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HBAA confirms restructure

The Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) has confirmed details of its administrative restructure.

The vision, launched to the membership earlier this week, is described as being “Driven by leaders, united by collaboration and a significant contributor to an industry which delivers £70bn [£84bn including weddings] spend into the UK economy.”

The HBAA says it has sharpened its focus and will be “spearheading representation to Government and policy makers, elevating a sector voice and championing change and sustainable economic health.” The association said that the new vision is based on four pillars: resilience, innovation, ethics and quality.

The body’s volunteer board will now have seven roles, including three new ones, plus two executive directors. A major change is that the role of chair has been discontinued along with the executive committee and the sub committees. 

HBAA 2020 chair Lex Butler (pictured), who will move into the new role of strategy director from next year, explained: “At the start of 2020, I announced a year of review and regeneration. It unexpectedly turned into an extremely challenging period for our industry and it became even more apparent while fighting for our industry’s survival and supporting our members, that our plans to restructure and spread the workload of effecting change were essential. We have recruited our new board for their specialist areas of expertise, to better represent our breadth of membership and give us a stronger collective voice.

“Our strategic partnerships and industry collaboration have continued to grow and develop in 2020 as we have worked to form a united voice across the sector for the sustainability of our industry. This will remain part of our plans very much for 2021 and beyond.”

The new board roles include two membership directors, which will be filled by Julie Shorrock, managing director of Hotel and Travel Solutions, and Callum McLean, director of Business Partnerships at Capita Travel and Events. Beckie Towle, founder of The Events Raccoon, has been appointed as marketing director. Angie Mason continues as treasurer and Sian Sayward as governance director. Des McLaughlin, managing director of Meet Events, becomes a strategy director along with Butler.

McLean said he believes in the HBAA’s role of uniting a network. “[We must] empower the industry with a strong and consistent voice – not just while we navigate the challenges of Covid-19 but long into the future,” he said.

Shorrock added that it was an opportunity to strengthen the sector’s voice. She said: “Having been part of the HBAA Executive Committee for over four years, I see this is a great opportunity to work collaboratively with the board in continuing to raise the profile of the HBAA and strengthening our voice through who we represent.”

Towle commented, who joined a year ago said we was looking to give “something back”: “Since joining a year ago, the HBAA has given me so much help, support and guidance with navigating TOMS, Brexit and most recently Covid-19 and I’m not quite sure where we’d be without that. Through taking this role I am hoping in turn to give something back.”

David Taylor, formerly managing director of Grass Roots Meetings & Events and a non-executive chairman of BCD Meetings & Events, has joined as an advisor. A second advisor will be announced shortly.

Taylor said: “This is a pivotal time in the history of the HBAA as the industry looks to re-emerge from the pandemic. I am looking forward to being part of the team as we look to help innovate and support our sector’s Service and Solution providers over the coming months.”

Juliet Price, in her eighth year as consultant executive director, will continue to work alongside her fellow consultant executive director Leigh Cowlishaw.