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09/2020

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Time to be creative not limited with our meetings and events

says Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing, etc.venues

The meetings and events industry should be focussing positively on making the most of what can still be created in the next six months rather than dwelling on what can’t be done.

We need to view these regulations as a challenge to our creativity and ingenuity and, because meetings for up to 30 people are permitted, there is plenty of scope.

First, let’s look on the bright side; according to venuedirectory.com, 73 per cent of the meetings booked in the UK each year are for less than 30 people. Indeed, last year etc.venues hosted 19,000 meetings for no more than 20 people across the UK. This is a good proportion of the £70bn industry that we can still facilitate and alot of meetings that can still happen within the regulations – we just have to persuade corporate and public organisations to hold them. The cross-industry initiative Meet Safe Meet Smart spearheaded by the HBAA to shine a positive light on the events for 30 that are already happening is a great start.

For larger events we simply have to be imaginative. For instance, when we held the UKickstart event recently, we had nearly 70 people taking part ‘live’ in County Hall joined by over 200 in-person attendees across 12 locations. At both County Hall and Tobacco Dock, the two venues with multiple groups, separate rooms hosted separated groups of up to 30 and showed the live sessions. We will be repeating this arrangement with the Strategic Meetings Summit London at County Hall in November. The Events Marketing Association, which is also planning a LIVE event to showcase to corporates the Hybrid solutions and the innovations our industry has made, could do the same – there is no need to limit the numbers.  

Simply - if you have a company or association meeting of 300 for January (or before) you can run this safely and legally. Select a venue with 10 rooms for 30 and connect groups to the content using a Hybrid technology platform. It may even be more enjoyable for the participants – after all unless you are a serial networker you don’t talk to more than 30 people at an event. At UKickstart we noticed there was more interaction and networking in the smaller groups– everyone spoke to everyone.

An outdoor rock music festival in Switzerland also maximised its attendance by dividing its fields with fencing and having separate entrances, bars and staff who were kept apart from those in other areas. Cinemas are open and allowed audiences of more than 30; could conference speakers and panels be broadcast from a studio on to the big screens?

These are just a few ways that event organisers can run a meeting of up to 300. We know because we are already doing it.

This is an industry that prides itself on its creativity. Let’s take a positive attitude to the situation, look closely at the rules on what we can do and continue to come up with imaginative solutions to keep the meetings and events industry alive until we can operate freely once more.

Events agency Conference Care is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and as part of the celebrations has partnered with Angels Small Paws, a Midlands based charity which specialises in rescuing and re-housing abandoned dogs.

The partnership has come about after Maria Hardy, Sales Analyst at Conference Care recently took on Missy, a Lhasa Apso and put forward Angel Small Paws to Conference Care’s Plan-It team, their working group which focuses on sustainability and supporting local communities in which the team live and work in.

Angels Small Paws is totally dependent on funding through donations and fundraising, and typically rescues and re-houses about 500 dogs a year.

Chris Peacock, director of Conference Care said “Across the team, we have more than 20 dog owners, so supporting Angels Small Paws is a really good fit with us. Apart from fundraising – and we have some fundraising ideas coming up - we will also give our time and expertise to support the growth of Angels Small Paws. We’ve got a lot of creative & strategic thinkers in the team and are really looking forward to making this partnership a success. Despite much of the events industry being “on paws” at the moment, we know that we have a massive network of friends & colleagues who will help us to make a difference.”

Sarah Ellis, fundraising officer at Angels Small Paws said “We are delighted that Conference Care has chosen us as a charity to support and are looking forward to a long and successful partnership. As we are run by volunteers, all of our funding goes to supporting the re-housing of abandoned dogs. As lockdown restrictions are easing, centres such as ours are seeing a huge increase in the number of dogs abandoned so now more than ever, it’s so important for us to have this support”

Pictured is Maria Hardy and Missy, Maria’s rescue dog, which prompted the initial conversations.

https://www.angelssmallpawsdogrescue.com

Lex Butler, Chair of HBAA commented on today’s announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak,

“Speaking on behalf of the 700K people that currently work or have worked in the UK events, accommodation and meetings industry, the Chancellor’s new measures are not enough to provide what all the agencies, venues and event services suppliers and their staff desperately needed to prevent some of them from closing or making thousands more staff redundant.

“Ahead of reviewing the specific details, we cautiously welcome the new Jobs Support Scheme, the plan for the Government to top up wages of workers covering up to two-thirds of their hours for next six months, the deferral of loan and tax repayments and keeping VAT in hospitality and tourism to 5 per cent until the end of March, and it’s good to see that that the self-employed have not been forgotten. 

“But since this week’s announced ‘pause’ on larger events being able to take place in the UK, there are too many businesses  in our sector facing the prospect of no income or pipeline until well into 2021; they certainly can’t afford to take out loans, or keep staff on even for the reduced hours under the new scheme. Ultimately this is too little to pull them back from the brink and to keep them going, and HBAA will continue lobbying and campaigning for greater financial support.

“Despite today’s intervention by the Government, there will be further devastation of the sector, not only now but potentially for many years to come as so much talent is being lost from the industry.”

 

 

 

 

“Speaking on behalf of the 700K people that currently work or have worked in the UK events, accommodation and meetings industry, the Chancellor’s new measures are not enough to provide what all the agencies, venues and event services suppliers and their staff desperately needed to prevent some of them from closing or making thousands more staff redundant.

“Ahead of reviewing the specific details, we cautiously welcome the new Jobs Support Scheme, the plan for the Government to top up wages of workers covering up to two-thirds of their hours for next six months, deferred and interest free loan and tax repayments, and keeping VAT on hospitality and tourism to 5 per cent until the end of March; and it’s good to see that that the self-employed have not been forgotten. 

“But since this week’s announced ‘pause’ on larger events being able to take place in the UK, there are too many businesses in our sector facing the prospect of no income or pipeline until well into 2021; they certainly can’t afford to take out loans, or keep staff on even for the reduced hours under the new scheme. Ultimately this is too little to pull them back from the brink and to keep them going, and HBAA will continue lobbying and campaigning for greater financial support.

“Despite today’s intervention by the Government, there will be further devastation of the sector, not only now but potentially for many years to come as so much talent is being lost from the industry.”

THE ADVANTAGE TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP PARTNERS WITH HBAA

Working in collaboration for the benefit of members

and for the good of the business travel and Meetings & Events industry

London, 22 September 2020 – The Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest independent travel agent and travel management company (TMC) consortium, has announced a partnership with HBAA - the trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community.  HBAA has around 225 venue members and over 100 agency members.

Among the mutual benefits of the partnership, HBAA agency members will have access to the Global Accommodation Programme leveraging its preferential rates and Advantage TMCs will be able to utilise HBAA’s highly rated Code of Practice for Meetings and Events.

Working together; this partnership will also add value to membership across both organisations and will work in collaboration with other bodies to combine forces on key activities including thought leadership and initiatives to further drive awareness of this sector and influence decision-makers.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, The Advantage Travel Partnership said: “The Advantage Travel Partnership and HBAA share many common goals, including working to collaborate on elevating best practice for those offering services and product in this area. Our aspirations are to be working jointly on campaigns and further strengthen our united voice.

“Every year Advantage, through its global travel network WIN, enrols hotels and other accommodation providers for its Global Accommodation Programme; last year more than 35,000 properties enlisted and as well as stating the number of hotel rooms, meetings and events’ facilities are also detailed.  The Programme is an invaluable resource for HBAA members and additionally due to the Advantage and WIN members’ buying power we are able to secure extremely advantageous rates and we are delighted to invite HBAA members to utilise these. This provision will be in place for HBAA agencies to book from 1 October 2020. As we are imminently launching the RFP for the 2021 programme, it is great timing to open up the ability for more users to capitalise on the content and to offer this to their customers. The 2021 programme has a keen focus on flexibility, duty of care, as well as wellbeing of the end guest.”

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director HBAA, said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Advantage Travel Partnership. We absolutely see this will bring mutual benefits to our members.

“ Whilst navigating the disruption to businesses caused by Covid-19, it is critical that both organisations continue to provide new tools, new ways of working and in some cases new platforms for diversification. Currently some of our members do not book accommodation for their customers and some Advantage members do not book meetings and events; this partnership will enable new service provisions and maximise business to our partners.”

“As we continue to seek out and drive new opportunities for HBAA members and extend the professional standards within the Code of Practice to Advantage members, this is a great time to focus on delivering value to both organisations.”

Nick Scott, MD of ArrangeMY, is a member of both Advantage Travel Partnership and HBAA and commented; “I am delighted that both organisations have come together to collaborate for the benefits of their members. The joint relationship is truly a win win on each side with clear and visible benefits for all.”

https://www.advantagemembers.com

@AdvantageHQ

 

www.hbaa.org.uk

@The_HBAA

The positive attitude of the UK meetings and events industry towards returning to live events was shown by a survey during the recent UKickstart event instigated by etc.venues.

During the event, which was attended by 1,419 event professionals either in person or virtually, almost a third (32%) said that they are planning to run live events this year.

The poll also revealed that the recovery will continue into 2021 as 29% of respondents are likely to run live events in Q1 2021, while 30% expect Q2 and 9% stated Q3 and beyond.

Commenting on these results, Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Tourism, Conventions and Major Events at London and Partners, who took part in the Panel Session at UKickstart said: “It’s a great testament to the power of live events that there is such a strong will to get them going again so quickly; and such a strong demand from our audiences to attend.” 

The UKickstart audience, of which 305 attended in person at 12 venues across the UK, were also asked who they believed was the most confident about returning to live events. The results showed that 43% believe suppliers have the most confidence, followed by planners at 40%, corporates at 10% and delegates at 5%.

Simon Hughes, Chair of BVEP called for greater focus on “the corporate and client base, and delegates” saying part of the solution is “the ROI piece,” adding that we need to work with senior stakeholders to show them the benefit of LIVE events.

UKickstart was a nationwide showcase of a major hybrid event, powered by Glisser and PSAV, and confidence levels and the commitment to running hybrid events has been on an upward trajectory over the past few months, according to previous surveys conducted by etc.venues. Over a four-week period in July, for example, the percentage of event organisers planning to hold hybrid events in 2020 grew from 73 per cent to 95 per cent.

Adam Simpson, director of marketing at etc.venues who initiated UKickstart, said: “It is great to see so many people planning events for this year. Although the Government’s recent announcement created a slight dip, we are already seeing the momentum towards our recovery increasing once more. In fact, we were among those who remained confident that the recovery of the meetings sector would continue and will remain committed to building the momentum.”

 

A renowned hospitality consultant has welcomed one hotel group’s efforts to promote staycations and encourage people to book UK breaks – after getting the seal of approval from his son, Leo.

James Bland, board director at BVA BDRC, has been impressed with the investment of Focus Hotels into creating some eye-catching maps on new dedicated staycation pages on the websites of several of its hotels.

The maps highlight in a very visual way the wide range of activities and attractions available within easy range if using one of the hotels as a base.

James said: “For about a year, Leo has been fascinated by all things connected with history, and among his collection of books are a number with beautifully-illustrated maps telling the stories of long-lost empires and various wonders of the ancient world.

“When I first saw the maps Focus Hotels had commissioned, the style reminded me of some of these books, and before I knew too much about it, I’d spent about half an hour looking through them all.

“It occurred to me that Leo, who is five-years-old, would like them, too, so at the end of the day we sat together looking through them, picking out the animals.

“Leo was keen to add his own ‘mark-up’ to the maps, showing which of his ‘Horrible Histories’ books was most appropriate to each area on the map, which gave us a chance to talk about the different locations.

“The maps are a great way to present a lot of data in a way that is efficient and engaging. How better to illustrate proximity to local attractions and, by extension, associate that proximity with your property?

“They’re great for a family which is planning a staycation as well as a planning resource and a really good way to involve children in that process.

“As well as benefiting the hotels, of course, they could very well act as a useful tool to promote the featured attractions, particularly if framed alongside some sort of incentive or challenge to visit as many as possible.

“That they are so eye-catching, too, is an added benefit.”

He added: “Staycations, then, have never been as critical to the UK hotel sector as they are now.

“BVA BDRC estimates that 122 million hotel room nights were spent overseas by British travellers in 2019, which means there remains an opportunity for UK hotels, as long as they can coax domestic travellers to get out and about.

“Part of that will be convincing them that staying in a hotel is safe, and that properties are clean.

“When the time comes when every hotel is considered both clean and safe, in order to stand out from competitors, they’re gong to have to again focus on winning business through superior service and appealing packages.

“This investment from Focus into creating dedicated staycation pages with these highly-visual and engaging maps is an excellent way to encourage people to take staycation.”

From historic houses and castles to theme parks and days out, from garden parks and walks to shopping and activity breaks, the Focus Hotels maps feature is something for everyone from young couples and families, to retired people.

Many of the hotels are also offering Staycation Special deals, too.

Peter Cashman, Chief Executive Officer of Focus Hotels, said: “There’s no doubt that, as the lockdown restrictions eased, people have been more confident booking staycations instead of travelling further afield.

“We quickly recognised this and wanted to do something to make it even easier for people to choose a staycation, so we invested in creating these dedicated pages on our website.

“It’s heartening to receive such positive feedback from a recognised and respected person like James, who is a well-known and sought-after industry speaker and consultant.

“The fact he has had such enjoyment with his son Leo in exploring the maps is exactly the kind of engagement we were hoping for, and I hope that many more families get to discover some long-lost, hidden or forgotten treasures in the UK.

“And, of course, we hope they will choose to visit those attractions, using one of our hotels as a base, providing a much-needed boost to the hospitality sector.”

There are new Staycation sections on the websites of the Hotel Colessio in Stirling; Albrighton Hall Hotel & Spa, near Shrewsbury; the Swan’s Nest Hotel at Stratford-upon-Avon; Hatfield Oak Hotel in Hertfordshire; Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa in Leicestershire and the Oxford Witney Hotel on the edge of the Cotswolds.

 

Venues at Northumbria Join Lime Venue Portfolio

Venues at Northumbria, the conference and events team at Northumbria University, has become the latest member of Lime Venue Portfolio. The venue will increase the academic venue options within the group and include both heritage and modern options for event organisers looking for a campus environment.

Venues at Northumbria join the portfolio on its ‘Lite Package’ and are taking bookings for events from Easter 2021 and beyond. As well as benefiting from both the sales and marketing excellence of Lime Venue Portfolio, and the thousands of enquiries handled by the group’s award-winning central sales team, Venues at Northumbria have introduced a Pandemic Clause into its terms and conditions.  The clause means the venue can return any deposits or payments up to the date of cancellation (not including residential accommodation.

“We’re looking at where business will be coming from in 2021, and the early signs are that academic venues and training facilities will be important to the corporate market. These events aren’t just about medical and scientific events, but for those looking for a ‘campus’ or learning environment,” commented Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. “The Pandemic Clause is also really important. It allows clients the confidence to book early, get better rates, but without risk.”

“It’s great to have Venues at Northumbria in the group, they have a refreshing approach to meetings and events, and provide our customers with more options both in the North East of the UK and within the knowledge-based venue sector,” concludes Jo.

Within Venues at Northumbria, event organisers now have a choice between the university’s City Campus, its spectacular Great Hall, Coach Lane Campus, and the £30 million Sport Central as well as a range of student accommodation during summer months. Each venue is operated in an environmentally responsible way and also allows organisers to combine different types of meeting; be it incentive followed by banquet, conferences with training elements, or team building within a convention format.

“We’re really pleased to be part of Lime Venue Portfolio, the group already has some amazing venues within it, and we want to benchmark ourselves against the very best,” commented Barry Nicholson, Commercial Conference & Events Manager at Northumbria. “We’re really excited about the work the brand is doing around food quality, sustainability and waste, all of which sit well with the values of our own venues.”

Lex Butler, Chair of HBAA commented

“Following the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier, the business events sector which underpins economic growth for all industries, has today been further decimated.

Many of our agency and venue members have gone beyond or are at tipping point; they have had to make redundancies, they are unsure if their businesses can survive, many haven’t had any income for over six months. Financial reserves and overdrafts are exhausted, and this news will regrettably accelerate the inevitable.

Whilst HBAA fully appreciates and supports the need for these tighter measures in the interests of the country’s fight back against the spread of Covid 19,  we must  receive substantial financial support without delay. We continue to campaign and lobby for additional financial support specifically for our sector,  and we have to see action now if our businesses, and the industry, are to survive.”

 

Read the full statement by the Prime Minister here https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-commons-statement-on-coronavir...

 

Meet Out to Help Out, the sales incentive scheme for the business events industry proposed by Venuedirectory.com is gaining momentum

Nigel Huddleston MP, parliamentary under secretary of state for sport, tourism and heritage at the department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), acknowledged the proposed scheme during an interview within the recent UKickstart Event 2020, initiated by etc.venues.

At the nationwide multi-hub live and virtual event Nigel Huddleston said: “We’re open to conversations and I’ll continue the dialogue with the Treasury. I think we’ve seen with various measures such as Eat Out to Help Out that if we need a kind of innovative intervention we are willing and able to do so. I’ve already been lobbied for the Meet Out To Help scheme and it is really important we get the information directly from the sector.”

Support for Meet Out to Help Out, put forward by Michael Begley, managing director of venuedirectory.com, is building with many hotels, venues and suppliers voicing their support. This includes Abstract Events, Studio Venues, Venues of Excellence, Jurys Inn (Hinckley Island), Classic British Hotels, Amaris Hospitality and the National Conference Centre based at National Motorcycle Museum. Support and interest is growing on social media under #MeetOutToHelpOut.

Heather Thornton, from business club and private sector lobbying group Downton In Business, says: “Meet Out to Help Out would be a brilliant initiative! We need to get people back together and networking in a safe and organised environment.”

Michael Begley, managing director of venuedirectory.com, comments: “We’re delighted that our proposal is gaining momentum. All sides of the industry - corporates, agencies and venues – need to work together to ensure it remains on the Government radar. We need their support in generating much-needed momentum and confidence in the industry and are confident Meet Out to Help Out is a workable solution.”

Explaining Meet Out to Help Out, Michael says: “I would suggest corporates need to commit to booking their next meeting or event and put down a deposit with the venue to demonstrate their commitment. If they can do this, then the venue can pass on 50% of the commission to the booking agent immediately after the booking is confirmed and the deposit paid. 

“This will not only generate momentum to keep the sector moving in what is an incredibly tough trading period, it will also boost the cash flow of agencies, many of which are vulnerable at this time. To further boost confidence and minimise risk, the corporates should be able to receive a refund up to 14 days prior to arrival if they choose not to hold their event.”

www.venuedirectory.com 

#MeetOutToHelpOut

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