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April 16, 2008

Bookers check in with business tourism body

The Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) has become the latest member of the Business Tourism Partnership.
The HBAA represents a collective industry voice for both agents and hotels and venues for the best practice in the procurement and booking of accommodation, conferences, events and training sessions. Over 60 of the UK's leading booking agents make up the Association and their consolidated buying power exceeds £750 million per annum.

This strengthening in the Business Tourism Partnership’s co-ordination of representation across all aspects of business visit and event activities comes at a time when hotels are playing an increasingly important role in accommodating meetings, conferences and events.
According to the British Conference Venues Survey 2007, Hotels comprise around 52% of all conference and business event venues. In 2006, hotels enjoyed 61% market share in terms of conferences staged in the UK, clearly making them the major type of venue for business events. Hotels staged an average of 464 conferences each, hosting more than all other types of venue with the exception of conference and training centres.
Some 80% of the business travel market is booked through third parties. Members and partners of the HBAA provide cost savings and management information to the corporate market – costs associated directly with the use of a hotel or venue for accommodation, meetings or conference purposes.
Welcoming HBAA as a new member, Business Tourism Partnership chairman Michael Hirst said: “HBAA will be able to make a very important contribution to the work of the partnership as we continue to lead the way in supporting a competitive, high-quality, more profitable business visits and events sector in Britain. The importance of events in building Britain’s tourism offer, especially in the run up to the Olympics, is now more widely recognised, and reliable hotel information and efficient booking processes are vital to secure maximum attendance.”
Commenting on joining the Business Tourism Partnership, Peter Ducker, executive director of the HBAA, said: ”Our members have a unique view across both the events and the transient guest markets that enables us, as an Association, to contribute to the broadest industry debates. Becoming a member of the Business Tourism partnership will allow us to engage in that debate at an exciting time for business travel and for our sector. We welcome the opportunity that our membership presents.”
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