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Leading serviced apartment provider, SilverDoor Apartments, has officially opened its US headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

The global provider chose Denver’s LoDo district as the ideal place to establish its US office as the company continues to increase its international reach.

SilverDoor has built a reputation in Europe and Asia for simplifying the sourcing of serviced apartments. The award-winning company is now bringing its unrivalled expertise and industry-leading technology to companies in the US.

SilverDoor’s international expansion has been driven by requests from clients to provide local support for their serviced apartment requirements. As well as manage clients’ outbound enquiries, SilverDoor will also bring on new operators to expand its US offering.

With nine years’ of experience at SilverDoor’s London office, Rafaela Baraldi has relocated to Denver to assume the role of Regional Head - Americas. She’ll oversee the SilverDoor Americas office along with Robert Carrick, who has taken the position of Key Account Manager, and Fernando Knapp who has been hired as the company’s first Partner Account Manager in the US.

The company currently works in partnership with over 1,300 property operators in 92 countries to provide clients with the world’s largest inventory of serviced apartments.

SilverDoor Apartments Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Winstone, commented: “We’re delighted to be opening our first US office in Denver. We considered a number of cities but Denver has everything we need: a thriving local economy, high quality of life and superb transport links.

 “The US is a huge market for us. We’re looking forward to working closely with our current clients in the US and excited to help new companies manage their serviced apartment requirements.”

Founded in 2000, SilverDoor now operates from five global offices – London and Lancaster in the UK, Singapore, Hyderabad in India and now Denver in the US.





Angie Mason is to be HBAA Chair and Rachael Naylor will be HBAA Venue Member Chair for 2019.


Angie Mason is Chairman of Absolute Corporate Events. She has a wealth of experience in event management, venue finding and hotel booking, having opened her first venue finding agency in 1991. She was a founder member of the HBAA, has served on the Executive Committee for many years and was Chair of the HBAA in 2003. Angie will also be the HBAA Treasurer in 2019.

She succeeds Louise Goalen who was Chair in both 2017 and 2018. Louise will continue to be a member of the Board as Immediate Past Chair, along with Leigh Cowlishaw, who was Chair in 2016.




Rachael Naylor, who is about to become Director of Sales at the Crowne Plaza Stratford-Upon-Avon, is currently HBAA Vice Venue Chair and Chair of Events Commmittee.

Rachael began her career with IHG. She later went on to manage the Conference and Event sales team at Leicester Tigers before moving to Capita Travel. Until recently she was UK MICE Manager at Kew Green Hotels.




Angie Mason says “This is an exciting year for the HBAA. As my predecessors have worked hard to lay strong foundations and build on our recent success,  in 2019 we’ll be looking forward and focussing on the The Next Generation as the future of the industry and the association. To be Chair again this year is an inspiring prospect and a great honour.”


Angie and Rachael will formally take up their post at the HBAA AGM and Members Meeting which, along with the HBAA’s Annual Dinner, take place on 11th January at the Park Plaza Victoria, London.

Lime Venue Portfolio is kicking off 2019 with a weekend Boot Camp for the meetings and events industry. The initiative is supported by World Obesity’s Healthy Venue campaign and takes place during National Obesity Awareness Week (14th – 20th Jan 19), as well as ‘Harrison’s Journey’, set up by Kerry Wright, Head of Group Sales at Lime Venue Portfolio, and her son Harrison, which inspires and supports children and their families who struggle with their weight.


The boot camp aims to bring together event professionals and their families, to take part in a weekend focusing on health and wellbeing; including fitness activities, nutritional education and a mindfulness session. In addition to the boot camp, the Lime Venue Portfolio Team will be partaking in several health and wellbeing initiatives to promote the importance of event professionals looking after themselves.


Lime Venue Portfolio are also drafting in some motivational coaches to support the weekend, including; Harry King, UK Sport Elite Coach, former GB International Sprinter & British Record Holder, and former advisor within the National Athletics Association and the Olympic Committee; and Zena Weeks, events planner organising Domestic, European and International Coaching Conferences for England Athletics for the Coaching & Participation Teams. 


‘Harrison’s Journey’ has become both an internet and media sensation over the last few years following Harrison, Kerry’s son, appearing on national television and radio and, winning a BBC Radio One Teen Hero award for inspiring other children around the world through blogs and vlogs about his struggle to lose weight. In addition to this, Harrison’s efforts to raise awareness of childhood obesity, in partnership with his own efforts in combatting it personally, led to recognition from the NHS and a visit to see HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry.


“We’re keen to be a cheerleader for events that address the health and wellbeing of delegates and believe we have a duty of care to support the health and wellbeing of event professionals we work with,” commented Kerry. “We all know that January is a key health month, so we’re doing all we can, both through the options we offer event organisers within our venues, and through our relationships with our customers, to support health and wellbeing in not only January, but throughout 2019.”


Creative Communications agency, Top Banana, will be celebrating their milestone birthday of 20 years throughout 2019.


In 2019, Creative Communications agency Top Banana, will be celebrating their milestone birthday of 20 years. Established in 1999 by founders Richard Bridge and Nick Terry, the agency has gone from strength to strength and now boasts an enviable client portfolio, 2 UK offices and over 50 team members.


Richard Bridge, Founder and CEO, comments “I still can’t quite believe that it’s been 20 years since we started on this awesome adventure, in some ways it still seems like yesterday. Top Banana was set up with the aim to help businesses communicate better and to this day that remains our business mission. Since our first project in 1999 we have steadily grown our client base which now includes some seriously impressive global brands including DFS, Whitbread, Virgin Media and Bacardi. But it’s not just the brands we are proud of, it’s the strong, long-lasting relationships we maintain with these clients, with a number of them spanning over 10 years.”


For Top Banana, their people are their secret to success as they are not only celebrating the growth of their team (in 2018 they recruited 9 new team members), but their impressive high staff retention with many members of the team being employed for over 11 years.


Jade Ball, Operations Director, who has worked for Top Banana since 2008, comments “The leadership team here at Top Banana recognise that our people are our biggest asset, so we make sure we look after each and every employee. The culture here is really unique, and whilst it sounds like a cliché, we really are a big family who all support each other. It’s really hard to find a company that truly listens to you and invests so much time and money in helping make you the best that you can be. This is all supported by our awesome internal initiatives which have led to us being awarded Investors in People Gold, a hard to claim title and one we’re super proud of.”

The newly formed leadership team, aptly named the BLT (Banana Leadership Team), are always looking out for new and exciting projects and opportunities to help drive the business forward. In 2018 the business took on the exciting project of diversifying their service offering by introducing Incentive Travel which complimented their existing established services of events, digital, design, film and venue finding.

Richard continues “With our financial stability, we are able to adapt quickly and be agile in our decision making as a leadership team. In May 2018 we diversified our offering by venturing into incentive travel market which was a natural progression for the business. Taking the leap into incentive travel just made sense, both for us as a business and for our clients. It really complements our existing service and clearly links back to our business purpose bringing our clients’ business strategies to life. 2018/19 has been an excellent year for Top Banana and forecasts are showing significant financial increases.”




As the agency kick starts their 20th birthday celebrations, they not only look back at how far they have come over the last 20 years but look forward to and exciting future full of opportunities and possibilities.

Richard Bridge concludes “In 2019 and beyond we will remain focused on steady, profitable growth by producing high quality work and building relationships with our valued clients. Whilst we have continually adapted our brand and diversified our service offering, we’ve always stayed true to our values and our company vision and mission. The next five years is an exciting time for the company as we will continue to push creative boundaries and keep our entrepreneurial approach where our eyes are always open to new opportunities, whether that’s through new office openings, international expansion, new team members or by further diversifying our service offering.”

The agency will be celebrating their milestone birthday throughout 2019 with a 12-month long campaign which will include lots of celebrations, content and awesome activities.




Howard Lewis has taken the reins at the Grade I listed property, which is operated by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH.


An experienced hotelier who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, Howard will head up the 195-strong team at the 117-bed hotel in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

Howard, who is originally from Chelmsford and grew up in Texas, started his career as a graduate management trainee with De Vere Hotels at The Belfry and has gained experience in various roles – including Guest Services Manager and Food & Beverage Manager – throughout the years.

During his 18 years in General Manager positions, Howard spent a decade with Hilton Worldwide operating large residential conference and events properties. The hotelier’s most recent role saw him kick-start the opening process for new aparthotel, The London Warehouse - Manchester.

Howard Lewis, General Manager at Crewe Hall, said:

I’m absolutely thrilled to be starting the New Year by taking on a new role within the team at Crewe Hall.

It’s an outstanding property in a fantastic location, boasting a wonderful history and great reputation. My main focus will be on raising the already high standards at the hotel, and ensuring our guests receive nothing less than the first class experience that Crewe Hall is known for. Whether they’re staying with us for leisure, attending a conference or popping in for a spot of lunch or afternoon tea, we want each and every guest to feel special.”

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


 HBAA members have raised a total of £44,000 for charity Beyond Food in 2017 and 2018.

The money was generated at a variety of events and activities including the association’s Annual Dinners, Annual Forum, Members Meetings and Come Dine With Me.



The charity, founded by restaurateur Simon Boyle, supports the homeless by helping them to learn catering industry skills so that they develop careers in the hospitality sector.

Louise Golan, Chair of HBAA in 2017 and 2018 says: “Our members have clearly been inspired by this wonderful cause and Simon Boyle’s campaign to help people in need in this way. The stories of the people that Beyond Food has helped are heart-warming.”



Best Western Great Britain is toasting a record year of hotel recruitment, with 25 new properties being added to its portfolio in 2018.

This represents the brand’s highest annual activation figure in over ten years and takes the membership collection to over 260 hotels. It was Best Western Great Britain’s second consecutive year of growth, with a net increase of three hotels equaling its total in 2017. This level of expansion is expected to continue into 2019, with even more properties predicted to join the Best Western brand.

Recruitment in 2018 was bolstered by a major hotel group deal with industry stalwart Robert Peel, which saw Best Western Great Britain bringing all nine Peel Hotels properties into its collection. Some of these properties have already joined the brand, while others will officially be activated in the new year.

Upon joining the organisation, the hotels have access to a range of tools and expertise to support in driving tourism to their local areas.

This is reinforced by significant levels of member investment and since 2015, Best Western Great Britain hotels have spent over £210m on improving properties and guest experiences.

Rob Paterson, CEO at Best Western Great Britain, said: “We are incredibly proud of the progress we have made in 2018, with our hotel recruitment figure nearly 40% higher than the previous year.

"In 2019, we expect this growth to continue and even accelerate, with hotels recognising the value of joining the Best Western family. Our members can maintain their independence and heritage while receiving support, strategies and resources to help drive revenue and optimise operating processes.”

“Over the next 18 months we are investing significantly in new technology which we think will lead the market in sales, marketing and revenue to make our membership more attractive and give owners and operators more compelling reasons to join us. Now is a great time to talk to Best Western.”




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