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08/2018

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Event Tech Live and the Event Tech Awards have partnered with hotel booking agency trade association the HBAA to research the disparity in Wi-Fi cost and quality at event venues.

Starting with this survey, the initiative seeks opinion from HBAA members and the ETL/ETA network to compile a definitive document about venues’ Wi-Fi policy; what buyers do to spec Wi-Fi for their events, what help they need to that end, and whether there should be a suggested industry pricing standard.

Adam Parry, Co-founder of Event Tech Live and the Event Tech Awards, says: “It’s a free market but venues looking for repeat event business should be absolutely clear about what they’re offering in terms of W-Fi provision. This research will produce a thorough analysis about what the industry needs and expects for its event dollar.”

Caleb Parker, HBAA Tech & Innovation Chair comments: "Wi-Fi is like oxygen today. People attending events expect it to be there and work as if they're sitting at home or in their office. But not all venues have the same offering or infrastructure, and frankly, it can be confusing for buyers planning events. The HBAA and our partners are looking into this area to learn how we, as an industry, can create more transparency and clarity so organisers can better deliver the experiences their participants expect."

The survey process starts now through the end of August.  Survey results will be discussed at an HBAA event in September in advance of a roundtable discussion on the topic at Event Tech Live in November.

Click here to take the survey

The HBAA, the trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community, represents more than 80 agency and 225 venue members who work collaboratively in the accommodation, meetings and events sector. 

Launched in 2013 and expanded to two days this year, Event Tech Live has a database of more than 6,000 buyers, big and small. The company also hosts Event Tech Talks at a number of venues across the country, giving it first hand experience of the Wi-Fi pitch and delivery.

 

Wyboston Lakes Resort has strengthened its sales force with the appointment of Samantha Martin as Business Development Manager.

In her new position, Samantha is tasked with developing and strengthening relationships with agents to raise awareness of the venue and further increase event bookings.

Samantha arrives at Wyboston Lakes Resort with over 14 years of experience in the events industry, 11 years specifically in the meetings and conference sector.

In her previous role at Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre, Samantha increased business obtained from agencies by 72 per cent and secured multi-year events for the venues’ top 8 Association Industry clients. In addition, Samantha led the Event Sales and Conferencing Team to record revenues, supported by exceptional customer feedback.

Samantha joins Wyboston Lakes Resort as work is underway on a £3m transformation of its conference facilities, including the expansion of its main conference room to accommodate 400 delegates.

Commenting on her appointment Samantha explains: “I am very excited to be joining the team at Wyboston Lakes Resort during a period of growth and investment which will see the new Woodlands Events Centre being launched to the market in the next few months. I am looking forward to working with the agency sector specifically to build great relationships for the future and to ensure that the venues excellent reputation within the industry continues to grow as the product evolves.”

Richard Smith, Director of Sales at Wyboston Lakes Resort, says: “Sam brings an in-depth understanding of how to build successful long-term relationships with agencies. Her experience, both at Alton Towers and Yarnfield Park, in securing a diverse range of conferences and training programmes will be invaluable to Wyboston Lakes.”

When away from work, Samantha spends her free time with her family, which includes two young children. In addition to amusement park visits to ride the rollercoasters, Samantha and her family enjoy trips to the cinema and dining out.

For more information, please visit

  • Brand new hotel inspired by the city’s buzzing music scene boasts 137 bold and vibrant bedrooms
  • Hotel is conveniently located a four-minute walk from Glasgow Central station and just a stone’s throw away from the scenic urban landscape of Glasgow
  • Room prices start at just £65 per night

The new £11.25 million ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West opened its doors to the public this week.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, joined the team at the hotel to cut the ribbon and declare the hotel officially open.

Managed by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH, the 40,000ft2   former office block has been transformed thanks to a multi-million pound investment led by UK-based private equity and property manager Maven Capital Partners who also signed a franchise agreement for the ibis Styles brand with AccorHotels.

The 137-bed hotel, which sits on the corner of Waterloo Street and Douglas Street, has been designed to pay tribute to Glasgow’s – and Scotland’s – musical connections and history. The décor features nods to the musical greats who have graced Glasgow’s stages, whilst maintaining a modern finish that is synonymous with the city’s effortless style.

Perfectly positioned for guests visiting the city for a gig at one of Glasgow’s many music venues, or those in town for a spot of shopping or sightseeing, the hotel also boasts the ‘rehearsal studio’ bar and a ground-floor Tinderbox coffee shop.

The Queen, Duet and Family rooms throughout the hotel all boast 42-inch TVs and unique ibis Sweetbeds™ for the ultimate comfort.

Rory MacAleece, General Manager at ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West, said: “I’m exceptionally proud to see Glasgow’s second ibis Styles open its doors to guests – myself and the team have been looking forward to this moment for some time.

“Not only is ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West in a fantastic central location, moments from everything Glasgow has to offer, we’re perfectly positioned within the city’s business district for corporate guests. We really do have something for everyone.”

Helder Pereira, CEO of RBH, said: “It’s wonderful to see ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West open its doors to the public. It will now sit alongside ibis Styles Glasgow Centre George Square in our growing portfolio. This opening also represents our third management agreement with an AccorHotels brand as well as our third opening in partnership with Maven, and we’re thrilled to be working alongside both partners again.

“ibis Styles properties are well-known for being unique, quirky and full of nods to the cities they stand within, and we’re confident our expertise will ensure guests have the best possible experience when visiting Glasgow.”

Ramsay Duff, Investment Director at Maven, who led the investment, said: “ibis Styles has been a very successful brand for Maven in Glasgow and we aim to emulate the performance of our existing hotel, ibis Styles Glasgow Centre George Square, which enjoys high occupancy rates and is consistently ranked amongst the best hotels in the city on TripAdvisor.

“The Glasgow hotel market continues to perform strongly, showing robust year-on-year growth in room revenues. When we identified the property as being available and suitable for redevelopment, given its location in the IFSD Financial Services District and close to the SECC and Hydro Arena, we realised the significant potential for another ibis Styles hotel in the city. It is great to be building on our relationships with AccorHotels and with the hotel management company, RBH.”

Overnight stays start from just £65 for a double room, bed and breakfast. For more information or to book an ibis hotel, please visit www.ibis.com

RBH’s Susan Bland has been shortlisted for an industry ambassador accolade at the Caterer.com People Awards this autumn.

The company’s Chief Operations Support Officer has been named among eight finalists in the Ambassador to the Industry category at the awards from the UK’s largest hospitality job board.

Susan was nominated by her colleagues for her contribution to the management company and to the industry at large over the last 20 years.  

The first woman to take a seat on the RBH board and chair of the industry’s Hotel Employers Group (HEG), Susan has blazed a trail and garnered a reputation as a leading industry expert.

Starting her career in food and beverage training, before progressing to hotel and leisure management roles, she later took up a training role with IHG before moved into HR and progressing to the position of HR Director for RBH.

Vocal on key issues including Brexit, Susan has also helped solidify an industry-wide strategy to consolidate the UK hospitality labour market in her HEG post.

Elsewhere, she has pioneered CSR and health and wellbeing initiatives at RBH, including spearheading a six-figure fundraising drive for charity Make-A-Wish® UK.

Susan said:

It’s very humbling to be nominated by my colleagues for such a prestigious industry award.

I’m a big believer that we need to drive the change we want to see in the industry and it’s wonderful to feel that I’ve succeeded in making an impact.

It’s a tough category with some very fine hoteliers in the running for the Ambassador to the Industry award and, win or lose, I’m looking forward to the ceremony in October.”

The Caterer.com People Awards celebrates the finest hospitality employer programmes in recruitment, development and retention.  

Its panels of judges, all experts and innovators in the sector, judge entries across all 13 categories, with the tough task of deciding winners and shortlists.

The awards will take place at the Park Plaza Westminster, London on Monday 1st October.


 

The man who will look after the soon-to-open ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West has been appointed.

Jason McKerrell, who hails from Ayrshire, will take up the Hotel Manager post prior to the hotel’s opening in the coming weeks.

The new property will be the second ibis Styles hotel in Glasgow, joining the brand’s first hotel in the city – on Miller Street – which opened in 2015.

As well as running the new hotel on Glasgow’s Waterloo Street when it opens, Jason will assist General Manager Rory MacAleece – who was looked after the Miller Street property, and is now set to oversee operations across both ibis Styles hotels.

With a unique design inspired by Glasgow’s vibrant music scene, ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West will boast 137 contemporary bedrooms as well as a bar area.

Hotelier Jason, who has more than 13 years’ industry experience, worked at hotels and resorts across Benidorm in Spain from 2005 until 2017, when he took up the post of Food & Beverage Manager for Crerar Scotland in Pitlochry.

Jason McKerrell, Hotel Manager of ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West, said: “Glasgow’s hotel market is booming right now, so it’s very exciting to be looking after the city’s latest addition – particularly following the success of the ibis Styles property on Miller Street.

“ibis Styles Glasgow Centre West is in a fantastic central location, close to Central Station and a stone’s throw from all the amazing shopping, bars, restaurants and famous attractions Glasgow has to offer. We’re also perfectly positioned within the city’s business district for any corporate guests. We can’t wait to open our doors to welcome our first guests soon.”

The hotel is operated by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH.

www.rbhmanagement.com

Head of Leisure and Spa for the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH, Dave Heap has been tackling the knots ailing the industry’s workforce at his portfolio, which includes 22 luxury QHotels spa properties.

And the spa stalwart of 25 years is sharing his tips on how to address the recruitment and retention crisis in the spa-verse by adopting a five-step holistic approach to nurturing team wellbeing: inspire, invest, nurture, listen and grow.

Dave said:

The spa industry as a whole – while continuing to grow - has had an underlying recruitment and retention issue for several years. And as spa experts we’ve had to take our own advice and work it out.

It may be an issue that’s here to stay but at RBH we’ve been making positive strides by treating both the symptoms, and the perceived causes, of the crisis at our QHotels properties.

 

  1. Inspire

To attract the best you need to be the best. Not only have we forged a strong brand partnership with leading product house ESPA, we have also fostered a culture where our best and brightest spa therapists can shine and set a benchmark for excellence.

Spa therapists are initially drawn to the quality of ESPA’s products and ethos of wellbeing. So, like us, strike a partnership you can take pride in.

Each year we also celebrate our leading therapists at the RBH Spa Awards, naming our Spa Therapist of the Year and Best Newcomer, among others titles. Not only is this important recognition for the efforts of our most talented therapists, but it is an opportunity for our spa community to come together and learn to emulate their success. Let your stars lead by example for the best results.

 

  1. Invest

It’s important to invest time in your team and to invest in the correct processes from the outset. At RBH, we have developed an extensive induction course, including five days of essential ESPA training. Knowledge sharing is vital – we don’t just throw our recruits in at the deep end at our 153 treatment rooms across the UK.

But the real trick is to continue to invest in your team. Our initial training is reinforced with online learning modules and advanced specialist training.We want our team members to not only feel valued, but to be equipped to offer the best and most up-to-date advice to their customers.  

And not only that, we incentivise with rewards for individual and team performances -from ESPA product rewards to discretionary bonuses.

In short, don’t cut corners – you reap what you sow.

 

  1. Nurture

It’s important to allow your therapists room to grow within your business. At RBH, we benefit from access to company-wide programmes such as our Management Foundation Degree in conjunction with University College Birmingham and internal programmes dedicated to career progression.

As well as retaining talent, you should also be continually scouting for burgeoning talent. If like us, your portfolio has huge college talent pools on their doorsteps, tap into them. We offer work experience and apprenticeships, as well as offering our expertise for guest lecture spots and fairs.

Don’t get complacent!

 

  1. Listen

It’s all very well and good to practice tried and tested approaches, but don’t shut out new ideas. Listen to your team, take on valuable feedback and respond thoughtfully.

For example, acknowledge that scheduling someone’s first shift on a busy Saturday afternoon won’t give them the optimum first experience – and just don’t do it.

Likewise, we try to be considerate of our team’s wellbeing when developing our rotas. We prefer to allocate longer, more varied treatments, than to book a stack of back-to-back massages, for example. We want our therapists to be at their best for their sake and for their client’s. Variety is the spice of life so mix it up and keep it interesting.

  1. Grow

Keep your upwards trajectory and make sure your team wants to stay for the ride. With an ever-growing portfolio at RBH, we can offer great opportunities at some of the finest spa hotels in the country. Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars

 

The luxury QHotels spa portfolio is operated by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH.

www.rbhmanagement.com

Mayor of Stratford upon Avon, John Philip Bicknell, cut the ribbon to declare the hotel – formerly The Stratford – officially open under its new name.

The Mayor joined the hotel’s General Manager, Daniel Goodby, for a tour of the hotel which has benefitted from a £1.1 million soft refurbishment as part of its rebrand.

Interiors within the bar and lounge area and selected public areas have undergone a makeover, while a new TV system has been installed in all guest bedrooms. Guests will also be able to start their stay right away – after receiving DoubleTree by Hilton’s signature warm chocolate chip cookie as a welcome – with brand new Digital Key check-in technology.

The property, which is managed by the UK’s leading hotel management company, RBH, joins 47 other hotels within the DoubleTree by Hilton portfolio in the UK.

Located in the heart of Stratford upon Avon, the hotel is the ideal base to explore everything the literary town has to offer.

DoubleTree by Hilton Stratford upon Avon offers 102 rooms for guests to choose from, including seven suites. Guests can also indulge in modern British cuisine at the Quills Restaurant or tuck into some comfort food at the hotel’s lounge bar – open 24 hours a day. For those looking to host an event, the hotel boasts six meeting rooms with natural daylight, hosting up to 100 delegates. The main ballroom also offers the option of a pre-function area, as a bar is attached to the room. Guests can also take advantage of the hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre to re-energise.

Daniel Goodby, General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Stratford upon Avon said:

We’re pleased to officially call the hotel part of the DoubleTree by Hilton family. The brand is globally-recognised, and reiterates to guests the exceptional standards of service they should expect when they visit us here in Stratford-upon-Avon.

“It was wonderful to welcome the Mayor here to officially open the hotel under its new name, and to have the opportunity to show him around the hotel and introduce the team. We look forward to welcoming guests, and offering the best possible guest experience.”

Mayor of Stratford upon Avon, Cllr John Philip Bickenell, said:

I’m honoured to have been invited to officially mark the unveiling of the newly-named DoubleTree by Hilton Stratford upon Avon, and to have the chance to see the investment that has already gone into the property as a result of the rebrand.

“This hotel has been part of the town for a number of years and, now that it is part of the globally-recognised Hilton brand, I am confident it will continue to attract visitors from near and far to the town.”

DoubleTree by Hilton is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton's 14 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and access to the Hilton Honors mobile app.

In a highly competitive hotel industry, at RBH we believe it’s essential that high quality customer service starts from the minute guests arrive – first impressions are everything.

 

That’s why we consider the operational excellence of our hotels’ reception areas to be a vital part of ensuring a great stay for guests.

 

After all, it’s where relationships are first developed and maintained, and an efficient and friendly welcome can make all the difference, particularly after a long journey.

 

So what does our Receptionist of the Year think is the key to nailing that successful first impression? Frances Balsillie, Reception Manager at the award-winning Princes Street Suites in Edinburgh, was happy to share her top tips.

 

We spoke to her as she was preparing for August, the city’s busiest month – and she remained determined that Princes Street Suites would provide its usual level of outstanding customer service.

Here are her insights…

  • Listen to your clients
  • Frances says: “The main part of my role centres around looking after our guests – making sure they get exactly what they want and expect from us. I ensure bookings are confirmed correctly and that any specific requests from guests are taken care of in time for arrival.”
  • Guests appreciate a smile
  • “I would say my approach is a lot of fun. I think that you get back what you put in, and people appreciate a smile and some humour. They’ll pick up on a happy vibe, and begin to feel comfortable and relaxed when staying with us.”
  • Approachability is key:
  • “If someone comes in with a problem and you are able to help them, it’s a great feeling. You see the difference you make to guests, and that’s fantastic.

We are open and friendly, and people feel like they can – and want to – approach us. In our apartments, there’s no separate concierge desks or anything like that, so we offer the full package and are fully involved with the entire guest experience.”

  • Multi-tasking is a vital skill
  • “Everyone here multi-tasks, so we all get a taste of everyone’s different jobs.  It’s a necessity in a small team and within the apartment set-up. Being able to turn your hand to different jobs within the property ensures guests are never left without help and always have someone knowledgeable on hand.”
  • Go the extra mile
  • “Being flexible and able to go above and beyond for guests when you can is really important. One of our guests had a son who took ill on a flight over to Edinburgh, and they had to stay here for two weeks as she couldn’t travel back while he was in hospital. We worked with the guest to make their stay as easy as possible, including putting them in a lower floor apartment for easier access when her son got out of hospital.

“We also had a guest bring along her partner, who she wanted to propose to on our rooftop terrace. We set up the terrace without her partner having any idea, and they are returning to Edinburgh for the wedding!”

 

Twickenham Stadium has announced today the return of it’s much anticipated Christmas showcase, taking place at the stadium, 6th September, and will once again give event organisers a taste of what Christmas will look like at Twickenham this season.

The annual showcase will include insights into the complete Christmas packages available at the stadium, from theming and production, to a full tasting of Twickenham’s Christmas menu. The venue announced the themes it will be adopting for the season earlier in the summer, following research among its clients into their ideal 2018 Christmas Party.

The research showed a variety in requirements where theme and budget are concerned, but all respondents pointed towards a desire for a more ‘traditional’ Christmas and away from more indulgent events with fussy menus. Based on the feedback, the stadium launched an all-inclusive package; ’A Fairy Tale in New York’ theme, bringing in elements of New York, the city skyline and Central Park in the winter.

Meanwhile, a slightly different twist on the creative will be available throughout the East Stand of the stadium, which launches in Autumn 2018. The new spaces will also celebrate traditional Christmas in a more informal style within the brand new pub available for private hire, The Union Ale House.

These themes will be on show to see, feel and taste at the Twickenham Christmas Showcase, 18.00 – 20.00, 6th September, at Twickenham Stadium. Event planners wishing to register their interest should do so at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-festive-evening-with-twickenham-stadium-tickets-26222031803.

Jens Hallman has been appointed the position of General Manager for the four silver AA star, Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Experienced hotelier Jens, from Cheshire, will lead the 500 strong team at the 312-bed hotel, which boasts a luxury spa, two award winning restaurants, bar and lounge as well as 14 conference and meeting rooms.

Jens joins with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. Having started his career in Stockholm, he has worked across some of the UK’s most reputable brands, most recently as cluster general manager for Radisson Blu Glasgow, Park Inn Glasgow and Radisson RED Glasgow.

Jens Hallman, General Manager of The Midland, said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to manage this iconic hotel and work with the fantastic team we have here. The Midland is regarded as one of Manchester’s finest hotels and it has long been my desire to oversee the operation here.

“The Midland has a long history of evolving to meet the demands of the modern guest whilst delivering the highest levels of service. My focus is to continue this evolution and ensure an outstanding experience is delivered to all of our guests and visitors.”

The hotel is part of the QHotels portfolio and operated by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH.

www.rbhmanagement.com

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