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Words from the Chair

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Hi there.  I’m Lex Butler, HBAA Chair and Director of Wolf & White.

I was so proud and full of optimism when I was appointed HBAA Chair back in September 2019; but how could I, or any of us, have known what 2020 would have in store?  Our industry is in crisis, fighting tooth and nail with an invisible foe that has laid waste to the events, hospitality and travel market across the world. 

However, I know we are an industry bursting with passionate, strong, determined, resourceful people, full of incredible businesses and organisations – all of whom have weathered terrible storms in the past – and which we somehow survived back then.

And I know, no matter how bad things are at the moment – we are committed to overcome this too – even if it is the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced.

For the time being we are moving on shifting sands, and so, the HBAA’s priority is to provide members with some firm, meaningful and substantial support to help you manage the problems that the Covid-19 Crisis is causing and guiding us to be #HBAAfuturefit.

We’ve recently launched a dedicated Covid-19 Response page which contains a huge amount of valuable information on all aspects of managing this current crisis.   It is also a platform for you to share your opinions and ideas on this current situation.

We’ve been running an extensive series of Webinars called the Covid Coffee Sessions, which are available to HBAA members. Content covers Sales techniques, Cash flow Management, Communications, HR Strategies and Issues, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Virtual Events, Planning for Business Recovery and a robust panel discussion challenging issues around how we work as an industry.

As your industry association and voice to the wider world, we are committed to delivering the support that you need at this difficult time, but we won’t be bowed by this terrible situation and so the HBAA is simultaneously focused on our future as an industry - anticipating the shape and condition of the events hospitality and travel industry – when this has passed. 

We are currently championing the extension of the furlough for our sector; because quite frankly we could be the last industry to get back to some sort of normality; for others there are clear adaptations to be able to move to the new norm, such as sport being played behind closed doors; for us sadly live events in some instances are being replaced by virtual, people will choose to travel or not and stay in a hotel or not. Our industry is more black and white.

Where will we find ourselves, how will things work, what will the future normal be? 

I’m determined that with a renewed focus, HBAA will lead in thought, word and deed.  It will be informed, proactive, collaborative, responsive and supportive.  And so, we’ve introduced #HBAAfuturefit as a call to arms - and this will drive our agenda as we move forward as a refreshed organisation.

We’re currently reviewing HBAA Code of Practice to develop this further with a more robust and effective framework for our members.  We’re collaborating and consulting effectively both internally and outwardly with the industry - working across the broader events, hospitality and travel sector to elevate our united voice and add influence in our dialogue with Government, via our agreed channels.  We are listening so that we can clarify what our members really need from us, and we will solidify our identity - what we stand for; what our clarity and purpose is, how we operate and how best to deliver real value and represent our members’ needs, within an association that is relevant, meaningful and accountable.

Whatever happens now, we know that the state of OUR nation will continue to change, we must be prepared, and we must be ready to rise and thrive - and so we must be #HBAAfuturefit.  So please offer us your support, and share your ideas about the future and what you want from the HBAA at info@hbaa.org.uk.  I promise you we will read every single idea, so that we can make informed decisions around what our membership is really looking for. In the meantime, please stay positive, support each other and stay safe.