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Lapithus Hotels Management UK Limited (LHMUK) has won three prestigious awards at the VenueVerdict Awards 2017.

The top honours include two Group Awards: the No. 1 Large Group (for those who host 15 properties or more), and the Gold Standard Group Award, given to the hotel group with the highest number of venues achieving VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation. LHMUK also brought home the gold in the individual Venue Awards with the No.1 Hotel named as the Holiday Inn Guildford, managed by the group.

BDRC’s VenueVerdict provides the only venue accreditation programme determined entirely by the voice of the customer and based on the meeting experience.

LHMUK manage a portfolio of 21 midscale and upscale hotels across the country under global brands Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. VenueVerdict’s new No.1 Hotel, the 4* Holiday Inn Guildford, is a modern hotel with excellent meeting facilities and a well-equipped fitness centre.

Other LHMUK properties who received a VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation include the Crowne Plaza Birmingham N.E.C, Crowne Plaza London Heathrow, Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport, Holiday Inn Basildon, Holiday Inn Brentwood M25 Jct.28, Holiday Inn Cambridge, Holiday Inn Edinburgh Zoo, Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Holiday Inn Brent Cross, Holiday Inn London Heathrow Ariel, Holiday Inn London Heathrow M4 Jct.4, Holiday Inn London Mayfair, Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park, Holiday Inn Maidenhead, Holiday Inn Milton Keynes, Holiday Inn Oxford.

Ben Bridgeman, General Manager, Holiday Inn Guildford, commented: “I am thrilled our hotel has been voted No.1 in the VenueVerdict Awards 2017. The customer journey and experience is our top priority, particularly for our conference delegates and business guests. We pride ourselves on delivering a great service every time and this recognition is a huge honour for me and my hardworking team.”

Brett Arscott, Director of Sales & Marketing LHMUK, said “The VenueVerdict Awards are a huge achievement for us and demonstrates our commitment to our existing clients and future corporate partners that our services and offerings are the very best. With the majority of our hotels achieving the top Gold Standard Accreditation, this puts us in great stead for 2018 and beyond.”

Simon Teasdale, Managing Director LHMUK, added: “We are delighted that our hotels scored so highly across the board and that as a group we have come out on top in such a competitive market. These awards are particularly meaningful as they recognise the consistently high positive guest feedback and this reflects our continued commitment to elevating the customer experience in the mid-scale market.”


Compass Hospitality will be rebranding the Big Sleep Hotels in Cardiff, Cheltenham and Eastbourne to the company’s own Citrus brand of hotels. Having first debuted the Citrus brand in Coventry earlier last year, the decision to expand reflects the company’s confidence in the brand to continually push for higher standards while driving business growth. All three hotels will officially commence operations under the Citrus brand from 1st February 2018.

The Citrus brand emphasises quality and professionalism throughout its services, while remaining dedicated to delivering competitive and affordable prices for business and leisure travellers alike. Each of the three properties have undergone substantial refurbishments towards improving product standards as well as in generating attractive selling points. These refurbishments have breathed new life into the hotels, and provide the new brand name with a strong foundation to reposition the properties in their respective markets.

The Citrus Hotel Cardiff boasts 83 rooms, in a prime location directly opposite the popular event venue, The Motorpoint Arena. As well as being just minutes away from the railway station and city centre. With the completion of a 1.2 million investment into the property and its facilities including a new reception area, the hotel reflects the Citrus ethos of crisp yet comfortable modernism.

The Citrus Hotel Cheltenham has 60 bedrooms plus two meeting rooms with private car park. The hotel is located in the shopping hub along Bath Road and is a short distance to Cheltenham Town Hall and Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. With continuing refurbishment of both bedrooms and public areas, the hotel is set to play its role in the busy Cheltenham hotel scene with the multitude of festivals which are drawn to this historic town.

The Citrus Hotel Eastbourne houses 50 bedrooms and two meeting rooms, and enjoys beautiful views of the English Channel across the Western Lawns. It is located 400 metres from Eastbourne Town Centre, a 10-minute walk from Eastbourne Pier, and is a 5-minute drive away from Beachy Head’s White Cliffs. With large family rooms and spacious suites, this period property showcases high ceilings and original features as well as its modern newly refurbished décor.

Compass Hospitality’s President and CEO, Harmil Singh added: “The importance of building a brand network cannot be understated in a market where distribution and resources are better managed through standardization and consolidation. We know this from our experience back in Asia, where it has helped us build strong relationships with our various partners and stakeholders. With this latest expansion we should see greater efficiencies and returns to scale, both of which are welcome opportunities in an industry where margins are tight and competition is unyielding.”



The British Citizen Awards once again chose the Westminster venue to host their bi-annual awards reception last Thursday 25th January, they have been coming to the venue since 2015.

The event at Church House Westminster, in the Assembly Hall, followed a presentation ceremony at the House of Lords, at which 36 individuals were recognised for the exceptional impact they have had on the community and presented with a British Citizen Awards Medal of Honour.

Hosted by Matt Allwright medals were presented for eight individual categories including for services to industry, education, arts, business, healthcare, volunteering and charitable giving, community and international achievement. All categories are underpinned by the overarching qualities of transparency, integrity, determination and achievement.

Sara Yarrow, spokesperson for The British Citizen Award “We are delighted to hold the post-event drinks reception for The British Citizen Award presentation at Church House Westminster.  The building itself and Assembly Hall are the perfect venue to celebrate and hear the stories from each of our medalists”.

General Manager, Robin Parker comments: “We were delighted to welcome back the British Citizen Awards to Church House, we have hosted the post awards reception since its inaugural event in 2015, and it is always a pleasure to be involved in such an inspiring event.”

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

Leading industry association HBAA has announced its Executive Committee, reflected in its theme for 2018, ‘Building on Success’.

Louise Goalen, Head of Venues at Top Banana, will continue as HBAA Chair alongside Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes, who will again be Venue Member Chair.

Louise Goalen comments: “After successfully ‘Moving Forward in 2017’ this year we are ‘Building on Success’. We want to capitalise on progress made by creating more opportunities for engagement between venue and agents, to raise the profile of agencies, emphasise the professionalisation of the industry and to promote the recruitment and nurturing of new talent.”

To reflect the evolving needs of the association and its membership, Erica Livermore of Prestige Hotel Reservations, will serve a dual role as Vice Chair and Business Accommodation Chair, while Rachael Naylor from Kew Green Hotels, will be Vice Venue Member Chair as well as Events Chair.

Angie Mason of Absolute Corporate Events becomes Treasurer, Ellie Martin of Goodwood Hotel is both Membership and Sponsorship Chair, Leigh Cowlishaw of Capital Travel and Events is serving another year as Past Chair, Jayson Hodgkinson of Venue Choice is International Chair, Alison Makosz of Habicus Group takes on Committee Support Projects, Julie Shorrock of HTS is Agency Engagement Chair and Caleb Parker of Select Event Solutions is Tech & Innovation Chair. 

Juliet Price, HBAA consultant Executive Director added: “We currently have a total of 54 member representatives involved on the Board and committees; ultimately it’s their passion, professional insight and valued time that drives HBAA to achieve its annual objectives and longer term strategies, and delivers the benefits of their great team-work to everyone involved in the association.”

For more information, please see



The Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) has assembled an impressive line-up of experts to help event industry professionals find their way around the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulations without getting prosecuted. The session will be relevant for both the non-profit and corporate sectors

Staged at The Savoy on February 7 and costing from just £45 for the evening presentation, the session will cover the full gamut of issues from privacy to permissions. The session will be moderated by M&IT/ managing editor Martin Lewis and speakers will include:

Lesley Tadgell-Foster, Director Shelfline Promotional Consultancy, brings not only an in-depth knowledge of how Data Protection impacts on the charity sector - but knows how important it is to balance the need to generate income.

Nigel Bywater, MD of Engaged’Em, will offer guidance around all elements of digital compliance and data protection with ‘Privacy by Design’ (PbD) for ethical customer engagement, Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA’s) for re-permissioning of existing users to website privacy notices and ePrivacy statements. 

Paul Miller, MD of Spectra DMC will address what significant requirements the events industry will face and how to mitigate the risk to your company.  He will also explore participant rights and how they affect best practices for data management in your organization.

Bruce Smith, Chairman of NorthPointe Management Group has been a long-time advocate of privacy by design and cyber security for clients. Bruce holds the IBITGQ EU General Data Protection Regulation Practitioner (GDPR P) and Foundation (GDPRF) certifications.

To register to attend go to:

CTI, the first Travel partnership company for corporate companies, won the award at the glamorous Business Travel Awards in London on Monday evening.

The Rising Star Award was won by CTI’s Sales Partnership Manager, Amy Hogarth. The award, which aims to recognise future leaders of the travel industry, is open to all individuals in all sectors and any job function who have demonstrated a strong professional work ethic, and shown great potential in their organisation.

The judges felt Amy not only ticked all the boxes but also had all the attributes of a rising star. An exceptionally driven individual, passionate about the business, good at sharing her knowledge with peers, and excellent feedback from clients and colleagues alike with lots of examples of having gone the extra mile. As one judge put it: a runaway winner.

Chief Executive Clive Wratten commented, “I am delighted that the judges have recognised what we at CTI have known for a while now, namely that Amy is a rapidly developing consummate professional with a passion and flair for understanding a client’s travel DNA, developing exceptional relationships and delivering unique solutions using the CTI network of partners.”

This caps an impressive 12 months for Amy who previously won Sales Person of the year at the People Awards in May and was shortlisted in the Made in Manchester awards for Business Development Professional of the Year in February.

Promoting greater collaboration between international meeting venues and agents will be the focus of the HBAA’s first International Forum, taking place at The Belfry Hotel and Resort in Sutton Coldfield, on 9 February 2018.

The packed and comprehensive programme for the Forum, created by the HBAA International Committee, headed by Jayson Hodgkinson, will include education sessions, one-to-one meetings, group presentations and networking events. At the morning plenary sessions, delegates can learn about the overseas meetings and accommodation business. After lunch, there will be opportunities for agents to meet with HBAA International Venue Partners (IVPs) during one to one appointments and to attend group property and destination presentations.

Attendees can also benefit from a relaxed networking dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast, while exclusive ‘bleisure’ opportunities include discounted treatments at the Resort’s renowned spa. 

Louise Goalen, Chair of the HBAA commented; “As part of our ‘Building on Success’ theme for 2018, we have escalated our international reach through the HBAA International Venue Partner initiative.  At this inaugural event we are providing our audience with insight into industry best practice in the international marketplace, and supporting our participating agencies and overseas venues with unique opportunities to forge both new and stronger relationships through business networking sessions.”

The International Forum is open to international venues and member agents who book international events.


To register as an agent, please see

To register as an international venue, please see

For more information, please visit

Worcester MP Robin Walker officially opened arrangeMY escape’s new high street luxury travel agency as the team celebrated with a weekend of events and activities.

A VIP party launched the weekend’s celebrations with local businesses invited to a cocktail and canapé party, with high-end tour operator’s showcasing their feature holidays.

The MP officially opened the shop with a ribbon cutting, followed by a host of activities for the public including wine and cheese from around the world, virtual reality experiences and a competition to win 2 free flights with Qatar airlines.

arrangeMY escape is a family owned, independent retail travel agent. A team of experienced travel experts will be on hand to offer a worldwide, bespoke luxury travel service, the first of its kind in the city of Worcester.

Jennifer Lynch, arrangeMY escape general manager, commented: “We are very proud to have opened our independent travel agency in Worcester and we look forward to the bespoke service we are able to offer to our customers.

“We would welcome anyone to pop in and have a look at our new luxury shop and discuss their next holiday with our team of experienced travel experts.”

The high street shop has maintained its luxury feel throughout the shop, and also features a VIP suite for those that want that extra special holiday booking experience.

The arrangeMY group has been trading since 1990 and has grown to be one of the most respected independent business travel agents in the UK. The company, which employs in excess of 60 members of staff at its head office in Worcester, offers a range of services including Travel, Accommodation, Venue Finding and Event Management.


For further information visit or call 01905 675015.

The Harben House Hotel, Newport Pagnell, hosted a VIP party last Thursday, 18th January, to launch its opening following a £3 million refurbishment. Local businesses, dignitaries including Newport Pagnell mayor; Derek Eastman, press and corporate clients were invited to attend the celebratory evening by owners MCR Property and management team, Countrywide Hotels.
On arrival guests enjoyed Vaporetto Prosecco from Veneto, Italy and a menu of canapés created by the hotels team of chefs, including mini Woburn venison burgers, chilli and garlic prawns, ham hock terrine bites and haloumi steak bites, as well as sharing platters from the main menu. Entertainment was provided by talented singer songwriter Abi Phillips, who is also known for playing Liberty Savage in Channel 4’s soap opera Hollyoaks. The event included tours of the new bedrooms, public areas and event spaces.
The launch event came ahead of the Harben House’s public opening party on Friday 19th January.
The hotel’s owners, Manchester-based MCR Property Group, said the changes are all part of making a more modern and welcoming atmosphere at the hotel - in a bid to appeal to a wider range of customers in the area.
Nick Lake of MCR Property Group said "It’s not just about a change in décor, we are aiming to create a bar and restaurant area where people can enjoy great food and drink. It’s an outstanding development that has recently evolved since MCR Property Group acquired the hotel in 2016.”
Darren Patt of Countrywide Hotels said “Harben House is on its journey to becoming one of Milton Keynes best locations for hosting conference and events. The completion of the Harben Bar & Kitchen restaurant, which is now open to the residents of Newport Pagnell, is at the heart of the hotel. Harben now has a great offering and we are looking forward to being part of its success.”
For further information on the Harben House Hotel please contact: Pete Farrow, General Manager - +44 (0) 1908 215 600
Tickford Street, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9EY     



Grass Roots officially launched their 2018 Meetings Industry Report at a drinks reception at The Lanesborough Hotel in London on Monday the 15th January.

Attendees at the event included senior members of the meetings and event industry from Deloitte LLP, Deutsche Bank, Estée Lauder, KPMG and Morgan Stanley, along with hotels and venues including AccorHotels, Corinthia, etc venues, ExCeL London, LHW, MacDonald, Marriott and Principal Hotel Company.

Grass Roots’ 2018 Meetings Industry Report provides readers with a mix of articles, surveys and analysis on current and future global and regional trends in the meetings and events sector. It also features interviews with leading industry experts and provides information on the best venues and cities in which to hold events.

David Taylor, Managing Director of Grass Roots Meetings and Events, commented:

“We decided to relaunch The Meetings Industry Report after it became clear that even in today’s digital news age clients were still keen to receive the annual report. They also told us that they wanted the report to continue as a written publication rather than just as a download.”

“Interestingly one of the key findings from the report is that there is a real drive from clients for greater global consolidation from suppliers. Our recent merger with BCD ensures that we are well positioned to meet with these demands as we will now undoubtedly benefit from a greater geographical presence. Our primary goal remains the same though - to continue to be the market leaders in providing strategic meetings management and delegate management solutions. “

“I would also like to thank all our clients and suppliers who helped us with the research and particularly those who took time out to be interviewed."

The Grass Roots Meetings Industry Report was produced in collaboration with the Travel Intelligence Network, led by Mark Harris, who commented:

“We were delighted to be invited by Grass Roots to revive the Meetings Industry Report. We believe the report is needed just as much today as it was when we pitched the original idea back in 2007.”

 Copies of Grass Roots Meetings Industry Report can be ordered or downloaded at






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