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Twickenham Stadium will be introducing a specialist session, on the growth of esports within the events industry, this year at ibtm. Kieran Holmes-Darby, CEO Excel Esports, one of the leading UK teams in the world of esports, will be speaking on how brands can work best with esports companies and within the wider esports & gaming industries.

The international rugby stadium and home of England Rugby, has been taking the lead on the subject within the UK and developed a partnership with Excel Esports, who are now based at Twickenham Stadium. The venue is keen to support the industry to better engage with the global esports market and will be presenting Kieran’s address on day one of ibtm World.

“The global esports market went past $1bn dollars* last year and roughly 84% of it comes from brands and brand activations,” commented Kieran. “We work with a lot of brands at the moment, all of them looking to tap into this marketplace, some of them are brilliant, some of them not quite so. Through this session we’ll try and explain the sector a little better, and some of the ways brands can engage with it.”

“It’s no secret that esports is a massive industry and is already working closely with venues for live events and exhibitions. However, there is a long tail of business events that are also associated with it, and that is where we see the wider opportunity,” comments Nils Braude, managing director, Twickenham Stadium. “We asked Kieran to come along to ibtm World and share his own thoughts on how brands can make the most of this opportunity.”


HBAA Chair and Chairman of Absolute Corporate Events Angie Mason has been shortlisted as a Social Leader of the Year finalist at the 2nd English Women’s Awards.

The Social Leader of the Year category recognises industry pioneers who have introduced significant societal change through outstanding contributions and innovative initiatives in their respective sectors.

Commenting on her shortlist, Angie says: “It is a tremendous honour to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. The hospitality and events industry provides unique opportunities to create significant change in communities across the UK and I am passionate about using my wealth of industry knowledge to mentor and empower the next generation of female professionals”.

The English Women’s Awards 2019 celebrates female talent from the Midlands to the South, following the North ceremony held earlier this year. The event honours influential and hardworking women who are making a change across UK industries.

The Awards will take place in Birmingham’s Holiday Inn Airport (NEC) Hotel on Thursday 21 November 2019 and will acknowledge the achievements of women in different roles across diverse industry sectors, including hospitality and events, business, sport, tech, management and charity.

The Awards will provide women entrepreneurs, professionals, businesses, civil servants and sports stars with a platform to be celebrated for their success and contribution to society, while standing as inspirational role models for the next generation of girls set to smash the patriarchy.

Church House Westminster scooped the award for ‘Most Innovative and Tech-Friendly Venue’ at the 7th annual Event Technology Awards which took place on 6 November 2019.  

The prestigious event, which recognises leading event tech companies from all over the world, presented 32 awards during a ceremony held at Troxy, London. 

The award was judged on what technology the Westminster venue has integrated into its offering and how clients have benefited from the new technology. Testimonials from new and repeat clients demonstrated the successful installation of new event technologies in Church House Westminster and subsequent efficiency of the in-house audio-visual team in terms of exceeding client expectations.  

Collecting the award on the night, Bradley Hill, Audio-Visual Manager of Church House Westminster, said, “New lighting, a new encrypted microphone system and a new floating screen are just some of the recent modern facilities we have installed in the venue, with sympathetic consideration to the historic building. The in-house audio-visual team expertly anticipates client requirements and offers value-added solutions as we seek to deliver new ways of producing conference messages and interactive presentations to end users”.  

Robin Parker, General Manager of Church House Westminster, commented, “We are delighted to have won this award. We have invested significantly in our event technology over the last five years, and effectively taken a historic venue and blended it with the latest technology. Our in-house audio-visual team really deserves this special acknowledgement for their ability to work so efficiently with our clients and dedicated Event Coordinators in creating extraordinary events”.   

 Co-founder of Event Technology Awards, Adam Parry, commented: “Each year we welcome back industry figures who return year after year and fresh faces who are either new to the industry or new to the Event Tech Awards. This night is always the highlight of the event calendar – so many people make their way to London to help celebrate the accomplishments of their peers”. 

The full list of winners can be found here -




5th November 19, UK: the eastside rooms will be introducing a specialist session on IBTM World’s Accelerate Stage this year as part of the venue’s international launch. The session, which addresses event sustainability will be presented by Connor Bryant, Founder of The Rubbish Project, an innovative new UK business that is bringing the circular economy to the events industry and beyond. From furniture 3D printed from plastic waste to a closed-loop drinks cup, The Rubbish Project is working to deliver exciting products that make true environmental sense.

The Rubbish Project, which currently works predominantly within the festival industry, has been working with the eastside rooms on their own sustainability initiatives, and the venue has been keen to share some of the organisation’s innovations with the wider business events industry.

“Some people think of recycling as something boring or low quality, but it doesn't have to be, we use a 3D printer the size of a shipping container to produce large pieces of furniture, art, etc all from recycled plastic,” commented Connor. “We work with the events industry to create exciting bespoke products made from their waste. It’s a great reward for attendees to know that the plastics they threw away last year are now being responsibly used for the next event.”

“We’re really excited by The Rubbish Project. They’re predominantly an innovation and product design company that have created something that is perfect for the events industry, and we’re really proud to be the company that brings it to the business events world,” commented Leanne Bladen, Director of Sales & Marketing, the eastside rooms.

the eastside rooms is presenting The Rubbish Project as part of its international launch at ibtm World. The venue, which will open its doors in spring 2020, is now taking bookings for meetings and events, and will be showcasing what is set to become one of the most exciting event spaces in Birmingham, UK




A: Connor Bryant, Founder, The Rubbish Project



Creative Communications agency, Top Banana, have just announced the recruitment of new Creative Director, Richard Twamley. Richard joins the agency from DRPG and brings with him 20 years of knowledge, experience and of course creativity.

Joining as a member of the leadership team, Richard will be responsible for driving the creative direction of the business forward in line with their current five-year strategy. Working closely with the creative team, his day to day role will be to maintain and evolve the output of the studio, as well as supporting the wider Top Banana team. 

When asked why Richard made the leap to Top Banana, he responded “For me, the opportunity to be somewhere that has an ethos and culture which matched my own personality and ambition was one I couldn’t refuse.”

He continues “My career started with planning experiential events and as a result I think regardless of the project I’m working on I bring a creative/practical approach to the table. It’s great to take some of the things I’ve learnt during my career into this role, but I’m also looking forward to new learning as well. I can’t wait to get started with some of the exciting client projects the team work on here.”

This announcement comes as part of a big recruitment drive for the growing agency, who have employed nine new team members in the last 6 months. Top Banana have welcomed new team members to their venues, incentives, events, creative and central services departments and now employee an impressive 58 employees across their three regional offices in London, Manchester and head office in the Midlands.

Richard Bridge, Founder and CEO of Top Banana comments “It’s a very exciting time for Top Banana and it’s been great to welcome so may new faces to the team, who all bring with them their own skills, experience and personality. When looking for new recruits, we don’t just look for people who know what we know and do what we do, we really look for people who can add something new and exciting to the business. Whether they’re experienced or new to the industry, they always bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, which we thrive on as a business.”

He continues “We’ve had a fantastic start to this financial year, with new client wins, new team members, a new office and not to mention winning some awesome awards. We’re in better shape than ever before and now have the team in place to continue delivering the work we are so well known for.”

Polly Stobinski

Marketing Communication Manager

The Cheltenham Chase Hotel managed by Almarose Hotels & Resorts, has rebranded to a Delta by Marriott Hotel. The rebrand sees it become only the second Delta by Marriott Hotel in the UK, as the brand continues its global rollout offering fresh, contemporary accommodation with a focus on getting the finer details right.

As part of the rebrand The Cheltenham Chase underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment, which saw the transformation of its bedrooms, a fully remodelled lounge, restaurant, lobby and new signature Delta bar.

Dan Kelly, General Manager of the Delta by Marriott Cheltenham Chase Hotel, commented:

“The Cheltenham Chase has always provided a perfect base for those wanting to explore the Cotswolds, whether that be for leisure or business. From corporate functions to weddings, attention to detail and providing excellent guest experiences has always been our focus and will remain so now we have rebranded. We anticipate the hotel will attract more business travellers, who will be drawn in by the globally recognised name, as well as stays generated from Marriot Bonvoy members, the brand’s popular loyalty scheme.”

Philip Gardner, Commercial Director of Almarose Hotels & Resorts commented:

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with Marriott and exploring future development opportunities in the UK market. As well as the Cheltenham Chase and Nottingham Belfry rebrands this year, we are excited to announce a further 3 rebrands due in 2020 including Ashford International in Kent, Telford Hotel & Golf Resort in Shropshire and Park Royal in Warrington.”

Situated on the edge of the Cotswold hills, close to nearby attractions including Gloucester Cathedral, Cheltenham races and Gloucester Quays, the hotel offers 122 guest rooms and 700 square meters of meeting and event space across ten rooms. 

To find out more about the Delta by Marriott Cheltenham Chase hotel, please visit and to learn more about Delta Hotels, please visit

IET Birmingham: Austin Court, part of IET Venues, has installed a series of permanent engineering exhibits across the city-centre venue, celebrating ground-breaking objects and innovations from the West Midlands.

The conference and events venue has been redeveloped to showcase the contributions that engineers from Birmingham and the surrounding areas have made including the x-ray scanner, pneumatic tyre, electric kettle, auto-changing record player, mass produced steel nib pens, celluloid and even the first weather map. The West Midlands has a long heritage and presence in Britain’s automotive and rail sectors and continues to be a hub for innovation.

Visitors to the venue will be inspired by the displays in and around Austin Court’s two floors and 14 versatile spaces, reflecting the area’s engineering past and present.

Members and other visitors to the venue will first see the Atrium glass covered with colourful visuals of engineering and technology innovations which have a connection to Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The exhibits also touch on wider themes, with a bespoke Welcome sculpture created from engineering objects installed in the reception area. Photographs and information of the 100 Engineering Ideas that Changed the World also line the walls of the venue’s communal stairwell.

The Lodge Rooms, three versatile event spaces on the first floor, celebrate the contribution of female engineers and inventors from across the globe by displaying the history of women in engineering, their work and discoveries, as well as current female pioneers to inspire the next generation of women engineers.

Akmal Shahzad, Venue Manager at IET Birmingham: Austin Court, said: “It’s really exciting to be launching these permanent exhibits, we are proud to celebrate the engineering impact the West Midlands has made on the UK and beyond; not to mention the thriving work female engineers are creating and the impact they are going to have on our future.”

“It goes without saying we are very proud to exhibit these items. They really bring the venue to life and we cannot wait to hear the feedback from members and guests on the topics explored.”

The new exhibits are part of IET Venues continued investment into IET Birmingham: Austin Court. Earlier this summer the venue’s 150 seated Kingston Lecture Theatre received over £450K for redevelopments and transformed the room into a flexible live event space with state-of-the-art AV and tech offering.

The Holiday Inn Maidstone was purchased by the ORIDA Group on the 1st November 2019. This purchase will complement the groups existing three golf clubs highlighting their appetite in the leisure sector particularly with plans for a full refurbishment program and repositioning of the hotel
ORIDA Group have appointed hotel management and consultancy company Countrywide Hotels to provide a full management service for the hotel.
The Holiday Inn Maidstone located near the M20 and M26 in Kent, has 106 bedrooms, 12 flexible meeting and event spaces perfect for conferences, weddings and social events up to 120 guests, restaurant, bar and health club with indoor pool and gym.
Managing Director of Countrywide Hotels, Darren Patt said “We are delighted to have been appointed to take over the management of the Holiday Inn Maidstone-Sevenoaks, and look forward to working with the existing team to develop and grow the hotel, to drive a return for the owner”.
For further information on the Holiday Inn Maidstone-Sevenoaks please contact: Telephone +44 (0) 871 942 9054



Loughborough University’s Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel (EAC) has supported its first Mount Kilimanjaro challenge to help a group of women to scale the rooftop of Africa for charity.

The sports-specialist hotel provided the group with a tailored package weekend aimed at boosting their performance both physically and mentally ahead of the 7-day trip.

It is the first time the hotel – which is part of Imago Venues - has trialled this specific package and more packages are due to launched in the future.

During their stay, the women spent time with academics from the university and were given expert performance tips to cope with scaling the mountain. The group also had access to a range of world-class facilities.

This included sleeping in the hotel’s altitude bedrooms to help them acclimatise to the conditions they would experience on the mountain, a training session in an altitude chamber, a nutrition and physiology lecture, and a strength and conditioning session.

One of the members of the group who took part in the challenge was Mandy Hickson, a former RAF pilot who was only the second woman to fly a Tornado GR4 on the front line.

Mandy said: “The training at the hotel helped immeasurably. It calmed many of the fears and concerns that the team had.

“Being able to talk to experts in the fields of nutrition and physiology and understanding what would be happening to our bodies at altitude was very powerful.

“The fact that we completed the weekend training as a group allowed us to bond before heading out on the trip and this had such a positive impact on us.”

The women, who were nearly all novices, climbed for an average of 7-8 hours a day to reach the 19,341 ft summit of Mount Kilimanjaro called Uhuru Peak.

The group endured temperatures as low as -10 degrees and battled with sickness, headaches, and lack of sleep.

Mandy, who has completed three tours of duty and 45 missions over Iraq, said: “This was an experience like no other I have ever encountered.

“We were all incredibly fit, had completed as much training as we could, and although we had experienced an altitude chamber before our trip and sleeping at 3200m in the bedrooms, nothing could quite prepare you for the shortness of breath and altitude sickness that many of the group suffered from.

“The one team ethos and camaraderie with not just the climbers, but with the Tanzanian Sherpas and guides was extraordinary. We would be often welcomed into camp with a wave of African voices, singing us in after a long day.

“The summit night was incredibly challenging, in the most extreme weather that many guides described as the worst they had encountered in 20 years.

“We all stuck together and going ‘pole, pole’ which means ‘slowly, slowly’ 15 of us reached the summit after a gruelling 8 and half hours climb in a snow blizzard from basecamp.”

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Imago Venues, said: “Our altitude packages have been designed for anyone looking to embark on high altitude expeditions. "Far from being aimed at just elite athletes, our unique altitude bedrooms and access to world-class physiology and nutrition make elite-level preparation available to totally 'ordinary' people who want to challenge themselves to achieve something great. "We’re thrilled that Team GC came to stay with us before their expedition and we’re proud to have had a positive impact on their preparation – well done to Mandy and the girls."

The trip - organised by Team GC - raised money for numerous charities, including Winchester Hospice and The Murray Parish Trust.

The stunning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, home of Tottenham Hotspur, has become the fifth Premier League Club to join Lime Venue Portfolio’s growing collection of venues. The announcement follows on from the arrival of Molineux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, and Leicester Tiger’s Welford Road, to the portfolio last month.

The iconic Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the Premier League’s newest stadium and has already gained great feedback for its meetings and events proposition, including the beautiful Tunnel Club, the elegant East Quarter, their unique in-house Beavertown brewery and tap room and the luxurious Members’ Club, The H Club. The venue has gained plaudits for its use of ground-breaking technology and became one of the first cashless stadiums in the UK.

Lime Venue Portfolio will be working alongside Levy UK, the leading sport and entertainment caterer, who will be implementing a new catering proposition for the meetings and events business, using its experience to unite amazing venues with visionary food. Lime Venue Portfolio will support the stadium’s conference and events business with its own award-winning sales and marketing function.

Andy O’Sullivan, Venue Director, Tottenham Hotspur said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Lime Venue Portfolio as we continue to showcase Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as an exciting new venue for the conference and events market. We are sure LVP’s expertise in the market will compliment the diverse range of high quality and unique event spaces that we have to offer at the Stadium.”

Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio adds: “We’ve had a really strong run of new venue additions to the Lime Venue Portfolio, and it really underlines how much value we can give to venues in this market. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is simply a brilliant venue, and it’s been created by people that understand the conferencing and events world. We’re really excited about what we can achieve through our relationship with them.”

The stadium joins a growing number of sports stadia already within the Lime Venue Portfolio, now consisting of; Welford Road, home of Leicester Tigers; Molineux, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers; Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield Utd; Villa Park, home of Aston Villa; the Cardiff City Stadium; Twickenham, Kia Oval and Edgbaston, all homes to elite level football, rugby and cricket respectively.




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