ISSUE 1 • MAY 2019
Central Sales Specialist Communication
Welcome to the 1st edition of the Central Sales
Specialist's Newsletter. Each quarter, we will be bringing
you news of upcoming events and feedback on events
the team have attended together with industry news and
Business Development Sales Director
First, an introduction to the team:
Craig Bingham, Business Development Sales Director
Sue Ashton, Partnership Director
Nicola Brown, Conference & Events Account Director
Tereza Illikova, National Account Director – Sports &
Conference & Events Account Director
Sports & Associations Account Director
2019 LEISURE EXHIBITIONS
ACCOR LEISURE WORKSHOP
The first quarter of the year is always a busy time for
for leisure events, and we kicked off 2019 with the Accor
Leisure Workshop. This year was the 10th Anniversary
event, held at the Novotel Hammersmith due to the high
number of attendees. It is always an exceptionally well
attended event, with this year having 114 leisure
operators and over 80 hotel representatives.
the value of
As in previous years, it was a full programme of
activities with both pre booked appointments and a
speed dating/networking session.
Enquiries for the Interstate portfolio to the value of over
210k were received, with 45k contracted
CALDER CONFERENCES UPDATE
TOP TIPS FOR CONVERTING CALDER
Calder are a key conference agent partner of Interstate
Hotels & Resorts, with over £591k of business placed
within the portfolio in 2018. To have the best possible
chance of converting the business from Calder, it is
essential to understand their enquiry procedure:
Rates: One of the most important things for Calder are rates. Rates
must be offered within the budget stated, any higher and it is
automatically refused , a hotel that constantly quotes higher than
the stated budget will gain a reputation for this. Rather than quote a
higher rate, the business should be declined.
Response Time: The next most important element is response
time. Calder have a response time requirement of 40 minutes,
responses received after this time are highly unlikely to secure the
Venue Directory response: A free format type section is now
included within Venue Directory, which provides a great
opportunity to add information about your property or what is
included in the rate i.e. free parking, themed breaks.
Updates: When chasing an update on a proposal, this should
initially be done by email, only if you do not receive a response
should you call to chase. Always explain that an email chase has
also be made.
Freesale: Freesale is an opportunity to support conversion of last
minute or distressed inventory, this is still managed via Venue
If you have any questions about working with Calder Conferences
or would like further information on the Freesale process, please
IHG EXPO 2019
INTERCONTINENTAL PARK LANE, LONDON
The second key date in the event calendar was IHG's
very own annual B2B tradeshow in March, held at the
prestigious Intercontinental Park lane; attracting buyers,
bookers and managers of travel from segments
including leisure, meetings, extended stay,
entertainment, corporate, associations and partnerships.
As well as a general customer attendance, IHG Expo
invites top corporate buyers and meeting bookers to
participate in an exclusive Hosted Buyer program. The
exhibition showcases hotels to B2B customers; providing
these customers an opportunity to meet with the hotels.
Interstate had representation across all the IHG brands:
Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel
Indigo and Staybridge Suites. The team which included
Stephanie Pinto, Craig Bingham, Nicola Brown and Ben
Lockyear, were extremely busy throughout the day
meeting with pre-arranged and ad hoc clients to discuss
business opportunities. With all the team having full
diaries through the day and leaving with over over 45
live leads with a potential value of £250k across the
portfolio and market segments.
"With all the team
having full diaries
through the day
and leaving with
over over 45 live
leads with a
potential value of
£250k across the
MIA CONNECT AGENT DAY
MEETINGS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
The MIA (Meetings Industry Association) is the principal
association supporting and growing the business meetings
and events industry in the UK, and the keeper of the AIM,
the UK’s only recognised standard for the meetings
The MIA supports members with research and training,
through a multitude of networking opportunities, in order
to help businesses grow, of which the MIA Connect Agent
Day is one.
The MIA Connect Agent's Day provides a platform for a
wide range of industry professionals to network with top
agents in an unusually informal setting.
The experiential event allows delegates to completely
immerse themselves in an intimate series of discussions to
gain crucial insights and ask agents any burning questions.
It takes form as a full day event with refreshments, lunch
and an afternoon of dynamic team building activities.
Some of the
we met are:
Cloud 9 Events /
Engaging Spaces / Bien
Venue / Capita Travel &
Events / Pandora Events /
Dotted Lines / The Events
Company / Click Travel /
Opening Doors & Venues
/ Inntel / XSEM / Hire
Space / ACE Bookings /
Off the back of the event, portfolio information has been
sent to all agents in attendance with contact details
updated accordingly on SalesForce.
Six requests for meetings have been received to update on
the portfolio and a number of opportunities are in the
pipeline and being followed up accordingly which will be
shared with the hotels.
Some of the key topics discussed included Mental Health
& Wellness in the hospitality industry and Food &
Beverage offerings for conferences and meetings – both
subjects will be covered in more detail in the next Central
Many hotels have the opportunity to work with sports
groups and so we asked our National Account Director
for Sports & Associations, Tereza Illikova, for guidance
on how best to work with this sector.
The first key message about this very specific sector is
that it must be treated completely differently to MICE or
There is often the perception that sporting groups, particularly football related groups, will not be
price sensitive, but this is misguided and they will definitely be looking for the most competitive
price from a property together, with a hotel that understands their needs without being told.
As with all groups, a quick response time is vital, ideally within two hours. Flexibility regarding
cancellations is also high on the list of considerations as sporting fixtures are often made with a
relatively short lead time and are liable to change. Being affected by weather, results from previous
matches, and TV rights are just a couple of the factors that can impact sporting events.
Understanding that each sport has different requirements demonstrates that you are experienced
in dealing with this sector and so reassures the agent that you are the best hotel to select. Football
will generally require a pre match meal or stay with F&B, while cricket will be B&B in most cases.
Different leagues can also have different requirements.
Twin room types will also be considered the standard so ensure inventory can accommodate this
when quoting for these groups.
Have a discussion with your chef in advance so that you have prices for suitable, high
carbohydrate and protein based menus already in place, this will allow a faster response. Include a
physio room, meeting room and private dining wherever you can. Do you have Sky TV in your
hotel? Make sure this is highlighted in your response.
In regards to flexibility with the cancellation policy, allow one room up to 24 hours prior to arrival.
The likelihood of dropping a room a day before is realistic, but it might just increase your chance of
securing the business.
Waiting for a rooming list? These can come as late as 24/48 hours prior to arrival, so avoid chasing
too far in advance.
Within Interstate, there are several experts who regularly deal with sporting groups, these include
Alfonso at Holiday Inn High Wycombe and Nikhil at Holiday Inn London Bexley, both of whom have
had great success with this sector which can be attributed to their understanding of how to deal
with these groups.
If you would like more support in working with sporting groups, please contact
THE WHOLESALER'S VIEW POINT
What is rate leakage? You may be more familiar with
the terms rate parity issues, rate violations and 'in the
IHG world', it is known as Lowest Internet Rate
Guarantee (LIRG)! Whatever name we know it by, it is
something we all want to avoid.
Hotelbeds, one of the biggest accommodation
Wholesalers, have an interesting article in their most
recent newsletter, which highlights some points
regarding rate violations from the wholesaler’s
"The topic of ‘rate leakage’ is increasingly a hot topic for our
hotel partners, so we’ve interviewed Hotelbeds Sam Turner,
Director of Wholesale Sales & Sourcing, to discuss the matter
"To be clear,
we are not
any of these
FIT rates that
are meant to
Recent developments in the market by some mainstream
players are leading to more OTAs selling on third-party rates,
but without giving hoteliers oversight of where those rates
come from. What is the Hotelbeds view on this?
From our end we are certainly not encouraging or supporting
this recent change in the market. To be clear, we are not
making available to any of these channels those FIT rates that
are meant to be packaged. Additionally, we´ll also be taking a
stance proactively to ensure that our customers don’t use
those rates in that way.
Where is this 'rate leakage' occurring?
There are two principle areas where this is happening most.
Firstly from the wholesalers that are proactively trying to
maximize their volume and taking an unsustainable approach
to rate distribution. And secondly, where accommodation
buyers then take those FIT rates that are meant to be
packaged and sell them downwards onto such channels.
What type of wholesalers should a hotel be concerned by?
Unfortunately we suspect the smaller wholesalers will
undoubtedly try to take advantage and hoteliers
understandably should be concerned about them.
Is this happening at Hotelbeds – and what will you do if you
is always to be
the perfect ally
to our hotel
Sam Turner, Hotel Beds
We at Hotelbeds will be watching out very closely for anyone
we feel is doing this and will take action where necessary to
stop it, if necessary penalizing and disconnecting customers
who take advantage.
Our objective is always to be the perfect ally to our hotel
partners to complement their distribution – and we fully
understand and are aligned with them on the importance of
For the full article visit iAccelerate, Group Partnership Area.
MEETINGS PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL
MPI (Meetings Professionals International) is the largest
meeting and event industry association worldwide.
Founded in 1972, MPI provides innovative and relevant
education, networking opportunities and business
exchanges, and acts as a prominent voice for the
promotion and growth of the industry.
MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and
event professionals, including more than 17,000 engaged
members and its Plan Your Meetings audience. It has
more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19 countries.
been elected to
join the board."
The UK & Ireland
Chapter is one of the
most active Chapters
within Europe and
globally, and we are
pleased to inform you
that our Business
Director, Craig Bingham,
has recently been
elected to join the board
of the MPI UK & Ireland
Chapter for the year
Through this opportunity, we intend to further drive our
hold on the Meetings and Events industry within the UK
and Europe and leverage this opportunity with the wider
MPI worldwide network to put Interstate Hotels & Resorts
at the forefront of any Meetings & Event professionals
HOW THE WORLD VIEWS THE UK
ANHOLT 2018 REPORT RELEASED
Have you ever thought about the UK as a
Well that is exactly what the Anholt
National Brand Index (NBI) is a measure of.
Visit Britain has just released the 2018
Nation Brands Index. This is an annual
report reflecting the results of just over
20,000 respondents who are asked about
their perception of the UK from an
inbound traveller’s perspective. It
provides invaluable information as to how
the UK compares as a brand against other
key travel destinations and with the Brexit
impact is all the more relevant.
Questions asked cover 6
areas or ‘dimensions’ as
they are referred to:
So how do you think the UK scores against
other countries? Overall, it sits in 3rd
place, a position it has held for eight
consecutive years. Germany retained 1st
place and Japan jumped into 2nd place,
pushing France into 4th place.
Amongst the UK’s highest attribute
rankings are those for culture, vibrant city
life and urban attractions, plus educational
qualifications and being creative with new
ways of thinking.
Disappointingly, it is the ‘personal’ areas
the UK has seen ranking positions fall for
2018, include UK Welcome and UK Tourism
– a worrying result for the hotel industry.
The information becomes all the more
interesting when drilled down in to further
detail to see which source markets score
the UK high and low. Overall, the UK
brand is perceived well by visitors from
China and USA, but not very well by many
of the smaller emerging markets.
As would probably be expected, the UK is
perceived strongly in areas of history,
buildings and monuments and sporting
achievements! Visitors to the UK do not
score the country highly for its natural
beauty – this may very well be due to the
dominance of London as the visitor’s
destination, all the more reason for them
to visit further afield!
The full report is available on the Visit
Britain website, www.visitbritain.com.