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12th January 2022, UK: Hilton Birmingham Metropole - one of the UK’s most expansive overnight meetings and events destinations - has unveiled its new-look and highly flexible bedroom options, which are aimed at meeting the evolving needs of its guests. More than 600 of the hotel’s rooms have been upgraded and adapted as part of the venue’s much anticipated, multi-million pound refurbishment.

 The hotel, which is located in the heart of the NEC estate, offers unrivalled flexibility for meetings and events clients, with a range of bedroom options easily connected to conference suites and meetings spaces. Hilton Birmingham Metropole also has the versatility to be divided into multiple sections, allowing organisers to hire areas of the hotel exclusively, ensuring convenience for guests, simplicity for organisers and security for meetings.

 “We have a very close relationship with our customers, and we understand their needs. We can now offer everything from our Suites through to a variety of bedroom options, ensuring that we have something for everyone,” said Nicola Underhill, General Manager, Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

 Inspiration for the bedroom décor is taken from Birmingham’s rich heritage. ‘Circular’ and ‘spoke’ designs reference the city’s canal bridges, as well as the cars that are manufactured locally, while soft metallic headboard fabric and brushed bronze artwork panels in the lift lobbies link to the use of metal in the smelting works. The reference to the metals industry is even more present in the suites, which include bronze and black metal pendants, bronze drinks trolleys and bronze coffee tables.

 “We are very proud of our heritage and it is important to us that the hotel draws inspiration from our rich and vibrant surroundings. We want to offer our clients a contemporary, exclusive setting while maintaining the intimacy that they have come to expect from our team and our brand. The customer has sat at the very heart of our decision-making and we’re excited to share the changes we’ve made and demonstrate the difference that they will make for our guests,” added Nicola.

 All 6,000sqm of the meeting and events space has received a makeover, allowing guests to be immersed in an authentic and consistent experience from start to finish. The project has also included the upgrade of leisure facilities, as well as three new restaurant and bar concepts which are all due for completion in early 2022.

 The Hilton Birmingham Metropole hosts over 2,000 events per year, and has already welcomed both new and returning clients as part of a phased re-opening since September.

Happy New Year! As we closed off the first working week of 2022 we're still in HNY mode at OIOV virtual HQ. Hopefully everyone managed to get a decent break and stay healthy too, despite the incredible numbers being generated by Omicron.   

Talking of numbers and data just a quick reminder to everyone who has yet to see the ‘OIOV 2022 and Beyond plan’ presentation to join us on 12th  January 2022 for one of the 3 identical 1 hour sessions –  repeated at 10am, 1pm, 3pm (see below for links). 

Thank you in advance for your feedback and input on these developing plans which is invaluable, as it helps ensure that the needs of the industry are being used for the benefit of all event professionals across the 7 main sectors.

12th Jan 2022 - Future OIOV plan presentation – choose one time to join the repeated presentations: 10am, 1pm or 3pm and just use the corresponding links to join on the day.

 January 12th – 10am Session: 

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Jan 12, 2022 10:00 AM London

Topic: One Industry One Voice supporters

 Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Or One tap mobile : 

    United Kingdom: +442039017895,,97527891724#  or +442080806591,,97527891724# 

Or Telephone:

    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        United Kingdom: +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591 or +44 208 080 6592 or +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237 or +44 203 481 5240 

Webinar ID: 975 2789 1724

    International numbers available:


January 12th – 1pm Session: 

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Jan 12, 2022 01:00 PM London

Topic: One Industry One Voice supporters


Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Or One tap mobile : 

    United Kingdom: +443300885830,,93458638610#  or +441314601196,,93458638610# 

Or Telephone:

    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        United Kingdom: +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237 or +44 203 481 5240 or +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591 or +44 208 080 6592 

Webinar ID: 934 5863 8610

    International numbers available:


January 12th – 3pm Session: 

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Jan 12, 2022 03:00 PM London

Topic: One Industry One Voice supporters

 Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Or One tap mobile : 

    United Kingdom: +442080806592,,96051225321#  or +443300885830,,96051225321# 

Or Telephone:

    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        United Kingdom: +44 208 080 6592 or +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237 or +44 203 481 5240 or +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591 

Webinar ID: 960 5122 5321

    International numbers available:

  • Return to live only events is happening faster than expected
  • 97 per cent of event planners are increasingly inclined to meet in person
  • 82 per cent value face-to-face meetings more than before the pandemic

Fourth etc.venues biannual survey provides interesting insights into latest industry thinking

Event planners are returning to live only events faster than expected, according to the latest research by etc.venues.

28 per cent have already held such an event, more than the 20 per cent who told etc.venues in July that they expected to return to live only events in 2021. 23 per cent will go back to live only events in 2022, exactly the same as expected in July, but the number expecting to run a mix of virtual and hybrid events as well as live events in future has declined from 57 per cent in the summer to 49 per cent now.

This and other revealing insights comes from the latest 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 fourth edition and highlights significant trends.

97 per cent of event planners are increasingly inclined to meet in person, with 70 per cent saying they want to meet colleagues face-to-face more often in 2022.

Planners continue to value the irreplicable quality of face-to-face meetings.  82 per cent, the same as in July 2021, say they value them more than before the pandemic. Nearly 46 per cent of event planners value the greater engagement and participation that face-to-face business meetings generate, while 42 per cent welcome them as a good way to build relationships.

Looking closely at current views of virtual and hybrid meetings, 54 per cent think they are valuable and expect to run them in future, 24 per cent think they are only valuable as a contingency back-up for live events, 13 per cent think they are the future of events and 3 per cent think they were valuable in 2020 and 2021 but are no longer valuable or worthwhile.

Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing for etc.venues says: “While virtual and hybrid are here to stay for the foreseeable future, the driving urge among event planners to return to live only events continues to grow as their appreciation of their value increases now that they have started to go back to them. We think 2022 will be the year of meeting up.” 

The Orida Group have purchased the Hilton Maidstone as part of its expansion and have rebranded to the Orida Hotel Maidstone. The hotel will be managed by leading UK hotel management company Countrywide Hotels who advise on all matters of hotel ownership from acquisition to the day to day.

The Orida Hotel Maidstone is located just off the M20, less than 10 minutes from central Maidstone. With 146 spacious bedrooms, conference centre with 8 meeting rooms, a quality restaurant, comfortable lounge bar and ORIDA Health club which features an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and gym and fitness classes. Membership is available for the local community.

For business events Orida Hotel Maidstone is wholly equipped, with a wide range of meeting and event spaces available for hire. Ideal for company conferences, exhibitions, and product launches.

This month the new owners will be opening a new Starbucks cafe and introducing new menus in their restaurant, bar and room service. They will also be creating a new cocktail list and gin menu.

The Orida Group also own the Holiday Inn Maidstone-Sevenoaks and three Golf Clubs, Park Wood, Surrey Downs and Oakland Park.

The Managing Director of Orida Group said, “We are very pleased to have acquired the former Hilton Maidstone and add another quality asset to our portfolio. Orida Hotel Maidstone complements our existing estates of golf courses and we now look forward to developing our presence in the hotel and hospitality market further.

The hotel is in a great location and offers a wonderful place to stay, eat and exercise. We look forward to working with the existing team to further develop and grow the hotel and welcoming more of the local community back to the hotel during this exciting new phase.”

For further information about the hotel please visit

For further media information and images please contact: Caroline on 07801 820972 or Jo on 07810 652030

5th January 2021, UK: Lime Venue Portfolio is pioneering for greener marketing within the meetings and events industry with the announcement of a new ‘clean and green’ website for 2022. The brand was recently recognised for its sustainable education campaign ‘Beyond Food’, by The Drum, and is now looking to ensure its digital marketing supports the brands sustainability credentials.

Research has shown that some websites can emit up to 5g of CO₂ every time someone visits the page which, when multiplied over the course of a year and across multiple users, is the equivalent of boiling a kettle over 50 thousand times. Lime Venue Portfolio will create a website that requires less energy through a number of strategies, from reducing the number of large files and images to hosting the site on ‘cleaner’ servers.

 “We’re looking to make sustainable practice a part of everything we do at Lime Venue Portfolio, and that includes the way we market ourselves,” commented Jenner Carter, Head of Marketing, Lime Venue Portfolio. “It means we need to measure and track any negative outputs and either reduce them or offset them. There is a lot of talk about cleaner digital channels, and we’re looking to take the lead by implementing this new website. Additionally, the website has been designed to improve user experience (UX), so visitors to the website can get the information they need quicker and easier from venue search through to educational articles in the content hub.”

 The clean and green marketing approach is in line with the company’s commitment of reaching Climate Net Zero by 2030. Lime Venue Portfolio recently launched Meetings for Change, a greener way to book and run meetings within the group’s venues.


The vast and diverse business events industry has an integral role to play in the UK government’s recovery plan, but continuing government support is vital to overcome its staffing issues

In recent years, the business events, accommodation, and meetings industry has earned a prominent profile in government as a key driver of economic growth and societal development. We all understand the sector’s core value is to facilitate and support vital exchanges in the areas of corporate, professional, academic, and social development.

In the face of fresh challenges brought about by Covid-19, business events must remain high on the government’s agenda. Why? This industry is a crucial vehicle for driving forward the government’s Build Back Better plan. While it’s a significant sector in itself – worth £70bn* and employs 700,000 people – it can and must be utilised strategically to deliver recovery, transition, and revival for every UK sector.

Not only that, but events also enable collaboration and innovation, education and knowledge transfer, relationship building, business growth, and accelerate progress. Many sectors have been forced to rapidly adapt during the pandemic and events are fundamental for supporting such change and transformation. They also impact communities and leave a long-term legacy, as well as boost the local economy of the event’s host city or location.

Business events take place in highly controlled and structured environments, with rigorous health and safety policies, often with a Covid-safe accreditation so they can provide reassurance to those with natural concerns around Covid security at events. Testing, contact tracing, mask-wearing, and any other measures can be easily implemented. This helps to make them safer than a generic mass public gathering. Because of their economic role, they are also a necessity.

Governmental support

To keep the world of events moving forward, funding, financial relief, and governmental support have been paramount and will continue to be vital until client confidence is fully restored and the recovery of the industry is complete. That may well not be until later in 2022.

“Clients need to have confidence when booking and this can only come from a cohesive government policy and leadership,” says Simon Richards, HBAA Treasurer and Managing Director of Convenus.

The HBAA, soon to be known as beam, represents 300 UK member organisations, including more than 200 hotel groups and venues and 90 agencies. Since March 2020, many previously viable SMEs have either closed, made many of their staff redundant, or have struggled to survive through no fault of their own. This is despite welcome valuable initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, business rate relief, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (better known as furlough).

Some 20 months on, the fragility of events and business tourism has been underlined once again by recent measures introduced in the wake of Omicron. Supply chain issues persist, and the effects of Brexit are still being worked through.

There are challenges around credit, too, particularly for smaller booking agents that rely more heavily on meetings and events business. Jonathan Read, Head of National Accounts at Jurys Inns Group, says: "Some smaller hotel groups and venues will be removing previously available credit facilities based on the high risk it places on their own businesses.”

One of the biggest things UK businesses need from leaders is consistency and certainty. Rajesh Vohra, director of Sarova Hotels, explains: “The primary challenge is economic uncertainty – it is impossible to plan, budget and recruit.”

As Vohra highlights, recruitment is another substantial challenge. The government’s Kickstart Scheme, which provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment, has been highly praised by HBAA members. Many are calling for an extension beyond March 2022.

Julie Shorrock, HBAA membership director and Managing Director of HTS, says: “Kickstart must be extended. Schemes like this are perfect for attracting new, enthusiastic, and vibrant people into our industry in introductory-level positions. If we are to rebuild, we need to think about the future talent pool.”

“The timeframe to recruit and train new employees can be costly, too, while Kickstart enables businesses to offer valuable employment opportunities immediately,” adds Shorrock. “At HTS, we've employed two people through the scheme.”

Gaynor England, director of Abstract Events, describes the scheme as a “Covid silver lining”. She says: “We recruited an event management graduate with a first-class degree as a Digital Events Assistant through Kickstart. She is now an integral part of our team.”

“It's clear that re-attracting many people who moved into different industries is tough,” adds Shorrock. “Focusing purely on that isn't a viable long-term approach.”

Jim Quintrell, Senior Director, Operations Lead UK at BCD Meetings & Events, agrees: “Traditionally, the events industry has been perceived as glamorous but, for the first time, it is seen as fragile. It is beholden on all of us to reassure potential new entrants that the future is bright, and our industry is bouncing back as it always does.”

Pay conditions and a lack of long-term talent planning are not helping the industry’s recruitment problem either, says Douglas O’Neill, CEO of Inntel. “The industry has lacked a labour strategy to attract people because three years ago we could easily fill most positions with strong talent.”

To tackle these issues, beam will be leveraging industry relations and partnerships to support a collaborative approach to raising the profile of careers and opportunities across the sector.

Shorrock adds: “Our industry needs all the help it can get with recruitment. We must showcase the fabulous opportunities available in this rewarding, fast-paced and entertaining industry.”

The passion and commitment in Shorrock’s statement are clear. Business event professionals have shown great resilience and creativity during the pandemic and are strongly committed to building back better. They also represent an industry that is a significant driver of growth, and, during this tumultuous time, this cannot be forgotten. It has never been more important for the government to support and bolster this pivotal sector.

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