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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:


Steph Wilson joins creative communications agency Top Banana as Account Manager. Steph will be based in their Midlands office working on clients in the retail, financial, automotive and nutrition sectors.

Joining the business from Corporate Innovations, Steph has 9 years industry experience in the live events and communications arena. Steph started her career after graduating from the University of Plymouth with a first-class honors degree in Events Management, Meeting and Event Planning.

“I was attracted to Top Banana for many reasons. Not only do they have a great reputation within the industry, but they also work with such an array of amazing brands and clients. I’m thoroughly looking forward to what’s to come in the Top Banana world!” comments Steph Wilson.

Client Services Director Jill McKinnon concludes: “After a year of growth at Top Banana, we needed to expand our team to help service our growing client portfolio. As soon as we met Steph, we knew she was the right fit – her energy and passion really shone through and we’re excited for her to get started on some great client projects.”


The CMA has secured a victory for UK holidaymakers as some of the biggest online hotel booking sites make formal commitments to change their ways.

Expedia,, Agoda,, ebookers and trivago have been the subject of CMA enforcement action due to serious concerns around issues like pressure selling, misleading discount claims, the effect that commission has on how hotels are ordered on sites, and hidden charges.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) took action last year because it was concerned that practices such as giving a false impression of a room’s popularity or not displaying the full cost of a room upfront could mislead people, stop them finding the best deal and potentially break consumer protection law.

All companies under investigation by the CMA have co-operated with its work and voluntarily agreed to the following:

Search results: making it clearer how hotels are ranked after a customer has entered their search requirements, for example telling people when search results have been affected by the amount of commission a hotel pays the site.

Pressure selling: not giving a false impression of the availability or popularity of a hotel or rushing customers into making a booking decision based on incomplete information. For example, when highlighting that other customers are looking at the same hotel as you, making it clear they may be searching for different dates. The CMA also saw examples of some sites strategically placing sold out hotels within search results to put pressure on people to book more quickly.  Sites have now committed not to do this.

Discount claims: being clearer about discounts and only promoting deals that are actually available at that time. Examples of misleading discount claims may include comparisons with a higher price that was not relevant to the customer’s search criteria. For example, some sites were comparing a higher weekend room rate with a weekday rate or comparing the price of a luxury suite with a standard room.

Hidden charges: displaying all compulsory charges such as taxes, booking or resort fees in the headline price. Sites can still break that price down, but the total amount the customer has to pay should always be shown upfront.

CMA Chairman, Andrew Tyrie, said: “The CMA has taken enforcement action to bring to an end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market.  These have been wholly unacceptable. 

“6 websites have already given firm undertakings not to engage in these practices.  They are some of the largest hotel booking sites.  The CMA will now do whatever it can to ensure that the rest of the sector meets the same standards.”

Not all firms engaged in all of the practices cited above, but all have nonetheless agreed to abide by all the principles set out in the undertakings.

The CMA will now monitor compliance with the commitments made by the booking sites.  All changes must be made by 1 September at the very latest, though the sites have already started making improvements.

It will also write to other hotel booking sites including online travel agents, metasearch engines and hotel chains setting out clear expectations for how they should be complying with consumer protection law. The CMA also expects these sites to make necessary changes by 1 September. If it finds sufficient evidence that others could be breaking consumer protection law, it will consider taking further enforcement action.


The winners of the Best Western Great Britain national awards have been announced at its Annual Members Conference, supported by Brakes. The awards, now in their 41st year, celebrate the largest collection of independent hotels in Great Britain.

Hotels were recognised for their high standards of customer service and community work, with properties of all sizes acknowledged for their performances over the last year.

A full list of the results can be found below.

·         Jewel of the Year, sponsored by Ab InBev: Shellie Miller, Best Western Annesley House Hotel

·         Best Customer Experience Winner (small hotel), sponsored by Matthew Clark: Best Western Hotel de Havelet

·         Best Customer Experience Winner (medium hotel), sponsored by Matthew Clark: Best Western Garfield House Hotel

·         Best Customer Experience Winner (large hotel), sponsored by Matthew Clark: Best Western Premier Mount Pleasant Hotel

·         Best Western Hotel of the Year Award Winner (small hotel), sponsored by Fidelity: Best Western Moorings Hotel

·         Best Western Hotel of the Year Award Winner (medium hotel), sponsored by Fidelity: Best Western Plus Buxton Lee Wood Hotel

·         Best Western Hotel of the Year Award Winner (large hotel), sponsored by Fidelity: Best Western Premier Mount Pleasant Hotel

·         Fans’ Favourite Award, sponsored by Guestline: Best Western Kinloch Hotel

·         Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by Brakes: Best Western Premier Mount Pleasant Hotel

·         Best Western Rewards Insider Hotel Award, sponsored by McCain: Best Western Corona Hotel

·         Most Improved Hotel Award, sponsored by Black & White Hospitality: Best Western Manor Hotel

·         Associate Hotel of the Year, sponsored by Knight Frank: Dean Court Hotel, BW Premier Collection

·         Staff Member of the Year from Central Office: Sam Schofield

Rob Paterson, CEO at Best Western Great Britain, said: “We had an immensely successful year in 2018, with record hotel recruitment figures taking our portfolio to over 260 properties. It is important that we recognise the quality amongst the collection and our annual awards ceremony allows us to celebrate those who have provided the highest standards of guest experience.

“We are confident that with such an excellent array of properties, we will be able to continue our growth into 2019 and welcome even more guests into our hotels.”

HBAA has chosen Buses4Homeless as its new charity and raised a massive £27,000 at its Annual Dinner.

Founded by Dan Atkins, Buses4Homeless plans to buy buses that are no longer emission zone compliant and fit them out as overnight shelters (buses for shelter), kitchens and dining areas (buses for dining) and also as education centres where the homeless can develop vocational skills to integrate them into the work place (buses for learning).

Dan Atkins said “We were blown away by the love, compassion and sheer volume of people and organisations who loved our project and raised a phenomenal amount of money. We were hoping to raise £5,000 to be able to buy our first bus. We ended up raising a remarkable £27,000, which will be nearly enough to complete an entire bus!

“The response has been amazing. It wasn’t only the incredible amount raised, way beyond our expectations, it was also the offers of materials to kit out the buses and, what’s more, several people also offered their time to come to help us. We were blown away.”

Angie Mason, Chair of the HBAA said: “When the Executive Committee heard about this wonderful idea and met Dan and his team, we knew that this was a cause that we wanted to help, that was right for the HBAA. Dan’s presentation and film at the Members Meeting and Annual Dinner were so moving and inspiring that our members and guest responded so generously.

“As our target for the year was £30,000, this is a great start – and Dan has immediately been able start negotiations to acquire several buses.”



Church House Westminster has recruited its first male coordinator in over 10 years. This is certainly not from a lack of trying, but the reality that male event coordinators are few and far between in the event industry. Alex Tunstall has joined Church House as maternity cover for senior coordinator, Sarah Ross, who went on maternity leave on 31st January, yes you guessed it, to have a boy!

Alex previously worked for the University of London at Senate House and for Hilton Hotels within the North of England.

Within his first weeks of induction, Alex commented: “Church House is a little gem of Westminster. The event spaces have huge amounts of character and history. I can very much see the appeal of why such prestigious events are held here. The team has been so friendly and welcoming from the start. I am looking forward to working with them.”

Robin Parker, General Manager of Church House Westminster remarked: “Our events coordinators are a tower of strength for Church House, ensuring an excellent event planning experience for our clients, as indicated by our recent BVA BDRC VenueVerdict Gold Standard achievement for 2018. Our team looks forward to providing clients with the consistent service quality they have come to expect at Church House.“   

HBAA is helping to make the transient RFP process less labour intensive and more efficient for both agencies and hotels by creating and publishing a best practice guide: ‘The Transient RFP Guide.’ 

The guide is a business tool for members which supports a “best rate first time” response to client RFPs, and which also alleviates many of the frustrations that everyone experiences during the RFP process. Members can download the Guide by logging in to the members section of the HBAA website.

Nick Scott of ArrangeMY, who leads the HBAA’s Business Transient Accommodation Committee explained how they developed the guide.

To establish exactly what information is important and relevant, we sent out two surveys to the HBAA membership – one to the agencies, the other to the hotel community.  We had a great response, with a total of 66 surveys completed: which comprised 43 hotel responses and 23 agency responses.”

The survey highlighted the scale of the RFP process and how varied this can be for different HBAA members, some of whom complete over 3000 RFPs per year and others who complete less than 10.  It also highlighted the large number of independent hotels* in membership which, in the absence of automated RFP tools, could benefit from the guide.”

The committee then developed the RFP guides and template. These were reviewed by the Executive Director who then passed them to three consultants who specialise in the creation and implementation of corporate travel programmes.

Their views were shared with the committee who approved various changes before asking the Executive Committee for a final sense check.  HBAA’s marketing committee then worked on the documents design and branding, ready for the initial launch to the membership.

The full 6 page Guide is available for HBAA members to download by logging in to the members section of the HBAA website. A Summary of the Advice is included here.

Nick Scott added: “Ultimately the RFP Process can be a complex one and it is not possible to agree on a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but we are hoping that in most cases, members will find synergies with the documents we have created.”

For more details on how to join the HBAA, please visit



Supporting ‘the Next Generation’ of event professionals will be the central theme of HBAA initiatives in 2019.

In her address to a packed hall at the Park Plaza Victoria London, at the association’s first Members Meeting of the year, new HBAA Chair Angie Mason unveiled this theme as the focus for the year ahead. As part of this HBAA will be exploring opportunities for collaborating with the Prince’s Trust and will develop specialist frameworks and resources to help attract, nurture, and retain the next generation. There will also be a bank of highly experienced industry professionals who will provide continuous mentorship. Younger members will be invited to shadow the HBAA board at events and activities throughout 2019.

As part of the HBAA’s commitment to best practice, Angie Mason said that the HBAA Code of Practice will be updated in 2019 as part of its biennial review cycle.

Rachael Naylor, the new HBAA Venue Member Chair announced the launch of a Venue Members meeting, designed to forge closer collaboration between venues. This is set to take place along with the Great Venue Showcase on 11 and 12 April.

‘It’s OK not to be OK’

The HBAA will also be driving a major initiative to encourage action on mental health issues in the event industry. Determined to be forward-thinking, the HBAA will be introducing a training course for members to become mental health ‘first aiders’ and all HBAA Executive Committee members will undergo this specialist training.  A dedicated page on the HBAA website will offer an online toolkit with valuable advice on mental health and the topic will on the agenda at every HBAA Members Meeting during the year. The #HBAA2BOK campaign will encourage members to accept that ‘It’s OK not to be OK’. 

New charity partner - Buses4Homeless

The HBAA also introduced Dan Atkins to its members. Dan, the founder of Buses4Homeless, the HBAA’s chosen charity for 2019, outlined his plans to buy buses and fit them out, not only as overnight shelters but also as vocational learning centres where the homeless can develop skills to help them into the workplace. His heart-warming presentation immediately engaged with the members.

Paul Hussey of Meetings Benchmark provided a review of the market in 2018 and valuable insight into forward bookings for early 2019. He highlighted several encouraging positive trends.

Conventions Malta

The HBAA welcomed new sponsor, Lindsey Thorpe of Convention Malta, who detailed the wide range of options, activities and attractions that the island has to offer for the meetings and incentives industry.

Lindsay Thorpe said “The UK is our biggest MICE market and we wanted to support and give back to the industry. Working with the HBAA gives us a great opportunity to be involved.”

With technology playing an ever more prominent role, Sandy Hammer from provided a guide to new and emerging innovations in the hospitality and events industry, including VR, AR, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, drones and chatbots. 

Richard John from Realise detailed the latest results from a recent survey conducted among HBAA agency members about building relationships and agency presentations. Revelations included two to four weeks ahead is the preferred time frame for venues to book meetings with agencies, discussions without use of AV equipment is the most popular meeting format and six months from opening as the ideal time to approach agencies with information about a new venue.  

In keeping with the focus on the next generation, the keynote speaker was 30 year old serial entrepreneur Fraser Doherty who started his first business at 14. He shared insight into his success in creating SuperJam, Envelope Coffee and Beer52 and building them into businesses with a combined annual turnover of £15m.

Annual Dinner

That evening, over 320 members and guests enjoyed the spectacular Annual Dinner which was fully booked with a waiting list. Outgoing Chair Louise Goalen and Venue Member Chair Louisa Watson were thanked warmly for their tremendous contributions over the last two years. An auction, raffle and donations are expected to raise over £26,000 for Buses4Homeless.

Angie Mason, HBAA Chair says, “I could not be more excited to take over as Chair. 16 years after my previous year in office, my association experience is coming full circle. I started my first business in this industry 29 years ago and have lived through tremendous change and three recessions. I and many of the Executive Committee have so much knowledge and experience to help, inspire and support ‘The Next Generation.’

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