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Bookingzon, a specialist online accommodation bookings system provided by Convenus LLP has been appointed to provide a partnership service by Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau.

This is the latest cooperation between Bookingzon and UK conference destinations with a similar service being provided in Bournemouth, Bristol& Bath and Conwy & lLandudno.

In addition the system is being used on a partnership basis with a number of leading event agencies that do not provide an online accommodation booking facility as part of their service to clients.

Convenus Managing Partner Simon Richards said: “ This is a great opportunity to work with a forward thinking and fast developing destination. Our service compliments and supports their plans to provide top class venues and services to attract new and previous clients.

We have been constantly developing our system over the past 5 years and have just completed the design of a “self service” system option for those partners who prefer to manage everything themselves, however following a massive change in available resources during the pandemic many destinations are asking for more information on our full service model."

Bookingzon allows a CVB or Destination to offer a fully serviced delegate accommodation booking service to clients using guaranteed allocations at no cost as all costs are borne by Convenus with the added bonus that an agreed rebate of commission earned is made to the destination partner for future
marketing opportunities.

This essentially means that delegates receive a first class service as part of the main destination/CVB offering but with no resource or cost for the destination partner required.

It really does provide for a first class user experience with no upfront licence or commission costs which will allow for a quicker and more profitable recovery for us all.

Karen Tocher, Business Events Manager, Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau. commented” As we plan for the reopening of business events, the team have worked to develop the services and support to better serve and secure future national and international meetings. The partnership with Convenus will allow the Bureau to actively support and attract more and larger events for the destination, freeing up valuable resource to focus efforts on proactive bid activity supported by our Pathfinders Programme.

For further information or for an informal discussion about either the full service or self service options please contact Convenus LLP.

Birmingham’s Unique Network (BUN) hosted its first business networking event in Birmingham on 21st July 2021. Held at Pushkar on Broad Street, the event was a huge success with 63 attendees from Birmingham’s buzzing business sector.

B.U.N was created by Sheila Kelly-Trow in association with Unique Venues Birmingham and aims to host events for networking and relationship building for businesses in Birmingham. Attendees are from a range of business sectors and the aim of the events is to create meaningful business connections and relationships in the city.

“Thank you for putting on such a great event, it was great to be out networking again and of course it was very well organised with agreeable company and delicious food. I look forward to attending the next one.” Simon Greenfield, Colour Cubed.

“What a lovely time we had catching up with the magnificent Rai from Pushkar, the food as always was scrumptious. Thank you also to Sheila Kelly–Trow and Suzanna & Sarah from Unique Venues Birmingham for arranging a fabulous lunch. Here is to optimism and friendship.” Andrew Kay, Arcade Property Ltd.

"Excellent networking event with excellent food, so lovely to be able to meet with everyone again after 18 months.  Fabulous turnout and looking forward to the next one in August.  Best networking group in Birmingham!" Jacqueline Bullock, Pertemps.

Luas Diagnostics of Guildford, Surrey, today announced the launch of a test to determine immunity to Covid-19 post infection or vaccination.

The product, which is manufactured by Chembio Diagnostics Systems of New York, uses a fingerstick of blood for the detection, differentiation and quantification of IgM and IgG receptor binding domain antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The results are read and stored in a portable reader which provides semi-quantitative results in either laboratory or remote settings. The total time to result is 15 minutes and the antibody response is represented numerically.

William James, Professor of Virology at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford stated:

Antibodies in the blood, induced either by SARS-CoV-2 infection or, even more importantly, by vaccination, are critical in protecting people from future infection and severe Covid19 disease. It is clear that the higher the concentration of specific, anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody in the blood, the higher the level of protection. We now know that immunization with the approved vaccines generates high levels of antibody that provide good levels of protection against infection. This is why we recommend everyone who can, should get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity, and why it is so important to make vaccines available across the world.

“The availability of a simple and rapid blood test that can quantify antibody levels is therefore an important factor in monitoring the likely level of immune protection in both convalescent individuals and vaccinees and could be useful in decisions on whether and when to give booster jabs. Being able to distinguish the IgM from the IgG class of antibody response will also provide potentially useful information about the stage of a person’s immune response, and its likely persistence over time”

Brendan Farrell, CEO of Luas Diagnostics, commented: “We are excited to form a partnership with Chembio to market their test to determine antibody response post infection or vaccination. A recent study has shown that 10-15% of people, particularly among the higher age group, may not produce antibodies even after the second dose of vaccine and thus may have limited protection against the virus.” /

  • 72 per cent of event planners will hold their next face-to face event this year
  • 82 per cent value face-to-face meetings more than before the pandemic


Event planners are keen to return to live events with 72 per cent planning to hold their next-face-to face event this year. 39 per cent are planning to organise one to take place in Q3 and 33 per cent in Q4, according to a recent survey of event planners conducted by etc.venues, a leading provider of urban non-residential event venues.

The research, carried out every 6 months, is now on its third edition and highlights significant trends. One key trend revealed that planners have not wavered from valuing the irreplicable quality of face-to-face meetings.  82 per cent say they value them more than before the pandemic.

68 per cent now think hybrid events will continue to be more common than before the pandemic, down from 73 per cent when asked in December and similar to 67 per cent when surveyed 12 months ago.

While the frequency of virtual events may decline, the virtual element is likely to have a long term role alongside live events in the plans of many event organisers. 20 per cent will return to live only events in 2021 and a further 23 per cent will go back to live only events in 2022, but 57 per cent expect to run a mix of virtual and hybrid events as well as live events in future.

Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing for etc.venues says: “The innate belief in live events among event planners is rising to the surface and the necessity of virtual events is beginning to fade now that restrictions are being lifted. After benefiting from virtual and hybrid events out of necessity during lockdown, there is a clear recognition that whilst virtual was good, it is not nearly good enough and the limitations are clear, hence many planners are clearly keen to return to live events very soon.

“In our experience, while many organisers are ready to run live events, the key issue that is causing concern to them is the difficulty in estimating how many delegates will attend in person. Although rooms are being booked and options reducing quickly, venues like ours are happy to discuss this and share our experience with other events to guide and support them.”

Diversity Ally launches “The Diversity in Events Awards” taking place in April 2022.

The awards will celebrate, recognise and showcase the organisations and leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to being diversity and inclusion change makers and allies. Companies, organisations, brands and event managers who have pro actively incorporated, championed and demonstrated diverse and inclusive elements in their events are welcome to submit an application.

Leading Diversity & Inclusion consultancy for the global events industry, Diversity Ally, have been providing support to over 20 events organisations such as Informa Markets, SMYLE, Brands At Work and Diversified Communications over the last year. 'The Diversity In Events Awards is another opportunity being provided for the events industry to showcase and be recognised for the work its doing to become more diverse and inclusive in its culture, people and image' says co-founder, Gabrielle Austen-Browne.

The awards are open to applications from any organisation, in any sector, including publishers, brands, agencies, venues and individuals that deliver events in all of its forms, whether that’s in person events, virtual events, brand activations or experiential marketing campaigns. Factors such as accessibility, diversifying supply chains, diverse marketing collateral and content, diverse team make up and championing DEI initiatives will be considered when applications are made.

'The first of its kind in the industry, these awards will require applications from nominees to include tangible and specific examples of diversity and inclusion happening within their organisations or events; adds co-founder Ashanti Bentil-Dhue. This will also produce industry standard case studies and examples which can be referred to for all in the industry. 'We are incredibly pleased and proud to announce the launch of what will become a legacy occasion for the events industry'.

Priya Narian, Diversity Ally committee member, says, .“It is important to celebrate those that are striving to make improvements to the diversity of our industry, not just to ensure it's longevity but also to create an inclusive industry that continues to evolve positively. These awards will be an opportunity for the industry to support and learn from each other and feel inspired to continue working towards more DEI in our industry”.


Categories announced Monday 6th September 2021
Applications open Monday 4th October 2021
Shortlist announced February 2022
Live Awards Ceremony April 2022

The first round of judges selected by Diversity Ally will be announced in 2021. The panel will comprise industry leaders with vast experience and credentials in events and diversity. We will also be accepting applications from individuals wishing to be part of the judging panel,
stay tuned for more details.

If you are Interested in sponsorship or partnership opportunities email

The appointment will play a critical role in supporting the transition from M40 Warwick to a Delta Hotels by Marriott

Countrywide Hotels today announced the appointment of Peter Nye as the new General Manager for the M40 Warwick Hotel. Peter’s appointment will play a critical role in supporting the M40 Warwick transition to a Delta Hotels by Marriott and develop the hotels continual growth strategy and driving its place in the local community.

Peter Joins from Almarose Hotels and Resorts where he was General Manager of Telford Hotel & Golf Resort. He has a proven experience in driving commercial and cultural improvement across multiple brands and is well known for his focus on driving great performance through its people and quality. Peter has led several large repositioning projects, most latterly the large refurbishment of Telford Hotel & Golf Resort which was completed in 2021.

Peter’s focus will be to ensure that the service levels within the business are in complete tandem with the impending refurbishment and rebranding, with Peter believing in driving consistency, and doing the simple things perfectly well. Peter who has spent 21 years in Hospitality is a true believer in not overcomplicating things, and focussing on what the guest wants and needs, and letting the team focus on the delivery of outstanding service, rewarding loyalty, and creating great experiences.

Sarah Terry, Chief Operating Officer said: “I am delighted that Peter Nye, with his many years of experience in the hospitality industry, joins us, he will be instrumental in the refurbishment of the M40 Warwick hotel to a Delta Hotels by Marriot whilst leading the team to enhance the guest experience.”

What is also key for Peter as part of the repositioning project is for the business to truly recognise its importance to the local community. “Often these relationships can be overlooked” says Peter, “but with so many of our team being from the community, our proximity to great local towns and so many businesses within the area, now more than ever we must cement our place in the community supporting these relationships”. 

Commenting on his appointment Peter Nye said, “Drawing on my experience as a skilled General Manager, I will continue to work closely with our dedicated team to ensure a smooth brand transition, staying focused on the guest experience.

Before joining Countrywide Hotels Peter Nye held several senior positions at Village Hotels and Jupiter Hotels.

Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire has confirmed a series of major bookings for conferences and events for July and August onwards.

The resort’s Woodlands Event Centre is busy with events for a wide mixture of international brands, associations, consumer, and corporate organisations including Spa Life, trade association HBAA and Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine. All these events have been rescheduled because of the recent four-week delay to the government’s ‘roadmap’ for lifting restrictions on activities.

In addition, the venue has secured several hundred thousand pounds of event bookings for global pharmaceutical brands due to take place in the autumn.

The first event to take place at the conference, training and leisure complex was Utopia 2021, a Doctor Who annual convention organised by Fantom Events for avid fans. The sold-out gathering was held from 9th-11th July.

Spa Life International UK Convention will take place on 2nd-3rd August.Mike Fitch, Director of Spa Life International, said: "We are looking forward to welcoming up to 250 delegates from the spa and wellness industry for Spa Life International UK 2021, in accordance with the latest government guidelines. We chose Wyboston Lakes Resort because of the high-quality facilities and excellent customer service we have experienced at previous events. It is also a very Covid-secure venue having hosted training for the emergency services during the pandemic."

The HBAA Annual Forum and Dinner will gather the meeting, events, and accommodation industry’s association’s members on 17th September, preceded by a charity golf day at Wyboston Lakes Resort’s course on the day before.

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of the HBAA, said: “Wyboston Lakes Resort and Woodlands Event Centre offer spacious, modern and well-equipped event venues, ideal for social distancing, with extensive outdoor spaces in line with the latest guidance as well as being an award-winning sustainable venue.”

The Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT) Agency Forum on 25th October will bring together around 60 event organisers from agencies with up to 30 venues and destination representatives for two days of networking, one-to-one meetings, and teambuilding activities.

Steve Jones, Managing Director of Wyboston Lakes Resort, said: “It is great to see the UK events industry reopening. We are really looking forward to welcoming these events to Wyboston Lakes Resort in the coming months.” 

For more information, please visit

Capita Travel and Events unites its brands to become Agiito

Today, we’re consolidating our multi-branded business (‘Capita Travel and Events’ and ‘NYS’) and launching a single brand that unites our extensive experience, people, values, personality and culture. We are now ‘Agiito’.

“We set out to create a business that changes the way we think, plan and book travel, meetings and events. Over the years our people, culture, products, services and propositions have evolved to represent far more than a traditional Travel Management Company,” said James Parkhouse, CEO of Agiito (formerly Capita Travel and Events/NYS).

“The shared global experience of the pandemic has taught us the importance of adapting to the changing needs of our customers, partners and the industry, and has accelerated us towards our vision to be a business that connects people – whether in-person or virtually.”

Neal Poole, Director of Marketing at Agiito, explained the rationale behind the rebrand: “As we have evolved, our brands began to detract from our personality and culture of our people. We have created a new name, a new brand and a creative identity that envelops the heart of our business – our people.”

We continue to be a UK specialist in managing travel, meetings and (virtual, hybrid and live) events, that can also work on a global scale. By prioritising behavioural insights, wellbeing and sustainability, we make a real difference to the ways people connect.

The event sector is being encouraged to take more, and earlier, action on climate change, ahead of the vital COP 26 conference, taking place at the SEC in Glasgow later this year. The call came at a special event, which took place last week, and involved representatives from the UNFCCC, the UK government and SME Climate Hub.

The meeting talked about the importance of the sector showing evidence of action ahead of the global conference on climate change, and present a proactive industry taking on its responsibilities around climate change. Speakers at the event included Sir David King, Government Chief Scientific Advisor, 2000-2007, UK Government Permanent Special Representative for Climate Change, 2013-17;

Miguel Naranjo, Programme Officer, UNFCCC; Andrew Griffith, UK’s Net-Zero Business Champion for COP 26; Johan Falk, Co-Founder and Head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, A Founding Partner of the SME Climate Hub; Kerrin McPhie, Head of Business Events, VisitBritain / VisitEngland; and, Richard Shackleton, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy, Budapest.

Miguel Naranjo, Programme Officer, UNFCCC, commented, “We have similar initiatives already in place within the fashion and sport sectors. We (UNFCCC) are acting as a neutral convenor to try and agree joint initiatives that help to reduce the sector’s impact on the environment. These are voluntary, free of consequence commitments, and are developed in conjunction with the sector. We are already having advanced conversations around the world (with the events sector) on how this could work, and we’re looking to bring more people into the conversation.”

Andrew Griffith, UK’s Net-Zero Business Champion for COP 26, commented, “I want to thank the 34 members of the events industry who have already become climate action framework members. This is a really brilliant opportunity to show the world that we are the solution, not the problem, and that we can build a real crescendo of momentum to give all of our leaders around the world the imperative to act. One of my big asks is for every business to set themselves a target, make a pledge, take some action, and the best way is to use the Race to Zero. If we do it now, it will amplify and resonate greatly.”

The event also saw the launch of ‘The Roadmap to COP 26: Event Sector Transformation’, a joint initiative between the UNFCCC, Race to Zero, SME Climate Hub, and event sustainability experts Positive Impact. The campaign is intended to provide the roadmap for the events industry, a sector made up predominantly by SME’s, to raise awareness of the sector, engage in the UN’s sustainability goals, and input into an industry wide framework for sustainability.

“It makes sense that the events industry takes on a leading role ahead of the conference; because COP 26 is an event,” commented Fiona Pelham, CEO & Founder, Positive Impact. “However, as with all the outcomes that will come out of COP 26, much of the work needs to be done beforehand. For us, this is about presenting a sector that is already on its way, that is taking giant steps forward and has a framework in mind that other governments and industry sectors can buy into.”


Exciting new plans for a multimillion-pound refurbishment of the M40 J15 Warwick Hotel have been revealed, it is to become a Delta by Marriott Hotel with refurbishment work offering fresh contemporary accommodation this is expected to be completed in October 2021.

Previously known as the Hilton Warwick Hotel, the 181-bedroom property came under new ownership in April 2021 and is being managed by leading consultancy Countrywide Hotels. The hotel will be refurbishing and upgrading to an ultra-modern Delta by Marriott which will include a total of 41 bedrooms as well as the new signature Delta bar, lobby and reception and a remodelled lounge area, with the new designs drawing inspiration from the hidden gems and the architectural heritage of Warwick including Warwick Castle and Lord Leycester Hospital.

According to Darren Patt, Managing Director of Countrywide Hotels, who manage the property, “As a hotel management company, we can guide owners to make sure they are investing where the best returns come from, and look after all the logistics and communications during this time. Taking away the daily refurbishment tasks from the team on property allows them to focus on our customers.”

The M40 J15 Warwick Hotel is off the M40/Junction 15 intersection, two miles from central Warwick, one mile from Warwick Castle, 15 minutes from Stratford Upon Avon and close to many major events and exhibition centres throughout the Midlands. 


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