We had a fantastic time at the CHS Awards on the 6th of June. It felt good to bring the ceremony back to our home in Leeds at the Royal Armouries, and you all looked so glamorous dressed up to the nines. Congratulations to all of the winners who took home their prizes at the awards ceremony, and a special shout out to everyone who was shortlisted and who entered the awards this year.
The fifth CHS Awards recognised the best of the UK hospitality and events industry, celebrating groups and individuals across a variety of different disciplines. A number of new categories were introduced to the Awards this year, including Rising Star, Lifetime Achievement and Unsung Hero, alongside established categories such as Best Independent Venue or Hotel, Best Catering Provider and Best External Event Space.
The Awards were judged by an independent panel of 70 event professionals, all experts in their chosen field. With entries from internationally recognised brands to quirky independents, unusual venues and exceptional event professionals, it was a tricky task to pick the winners.
Emma Cartmell, Chief Executive Officer, 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.”
Chairman of the Judges, Samme Allen, was also impressed by the high quality of the shortlisted candidates and had her own struggle determining an overall winner for 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 practises. 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 practise and making one incremental change to improve your business practices will really start making a difference.”
It was an evening of celebration too for headline sponsor OEC Sheffield. Venue Director, Gary Cook, 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.”
Best Academic Venue
Winner - Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde
Winner - The Mermaid London
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
Best Independent Hotel/Venue
Winner - Victory Services Club
Highly Commended – Ellingham Hall
Large Conference Space
Highly Commended - The Vox
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
Winner - Joshua Lloyd-Hall from the QEII Centre London
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
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
Winner - De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham.