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HBAA encourages young industry professionals with programme

HBAA (the Hotel Booking Agents Association) has launched the Next Gen Board shadow programme, an initiative aimed at encouraging and supporting young industry professionals.

HBAA chair Angie Mason said: “The Next Gen Board shadow programme represents the first of many initiatives that we are planning to inspire young professionals and to equip and support them with the skills to progress into leadership positions in the organisations they work in, as well as in the HBAA”.

Following the announcement earlier this year that the “the Next Generation” would be the association’s central focus for 2019, a Next Gen Board was created so that young members in the industry can shadow and learn from the already established HBAA board and executive committee.

Both boards took part in a successful HBAA Board and Executive Committee Meeting at the Radisson Blu East Midlands recently. The meeting provided young professionals with first-hand boardroom experience which aims to accelerate their careers and prepare them for future roles in the HBAA.

Olivia Wooley, national account manager at Hotel and Travel Solutions Ltd, who attended the event, said: “I found the event to be very inspiring! This is a great opportunity to bring the next generation’s ideas to the HBAA, as well as a great opportunity to develop personally in my career and to help others of a similar age bracket.

“HBAA is a great association to be part of! I’m very excited about the next eight months!”

Next Gen Board members will be invited to shadow the HBBA board at events throughout 2019. These events aim to provide continuous mentorship for younger, less experienced members and encourage them to stay and grow in the industry.

Attracting and retaining young talent has, so far, been something the industry struggles with, according to Ryan Doyle, sales manager at the Park Regis Birmingham, who attended the HBAA Board and Executive Committee Meeting, but the Next Gen Board seeks to change that.

“I am committed to giving a voice to the younger generation and providing feedback on how we see the industry moving forward.

“The committee meetings are a valuable time to examine association objectives for the next 12 months and to discuss how these aims will be achieved. I am keen to promote the industry as the exciting and diverse employment sector that it is.”

Alongside encouraging young talent to gain first-hand boardroom experience, HBAA is also focused on training all HBAA executive committee members as mental health first aiders.