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Ten hotel employees have graduated with Foundation Degrees in Professional Hospitality Operations Management, following a two-year Management Trainee Programme ran by Almarose Hotels & Resorts.

The students worked across brands managed by Almarose Hotels and Resorts, which included QHotels and DoubleTree by Hilton.

The bespoke hospitality degree, awarded by University College Birmingham, has given employees a hands-on education whilst in operational, managerial and sales roles.

The course provides a varied experience, with the ten employees undertaking a number of professional assessments, including a series of written reports, which have been graded by the hotel group’s Educational Development team and validated by University College Birmingham.

Starting their degree in September 2017, the graduates have all been promoted at least once during their time working for the company. Three of the students are now in Manager or Assistant Manager roles, one in Food and Beverage and two in Spa and Leisure. Each is well-placed to progress their career in hotel management, and all will be continuing full-time roles within the group.

Sarah Abercrombie, Talent Development Manager at Almarose Hotels and Resorts, said: “Our bespoke programme has been running since 2013, seeing 62 students in total graduate. The degrees give employees an excellent opportunity to earn while they learn, furthering their skills and benefiting our business at the same time.

“Many of our graduates have joined us straight from school and their ambitious flare and professionalism has really impressed us. It’s also been extremely refreshing to see our graduates really embrace our values, such as putting customers front of mind.

“One of our graduates, Jenna Appleby, has also recently been promoted to Leisure and Spa Manager at Chesford Grange in Warwick, which shows the lasting effects of the programme. We are looking forward to continuing to nurture the talent of those who have graduated this year and watch them progress through their careers with us.”

Jenna Appleby, Leisure and Spa Manager at Chesford Grange that graduated this year, added: “Being able to work at the same time as gaining a degree has played a significant role in helping my career progress at Chesford Grange and my promotion to Leisure and Spa Manager. The Management Trainee Programme was brilliant and gave me the opportunity to not only learn about the spa and leisure sector, which is a particular passion of mine, but to gain insight into all of the elements of the hospitality industry.

“The hands-on aspect of the course really helped give perspective into the company and its values, including how to deliver a high-quality service to our customers.”

The ten students who graduated were: Jordan Collins, Jenna Appleby, Adam Hennell, Shannon DeCourcey, Emily Pollard, Liam Brown, Sophie Myers, Jasmine Neale, Danielle Hill and Laura Slatem.



Winner: Top Banana



Winner: Wolf and White



Winner: Wolf and White



Winner: ExCel London

Highly commended: ICC Belfast



Winner: ExCel London



Winner: Wolf and White



Winner: Top Banana



Winner: CWT

Lex Butler will be HBAA Chair for 2020.

Currently HBAA Vice Chair, Lex has over 19 years’ experience in the MICE industry, having previously worked for global agencies Zibrant and WorldEvents before founding her own agency, Wolf & White, more than five years ago.

Rachael Naylor of IHG will continue as Venue Member Chair, while Andy Woods, Account Director (MICE) at Millennium & Copthorne has become Venue Member Vice Chair.

Carla Garman, Director of Abstract Events, is now International Committee Chair and Jason Cardy, Event Director at Capital Travel and Events, is the new Events Committee Chair.

LaiHa Daimond, Venues & Events Sales Manager at King’s Venues has taken over as Membership Committee Chair from Sian Sayward, Head of Business Travel & Supplier Partnerships at Inntel.  Sian remains on the Executive Committee as Agency Member Representative.

To build on the momentum achieved this year and develop the next generation legacy, the HBAA’s innovative Next Gen Board is forming its own committee, which is to be represented on the Executive Committee from 1 October.

Lex Butler says, “To become HBAA Chair is a great honour and I am looking forward to continuing the superb work of my predecessors. I’m excited to be leading the team, especially with the addition of the Next Generation Committee, as we drive forward the ongoing regeneration of the industry.”

For more information about the HBAA, please visit


arrangeMY are thrilled to announce that they have been named as a regional winner of the Family Business of the Year Award at this year’s British Chamber Business Awards. They will now go forward to the national finals, on Thursday 28th November at the Tobacco Dock, London.

To be recognised as the regional winner is a huge achievement for arrangeMY and are so proud to be representing the West Midlands and the Hereford and Worcester Chamber of Commerce.

The British Chamber Business Awards aim to recognise and reward excellence in British business. The awards are one of the UK’s most contested and prestigious business award programmes and arrangeMY are honoured to be a part of them.

Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“The Chamber Business Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the best of British business. Across the country, there are firms of all sizes and sectors thriving and showing their innovation and adaptability, even in the midst of turbulent times. 

 “Each year the calibre of applicants impresses our judges, and this pool of entrants was no different. All our finalists should be proud of their success in reaching this stage and we wish them the very best of luck.”

Nick Scott, Managing Director at arrangeMY said of the win, “Being named as the regional winner of the Family Business Award is a truly fantastic achievement for the whole arrangeMY Family. “

For more information on arrangeMY visit or call 01905 610016.

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,, Agoda,, 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

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 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:

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


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