BUSINESSMarch 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 67 York-based business tourism specialist Great Potential (GP) is partnering with Hands Free Management to offer management mentoring to hotels and conference venues on behalf of independent owners. Hands Free's Clive Rowe-Evans, said: "Many independent businesses are in need of support through the diffi cult trading climate, not having the resources that group owned properties enjoy. By taking a holistic review of their business we can recommend action for owners." GP's Director John Gallery says: "GP has been assisting independent hotels, venues and destinations with marketing, sales and PR since 1999 and the new division is the merging of two brands. GP provides digital and traditional marketing services for clients and Hands Free Management brings knowledge and experience to develop the management contracts side of the business."Latest fi nancial forecasts for the Harrogate International Centre (HIC) predict a loss of £1.5m in the next 12 months, on top of £941,000 for the current fi nancial year.HIC is owned by the District Council and has just emerged from a round of job losses which halved the workforce.HIC Director Angus Houston told CN "a big transition" had been undertaken at the HIC which did not have a big metropolitan council to fund it. The council was itself facing an 11 per cent cut in government funding. "The old exhibition market had changed," said Houston, who hailed the new potential for events at the HIC's £12m hall extension. He said he plans to target the more lucrative corporate meetings sector to pull through the downturn.The HIC saw a drop in events, from 77 in 2010/11 to 64 this fi nancial year, and Houston was expecting 54 events next year. The continued support for the Royal Hall had placed a cumulative strain on the HIC budget and Houston did not rule out 'ring-fencing' parts of the HIC business in future.News in brief £10m UBM sell offMedia group UBM has sold several farming and medical titles to Briefi ng Media for £10m. Digital and event products are part of the deal: including the Mental Health Forum, Pulse Seminars and Learning. Briefi ng Media is backed by private equity fund GCP Capital Partners. UBM retains ownership of the Cropworld conference and CEO David Levin said he was "very pleased" with the transactions. UBM has made £25m worth of disposals since 1 January 2011. Kenes appoints new COOInternational event organiser Kenes Group has appointed Luc Hendrickx Chief Operating Operator. He will be responsible for offi ces in Asia, Turkey, UK, Brazil and Latin America and for corporate governance. Hendrickx previously worked in international medical societies, leading the in-house strategy of the European Cancer Conference and the World Diabetes Congress. He was also Executive Director of the International Diabetes Federation. CT Business Travel on the upKent-based agency CT Business Travel has reported a 22.3 per cent rise in turnover despite tough trading conditions. MD Mark Kempster said the company was "cautiously optimistic and looking at the potential of acquisitions to maintain growth"."We are mindful of the impact the Olympics will have on corporate travel during and around that period," he added. Houston, we have a problemAdministrator in Hands Free Managementat Arinza StarArinza Star Hotels, which owns two hotels in Derbyshire and Lancashire, is in administration. Legacy Hotels and Resorts, which operates 30 hotels across the UK and Southern Spain, is to run them pending a resolution. "The next stage is a review at the hotels," said John Whitfi eld for administrators Duff & Phelps..Bad month for: Olympic Park Legacy Company. The body charged with driving venue legacy is to lose its Chairman, Baroness Ford, after the Olympics.Good month for: Cardiff & Co. The Council in the Welsh capital pledged new fi nancing for the destination marketing agency and endorsed a fi ve-year plan.rise reported in conference attendance in Europe, according to MPI's latest (December 2011) Business Barometer fi gures.
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