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HBAA, the hotel booking agents association, held its 2014 annual dinner at Novotel London West on 10th January. The much anticipated dinner was attended by the most members yet and was heralded a resounding success.
HBAA chair, Chris Parnham, hosted the evening, which included entertainment from The Globe Girls, along with a stage set and compilation of West End musicals performed by The Westenders.
The annual presentation of The Tim Gasson Memorial Award was made to Stephen Usher. The award, which recognises outstanding contribution and promotion of the association, is named after former HBAA Chair and founding member, Tim Gasson, who died tragically in 2007.
The occasion also saw a generous donation made to the Chairman’s Charity, The Make a Difference Trust. Monies were raised through both the online auction and contributions on the night and will go to help support people living with HIV and AIDS.
Feedback from guests at Friday’s celebrations point to a resounding success with many guests commenting it was the best annual dinner in the Association’s history.
Chris Parnham commented: “The HBAA annual dinner is a personal highlight and with membership at an all-time high, it is great to see so many members and sponsors under one roof. Once again we challenged the Association’s norms and the feedback from Friday has been fabulous!
My entire first year in the post has been an amazing experience and all of the committees have strived to make positive changes for our members and future talent. I am thrilled to be able to continue the work I’ve started and to keep driving HBAA as a definitive voice of the industry into 2014 and beyond.”
Juliet Price, Executive Director of the HBAA, said “Stephen Usher is a very-deserved winner of the Tim Gasson Award, a commendation that is recognised throughout the industry and highly coveted within our association. The longstanding drive and commitment shown by Stephen in all aspects of his roles has been a real asset to the HBAA and it’s great to recognise his achievements tonight in front of the membership. During his time as Chairman, Stephen acknowledged the need for change to ensure the future of the HBAA and under Chris’s tutorage we have become an increasingly forward thinking and dynamic association as this evening has highlighted!”
Overseen by Chris Parnham and Juliet Price, 2014 is set to be another year of growth with a target of increasing agent membership by 20%, producing more training opportunities for members, widening collaborative opportunities and continuing to grow the association’s presence within the wider live events industry.