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Wyboston Lakes Resort, the award-winning conference, training, and leisure venue in Bedfordshire, has been selected as a finalist in the category for ‘Best Covid Response in Hospitality’ at the Covid Response Awards 2021.

The awards aim to celebrate and pay tribute to businesses that have shown impressive displays of resilience, initiative, enterprise, and fortitude in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the first lockdown Wyboston Lakes Resort swiftly launched a Safe Events Plan, established a robust Covid-Secure Policy, and remained opened during the pandemic, providing essential training to several organisations including the NHS, helping to support NHS workers in their efforts against the pandemic.

Wyboston Lakes Resort then led the way during the pandemic by becoming the first venue to receive the AIM Secure Accreditation from the Meetings Industry Association (MIA), which is awarded to meetings and events businesses that deliver first-class service, excellent facilities, and a strong commitment to upholding legal compliance and health and hygiene protocols. The venue was also one of the first to secure the ‘Safe, Clean and Legal’ accreditation from Quality in Tourism. accredited The AA also approved the resort under its AA COVID-19 Confident accreditation scheme.

Notably, the UK government also selected Wyboston Lakes Resort to host a pilot event to test its Covid-Secure guidelines for venues.

Director of Marketing Louisa Watson said: “It’s a great achievement to be chosen as a finalist in the hospitality category alongside many strong contenders at the Covid Response Awards. This recognition is testament to our people who have shown great resilience, resourcefulness and tenacity during a challenging time.”

The winners will be announced at a lunchtime Awards Ceremony on Thursday 25 November in the new events space at The Kia Oval, London, the home of Surrey County Cricket Club.

For more information, please visit

Long-running research into the UK’s conference and meetings sector, entitled the ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey’ (UKCAMS), throws into stark relief the huge impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, while also providing some tentative timelines and a baseline for the sector’s recovery.

The 28th annual UKCAMS report shows a drop of 86 per cent in the volume of conferences and meetings held in 2020 compared with 2019. At the same time, the estimated value of the sector fell from £17.6 billion in 2019 to £1.7 billion in 2020.

Looking forward, half of venues indicated that they expect their conference and meetings business to recover to 2019 levels by 2023, with a quarter more optimistic and indicating by 2022. In the short term, venues expect growth in hybrid meetings and a recovery in regular team meetings and training courses, with some hesitancy around the recovery of other markets such as national and international association conferences.

The UKCAMS 2021 report provides an overview of conference venue performance and the estimated impact of conference and meeting spend in destinations in 2020. This was a year where performance was hugely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In mid-March 2020 the UK went into its first lockdown and the conference sector was effectively closed. Impacts of Covid-19 were felt from late February as events were disrupted or cancelled with concerns around the virus. While small events of less than 30 people were permitted during the summer period, the conference sector remained closed for the rest of 2020.

In 2020 there was an average of 56 conferences and meetings held in primary conference venues, compared with 405 in 2019. An estimated total of 195,000 conferences and meetings were held in the UK (compared with 1.40 million in 2019), the vast majority of these in the period January-March (not traditionally a core season for business events). These meetings were attended by some 11 million delegates, accounting for approximately 15.7 million delegate days. The average duration of events declined slightly, from 1.6 days to 1.4 days, although the majority of conferences and meetings (73 per cent) lasted a day or less.

Unsurprisingly, the levels of investment by venues in their product also fell, with almost half of all venues not investing anything in 2020, a result of cash flow pressures and trading uncertainties.

VisitBritain Head of Business Events Kerrin MacPhie said:

 “The findings in the report are a stark demonstration of the scale of the impact on the UK’s venues from the pandemic, providing the industry with valuable and timely insights. The report also underscores the importance of the work undertaken by the sector, its resilience and determination, in safely welcoming back global events and ensuring a stand-out delegate experience. The outlook for a strong return by 2023, a timeline also reflected in the UK Government’s Tourism Recovery Plan, is very encouraging as the industry reopens and starts on the road to rebuilding.”

Tony Rogers, on behalf of the UKCAMS research team, commented: “The UKCAMS research has consistently demonstrated the scale and importance of this industry to the national economy. The 2021 UKCAMS research programme clearly quantifies the challenge the sector faces in its recovery and future UKCAMS research will monitor the progress it is making towards a successful recovery,”

The 2021 UKCAMS research was sponsored by VisitBritain with support from

The research was carried out by Tony Rogers of Tony Rogers Conference & Event Services and Richard Smith of RJS Associates.

Copies of the full UKCAMS 2021 report are available priced £185 + VAT. Visit to download an order form.


Lime Venue Portfolio to Unveil ‘The Future of Conference & Event Food’ at The Meetings Show

Lime Venue Portfolio will bring to life the future of food in the conference and events industry at The Meetings Show next month. The brand will be launching the final chapter in its award winning ‘Beyond Food’ report, that addresses the ‘Future of Conference and Event Food’, as well as hosting a live event at ExCeL London, at the end of the first day of the exhibition.

The activation is the culmination of over 24 months of research into event food, from its production, through to the creation of menus, and down to how food is disposed of. Future food, however, looks at new production techniques, being experimented within the group, that create net neutral produce and the creation of a carbon positive day delegate rate for event organisers.

Also at The Meetings Show, Lime Venue Portfolio will be speaking at a specialist panel on the Future of Food, with three experts; Dr Vincent Walsh, Academic, Designer, Practitioner and Consultant, Complex Food Ecosystems; Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio and Head of Sustainability, Meetings Industry Association; James Buckley, Head of Culinary, Levy UK + Ireland; and Samantha Van Leeuwen, PwC Head of Hotels & Venues.

Guests will be invited to the live event at the exhibition where they can learn about, see, feel and taste what future food will look like in the meetings and events industry. The interactive event will be open to customers of Lime Venue Portfolio and include interactive learning, and live cooking stations that use produce created using new experimental forestry and farming systems.

“For the last two years we’ve been telling the story of food in our industry, and this is going to be a massive finale as we take our guests into the future of conference and event food,” comments Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. “After many, many months of gloom, we’ve got some really positive findings to share with the industry which is going to give them the very current thinking on how they can make their events so much more sustainable, just through the food they order.”

“It’s all backed up with ground-breaking empirical data, as well as some of the leading minds in food and food production around the world,” continues Jo. “Anyone that spends time with us at the show is going to walk out with a head full of amazing ideas and the knowledge they need to make their events both inspirational and sustainable.”

The Meetings Show takes place 30th September – 1st October at ExCeL London; Lime Venue Portfolio will be exhibiting on stand TMSG290 at the show, on both days, but will be hosting its live event 30th September.


Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP will be supporting a return to in-person events as he officially opens The Meetings Show which takes place at ExCeL London on 30 September and 1 October.

The Mid Worcestershire MP will welcome attendees to the UK’s leading show that brings together the events, meetings and incentives industry to source, learn and network on Thursday 30 September at 9:30am.

After officially opening the show, Mr Huddleston will take a tour of The Meetings Show, meeting some top UK and international event suppliers and buyers.

Exhibitors confirmed to attend this year’s show include destinations VisitBritain, Malta Convention Bureau and Korea Tourism Organisation; venues and hotels such as ICC Belfast, The NEC, Almarose Hotels & Resorts and Scandic Hotels and technology suppliers such as CrowdComms and Shocklogic.

Nigel Huddleston MP worked in travel, hospitality and leisure sector for many years, including as Industry Head of Travel at Google before he became an MP in 2013. He was appointed a minister in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in February 2020.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Our brilliant business meetings and events sector makes a vital contribution to our economy and will continue to play a central role as we build back better from the pandemic.

"I'm delighted to be opening The Meetings Show this year, which I know will be a fantastic opportunity to meet and get to know event suppliers and buyers from across the world."

The Meetings Show event director Jack Marczewski said: “The Meetings Show is supporting the sector’s worldwide recovery by being the catalyst for re-connection and providing a platform for re-uniting the industry, so we are delighted that Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston will be giving his support to the industry by opening the show. We encourage all events professionals to join us at ExCeL London or virtually and help us bring the community together so we can rebuild as one.”  

To register to attend The Meetings Show’s 2021 visit


Hoteliers welcome return of face-to-face networking

Hoteliers in Bristol have warmly welcomed news of the relaunch of the West of England Branch of the Institute of Hospitality.

A networking event is taking place on Thursday 16 September at Best Western Plus Centurion Hotel, Radstock, near Bath, featuring local producers and suppliers.

Guest speaker will be Harry Murray MBE, Chairman of Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, who has 50 years’ experience of managing five-star international hotels.

Neil Porter, Chairman of the IoH West of England branch, said: “After a long period of the region being dormant, a number of us decided we should try to get the branch operating again.

“The key driver for this was to re-engage with members throughout the region and to provide support to each other and the industry following the impact the pandemic has had on our wonderful hospitality industry.”

Among those attending will be Raphael Herzog, Chairman of the Bristol Hoteliers Association, who said: “The BHA is delighted that the West of England branch of the Institute of Hospitality is being re-launched.

“This is a welcome boost to our sector, which is on the long road to recovery after being one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic.

“People are very excited about being able to network in person again and to support each other as we look to build for the future.”

Further details about the event can be found on the IoH West of England website, at

To book a place at the networking event, visit

The Institute of Hospitality is the world’s leading body for hospitality professionals. It was established I 1938 and is managed as an educational charity.


Strong growth in the volume and value of enquiries and contracts shows that confidence is building in the events, conference and training sector’

Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing, etc.venues

  • 30% growth in number of enquiries in 6 weeks compared to previous 6 weeks
  • 92% increase in value of live event enquiries in that period
  • £5.2m of events contracted in 6 weeks – up 225%

“There are very encouraging signs that many event planners are gaining in confidence to book live events,” says Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing for etc.venues

“We’ve seen strong and consistent weekly growth since 19 July in the number of enquiries we’ve received, in the value of the enquiries and in the contracts signed, with substantial increases in the last 6 weeks compared to the previous 6 weeks.

“Most striking is the increasing value of the live events that bookers are discussing with us. The total value of enquiries in recent weeks is £9.4m compared to £4.9m in the prior 6 weeks – an increase of 92 per cent and a clear indication that big events are on their way back.

“At the same time, the number of enquiries for live events is growing steadily even in the absence of a positive Government announcement to boost confidence. The total number of enquiries over the last 6 weeks is up by 30 per cent compared with the six weeks before 19 July. The majority of the events are scheduled to take place in Q4 this year, with a good pipeline for 2022.

“Event bookers are also demonstrating their commitment to running these events. We’ve contracted events worth £5.2m over the past 6 weeks compared with £1.6m the 6 weeks prior - a 225 per cent increase.

“This level of growth, week after week during a traditionally quieter period for sales, is very encouraging.

“We attribute the sales successes partly to our decision to invest in having many of our sales team in place throughout the pandemic to service our customers’ needs, well before the reopening roadmap. We have also been recruiting and continue to recruit new team members but we are already well set to deliver excellence across our portfolio.”

Strong summer provides welcome boost to Bristol hotels

The relaxing of pandemic restrictions resulted in a strong staycation summer which was warmly welcomed by hoteliers in Bristol.

But with the summer holiday period ending they are calling on the Government to step in and support their long-term road to recovery by helping to address the severe staff shortage which continues to have a huge impact on the hospitality sector, among others.

Members of The Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) say business has been booming in recent weeks but this short-term gain has only highlighted how challenging the staff shortage is, with hotels in the city still carrying around 500 vacancies.

BHA Chairman Raphael Herzog said: “We have enjoyed a very, very strong summer and occupancy rates at Bristol hotels has been very high, which we are delighted about. Bristol is one of the busiest cities in the UK.

“It’s a sign that consumer confidence is returning and we are hoping this will continue now that the school holidays have ended.

“We’re hoping for large conferences to return, which will provide us with a good business base for the final quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. Hopefully we’ll start seeing an increase in enquiries now that the traditional summer holiday period is over.”

He added: “Staffing remains our biggest challenge and unemployment is still very high.

“People who visit our hotels don’t fully understand the impact of the staff shortage and their expectations when they arrive are really high. It’s extremely difficult trying to meet those expectations when we are so short-staffed.”

A combination of Brexit plus the pandemic is being blamed for the staff shortage with many European workers who went home when Covid-19 forced their businesses to – at least temporarily – close being unable to return under post-Brexit legislation.

Mr Herzog said: “The Government needs to think as soon as possible about how to help us remedy this. Changes need to be made to allow EU workers to be able to return to UK hospitality businesses, otherwise we are going to continue to struggle.

“If we can’t meet the expectations of our guests then they will not want to return.

“We need the Government to open up to EU workers again to allow the UK economy to start working properly.

“This does not just apply to hospitality but many other sectors as well, who are also short of staff. Earlier this week, the Road Haulage Association also called on the Government to do something to at least allow the temporary return of staff from Europe, because of a shortage of lorry drivers.

“We have had a very good summer but in order to build on this success and secure the long-term viability of our businesses, we need more support and, most of all, we need to be able to recruit.

“The Government needs to allow European workers back in some sectors, and also needs to do more to raise awareness of the many and varied career opportunities in our exciting sector.”

Habicus Group – the parent company of global serviced apartment agent SilverDoor - today announced the acquisition of its longest-standing competitor, The Apartment Service.

The acquisition unites two of the world’s largest serviced apartment agents and clients of both firms will continue to benefit from an unrivalled booking experience, drawing on the very best technology, market experience, and account management.

Group CEO, Stuart Winstone said:

“This deal - which has been in discussion for many months - brings together two of the most recognisable and respected brands in the global serviced accommodation sector and we’re delighted to welcome The Apartment Service and its brands to the Group.

“The Habicus Group of companies has increased its market share during the pandemic and we see a huge opportunity for the company and sector to continue to grow in the post-pandemic world. This acquisition, which complements our range of services, and significantly increases the size of our global offices, puts us in an unrivalled position to capitalise on this.”

Between them, SilverDoor and The Apartment Service have over 60 years’ experience in the corporate accommodation sector, and work for some of the largest corporate clients across all market sectors.

It’s not the first time the Habicus Group has expanded through acquisition; the purchase of Citybase and Central London Apartments in May 2016 has seen the firm go from strength to strength, opening three more global offices since.

This latest move will grow the group of companies to incorporate teams in London, Lancaster, Frankfurt, Madrid, Singapore, Washington, Denver and Hyderabad.

Charlie McCrow, The Apartment Service’s CEO, said of the deal:

“Between our brands, we offer the world’s finest serviced apartment booking solutions for business travel and relocation. This acquisition by Habicus Group will ensure the best possible opportunity for future growth, the development of our wonderful teams across the world, and the continued ability to provide a world-class service to our clients.

“I now intend to devote my time and focus to the Roomspace side of my business which I have retained, and I look forward to continuing - for many years to come - the great relationship I have always enjoyed with the Habicus team.”

7th September 2021, London: Imperial War Museums (IWM) has completed its membership of Lime Venue Portfolio with the addition of IWM London which will join the four other branches (IWM North, IWM Duxford, Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast) offering even greater options for event organisers. 

At the same time, organisers can continue to benefit from Lime Venue Portfolio’s expanding options in and around London, as well as its wider UK-wide network. Imperial War Museum London has been one of the most visually arresting and popular venues in the London events scene for some time and offers larger capacity space for those looking for both impact and scale.

“We’ve hosted some amazing events at IWM London and the museum offers a truly unique space with its iconic atrium and array of collection items on display,” comments Mariana Dumitrascu, Regional Business Development Manager. “Joining Lime Venue Portfolio will give us access to a fantastic community of event organisers and we look forward to more opportunities to utilise the spaces with offers across all five museum branches.”

“Everything we’re doing right now at Lime Venue Portfolio is built around making things easy for bookers of meetings and events,” commented Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. “We’re offering more flexibility on contracts, more support for event organisers, and, by adding more venues into the portfolio, more options for them.

“We love working with the Imperial War Museum events team, they have the capacity and imagination to create stunning events and are a real highlight for our customers. We can’t wait to get started with Imperial War Museum London.” concludes Jo.

As well as providing an additional sales and marketing resource for the venue, Lime Venue Portfolio will also be working in partnership with Restaurant Associates, who will be creating menus and providing the event food throughout Imperial War Museum London.


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