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10/2020

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Venuedirectory.com has announced that, to support the industry at this time, it is providing a free automatic 3-month extension to all venues distribution subscriptions.

As a further helpful initiative, venuedirectory.com, the industry leader with the largest data centre of venue information about the UK MICE industry, is introducing a new monthly perpetual licence

Michael Begley, managing director of venuedirectory.com explained “With many venues closed and cashflow tight but distribution still needed we believe this support is just what venues need at this time.

“In addition, the annual subscription model seemed out of step with venues’ needs and that was the key reason we took the decision to move all venues to a perpetual monthly model.

“Operating conditions have been challenging for all of us in the industry and with so many bookers relying on our data we felt we need to do something to support the venues and give the meeting planners the content they required. We were fortunate to secure funding to support us through this crisis and we felt the best way to use that was to offer support to the venues. This new perpetual distribution licence will help the venues with their cashflow and allow them to maintain representation through our distribution channels.

“We are committed to supporting the industry in whatever way we can, in our own way and in partnership with mia and HBAA to instil confidence in the corporate community that 30 people can meet safely at over 20,000 venues who have loaded their details on to our Safe Meetings database.

'Never has collaboration been so important; corporate buyers, meeting planners, agents, industry associations and the media have to work together to build confidence as people really do want to meet. There is no substitute for a real face to face meeting"

Barbican Business Events has launched a range of virtual, hybrid and socially distanced event packages for clients looking to use the leading arts and conference centre for meetings and events going forward.

The new offering includes three different levels of client branded and hybrid event solutions, titled Conversations, Connections and Visuals. These include everything an organiser needs to run a hybrid event with add-ons such as vision mixing, pre-event planning and a bespoke branded website for higher value event packages.  Further technical upgrades also include breakout spaces, additional cameras and technicians. 

The enhanced and adapted offerings are being delivered in partnership with the Barbican’s own expert in-house AV team as well as industry partners including AV provider Jacobs Massey and catering company Searcys.

As part of safety measures being introduced, delegates on site will experience a new style of catering provided by Searcys at the Barbican, focusing on high quality through a low contact ‘grab and go’ service, pre-packaged snack bags and bento boxes for lunches.

Clients will be provided with detailed information highlighting the venue’s new operating procedures, including social distancing and hygiene measures, advice on transport to and from the Barbican and the new catering options.

In support of its new event offering, the Barbican has achieved both AIM Secure and the Visit Britain Good to Go accreditations, two industry safety standards demonstrating that the Centre is following the official Government and public health guidance.

Jackie Boughton, Head of Barbican Business Events comments: “We’ve worked hard to provide our clients with the same high-quality business event experience they expect from the Barbican, delivered in new and creative ways.  As a world leading arts venue, which delivers high quality AV for a wide range of exhibitions, concerts and theatrical performances, we were confident we would be able to deliver something special when it came to hybrid events – it is great to see it come together, ready for delivery to clients across the coming months.  We are already seeing high demand for these kinds of events and I look forward to welcoming clients back through our doors in the future.”

Paul Black, Head of Business Events, London & Partners commented: “As London continues to evolve and develop its world leading digital and hybrid meeting offering, it is great to see another one of our key partner venues offering creative ways to support their clients.  The Barbican’s new offering is a great example of how we are increasing our broadcasting and technical abilities across the whole of the capital.  As a city appealing to clients from all sectors around the world it is vital that London maintains a diverse and flexible offering, of which the Barbican is a key part.”

Delegates have returned to Warwick Conferences with confidence thanks to the reassurance of strict guidelines and advanced technological offerings, as the events and hospitality industry starts to open its doors once more.

Social distancing measures, virtual meetings and hybrid conferences have allowed event organisers to provide peace of mind to those attending, allowing teams to come together in a safe and comfortable environment.

British Mensa, University of Warwick’s School of Engineering, Institute of Collaborative Working (ICW), Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) and Dan Bradbury are among the many businesses to have returned to Warwick Conferences since it reopened its doors to meetings of 30 guests.

British Mensa, the high IQ society, opted for the venue’s hybrid package to host its board meeting. With members situated across the country, it was the perfect opportunity to bring the team together and brainstorm creative ideas ahead of its annual general meeting.

Another organisation that chose to make the most of Warwick Conferences’ hybrid offering was Dan Bradbury, owner of a private equity group and business training company. Booking the tiered, horseshoe-shaped lecture theatre to run a mastermind meeting, the team had access to live streaming technology, with a handful of members attending in person and 25 joining online.

University of Warwick’s School of Engineering and ICW were also impressed with the new-look services. To launch International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists 2021, University of Warwick’s School of Engineering held a virtual taster event to inform all members of what to expect from the upcoming conference, with the support of Warwick Conferences. The venue provider’s Cloud Conferencing team ran an online technical run through with the conference Chair ahead of the event to ensure the launch ran smoothly, with over 150 women dialling in on the day.

The ICW took advantage of Warwick Conferences socially distanced spaces to bring a team together for training in person. Keeping in line with guidelines, the venue has set up clear signage, regular cleaning and sanitation stations.

The events and hospitality industry has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul Bartlett, Director of Warwick Conferences, expects delegates to continue to return with confidence following the initial feedback from customers. He commented: “We have closely monitored the Government’s announcements regarding the safety of the public and taken the necessary precautions to meet these guidelines, ensuring the protection of staff and delegates. Hearing the positive feedback supports that we have been successful in our efforts to reassure delegates, whenever they are ready to return.”

The team at Warwick Conferences has adapted its meeting spaces and packages on offer to ensure that groups of all sizes are able to carry out training and conferences, whether online or in person, safely. The venue provides organisers with options that adhere to social distancing including hybrid, virtual and safely-spaced physical events.

To find out more about how the Warwick Conferences team can tailor events to meet your needs visit: www.warwickconferences.com.

arrangeMY are proud to announce the takeover of Tewkesbury based Gloucester Express Business Travel’s client base, following the decision to retire the company in August 2020. The acquisition will inject arrangeMY’s industry leading IT and online solutions to Gloucester Express Business Travel existing exceptional service and care.

Nick Scott Managing Director of arrangeMY said: "We welcome all Gloucester Express Business Travel clients into the ever growing arrangeMY fold. With 20 hugely successful years in business, Gloucester Express Business Travel Centre had built up a reputation as experts in the travel industry and we are only too happy to continue their incredible level of support. arrangeMY will continue the service led ethos while also adding significant value by offering the wide range of additional technology and services that we provide”.

Director Pauline Evans explained ‘‘in arrangeMY we have found a like-minded company that I have full confidence can assist our clients. It was important to me to find a company that offered a similar level of care and support. Even through these unprecedented times, arrangeMY have remained fully operational to support their clients, and so have made the transition period between agencies seamless.’’

Seal of approval from British Mensa

When Warwick Conferences re-opened its doors following the lockdown period, one of the first companies to return was British Mensa. The high IQ society not only held its first post-lockdown board meeting in the COVID-secure facilities, but also hosted its first ever virtual annual general meeting (AGM), for its 18,000 members.

Lifting apprehension

The lockdown period allowed Warwick Conferences to overhaul its services, launching both hybrid meeting spaces and virtual conferencing in August. With Government guidelines ever-changing, its team ensured its spaces met strict policies in order to deliver a safe environment for both visitors and staff.

One of the first teams to experience the new-look facilities was British Mensa. A long-established client, British Mensa invited its board of directors to take part in a creative brainstorm, offering the choice of meeting in-person or joining remotely. John Stevenage, CEO of British Mensa, said: “During the lockdown period, we had a number of online calls to discuss future plans, but we all missed the face-to-face experience.

“We’d been coming to Warwick Conferences for a number of years and were informed of the new-look facilities. Like anyone meeting for the first time after lockdown, there was some apprehension about returning to a face-to-face setting. However, as soon as we walked through the doors at Warwick Conferences, we all felt very safe.”

Socially-distanced hybrid meeting

Warwick Conferences’ team has been working diligently to update its facilities in line with the latest Government guidelines. From rigid cleaning processes to social distancing measures, it has produced a number of new processes to ensure a safe working environment for visitors and staff alike.

British Mensa utilised the new socially-distanced meeting rooms, which, according to John, resulted in an environment which led to an effective and creative experience. He explains: “It was the first time we had met in a face-to-face environment for five months, and it was great. As soon as we got started, we were bouncing new ideas off each other.”

Also utilising the on-site overnight accommodation, British Mensa was so impressed that it decided to arrange more regional meetings using the facilities at Warwick Conferences. John adds: “We could see how beneficial face-to-face team meetings were and want to ensure our regional offices can experience the same.

“The team at Warwick Conferences has clearly worked hard to ensure it is a welcome and safe environment. For me, it was great to be back and we are already looking forward to future plans to meet.”

New-look AGM

As well as being one of the first companies to utilise the hybrid meeting facilities, British Mensa was also on hand to debut Warwick Conferences’ new virtual conferencing service.

Combining Warwick Conferences’ award-winning facilities with its on-site technical broadcast team, the virtual service can support an unlimited number of online participants. Putting the choice in the hands of the delegates and speakers to dial in or attend in person, the facilities ensure global or whole-company events and conferences can still take place.

In a first for British Mensa, it decided to live-stream its AGM, inviting all 18,000 of its members to attend. The Board of Directors presented from the lecture theatre at Scarman, where its members could stream in via an online link. John commented: “We knew the probability of having a live AGM this year were low, and so we decided to plan for a virtual meeting which could be viewed by all of our members.

“We worked with Warwick Conferences and were able to plan and deliver the meeting in just eight weeks. We valued the input from the team, including adding polls and reports during the meeting, and were thankful we were able to join together as a membership during these difficult times.”

Warwick Conferences’ virtual and hybrid meetings are just two of the new services available, as it continues to welcome back businesses. For more information, please visit www.warwickconferences.com/welcometowarwick.

Bristol hoteliers back calls to appoint a Hospitality Minister

Hoteliers in Bristol are adding their names to a petition calling on the UK Government to create a new Minister for Hospitality post to give their struggling sector a voice at the highest level.

An on-line petition calling for the appointment has attracted more than 20,000 signatories, including members of the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA).

BHA Chair Raphael Herzog said: “It’s so important for our voice to be heard because hospitality businesses are always among the first to be shutdown, when more attention should perhaps be focused on other sectors, such as universities.

“Having a Government minister representing our industry could perhaps lead to less damaging restrictions being imposed on us, such as around meetings and events, weddings and the 10pm curfew.

“Most hotels have very good practices in place to keep guests and staff as safe as possible from the Covid-19 risk.

“We are managing the risk and monitoring it, ensuring they observe the ‘rule of six’ and regulations around face coverings and social distancing.

“Many hotel general managers have written to their local MPs asking for more support and for our concerns to be heard.”

He said the hospitality sector has been significantly disadvantaged by not having a dedicated voice at ministerial level.

“Having someone with specific knowledge about our industry will help the government to truly understand the full impact of the decisions they are making the restrictions they are imposing.

“It can be argued that the restrictions are disproportionate at the moment, when you look at Public Health England data for sites of multiple Covid-19 outbreaks over the past four weeks.

“This shows that the hospitality sector accounts for just four percent of these outbreaks, whereas the education sector has 36 percent, and care homes have 26 percent.

“Yet the restrictions, such as the curfews, seem to be clearly targeted at hospitality businesses, many of which are struggling to survive.

“More than 45% of staff in the hospitality sector are still furloughed and we have concerns about whether the new job retention scheme will be enough to protect jobs in our industry.

“Under the new three-tier system, people won’t want to travel to hotels in any area designated ‘very high risk’ but the hotels will still be open, with low occupancy, with staff in place, but with the Government only paying 66 percent of their pay.

“The UK hospitality industry is the fourth biggest contributor to the UK economy.

“It is responsible for around three million jobs nationwide, generating £130bn in activity, providing the Government with £38bn in taxation and yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

“It’s time for our sector to be treated fairly and given the support we need and deserve during these challenging times.”

Wyboston Lakes Resort has been recognised among the best UK conference and meetings venues by the hospitality industry’s CHS Awards.

The Bedfordshire-based conference, training and leisure venue has been shortlisted in the category for Best Mid-Sized Meeting Space, which is for venues with a capacity for between 51 and 499 delegates.

Now in its sixth year, the Awards will take place virtually on 27 October via Zoom and will include audience participation, live performances and cocktail making.

Louisa Watson, director of marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, said: “The CHS Awards are a celebration of fantastic businesses in a great sector that we call hospitality. It has been a very difficult year for our industry and it is so uplifting to be part of something so vital.”

Emma Cartmell, founder of CHS Group, added: “Now more than ever we should recognise and celebrate UK hotels, venues and event spaces. We’re facing one of the most challenging years and winters, after a perplexing summer. We need to rally together and find comfort in our wins and achievements within our sector and look forward to a bright future that we will have again soon.”

NAEC Stoneleigh is set to welcome a drive-in Christmas Pantomime.

In partnership with the Birmingham Stage Company and Horrible Histories, Car Park Panto will be visiting the venue with five performances, across two days, on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd January.

Visitors can get into the festive spirit from the comfort of their own car in a safe, socially distanced Christmas performance of HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS, a story of how Christmas came to be what it is today.

The panto will take visitors on a journey from Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, in a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas as they all join forces to save the festive season

Lynn Gardner at NAEC Stoneleigh, said: “We’re are delighted to be able to host this pantomime and spread a little festive cheer. We are fortunate at NAEC Stoneleigh to have so much outdoor space and with over 19,000 car parking spaces onsite, we are the perfect venue to host this event.

“We have been proven over the summer, that we can deliver outdoor events in a safe and secure environment for everyone that visits”.

Horrible Histories Actor/Manager Neal Foster (Birmingham Stage Company) said; “As you’d expect from Horrible Histories, it’s not a traditional pantomime, but a journey through the story of Christmas in the company of the season’s most fabulous characters.”

There are limited tickets for each show priced at £47 per car (£2.50 booking fee applies).

Performances will take place on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd January. Performance times: 2nd @ 2pm & 5pm / 3rd @ 11am, 2pm & 5pm

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 9th October at carparkparty.com

To find out more information about NAEC Stoneleigh, visit www.naecstoneleigh.co.uk or search for NAEC Stoneleigh on social media.

“Overwhelmed, fearful, uncertain and anxious are just some of the words to describe how many of us are feeling following six months of lockdown and restricted living. Concerns over job security and the viability of businesses, financial worries and the overarching welfare of family and loved ones have all had a significant detrimental impact on the mental health of thousands of people in our industry. 

“We must ensure that our individual mental health and wellbeing is not ignored and recognise when we need to seek support” says Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of HBAA.

“This Saturday, World Mental Health Day, everyone in the industry should take 5 minutes to reflect on how they feel and ask themselves ‘Am I OK?, remembering at the same time ‘It’s OK Not to be OK.

“Many people in this industry were already suffering from mental health issues due to the pressure of work and lifestyle before Covid 19 arrived to cast a black cloud on our lives. It is an issue that HBAA is committed to addressing and part of that has been through pioneering Mental Health First Aider training sessions, and most members of our executive committee and board have become certificated Mental Health First Aiders.

“In addition to working with EventWell and Balancing Edges, HBAA recently became the first association partner of HUGS UK which provides services to those who need support, particularly with their working lives. These organisations provide vital help to those who admit to themselves that they are not OK.

“It’s time for action and the first step is for everyone to take time on Saturday and ask themselves – Am I OK?”

The next HBAA MHFA half day training sessions are on 20 October and 3 November, between 08.30am-12.30pm. Places can be secured by booking here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mhfa-on-line-mental-health-awareness-course-tickets-115740158931?discount=HBAA

Hugs UK can be contacted via their LinkedIn page or by email at Hugs-uk@outlook.com.

Eventwell,  whose mission is to be “The Mental Health and Wellbeing Voice of the Event Industry,” can be contacted at https://eventwell.org/

www.hbaa.org.uk

After 30 years of delivering exceptional corporate events, Bright Vision is planning for the future with a restructure of its board. Ben Hull has become the new Managing Director and his technical expertise will be invaluable in steering the company in the new digital world.

In response to Covid-19, the company has pivoted its products to provide virtual conference and teambuilding solutions in an increasingly digital world. Ben’s appointment reflects this change in strategy to become a more digital and virtual-focused events company. Ben says:

“We are helping an increasing number of firms switch from their previous conference and training formats to a new digital one allowing them to keep their staff engaged and informed in this new era of remote working. There are many advantages to using a platform like ours rather than using Zoom or Teams, to provide a more polished and flexible experience for the presenters and attendees. We have already provided our service for groups of 10 up to 1,000 with great success.”

Ben first arrived at Bright Vision over 13 years ago, and since that time he has built a strong and loyal client base. He remains passionate about Bright Vision’s pedigree, commitment to outstanding customer service and comprehensive product range. This appointment enables him to continue to support the company’s key clients, while also becoming a driving force in delivering the company’s new strategy for sustained future growth.

Since 2007, Ben has led the development of the technical side of the business through exceptional conference production support and technical production skills. He has also driven the expansion of the company’s streaming services, developing a Bright Vision Events Live platform to host all client virtual shows. Ben says:

“Despite the challenges our industry is currently facing with Covid-19 and the inevitable reduction in live events, we have actually seen a huge uplift in use of our streaming platform for conferences and also our virtual team building products. It’s an incredibly exciting period in the company’s history and I am pleased to be able to lead the team into the new digital age of event delivery.”

Chairman and founding director Eddie Hoare comments:

“I have worked alongside Ben for 13 years now and for the last 5 at Board level and I have always been impressed with his creativity, his vision and his ability to deliver outstanding customer service. I am very much looking forward to working with him to develop Bright Vision into a significant presence in the business events market.”

Bright Vision has an extensive range of event services from traditional conference production, conference streaming and virtual events right through to team building and entertainment. The Company is continuing its development by investing in its audio-visual equipment and its people, whilst innovating with the introduction of new, creative events and engaging products.

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