Supporting ‘the Next Generation’ of event professionals will be the central theme of HBAA initiatives in 2019.

In her address to a packed hall at the Park Plaza Victoria London, at the association’s first Members Meeting of the year, new HBAA Chair Angie Mason unveiled this theme as the focus for the year ahead. As part of this HBAA will be exploring opportunities for collaborating with the Prince’s Trust and will develop specialist frameworks and resources to help attract, nurture, and retain the next generation. There will also be a bank of highly experienced industry professionals who will provide continuous mentorship. Younger members will be invited to shadow the HBAA board at events and activities throughout 2019.

As part of the HBAA’s commitment to best practice, Angie Mason said that the HBAA Code of Practice will be updated in 2019 as part of its biennial review cycle.

Rachael Naylor, the new HBAA Venue Member Chair announced the launch of a Venue Members meeting, designed to forge closer collaboration between venues. This is set to take place along with the Great Venue Showcase on 11 and 12 April.


‘It’s OK not to be OK’

The HBAA will also be driving a major initiative to encourage action on mental health issues in the event industry. Determined to be forward-thinking, the HBAA will be introducing a training course for members to become mental health ‘first aiders’ and all HBAA Executive Committee members will undergo this specialist training. A dedicated page on the HBAA website will offer an online toolkit with valuable advice on mental health and the topic will on the agenda at every HBAA Members Meeting during the year. The #HBAA2BOK campaign will encourage members to accept that ‘It’s OK not to be OK’. 

New charity partner – Buses4Homeless

The HBAA also introduced Dan Atkins to its members. Dan, the founder of Buses4Homeless, the HBAA’s chosen charity for 2019, outlined his plans to buy buses and fit them out, not only as overnight shelters but also as vocational learning centres where the homeless can develop skills to help them into the workplace. His heart-warming presentation immediately engaged with the members.

Paul Hussey of Meetings Benchmark provided a review of the market in 2018 and valuable insight into forward bookings for early 2019. He highlighted several encouraging positive trends.

Conventions Malta

The HBAA welcomed new sponsor, Lindsey Thorpe of Convention Malta, who detailed the wide range of options, activities and attractions that the island has to offer for the meetings and incentives industry.

Lindsay Thorpe said “The UK is our biggest MICE market and we wanted to support and give back to the industry. Working with the HBAA gives us a great opportunity to be involved.”

With technology playing an ever more prominent role, Sandy Hammer from provided a guide to new and emerging innovations in the hospitality and events industry, including VR, AR, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, drones and chatbots.

Richard John from Realise detailed the latest results from a recent survey conducted among HBAA agency members about building relationships and agency presentations. Revelations included two to four weeks ahead is the preferred time frame for venues to book meetings with agencies, discussions without use of AV equipment is the most popular meeting format and six months from opening as the ideal time to approach agencies with information about a new venue.

In keeping with the focus on the next generation, the keynote speaker was 30 year old serial entrepreneur Fraser Doherty who started his first business at 14. He shared insight into his success in creating SuperJam, Envelope Coffee and Beer52 and building them into businesses with a combined annual turnover of £15m.

Annual Dinner

That evening, over 320 members and guests enjoyed the spectacular Annual Dinner which was fully booked with a waiting list. Outgoing Chair Louise Goalen and Venue Member Chair Louisa Watson were thanked warmly for their tremendous contributions over the last two years. An auction, raffle and donations are expected to raise over £26,000 for Buses4Homeless.

Angie Mason, HBAA Chair says, “I could not be more excited to take over as Chair. 16 years after my previous year in office, my association experience is coming full circle. I started my first business in this industry 29 years ago and have lived through tremendous change and three recessions. I and many of the Executive Committee have so much knowledge and experience to help, inspire and support ‘The Next Generation.’

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.