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HBAA UPDATE IN BRIEF


•MARRIOTT Rewards members who book a Rewarding Events meeting at hotels throughout Asia-Pacifi c, EMEA, the Caribbean and Latin America will earn double Marriott Rewards points up to 100,000 points on meeting-related expenses until May next year. Meetings must be booked by the end of January and take place by May 31st.


• CLUB Carlson has launched a Triple Points Promotion for Meeting Planners. On every meeting and event booked by December 31st and taking place before March 31st, planners will qualify for triple gold points and triple rewards. The promotion is valid for events taking place at any hotel of the Radisson Blu, Radisson Blu Edwardian, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inns & Suites brands in Europe (excluding Norway), the Middle East and Africa. The group features a portfolio of more than 430 hotels in operation and under development with 95,000 rooms in 70 countries.


• SUNDERLAND AFC has unveiled a new Executive Lounge venue. The football club has transformed its former Durham Suite into an executive business lounge following a major investment. The lounge will be used for hospitality on match days but is available for meetings, seminars and presentations at all other times. The new-look venue includes leather seating and stylish lighting to create a modern but practical environment suitable for a range of events. The creation of the lounge comes as part of Sunderland AFC's on-going strategy to drive conferences and events business at the Stadium of Light through the creation of its external events arm, 1879 Events Management.


• COUNTRY house hotel Dewsall Court, in Herefordshire, has opened its doors to the corporate events market. A lavish hideaway with just ten bedrooms, the property offers events spaces for conferences, meetings and launches. Available for exclusive use bookings, Dewsall is set in 15 acres of private grounds that can be used for team building activities ranging from archery to horse trekking and paragliding. The rate is £290 per person, per night for a minimum of eight people, which includes accommodation and meals, or £120 per person for 9am-5pm hire.


 Skyloft looks up


promise for hoteliers, but this one was different. What could possibly go wrong? But something did. You’ll have heard, or seen for


W


ALTITUDE London is positioning its new Skyloft events space as the capital’s ultimate warehouse-style venue. Located at the top of West- minster’s iconic Millbank Tower, Skyloft is warehouse-style venue with spectacular views of the capital. Its location between Westminster


and Vauxhall Bridges, on the same side of the river as the Houses of Parliament, creates an impressive backdrop for added ‘wow’ factor events. Designed specifically for the corporate market, Skyloft was created from the entire top floor


of London’s tallest riverside entertainment complex. Fittings include designer lounge furniture, wraparound bar, wooden floors and exposed brickwork, together with steelwork and wooden beams, all designed to give the venue a vintage feel. Companies to have recently held events here include Microsoft, Burberry and Shell. Facilities allow for theatre-style,


boardroom or cabaret-style events for up to 400 delegates, cocktail parties for up to 1,200, and dinners and awards events for up to 600.


HBAA LAUNCHES CORPORATE FORUM


yourself, that getting around London was not only easy, but actually more pleasant than usual because everyone was smiling. So was it right to have spent the last 18 months warning businesses not to travel during the Olympic Games? London hoteliers, who were


famously expecting the best of times are divided on the results. There were certainly winners and losers, the greatest winners being those who committed heavily a long way out at good but not greedy rates and had solid contracts which filled them throughout. Others were less fortunate and ended up with returned allocations from LOCOG and rooms to sell at short notice. In the regions, hoteliers suffered as we all stayed at home to watch 24-hour streams of sport. This on top of an already difficult year as many inbound tour operators had curtailed their programmes for 2012 due to lack of availability in London. Agents acted responsibly,


counselling their clients to avoid the Games dates, and suffered more than they usually do as a result. Businesses, of course, kept calm and carried on, and no doubt some were pleased to see a drop in their travel budget, while others have a backlog of trips to catch up on. Without such a massive upfront


THE Hotel Booking Agents Association will host its first Corporate Forum at etc.venues’ Dexter House, in London, on Monday December 10th. The event is comprised of a series


of sessions designed to stimulate debate and address issues pertinent to the corporate meetings and events sector. Chris Peacock, HBAA chairman, says, “We have decided to host this event in order to explore some of the key initiatives of the HBAA from a different perspective. The main aim of the


day is to engage with professionals from corporate businesses, for whom topics such as Strategic Meetings Management Programmes (SMMP) and Tour Operator Margin Scheme might be less familiar.” The forum runs from 9.30am to


4pm and includes networking opportunities and a keynote session from procurement professional Richard Eades. The Business Travel Magazine is the event’s official media partner and editor Gillian Upton will host a discussion with all speakers at the day’s end.


commitment of rooms from London’s hoteliers the Games would not have come here. It is a major prerequisite for any bid, and undoubtedly we all owe them a big 'thanks'. The legacy for the UK must be good. The country has never looked better, and the world loved the Games. The UK will reap the benefit in both tourism and events for years to come. Agents are reporting brisk enquiry rates for events now that we are all back at our desks, which will trickle down through the hospitality sector. The feel good factor perseveres. Let’s hope that in due course we recognise the summer of 2012 as a major turning point.


Peter Ducker Executive Director, Hotel Booking Agents Association


e’ve seen it all before – big occasions that fail to deliver on their early


THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 47


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