British Meetings Group Ramps Up Job-Swap Program

The event and hospitality group HBAA says its new Immersion Lab will give professionals in different sectors of the meetings industry---specifically, booking agencies and hospitality venues---a glimpse at each other's work to promote greater understanding.

Occasional job-swapping is a fact of life in many workplaces, as employees cover for colleagues who are on vacation or need time away for health or family reasons. But a major British meetings group is taking a more ambitious approach to the job swap.

HBAA, an events and hospitality organization, is launching the HBAA Immersion Lab, which will allow employees at agencies and venues to do a daily or weekly job swap over a variety of disciplines. The idea is to strengthen understanding among professionals who work in different parts of the meetings industry.

“We hope the exchange will allow the two parties to work closer together, gaining more respect of each other’s place within the sector, and a greater empathy in moments of debate, negotiation, and challenges,” HBAA states on its website. “On the whole, the purpose is to build a holistic relationship between agencies and venues, one that is supported by the whole organization.”

The travel management agency Inntel, which has run a similar initiative internally in the past, was quick to support the program. The agency’s supplier partner manager, Sian Sayward, called the idea “long overdue within our industry.”

“Inntel have worked with hotel and venue partners previously with our own ‘job swap’ scheme and found the results extremely beneficial, so the fact that this scheme will now be broadened and involve multiple agents and venues is very exciting,” Sayward said in a news release.

The Immersion Lab, first announced in February, is one of several HBAA initiatives that aim to deepen industry engagement and boost member collaborations. Other plans for 2018 include an apprenticeship initiative and  an international forum.

The new programs were created as a result of member discussions that took place at the association’s Business Leaders Forum last year.

(benjaminec/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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