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09/2019

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People booking hotels online can now do so with more confidence following a CMA probe of the sector.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has secured changes from the majority of hotel booking sites operating in the UK. 25 firms, including big brands like TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google as well as major hotel chains, have now agreed to change how they display information where needed and have signed up to the CMA’s sector wide principles for complying with consumer protection law. These principles include not giving a false impression of a room’s popularity and always displaying the full cost of a room upfront.

Most have already made any necessary changes. Accor, IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Radisson Hotel Group, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts requested more time as they will need to introduce specific technical updates so that UK customers are always shown the full cost of a room upfront when searching for hotels abroad. The CMA will now be closely monitoring to ensure that these firms make the required changes in a timely manner.

Today’s announcement comes after the CMA took enforcement action against 6 other companies - Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago - for serious concerns it had around issues like pressure selling, misleading discount claims and the effect that commission has on how hotels are ordered on sites. The CMA was concerned that some of these practices could mislead people, stop them finding the best deal and potentially break consumer protection law. All 6 firms formally committed to clean up their sites and have now made the agreed changes.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said:

“People booking hotels online can now do so with more confidence thanks to the CMA’s action. Major websites and big hotel chains have agreed to clean up their act if they’ve been using misleading sales tactics, and have signed up to sector-wide consumer law principles on how to display important information to customers.

The CMA will now be watching to make sure that these major brands, used by millions of people in the UK every year, stay true to their word. We will take action if we find evidence that firms are breaking consumer law.”

If the CMA finds that any sites fail to make the appropriate changes or becomes concerned that people are being misled, it will not hesitate to take further action. 

As well as continuing to expect all booking sites and hotel chains to abide by its sector-wide principles, the CMA is pushing for compliance with consumer protection law in the travel and tourism sector globally. As part of this, it is co-leading an international project with other consumer enforcement agencies, which aims to tackle these issues on a global basis.

Wyboston Lakes Limited has won a coveted Focus 50 business award.

The distinction is particularly prestigious because it is awarded by Grant Thornton, one of the world’s largest accounting and advisory companies.

As part of its annual series of detailed business analysis, Grant Thornton produces the Bedfordshire Limited report which recognises the county’s top 50 largest companies based on turnover.The aim of the study is to provide a yardstick against which the country can assess its economic performance, for businesses to benchmark themselves against their peers and to discover year on year trends.

The report is compiled using the most recent publicly available financial statements, with the results derived from the current and previous year’s financial performance to allow comparison between the two years.

Mark Jones, Deputy Chairman, Wyboston Lakes Limited says, “With work very nearly complete on the comprehensive transformation of all our conference and events facilities, this recognition comes at an exciting time. Our strategy has and always will be to continue to look for opportunities to expand our business while investing in our facilities and staff.”

For more information, please visit www.wybostonlakes.co.uk/business

The image shows (left) Mike Hughes, Director of Corporate Finance for Grant Thornton presenting the award to Mark Jones, Deputy Chairman, Wyboston Lakes Limited.

Global serviced apartment provider, SilverDoor Apartments, launched the first of its Partner Engagement Days last week, welcoming over 60 guests from 40 serviced apartment companies from across the UK.

The theme of the event was 'Connecting with the Customer' and a range of issues were debated, including e-distribution, cost vs quality, duty of care and guest experience.

Guests had the opportunity to pose questions and hear insights on relocation and travel management from representatives of corporate clients, TMCs and RMCs. There was also a chance for some informal networking over drinks and canapés after a thought-provoking afternoon.

This was the first in a series of annual events which will provide a unique opportunity for the serviced apartment industry to hear the views from a broad spectrum of SilverDoor’s client base, as well as a platform to present their opinions, debate challenges, explore opportunities and forge new connections within the industry

Group Head of Partner Relationships, Alex Neale, said:

“As the world’s leading serviced apartment agent, we are always seeking to better understand the key issues that face our customers, where developments in technology and traveller behaviour are moving and how we can best respond to these.

We also pride ourselves in the open and collaborative relationships we enjoy with clients and partners alike and believe in sharing experience, knowledge and best practice for the good of the whole industry. We hope to see even more of our colleagues and partners at future events.”

Joanna Cross, Managing Director, Clarendon said of the event

“What a triumph from SilverDoor – not an easy thing to do, getting so many industry professionals, peers, competitors, suppliers, partners and clients in one room!

A very well executed and constructed event of interesting updates, thoughtful insights, challenging debates and robust discussions and a new way to engage with my industry peers and get some valuable client insights”

Treda Shotton, National Sales Manager UK, Premier Suites echoed these sentiments

“The event was a great opportunity to network with industry colleagues and provided the chance to listen to various sessions provided by several of SilverDoor’s key clients. The panel session was particularly interesting and informative and, as always, SilverDoor’s hospitality was second to none.” 

 

Guildford Harbour Hotel has invested significantly in state-of-the-art AV equipment for its M&E clients. Upgrading its offering to provide the most advanced technology to the value of £80,000, the installation will be completed by Mid-September 2019.

New features include 6500 Lumen Laser Digital Projectors with WUXGA Resolution and wireless modules supporting media projection from Windows and Mac computers, iOS and Android devices, alleviating the need for cables and supporting a variety of file formats.

Crestron Touch Panel Controllers have been installed to simplify and enhance the way technology is used in our meeting spaces, doing away with the need for remote controls or wall switches.

 

New high quality ceiling speakers and digital wireless microphones with automatic frequency management and optimum speech intelligibility have also been installed.

Adding ambience for evening events, colour changing LED strip lighting been installed, changing colour at the touch of a button.

Leading the way in corporate hospitality, with stand-out business facilities, the enhancements will further entice large corporate events into the hotel.

In line with our new AV we are offering special Delegate Rates from now until the end of the year.

DDR per person is available at £49, and 24 hour rates at £199, minimum numbers of 10 apply. To enquire please contact the Events team on Guildford.events@harbourhotels.co.uk or 01483 792300 quoting ‘Q4 RATES’.

 

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa employees to tackle the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in memory of co-worker  

Two Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa team members will take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in just 12 hours, to raise money for East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and commemorate colleague, Robbie, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

On Saturday 21st September, Operations Manager, Kieron Bales and Spa Manager, Rebecca Randall, will walk 25 miles through the Yorkshire Dales and will summit the trio of peaks - Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent - with all funds raised being donated to EAAA.

Each year, Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa selects a local charity to support throughout the year as part of its charity of the year initiative. This year, following a staff vote, the team chose East Anglian Air Ambulance, a service which exists to save lives by delivering highly skilled doctors and critical care paramedics by air to seriously ill or injured people across East Anglia.

Kieron Bales, Operations Manager at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, said: “I love taking on physical challenges, for me, the harder the better! I have taken part in lots of runs over the years but never anything that has involved climbing or hill walking, so I’m looking forward to being pushed out of my comfort zone. No matter how hard the challenge will be, my motivation will be remembering Robbie - raising money for such a worthy cause in his memory just feels right.”

East Anglian Air Ambulance is a 365-day-a-year helicopter emergency medical service covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The charity is completely self-funded and all money raised comes directly from charitable donations.

Rebecca Randall, Spa Manager at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, said: “We had always planned to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks and I feel proud to say that we are doing so whilst raising money for such a crucial charity. I have no doubt that the challenge will be tough, it will be a long 12 hours, but the memory of Robbie will get us through.”

To donate to Rebecca and Kieron, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/bedfordlodgehotel3peaks.

3 peaks 2

Resorts World has created a dedicated space for everyone at the destination to reflect and relax away from everyday life, named the Zen Zone.

Relaunching on 21st September, the space will be open daily between 11am-6pm for all to enjoy as a space for calm. In partnership with local yoga guru, The Gentle Rebel, the Zen Zone will also be host to weekly yoga classes and weekly morning meditation classes, designed to decrease stress, anxiety and increase productivity throughout the working day. The space is also available for private hire by local groups or businesses looking for a space for wellbeing activities.

The space was originally designed as a pop-up during Mental Health Awareness Week back in May, when it was overwhelmingly well received. Not only was it seen as a great space to go and relax, honest written feedback found it had made a difference and had a genuinely positive impact on those with conditions such as anxiety and autism.

Resorts World’s latest creation comes amidst growing statistics warning of the rise in poor mental health. According to 2019’s Global Wellness Summit Report, “globally, one in six people now has at least one mental or substance abuse disorder (over 1.1 billion people)—with anxiety disorder ranking #1” and “in the UK, 67 percent of people report that they’re more stressed than they were five years ago.”

The call for meditation around the working day also follows the growing boom in the practice to counter everyday stress and anxiety, as well as boosting workplace productivity.

“Around £1.7 billion is currently lost in output and productivity by employees in our region as a direct result of poor workplace wellbeing,” according to the West Midlands Combined Authority’s recent Thrive at Work Wellbeing Survey.

Abida Osmani, founder of Inhere, a drop-in wellness studio for London’s commuters, says that “businesspeople often come to meditation not just to relax but to enhance their cognitive ability… it starts from a productivity slant – people talk about being able to focus and concentrate more” [inews, 2017].

Ian Bennett, Operations Director for Resorts World, supports the space:

“Resorts World’s key mission is for our spaces and experiences to create awesome lasting impressions. The initial impact of the Zen Zone during its May pop-up blew us away. Its return secures a space for everyone at Resorts World to enjoy a space for calm during their leisure time or their everyday working environment.”

Following the relaunch, Resorts World will also be marking World Heart Day (Sunday 29th September) with free one hour meditation classes in the Zen Zone, designed to relieve the heart of undue stress and encourage full relaxation. These will take place at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm throughout the day.

For further information on the Zen Zone and its related activities, visit https://www.resortsworldbirmingham.co.uk.

The Event Industry Board’s (EIB) Talent Taskforce is calling for industry colleagues to take part in a new survey launched by the Office for National Statistics and Warwick University’s Institute for Employment Research (IER), which will look to develop the current framework for the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code.

The ONS and IER launched the survey after a number of SOC users expressed a need for a greater level of detail than is currently available. The SOC is a recognised framework that enables all UK occupations to be classified according to skill level and specialisation. This classification is then, in turn, essential in the creation of the occupational and social statistics that inform policy and the public.

Sarah Wright, Chair, Events Industry Board Talent Taskforce said: “I highly recommend that all of my industry colleagues take the time to fill out the survey. A colleague once said to me ‘if you’re not counted, you don’t count’ and this is a huge risk for the industry. It is hard to prove market failure, access support or measure trends without these codes. This is crucial as our recent study provided evidence that 61% of employers are facing a skills shortage.”

Germany and the US already have standardised codes, which recognise careers within the events sector as a viable profession. By having a standardised code for the UK, it will not only provide key market data but will also help to address the current skills shortage.

Michael Hirst OBE, Chair, Events Industry Board said: “This project is vital for the future of our industry. No-one knows your profession better than you and we need your expert knowledge about jobs in your sector to make this project a success and ensure the industry is recognised. We have an exciting opportunity to be able to create a standardised code for the industry but, we must strike while the iron is hot and we must have the support of the whole industry.”

The SOC user engagement survey can be accessed here. The survey will run until 30th September 2019.

EVENTS organisers needing natural light for the meetings and conferences can benefit from alterations taking place at Hilton London Heathrow airport hotel.

The hotel at Terminal 4 is popular for meetings, conferences and events because of the variety of flexible spaces it has available and the fact that it is easily reached from central London.

And now to meet the needs of certain industries which require daylight when they host a conference, the hotel has converted its Concorde Suite doors to frosted glass doors, offering guests the possibility of enjoying natural daylight in the hotel’s second largest meeting room, while still keeping their event private.

The hotel has 965 sq metres of space which can be configured in a variety of ways, with 15 meetings rooms which can take up to 300 guests.

It also has its own beach terrace for receptions and less formal gatherings, with a dedicated business centre which offers support to all meetings and events’ organisers or delegates.

Jurgen Sutherland, General Manager at the hotel, believes the transformation will be a welcome addition to the hotel’s meetings offering and will be available from the end of August.

“We have taken on board our agent and client feedback regarding the ongoing necessity of offering natural daylight within our meeting space and I believe this will not only enhance our already strong offering for meetings and events but also show that feedback is valuable for us to make the changes our clients and guests would like to see.” he said.

The hotel offers a wide range of options for meeting and events, including healthy eating packages and those which include exercise sessions to keep delegates alert and energised.

Voted Europe’s Leading Airport for five consecutive years and the world’s Leading Airport hotel for two, Hilton London Heathrow Airport is superbly connected to Heathrow’s Terminal 4 via a short walkway and provides a relaxing retreat whether flying into or from London’s Heathrow Airport. 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced today that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Ewart Manchester Properties Limited, a majority owned subsidiary of M&L Hospitality, for Hyatt Regency Manchester Oxford Road and Hyatt House Manchester/Oxford Road, both of which will be located in Manchester, the UK’s third biggest city. The 212-room Hyatt Regency hotel and the 116-room Hyatt House hotel will both be located in the landmark building “The Lume,” and are expected to open in 2020, which would bring the total number of Hyatt-branded hotels in the U.K. to 11 by 2022.

“We are excited to announce plans to work with M&L Hospitality to introduce two of Hyatt’s brands to Manchester.” said Felicity Black-Roberts, vice president of development Europe, Hyatt. “Hyatt has been focused on growing its brand presence in the UK, and with Manchester being one of UK’s most important commercial centres, this is a milestone. Manchester is also a destination that is increasingly gaining popularity with leisure travellers. The location by the university will allow the Hyatt Regency and Hyatt House brands to capitalise on two very different, but important, market segments by allowing guests to choose the right setting for their needs.”

Hyatt Regency Manchester Oxford Road will bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature empathetic service and energising experiences to business and leisure guests alike. The 212-room hotel will feature a 120-seat restaurant, bar, club lounge, and a fully equipped 24-hour fitness center. An array of flexible meeting spaces create the perfect backdrop for any occasion, including seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms that can cater to more than 200 delegates.

For travellers looking for an extended visit, Hyatt House Manchester/Oxford Road will provide a fresh approach for long-term guests looking to continue their work and personal routines while on the road. The hotel will provide its guests with spacious, apartment-style living with a modern, comfortable design to make them feel at home.

The hotels will be located in the University Quarter, a 10-minute walk from the city center and in close proximity to the Manchester Oxford Road railway station, which links the city to the rest of northern England. Manchester has been a key part of the “Northern Powerhouse” strategy aimed at driving both major corporations and start-ups to the city. Furthermore, the city receives over one million international visitors a year, demonstrating its global appeal.

“We are proud to be working with Hyatt again to introduce its brands to the global city of Manchester,” said Neil Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer of M&L Hospitality.

Wembley Stadium connected by EE has been awarded the highest standard of sustainability by the International Organization for Standardization [ISO] for its Event Sustainability Management System [ESMS].

England’s national stadium has been awarded the prestigious international standard of sustainability in events [ISO 20121] certificate for the high standard of sustainability work across all its events in order to efficiently regulate the stadium’s social, economic and environmental impact.

Efforts have so far focused on addressing the following important sustainability topics: energy and water; waste; food; transport; community; procurement and commercial partnerships; wellbeing, training and culture. Key achievements for Wembley Stadium include:

·         Zero waste-to-landfill since 2010

·         Donation of 27,825 Wembley Stadium event tickets to community groups in 2018

·         Installation of 16 water bottle re-fill stations around the stadium

·         Implementation of a sustainable procurement policy

·         Completion of sustainability training for the stadium’s events team

·         Introduction of a compulsory sustainability training module for all new joiners

·         Introduction of vegetarian and vegan meal options in all areas

·         Organisation of a partner’s sustainability day to facilitate cross-industry collaboration

·         Donation of soil from Wembley Stadium to local parks as part of a re-generation initiative

·         Supported the installation of electric vehicle charging points outside the stadium

·         Providing all employees with reusable coffee cups and water bottles

·         Piloting reusable cups and eliminating plastic straws

Sarah Smith, Facilities & Sustainability Manager for the stadium spoke of the certification:

“This is a huge achievement for Wembley Stadium and for all the employees who continually make an effort to maintain the high standards we have set under our system. Maintaining these standards requires everyone to adapt and change their “business-as-usual” approach. As a multi-use stadium, it can be a real challenge to operate in a more sustainable manner whilst meeting the varying needs of each event, but we’ve been able to make real progress by coming together through The FA Sustainability Team and finding solutions that work for Wembley.”

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