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Industry not responding enough on climate, says CHS Awards judge

The events industry is not responding as well as other sectors when it comes to tackling impact on the planet, according to the chair of judges at this year’s CHS Awards.

The fifth CHS Awards, which took place at The Royal Armouries in Leeds. aimed to recognise the best of the UK hospitality and events industry. De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham picked up the top award of the night, the Chairman’s Award, thanks to the “paradigm shifts” it has made as a business in its approach to sustainability.

Chairman of the judges, Samme Allen, said that the issue of climate change had been key when choosing the winner of the Chairman’s Award.

She said: “This year was really tough! I shortlisted the winning submissions to four. Last year I picked an academic venue with amazing sustainability practices. This year, I’ve chosen a hotel as the Chairman’s Award winner. Climate change is real. As an industry, we are not responding as well as other sectors when it comes to tackling our impact on the planet. We travel, we fly, we stay in hotels. We impact!

“However and wherever we can showcase best practise in lessening our impact, reducing waste, promoting health and wellbeing, demonstrating efficiency in using natural resources and engaging our local communities, we should champion and shout loud about these organisations.

“This is why I chose the De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham as the Chairman’s Award winner, not because of the huge investments in the building but the many small changes and paradigm shifts that they have made as a business, the mindset and staff engagement and lastly, the desire from everyone involved in the property to make a positive impact.

“I encourage everyone to either visit, read their case studies or chat to the team from the hotel as taking one piece of best practice and making one incremental change to improve your business practices will really start making a difference.”

A number of new categories were introduced this year, including Rising Star, Lifetime Achievement and Unsung Hero, taking the number of awards to 23. The CHS Awards were judged by an independent panel of 70 event professionals, with entries from internationally recognised brands to quirky independents, unusual venues and exceptional event professionals.

Emma Cartmell, CEO of CHS Group, said: “We had a record number of entries and were inundated with nominations from a wide range of organisations big and small – a testament to the wealth of talent and enthusiasm in the MICE industry.

“The standard of entry was exceptional, and we were delighted by the response to our new categories which saw a particularly high number of nominations. We owe a massive thank you to our judges who had a particularly tough job selecting winners from such an impressive field.”

Gary Cook, venue director at headline sponsor OEC Sheffield, said: “We were delighted to be involved in such a prestigious event that celebrates the very best in our industry. It was a great opportunity to get our new venue in front of the perfect audience of event and hospitality experts whilst recognising the hard work, professionalism and innovation in our sector.”

The winners were:

Best Academic Venue
Winner – Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde

Best Auditorium
Winner – The Mermaid London

Best Bedroom
Winner – Winstanley House
Highly Commended – Hyatt Regency Birmingham

Best Boardroom / Small Meeting Space
Winner – Hilton London Bankside

Best Catering Provider
Winner – Dine

Conference Planner of the Year
Winner – Jess Winskill from The Grand, York

Best Exhibition Facility
Winner – Silverstone Circuits Ltd

Best External Event Space
Winner – IXL Events Ltd – Dallas Burston Polo Club
Highly Commended – Big Chief Tipis

Front of House Individual or Team
Winner – Winstanley House
Highly Commended – Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club (Elite Hotels)

Best Hotel Group
Winner – Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland

Best Independent Hotel/Venue
Winner – Victory Services Club
Highly Commended – Ellingham Hall

Large Conference Space
Winner – De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre
Highly Commended – The Vox

Lifetime Achievement
Winner – Andrew McKenzie – The Vineyard Group

Best Onsite Technology Offering
Winner – Horizon Leeds

Best Outsourced AV Provider
Winner – Hawthorn

Best Representation of a UK Venue
Winner – Trident Hospitality Consultants Ltd
Highly Commended – Signature Sales Support & Representation Ltd

Rising Star
Winner – Joshua Lloyd-Hall from the QEII Centre

Best Sustainable / CSR Venue Practice
Winner – De Vere Orchard Hotel
Highly Commended – Cloth Hall Court by Well Met

Best UK Convention Bureau
Winner – Meet Bristol Convention Bureau (Part of Destination Bristol)
Highly Commended – ConferenceLeeds

Venue Booker of the Year
Winner – Karen Rogers – Conference Care

Unsung Hero
Winner – Paulina Wach – Harrogate Convention Centre
Highly Commended – Alije Grant, General and Kitchen Porter, Unique Venues Birmingham

Best Unusual or Unique Event Space
Winner – Butlins Conference & Events

Chairman’s Award
Winner – De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham.