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Center Parcs has strengthened its Corporate Events team at Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire with the promotion of Kelvin Hayward as Conference & Events Manager and Catherine Mansfield as Event Co-ordinator.

Kelvin has a wealth of experience in the management of conferences and events from previous roles at 5-star hotels such as Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa. He joined Center Parcs as Head of Department for the operations team in The Venue at Woburn Forest in 2015 and progressed to Village Duty Manager a year later.

Kelvin says: “As part of my new role, I will be co-ordinating all corporate events, from meetings and away days to product launches and gala dinners, ensuring high standards are met from enquiry to delivery and every event at Woburn Forest is a success. I love the flexibility to deliver exciting corporate guest experiences here at Center Parcs and I’m looking forward to utilising my management experience to lead the team in doing so.”

Catherine initially joined Center Parcs as part of the Events and Conferencing team and quickly demonstrated valuable leadership skills, resulting in her moving to an Assistant Manager role, prior to her promotion to Event Co-ordinator. Catherine will work closely with corporate clients to deliver their overall event objectives, as well as organise the finer details of their stay.

On her new role, Catherine says: “I have been with Center Parcs for over two years now and have really enjoyed working for such a forward-thinking, reputable company. As Event Co-ordinator I am the first point of contact for corporate clients to organise the details of their stay which is what I really love about the job, as I’ve always enjoyed interacting with clients to ensure their time at Center Parcs is a memorable experience.”

Liz Pilling, Corporate Events Commercial Manager says: “Our staff continually exceed expectations and we actively encourage deserved progression within the company. I am confident that Kelvin and Catherine will thrive in delivering the high standard of service for our corporate guests that they have already demonstrated throughout their time with us. I look forward to their continued success as part of the Center Parcs Corporate Events team.”



Hudson’s by Craig Atchinson, the three AA Rosette restaurant at The Grand Hotel & Spa, has re-opened, following a change of location and renovation within the hotel.

As part of the five-star hotel’s £15 million refurbishment, Hudson’s has moved from its previous home to a smaller, adjacent room, reducing covers from 60 to 28 to allow greater focus and culinary excellence with every dish.

The restaurant has enhanced its menu and will now offer a nine-course, locally-sourced tasting menu and wine flight designed for the culinary curious by award-winning head chef Craig Atchinson and Hudson’s Restaurant Manager Antonio De Angelis.

Craig Atchinson, Head Chef of The Grand Hotel & Spa’s restaurants, said: “The team and I are so excited to re-open Hudson’s with a fresh look and a new menu where nature and luxury combine. The menu features a few signature dishes with a focus on wild food – including my summer vegetable plate, a winner of the Fine Dining in Yorkshire category at this year’s Food Porn Awards.

“The nature of a tasting menu means that we will be able to ensure that every single dish is nothing but perfect, and our ethos goes beyond the food – we’ve worked with a local potter to create mini vases to house wildflowers and herbs sourced by our forager. It’ll be a very special experience for our guests.”
Philip Bolson, General Manager of The Grand Hotel & Spa, York said: “We’re delighted to see Hudson’s re-open. The Grand is Grade II listed so while the space hasn’t been dramatically overhauled, we’ve unveiled a few exquisite historic details that we love – and we think our visitors will too.

“Between the fine dining options offered at Hudson’s and our recently-launched small plates casual dining restaurant The Rise, we’re proud that The Grand has evolved to become one of York’s top culinary destinations, open to visitors, hotel guests and the local community.”

The Grand Hotel & Spa, York, is the only five-star hotel in Yorkshire as designated by the AA’s national star ratings scheme, the Hotel Quality Standards.

The new tasting menu at Hudson’s is priced at £70 per person. Wine pairing can be added for an additional £40 per person.

For more information, visit

Central London meeting and events venue Woburn House, has retained the top food hygiene rating of five stars following a recent inspection by the Food Standards Agency.

Richard Bull, General Manager at Woburn House said: “We really are foodies at Woburn House, and we pride ourselves on our stellar catering offering with innovative flavours and creative dishes. Maintaining exceptional levels of food hygiene is all part and parcel of this and we are thrilled to retain our five-star rating.”

Woburn House has a flexible range of meeting and events menu, with something to suit every event, from sandwiches to fork buffets to fine dining.

The Food Standards Agency is an independent Government department. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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


BESAP is the Birmingham Extended Stay Apartment Partnership where 10 of Birmingham’s providers are working together in unison to promote Birmingham as a destination and region. Currently the partnership includes the below providers:

  • Park Regis Broadway
  • NiteNite
  • Staybridge
  • Staying Cool
  • The Spires
  • Premier Suites
  • Adagio
  • StayCity

The objective is to work together to promote Birmingham as a Region to customers looking for Extended stay, the City is buzzing with change that is coming with projects such as HS2, HSBC, proposal for Channel 4 to move here and so much construction everywhere we really feel that things are very positive and we should celebrate in these uncertain times.

We have a large event planned for Serviced Apartment Agencies on 16th & 17th September and think this would be a good start in the promotion of partnership, working together and collaboration.

Watch their video to understand more about the BESAP partnership.

Details on how to register for the event coming soon.



Conference Care has posted a 7% gross profit figures, increasing from £2.6m to £2.8m for financial year ending 31 March 2017. Turnover for the same period increased from £2.7m to £2.9m.

Chris Peacock, director, Conference Care, told CN: “We’re very pleased with the financial results for 2016/17, which has been generally acknowledged as a challenging trading year for the industry.

“Conference Care won several significant accounts last year which has allowed us to grow in a nervous market.

“Add to that the substantial investment in our new headquarters as well – Conference Care is a great place to work and now we have the space and structure to grow as we need to.

“We are continuing to drive forward this year by giving our customers the professional service they need, launching our unique online events portal and further widening our client base.”

CTI, a corporate travel management company, has announced the appointment of John McEwan as Chairman.

The former Thomas Cook Managing Director and ABTA Chairman will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to CTI. McEwan has had a long and distinguished career in the travel industry, having worked as Retail Director for TUI and CEO for Advantage Travel Centres.  He is a member of the Travel and Hospitality Hall of Fame and has also received an industry outstanding achievement award in 2012. He is currently chairman of Holidaysplease Limited, EFR Travel Limited, Latin Routes Limited, Ski Solutions Limited and Pebble Travel.

The appointment comes after private equity investor Endless LLP took up a majority stake in the Manchester-headquartered travel company in July.

Chief Executive Clive Wratten commented, “I am delighted that John McEwan will be joining the CTI board. John brings a huge wealth of experience and I’m confident that together we can deliver on the massive potential within CTI.”

John McEwan said, “This is an exciting time to be joining CTI. I know Clive and the team have very ambitious plans to grow the business in this dynamic and fast moving sector and I look forward to working with them to achieve this.”

The CTI board consists of John McEwan (Chair), Mathew Deering (Endless LLP), Clive Wratten (CEO) and Vicky Godliman (FD).

CTI employs around 125 people across offices in Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and Hull.

Recognising that the needs of meeting and event hosts are continually evolving, QHotels has teamed up with events production company Universal Live, and Universal AV, to equip its conference rooms with the very latest ‘touch of a button’ audio visual technology.

The goal was to ensure that screens and audio within QHotels’ meeting rooms are capable of being operated at the touch of a button, allowing hosts to focus on the content of their meeting, rather than scrambling under desks to connect wires or amend resolutions on projectors.

Universal Live provides QHotels with full technical production for events and meetings taking place within its hotels. But for this latest fixed installation, it turned to its sister company, Universal AV, to come up with a bespoke solution for 30 different rooms across the QHotels group, all of which vary in size and shape.

Fixed LCD screens were installed in smaller meeting rooms and projector screens fitted in larger conference spaces. A Barco ClickShare wireless presentation system now also features in these meeting rooms, allowing corporate guests to wirelessly connect their laptop or tablet to the room’s meeting screen with just one button.  This means delegates can flick from screen to screen in the most efficient way.

The installation work was carried out by Universal AV technicians and was carefully scheduled around each hotel’s busy programme of meetings, conferences and events to minimise disruption.

Each element involved a user testing stage, whereby QHotels’ corporate customers experimented with different options to ensure the final technology installed was the best and most intuitive solution to meet hosts’ needs.

Extra care was also taken to ensure that the work was carried out sensitively within QHotels’ historic and listed buildings. For example, at The Midland in Manchester the screen is disguised within a gilded frame and has the appearance of a mirror when it’s not in use, to ensure that it doesn’t detract from the hotel’s ornate surroundings.

Elsewhere, trunking concealing cables has been hidden with a vinyl wrap matching the room’s wall covering or colour, ensuring attention to detail was applied throughout.

Joanne Barratt, group operations manager for QHotels, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve our audio visual offering and Universal Live and Universal AV work very closely with us to ensure we stay ahead of the market. Whilst we are introducing ClickShare across our entire portfolio, we are also looking at what is likely to follow.  As technology is constantly evolving, so are our customers’ requirements.”

Nick Fitzpatrick, managing director at Universal AV, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the supply of integrated meeting room solutions. We have worked tirelessly with Universal Live and a number of prestigious manufacturers to demonstrate a range of solutions that could be implemented throughout the luxury hotel chain.

“It was imperative that meeting room users were able to come into the room and, at the touch of a button, connect to the installed screens. The solution we implemented allows for this and is still aesthetically pleasing.”


Two of QHotels’ key conference and events venues have welcomed new general managers.

Chris Steadman has been promoted to General Manager at Chesford Grange near Kenilworth in Warwickshire, while Joanne Hammick is promoted to General Manager at the nearby Stratford Manor.

Chris was previously responsible for Stratford Manor and The Stratford hotels as cluster GM, while Joanne spent two years as GM at Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, near Daventry.

Set in 17 acres of grounds, Chesford Grange is the largest of QHotels’ 26 conference and events venues. Its extensive spaces include the 700-capacity Kenilworth Suite – the largest in Warwickshire.

“We have some fantastic spaces at Chesford Grange that can be flexed depending on the client’s needs, and our recent VenueVerdict Gold accreditation is testament to our team’s commitment to always exceeding those needs,” said Chris.

Chris has been a hotel general manager for the past 12 years, having worked previously for the likes of Principal Hotels, Malmaison, De Vere, Champneys and Marriott. He is in his second spell with QHotels, having run Hellidon Lakes and The Stratford during his first period with the group.

“I’ve always got a great buzz from working in hotels, particularly on the events side,” he said. “When you’re delivering conferences and events, no day is the same. That variety delivers huge job satisfaction, which help us to provide great experiences for customers.”

Joanne spent five years at Billesley Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon, before joining QHotels two years ago as GM at Hellidon Lakes.

“I really enjoy working in Stratford. We’re in a unique part of the world, with so much history, which has as many benefits for our corporate customers as it does for our leisure guests.

“We have 21 acres of beautiful grounds, which are ideal if you want to take your event outdoors, or you just need some peace and tranquillity, but we also have all the attractions of Stratford on our doorstep.  It’s what makes us such a popular conference and events venue.”

Michael Purtill, Managing Director at QHotels, added: “I would like to personally congratulate Chris and Joanne, who have thoroughly earned their promotions.

“Between them they have had almost 20 years in senior roles within the hotel industry, but it’s their passion for delivering a memorable experience for each and every customer that will drive the future success of Chesford Grange and Stratford Manor.”    



QHotels has ended the second quarter of the year on a high as 11 of its venues are awarded VenueVerdict’s Gold Standard Accreditation, equalling its highest ever number of quarterly accreditations.

The prestigious VenueVerdict Gold Standard is awarded by BDRC Continental - the UK’s largest independent market research agency – and is directly based on event host feedback and how likely they are to recommend a venue for a conference or event.

Accreditations are awarded to venues quarterly, with the annual VenueVerdict results announced in January.  

The latest accolades come after QHotels was named No.1 Large Group in VenueVerdict’s annual awards, the sixth consecutive year the group has held the top spot.

QHotels venues receiving the VenueVerdict Gold Standard accreditation in Q2 of 2017 are:

  1. Ashford International Hotel, Kent
  2. Belton Woods, Grantham
  3. Chesford Grange, Warwick
  4. Dunston Hall, Norwich
  5. Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, Daventry
  6. Mottram Hall, Cheshire
  7. The Midland, Manchester
  8. The Oxford Belfry, Oxfordshire
  9. The Park Royal, Cheshire
  10. The Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, Shropshire
  11. The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort, near Glasgow


QHotels’ The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort in Scotland has received the accolade each quarter for the past six years, while The Oxford Belfry has retained it continuously for five years.

Michael Purtill, Managing Director at QHotels, said: “Firstly, congratulations to everyone at QHotels on yet another outstanding quarter of VenueVerdict results.  It’s incredibly important that each and every one of our venues strives to meet the ever-evolving needs of our guests, so to have so many recognised by event hosts is the biggest indicator of success.

“The accreditations are testament to our continued programme of investment, the consistently high level of service QHotels delivers but most importantly, our team’s passion to deliver the very best by listening to our guests.”

Natalie Wiseman, Client Services Manager said: “QHotels continues to demonstrate commitment to its conferences and events provision, demonstrated especially well by 11 of its hotels achieving VenueVerdict’s Gold Standard this quarter, with a number of those venues retaining the accreditation for a successive period.”


A record number of hotels in the QHotels group have been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence this year, after guests posting reviews on the travel website gave them a huge thumbs up.  

In all, 18 hotels in the group received the accolade this year, three more than in 2016.

The prestigious certificate helps guests to identify hotels that deliver a high standard of customer service, and is only awarded to those that consistently receive positive customer reviews and maintain at least four stars on TripAdvisor.

The 2017 record-breaking results demonstrate the hotel group’s commitment to continually raising and maintaining high standards at its 26 hotels across the UK.

Managing Director of QHotels, Michael Purtill, said: “TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence awards are based on real feedback from the people that matter most to us, our customers.

“It’s wonderful recognition for the teams at these hotels, who work incredibly hard to exceed our customers’ expectations and offer a truly memorable experience each and every time. The fact that the number of our hotels receiving Certificates of Excellence rose from 15 last year to 18 this year speaks volumes about the high standards that underpin everything we do.”

The venues that received the Certificate of Excellence this year are Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel near York; Ashford International Hotel in Kent; Belton Woods near Grantham in Lincolnshire; Bridgewood Manor at Rochester in Kent; The Cambridge Belfry at Cambourne in Cambridgeshire; The Cheltenham Chase Hotel in Gloucestershire; Chesford Grange at Kenilworth in Warwickshire; Crewe Hall in Cheshire; Forest Pines Hotel and Golf Resort in North Lincolnshire; Hampshire Court Hotel at Basingstoke in Hampshire; The Nottingham Belfry in Nottinghamshire; Oulton Hall near Leeds; The Oxford Belfry at Thame in Oxfordshire; The Park Royal at Stretton in Cheshire; Telford Hotel and Golf Resort in Shropshire; The Midland in Manchester; The Queens in Leeds and The Westerwood near Glasgow.


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