Fifty leading UK booking agents attended industry association the HBAA’s first International Forum, held at the five-star Huis ter Duin Hotel in the Netherlands (27-28 March).
Branching out of UK shores, the HBAA’s move, the association says, is in recognition of its growing international membership.
HBAA partnered with DBF Events and brought the agents together for a total of 600 face-to-face appointments with a selection of international hoteliers and venues.
The first day culminated with the presentation of DBF Events’ ‘All About People Awards’ designed to recognise the account management excellence of individuals in the meetings and events sector.
Voting was by a special app designed by Double Dutch for the forum. The winners were:
- Supplier of the year – Robbert-Jan Meinardi, Huis ter Duin
- Client of the year – Matt Curran, Chew Events.
The HBAA reported that 3,000 international properties are now signed up to its International Charter, which fosters best practices and acknowledges the commercial model by which UK agencies work.
Michiel Fortuin, partner, DBF Events said: “We have built a strong series of events that bring together key agents and suppliers throughout the year. We were delighted to widen the scope by partnering with the HBAA for the event at the Huis ter Duin. Our awards are always highly coveted as they are based on personality and voted for by their peers; we are therefore delighted for both Robbert and Matt who really do personify that it is the people who make this industry.”
Steve Ockerby, chair of the HBAA International Committee said the International Forum had been “a landmark event” and underlined how significant the UK outbound market was to the international hotel and venues.
“Those that have signed up to the International Charter understand the UK agency business model, consequently they benefit from HBAA agents’ buying power on outbound meetings, conferences and events. I think I can confidently say the International Forum will be an annual event, so put it in the diary for next year,” Ockerby added.
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