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12/2018

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The government has signalled its intention to agree a landmark Tourism Sector Deal for the UK tourism industry in a bid to attract more domestic and overseas visitors and help drive major economic growth.

The UK events sector, which is worth more than £42.3bn a year to the economy, is set to play a major role in the delivery of the plan, that will focus on boosting productivity by better utilisation of existing capacities, extending the season and attracting more business visitors and event attendees to all parts of the UK.

Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has called for the wider tourism industry, which includes business visits and events, to show its commitment in promoting UK tourism throughout the year and not just in peak summer months.

Wright commented that the sector must look to increase skills and improve clear career paths; make the UK the most accessible tourism industry in the world; share industry data to identify growth opportunities in new and emerging markets; increase accommodation supply and enhance connectivity within venues.

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) has been an integral part of the events industry’s response to the formation of the Sector Deal, led by VisitBritain on behalf of the entire tourism industry.

Simon Hughes, Vice Chair of the BVEP, said: “This is very welcome news following two years of formulating the proposals across the entire industry for the Tourism Sector Deal. The role of both business and cultural events will be crucial in delivering on the government asks of boosting productivity, extending the season and dispersing visitors to all parts of the UK.”

“We are also making great strides in providing good career opportunities within the events sector and keen to play our part in providing greater accessibility to venues, share industry data and ensure event venues have the very best connectivity to meet delegate demands.”

As the negotiations with government are advanced, industry organisations and business will be asked to participate in the development of the plans. It is expected that the negotiations will lead to a final deal, to be announced in Q1 2019.

 

 

Last week, staff members at Newmarket-based luxury Hotel, Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa raised over £500 for East Anglia Children’s Hospice with a flurry of festive fundraising activities. Festivities included a Christmas Charity Bake Sale and the Hotel’s annual Christmas Jumper Day celebration on Friday 7th December, as well as holding a £1 donation day, where £1 from each sale at the Hotel is donated to the charity

                                       

Every year, Bedford Hotel & Spa staff members from across all departments embrace the festive season by donning their best Christmas jumper for the day, donating £5 in the process.

EACH is a local charity to Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa and was selected as the Hotel’s 2018 Charity of the Year. The festive fundraising rounds off a year of activities, the proceeds from which all go towards the annual amount raised for EACH at the end of the working year. Working with families across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, EACH offers care and support for children and young people with life-threatening conditions. 

Noel Byrne, Chief Executive at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, commented: “East Anglia Children’s Hospice does fantastic work helping families in our local area, and I think this has truly inspired the team with our fundraising initiatives this year, which have culminated in this lovely festive finale.

“We hope that our donation will play some part in supporting EACH in continuing its important work. On top of our Charity of the Year fundraising, Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is always keen to support national charity initiatives, as well as our staff members’ personal charitable activities.”

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa will continue its charitable initiatives for EACH until the end of year.

                                             

 

The Best Western Plus Swan Hotel, based in Wells, has been awarded the International Quality Assurance Award for the second year in a row, placing it in the top 20% of all Best Western hotels outside of North America. The award is given by Best Western International to hotels that meet consistently high quality standards.

The Best Western International team evaluates all member hotels to ensure they meet the standards required to be part of the Best Western brand. Only those hotels that achieve the highest scores are given the award, showcasing the properties on a global scale. The award comes in what is The Best Western Plus Swan Hotels’ 45th year of membership with Best Western Great Britain, making it the longest standing member of the brand’s 260+ strong portfolio across the country.

Speaking of the win, Mark Tobin, General Manager at The Best Western Plus Swan Hotel, said: “We’ve been proudly championing the Best Western brand for 45 years now, so we’re really pleased to be recognised with this award once again. The accolade is a testament to the entire team here and the outstanding service they provide to ensure each and every stay leaves a lasting impression on guests.”

Andrew Denton, Head of Member Services at Best Western Great Britain, added: “Having visited the team at The Best Western Plus Swan Hotel I’m not surprised that they are once again celebrating this achievement. The hotel and the entire team working there encompasses everything that the Best Western brand stands for, as they work tirelessly to provide not just high quality service, but a brilliantly different stay for all guests. We’re proud to celebrate the hotel as our longest standing member hotel and long may their success continue.”

For more information, or to book a stay, visit: www.bestwestern.co.uk/

 

 

All eight RBH-managed golf resorts have made it into Golf World’s new top 100 GB&I ‘Ultimate Stay-and-Play’ venues – with Slaley Hall named England’s fourth best resort.

The Hexham, Northumberland venue was 24th in the list, with Aldwark Manor, York, also creeping into the top 50 at 46. Oulton Hall, Leeds, was 58th, Belton Woods, in Grantham, was ranked 62nd and Forest Pines – now rebranded as DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa & Golf Resort – in Broughton, Lincolnshire, was a further three places back.

Norwich’s Dunston Hall was 76th, Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Golf Resort was ranked 81st, while the Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, in Shropshire, was 88th. It’s an outstanding success for the group, which has more resorts in the top 100 than any other hotel group.

And Alan Foley, RBH’s director of golf and spa sales, was quick to praise staff at the resorts for their consistently high levels of performance.

He said:

What is a fabulous success for RBH is down to the hard work and dedication of every member of our resort teams, from the general managers down to the part-time workers. Their attention to detail and helpful ‘can-do’ attitude has been rewarded with all eight of our resorts in the top 100. It’s a fabulous feat and we thank them all for their commitment to the group ethos.”

As the largest golf resort operator in the UK, RBH – the UK’s leading independent hotel management company – manages eight championship and tournament golf courses across the UK, in a diverse collection of more than 70 branded and private-label hotel properties

 

Marriott has taken measures to investigate and address a data security incident involving the Starwood guest reservation database.  On November 19, 2018, the investigation determined that there was unauthorized access to the database, which contained guest information relating to reservations at Starwood properties* on or before September 10, 2018.

On September 8, 2018, Marriott received an alert from an internal security tool regarding an attempt to access the Starwood guest reservation database in the United States.  Marriott quickly engaged leading security experts to help determine what occurred.  Marriott learned during the investigation that there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014.  The company recently discovered that an unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information, and took steps towards removing it.  On November 19, 2018, Marriott was able to decrypt the information and determined that the contents were from the Starwood guest reservation database.

The company has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property.  For approximately 327 million of these guests, the information includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences.  For some, the information also includes payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates, but the payment card numbers were encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard encryption (AES-128).  There are two components needed to decrypt the payment card numbers, and at this point, Marriott has not been able to rule out the possibility that both were taken.  For the remaining guests, the information was limited to name and sometimes other data such as mailing address, email address, or other information.

Marriott reported this incident to law enforcement and continues to support their investigation.  The company has already begun notifying regulatory authorities.

“We deeply regret this incident happened,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  “We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves.  We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward.”

“Today, Marriott is reaffirming our commitment to our guests around the world.  We are working hard to ensure our guests have answers to questions about their personal information, with a dedicated website and call center.  We will also continue to support the efforts of law enforcement and to work with leading security experts to improve.  Finally, we are devoting the resources necessary to phase out Starwood systems and accelerate the ongoing security enhancements to our network,” Mr. Sorenson continued.

Guest Support
Marriott has taken the following steps to help guests monitor and protect their information:

Dedicated Website and Call Center
We have established a dedicated website (info.starwoodhotels.com) and call center to answer questions you may have about this incident. The frequently-asked questions on info.starwoodhotels.com may be supplemented from time to time.  The call center is open seven days a week and is available in multiple languages.  Call volume may be high, and we appreciate your patience.

Email Notification
Marriott will begin sending emails on a rolling basis starting today, November 30, 2018, to affected guests whose email addresses are in the Starwood guest reservation database.

Free WebWatcher Enrollment
Marriott is providing guests the opportunity to enroll in WebWatcher free of charge for one year. WebWatcher monitors internet sites where personal information is shared and generates an alert to the consumer if evidence of the consumer’s personal information is found.  Due to regulatory and other reasons, WebWatcher or similar products are not available in all countries.  Guests from the United States who activate WebWatcher will also be provided fraud consultation services and reimbursement coverage for free.  To activate WebWatcher, go to info.starwoodhotels.com and click on your country, if listed, for enrollment.

Marriott is furnishing a Form 8-K with the SEC attaching a copy of this press release and presenting certain other information with respect to the incident.

* Starwood brands include: W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels. Starwood branded timeshare properties are also included.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,700 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 129 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

The leading event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, The Meetings Show, met with its advisory board in October to discuss the future of the show and the future of events.

The advisory board members, who represent UK and international destinations, venues, event planners and industry consultants, have revealed what they think will be the biggest trends in the industry in 2019.

UK USPs

With the future of Brexit still very much uncertain, the UK meetings and events industry needs to focus on defining and promoting its USPs to demonstrate why Great Britain is still a great place to do business.

Laurie Scott, head of conventions & events at Visit Aberdeenshire, is focusing on the positives of Brexit: “Obviously Brexit is inevitable but looking at the potential positives the exchange rate of the pound means that Britain is becoming an excellent value destination for conferences and events.”

London & Partners’ head of tourism, conventions & major events, Tracy Halliwell, says UK destinations may need to refocus their attentions on business from outside of Europe. She says: “We have to understand much more about long-haul markets than perhaps European markets, as well as thinking about international vs domestic – it’s thinking about where business is coming from and how we’re going to react to that.”

Intellectual capital is also set to be a key influencer in destination choice and is an opportunity for the UK to stand out amongst its competitors. Sally Greenhill, consultant for The Right Solution, says: “There’s lots of exciting stuff in terms of life sciences and medical research that takes place here, which offers great opportunities for us to showcase the UK.”

Delegate Engagement

The success of an event is measured just as much by delegate satisfaction as it is profit or loss and putting the delegate experience first is going to be a priority for event organisers in 2019.

MICE marketing specialist Patrick Delaney, director of SoolNua, says we need to stop thinking about B2B and B2C as different markets: “I think the real disruptor is that it should be H2H: human to human. We have to get back to understanding the power of human connections, the power of the live event – the power of making that true connection that only comes when people actually treat each other as human beings. We need to look at what people’s needs are, see how they can be met, and deliver on that.”

Leigh Cowlishaw, director of proposition – accommodation and meetings at Capita Travel and Events, agrees that event organisers should be putting the delegate first: “It’s important to understand why delegates are coming to your meetings and really driving through the data, to be able to provide you with the intelligence to make informed decisions when planning events.”

Tracy Halliwell adds: “I think another challenge happening in the industry is the multigenerational thing: meetings and events now have up to four different generations attending. How do you plan your event to meet the expectations of those four different types of people who will all expect different content and different formats? I think that’s quite challenging.”

For The Meetings Show, delegate engagement will also be a key focus in 2019. David Chapple, group event director for the show, says: “The Meetings Show 2019 will be all about focusing on our audience, more so than ever before. We are currently looking at our education programme and how we can make that as relevant and engaging as possible for attendees, both through the content itself and how that’s delivered. Along with all the other exiting developments we have planned, it’s shaping up to be our best event to date.”

Technology

Technology specifically designed for meetings and events is ever-evolving and is changing the face of the industry as we know it.

Rather than be concerned by the idea of technology replacing human interaction, meetings and events professionals should be looking at how it can enhance and support what they do.

Patrick Delaney says: “In 2019 we need to think about more connectivity and more experiences. What does that mean in terms of the practical way it manifests itself? I think technology can be used to connect people and provide genuine experiences – experiences that will leave a delegate saying ‘you know something, that had an impact on me, it emotionally engaged me, it intellectually engaged me – it changed me in some way.’ The continuation of this will also see personal and professional mixing to deliver an end result.”

Executive director of the HBAA, Juliet Price, thinks that technology will also change the way meetings are organised, for the better. She says: “One of the things that we are seeing is the use of online platforms for booking small meetings. It’s not a threat to the industry; we should look upon it as a positive move because it means that agencies, corporate planners and venues themselves will have more time to deal with the larger events that do need a lot more care and attention.”

The seventh edition of The Meetings Show will take place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June 2019 at Olympia London.

For more information about The Meetings Show, visit www.themeetingsshow.com.

ENDS

Taking place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June 2019, The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, organised by Centaur Live (a division of Centaur Media Plc). Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals, it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education. The hosted buyer programme – the largest in the UK – attracts buyers from the corporate, association, agency and public sectors. The show features destinations from over 50 countries across 6 continents, venues, hotels and key providers of meetings products and services.

The Show includes:

  • The Exhibition: Featuring destinations, venues, hotels and suppliers, the exhibition sits at the heart of The Meetings Show.  
  • Education Programme: Planned by education experts from across the industry, the conference sessions work in harmony with the exhibition and more than 10,000 meetings taking place on the floor.
  • Networking: The Meetings Show offers an unrivalled networking opportunity for event venues, event buyers and suppliers.  For those looking to see more before and after the show, there will also be fam trips visiting key destinations around the UK and internationally.

The Meetings Show has an Advisory Board that meets several times a year both in person and virtually, bringing together their wealth of experience, ideas and strategic understanding of the meetings industry.

 

                                                       

 

 

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