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June 10, 2008

Corporates look to booking agents to strengthen buying power

Major businesses, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Nestlé, are increasingly turning to hotel booking agents in order to get the maximum value from their accommodation and events spend, according to the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA).

Made up of over 70 hotel booking agents, the HBAA’s collective buying power now accounts for £900 million a year on conference, meetings and accommodation. The association is also attracting an increasing number of hotel groups into its membership. The most recent recruit is Hand Picked Hotels, a collection of 17, four-star luxury country house hotels located throughout the UK and Channel Islands, where the group claims “the country house environment encourages delegates to feel at home through the welcoming and charming service levels”.

Hand Picked Hotels will incorporate the HBAA’s Code of Conduct into its policies. The Code is widely recognised as the most effective governance of relationships between booking agencies, venues and corporate clients. The Code of Conduct represents the centerpiece of the HBAA’s drive to promote professionalism and accountability in the billion-pound hotel booking agent sector.

Hand Picked Hotels’ membership of the association will facilitate access to the UK’s leading hotel booking agents and will help drive meeting, event and accommodation business to the 17-strong collection of hotels. 

“Hand Picked Hotels’ membership of the HBAA gives a very strong message as the company has some of the UK’s most prestigious meeting and event properties,” said HBAA executive director Peter Ducker. “By joining the
HBAA, Hand Picked Hotels clearly demonstrates a desire to help drive
professionalism and accountability in the hotel booking agency sector.”

Commenting on becoming an HBAA member, Sophia Ives, Hand Picked Hotels’ sales manager, said: “This is a great opportunity for Hand Picked Hotels and we are delighted to become a member of the HBAA. We look forward to working with the HBAA and introducing the members to our business, meetings and events product.”

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