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World-first tool to estimate ROI of L&D programmes launched

Warwick Conferences has partnered with the renowned ROI Institute to launch a world-first tool to support businesses and learning & development (L&D) professionals understand the ROI of their training programmes.

Developed in response to rising pressures to determine the success and business impact of a training programme, the ROI Estimator provides those working on L&D programmes with expert analysis of current or upcoming training schedules.

The online tool -which takes less than five minutes to complete, asks the user eight questions about their training programme. Upon completion, users receive an estimated ROI based on an extensive analysis of almost 2,000 ROI studies, and advice on how to improve a programme, if required.

The launch follows research by ROI Institute and ATD, which explained that while 74% of CEOs believe the ROI of talent investment should be measured, only 4% say they see this in action. In the same findings, 96% said that impact should be measured, but only 8% claimed it was.

With budgets expected to come under more scrutiny than ever before, the launch of the ROI Estimator provides those organising and delivering programmes the opportunity to qualify the success and areas of improvement.

Paul Bartlett, Director of Warwick Conferences, said: “Over the last two years, we have been on a mission to support the L&D industry to prove the value of training programmes. In 2020, we uncovered a real need to make ROI more accessible and easy to understand, detailed in our industry report. As a result, we have created a tool which we hope will provide businesses with an understanding of how impactful their training schedules currently are, and, more importantly, can become.”

To develop the innovative tool, ROI Institute identified eight factors that significantly impact the overall ROI of a programme. The factors – which include the responsibilities of the participants, the perceived value of the course and how involved senior leaders are with development programmes – were determined by the analysis of 2,000 pieces of ROI research. 

Once the ROI questions have been answered, users will understand their program's potential impact through both a monetary figure and a percentage. L&D professionals and businesses will also receive guidance on how training could be improved or if it is deemed a programme of excellence.

Jack Phillips, Ph.D., chairman of ROI Institute, said: “When Warwick Conferences came to us to develop this unique tool, we were instantly excited about the prospect of creating a one-of-a-kind estimator for L&D professionals. We know from our research that CEOs and business leaders want to see more proof that training has a positive impact but determining this can often be over-complicated.

“From our many decades of study, we have been able to determine the key areas in which L&D programmes achieve the most success and business impact. We are in a period where budgets are under increased scrutiny, so the launch of this tool is perfectly timed to support businesses and to enable them to maximise the impact of their L&D.”

The tool can be accessed via the Warwick Conferences website by visiting

Ibis Warrington Lymm goes under the management of Countrywide Hotels

Ibis Warrington Lymm is the latest hotel to go under the management of Countrywide Hotels.

The 61-bed hotel is ideally situated on the M6/ M56 junction in the heart of Cheshire, just 30 minutes away from Manchester and Liverpool. The property is also close to Gulliver's World, Haydock Park racecourse, Tatton Park and Chester Zoo.

Darren Patt, Managing Director of Countrywide Hotels says: “I’m pleased that investors recognise the value we bring to a diverse range of properties - from large, branded properties and resorts to country houses and budget motorway hotels.

“The Ibis Lymm will benefit from our experienced team's hands-on approach, geographically plugging a gap in accommodation demand from our corporate client base into the Warrington area.

According to Mr Patt, “Countrywide Hotels have managed to secure core business through the pandemic into our properties, helping to stabilise our investor cash flows. We’re experiencing large demand from staycation travellers, coupled with the return of corporate travellers and earlier than expected conferencing. “

The hotel ibis Budget Warrington Lymm Services will remain under the ibis and Accor name.

After undergoing a £16million transformation for the past 9 months and poised to boost the city’s post-lockdown economy and hospitality sector, The Queens Hotel Leeds is preparing to open its doors to guests from Monday 14th June.

Celebrating over 80 years in the city, the modernised hotel will not only pay homage to its rich and iconic history but most importantly, it will play to the ‘new way’ people are now using exciting city-centre hotel spaces for coworking and socialising.

Just nine months ago, Leeds council bosses expressed their concern as coronavirus restrictions threatened a “huge, disproportionate” economic impact in the region, with the hospitality sector taking the hardest hit.

Now, just in time for the fourth and final phase of the roadmap out of lockdown this summer, The Queens Hotel Leeds is preparing to welcome the first guests to the new-look hotel from 14th June.

Following the successful Bank Holiday weekend, which saw vast numbers of people flock to the city to take advantage of the long-awaited sunshine and relaxed restrictions, The Queens Hotel has seen a ‘huge’ spike in bookings.

Situated in City Square at the heart of Leeds, the hotel is set to be a tourism magnet and will be instrumental in the city’s post-lockdown revival. With too much uncertainty surrounding foreign holidays, a staycation boom is on the horizon, bringing much-needed footfall back to cities and tourism hot spots across the UK.

The Queens Hotel refurbishment includes a much-anticipated renovation of all bedrooms, as well as adding an additional 17, bringing the room total to 232.

The ground floor has been totally transformed into a host of communal areas, with a ‘social hub’ at the heart of the hotel. The cohesive space will give visitors flexible options to socialise, work, or dine. A far cry from the traditionally quiet hotel lobby, The Queens Hotel aims to ‘bring the outside in’ by offering communal spaces targeted as much at locals as hotel guests.

Visitors can expect what is set to be the best cocktail and dining experience in Leeds as the hotel will be home to Grand Pacific, a sumptuous all-day dining destination comprising a 100-cover restaurant, private dining rooms, bar and cafe.

Alistair Campbell, General Manager of The Queens Hotel Leeds, comments: “This transformation has been eagerly awaited and after a tough time for the hospitality industry we can’t wait to open the doors and welcome the first guests back to this iconic Leeds landmark.

The Queens Hotel is a special place with fond memories for many who have visited or stayed at the hotel. The transformation is truly spectacular and a huge boost to Leeds’ hospitality and tourism industry.

“There has been an overwhelming response to the opening and with people excited to get back out and about to city life we can’t wait to showcase the new look to guests, whether they are staying, utilising our co-working spaces or enjoying the new restaurant.”

For those interested in being amongst the first to sample the Grand Pacific menu, the restaurant is hosting a soft launch offer available from 14th – 27th June. This offers an opportunity for the team to find their feet and ensure everything is running smoothly.

Guests can receive 50% off their food bill by signing up here:

Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire has secured planning permission for an additional 11,000 square feet of modern office facilities to provide businesses with a choice of all-inclusive modern serviced office space.

The flexible space will be structured and designed to be ideal for organisations that are adopting new ways of working post-pandemic as well as those continuing with more traditional office usage. The Resort team are looking to work with a client who wants to create their own bespoke office design, for use as either a regional hub, to exploit the location in the technology arc that stretches from Cambridge to Milton Keynes, or a medium sized business that is looking to create its own new head office.

The space, which will be an extension to the Resort’s existing Knowledge Centre, will feature booths, hot desking, break-out areas, quiet spaces, meeting pods and semi-enclosed areas, kitchen and social areas, and meeting rooms.

Distributed across two floors, the open plan workspace will be designed in a way that facilitates collaboration, relationship building and innovation and enhances the working experience.

Richard Smith, Sales Director for Wyboston Lakes Resort, says, “We’ve been heartened to see both the ongoing commitment of our current serviced office partners, but also the wider demand for flexible office space from prospective clients. This underpins our decision to create further bespoke space at Wyboston Lakes through the development of the extension to our Knowledge Centre.”

The space will be ideal for one large client, or two to three mid-sized clients, with the ability to have separate entrances, staircase and break-out areas. The space will be available on all-inclusive fixed monthly fee terms.

Smith continues, “Occupancy within our serviced offices is really positive at over 90%. With new occupancies due soon, this will increase to circa 93%.”

A lot of enquiries are coming into the Resort from businesses that are looking for the additional benefits of free car parking, excellent internet and the advantages of the resort location, especially meeting space, bedrooms and areas for hospitality and entertaining. Companies are placing a lot more emphasis on the outdoor environment for their teams, including the ability to have the outdoor space for relaxation and walking and also offer access to gym membership. 

The Resort’s extensive leisure and events facilities will be attractive to these companies and their teams. The 380-acre site already includes a four-star luxury hotel, restaurant and bar, award-winning spa and health club, 18-hole golf course, water sports lakes, two state-of-the-art residential event and training centres, and a nature reserve. Companies will also benefit from Wyboston Lakes Resort’s commitment and accreditation in sustainability.

Smith continues. “Modern and creative customer-centric design is at the heart of all we do at Wyboston Lakes Resort. Our new office spaces will provide a cost-effective option for businesses and an innovative workplace for their teams at a time when many are changing their working practices and use of offices post pandemic including relocating.

“This new exciting new development is designed for their needs today and in future.”

“The Chancellor must treat meetings, events and accommodation sector businesses as a special exception and immediately extend the 80 per cent furlough payment and business rates reduction until at least the end of July. Businesses in the sector need this to help them survive the four-week delay in reopening.

“While safety comes first, this delay comes just as CBILS repayments commence, business rates and rents are due, furlough payment contributions by employers are increasing and many staff are expected back from furlough.

“HBAA is continuing to shine a light on our industry by highlighting what is a vital and unique cashflow issue. Unlike bars, restaurants and many other hospitality businesses that will immediately have extra cash in their tills as soon as they are fully open once more, many agencies and venues will have very little income until September or beyond before clients pay their invoices - but before then they will have to pay rent, rates and salaries for staff organising meetings and events. This comes on top of many months of delayed income from postponements and cancellations.

“Very few, if any other sectors, face this financial issue. An extension to the 80 per cent furlough payment and continued business rates relief would, for many, make a crucial difference to their survival for another month and beyond.

“That’s why, in line with the revised reopening roadmap, the Chancellor should give a special exemption and specific financial support to the meetings, events and accommodation sector for its unique circumstances and issues.


Bookings on hold

“In addition, this postponement is delaying the confirmation of hundreds of meetings and event bookings. Research carried out by Venue Performance for HBAA indicates that the average revenue expected between 21 June and the end of September for a London meetings and events venue is £500,000.

“Speaking to HBAA members and contacts across the industry, we are being told that many event planners are waiting for the remaining restrictions to be lifted before they will sign contracts. This continued uncertainty is adding further pressure on their ability to plan their resources and finances.”

etc.venues has become the first hospitality sector company in the UK to join the SME Climate Hub, a new ground-breaking one-stop-shop climate action platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to curb carbon emissions, build business resilience and take climate leadership.

The SME Climate Hub is co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the We Mean Business coalition and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, and has received support from several supply chain leaders including BT Group, Ericsson, IKEA, Telia and Unilever, as well as funding support from Amazon and Verizon.

In joining the SME Climate Hub, etc.venues has become one of the first signatories to the UN-recognised “SME Climate Commitment”, which forms part of the SME Climate Hub. In making this commitment, the company has pledged to halve its carbon emissions by 2030, achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to regularly report on progress towards these aims.

Franck Rosello, Head of Design at etc.venues said, “This is a pledge to act. While our business has, for many years, followed best practice to reduce emissions, by joining this widely recognised campaign, we are committing to targets and to reporting our results. This will ensure that we continually progress towards them and regularly monitor how well we are moving forward.”

The SME Climate Hub was launched at the start of the UN General Assembly Week and New York Climate Week by the High Level Climate Action Champion for the United Kingdom, Nigel Topping and has received initial financial support from Amazon and Verizon, through their partnership with the We Mean Business coalition.


Planners can now source sustainable venues at the touch of a button., the largest booking and data distribution service of venue information in the UK MICE industry, is the only platform in the UK to detail each venue’s range of sustainability credentials.  

Venues which have met the Green Tourism Standard, Quality in Tourism or ECOsmart accreditations are clearly labelled within’s database of over 400,000 meeting and event spaces in 170 countries. 

Ahead of World Environment Day this Saturday, the team at has worked to ensure the database has been updated to include all relevant green accreditations.  

Michael Begley, CEO of, explains: “Sustainability considerations continue to remain front and centre for business event professionals with many building it into their RFPs. There are many routes to delivering an environmentally-friendly event and it often begins with assessing the green credentials of suppliers. The Green Tourism, Quality in Tourism and ECOsmart standards are internationally recognised and provide reassurance for planners, demonstrating that the accredited venues have adopted a solid, sustainable approach. 

"Sustainability for meetings and events can be easy for some and challenging for others, depending on the nature of the event and the scope of the venue. It’s great to see a rapidly expanding support network of organisations, such as ISLA, who can help event planners and venues move their sustainability roadmap forward.” 

Both Greengage’s ECOsmart and Quality in Tourism's accreditations are industry-standard accreditation, awarded to hotels, meeting venues, suppliers to the industry and agencies that can demonstrate an eco-friendly service approach. Around 700 venues & hotels across the UK use the Green Tourism standard, acknowledged worldwide as an indicator of environmentally-friendly practice. was launched in 1993 and now has a database of over 400,000 meeting and event spaces in 170 countries. In 2008 launched the UK’s first end to end solution for meetings management - GRATIS - which is today used by over 50 specialist businesses and organisations throughout the UK.  In addition, the company also developed an open API allowing organisations to implement bespoke online client solutions.   


Conference Care has announced a further step in their goal to be the number one choice for organisations looking for a greener approach to venue finding and event management. Following a rigorous audit process Conference Care were awarded Greengage’s ECOsmart certification, recognising a comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability within their business and promoting a green approach to their clients.

Chris Peacock, Director and founder of Conference Care commenting on the certification said, “We’re thrilled to have been accredited with the ECOsmart award, which we’ve been working towards with Greengage for some time. I’m a great believer in taking responsibility for your own actions, and fortunately at Conference Care we have an amazing group of people making up our “Plan-it!” team and who are committed to making a difference“.

A recent poll by Greengage Travel & Event Solutions, amongst corporates and event industry professionals, revealed 81% expecting environmental sustainability to be an important or very important consideration in event planning during 2021.

Andrew Perolls, CEO of Greengage Travel & Event Solutions, believes that, “Event agencies and meeting venues need to be ahead of the curve as the green agenda ramps up.  The certification process helps businesses develop their green approach, plug any gaps and then demonstrate their sustainability credentials following an independent audit”.

Commenting on this latest ECOsmart certification, Perolls says, “I am delighted that Conference Care have achieved this award. Chris and the team have been passionate long-term advocates of a more eco-friendly approach to events and have operated as a carbon neutral company since 2010. ECOsmart certification formally recognises this and creates the type of objective benchmark that event organisers are looking for”.

Global Serviced Apartment provider SilverDoor has appointed Gary Yen as Business Development Manager to its APAC headquarters in Singapore. 

The firm took larger space at Raffles Place earlier this year and is reporting enquiry levels in the region are healthy, and virtually restored to pre-pandemic levels.  

Yen’s appointment is a further indication that the firm sees growth in APAC as key to its continued expansion. Sophie Brinsley, Vice President of SilverDoor’s APAC office is optimistic: 

“The APAC region was the first to show signs of recovery after the pandemic hit, with business steadily increasing month on month since the end of the first global lockdown last year.”  

“The increase we’re seeing in serviced apartment bookings across the region is a good indicator of the recovering travel market; we’re also seeing an increased awareness of the benefits of serviced apartments within the travel sector in terms of space, cleanliness and security, with these factors now critical when choosing corporate accommodation. On the Global Mobility side, whilst the number of moves has dropped during the pandemic, workload has increased for mobility teams, so expert support and advice for assignees and travel teams is proving more important than ever.”  

A specialist in hospitality management and travel technology, and having previously held roles with FCM and Trip Affiliates Network, Gary Yen will work within the global Business Development team headed up by Pauline Houston, who said of his appointment: 

“Pent-up demand for travel, and the trend towards trips of longer durations, is driving an increase in demand for serviced apartments. We have seen a large increase in the number of TMCs and their corporate clients looking to incorporate serviced apartments into travel programmes. Gary has extensive experience of corporate travel in this region, and we’re delighted he’s on board to help raise our profile and capitalise on this renewed interest in the sector.” 

Wyboston Lakes Resort has gained official recognition for its continuing extensive efforts to operate sustainably by achieving the EcoSmart Platinum Venue Award, after reaching the Gold level last year.

The award has been granted by Greengage Travel & Event Solutions which helps organisations in taking the right decisions to create and implement sustainable business travel and meetings.

Andrew Perolls, CEO Greengage Solutions, said: “We are delighted Wyboston Lakes Resort has attained our ECOsmart award at Platinum level. This reflects an outstanding approach, and an exceptional standard and commitment to environmental sustainability. The principle of learning from best practices and always wanting to do more when it comes to innovation in sustainability is something that Greengage Solutions and Wyboston Lakes Resort share.”  

Managing Director Steve Jones says; “We’re thrilled to receive the Platinum Award.We were keen to continue to improve and aiming to reach the Platinum level helped to drive us forward. It’s great to see that the team’s tireless efforts under very difficult circumstances have been rewarded.

“We won’t stop, we’ll continue to look at how we can keep improving in all that we do.” 

The Wyboston Lakes Resort Green Team have maintained their commitment to making the site more environmentally friendly with new initiatives.

By working with The Energy Check, the resort has implemented a series of energy-saving initiatives that have substantially reduced energy consumption. The resort is now using 100% renewable electricity, which has helped to reduce its carbon footprint by over 60%. Projects are also underway to also remove all fossil fuel from the site.

With the introduction of ten more Tesla supercharger points, there is now a total of 26 electric car charger points on the site as encouragement to guests and delegates.

Committed to waste management, the resort is 'Zero to Landfill' for the sixth consecutive year. New procedures have been introduced to cut back on both food and water waste, which also saves on costs. 

Single-use plastics have been a big focus and, by taking part in the Meetings Industry Association’s #20percentless scheme, on a like for like comparison with 2019 levels they were cut back by 42% by the end of 2020.

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