The Hotel Booking Agents’ Association (HBAA) came into being in 1997 and we as a company joined shortly after in 1999. Four years ago I decided it was time to give something back and support the industry which I had been hugely involved in for nearly 30 years, so I became involved personally in the HBAA.

I started my career on the venues side of the industry at St Ermin’s Hotel in London and after 11 years made a move over to the agency side. I started out in venue finding as a Project Executive and worked my way through various roles over the next 20 years. I’ve worked directly with clients and operationally, which gives me the grounding and understanding of the pressures we face within the industry.

I am now delighted to hold the position of Vice-Chair of the HBAA and look forward to moving the association forward with Leigh Cowlishaw (Chair of the HBAA). Along with Dawn Jaynes and Alison Makosz (Venue Chair and Venue Vice-Chair respectively) the four of us combined represent all that the HBAA is about; agencies and venues coming together to promote fair practice within the industry.

The HBAA created a significant agreement within the events industry, a code of practice that emphasises the need for regulation and rules when doing business with venues. The document banishes any ambiguity and showcases what good business looks like.

I am thrilled to part of an association with ethics and fair practice at the heart of everything they do. The association is all-inclusive and ever since Ashfield Meetings & Events joined, every member of staff has been a member of the association. The HBAA memberships have always been company-wide, meaning that every member of staff benefits from the association with the HBAA.

I am excited to start working alongside Leigh to establish a prominence for the HBAA within the industry and to become a voice for agencies and venues in partnership.

Louise Goalen is Business Director: Venue Finding at Ashfield Meetings & Events.

Blog: HBAA Vice-Chairmanship