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The commitment of the team at Wyboston Lakes Resort has been officially recognised by a leading independent auditing authority on standards in the workplace.

The Bedfordshire resort which features two conference venues, a 4 star hotel, golf, spa and serviced offices, has gained Accreditation by Best Companies for its excellent Employee Engagement.

Jonathan Austin, CEO of Best Companies said; “I’d like to congratulate Wyboston Lakes Resort on this achievement. Best Companies has been producing the Accreditation standard since 2006 to acknowledge excellence in the workplace. Organisations like Wyboston Lakes Resort have continued to focus on their employees and have been rewarded with an engaged workforce who tell us that this is one of the best companies to work for.”

Steve Jones, Managing Director of Wyboston Lakes Resort said; “This is the sixth successive year that we have gained Accreditation by Best Companies. It’s a great achievement, one that we are very proud to announce as it independently recognises the engagement of our team as among the best in the country.”

“We invest heavily, not only in our facilities but particularly in our people, as we believe they are crucially important to the success and growth our business. We are committed to giving everyone equal opportunities to progress to the highest level in their careers with us and believe that training is essential to help ensure our team are developed for the future and able to progress.

“Our people make the difference, to our guests, to each other and to our business in the long term.”


The Conference & Hospitality Show turns ten this year and CHS19 – at first direct arena, Leeds on Tuesday 30th April - promises to be bigger and better than ever.

There’s a packed schedule of speakers taking part at the 10th anniversary #CHS19, much of the focus will be on the future of the industry and what it means to event profs.  A key event is the Rockstar PA’s Panel discussion led by the PA’s PA and founder of Practically Perfect PA, Nicky Christmas.

If Jane Austen were still amongst us, she’d be the first to admit that it is a truth universally acknowledged that PAs, EAs and Executive Secretaries are, more-often-than-not, the right-hand people enabling their managers to effectively run the company.  In the panel entitled how to create an amazing partnership with your bossNicky and her power-packed panel of exceptional PAs, will share their insights to equip delegates with the skills required to position yourself as a key partner within your own organisation, and create a powerful partnership with your Executive.

Nicky launched Practically Perfect PA, back in October 2011, and it has since grown to become the go-to blog for Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants, Office Managers and Administrative Professionals at all levels of business seeking support, information and guidance in their chosen profession. Practically Perfect PA offers practical tips, honest advice and all kinds of career development support specifically for assistants.




Joining Nicky on the panel will be Beth Arzy, a career Executive Assistant with 25 years of experience and currently working for a Chief Officer and two Department Heads in the Consumer & Strategy Department at Channel 4.  Prior to that, Beth was an EA at Hill & Knowlton Strategies, a global public relations consulting company.  Originally from Los Angeles, California, where Beth worked in the music industry for 10 years, now Croydon-based she will add her considerable experience, opinions and views to the debate.

As Chair of the Association of Professional Administrators in Ireland (the APAI), Natalie Egan, will add her considerable knowledge to the PA Panel.  A strong advocate for the development of the administrative profession and for reinforcing the value that Assistants bring to an organisation.  She is a frequent contributor and speaker with Practically Perfect PA and with ZoomIn, who run the Executive PA Forum, Ireland’s only dedicated conference for EAs, PAs and administrative professionals.

With over 18 years of experience as a senior level Executive Assistant across various industries.  Her current position is EA to multiple C-Suite level Executives at Morgan McKinley, a global professional services recruitment agency.

The final voice to this powerful panel of PA experts is Abigail Jones, a career Executive Assistant, winner of PA of the Year 2018, shortlisted for Outstanding Achievement, EA of The Year 2018, London PA of the Year 2017, PA of the Year 2016, with almost two decades of experience.

Abigail was featured on the cover of PA Life Magazine and is a regular contributor to it, and has also been featured on panel shows, articles, summits and workshops with the European Executive Assistant Conference, The Global PA Association, Practically Perfect, LCCI PA Club and SecsInTheCity. With three degrees in the Arts, she started her career working at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Museums, Christies and Sotheby’s auction houses and private art dealers.  

Abigail is currently the EA to the CEO of ghd. Abigail specialises in working at ‘C suite’ level and is passionate about encouraging PA’s to get the most of out their careers, giving women an equal voice in the workplace, and developing skill sets to make the most of the role of Executive and Personal Assistant.  She also provides coaching and mentoring to individual EAs and PAs and as well as corporate groups.

Assistants are employed to make their boss’s job easier, to take away unnecessary work and allow them to focus on running the company.  From understanding the rhythm of your manager’s day to reputation management, attendees at the PA Panel will discover lots of valuable tips and insights, from extremely qualified experts on how to make your boss successful.

Emma Cartmell, CEO of CHS Group, said: “We’ve got a really powerful set of PA voices on the PA Panel.  With the wealth and breadth of talent on board, from a wide range of industry backgrounds we are looking forward to a lively debate.”




In the run-up to National Apprenticeship Week, The Event Management Apprenticeships Programme (EMAP), today announced the formation of its first Board, committed to driving the development and professional delivery of the programme in order to broaden the talent pool for recruitment into the fast-growing events industry.

The board is chaired by Sarah Wright, Director, WRIGHT, and members are

  • Radhika Chhatwal, Head of Operational Efficiency, Citywire
  • Sasha Frieze, Managing Director, The Business Narrative
  • Simon Hughes, Vice Chair, Business Visits and Events Partnership
  • Justine Kane, Director, The Event Academy
  • Asi Panditharatna, Director of Employment Services, The Forward Trust
  • Adam Proto, Event Producer, Terbell Ltd
  • David Wise, Managing Director, Wise Productions

The Board's key objectives are to:

  • Drive recruitment of apprentices to broaden the industry talent pool
  • Develop the higher Trailblazer standards with industry employers to maximise the uptake of apprenticeships in the industry
  • Drive governance, quality assurance and a successful communication programme 
  • Ensure that apprenticeships outcomes meet the event and live communications industry’s agreed apprenticeship standards.

The new Board brings a breadth of skills from across the industry from a variety of disciplines – agencies, events management, training, recruitment, education, apprenticeship development and communication. 

Sarah Wright, Chair of the UK Events Industry Board Talent Taskforce and Chair and Employer Engagement Director of the EMAP Board said: " I would like to thank Mark Riches, Founder and NED at FIRST for his huge contribution in helping the programme get this far, and I very much look forward to taking over as Chair of this fantastic Board to build on the success to date. There are now several training providers in place and approximately 80 apprentices in apprenticeships positions which is a huge achievement, and the first three apprentices graduated last week, including Lucy Bennet, at Avenue Events.”

Lucy comments: “I have really enjoyed the apprenticeship program and will be sad not to see everyone for our workshops. I really appreciate all the hard work you have put in to helping me get through everything. I can't wait to continue my career in events.”

Claire Richardson, Quality Director at Professional Assessments Ltd (PAL), who undertook the assessment, adds “As the first End Point Assessment organisation to get approval for the Event Assistant Standard we have been working with the training provider Realise and the EMAP team to establish the necessary rigour to the programme. It is really rewarding to see apprentices complete the programme with great results and the first 3 we have assessed are the first in the country to complete this apprenticeship.”

The Event Management Apprenticeships Programme Board will be at Confex at Olympia, London on 26th and 27th February - why not visit stand L18 (opposite the Exhibition News Pavilion) and find out more?  National Apprenticeship Week 2019 is 4 - 9 March.

As part of an ongoing drive to maintain the Barbican’s status as a leading sustainable and environmentally conscious venue, all electricity consumed is now renewable.

The switch, which took place in the last quarter of 2018 was part of a wider City of London Corporation initiative to improve sustainability across the City Corporation through the introduction of a 100% renewable electricity policy and sourcing strategy.  Members of the Barbican team were involved throughout the procurement and planning process to ensure not just value, but sustainability sat at the heart of the process.

The switch marks the latest action by the Barbican’s team in a sustainability drive that saw the venue crowned “Most Sustainable Venue” at the London Summer Events Show.

The Barbican has been a strong proponent and supporter of all things sustainable for many years,” comments the Barbican’s Head of Event Management, Lee Dobson.  “We have won many awards over the years for our activity in this area and are delighted to have again been recognised for the environmental measures we are implementing.”

Key elements behind the Barbican’s latest award win were:

  • Ambitious targets for energy reduction: The venue is targeting a 40% reduction in energy usage by 2025, compared to 2008.
  • Zero waste going to landfill and extensive efforts to reduce single-use plastics from the venue.  For example; in 2017/18 464 tonnes of waste was generated by the venue, which was accounted for as follows:
    • Energy from Waste 20%
    • Recycling 67%
    • Composting 13%
  • A Staff Sustainability Steering Group and competition to engage employees on sustainability issues for the venue, which have led to very high levels of engagement and involvement from the team in maximising the venue’s sustainability.
  • Extensive efforts to increase biodiversity with the introduction of a bee colony and works to the Barbican’s lakeside area including enhancement of reed beds and planters, much of which has been done as part of wider community engagement activity.

These represent just a part of the Barbican’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility work.

Lee concludes: “The Barbican will continue to strive for excellence when it comes to all areas of sustainability.  As a leading arts and conference venue we sit at the heart of the community, providing a major facility where people can gather, share ideas and above all develop a legacy for the future.  This legacy is a core part of our ethos, particularly those elements focused on the environment and community.”





The latest phase of the £3m investment in The Woodlands Event Centre, that forms part of Wyboston Lakes Resort’s conference and events facilities, is complete - and the transformation is impressive, with creative design combined with flexibility and technology everywhere.

The Beech (pictured) is typical of the many inspiring new conference and meeting rooms. It’s among the most versatile as it's not one, not two but 3 different rooms! It can be a small board room, a larger meeting space or a room that can fit over 80 comfortably.


The capacity of the Rosewood, the main conference room (pictured) has increased by over 50 per cent and can now accommodate 600 delegates.


While new and different is the Yew Technology Theatre. An 86” LED display installed in the Yew Technology Theatre allows for increased engagement, collaboration and creativity among participants, while Dolby Atmos speakers provide an immersive sound experience.


All the new conference and meeting rooms are equipped with top of the range venue AV and IT technology to create infinite flexibility for organisers.

The Rosewood Suite features Panasonic PT-RZ series laser projectors with Infinity display screen, for the sharpest and brightest image quality currently available. Sennheiser digital mics offers studio quality audio and Crestron controlled lighting allows organisers the ability to quickly set and adjust lighting levels to suit the demands of the event.

A new refreshment bar concept by artisan coffee specialists Paddy & Scott’s will keep conference guests refuelled throughout the day with a wide range of drinks and snacks. The venue has also added games areas, mobile bars and barbeques to enhance the delegate experience.

Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing for Wyboston Lakes Resort says: “The response from clients has been exciting.

“We wanted to create an event centre for now and for the future. There is still more work to be done but we’re on course to achieve our aim.”

19th February 2019, UK: Woodland Grange, currently under EEF Venues, has today unveiled the venue group’s new and contemporary brand, Make Venues. The announcement follows the conclusion of the brand’s five-year growth strategy that has seen it grow its turnover by 45%, and marks the beginning of a new and ambitious strategy across its venues.

Make Venues reflects the rebrand of EEF to Make UK, which also goes live today, and is reflective of the style, performance focus and achievements of EEF Venues. The new direction has been led by Managing Director, David Vaughton, and underlines the growing ambition of the award-winning business.

In 2018, EEF Venues introduced the Engine Room capital expenditure fund which, during the next two to three years, will continue to finance a series of renovations, improvements and extensions across the group‘s venues as part of the new and ambitious strategy.

“We are excited to share our dynamic new brand with the meetings and events industry. It captures the essence of our business and its many achievements, but also where we are today; one of the most respected venue brands working in the industry,” commented David Vaughton, Managing Director, Make Venues. “We continue to exceed our client and stakeholder expectations, but we also want more, and feel under the new Make Venues brand we can begin a new era of ambitious growth. The brand contemporises our offering and we feel it is more relevant in a new age of experience marketing and high-quality business events.”





Esteemed hotel management specialists, Countrywide Hotels are pleased to announce that they have acquired the prestigious Manor Hotel Elstree, formerly the Laura Ashley Manor Hotel and it joins their portfolio of hotels. Countrywide Hotels will be working to further enhance the hotel and services over the coming months and years.

The 49-bedroom hotel commands spectacular views across London and will be enjoyed by both leisure and corporate guests. The restaurant holds 2 AA rosettes and the charming gardens have hosted many a society wedding. Its designer interiors provide a relaxing and very comfortable setting for guests to enjoy.

Darren Patt, Managing Director of Countrywide Hotels, said: “We are delighted to have acquired The Manor Elstree which is a beautiful hotel in a great location, and we look forward to developing the hotel and growing the business further.”

The Manor Elstree is set in 10 acres of gardens and natural woodland and is situated in the Hertfordshire countryside, just 25 minutes from central London by train. It is the perfect location to discover the surrounding area or a peaceful retreat to get away from it all.

For further information on The Manor Elstree please visit

For further Countrywide Hotels media information and images please contact Jo Di-Carlo, Marketing & PR - +44 (0) 7810 652 030




As the first step in the HBAA’s 2019 major initiative to encourage action on mental health issues in the event industry, the new HBAA Executive Committee members have been trained to be Mental Health First Aiders.

The two-day course at Wyboston Lakes Resort gave the Committee members many valuable practical skills and increased their awareness and understanding of what affects mental wellbeing. The course taught them how to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues and gave them enhanced non-judgemental interpersonal skills. They also learnt how to reassure and support a person in distress and how to help someone recover their health.

The HBAA is arranging for this course to be available to members, setting up open courses to take place in April and June.

After completing the course Angie Mason, HBAA Chair said: “The last two days have been so enlightening. It totally reinforced in my mind what a vital issue this is and how important our campaign is. There is so much that most of us don’t know about mental health issues so we want as many people as possible to sign up for these courses. Anyone could save a life.”

The HBAA Executive Committee, which comprises the Committee Chairs and Past Chairs, has three new members for 2019.

Alexis Moreau is the new HBAA Tech & Innovation Chair and Lex Butler is the new HBAA Events Committee Chair for 2019 while Nick Scott of ArrangeMY now chairs the Business Accommodation Committee.

Nick Scott joined ArrangeMY in 2004 and has been Managing Director since 2008.




Alexis Moreau is the Head of Conference and Catering Services at Robinson College at the University of Cambridge.




Lex Butler is the Creative Director and Owner of Wolf & White. Before founding Wolf & White, Lex held several senior positions at Zibrant.


The full HBAA Executive Committee is

  • HBAA Chair & Treasurer - Angie Mason, Absolute Corporate Events
  • Immediate Past Chair - Louise Goalen, Top Banana 
  • Past Chair - Leigh Cowlishaw, Capita Travel and Events
  • Consultant Executive Director - Juliet Price, HBAA
  • Venue Member Chair - Rachael Naylor, IHG 
  • Past Venue Member Chair - Louisa Watson, Wyboston Lakes Resort
  • Events Chair - Lex Butler, Wolf & White
  • Marketing Chair - Jenner Carter, Lime Venue Portfolio
  • Membership Chair - Sian Sayward, Inntel
  • Business Accommodation Chair - Nick Scott, arrangeMY
  • Tech & Innovation Chair - Alexis Moreau, Robinson College
  • International Chair - Jayson Hodgkinson, Venue-Choice 
  • Agency Engagement Chair - Julie Shorrock, HTS
  • Agency Sector Representative - Alison Makosz, Conference Care
  • Venue Sector Representative - Ellie Martin, Goodwood


Hosted buyer registration is now open for the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry.

The Meetings Show, taking place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June at Olympia London, offers a tailored buyer-led programme designed for buyers to maximise their time out of the office and give a new perspective to their event planning process.

Hosted buyers attending the show for one, two or three days (including attendance of the Pre-Show Conference on Tuesday 25 June) benefit from a dedicated appointment diary to book pre-scheduled meetings with exhibitors, as well as support with travel, accommodation and a whole host of other benefits.

Those attending on the three-day programme can enjoy exclusive education at the Pre-Show Conference – a sell-out in 2018 – with dedicated streams for association, corporate and agency buyers, as well as the Hosted Buyer Welcome Reception, which last year attracted more than 400 attendees.

All hosted buyers at The Meetings Show, including associations, agencies, PCOs, corporates, incentive houses, venue-finding agencies and charities, are pre-qualified to participate based on the number and scale of events organised, budgets held and decision-making power.

Rachel Lawty, global account manager at HelmsBriscoe and hosted buyer at The Meetings Show 2018, said: “The Meetings Show is a great educational event for meeting suppliers, networking with colleagues and event organisers. I can highly recommend the Pre-Show Conference, the speakers were fabulous and highly motivational.”

Register now for The Meetings Show’s 2019 hosted buyer programme

HBAA is also offering a unique Red Carpet Experience for agency members.  Arrive late morning  on 25th June for a one hour HBAA meeting with your agency peers and then join the main hosted buyer delegation for lunch followed by the Pre-Show Conference, and the official Welcome Reception. Stay overnight and attend the opening day of the Show as a hosted buyer, with the option to stay on for the second day.  Further info and Red Carpet Registration can be found here 


UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2019 (UKCAMS)

Would you be interested in receiving a free, personalised report benchmarking your own venue’s performance in 2018 against other comparable venues across the UK, and to see the latest trends in the meetings and conference market?

The ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2019’ has been launched, the 26th consecutive year in which this important research has been undertaken. The research project has a specific focus on the size and value of the market and the performance of meeting venues. It also highlights key market trends.

We very much hope that you will support this important research by completing the short questionnaire. To complete the questionnaire, please follow this link:

All reporting venues will receive a complimentary, personalised report benchmarking their performance against other similar venues – they will also be able to purchase the published report at a substantial discount. The information you supply will be treated in full confidence and only aggregated information based on all reporting venues will be published. The deadline for responses is 26 April 2019.

We are delighted to say that we’ve got some great support for the research from leading industry organisations. Full details are shown below.

Further details on UKCAMS 2019 can be accessed at:  If you have any questions about this vital research, do please contact us.

Tony Rogers, Tony Rogers Conference & Event Services, Tel: 07887 596727 or Email:

Richard Smith, RJS Associates, Tel: 01904 500543 or Email:



The Meetings Show:

Visit Guildford for Business:

Hiscox Event Insurance:



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