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Royal London Group has appointed Conference Care as preferred supplier for Venue Finding Services. The scope of contract includes all Royal London Group businesses and has been awarded for an initial period of three years; launching 1st September 2020.

Royal London went to market issuing a detailed RFP to source a preferred supplier for venue finding services prior to lockdown. Following a robust selection process Conference Care was taken to the final stage of presentations which were hosted virtually. The Royal London presentation panels included Clair Dennis - Communications Channels Manager, Lynda Horsburgh - Events Manager, Jenni Fulton - Events Manager, Adele Gray – Interim Events Manager, Hazel Ritchie – Interim Events Manager, Nicola Reynolds - Marketing Co-ordinator and Ben Miller - Strategic Procurement Manager.

Ben Miller - Strategic Procurement Manager, Royal London –
“We are delighted to announce that Conference Care have been appointed as our partner for Venue Finding Services following an RFP process. The team from Conference Care were extremely professional during a difficult time for the industry and demonstrated a very strong offering that aligns to Royal London’s purpose and strategy. By partnering with Conference Care, we are well positioned to respond to the changes that are taking place within the industry and we are already benefiting from their expertise as we move through the implementation process for this contract.”

Lynda Horsburgh & Jenni Fulton - Events Manager, Royal London –
“We’re delighted to be announcing our partnership with Conference Care. In these challenging times, it gives us great confidence to know we’re working with an award-winning business who aligns themselves with our values to support both large company-wide events and smaller local events.”

Pauline Beattie - Sales Director Scotland, Conference Care added –
“We are truly delighted to be working with the Royal London team. It’s our first virtual implementation of a contract win and has been a great opportunity to think differently. With a strong understanding of the financial services sector, Conference Care is well positioned to align with Royal London’s expectations of a consultative and expert venue finding service, combined with a structured approach to venue contracting and invoicing. We look forward to bringing brilliant people together with amazing venues and building a strong partnership with the Royal London Team.”

For further information please contact Chris Peacock, Director on 02476 369720 or

On 8 September, the first nationwide major face-to-face gatherings of meeting professionals since lockdown

In a united effort to kick-start the events market, many UK industry associations and prominent leaders in the sector have teamed up to create and support UKickstart Event 2020 taking place on Tuesday 8 September at 1400hours.

This free-to-attend nationwide multi-hub live and virtual event will bring together meeting and event leaders and professionals who want to drive the UK to have the confidence to start meeting again.

The event aims to bring the industry together for the first time since lockdown at several UK-wide LIVE in-room venue hubs to demonstrate the power of events and showcase the industry’s role in the economy and its plans for the future.

The initiative is being spearheaded by etc.venues and supported by industry bodies such as BVEP, HBAA, MIA, Visit Britain, ILEA, MPI, ABPCO, EMA, AEO, ESSA, EVCOM, AEV and the London Convention Bureau.

A discussion panel of influential leaders will include a minister from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Tracy Halliwell MBE (Director of Tourism, Conventions and Major Events at London and Partners), and Simon Hughes (Chairman of BVEP). Topics will feature ‘Government Guidance for 1st October’, ‘How we got here as an industry’ and ‘What the future holds for business events’. Additional sessions and guests will be announced in due course.

Attendees can register to attend the event in-person at their nearest Live Hub, which will be located in major cities across the UK, such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Farnborough, Liverpool and Belfast, with more locations to be announced soon. Up to 30 people will be able to attend in person at each venue.

Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing of etc.venues, said: “Confidence levels for events and meetings are on an upward climb. We want to continue to inspire confidence and this was why we felt it was important to be the driving force for a united industry-wide effort by creating UKickstart Event 2020. We hope this event will demonstrate the power of face-to-face events and act as a catalyst to kick-start the events industry.”

UKickstart Event 2020 will take place on 8 September from 2pm-4pm.


During these difficult times for the Hospitality sector, Countrywide Hotels are delighted to announce that they have taken over the management of a group of hotels in the midlands.

The properties will fall under the Countrywide Hotels umbrella, as independent hotels. They will benefit from strong positioning in their local market, whilst enjoying the loyalty driven by Countrywide Hotels Agent and corporate relationships. The hotels total 650 rooms, primarily located in the Midlands and North West of England and include the group’s flagship hotel, Stoke Rochford Hall near Grantham, Lincolnshire. A grade 2 listed building, set in historic parks, a perfect setting for private events use.

Darren Patt, Managing Director of Countrywide Hotels said ‘We are delighted to be working with the owners, and taking on the management of this group of hotels. The collection of properties gives Countrywide Hotels a strong presence in the Midlands. During a period of uncertainty, many good people are unfortunately losing their jobs. I am pleased that we continue to grow and create new roles at Countrywide for our industry colleagues. During lockdown we took the opinion to keep our properties open in support of key workers and Government contracts, this, maintained a much-needed positive cash flow position for our owners.’

The growth in the portfolio for Countrywide Hotels who already manage 15 properties is a positive move. The additional hotels provide coverage for the group in the Midlands and North West England, creating greater choice for customers, clients, direct and through existing agent relationships.

The group plan to focus on repositioning the additional hotels, to bring them in line with their existing properties, whilst ensuring individuality in each hotel. There will be a continued high level of focus on, standards that guests and bookers have come to expect from Countrywide Hotels, and for driving business from multiple channels.

There will also be a focus on managing the change in expectations with demand, along with strong controls on purchasing, which will support delivery of cash flow and ultimately profitability for the businesses.

Countrywide Hotels have a strong reputation for delivering returns, maximising the platforms potential. Known for their management of branded, white label and conversion Hotels. They also have a good relationship for debt funding and can match potential investors with the right assets.

For further information please visit

95 per cent of event planners’ may run a hybrid event in 2020 according to a survey on 29 July by etc.venues. This figure reflects the growing commitment to hybrid events as, at the beginning of July, 73 per cent said they expected to hold a hybrid event this year.

Many are already putting this into action, with 34 per cent of respondents already in the process of organising a hybrid or multi-hub event, while 61 per cent are in the decision-making phase for their event.

The data was collected from 1,215 event planners globally who attended the second in a series of Hybrid Events Masterclasses, organised by global events, training and conference venue provider etc.venues.

The hybrid event, run in partnership with Glisser, was held in two locations, with one live panel in etc.venues County Hall in London and a second across the Atlantic in etc.venues 360 Madison, New York. Online delegates tuned in from across the UK, the US, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Topics discussed ranged from how to best engage virtual and in-person attendees, bringing audiences across locations together via hybrid hubs and networking at hybrid events. etc.venues and its partners have created a helpful Q&A guide that answers the key questions raised across the two hybrid events.

The expert panel in London included Nick Hoare, COO of etc.venues, Mike Piddock, CEO of Glisser, Ralph Cochrane, Co-Founder of Event.Video and was moderated by Samme Allen. The New York-based panellists featured Meghan Carey, Chief Revenue Officer of Glisser and Fiona Macpherson, VP Business Development of etc.venues. The panel members were questioned in-person by Judy Elvey, President of MPI UK&I.  

The panel’s views proved to be persuasive. Pre and post-event polls indicated that during the 60-minute session, delegate confidence in running a successful hybrid event had increased from 5.9 out of 10 to 6.5 out of 10.

Nick Hoare, COO of etc.venues, said: “It is really interesting and encouraging to learn that planners’ confidence levels in hybrid events have grown significantly – and rapidly – over a relatively short time-frame. It is also a good sign that planners want to get back into meeting rooms and see the hybrid as a route offering greater flexibility.

“We all know the power of live events and it is clear that planners, despite recent restrictions, are focused on keeping that crucial face-to-face and live element in virtual events, which is fundamental to their success.”

Venues will be more flexible on cancellation terms but are adding more robust contract clauses to cover potentially similar issues, according an HBAA survey on venue attitudes to commercial terms following the Covid-19 crisis.

The survey of 35 member venues, including 18 venue groups and 17 independent venues, also revealed that nearly all are still planning how to handle the additional costs resulting from social distancing and extra cleaning at present.

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of HBAA says: “This is a shared cost and one of which contributes to guest, employee and delegate safety so it is paramount today and for the future. These costs shouldn’t and can’t be automatically absorbed by venues.”

47% of independents and 44% of hotel groups are still in the planning stages of selling strategies for large meeting space. Many say they are waiting to see how the market settles down before committing to future strategies or at least outlining them.

However, after discussions about Force Majeure clauses, many venues are introducing new wording that specifically and clearly addresses pandemics and Government advice.

Surprisingly, independent venues, often renowned for having the opportunity to be agile in their operations, are behind group properties when it comes to flexibility over allowing customers to bring in their own food and in reorganising the working hours of their conference sales offices to meet the needs of agencies. 87% of independents and 61% of hotel groups expect to provide food in-house rather than enabling incoming deliveries of food for meetings and events, while 65% of independents and 82% of groups are flexing the working patterns of their conference bookings and finance teams to support all parties.

The survey also shows that nearly all venues recognise the need for a type of Covid-safe accreditation such as the Quality in Tourism’s 'Safe, Clean and Legal' to regain consumer confidence. They are working to gain accreditation if they haven’t done so already as well as continuing with their own standards, all to kick start confidence and enable industry recovery.

Juliet Price commented; “HBAA is committed to ensuring that the industry is #FutureFit and an important element of that is learning from the experiences of the last few months, and to be ready not only for a potential second wave, even locally, but also for the new reality. Our HBAA #FutureFit Live event scheduled for 6 October in Birmingham will explore this fully in person and bring it to life.”                                


Further information relating to Friday’s announcement is now available on the government website

This includes the below section on face coverings, and now impacts hotel public areas.

The status of face coverings in meeting rooms is being checked and we will further advise when clarified.

 Extract from the Government’s announcement -

Where will people need to wear face coverings?

We are now recommending that face coverings are worn in additional indoor settings and this will be enforceable in law.    Currently you are required to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, indoor transport hubs and public transport.

For members of the public, from 8 August this will be expanded to include:

  • funeral directors
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage parlours.
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • places of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centres
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities such as laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites)
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • veterinary services
  • auction houses

We recommend face coverings are worn in these settings now, but this will not be mandatory until 8 August.



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