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Award winning conference, training and leisure venue Wyboston Lakes Resort has been recognised for the quality of its digital marketing by the judges of a prestigious industry awards.

It has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category for Best Use of Digital Media to Promote Sales or Service, one of the Springboard Virtual Awards for Excellence which are highly coveted with the hospitality industry.

Director of Marketing Louisa Watson said: “This is wonderful news in the exciting week when our industry was finally told when we can re-open.

“It is a great honour to be recognised as a finalist for such a prestigious award and a wonderful compliment to the creativity and skill of our digital marketing team that were working during the pandemic to be chosen as one of the best in the industry from a record number of entries. It’s terrific.”

Springboard is a charity and organisation that supports unemployed people by giving them the skills, experience and opportunities to build careers in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries.

The results of the Awards will be announced on Thursday 18 March at a virtual ceremony.

For more information, please visit

Leading industry associations HBAA and Evcom are working in collaboration to inspire and celebrate people within our industry with a month-long campaign throughout March.

The campaign will kick-off on International Women’s Day on 8 March with a session titled ‘Freedom: Work/Life Balance, Life/Work Balance – regardless’, which will take place on Clubhouse. This will mark the reopening of most schools and celebrate our inclusive culture and achievements in these challenging times.

A further three panel sessions will take place throughout March.

The first will be led by Leigh Jagger, director of The Ideas Clinic and former CEO of event agency Banks Sadler. Jagger will facilitate a panel discussion called ‘Aspirational Women within the Meetings, Events and Accommodation Industry’ on 9 March with several leaders who will share their journeys to success as well as their take on the industry today.

‘Bridging the Support Gap in the Meetings, Events and Accommodation Industry’ will take place on 17 March and will be facilitated by Conference News editor, Martin Fullard. This panel will lead discussions on creating invaluable programmes, approaches and communities to support a better industry where equality is the norm.

On 24 March, ‘A Perspective on the Events Industry from the Next Generation’ will be moderated by Amelia Brown, marketing executive of Evcom. This event will profile ‘stars’ to hear their perspective on the current state and future of meetings and events.

Also, as part of the campaign, Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Tourism, Conventions & Major Events for London & Partners, will share thought leadership pieces, throughout the month, alongside others.

Leigh Cowlishaw, HBAA’s executive consultant director, said: “This campaign aims to celebrate, recognise and acknowledge the contributions within our industry. HBAA has joined forces with Evcom to ensure the industry benefits from our united insight, expertise and our collaboration. The campaign is available to all, regardless of which association you are a member of. This is about coming together, celebrating each other and continuing to drive gender balance.

“The series of activities marks the desire to provide the meetings, events, accommodation and film industries with insights from all different points of view, ensuring that we remain resilient and strive to recover together.”

Claire Fennelow, Executive Director, Evcom says, “More than ever, this year has taught us the importance of working collaboratively. It has been such a pleasure to work with Leigh and HBAA to create a programme of events and content that caters to the intersection of our audiences and to both our wider audiences. We are really excited to celebrate some of the amazing women working in our industry today, and to hear their perspectives on the future of the industry. Both HBAA and EVCOM look forward to seeing you (virtually) there!”


Events overview: How to register


‘Freedom: Work/Life Balance, Life/Work Balance – regardless’ on Clubhouse – 8 March at 9.15am.

Hosted by HBAA and Evcom


Aspirational Women within the Meetings, Events and Accommodation Industry – 9 March at 2pm.

Registration link:

Register by: 10:59am on 9 March

Hosted by HBAA and Evcom


Bridging the Support Gap in Meetings, Events and Accommodation Industry – 17 March at 2pm.

Registration link:

Register by: 10:59am on 17th March

Hosted by HBAA and Evcom


A Perspective on the Events Industry – 24 March at 2pm. 

Registration link:

Register by: 10:59am on 24th March

Hosted by HBAA and Evcom reports 48% increase in enquiries has reported a 48%  increase in enquiry volumes. The largest booking and data distribution service of venue information in the UK MICE industry saw the week on week increase just 24 hours after Boris Johnson set out the roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions.

Michael Begley, managing director of, explains:

“The immediate and significant increase in booking enquiries we received shows that meeting and event organisers now have the confidence to begin planning and booking.

After months of uncertainty, we now have the information we need to focus on the future and kickstart our industry. What’s more, I’m confident that we’ll see booking enquiries continue to rise from now on.”

etc.venues receives serious enquiries worth close to £2m within 24 hours of Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement

“This is the largest rush of serious new enquiries for meetings and events we’ve ever had in one day, certainly the most after any previous lifting of Covid restrictions”, says Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing for etc.venues. 

This observation came after the company, the leading UK based provider of urban non-residential event venues, received serious enquiries worth close to £2m in the 24 hours after the Prime Minister’s ‘roadmap’ announcement of likely dates for restarting meetings and events.

He continued “These events are scheduled for late Q2, Q3 and Q4 this year by which time, from September, we will have a further seven rooms including a suite for 240 people, available at 133 Houndsditch in London, increasing the size of the venue by 50 per cent.” 

The enquiries, including one for around £350k, are from corporate and public organisations and associations. They cover many different types of meetings and events, from major training programmes to conferences, both live and hybrid.

Adam Simpson concluded; “This is a great initial indication that so many organisations have been waiting for the opportunity to get back to live events. It’s also a welcome validation of our decision to continue to invest in and develop 133 Houndsditch during lockdown.” guides planners through GDPR changes with new Brexit data protection checklist


Event planners can ensure they address the changes in UK and EU data protection regulations quickly and efficiently with a new checklist. has partnered with Smartec to provide a Brexit data protection checklist detailing the immediate steps that organisations should now take in order to deal with changes in data regulations following the recent EU trade deal. The checklist helps planners to determine the need to appoint an EU representative, what data sets to review and how to update privacy notices.

The UK’s GDPR regulations are now separate from the EU’s GDPR regulations, following the trade deal which came into effect on 1 January this year. This means that there are now two data protection legislations instead of just one - UK GDPR covering individuals in the UK and EU GDPR for individuals in the EU.

Venuedirectory, the largest data centre of venue information about the UK MICE industry, recently held a series of webinars in conjunction with Smartec to guide event planners through the actions now required to ensure compliance. One topic that attendees particularly focused on was the need to appoint an EU representative.

Michael Begley, managing director of, explains: “It was clear from the feedback to our recent webinars that there is great demand in understanding the full detail around the data protection requirements businesses now need to meet. These requirements may vary from one business to another depending on the size of the business, the frequency of data handling and the global range of data.

“Questions we received around the appointment of an EU representative focused on the legal obligations they need to undertake, in which EU country they should reside, whether the representative should be an individual or a company, and any exemptions to the appointment. We’ve worked with data protection experts Smartec to answers these questions and more in significant detail.

“Finally, we’d urge event professionals to act now, using this current time when meetings and events are currently on hold, in order to ensure they’re fully prepared with the correct elements in place in order to do business again once live events are back on the agenda.”


Watch The Effect of Brexit on UK – EU data webinar here.



Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of HBAA commented:

“The government roadmap is a welcomed indication of when we should see the reopening of the meetings, events and accommodation sector. We now have dates for all of us to work towards and to plan the rebuilding and recovery of this resilient industry.

“We are also very pleased to see that pilot schemes are scheduled and will explore changes to social distancing measures, as this area is proving truly challenging when considering the viability of future meetings and events.

“These dates alone are not enough for the survival of some businesses. Our immediate concern is ensuring that our hard-hit industry receives specific and crucial financial support in next week’s Budget to aid its recovery, including the continuation of furlough, rates relief for 2021/2022, reduction in VAT and an extension of grants to businesses.

“Many will not see the benefit of reopening dates for meetings, events and accommodation as an instant fix, but more of a first step towards earning future income after 12 months of having none at all, and a pathway to ensuring our people can return to employment.”

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s ‘roadmap’ announcement, Michael Begley, managing director of, the largest data centre of venue information about the UK MICE industry said:

“Thank you Boris, a clear roadmap is what we wanted and needed to put our industry on the destination to recovery – now we have one.

“There are still lots of hurdles to get over and, of course, we all want it all sooner and faster, but a slower but permanent solution is better than yo-yo-ing in and out of restrictions and lockdowns.

“What is vital now that we have these dates is that the whole industry is united in ensuring that we give corporate event planners the confidence to book live and hybrid events for Q3 and Q4 this year. We know that many bookers have been waiting for this clarification and it will be fascinating to see what impact this announcement will have on traffic and confirmations through our system over the next few days and weeks.” is a UK-based business established in 1993 and has a database of over 400,000 meeting and event spaces in 300 countries. It provides venue data, websites and venue sourcing software to the meetings and events industry.   

HBAA is urging the Government to provide the Meetings, Events and Accommodation sector with clarity and consistency in its recovery roadmap announcement next week.

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of HBAA, which represents more than 250 UK member organisations including agency and venue members in the industry, said: “It is extremely important that the Government follows the data and, as the figures are moving in the right direction, a clear path is established to enable our £70bn industry to reopen successfully and sustainably. Time is running out, or has already run out, for some businesses and individuals, and this impacts our dedicated talent and available expertise.

“To survive, we need financial support and must continue to shine a light on our industry to be recognised. Specifically, we are calling upon the government to set out their ambitions for a phased reopening, with as detailed a timeline as possible, and clarification on the reasoning behind their decisions. Previously, Covid regulations have been dramatically inconsistent across industries, particularly between the retail and hospitality sectors. We are calling for consistent regulations across the board, with details on the type and size of meetings and events permitted at each stage, as well as clarification on a number of issues such as social distancing restrictions.

“This industry needs certainty now, more than ever, to re-open the market and ensure its survival and ability to return as a major driver of economic and employment growth. The significant investment that our members have already made in their businesses to ensure guest and delegate safety, assurances and protocols are in place, needs to be recognised through confidence in our resilient sector.”

etc.venues has secured another major long term government contract, adding to existing corporate and government long term contracts for workspace at several of its properties in the UK. So far, this new strand has brought in around £2m in extra income to the venues since the first lockdown ended whilst their core business of providing space for events, meetings and conferences is suppressed.

The latest addition is at its Maple House venue in Birmingham which has now been selected by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) as a Nightingale Court. etc.venues has been already working in partnership with HMCTS since early summer 2020 and its Prospero House venue in London was the first Nightingale Court to open in early August 2020.

Nick Hoare, COO of etc.venues commented ; “It’s a great compliment to our Covid-secure facilities and our operations team that we have been chosen to further assist the Ministry of Justice to reduce the backlog of trials by providing Maple House as a Nightingale Court.”

Nick Hoare adds “We are expecting a growing number of organisations to use our venues as “space on demand” over the coming months once lockdown ends.

“The enforced new way of working has prompted many organisations to review their need for working space. Some do not want to commit to office leases while the future is uncertain, others have decided to operate without an HQ, with staff mainly working from home, so are booking rooms as a place to maintain connections with their team, suppliers and clients by meeting face-to-face on demand.”

Complete flexibility is the key

Workspace at etc.venues has been taken up by a complete cross-section of organisations, from large corporations and the public sector to small businesses and associations operating in a wide variety of markets., which provides AI-driven total workforce software to many major organisations, is typical of these businesses. Soon after the first lockdown started, Tom Williams, the company’s founder had to make an important decision. The business had offices in central London in a building run by an office space and facilities provider but the lease was about to run out. As everyone was having to work from home, renewing the lease at that time was questionable. Tom decided to let the lease expire.

Once working from offices could begin again, Tom faced a new consideration. While his sales and software development teams had been working from home and holding meetings on Zoom, he wanted to bring them together regularly for business and product development planning.  Tom explains: 

“Our software developers are well equipped and suited for working from home day-to-day. But when planning new projects or coming up with solutions, they are most creative and effective when they are discussing and brainstorming in a room with a whiteboard for half a day or so. Bringing them together also builds team spirit which helps them when they are working in isolation.

“For our sales team I feel it is particularly important to get them together regularly. Several are new to the business and benefit and learn from working in the same room alongside experienced colleagues.”

“I needed to find a place that offered complete flexibility, no long-term commitments – where we could book whatever space we needed at short notice.

“As a result we’ve been booking rooms at etc.venues. They have a variety of workspaces all around central London that provide exactly what we need and we can book up to 5pm the day before. Our teams have worked there sometimes 3 days a week and we’ll continue into 2021.” 

Nick Hoare concluded “Alongside workspace, we are ready with a vast range of spaces, meeting rooms and event technology for many live, hybrid and virtual events once they are permitted, hopefully soon.

“We have continued to invest, develop and adapt as we addressed the challenges of the last 12 months. As a result, we are now in a strong position to service our clients’ requirements in 2021 and beyond.”

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) the official umbrella body and advocacy group for the UK events industry together with the Institute of Event Management (IEM) have submitted comments to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) with proposed revisions and additions to their SOC2020 draft.

The Standard Occupational Classification Codes is the system that categorises jobs into general types for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analysing, and disseminating data. The SOC covers all jobs in the national economy, including occupations in the public, private, and military sectors.

As reported in the BVEP’s UK Events Industry Report, the jobs undertaken by those in the events industry are scattered, hidden and non-existent in the existing SOC codes.

As part of the consultation process by the ONS on SOC extension codes, it was requested that the code 3557 ‘Conference and Exhibition Organisers and Managers’ be changed to ‘Event Managers’. As this level was not part of the consultation it was thought unlikely that this would be approved. The ONS have however agreed to change the new SOC2020 codes so that 3557 is now entitled ‘Events Managers and Organisers’. All the new codes to download at the ONS website.

3557 Event managers and organisers
SOC-EXT2020 SOC-EXT2020 Unit Group Title
3557/01 Conference managers and organisers
3557/02 Exhibition managers and organisers
3557/03 Festival managers and organisers
3557/04 Hospitality managers
3557/05 Wedding planners and organisers
3557/99 Conference and exhibition managers and organisers n.e.c.

Susan Spibey, Executive Board Chair of IEM, commented: “This is just a first step towards official recognition of the sector. There is still much work to do as this does not cover the main SOC Code work neither SIC Codes which are used by businesses to register at Companies House. Again, Events does not exist on the SIC Code framework.”

Caroline Jackson, Vice Chair of BVEP and Chair of the Skills & Talent Working Group said: “We are really pleased that the ONS, and the bodies involved in deciding on the new SOC extension codes, have recognised the need for the generic title of ‘Events’. Once this has been published, it will be up to employers and researchers to ensure that those codes directly related to events are used. For too long the valuable events workforce has gone unrecognised and the pandemic has highlighted the need for official figures that the Government accepts.”


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