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Inntel are a fast paced and dynamic meetings and travel management company.  As well as the immediate desire to drive a quick recovery from the current pandemic, there is a strong growth strategy in place for the future which has seen a number of changes in key positions at the agency.

Sian Sayward has been appointed as a Director of Commercial Partnerships and Projects. Sian has been with Inntel for 16 years in a variety of roles and Douglas O’Neill, CEO, said: “Sian’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for Inntel, her ability to turn her hand to anything and make it a success is critical to our business moving forward”. Sian will continue her role as HBAA Board Member alongside her new role at Inntel.

Anna Snoep has been appointed as Director of Operations, expanding her role to encompass all operational departments at Inntel. Douglas O’Neill said: “Anna has demonstrated her ability to implement significant change and bring about positive outcomes in her current role and I look forward to her extending this across the business.

To support these appointments, Callie Richards and Katy Johnson have been appointed Supplier Partnerships Manager and Head of Meetings & Corporate Groups respectively. Douglas commented: “Both Callie and Katy have been integral members of the Inntel family for many years and I am confident that they will continue their invaluable contribution in their new roles as part of the Management Team.

“Only when the industry goes out, shares experiences, increases confidence and meets face to face will the recovery of meetings and events gain momentum” says Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director

HBAA has demonstrated its commitment to kick-starting the meetings and events industry into life again by announcing a series of face-to face meetings and events to take place in the next few weeks and months.

The series starts tomorrow, on Wednesday 29 July, at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes to which all of the association’s Board will travel by car and public transport from areas including Dorset and Yorkshire to be present, in person, and to meet shoulder to shoulder.

At the same time, the HBAA is launching an initiative to encourage all its agency members to re-start venue visits and site inspections and, to demonstrate this, share photos and posts on social media as part of its #HBAAFutureFit #businessready campaign.

Juliet Price says: “We’re hoping that posts where members capture agents’ visits to reopened, permitted hotels, venues and serviced apartments and experience the measures that have been put in place to ensure the safety and welfare of guests, delegates and employees, will send positive messages beyond our industry.”

In mid August, HBAA is bringing together its Agency members for an Engagement Meeting and is aiming to have the maximum permitted audience of 30 attendees in the room, whilst continuing to exercise social distancing.

Then, on 6th October, soon after large events are allowed to start, the HBAA members event – HBAA FutureFit Live - will take place in Birmingham with HBAA hoping that most of its 300 members will be represented there. As long as the industry is permitted to hold an indoor meeting of this size, this will be a ‘live-only’ event.

Juliet Price concludes: “Months ago we wouldn’t have felt the need to showcase that we were meeting face to face at a board meeting, this was ‘a given’.  However, now more than ever, leading by example is essential for our industry, and the HBAA board is keen to show its commitment to re-establishing customer confidence for corporates, event planners and delegates by arranging these meetings and events.  HBAA will also be supporting other organisations and initiatives that are promoting shoulder to shoulder live events in the coming weeks. Virtual platforms will not and should not replace such activities.

“Only if the industry goes out and meets face to face will the recovery of meetings and events gain momentum and drive the return of corporate customer confidence in the sector.” 

#HBAAFutureFit #businessready   

An industry-leading health and safety consultancy has given the independent businesses within the Focus Hotels Group a clean bill of health.

The branded hotels within the group have also been subjected to acclaimed schemes as they seek to assure people that they can safely welcome back guests as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Buckinghamshire-based Clifton Environmental Services, a leading global provider in its field, has awarded Certificates of Conformity to Focus Hotels.

This means that they have been independently audited against the scope of Clifton’s stringent Covid-19 Protect Scheme.

Each hotel has demonstrated that it has a robust Covid-19 protection policy, a property hygiene safety risk assessment, staff training in Covid-19 awareness and control, a high standard of property disinfection protocols, social distancing systems and proper PPE management.

The Hilton hotels within the Focus group all comply with Hilton’s acclaimed CleanStay program and the Accor hotels managed by Focus have been scrutinised under the Allsafe label, which itself is verified by Clifton.

Lynn Hood, Chief Operating Officer of Focus Hotels, said: “As our hotels have been re-opening to the public, it’s vital that people can book their business travel or a well-deserved post-lockdown break with the assurance of knowing that all our accommodation is as clean and safe as possible.

“The Hilton and Accor brands already had their own enhanced cleaning initiatives, and we wanted to ensure that our independent hotels were also subjected to the strictest regimes.

“That’s why we invested in the Certificate of Conformity from Clifton Environmental Services, who support businesses in over 70 countries and are proven, and respected, global leaders in what they do.

“This means our guests can come to our hotels with confidence, secure in the knowledge that they have all been assessed against the very highest standards when it comes to protecting people from the Coronavirus threat.

“It also means that our staff who are returning to look after our guests can also be assured that we are providing the safest possible environment for them, too.”

Focus Hotels manages properties throughout England, Scotland and Wales, a number of which have provided accommodation – under closely controlled conditions – to essential workers during the lockdown.

But since July 4, hotels have been able to re-open to the public. Some did re-open as soon as they could while others are making final preparations before they re-open their doors.

Lynn added: “Many people have been largely confined to their homes for a long period during the lockdown and while the hotel experience post-lockdown will be different to how it was before, I’m sure many people will welcome a change of scenery, and the chance to enjoy some high-quality accommodation.

“We can’t wait to give a warm welcome to guests – familiar faces and first-time visitors – at our hotels all over the country, now that they’ve all been given a greatly enhanced clean bill of health.”

The Barbican has appointed the global event WiFi provider Max WiFi to enhance its WiFi services and network management for event attendees, staff and the public.

Max WiFi has upgraded the WiFi across the Barbican Centre, which now delivers greater performance in terms of capacity, speed and signal strength. In particular, the upgrades will support the Barbican’s hybrid and digital business events offering. Further details on this new offer will be announced shortly.

The network upgrade includes:

  •         Installation of approximately 40 additional Wireless Access Points across the Centre’s event spaces 
  •         Stronger signal quality through upgrading existing WiFi Access Points
  •         An improved end-user WiFi experience with faster speeds and increased signal strength 
  •         Increased capacity, allowing delegates to connect multiple devices in more event spaces 
  •         The option to have Max WiFi Event Engineers on-site during events to offer support

Lee Dobson, Head of Barbican Business Event Management said: “We are looking forward to the impact Max WiFi will have on our network, particularly as a result of the significant switch to hybrid and digital events we are seeing as a result of COVID-19. Thanks to Max WiFi’s extensive experience within the events industry, when we welcome delegates back to the Barbican, we are confident they will receive a WiFi experience synonymous with an internationally renowned venue.”

Max WiFi will be working closely with the Barbican Business Events team over the three-year contract, to maintain the network so it delivers maximum benefit to the Barbican’s many visitors.

Max WiFi are a specialist event WiFi provider, who support other venues such as Tobacco Dock, Central Hall Westminster & Sea Containers House. They also supply service to a number of high-profile temporary events such as Frieze Art Fairs, Fever-Tree Tennis Championships & Hillhead Quarry show. Max WiFi engineers work around the world, building and supporting event WiFi networks. 

“After several months of lobbying, and providing significant amounts of evidence and research to government, and working closely in partnership with our colleagues at DCMS, we are delighted that today the Prime Minister has finally announced a Go Date of October 1st  for the recommencement of business events and exhibitions, subject to the successful completion of some pilot events.

“While this news will come as a great relief to the entire events industry, we are still conscious that the sector will require significant support going forward, as it looks to rebuild and renew, and we will continue to engage with government to look at practical ways to ensure that our world class industry continues to thrive and support the UK’s overall recovery over the years to come.

“We also look forward to working with DCMS to ensure a successful outcome of the pilot scheme and will provide further updates to the industry as soon as we are able.

“Finally, we would like to thank the entire events industry for their patience, resilience and support that they have demonstrated over what has been an incredibly challenging few months, and we look forward to working together, with one voice, as we look towards the next stage of our recovery”.

A continuing major rush of enquiries has come from businesses looking to book weekly meetings space long term as they give up their London office.

Strong evidence that many businesses are planning to give up having offices has come from etc.venues which offers more than 270 meeting rooms mainly in London but also in Manchester, Birmingham and New York.

Since 1 July, when a major surge of incoming enquiries for meeting rooms began, more than 25 per cent have been from companies planning to give up having a permanent office, especially in London. Typically, they want to book one or two meeting rooms for two days a week for six months for internal meetings and for appointments with clients and suppliers. For the rest of the week all staff will work from home.

This is a clear sign that remote working during lockdown has led employers to review the role and cost of the office space, and to look seriously at alternatives.

Nick Hoare, COO of etc.venues said: “We appear to be seeing the start of an office culture paradigm shift. Lockdown has forced employers to try out and establish remote working practice on a widespread scale and to be more flexible about how they work. Many businesses are now looking to give up their current offices and the rigid leasing costs involved, and instead pick from our wide range of contemporary and creative meeting spaces to use them for internal and client meetings, typically for two days a week.

“They recognise the continuing need to bring their teams together frequently because working from home can be isolating and can eliminate the personal connections that are built in an office. As the Prime Minister said in this coronavirus briefing on 17 July – ‘there is no substitute for face-to face meetings and interactions.”

“At long last, finally we have a date to work to and the uncertainty is over,  after all the hard work in lobbying and making preparations to ensure the safety of delegates and staff.  

“It’s great news, but we’re reserving our celebrations until we see the small print.”

Meetings and travel management company Inntel put their COVID Hub into the public domain, to help users find the latest information and guidance on travel restrictions, pre-travel requirements and valuable industry insights.

It has created a resource centre which is based around the company’s recovery cornerstones – Travel Safely, Share Knowledge, Stronger Together and Meet Better

Travel Safely: Our new COVID Hub puts our clients at the centre and helps support their business to return to travel safely. Inntel are game – changers in the world of meetings and travel management. Inntel have integrated policies from travel providers and venue suppliers into their Travel Safe Hub and online booking tool, LOGiC. This means that users can view the policies during their booking journey and all the data is updated in real time.

Share Knowledge:  The COVID Hub has a range of practical advice to help direct users to industry resources or our own research in the form of a series of papers looking at rebuilding team spirit post lockdown and re-imagining the meetings space. The first in the series has been published and can be downloaded on the Inntel website, Recovery: Part 1

Stronger Together:  Inntel’s key priority throughout this pandemic has been to support all their stakeholder groups. The COVID Hub gives an overview of how Inntel have been doing this and continue to do so.

Meet Better:  The landscape of the meetings and events industry has changed drastically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID Hub looks at the future of live meetings and events, the value of meeting face to face, virtual and hybrid meetings and the fact that people are likely to meet less but meet better in the near future.

  • New report by Warwick Conferences reveals inconsistencies with industry surrounding evaluation process of training programmes
  • One in five admit running the same programme annually, regardless of feedback or business impact
  • 44% L&D directors concerned that calculating ROI could reveal problems with programme, forcing a change of structure
  • 20% senior leaders do not have training programmes in place

Learning and development (L&D) has an important role to play in the long-term business recovery plans, but evaluation processes must be reviewed, according to a new report.

As businesses start to think ahead to business as usual, the attitudes towards L&D and its necessity will be more important than ever. According to a survey of 200 directors across finance, HR and L&D by Warwick Conferences, which was undertaken before the impact of Covid-19 was known, investment in L&D programmes was set to increase among many organisations in the UK.

While the need for L&D - once businesses are up and running again - is undisputable, the attention for training programme managers must turn to the evaluation processes. That’s after the report found that almost half of L&D directors were concerned that calculating the return on investment (ROI) of training programmes could lead to an enforced programme change.

Prompting concerns of complacency, the report – The ROI Conundrum - also found that more than two-thirds confirmed that they don’t send participants a feedback survey within a week of the training programme commencing.

However, other methods, such as setting KPIs against the training objectives and monitoring new skills in performance reviews, were preferred. In addition, almost all respondents claimed that at least one action is taken by managers following a programme.

Following the growing business uncertainty faced across the globe, it is expected that any budgets provided will come under more scrutiny than ever and a clearer ROI will be increasingly important.

The findings from Warwick Conferences’ report show clear inconsistencies when calculating the ROI of a training programme, with more than 90% saying there was at least one barrier to measuring ROI. Among those, complexity and lack of an accurate tool were high on the agenda.

Paul Bartlett, Director at Warwick Conferences, said: “It’s clear from this survey and report that L&D still holds significant importance to organisations across the UK.  When businesses start to look to future-proofing, L&D will have an important role to play and if this is the case, it is likely that there will be more scrutiny on programmes.

“L&D planners must ensure they are equipped to prove the training programmes in place do deliver business impact, as it is likely that questions will start to be asked.”

The ROI Institute, which helps organisations across the world measure the success of projects and programmes to maximise their financial investments, has welcomed the report and has challenged the notion that lower investment leads to greater ROI impact.

Jack Phillips, who provides commentary within the report and is Chairman of the ROI Institute, comments: “It is great to see that there are positive attitudes towards the role of L&D within the wider business function in the UK. However, finance teams should not be deterred from L&D, especially if the main reason is to reduce cost. We have studied thousands of programmes, and we find that it is not unusual to find cheap programmes deliver a negative ROI, with greater business impact coming with more investment.

“The quality of the programme – both in the delivery and location – has a positive impact, according to our years of extensive research. L&D directors and programme managers need to ensure that, if they are receiving budgets, that they employ a proactive approach to calculating ROI and proving the value that training brings.”

As a result of the findings, Warwick Conferences has teamed up with the ROI Institute to deliver a first-of-its-kinds tool to support the L&D industry.  To find out more information, and to receive a copy of the report, please visit the UK’s largest and most widely used database of meeting and event venues, recorded a 32.5 per cent growth in the seven days ending Sunday 12 July in enquiries for venues for live events.

Michael Begley, managing director of observed. “This is an encouraging sign of growing confidence among meeting and event bookers even though the industry still doesn’t have a date for reopening and events are likely to be operating under social distancing guidelines.

“Most revealing is that around a third were for Q4 this year, about two thirds for 2021 and nearly all are for the UK.

“We are still somewhat below our normal levels of 4,000 enquiries per week, but these are green shoots of recovery for Meetings and Events, and once we have a date from the government, hopefully very soon, for all venues to reopen their conference rooms and exhibition halls, then I expect volumes to shoot up much further and faster.”


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