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Cyber security also receiving much more attention

The majority of UK event venues have significantly stepped up their attention to safety and security in the last six months – and hotel and event booking agencies are more often asking them questions about their venue’s security protocols.

These are among the key revelations of a new HBAA survey of its agency and venue members.

So far almost 63.3 per cent of venues have reviewed or changed their safety or security protocols in the last six months and more than 42 per cent have also carried out real-world simulation exercises in that time.

Meanwhile 60 per cent of agencies said that they were asking venues more questions about safety and security and taking the answers into consideration when recommending venues to clients.

Focus on cyber security has also increased. 58 per cent of venues say that they have been paying either ‘much more’ or ‘considerably more’ attention to it, and a further 36 per cent have also been showing more interest in it.

Louise Goalen, HBAA Chair says: “While venues continually keep their safety and security procedures under review, it is interesting to see how many have been prompted by actions and growing concerns to look more closely at their procedures and preparations.”

Imago Venues has appointed Keith Barber to the newly created role of Head of Venues.

The appointment has been made as the conference and event arm of Loughborough University looks to align its venues more closely as it delivers a seamless customer journey.

Barber comments: “My role will allow a more strategic view of operations across the portfolio of venues going forward for a more joined up approach. Having everybody working together will ensure the future success of all the venues and ultimately help increase sales. My aim is to improve people’s journey, both for customers and staff. There are already a number of initiatives which have been put into action and this is already creating a better team experience across the venues.  This collaboration will enable us to maintain our reputation for delivery and excellent customer service for business and leisure guests.”

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Imago Venues, commented: “We have restructured our senior management team and realigned our venues to ensure we deliver a holistic and seamless customer journey, regardless of the venue they are visiting. The role of Head of Venues was created to help unify our operations, leading to imaginative and collaborative innovation and the pooling of resources across the Imago Venues portfolio. Keith has worked across a number of venues with great success and he was a perfect fit for the new role. His extensive experience and knowledge are vital to us achieving our goals and he is already overseeing a number of initiatives which will improve the service we offer our guests.”

Earlier this year, Imago Venues underwent a total brand review, with a new visual identity and name change, with the aim of bringing its venues and messages together. As part of the restructure, Imago Venues has formed teams from around the business working on developing its food and beverage story, meeting story, front of house and leisure stories and maintenance.

Imago Venues unifies Loughborough University’s conference and events spaces under one brand, managing the AIM Gold accredited Burleigh Court, Holywell Park and The Link Hotel, as well as Loughborough University’s conference and events facilities. For more information, visit or call 01509 633030. 

A LEADING catering and events company has boosted its team with the appointment of a new sales and events co-ordinator.

Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, which manages the conference and banqueting facilities for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, has recently appointed Israh Bhatti to the role.

In her new position, Israh is tasked with co-ordinating and managing a wide variety of events within the organisation’s venues. These include Newcastle’s Discovery Museum, Laing Art Gallery and Great North Museum: Hancock.

“I am thrilled to be able to work within such spectacular locations as these wonderful Newcastle museums,” she said.

“They are so versatile and can be used for so many different events. Museums are no longer just places you visit during the day. They are now among the best locations for corporate events, parties and weddings and I am thrilled to be part of such an exciting team.”

Israh, who graduated from the University of Sunderland with a first class Honours degree in Event Management, comes to Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events with a wealth of previous experience.

She previously worked as events and programming officer at South Tyneside Council and more recently as sales advisor at Wed2B.

She also has a strong background in wedding organisation, including English, Pakistani and Bengali ceremonies and now she is getting the chance to put these skills to the test in exciting venues.

“We are very pleased to have Israh as our newest member of the team,” said Laura Steel, manager for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events.

“Her background in weddings and event organisation is very impressive and she has already brought lots of exciting new ideas to the team. Her enthusiasm and experience will be a great asset to us going forward.”

For further information about holding events at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ venues, call 0844 856 1074, email or visit

As part of its ongoing desire to develop association business and strengthen its foothold in the market, the Barbican has contracted Jamie Ades as Head of Associations.

Jamie brings a wealth of association knowledge to the team with past experience in association focused roles at Park Plaza Hotel Group and ExCel London.  He will be working alongside Head of Sales, Oliver Hargreaves to deliver on the Barbican’s long term strategic goals, which include a focus on association events aligned to the venue’s ethos and principals, including the arts and culture.

The Barbican’s Head of Business Events, Jackie Boughton comments: “We are excited to welcome Jamie to the team and look forward to the impact he will have. His association knowledge and contacts will add significant value as we continue to develop and grow that market.  With a range of substantial spaces and a plethora of breakouts as well as fantastic transport links, the Barbican is a perfect venue for all types of association clients and we look forward to welcoming many more in the future.”

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is hosting a Careers Day on Saturday 21 October to showcase the wealth of new job opportunities that the luxury Hotel and Spa has to offer. Since 2010 Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa has doubled its number of employees, and is now looking to welcome more individuals to its fantastic team. The opportunities have arisen due to large investments from the Hotel’s owners and the recruitment of new staff will benefit the Hotel’s substantial growth.

Ideal for those aspiring to work in the high-end hospitality sector, Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s Careers Day will provide an unrivalled opportunity for individuals to directly engage with members of staff and experience first-hand the variety of roles available at Newmarket’s only 4 star hotel. Attendees are invited to bring their CV on the day and there will be an opportunity to have informal discussions with team members from a range of the Hotel’s departments – from the award-winning restaurant to the outstanding front of house.

Noel Byrne, Chief Executive of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, said: “At Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa we are committed to offering exceptional service to our guests and, in order to achieve this, we are frequently on the lookout for passionate and hardworking individuals to join our team. Our Careers Day is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight the great range of roles we have available, whilst allowing interested candidates to discover more about careers on offer in hotels generally, and our Hotel especially. Each department will be running job demonstrations and tours of relevant parts the Hotel, and will be available to discuss the training and support Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa provides.”

Some of the current positions available at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa include: 

  • Receptionists
  • Night Porter
  • Spa Therapists
  • Food and Beverage Staff
  • Housekeepers
  • Chefs – All Grades

The event is taking place on Saturday 21 October from 11am to 2pm, and will be held in the Classics Suite at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa. To register your interest and request further information about the Careers Day please email Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s HR Manager at 

The Orangery restaurant has been awarded four coveted AA Rosettes, making Rockliffe Hall the only hotel, golf and spa resort in England to hold this accolade.

Executive Chef, Richard Allen, and his team, collected the prize at a glittering ceremony at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night (Monday 25th September), hosted by former Great British Bake Off presenter and comedian, Mel Giedroyc.

Only ten restaurants in the UK were awarded four new Rosettes at the event. The long-established Rosette scheme celebrates the best restaurants in the country and success is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector. Only 10% of restaurants nationwide are of a standard that is worthy of one Rosette or above.

This accolade makes Rockliffe Hall one of only two properties in the UK and Ireland to hold 5 AA Red Stars, 4 AA Rosettes, the Best Spa for Luxury award and to have a Championship Golf Course.

Richard Allen is no stranger to recognition for his exceptional food. In 2011 he achieved a Michelin Star while working as Executive Chef at the Tassili restaurant in the 5* Grand Jersey Hotel which he held until he left to join Rockliffe Hall in January 2015.

Richard has also held three AA Rosettes for nine years and has two of the highest industry accolades to his name- the Cateys’ Head Chef of the Year 2012 and the Craft Guild of Chefs Restaurant Chef of the Year 2012. Richard is also one of the only chefs to have been named as one of Debrett’s People of Today.

Originally from Poole in Dorset, Richard relocated from Jersey to the North East with his wife and two sons to join Rockliffe, taking the helm in The Orangery and also working with the teams in the resort’s other two restaurants, The Clubhouse and the Spa Brasserie.

On winning the four AA Rosettes, Richard says: “I’m absolutely thrilled The Orangery has been awarded this fourth Rosette. We have a fantastic, talented team here and we’re making great strides in developing the restaurant as a flagship in the region, offering the perfect mix of informal yet informed dining.”

Eamonn Elliott, Chief Executive at Rockliffe Hall, added: “This is a huge achievement for the Orangery team and proves that the restaurant is not only one of the best in the North East, but is in fact  one of the most outstanding in the country. We continue to be committed to making Rockliffe Hall the best hotel, spa, restaurant and golf resort in the country and this fourth Rosette brings us another step closer to that goal.”


Absolute Corporate Events is proud to report a target-busting increase in turnover and gross profit for 2016, with more growth expected for 2017.

Turnover has almost doubled from 2015 to 2016; to £6.3m, with gross profit increasing by more than 25% to £795k.

2017 is forecast to increase turnover by a further 10% and gross profit by 35%. Largest growth has been seen in event production and international incentives, where ACE offers a unique, personalised and creative service, under the watchful eye of MD and Exec Producer, Chris Parnham Largest sector growth has been seen in financial services, and most destination growth has been seen in Asia and South America, both for conference and incentive business.

2016 and 2017 have seen significant investment in people and systems, with four more new starters on-boarded this summer.

Jamie Hunter comes fresh from venue group sales as a new Business Development Manager for ACE, working for Sales Director, Jacquie Freer.

Georgina Williams joins as a new Venues Executive, coming from Ashfield World Events, and James Jackson joins as a new Production Assistant, bolstering ACE’s production service which includes inhouse design, video and content development.

Sarah Gibbs joins as a new Finance Executive, supporting ACE Financial Controller Charlotte Rowatt.

Chris Parnham, owner of ACE since 2013 said; “It’s absolutely terrific to see on-target growth for another year. The company now has 10 times the turnover it had when I took over 4 years ago, and more importantly we are lucky to have 10 times the experience and talent in a terrific team, now 20- strong. I believe we are crafting out a niche of tailored, focused and creative events that drive tangible change for their audiences. An event is a moment in time, after which something should change. If nothing changes, then it’s not an event, it’s just a gathering. The ACE teams deliver real events; events that change people.”

ACE is holding its annual Partner Awards event this Thursday, which is an intimate gathering at Chris’ home, to thank the company’s most loyal and productive supply partnerships.


Rockliffe Hall has appointed one of the best-known front-of-house names in the hospitality industry as its new Old Hall Food and Beverage Manager, where he’ll oversee the running of the five red star resort’s flagship restaurant, The Orangery, headed up by Executive Chef, Richard Allen.

Jatin Parmar, 37, has worked in the food and beverage industry for 13 years, at some of the country’s top restaurants. He was Manager at the two star Michelin Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham before joining Rockliffe Hall. Prior to that he was Restaurant Manager for three years at L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria which also has two Michelin stars and was named Best Restaurant in Britain in The Good Food Guide, four years in a row.

Originally from Mumbai, India, Jatin studied at the Institute of Hotel Management in his home city and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Management at the IHMES International Hotel School in the Isle of Man in 2003.

Jatin’s career has taken him all over the world from Australasia to East Asia, the UAE and Europe. He’s looked after royalty, Prime Ministers and celebrities. At his previous places of work he’s been instrumental in winning top accolades such as number three on the Sunday Times Best British Restaurant list and most recently Best Front of House in the Good Food Guide 2017, at Restaurant Sat Bains.

On his new appointment, Jatin says: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the team at Rockliffe Hall. After working in standalone restaurants for a while I could always see myself back in the hotel sector and where better than Rockliffe? The resort has an amazing setting and is on track to become one of the ultimate gastronomic destinations in the UK. I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to be part of that.”

Eamonn Elliott, Chief Executive at Rockliffe Hall, says: “Jatin’s reputation within the industry precedes him. He has worked at some of the UK’s top restaurants and brings with him a wealth of first class experience. The Orangery is going from strength to strength and we are very pleased to welcome Jatin to the Rockliffe Hall team.”

To book contact Rockliffe Hall on 01325 729999 or visit

Following an incredibly successful first half of the 2017/18 financial year and with predictions for a record year in terms of bookings and delegate numbers, Center Parcs has restructured its Corporate Events Team to meet the increasing level of demand from new and existing corporate bookers.

With bookings currently 25% ahead of this time last year and the number of delegates attending events across the Center Parcs locations also up, the team has been reorganised to ensure it remains in the best position to effectively respond to the growing number of client enquiries and confirmed bookings, as well as evolving to support industry trends.

As part of the restructure, Dan Elliott (previously National Account Manager) has taken on the role of National Sales Manager reporting into the recently appointed Commercial Manager Liz Pilling. The newly-formed team also includes Nichola Jacklin who is now Agency Sales Manager, while Stuart Bonser and Hermione Gingell who were both previously Business Development Managers are now Regional Sales Managers for the North and South respectively.

The new Regional Sales Manager roles were introduced as a result of the increasing number of new and repeat clients who were enquiring for multiple locations. These newly-introduced roles will improve the customer’s journey as they will now have access to one contact, ensuring a more efficient enquiry process.

Two new Sales Office Assistant positions have also been introduced to help improve response times to clients.

Liz Pilling, Corporate Events Commercial Manager, says: “Center Parcs has built its success on its ability to understand and react to changing market trends, prioritising continual innovation and evolution across both the leisure and corporate events side of the business. Following the incredibly successful first six months of our 2017/18 financial year, we recognised a need to streamline the Corporate Events team to ensure we continue to provide a seamless customer experience.

“The restructure will significantly benefit new and existing clients as the team will be able to respond to the ever increasing number of enquiries in a timelier manner, while our National Sales Manager, Agency Sales Manager and Regional Sales Managers will be able to offer a more efficient, personalised service to clients.”

Central London conference and events venue, BMA House has been awarded a Gold Rating in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, the highest standard of sustainability.

Sarah Franczak, Head of Events at BMA House, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have achieved a Gold Rating in the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Here at BMA House, green is at the heart of everything we do.

“In the past year alone we have organised a variety of internal events to encourage everyone to be more green, and increased our efforts to reduce paper usage in our events. Sustainability and safe guarding the environment will continue to be a strong focus for us in 2018 and beyond.”

Stuart Park, Lead Assessor at Green Tourism said: “BMA House is a very deserving recipient of the Green Tourism Gold award.  A huge part of the award is down to the effort of the Green Team, helping to raise awareness while reducing energy, water and waste from a challenging, older building. 

“A Healthy Meeting package is offered to delegates which is a nice touch, linking in perfectly with the rich history of the organisation and of the building, but also looking forward, in giving delegates more sustainable and healthier meeting choices for the busy, working life.”

The Gold Green Tourism rating means that BMA House has achieved the highest standard of sustainability with a strong, inspirational environmental ethos and excellent practices throughout their business.

BMA House is effective in using the latest technologies, having efficient control of resources, working with local suppliers to source all ethical, fresh produce and bringing significant benefits to the business, community and supply chain.

Green Tourism is a not-for-profit organisation who are partners to over 2000 eco-friendly accommodation providers and attractions in the UK and abroad. Green Tourism’s mission is to be the natural leader in green trading by encouraging and enabling people to make sustainable choices that reduce their impact on the planet.

BMA House is a Grade II listed venue located in Bloomsbury offering a range of 29 spaces for up to 320 guests, for everything from top of the range video conferencing board rooms to Christmas parties. This includes two magnificent outdoor areas - the Courtyard and the Garden, all within easy walking distance of both Euston and Kings Cross stations.

For more information visit


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