement on direct flights from Bristol Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland. As a result, a series of Facebook adverts were designed and targeted to people living within a 70-km radius of the Icelandic capital. The result was a massive increase in Icelanders booking rooms at the hotel.

Imran concludes: “Hoteliers need to keep their eyes and ears open to see what next could come into our business. The touch points in the customer journey are changing so rapidly, that we need to be ahead of our game all the time – it pushes us to engage with our guests continuously at all levels.”

The Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre is a contemporary and stylish hotel in a former office building on Bond Street in Bristol, a fantastic city-centre location close to both business and leisure areas of the city, with easy access to the M32 and regional motorways.

Air-conditioned rooms are equipped with everything needed for a relaxed, productive stay including free Wifi, a large desk with ergonomic chair, a comfortable Hampton bed and a 32” flat screen TV.

Focus Hotels Management is a leading independent hospitality 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 Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre, call 0117 944 6888 or visit


It would seem Rockliffe Hall’s beautiful grounds aren’t just appreciated by the resort’s guests, golfers and staff – a wide variety of birds have chosen to take up residence at the luxury hotel too.

Rockliffe Hall is working together with the River Tees Rediscovered Landscape Partnership to encourage our feathered friends to come and stay at the five star resort, and it’s been a huge success.

The project, entitled “Wings on the Tees” involved the installation of 36 bird nest boxes around the grounds of the Hall and Golf course over the last year. The project covers anything that can fly from dragonflies and butterflies to bats and all types of birds, but initially it’s concentrating on birds.

Two large boxes were erected for Tawny Owls in the wooded grounds. Happily both were used, the first by a Tawny which has successfully reared three chicks. The second was taken over by a Stock Dove that raised two chicks. Both birds are on the amber alert list for this country due to a decline in numbers.

The smaller boxes were also well occupied - 15 by Blue Tits, eight by Great Tits and one mid-size box by Starlings.

Head Gardener at Rockliffe Hall, Phil Mennell, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the results of this project so far. It is hoped the partnership will grow and sites will be found for more boxes, aiming to bring a greater variety of birds into the area.”

For further information on the “Wings on the Tees” project please contact Sarah Barry on 01287 636382, or

For information specifically about nest boxes contact Colin Gibson on 07811 860218

The partnership is supported by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Crystal Interactive, the UK’s largest full-service event technology company, has launched a series of Masterclasses to help meeting owners create the most engaging and interactive events possible.  The first of the Masterclasses – How to effectively implement and manage event apps before, during and after your event – will be held on Thursday 27th July at etc.venues Fenchurch Place at 9.45am to 12noon.

Attendees at the event will hear from Crystal’s team of experts and will:

  • Learn how to maximise the early adoption of event apps.
  • Uncover the secrets to building an engaging app and create great content.
  • Experience Crystal’s best in class technologies first hand with live product demonstrations.
  • Hear from one of Crystal’s clients on their experiences and how they work with Crystal to make their events a great success. 

Richard Shafe, Marketing Manager at Crystal said, “Deploying technology in a live meeting can often be quite stressful and complicated, our Masterclasses are designed to help event planners stay one step ahead and de-mystify the technologies.

We’re delighted to have 11 of our experienced team on hand to discuss best practices and share their knowledge with other event professionals.  Anyone looking to improve levels of engagement at their meetings and events will benefit from attending one of our Masterclasses.”

For more information and to register for the July Masterclass please visit: Crystal Interactive Masterclasses.  Those interested in the second Masterclass of the series, to be held in October, should register their interest with Richard Shafe –  



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