HBAA, the association for the meetings, events, and accommodation industry, has appointed Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, and Gareth Warnock, Group Sales Director of De Vere, as venue sector advisors to the Board.
The positions have been created to represent the depth and breadth of the HBAA’s venue community and they bring their voice and influence to HBAA’s board strategy and activities. They join David Taylor, formerly managing director of Grass Roots Meetings & Events and a non-executive chairman of BCD Meetings & Events, who was appointed as an advisor at the end of last year.
The appointments further enhance the HBAA’s board restructure, which aims to drive industry recovery through working collaboratively to deliver the association’s ‘future fit’ vision for members. The vision is underpinned by four pillars – resilience, innovation, ethics and quality – to ensure it is fit for purpose and ready to aid the revival of the industry.
In their new roles, Watson and Warnock will drive engagement within the HBAA’s venue community to deliver relevant content and support aligned to their sectors’ needs, which will also be complementary to the needs of agencies. Ultimately, this will help HBAA members navigate the path to recovery in partnership and will validate the ways in which the association hosts, plans and delivers overall content in the future. The pair will also be the leading voices on behalf of venues at the HBAA Code of Practice review which commences in April.
Callum McLean, Director of Business Partnerships at Capita Travel and Events and HBAA Membership Director, commented: “At the HBAA, we have ambitious plans in 2021 and our expansion is just the start of the Association’s future as we adjust to a world that has changed forever.
“Louisa and Gareth are highly experienced and well respected and will be fantastic leaders to support our #HBAAfuturefit vision and to meet the new challenges we are all faced with. These roles will specifically strengthen our commitment to recognising and representing the depth and breadth of our venue membership and will also support our agency community.”
Reflecting on the new role, Watson said: “Having been personally involved with the HBAA for six years and previously held roles as Marketing Committee Chair, Venue Chair for two years and more recently Sustainability Chair, I am delighted to have been appointed to this role at such a challenging and pivotal time for the venue community. I am focused on adding value and bringing support to HBAA members in the ways they need it most as they return to business.”
Warnock added: “Having worked with and as part of the HBAA previously on various committees, projects and in the role of Venue Chair, I am delighted to be once again working with the HBAA in the capacity of Venue Sector Advisor. Drawing on my past and current experience as Group Sales Director at De Vere and previous experience of working for a global chain, I feel I can bring relevant insight and add value at a time where all parties need to work together collaboratively to rebuild our businesses and our industry.”
Sian Sayward, Director of Commercial Partnerships & Projects at Inntel and HBAA Governance Director said: “As we move forward into recovery, now more than ever it is imperative that our industry works in collaboration at every opportunity. This is not just about having a relationship between an agent and a supplier but making sure we are forging a deeper understanding of the working practices, drivers and challenges that agencies, hotels and venues deal with at all levels.
“Gareth and Louisa both bring a wealth of knowledge that will be invaluable to the association as we navigate through the next phase of #HBAAfuturefit. Their contribution, insights and experience strengthen HBAA’s ability to work pro-actively in supporting members across a multitude of areas, ensuring that our members businesses’ can adapt, grow and thrive in a rapidly changing industry.”