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01/2020

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December 2019 marked the official opening of the brand new 97-room Roomzzz aparthotel property in York situated at the gorgeous riverside location of Terry Avenue. An innovative and exciting addition to the city of York, Roomzzz offers bold and spacious studios to its guests, many with balconies and floor to ceiling windows; perfect to soak up the views of the River Ouse or Rowntree Park.  As well as the spacious social lounge, there is a deli and coffee shop open to the public, serving local produce. 

Robert Alley, Chief Operating Officer for Roomzzz said: “As a Yorkshire-based business we are full of pride to see our newest property open its doors and welcome guests from far and wide.  We want to encourage as many people as possible to head down to Terry Avenue to come and visit and familiarise themselves with the aparthotel concept as it’s the perfect blend of apartment living with all the mod-cons and luxuries of a five star hotel.  And what’s more we are located just a stone’s throw to the many attractions York has to offer.” 

With the opening of this new aparthotel also comes the creation of new jobs – 25 local jobs to be exact, not to mention the positive impact on other businesses working with Roomzzz.

Robert adds: “We understand that the average hotel room can feel a million miles from home, which is why we’ve turned it on its head and done all we can to provide the design, space and service guests need to be themselves.  Our apartments provide guests with the flexibility but ability to stay in routine (if they wish).  So, whether that’s keeping up with daily fitness/mediation sessions, yoga (plenty of space for downward dogs) or enjoying the space to complete your work or simply kicking back and relaxing; we have it covered here at Roomzzz.”

Apartment rooms at Roomzzz York start at £99 per night.  For more information please visit: www.roomzzz.com

NewFlex , the leading provider of branded workspace solutions, powered by Newable , has acquired London-based coworking and small meetings start-up, Bold . Bold offers hotel investors a creative and boutique brand designed to attract entrepreneurs, innovators and business travellers, with spaces characterised by daring and impactful interior design.

Founded in 2016 by former MeetingRooms.com CEO Caleb Parker , and ex-TransferGo Marketing Director, Magnus Olby, Bold operates a management agreement model similar to those which are standard in the hotel industry. Leveraging this model and backed by NewFlex, Bold will open 25+ locations in the UK over the next 36 months.

Bold-branded spaces come as a complete turnkey package that includes design and build, hospitality, events and wellbeing, sales and marketing and the Bold tech platform.

Bold enables hoteliers to diversify into a complementary hospitality category by addressing a rapidly growing market with a similar investment criteria. Business travellers work for the same corporate customers who need the flexibility offered by coworking memberships. And as with their preferred hotel suppliers, they demand upscale environments and secure, trusted workspaces so they can feel confident hosting employees and clients.

NewFlex delivers and manages a range of branded workspace solutions for every type of location and occupier. All workspace solutions benefit from the common NewFlex platform, from demand generation, to building management and compliance through to account reporting, yield optimisation and planning.

By adding Bold to its portfolio, Newable will be able to offer bespoke, high-design workspaces that focus on work-life blend, with a design that expresses this focus explicitly through innovative solutions for free-flowing social areas and meeting spaces. As with other Newable workplaces, Bold will be offered to hotel investors and asset owners through franchise and contract agreements.

The acquisition of Bold is the latest in a string of deals signed by NewFlex, at a time when leading property consultancy JLL predicts that 10 million sq ft of flexible workspace will be added to the UK market over the next five years. Currently, the global market value of flexible workspaces is £19.9 billion ($26b) and 40% of flexible workspace demand is forecast to come from large and corporate companies.

Caleb Parker, co-founder of Bold comments: “We are excited to join NewFlex for the next stage of our growth journey. The hospitality and workspace sectors are merging as more people have the flexibility and freedom to choose the environments that inspire their productivity. Bold’s aim is to support innovators wherever opportunity takes them and create spaces entrepreneurial people love.”

Chris Manson, CEO of Newable comments: “ We’re thrilled to have Bold join the NewFlex family and expand our offering of workspace solutions for even more SMEs and entrepreneurs. We share the goal of providing beautifully designed workspaces for a diversifying range of members and with Bold, we are able to tap into the increasing demand for unique workspace and small meeting solutions. The addition of Bold is a significant step forward in spearheading our 2020 plans of continued growth and optimising our existing portfolio of flexible workspace brands .”

Capita Travel and Events have taken their Smarter working strategy into the next phase with a series of structural changes to the business.

Following the announcement last year that Chief Commercial Officer, Trevor Elswood, will move to a non-executive position as an advisor for Capita Travel and Events in February 2020, the business decided to harness its in-house expertise and develop new senior roles in line with the company’s 2020 strategy.

The new Executive and Senior Leadership team now includes new posts including Chief Customer Officer, Chief Revenue Officer and Director of Customer Experience. The roles have been filled through internal promotions within Capita Travel and Events and these people include some of the most experienced industry professionals who are all focused on delivering the best customer experience:

  • Alex Singleton, with over 25 years working in the travel industry and a wealth of experience in customer-facing roles, will become the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) and will lead the Sales, Account Management and Marketing functions.
  • Nick Reynolds, with 30 years in programme and commercial management across technology and travel sectors, will take on the Executive position of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).
  • Anita Leslie, who has been heading up product development for almost 30 years, will become the Market Strategy Director which focuses on the cross-business and sector offerings that support the company’s unique Smarter working agenda.
  • Steve Banks, who has a 30-year career in travel management with roles ranging from operations to sales and customer service, will take on the Director of Customer Experience. This new role is responsible for the overall customer experience, whether it be as a buyer, booker or traveller.

These new appointments support the company’s focus on growth, the Smarter working proposition and its vision to be the ‘market voice’ for the business travel, meetings and events industry. Along with the continual investment in market-leading products and services, this cements Capita Travel and Events' strategy to enable a successful year ahead. 

 

Lime Venue Portfolio has today announced the arrival of Greg Knight, Business Development Manager for the South of the UK. Greg will take on management of some of LVP’s Preferred Partnerships, as well as agencies working with the brand’s Agent Partner programme. He joins the business from a similar role at etc.venues so brings with him a host of experience to add value to LVP’s growing collection of UK wide venues.

The move underlines the progression of the Lime Venue Portfolio and the continued growth of the many thousands of new business enquiries that the team takes from event professionals every month. Part of Greg’s role is to make sure these enquiries add value to the portfolio’s client venues, and to ensure as many as possible are converted into business within the group.

“We’re a service-based organisation here at Lime Venue Portfolio, and it’s important that we offer the best value and quality to every enquiry we take and every venue we pass it on to,” commented Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. “We’re really delighted to have Greg as part of this process, his experience in the industry is outstanding and he can bring a lot of intelligence to our southern based venues.”

“There are some really unique venues in this portfolio and it’s a great opportunity to work with them as part of the Lime Venue Portfolio brand,” commented Greg. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for LVP and in a competitive marketplace I feel I can really add value to the team, venue clients and most importantly our customers.”  

Situation Update

  • Health protection teams have been in place at Heathrow since 22nd January and in Gatwick and Manchester since 29th January.
  • Posters and leaflets have been sent by Public Health England electronically to all 28 UK international airports and all UK Eurostar terminals.
  • Following Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to mainland China,  British Airways cancelled their flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until 31 January with immediate effect. This period has now been extended until 29 February, while they assess the situation. Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.
  • There are still a number of airlines operating between the UK and China so passengers do have other options to get home.
  • Other airlines including Lufthansa, Air Canada, United Airlines, Air India, Air Tanzania have suspended flights to and from mainland China.
  • Some commercial airlines are still operating but have reduced their services including Cathay Pacific, Lion Air, Air Seoul, Finnair, American Airlines
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is doing everything they can to get British people in Wuhan safely back to the UK. A number of countries’ flights have been unable to take off as planned. They continue working urgently to organise a flight to the UK as soon as possible.
  • Anyone who now returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention
  • Chinese authorities have ordered all their national travel agencies and online travel companies to temporarily suspend business, group travel and ‘ticket and hotel’ products effective immediately
  • The Chinese Government is asking travel companies, operators and tourism businesses around the world to facilitate booking changes and cancellations to help reduce the movement of crowds and reduce the spread of the virus. At the moment the Chinese Government are not offering any compensation to cancelled groups.
  • We are seeing some best practice industry examples from accommodation providers such as Jurys Inn and GLH who are offering free cancellations until 4 February to guests who are affected by the situation.

 

Re: Outbound travel to China from the UK:

  • The FCO are advising travellers who want to leave China soon, should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.
  • They are advising against all travel to Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
  • Please keep up-to-date on the FCO’s travel advice website here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

Brexit is creating business opportunities and issues as well as recruitment problems according to HBAA members.

The HBAA has gathered opinions from a cross-section of agency and venue members on how Brexit is impacting the events and hospitality industry.

 

Brexit’s impact on business

Over the past 12 months, the effects of Brexit on the hospitality and events industry have been mixed.

For example, it has been largely positive for etc venues as the topic, rather like GDPR, has boosted the need to meet. Tiernan Redmond, sales manager at etc. venues says: “In the last 12 months, around 150 meetings were held in our venues to discuss and plan for the consequences and opportunities of Brexit. Reviewing the titles of events on our schedule in the coming months, we have many more bookings that are likely to address it.”

The HBAA annual Brexit survey in June 2019 revealed that 78 per cent of the sector believed Brexit had slightly affected business, up from 36 per cent in the previous year.

This is in line with what Julie Shorrock, managing director of HTS, has seen. She says: “During early 2019 we saw a decline in our clients' requirements, with many indicating their businesses were experiencing delays in commitments of new projects or contracts.

“Yet from mid-August 2019, HTS saw a significant uplift in clients' business, with many saying it was ‘time to just get on with business,’ and this growth has continued into 2020.”

The snap general election in December caused some negative reverberations across the industry. Andrew Deakin, director, Conference Care, (https://www.conferencecare.com/) revealed: “Demand for events dropped by around 20 per cent. Reducing costs is high on the agenda for corporate planners and there is a tendency for utilising internal meeting space before going externally, as well as a trend towards smaller events that can be easily signed off without board-level approval. With Brexit looming, the trading conditions are challenging. We want an end to the uncertainty.”

Brexit has presented added challenges for venues, too. Steve Jones, managing director of Wyboston Lakes Resort, explains: “The combination of Brexit and rising costs is a challenging prospect for our industry. The devaluation of the pound, trade tariffs and delays with supplies due to border disruption could all occur after 31 January so we have to be as ready as possible and quick to respond depending on what happens.”

 

Future business outlook

On prospects for 2020 and beyond, the industry is cautiously optimistic. Nick Scott, managing director of arrangeMY, says: “Brexit has been a huge concern over the last three years mainly due to the uncertainty and fear mongering in the national press. As Brexit now appears to be coming to a conclusion, there is a noticeable feel-good factor and positivity.

“Looking ahead, the general consensus is we will experience some short-term pain for long-term gain. At the risk of sounding too optimistic the reduction in red tape, rules and bad policy dictated from Brussels/Strasbourg may be a really good thing for our industry and provide new opportunities.”

Tiernan Redmond, sales manager at etc.venues, has a positive outlook, too. He adds: “The full impact is still unclear but, looking at future business prospects, we believe international markets will continue to offer good opportunities for UK businesses.”

Andrew Deakin adds: “Of course, there will be challenges ahead, but people will still need events, and business will find a way.”

 

Brexit’s impact on recruitment

Recruitment is an ongoing challenge for the industry, which has been exacerbated by Brexit.

According to the 2019 HBAA annual Brexit survey, 18.7 per cent of the industry had seen a major impact on recruitment as a result of Brexit, and 19.3 per cent had changed their recruitment policies.

Recruitment and retention is a particular problem for hotels and venues. Steve Jones, managing director of Wyboston Lakes Resort, says: “We’ve already seen team members from mainland Europe drop from almost 25 per cent of our workforce to less than 15 per cent. It’s difficult to replace them as the quantity of applicants has reduced. However we have now got schemes in place, such as People 1st, which we believe will help us with recruitment and retaining staff.”

For events and travel agencies, recruitment has been static. Andrew Deakin says: “Employees are nervous and reluctant to move elsewhere because the economic market conditions are quite volatile. Recruitment is an ongoing challenge in our industry. There is a skills shortage and, as an industry, we do not do enough to attract top quality graduates.”

 

TOMS

One aspect of the industry that will not change immediately is the Tour Operators Margin Scheme (TOMS).

HBAA Chair Lex Butler says: “We’ve been advised that during the 11-month transition period until 31 January 2020, EU VAT rules will continue to apply. Therefore the current TOMS will continue during this period. We don’t know what will happen at the end of the transition. One distinct possibility, as far as TOMS is concerned, is the adoption from the start of 2021 of the new TOMS Order prepared for a no-deal Brexit. This would introduce a new UK version of the scheme mirroring the current UK implementation of the EU scheme but with one large difference, namely that the margin on travel in the EU27 would be zero rated.

Lex Butler concluded “After more than three years of uncertainty, we now hope that the greater clarity will help everyone to move forward more positively. While recruitment will remain an issue, the recent announcement that the £30,000 salary threshold for migrants might be reduced is encouraging.”

 www.hbaa.org.uk.

Wyboston Lakes Resort is one of the first companies to sign People 1st International’s new ‘Our Hospitality Commitment’, as well as the ‘Work Placement Commitment’.

By signing the two voluntary codes, the Bedfordshire-based hotel, conference and training resort has committed to be an ‘employer of choice’, providing good quality training, work-life balance and support to their people.

Katherine White, director of HR, Wyboston Lakes Resort, said: “It’s incredibly important to us as a business to sign up to the People 1st commitment as we truly believe that everyone should be treated equally, fairly and with respect. Creating a positive work-life balance for our team members is also important and forms part of our company values.”

As a signatory, Wyboston Lakes Resort has pledged to work together with People 1st, educational institutions and key industry partners to promote hospitality as a rewarding career choice and to secure future talent, with a strong focus on supporting people on work placements. This is important as the sector faces long-standing recruitment and retention challenges and common misconceptions, such as low pay, long unsociable hours, limited opportunities to develop and not offering long-term careers.

White added: “We are particularly looking forward working with People 1st as well as local providers to build relationships with our local schools and colleges and to shout about the excellent opportunities available to students with a career in hospitality.”

 

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

www.people1st.co.uk/Our-Hospitality-Commitment

www.people1st.co.uk/code-of-conduct

Capita Travel and Events’ customer service excellence has been recognised and given ‘gold’ status by BAE Systems, a key Capita client that specialises in the multinational defence, security, and aerospace sectors.

Out of BAE Systems’ 6,000 UK suppliers, we were among the select few to win a gold status following a nomination by their UK Travel Category Manager, Joanne Simpson, for their global supplier management scheme: ‘Partner2win’.

Capita achieved this result through their excellent standard of delivery and customer service track record to the company while continually enhancing BAE Systems’ travel programme.

BAE Systems’ key assessment criteria for ‘gold’ status includes the quality, cost savings, satisfaction ratings and relationships of a partners’ customer service. The awards programme is one of the components of the Partner2Win scheme which aim to initiate best practices and address future improvements.

Joanne Simpson, BAE Systems’ Travel Category Manager said: “Capita Travel and Events are BAE Systems’ travel provider for hotel bookings and meeting and events services.  I am delighted that we have been able to recognise Capita Travel and Events through the Partner2Win scheme, which recognises outstanding supplier performance and highlights the important role our suppliers play in helping us to achieve operational excellence and deliver our commitments to our customers.”

Strategic Account Manager, Ann Thomas, collected the award at BAE Systems’ annual Industry Collaboration Day.

“This is the first time their indirect procurement function has nominated one of their suppliers to this scheme, which is a testament to the relationship we have built and how we have optimised their travel programme by identifying cost-saving opportunities. Considering the sheer scale of BAE Systems’ supplier network, it really is a fantastic achievement and I would like to thank everyone involved on the account,” says Ann.

The De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre (EMCC) on the University Park campus at the University of Nottingham has announced a major refurbishment to begin at the end of January.

More than £2million is being invested to reinvigorate the award-winning conference facility which will be unveiled at the end of Spring 2020. The project, which is set to modernise the venue with state-of-the-art design and equipment including an impressive video wall, comes as the conference centre celebrates its 35th anniversary.

The three month-long refurbishment programme will include the remodelling of the venue’s atrium area creating a collaborative space. The design concept is a subtle celebration of Nottinghamshire and the University’s culture. The refreshed meeting rooms and banqueting spaces will enrich delegate experience alongside the installation of cutting edge audio-visual technology. The project will also include featured artwork created by a local Nottingham based artist commissioned in conjunction with the Lakeside Art’s Centre.

Commenting on the announcement, Tom Waldron-Lynch, General Manager of East Midlands Conference Centre, said: “We’re excited to announce the plans for EMCC. We are continually investing in our venue and this refurbishment will ensure that EMCC continues to have an industry leading offer, attracting businesses to the midlands. As well as enhanced event spaces, the work will also see us investing in several facilities as part of our ongoing drive to operate more sustainably, including the installation of new hydration stations throughout the venue, new food and beverage offerings, new breakout spaces, the refurbishing of over 900 banquet chairs and installation of a digital signage package throughout to reduce the need for printing.”

Set in 330 acres of the University of Nottingham’s landscaped parkland, De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre is a modern destination for meetings, conferences, training and business events with 21 flexible event spaces and free, superfast Wi-Fi with a maximum of 1GB available throughout the venue.

Adjacent to EMCC is the 202-bed De Vere Orchard Hotel which offers modern stylish bedrooms, a restaurant, bar and gym. Plus, there are eight additional event suites at EMCC’s sister property, De Vere Jubilee Conference Centre, 5-minute drive away.

Guests can also enjoy free access to the state-of-the-art gym and 25m swimming pool at the University of Nottingham's David Ross Sports Village. Other facilities include a climbing wall and squash and badminton courts, pre-bookable by guests for a small charge.

De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre is located close to J25 of the M1 and to East Midlands Airport, with direct trains into central London from Nottingham railway station.

  

Twickenham Stadium has launched a new food waste strategy that includes an innovative internal ‘circular economic model’ that maximises every ingredient, reduces food miles and tracks the source, multiple use and outcome of every ingredient used on the menu.

The food waste strategy is part of an extension of the stadium’s existing sustainability initiatives and is being implemented to reduce the average ‘per person’ wastage at the stadium. “At the moment, the average amount of waste per person as the stadium is only small, but when that is multiplied by the amount of visitors we have to Twickenham, it becomes much larger,” comments Thomas Rhodes, Executive Head Chef at Twickenham Stadium, and one of the leaders on the venue’s sustainability initiatives.

The circular economic model is based around menu design, which encourages multiple uses of each ingredient, across the stadium’s operations and throughout the day. It also encourages the reusing of wastage items for stocks and sauces so maximum ‘value’ is taken from every ingredient, all of which are sourced locally. 

“To get waste down now, we need to look beyond the per person waste, and look at the micro things we do which have macro effects,” continues Thomas. “This means we can track the life of an ingredient, use it for different things across the menu, from top to bottom. For instance, we can order whole locally sourced vegetables, use them in two or three dishes, and then use the excess for stocks and soups. It means one ingredient will be seen across two or three menus and multiple events.”

The food waste strategy also links with the stadium’s commitment to reducing food miles and its ability to demonstrate to guests where food has been sourced from. This added intelligence means the venue is able to offer menus that have been optimised at source and at disposal. The menu design is also helping support guest’s own green agendas.

“A good example of this is the use of our celeriac, which we peel, bake in salt and serve as a plant-first option. The peelings of the vegetable are ground down with the excess salt to create a veggie salt for other dishes; the offcuts are used for a jus on a different part of the menu; and anything else left over we reuse in stocks and soups. That means you could have four dishes using the same ingredient in four different ways. When we share this approach with delegates, they really buy into what we’re trying to do.”

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