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“While we’re very pleased that the hard work and support for the petition created this opportunity, we’re disappointed that there was so little recognition of the issues that the £31.2 billion business events, accommodation and meetings sector and its supplier companies are facing.

“Apart from MPs Stephen Hammond and Taiwo Owatemi who both highlighted the plight of event industry companies in their constituencies, the only concrete information given was when extracts from the latest HBAA news release were quoted on the screen early in the debate.

“The events industry to these MPs means festivals, concerts and county shows, not corporate events, conferences, and exhibitions. It clearly shows the need for a greater concerted effort throughout the industry to inform and educate everyone in government, from MPs to ministers and civil servants what a massive, crucial contribution the business events sector makes to the economy.”


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Following the tragic death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter global protests has caused the events, MICE and hospitality community to recognise we have an issue around the lack of diversity in our industry. It became clear that there wasn’t an organisation for the sector taking ownership of this issue. Diversity Ally has been founded by two experienced events professionals passionate about moving the diversity needle in events and creating inclusive workspaces.

Diversity Ally is a consultancy service and membership organisation offering solutions to help businesses and organisations in the events, MICE and hospitality industry become more diverse and inclusive. Core services include supporting organisations to develop D&I policies and facilitating bespoke workshops and training for leaders and employees around anti-racism, inclusivity and allyship.

The events and MICE industry is poised to be a model industry when it comes to demonstrating the multiple benefits of encouraging diversity and inclusion in terms of people, culture and image. We rely on teamwork, collaboration and human connection to keep the industry thriving and therefore these same values can be used to make the events industry a better place for us all. In order to achieve this, Diversity Ally has created some industry standard pledges which will enable a benchmarking of organisations who are striving to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry. Organisations who apply to become Diversity Ally approved, are granted access to a resource hub and training materials specifically designed to help MDs, Directors and HR to improve the quality of diversity and inclusion in their businesses.

A specialist recruitment and talent development service will be provided to MICE, hospitality and events organisations who are actively looking at ways to attract and retain diverse talent over the next three years. To celebrate and recognise the organisations and leaders committed to being diversity change makers and allies, the Diversity In Events Awards will be launched in 2021. The first of its kind in the industry, these awards will require applications from nominees to include tangible and specific examples of diversity and inclusion happening within organisations.

A dedicated Events Diversity Alliance Committee has been formed consisting of senior business leaders in the industry who want to stay informed about the work Diversity Ally is doing. Alliance committee members will meet on a quarterly basis and have agreed to share their learnings with their peers and act as champions for diversity within the industry.

Committee Members:
Mark Riches - Industry Investor & Advisor - Formally co-founder of global events agency FIRST.
Ryan Curtis-Johnson - Head of PR & Marketing - DRPG
Caroline Jackson - BVEP Vice-Chair and AEME Executive
Priya Narain - Co-Founder - Event First Steps
Benedicta Asante - Venue sourcing specialist - American Express Global Business Travel
David Preston - CEO - Realise
Edward Poland - Co-founder - Hire space
Felicity Cator - Head of EventLAB - Hire Space
Miriam Sigler - Director - Ways & Means Events
William Swannell - CEO - Hirespace
Peter Kerwood -Director - Elevate Mentoring / Peter Kerwood Marketing
Max Fellows- Co-Founder- Elevate Mentoring

If you would like to find out how to join the membership or are interested in bespoke workshops or training, please contact us here:

VisitEngland in partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales has today launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening.

The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place.

The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: 

"I want to encourage the public to experience a great British holiday this summer and be confident that they can do so safely. 

"This new industry standard will show people that tourism businesses, destinations and attractions are adhering to the guidance. It puts safety first and is an important move in getting this industry back up and running."

VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates said:

“With millions of jobs and local economies across the country reliant on tourism it is essential that businesses can get up and running as soon as the respective Government advice allows to capture the peak British summer season.

“We want visitors to be able to enjoy their holidays and to support businesses to be confident they have the correct procedures in place. Our priority is to make sure tourism rebounds to once again become one of the most successful sectors of the UK economy and this ‘ring of confidence’ is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.”

To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We’re Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online.

Businesses across the UK are assessed according to their respective national guidance including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place. In England businesses align with the UK Government’s official guidance for the sector including ‘Working Safely during COVID-19: Visitor Economy’. An ‘alert’ system ensures that businesses signed up to the standard are notified of any changes to the official guidance. A call-handling service provides support and assessors would also carry-out random spot-checks to ensure adherence.

The scheme has been developed in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales to ensure a standard-led approach across the UK with input from more than 40 industry bodies including UKHospitality, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, the British Beer and Pub Association and the National Caravan Council as well as destination management organisations across the country. The self-assessment includes specific guidelines for sectors including accommodation, visitor attractions, restaurants and pubs, business conference and events venues and tour and coach operators with signposting to further industry and trade association guidance as required.

The We’re Good To Go scheme is being operated by VisitEngland who has been running assessment schemes for many years. 

Alongside the industry standard VisitEngland is also launching a Know Before You Go public information campaign to support tourism in England as businesses start to re-open, reassuring visitors as restrictions are lifted by checking about what it is safe to do and when and sign-posting to information about destinations and available services before travelling.

“A lack of a clear independent identity has left the industry fighting for its life after being ignored and unappreciated by government” says HBAA.  

Association sends report to government departments and MPs highlighting need for extended and further financial support after debate in a Parliament

HBAA reveals in a report published today that over 30 per cent of employees working in business events, accommodation and meetings agencies are at risk of redundancy from July 2020 onwards as the industry faces up to delayed and limited re-opening, cautious customers and the winding down of the furlough scheme.

The finding is one of many important points raised in “Business Events, Accommodation and Meetings - the need for special financial support and a clear identity published by HBAA to coincide with a debate in the House of Commons on “Government to offer economic assistance to the events industry during COVID-19” following a petition signed by more than 150,000 people.

The report is being sent to the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and MPs to push for support and action after the debate.

Among the key recommendations are the need for the business events, accommodation and meetings sector to have its own Standard Industrial Classification code and consistent representation.

Co-operating with many associations and organisations including the Business Travel Association (BTA), Alliance of Independent Events Agencies (AIEA) and Advantage Travel Partnership, an HBAA survey found that 81 per cent of the 102 companies who responded anticipated making redundancies, and that 30.6 per cent of the workforce are likely to be made redundant in the next three months.

The report also highlights research by DCMS and You Gov (DCMS Business Survey’ published 10 June) which showed that 77.6 per cent of 357 events and exhibition companies surveyed in May had no revenue after March and 61.0 per cent had furloughed at least 75 per cent of staff.

HBAA is the trade association for the agency, apartment and venue community, with more than 300-member organisations including over 95 agency and 225 venue members.

Lex Butler, Chair of the HBAA says: “It’s been clear since March that the business events, accommodation and meetings sector would be decimated by the consequences of lockdown and would be one of last to re-open, potentially not fully until Q2 2021. It was also clear that special ongoing financial government support was essential and needed immediately.

“HBAA and other industry associations working with Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) have lobbied government energetically throughout this period and have supported their members in asking for this support.

“But it has been made much more difficult because we have all been having to supply and generate our own data to support our case for financial support as the government doesn’t recognise the sector as an entity in its records, only as part of hospitality, tourism or ‘other’.

“It was a telling fact that there was no specific mention of the industry when the Prime Minister revealed the reduction in social distancing and re-opening of pubs, hotels and restaurants. What about us?

“Most immediately the sector needs extra financial support  - a special extension of the furlough scheme, continuing business rates relief, commercial rent relief, a delay in payment of Corporation Tax and a reduction in VAT on accommodation and meetings packages  - until at least Spring 2021 to keep businesses alive and save more jobs. Jobs have already been lost and our industry is on brink of further decimation. This could be a catastrophic result for an industry that will be one of the last to recover, so we must receive this support today”.

“For the future, the business events and accommodation and meetings sector needs its own Standard Industrial Classification code to give it an identity of its own in government data.

“Despite all our efforts, a lack of a clear independent identity has left the industry fighting for its life after being ignored and unappreciated by government. For the sake of the many talented and hard-working people in agencies, venues and services, we must protect its future.”


BVEP welcomes change to physical distancing rules but calls lack of specific reference to events in statement from PM ‘shameful’ and continues to push for support for the UK events industry

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), the advocacy group for the UK’s £70 billion events industry, has today welcomed the relaxation of the current two metre physical distancing rule and the planned opening of parts of the sector, but has called ‘shameful’ the fact that events were not specifically referred to in the Prime Ministers statement in the House of Commons today.

Despite a significant amount of planning work being done by the industry over recent weeks and, more importantly, the lack of any indication as to when live events can resume, once again the events industry has been ignored. As a result, the BVEP continues to warn that the sector is at significant risk of major business failures, resulting in substantial job losses, and will now strongly push the Government to provide further support for the industry beyond October.

Simon Hughes, Chair of the BVEP, said “This is a bitter pill for the entire events industry, and, quite frankly, a shameful situation after weeks and months of work by the BVEP and its partners. Whilst we all welcome the relaxation of physical distancing measures, which has come as a result of sustained work by the BVEP and its partners to provide strong evidence as to how this will benefit the industry and make its survival more likely, it feels like we disappeared today.

“When can we get back to supporting the hundreds of thousands of highly skilled and talented people that work in our industry? When can we start to deliver the economic benefits that this country will need to cope with the long-term impact of Covid-19? I will be asking for an urgent meeting with our colleagues at DCMS, who have been very supportive during this entire period of uncertainty, and will continue to press strongly for further support for those in the industry that have been so badly affected and impacted by the enforced pause of live events.

“As an industry we have been working together, with government, diligently looking at how we can reopen safely, while ensuring that we can have a commercially viable business model going forward. Venues, Agencies and Suppliers have been working tirelessly over the past few months to prepare for a green light to open. While we look forward to reviewing and implementing the detailed guidance over the coming days, which we expect to be issued shortly, we are ready to get back to work, and any further delay will hamper the recovery and threaten the very existence of our world leading and world class sector.”

The BVEP fully acknowledges the huge amount of work that was required to develop the series of Covid secure guidance documents, which were created in partnership with Government and with direct input from various BVEP partners, including for outdoor events the Events Industry Forum (EIF), exhibition, trade and consumer show guidance from the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and conference and meetings guidance from the Meetings Industry Association (MIA). The BVEP website will have links available shortly to the guidance produced by the industry that will form part of the overall guidance produced for the Visitor Economy by DCMS.

The BVEP, which represents the vast majority of associations across the UK events sector, along with all of the leading destinations, has continued to warn that if the industry is not allowed to open up safely as quickly as possible, it risks losing in excess of £50 billion of direct spend and the loss of over 500,000 jobs. It has also continued to make the case that the UK has a world class industry which has the ability, if allowed, to use the power of events to provide world class solutions to help deliver economic and cultural benefits, drive our industrial strategy, secure jobs and reinforce our international reputation.

"Covid 19 and lockdown have been a hammer blow to business events, meetings and accommodation agencies, venues and suppliers, basically for the whole sector. By reducing social distancing to one metre plus and providing guidelines, the Government has wrapped the hammer in plastic.

“However, while we welcome the relaxing of this distance, damage has been done. The development of one metre plus social distancing makes meetings and events just about viable once they are able to take place; keeping it at two metres they would not have been. The requirement for everyone to identify themselves as they arrive is an additional safety measure and giving everyone the confidence to visit venues and meet again safely is the immediate priority for our industry.

“Now, after chasing these guidelines for many weeks, the industry has less than two weeks to put the exact requirements in place. It’s a challenge but one we’re pleased to have at last.

“Even so, many thousands of people in the business events, accommodation and meetings industry will still be made redundant in the coming days, weeks and months. The industry still needs extra financial support  - a special extension of the furlough scheme, continuing business rates relief, commercial rent relief, a delay in payment of Corporation Tax and a reduction in VAT on accommodation and meetings packages  - until Spring 2021 to keep businesses alive when, we hope, the hammer blows will stop and business will hopefully return.”

Wyboston Lakes Resort has been recognised by two industry bodies for first-class event facilities and commitment to health, hygiene and safety standards, which have become paramount following Covid-19.

The certification comes as the government prepares to announce its reopening plan for the industry.

Wyboston Lakes Resort is the first venue to receive the new AIM Secure Accreditation from the Meetings Industry Association (MIA), which is awarded to meetings and events businesses that deliver first-class service, excellent facilities and a total commitment to upholding legal compliance and health and hygiene protocols.

The Bedfordshire conference, training and leisure resort has also become one of the first in the UK to secure the ‘Safe, Clean and Legal’ accreditation from Quality in Tourism, which endorses hotels and venues that meet or exceed minimum standards across a wide range of factors, including compliance with hygiene and food safety regulations

Steve Jones, Managing Director at Wyboston Lakes Resort, said: “Achieving these two accreditations is extremely important for Wyboston Lakes Resort. Our number one priority is ensuring our meetings and events are safe and our team members and guests are protected. We hope our commitment to delivering a high standard of health, hygiene and safety protocols, as well as professional, first-class service, will help our guests to feel reassured and confident in booking with us.”

For more information, please visit

Award winning conference, training and leisure venue Wyboston Lakes Resort has again been recognised as one of the best conference venues in the country.

It has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category for Best Conference Centre at the highly coveted Conference Awards, organised by Global Conference Network.

Director of Marketing Louisa Watson said: “It is a great honour to be recognised as a finalist for such a prestigious award and it is superb testimony to the fantastic contributions of the whole team and the tremendous quality of the facilities at our recently transformed Woodlands Event Centre.”

The £3m transformation of The Woodlands Event Centre was completed in spring 2019. The development has created a stylish and inspiring event centre that is fully equipped with the facilities and technology to meet the needs of the latest generation of delegates and event organisers.

In preparation for reopening after the Covid-19 lockdown, to ensure it is safe for staff, organisers and delegates, the resort developed a comprehensive ‘Safe Events’ policy and introduced several technology solutions including automatic temperature checking, self-check-in and totally cashless and contactless payments.

The results of the Conference Awards 2020 will be announced at a lunchtime ceremony at on 18 November 2020 at the City Central at the HAC.

For more information, please visit

To help the serviced apartment sector respond effectively in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SilverDoor has formally endorsed an updated set of guidelines for serviced apartment operators, and is asking all its partners to run full COVID-19 risk assessments.

Prior to the pandemic, SilverDoor was working closely with two leading health and safety accreditation bodies – Quality in Tourism and Common Sense Compliance – to better inform health and safety policies in the serviced accommodation sector. In light of the COVID-19 threat, both have formulated modified safety policies specifically designed to minimise the risk COVID-19 presents to guests within serviced accommodation.

As global lockdown measures gradually ease, and travellers begin to book again, serviced accommodation can offer safety, hygiene and privacy; priorities that business travellers are more mindful of than ever before. While the accommodation sector is already taking steps to address these concerns, ensuring that demonstrable hygiene and safety measures are in place will continue to be vital in ensuring serviced apartments remain the most viable accommodation option for business travellers.

Alex Neale, Group Head of Partner Relationships gave more detail on the updated advice:

“Driving consistently rigorous standards of safety across our entire global portfolio has always been a priority for SilverDoor and, in light of the pandemic, this push for clear and demonstrable safety and hygiene practices is all the more pressing.

“We believe QiT and CSC offer the most comprehensive indicators that properties are in full compliance with the latest safety measures, improving safety, consumer confidence and booking prospects.”

The updated guidelines could not be timelier, with SilverDoor reporting a steady increase in serviced apartment bookings and hopeful of an upward trajectory of business travel throughout the summer months. More details are available to view in full online here.

By endorsing and sharing this safety and risk assessment review process to all its partners, and through its ongoing partnership with Quality in Tourism and Common Sense Compliance, SilverDoor will help bring clarity for any operator who may be seeking industry-specific guidance and best practice as they begin to reopen.

SilverDoor Group CEO, Stuart Winstone, said of the initiative:

"Traveller safety has always been at the core of our business, but now more than ever, it's vital that we proactively continue to build client and guest confidence. By championing an enhanced level of hygiene and cleanliness protocols, we believe it will further position the serviced apartment sector as best possible choice of accommodation in the COVID-19 recovery period.

“Serviced apartments are undoubtedly the safest accommodation option for business travellers at this time, and by continuing to clearly demonstrate that we offer living environments that adhere to the most rigorous standards of safety and hygiene, we can reassure clients that when they need to travel, they can do so as safely as possible.”

Both Quality in Tourism and Common Sense Compliance are regularly reviewing and updating their guidelines and also offering SilverDoor’s partners a substantial discount on their accreditation services.

With great sadness, HBAA recognises the sudden loss of Michael Purtill, former managing director and founder of QHotels.  Michael was truly a driving force and shaper of the UK hotel industry, known to many of us since he successfully developed the Paramount Hotel Group and then the Principal Hotel Group.  Our thoughts are with his wife and family, all those who knew him, and those who were inspired by him.


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