Skip to main content


You are: home > news archive > 09/2018

Twickenham Stadium has agreed a partnership with experiential agency TBA to redevelop the experience within the stadium’s North Stand Captains Club. The suite of event spaces, which also include the Beaumont Room, is being redeveloped by the agency to include interactive displays and contemporary design, ideally suited to event professionals.

TBA won a competitive bid to redesign the rooms, which will open in October 18. The new suite will now have interchangeable branding panels, which can be moved and removed to allow easier branding, feature walls, projection mapping, and the tech options that event organisers can adapt to suit their own events.

“We wanted to bring in a business that could design the space to suit the needs of creative experiential and event specialists,” commented Nils Braude, Catering and Conference & Events Director. “TBA have done a brilliant job in the redesign and we’re looking forward to opening the space to event professionals next month. It will be a fitting start to an Autumn of really exciting new launches at the stadium.”

“The TBA team were delighted to be appointed for the design and delivery of the North Stand event space redesign. Drawing on both our design experience and hospitality expertise it was a great pleasure to work with such a prestigious organisation, in one of the sporting world’s most iconic venues. We are extremely proud of the result and the impact its created,” commented Guy Horner, CEO, TBA.

Twickenham Stadium will also be launching its new, redeveloped East Stand later this Autumn, a space which the venue is also using to engage creative event professionals. The redesigned Captains Club suite will be situated within the stadiums North Stand.

Leading UK hotel management company RBH has announced it will manage the brand new Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent – the first ever Hilton-branded hotel in Stoke.

The £20 million hotel is scheduled to open in late 2019, as part of the landmark Smithfield development brought to Stoke in a partnership between developers Genr8 and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Pochin Ltd have been appointed as contractors, and Genr8 will retain ownership of the hotel.

It will boast 140 bedrooms, state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities and a fully equipped gym. A stylish bar and full service restaurant will also feature, offering locally sourced produce where possible.  

Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent will be part of RBH’s portfolio of more than 70 hotels across the UK, which includes seven properties under fellow Hilton brands, DoubleTree by Hilton and Hampton by Hilton.

Andrew Robb, Chief Development Officer for RBH, said:

As our first Hilton Garden Inn, this new hotel represents a landmark addition to our growing portfolio.

We already have an excellent partnership with Hilton which is going from strength to strength. The exciting addition of Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent also gives us the opportunity to work with owners Genr8 and the local council – we look forward to seeing this project develop and to the hotel having a positive impact on the city.”

Richard Ingham, Partner at Genr8 Developments, said:

Smithfield is a groundbreaking development for Stoke-on-Trent, so it makes sense that Hilton – one of the most iconic hotel brands in the world – is being welcomed to the city as part of it. As a management company with decades of experience, we have absolute faith that RBH are the right choice to operate it. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.”


Four-star hotel Bridgewood Manor is set to unveil a refreshed new look later this year following an extensive refurbishment which represents a £500,000 investment. 

Work has started on the hotel, which is operated by leading UK hotel management company RBH, and is set to transform the entire hotel – from its bar and public areas to the guest rooms and bathrooms.

The reception and lobby will be completely renovated with new carpets, flooring, window dressings and furniture as well as all previously stained woodwork being replaced with clean paint finish.

By restructuring the layout of the public areas including removing small walls at the entrance and positioning the reception desk as free standing, designers hope to achieve a warmer welcome.

The furniture in the bar area will be upcycled and all window dressings, flooring and artwork will be replaced. These updates will provide the ideal, modernised and relaxing setting for all occasions. Guests can enjoy Starbucks coffee, leisurely lunches and afternoon teas or a tempting pre-dinner cocktail or post-dinner aperitif in the revamped Squires Bar.

The first phase of guestrooms in the hotel will be completely redecorated with new carpets, flooring, feature wallpaper, lighting and curtains. Nightstands, desks, TVs and wardrobes in each room will also be replaced.

Initially 25 bathrooms will also be revamped with full height tiling, new mirrors and ceiling lighting, while the existing baths will be replaced with walk-in showers.

Marc Taylor, General Manager at Bridgewood Manor, said:

We recently refreshed our brand identity and this extensive refurbishment brings everything in line to offer our guests and diners the best possible experience with us.

The surrounding woodland and garden areas of the hotel have inspired the interiors and we can’t wait to unveil our new look and welcome everyone to the new and improved Bridgewood Manor.”

Alongside the refurbishment and refreshed brand identity, Bridgewood Manor has launched a new loyalty programme – Bridgewood Rewards. The new loyalty card will see guests collect reward points from use of accommodation, food and beverage services and spa facilities which can then be redeemed against future experiences.  

Gregor MacNaughton, Director of Technical Services at RBH, said:

By investing in our hotels it demonstrates our continued commitment to enhancing the offering across our growing portfolio.

Works like this improve returns for our owners whilst ensuring our hotel guests receive the best possible quality and service when they stay at any of our properties.”   

All refurbishment works at Bridgewood Manor are due to be completed in December 2018.

A group of 15 young hospitality stars are celebrating their graduation from a collaborative Management Trainee course in partnership with hotel management company, RBH, and University College Birmingham.

The graduates, who hail from across the UK, donned their caps and gowns for a celebratory ceremony at Birmingham Symphony Hall – where they were officially presented with Foundation Degrees in Professional Hospitality Operations Management.

Each of the students has spent two years earning and learning, working within the hotel industry whilst studying for their formal qualification.

RBH – formerly Redefine|BDL Hotels – offers the programme to promising internal and external candidates, following its success across its luxury QHotels portfolio in previous years.

The graduation comes just weeks after the latest cohort of students embarked on the course with a three-day induction in Telford.

Sarah Abercrombie, RBH’s Educational Development Manager, said:

I’m exceptionally proud to see all fifteen students celebrate their graduation. Each and every one of them has worked so hard over the past two years to earn their degree whilst building their skills on the job.

Each of the students has started taking on more responsibility in their roles as they have progressed through the course, and we have seen two candidates secure Assistant Head of Department roles within their respective hotels. I’m confident we’ll see promotions and progressions coming thick and fast now the students have graduated and are ready to focus on their hospitality careers.”

Naomi Matthews progressed from Receptionist to Front Office Manager at Telford Hotel & Golf Resort during her time on the course.

She said:

I am over the moon to have completed the course and graduated with the rest of my colleagues. Having taken ill earlier this year, I was unsure whether I would be able to continue with the course, but was determined to graduate. I love working in the industry and the degree course has given me the opportunity to progress along my chosen career path while developing my knowledge in an academic setting.”

Small meetings booking platforms would all deliver a better, totally comprehensive service to clients if they were to cooperate in sharing data, collaborating on content and partnering on distribution.

By providing access to a greater range of potential venues to offer in response to a search, they would enable clients to find the right venue at the right time at the best price much easier and faster. Currently too much time is wasted searching, checking availability and confirming the booking.

The need for this is in response to significant growth in the small meetings* sector of the market, driven by factors such as increases in contract workers, flexible hours and remote working.

As consumers, meeting organisers expect technology to enable them to find exactly what they want, when they want it easily with instant confirmation, just as they do when they book a bedroom or flight.

If this formula is so well refined on the consumer side, why can’t that same fluidity be applied to business?

The issue is that in the rapidly evolving small meeting bookings sector there are many players, large and small, backed by significant investment, who at any one time each have access to a considerable quantity and range of inventory. But it is only part of the total availability as, while there is some cross-over, quite a lot of the inventory is not widely shared. If it was, then bookers would be able to choose one platform that gave them the best user experience rather than have to search several platforms to access a wider choice.

The benefits of this approach also extend to venues and organisers. It would provide more time for them to focus on the human aspects of event planning, not researching and booking as well as completing the booking faster. Integrated search platforms would also allow for a more streamlined listing process for venues, with a one-time registration providing access to the maximum number of potential clients.

So how would it work? By splitting the commission.

Commission could be redefined as remuneration for acquiring a customer and transaction fee as remuneration for processing a booking for the venue. A 10 per cent commission, for instance, could be split with 8 per cent assigned for customer acquisition and 2 per cent paid as the transaction fee.

Short of Expedia acquiring all the major providers, a connected ecosystem would be the most beneficial solution for everyone. Customers and bookers will gain instant access to information and a confirmation mechanism while venues and connected platforms will gain global distribution and more business from this new structure.

While there are obstacles to be overcome and so much to debate, agree and implement, I would be so bold as to predict that within five years small meetings will be managed the same ways a transient business travel.

Harbour Hotels Group has been awarded the hugely prestigious AA Hotel Group of the Year 2018-19 accolade; presented in recognition of the hotel group that has a proven track record of striving to ensure the very best levels of service, food and accommodation across the range of properties.

This year marks the 110th year of AA Hotel & Hospitality Services and their annual black tie AA Hospitality Awards event is a highlight in the industry calendar. Picking up the coveted award on Monday 20th September, Harbour Hotels is thrilled to be recognised for creating a stand-out group of hotels that all embody their signature style, ethos and experience. 

Upon receiving the accolade, Mike Warren, Managing Director of Harbour Hotels, said:

“I am thrilled to be receiving this award on behalf of the entire Harbour Hotels team. To be recognised within this forum, alongside our highly esteemed industry colleagues, is a true honour.

It is thanks to the vision of our chairman that we have been able to grow so significantly and consistently over the last few years. I would like to acknowledge every member of our Harbour Hotels teams, as well as our trusted suppliers and a very sincere thank you to all of you.”

Simon Numphud, Managing Director of AA Hotel & Hospitality Services said:

“The dedication and hard work of the team at the Harbour Hotels Group has ensured this hotel group has gone from strength to strength. Their hotel offering, stunning locations and award-winning dining experiences make them fully deserving winners of this year’s Hotel Group of the Year Award.”

From merging two historical former banks in Bristol, to a brand new five star hotel designed to reflect a super-yacht on the water in Southampton, Harbour Hotels are masters in creating stand-out hotels and stays.  

With 15 hotels and counting, the Group has rapidly grown across the south of England – with properties in Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Devon and Cornwall; including its recent acquisitions in Padstow and Fowey.

This month marks a milestone opening, with the introduction of its first London property.  Situated in the heart of Richmond and set opposite London’s iconic Richmond Park, the new Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa features the Group’s established HarSPA brand and 74 bedrooms, alongside its new restaurant concept ‘The Gate, Kitchen, Bar & Terrace’.

Next year sees the Group’s further expansion into the West Country, with launches in Padstow and Fowey planned for spring 2019; as Harbour Hotels continues building a portfolio of the very best coastal, city and country hotels.

Lime Venue Portfolio has today announced the launch of a new conference that will look to the future of event design, event management and creative business. Taking place on Friday 19th October at Edgbaston Stadium, ‘Beyond’, is open to agencies and event booking professionals across the UK and will include a Q&A with Holly Tucker, Co-Founder of Not On The High Street.

The event will be the first of a new series that Lime Venue Portfolio will be creating, both for its own portfolio of venues and its many customers around the UK. The conference will address what the event of the future will look like and feature speakers including Ru Barksfield, Founder, Big Bear X; Lex Butler, Founder, Wolf & White; El Clowes, Project Manager, Unicorn Events; Caleb Parker, CEO & Co-Founder, Bold; and Andrew Walker, Executive Chef for Chartwells, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland.

The day will also see an opening by Jo Austin, Director of Sales, Lime Venue Portfolio, who will reflect on the development of the unique and unusual sector over the last 10 years, and what the business is expecting from the industry in the future. Jason Allan Scott, entrepreneur, author and founder of ‘The Guest List’ podcast, will guide attendees through the conference as MC and interview Holly Tucker on her take on ‘Beyond’ and the future of creative business. 

The conference concludes Lime Venue Portfolio’s 10th Anniversary celebrations and follows a series of charity initiatives, celebrations and events the brand has been sharing with its customers.

“We’ve got an amazing line up of speakers taking part in our first ‘Beyond’, all of whom are able to look at the subject matter as both event professionals and business leaders,” comments Jenner Carter, Head of Marketing, Lime Venue Portfolio. “It’s a fitting way for Lime Venue Portfolio to celebrate 10 years of success in the event industry, by looking at what the next 10 plus years will look like for us all.”

HBAA members have raised £23,696 so far this year for the association’s chosen charity Beyond Food which inspires people who are at risk of, or have experienced, homelessness to gain meaningful employment in the catering and hospitality sector.

After raising £18803 at the Kick Off meeting and the Annual Dinner in January, two recent events have boosted the total by £4,893.

This year’s Come Dine with Us, held recently at 8 member venues across the UK, raised over £850.  Now in its 4th year, the ever-popular event provides unparalleled opportunities for agency and venue members to raise money for the charity while meeting new and established industry colleagues over dinner.


At the recent HBAA Annual Forum, Award winning chef, author and social entrepreneur Simon Boyle, Chef Director at Beyond Food, announced his new book Cook4Life “How to Cook and Keep on Cooking”. The book uses the catalyst of food to engage and inspire young, vulnerable individuals. The book is designed to teach the reader the fundamentals of cooking, to be used in times of hardship or challenges in life. 

Through the generosity of member contributions, over £4,043 was successfully raised, including funding for 200 books and a further 100 books from two individual donors.

HBAA Venue Chair Louisa Watson comments “Beyond Food works tirelessly to help homeless people rebuild their lives. Simon Boyle has set about imparting his passion, skills and knowledge of cooking and food on to Beyond Food Foundation's apprentices, encouraging them to move their lives forward in a positive and meaningful way. We are proud to support them.”

Simon Boyle says “We are grateful to the HBAA and their support network. With the money raised, Beyond Food will continue to create inspirational projects to help those that are homeless and end the cycle of ‘no job no home – no home no job’. A series of innovative new programmes are already underway to motivate participants towards sustainable employment and a secure future.”

Devoted rugby fan, Tom Kerridge, is contributing to the design of the menu for the new Lock restaurant in Twickenham Stadium's new East Stand, adding his trademark modern English touches that will provide a unique dining experience for guests.

The TV chef will also be running the restaurant for each of England's four Quilter Internationals games this November and will be joined by his team of chefs. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Tom during the day.

"I'm so excited to be partnering with Twickenham - it was an absolute no-brainer for me," said Kerridge. "I've been going to watch rugby there for years and it feels really special to be able to bring our cooking to this historic and epic sporting venue. Bring it on."

The Lock restaurant is one of four new dining spaces at Twickenham opening this November. A grand and sophisticated space, The Lock includes numerous patriotic touches and elevates hospitality for guests coming to see England take on South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

In addition to match days, Tom Kerridge will also be hosting "An evening with Tom Kerridge" during the year in Twickenham's new chop-house style restaurant The Gate, providing intimate dining experiences for up to 400 guests.

The partnership will also see the introduction of Kerridge's "Lush" hot dog and corn dog concession on the concourse for fans to enjoy at England matches.

England Rugby Hospitality™, official Twickenham hospitality, is sold exclusively by the Rugby Football Union and long standing partner Keith Prowse. Bookings for The Lock in November can be made at

The multi-million pound East Stand redevelopment will offer six floors of creative event space that not only provide new-found match day hospitality options but also offer unexpected and dynamic settings that go far beyond a simple conference or banqueting space.

Spas within hotels across RBH’s luxury QHotels portfolio have been enjoying year-on-year growth. But this has been no stroke of luck – instead, a very special treatment has been applied.

Now, the Head of Leisure and Spa at the leading independent hotel management company, Dave Heap is sharing the secrets of their success.

Dave said:

We have a portfolio of stunning spa hotels across England, each with its own unique identity, but united in their spa excellence.

From Oulton Hall to Ashford International Hotel, visitors can expect first class treatment from the moment they step into one of our spas.

Secure in our operational and experiential excellence, we implemented a strategy to grow both our spa audience and our spa bookings.  And from 2015 to 2017, volume growth approached 15 per cent, with profits climbing more than 25 per cent.

Maybe your spa business is in its infancy or you’ve been trying in vain to boost your bottom line – whatever the case, there are practical steps you can take to support your spa’s growth:

1. Understand your market

Before you adopt a growth strategy, you should know your market inside out. It’s not rocket science, but skip this important step at your peril.

Study the peaks and troughs in your traffic and know what sells and when. For example, how do the school holidays impact on your traffic and your audience’s demographic?

Identify where there is room for further growth and where there is space to add value for your already captive audiences.

We recognised there is a natural increase in the number of leisure guests within our hotels during the summer months, and that helped inform how we could add value to their experience by incentivising spa treatments.

Likewise, mid-week spa audiences were identified as key for us, helping us target them accordingly with a voucher sales strategy and the creation of our own voucher platform, One Big Deal.

Continue to study your trends to be ready to move with the market, never underestimating the fact that small changes can make big differences.

2. Tailor your offering

When you know the landscape, take the time to tailor a targeted offering.

As spa hotels, you’d perhaps imagine we would focus primarily on residential packages. Yes, this is an important revenue stream for us and we launch core spa packages quarterly, drawing on the wider offerings within our hotels. And in fact, our most recent summer campaign was our most successful yet.

But, conversely, through our strategic plan for growth, we’ve also been able to effectively target and grow our non-residential offerings. So much so, last year it accounted for almost 60 per cent of our spa revenue.   

Our approach varies for each. People travel from across the UK and further afield for hotel breaks with us, but our day spa audience is closer to home.

Are you covering all the bases, targeting existing spa users and getting the exposure you need in your customer radius?

3. Think outside the box

Contentment breeds complacency. Always look for new opportunities to grow your spa offering and audience.

We’re currently piloting a scheme in one of our properties to enable parents and children to enjoy day spa experiences together. Thinking outside the box with mini manicures and mocktails, we’ve been able to work around the restrictions we face in welcoming younger visitors.

Who isn’t visiting you yet and what can you offer them?

And don’t forget that growth can only be achieved if you continue to nurture your existing customer base. Remember to refine and reinvigorate your offering regularly to keep them coming back for more.   

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


News archive