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Visitors and staff arriving at Wyboston Lakes Resort will now automatically have their temperatures discreetly checked by a hi-tech thermal imaging system as they enter the buildings.

The resort has made a major investment in the highest specification top of the range heat detection system available which has been developed by Vodafone. Thermal imaging cameras at entrances will screen the body temperatures of up to 8 people at once and 100 people in 60 seconds. The images and temperatures, accurate to 0.3C, are relayed to a laptop from multiple entrances at once, generating automatic alerts if a temperature is higher than normal so that staff can follow up quickly with the individual.

Visitors are assured about the safety of the information as the system is GDPR compliant, data is held on a secure platform and is backed up extremely securely.

This is Wyboston Lakes’ latest initiative to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to give them confidence as it prepares to reopen. It follows the launch of Safe Events, a comprehensive plan and policy in response to Covid-19 to safeguard the health and safety of its staff, customers and clients

Steve Jones, Managing Director of Wyboston Lakes Resort, one of the largest independent venues in the UK said: “We believe that by introducing this heat detection system we have added a valuable extra way to identify anyone who might have possible symptoms of Covid-19 and help to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

“This is all part of ensuring our Safe Events procedures are as robust as they can be without impacting too much on the delegate experience. Our new policies also include physical barriers, signage, extra intensive hygiene and cleaning procedures, training and technology such as self-check in terminals and cashless payments only.”

Before returning to work, staff will be required to complete an online training programme on new working practices following Covid-19. Personal Protective Equipment will be provided to team members where appropriate and hand sanitiser will be available throughout the venues. The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting will be increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces.

Steve Jones concluded: “We’re taking every possible step to ensure the safety of guests and staff when we reopen, and to give them confidence when they are with us.”

For more information, please visit


The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has announced that both the Meetings Industry Association (mia) and Meetings Professionals International UK & Ireland (MPI) have re-joined the partnership as full members. This takes the number of full partners in the BVEP, which is the umbrella body and advocacy group for the UK’s £70 billion events industry, to 28.

The mia represents more than 800 members within the business events industry from hotels, venues and industry suppliers. The association also runs the AIM accreditation scheme, the UK’s only recognised accreditation scheme for the meetings and events industry.

Jane Longhurst, Chief Executive, mia said: “Business meetings and events have been decimated by the impact of COVID-19 so there has never been a more crucial time for us to work collaboratively to gain government recognition and ongoing support for our sector. With our objectives now aligned, the mia is delighted to be re-joining the BVEP under the unified goal of helping the UK to continue to host world class events and cementing the nation’s position on the global stage.”   

MPI, which is the largest meeting and events industry association globally, represents more than 17,000 event planners, suppliers and students worldwide. The association has more than 70 chapters and clubs across 75 countries.

Judy Elvey, President, Meetings Professionals International UK & Ireland said: “BVEP are a crucial voice for the business events industry here in the UK and through these uncertain times it is working hard, with its members, to gather and feedback information and evidence to the government to ensure that the sector can recover as quickly as possible. As a global association we can feedback best practice and initiatives to our global chapters to help aid the recovery of the international meetings and events industry.”

Commenting on both mia and MPI re-joining the partnership, Michael Hirst OBE, Chair, of the BVEP said: " I'm delighted that the BVEP's activities and voice on behalf of the Events Industry is being strengthened by the membership of MPI and MIA, both of which are leading representative bodies in their sectors. This is clearly the time for the Industry to come together to demonstrate it is unified around core messages and working collaboratively to resolve the many issues arising out of the consequences of COVID19".


SMEs in London’s tourism and business event sectors are now being encouraged to apply to the London & Partners’ Business Growth Programme.

Launching in late June, the accelerator programme’s Summer Cohort will support companies in tourism and business events, creative, urban, life sciences, financial, business services and technology industries, as well as in the Impact (purpose-driven) sector as originally planned.

The decision to extend the Business Growth Programme is a direct response to the coronavirus crisis by London & Partners, as they look for more ways to support the tourism and events industries at this time.

As countries around the world respond to the pandemic, companies in the tourism and business event sectors have faced huge disruption as governments encourage people to avoid travel at this time.

Tracy Halliwell, Director of Tourism, Conventions and Major Events at London & Partners, commented: “As London’s tourism and business event industries feel the immediate effects of coronavirus, we are doing everything we can to support businesses at this challenging time. I am pleased that the Business Growth Programme is now welcoming applications from these important sectors, providing guidance and opportunities to support these businesses on their path to recovery.”

Tourism and business event companies accepted onto the programme will benefit from a wide range of (virtual) resources and opportunities across the Business Growth Programme network – from focused sessions on cash flow, workforce planning and accessing support during the crisis, through to mentoring, sector-specific thought leadership and access to a dedicated business growth manager.

Maurizina Da Silva, Head of the Business Growth Programme at London & Partners, said: “Our Summer Cohort is set to be our biggest and most diverse yet. Small businesses have been particularly impacted by the coronavirus crisis, so we hope that by opening up the programme to include more sectors, we can help as many brilliant London businesses as possible navigate this challenging environment.”

The Business Growth Programme has supported a number of tourism and travel technology businesses in the past. Amongst these are Grapevine, a machine learning platform that provides personalised content to travel businesses, and Btrfly, a mobile app that provides digital airport lounge experiences and business networking opportunities to air travelers.

Cenk Gurz, Founder of Btrfly, commented: “The Business Growth Programme was an amazing experience. It gave Btrfly fantastic visibility and opened many doors for us – both in London, and internationally. As a recent graduate of the programme, I would strongly encourage startups to apply and really make the most of this fantastic support package”.

To be eligible for the free, three-month accelerator programme, businesses must have a UK-registered company, be based in London, have between 3-250 employees, a turnover of less than £40 million and a minimum viable product.

Eligible tourism startups are invited to apply for a place on the Summer Cohort from today, before the deadline on 1 June, 11.59pm.

For more information and to apply, visit the Business Growth Programme website:

the eastside rooms have agreed a partnership with On Event Production Co to provide AV, production and technical support for events taking place at the venue. The partnership will mean that every event will get technical and AV support as standard, and with the production company capable of supplementing agency or inhouse corporate teams.

The partnership is one of many that the new venue has agreed ahead of its launch this Autumn and underlines the eastside room’s desire to integrate with the industry. The business has already agreed partnerships with the Event Management Apprenticeships Programme (EMAP), APBCO and the West Midlands Growth Company, amongst others, with more to be announced in the coming months. 

On Productions have been involved with the project throughout the build and have inputted into the production specs of the venue, including its main plenary room, The Affinity Suite. Matt Huddart, Regional General Manager at the eastside rooms commented, “the eastside rooms is going to be a stunning events venue and we want to help organisers bring it to life as much as possible. Its why we wanted to get On Event Production involved from as early as possible, and to make sure everything that goes into the room carries the specifications demanded by creative teams.”

Guy Eaton, Managing Director at On Event Productions added: “Myself and the team are delighted to be working in partnership with the eastside rooms to grow and develop this exciting new venue together. We have already hit the ground running by giving a significant input into the technical specification of the fit-out of this state-of-the-art conference destination.”

“The venue is set to become one of the most popular event venues in the city and with so many meeting space options to play with, it’s an AV supplier’s dream,” continued Guy. “We look forward to creating many extraordinary and memorable experiences for both the venue and their clients … exciting times!”

HBAA spearheads industry hygiene and cleanliness accreditation standard to champion accommodation providers and venues to boost customer confidence amid Covid-19 challenges and beyond

As a major initiative to kick start the Events, Meetings and Accommodation industry in post pandemic recovery, HBAA is collaborating with Quality in Tourism to promote its ‘Safe, Clean and Legal’ Accreditation as a recognised industry standard of hygiene and cleanliness for venues and hotels, including Covid-19 protocols. This will drive customer confidence among delegates, guests, agencies, staff and employers.

This regulated accreditation is awarded to hotels and venues that meet or exceed minimum set standards across a wide range of factors, including compliance with hygiene and food safety regulations which has become paramount following the Covid-19 outbreak. All properties submit their standards and are then audited to ensure that they maintain the rigorous levels of cleanliness and safety, providing greater reassurance to customers.

Quality in Tourism (QT) has been assessing properties and driving standards across the UK for over 15 years and are experts in the field, offering advice, support and benchmarking assessments for tourism and hospitality businesses. It covers hotels, venues, apartments and other accommodation providers throughout the UK. This accreditation is recognised by the Environmental Health (EH).

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of HBAA commented; “HBAA identified the urgent need to have such a uniformed and united standard across our sector. We are spearheading this standard enabling customers to feel assured that the accommodation and venues they’re using are compliant with the latest government guidance and agreed protocols. Working with such an accreditation from a recognised authority like QT drives confidence from its rigorous application and inspection process. It is an important initiative which we can all get behind.

“Whilst we continue to see more hotel chains and venues present their own cleaning standards, which we welcome, we do need to drive consistency on a level playing field.

“HBAA continues to collaborate with industry associations, shoulder to shoulder and is requesting that this accreditation is communicated amongst their membership and features prominently in RFPs and part of hotel and venue selection criteria.”

“This initiative is to create a unified approach that is recognised, certified and assured, regardless of which association they belong to, or who their customers are. We have actively engaged with many associations and requested that everyone gets behind this, for the good of our industry.”

“With our industry potentially being one of the last to recover, we need to ensure we are increasing customer confidence continuously in our approaches and practices.

The QT badge which seals the assurance of protocols being met, is aligned to the set standards and is required to be an ongoing maintenance process.”

Deborah Heather, Director, Quality in Tourism says: "I am delighted that HBAA has decided to endorse and champion our accreditation across the industry by recommending the Safe, Clean & Legal accreditation which Quality in Tourism designed back in 2018. The scheme has evolved to include Covid-19 cleaning protocols, with the support of our Primary Authority partner Cornwall Council. We have worked with Environmental Health to develop protocols and standards for hotels and venues to protect their teams and their guests."

Juliet Price added “This badge has to be clearly displayed across multiple distribution platforms, for accommodation providers and venues to proudly display their accreditation and for customers and agencies to search for them easily and/or book them. We are urging industry accessible tools and platforms to get behind and support this, clearly displaying this badge and to ensure it is part of search functionalities within.”

HBAA partner Venue Directory has committed to listing the accreditation within Managing Director Michael Begley says “Accommodation and venue providers will be able to update their listing with their QT accreditation and this will be available to all 60,000 venues on their UK database. Clients using their Accommodation RFP tool will also be able to take advantage of the accreditation details via the ABC platform. This essential data will be available on all the booking platforms for meetings and events that supports and also via their venue data feed that is utilised to power third party booking platforms and venue sourcing websites.”

Edge Venues have also confirmed that they will display the accreditation within their platform which the industry will also welcome with open arms.

Advantage Travel Partnership fully supports the Quality in Tourism Safe, Clean & Legal™ accreditation process. The organisation which has over 350 UK business and leisure travel agency members also operates a global hotel programme comprising more than 35,000 hotels, an ATOL protected tour operation, and a meetings and events division.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage commented, “The UK hotel and venue market is particularly important to our members’ businesses and our global network of TMCs, with four UK cities featuring within our top five locations for hotels booked through our hotel programme. An accreditation process such as this is a welcome positive step in encouraging confidence back from both the corporate and leisure travel markets and will help boost the recovery of our industry.”

Hotels and venues have welcomed the initiative. Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, said: “Getting this accreditation is hugely important for Wyboston Lakes Resort. Ensuring our accommodation, meetings and events are safe and protecting our guests and team members is our first priority. We know things will be different going forward but they can still be good and this accreditation ensures that it will be safe too.”

John Angus, Managing Director of Park Regis Birmingham said “We were delighted to hear that Quality in Tourism is working in partnership with the HBAA and introducing Accreditation that encompasses the Covid-19 measures. Our hotel wants to be recognised as a trail blazer in such an initiative and to demonstrate to our teams, agencies and to end customers that they can book, stay and host events in our Covid Ready hotel”.

Details of how providers can apply for the accreditation can be found here.

Juliet Price concluded "This is vital for our members to demonstrate that are mindful of their duty of care. This initiative forms part of the #HBAAfuturefit and 6+-step recovery plan, which will soon be unveiled. HBAA is committed to supporting the reopening of our industry and to these steps to aid recovery and create customer confidence in our sector, whilst showcasing that when the UK Government allows us too; “our industry is absolutely open for business and safely. HBAA is championing for Department of Culture Media and Sport to also endorse and recognise this initiative via the BVEP”.

QT also provides two additional accreditations for our industry which includes REST (Responsible, Ethical, Sustainable Tourism) and WellBme (Wellbeing within our industry) – both of which can also be found on the factsheet. This initiative also supports HBAA 1:50 Mental Health First Aiders, Campaign.

Research amongst event buyers, conducted by BMA House in April 2020 has shown a significant desire to seek a better work / life balance.

With the COVID-19 crisis providing an opportunity for many individuals to focus on family, leisure and personal relationships, 68% of event organisers said they will seek a better work / life balance going forward.  This was reflected by 60% of event delegates also saying they would seek improvements. 

In support of the strong preference for better work / life balance 87% of organisers and 92% of delegates said more people should be offered the opportunity to work from home in the long term.

“Before reflecting on the organiser statistics, I must stress that a number of the delegates answering this survey are key workers and medical professionals,” comments Kat Winfield, venue manager at BMA House.  “These individuals have continued to work tirelessly, putting themselves in danger over recent weeks, many isolating away from family and loved ones.  They have not had a chance to consider a different work / life balance as they are working so hard for the benefit of all and for that they deserve our heartfelt respect and thanks.”

Kat concludes: “For those working in events, these figures demonstrate clearly that many people are seeing the lockdown and changes to lifestyle as a significant opportunity to re-evaluate their lives.  There is clearly a desire to focus more on themselves and their family, which is something BMA House, as a venue with a strong focus on health and wellbeing, strongly supports.”

The research was carried out via an online survey amongst 229 respondents: 79 event organisers; 150 event delegates.

As part of its comprehensive preparations and new operating procedures for the reopening of venues, etc.venues has developed a new programme to deliver cleanliness and disinfection in its venues.  In a new move the company will collaborate with Cleanology, with its scientific approach to cleaning and with Navitas (formally known as the European Safety Bureau) - who will audit venues to the new Covid Controlled Certification scheme.

etc.venues, ‘A Breath of Fresh Care’ initiative, will apply Cleanology’s scientific approach to cleaning practices that build upon the current high standards where hospital grade products are already in use. The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind for UK venues, demonstrates a focus on cleanliness that will reassure both event planners and delegates throughout the etc.venues portfolio.

etc.venues Director of Operations, Guy Booth said “As a leading venue brand, we felt it important to set a new standard and to respond to the need for enhanced  health and safety requirements. As we get back to business and reopen our venues, our clients, team members and suppliers need to be confident that our venues offer the highest standards of safety.”

Cleanology, one of the UK’s leading specialist cleaning companies, bring years of experience and an award winning, ISO quality-accredited set of practices and methodologies to cleaning.  As well as etc. venues, its clients include Harrods, the Good Housekeeping Institute, and the Royal College of Midwives.

Cleanology’s CEO Dominic Ponniah  said “Covid19 brings significant new challenges to the cleaning of venues, but with our 15 years’ experience of working with etc.venues we will be bringing in elevated processes and enhanced team training and PPE to help delegates enjoy an even cleaner and safer visit. By using the most effective products and technology on the market, we are able to ensure that etc.venues is maintained to the highest possible standards of hygiene and cleanliness.”

Navitas (formerly known as the European Safety Bureau) has advised etc.venues of the necessary protocols, training and procedures to achieve the requirements of the new rigorous Covid Controlled Certification scheme

Derek Gardner, Director at Navitas and an environmental health practitioner said -

“We have audited etc.venues for a number of years, and they have an excellent cleaning and safety record. etc.venues have asked us to develop a new Covid Control Certification specifically for their unique operation which will be launched in July 2020. This will ensure rigorous audit programme centred around venue cleanliness and hygiene that will ensure delegates enjoy a clean and safe visit.”

Full details of the program are being developed in line with Government advice but are expected to include the following:

  1. New Hygiene Guru – team member appointed at each venue to ensure standards are met.
  2. Dry spray disinfection – deep clean of each venue using the latest techniques.
  3. Triple clean – all high touch items, door handles, switches and AV controls, will have a triple clean.
  4. Both back and front of house – advanced cleaning plan for both areas in the venue.
  5. Touch free soap – dispensers upgraded in all toilets and restrooms.
  6. Trained team –knowledgeable and supplied with latest PPE.
  7. Free Sanitisers – mini sanitisers offered to delegates as part of the package.
  8. Discrete signage – informative but not imposing throughout the venues.

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 18-24 May, HBAA is calling on the government to support a 1:50 ratio of Mental Health First Aiders to staff across all industries including the events, hospitality and travel sector to help people cope with heightened stressful issues created by the pandemic,

Fears and anxiety about uncertainty and job security, concern for the safety of their working environment, high workloads and increased financial burdens are among the pressures likely to threaten mental wellbeing before and during the recovery period for businesses.

Working closely and united with Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), the association has been lobbying for funding towards the initiative and together they have put the issue on the government’s agenda via the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

Simon Hughes, Vice Chair, BVEP said: “This is a great idea. The challenges of dealing with the legacy of Covid-19 will impact across so many different sectors – from our amazing front line health staff through to all the key workers that have kept things ticking over during the last couple of months. 

“Providing support for their mental health and wellbeing after everything they have been through will be essential.  Working in the events and hospitality sector has always been a dynamic and often stressful experience and the added pressures we have all had to endure makes paying attention to our mental health and getting support to do so will be one of the key components in the recovery planning process.”

The initiative forms part of the HBAA’s ongoing Mental Health campaign launched 18 months ago. HBAA is running a series of webinars on mental health and a wide range of other topics to help members during this time. The latest ‘Covid Coffee Session’, held today, focussed on the government’s furlough scheme and other HR issues and was hosted by Amy Martin, Managing Director of Absolute Works, which specialises in HR and employment law.

Leigh Cowlishaw, HBAA past Chair and Board member who is driving the mental health agenda, said: “We are hoping for further government funding, specifically because many businesses are focused on simply surviving the economic impact of the current global situation and Mental Health First Aider Training may not be such a priority. However, everyone’s mental health is being impacted right now and people are our biggest assets, to all businesses – without them you do not have a business.

“We have to ensure everyone understands that ‘it is OK not to be OK’ and has someone to help them, with toolkits and continuous culture. With lockdown starting to be phased back, we will be expecting to come out of the blocks and therefore we must ensure that we continue to support our people and ourselves to thrive and survive.”

Mental Health First Aider Training, accredited by Mental Health First Aid England, provides participants with a recognised qualification and the skills to advocate the topic of mental health in the workplace and recognise if an individual may need support. HBAA continues to work in collaboration with Balancing Edges and Eventwell to deliver such support and expertise.

This initiative forms part of the #HBAAfuturefit 6.5 step recovery plan which is to be unveiled. HBAA is committed to supporting the re-opening of the economy and elevating these steps, which will aid the next stages of this pandemic and create customer confidence in meeting, travelling and buying.


Wyboston Lakes launches ‘Safe Events’ plan

Wyboston Lakes Resort has launched Safe Events, a comprehensive plan and policy in response to Covid-19 to safeguard the health and safety of its staff, customers and clients to ensure the conference and training complex is ready for a safe reopening.

Steve Jones, Managing Director of Wyboston Lakes Resort, one of the largest independent venues in the UK said: “We have approached this situation with extreme caution and have been working tirelessly on preparing our venues to be ready to re-open in the safest way possible.. Our new policy includes an extensive range of measures, including physical barriers, signage, training and technology, such as self-check in terminals and cashless payments only and heightened and intensive hygiene.

“In the weeks prior to lockdown, and during our closure, we introduced strict additional cleaning regimes to do all that we could to help stop transmission of this virus. Given the ever-changing nature of this situation our policy will also keep evolving to ensure it remains up to date, relevant and effective.”

The venue has already implemented and practised a social distancing plan as it has been used as a training venue for front line NHS workers during the UK lockdown. This policy involves advising guests on social distancing rules, the introduction of maximum capacities in public areas and the rearrangement of layouts to ensure a two-metre distance is upheld.

Before returning to work, staff will be required to complete an online training programme on new working practices following Covid-19. Personal Protective Equipment will be provided to team members where appropriate and hand sanitiser will be available throughout the venues. The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting will be increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces.

Jones added: “Our new policy will mean we have to do things differently but rest assured we will still be putting our people and customers first. We will do whatever we can to make our guests’ time with us as enjoyable as possible but all wrapped in a package to keep them, along with our hard working and extremely dedicated colleagues, safe.”

For more information, please visit

Charity Pop-video to help our heroes from Absolute Corporate Events and their industry friends

Chris Parnham has united his team from Absolute Corporate Events and their industry friends to remake the classic pop video, “Is this the way to Amarillo”, initially resurrected for Comic Relief by Peter Kay back in 2005.

A link on the video encourages viewers to donate to the “Clap for our Carers, Just-giving” campaign and Chris, has committed to contribute £1 for each new follower to the ACE Instagram page. 

Along with the Directors and staff of Absolute Corporate Events and appearing in the video are friends from international hotel groups; Barcelo, Accor, NH, Kempinski, Corinthia, Four Seasons, Iconic, Belmond, IHG; other events agencies and representation companies; Amplified, DMC UK, AbleMaxx, Mundus, Conference Care, Banks Sadler, Top Banana, MMM, Kerzner, Global DMC Partners, Mags Worldwide, Pearl, Star, Avenue Sales, top London conference venue The Barbican, events associations HBAA and SITE Global, and TV’s Lucy Piper. 

All videos were made independently at the homes of those involved and then edited in the ACE video studio. Everyone of course gave their time, creativity and in some cases, multiple takes without charge and as a gesture to raise money for our front-line heroes, as well as spreading some love and laughter during this challenging and often very sad period.

Chris Parnham, owner of Absolute Corporate Events said, “I was overwhelmed with the response we had from our industry friends. With the biggest international hotel groups, best known associations and event agencies involved we have perhaps the biggest charity popvideo our industry has ever seen, and I truly hope we will make people smile and encourage them to give generously to our amazing front-line heroes.”

The video:


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