This week marked the latest and most successful Steve Reed Tourism Group Buyer Forum event – in what is SRT’s twentieth consecutive year of putting buyers together with sellers.

Top Surrey attraction Painshill Park was the venue for this set piece activity, best described as ‘speed dating for groups’.

A truly national venture, the Forum reflected much of what is excellent in the UK group travel field. The numerous exhibitors read like a who’s who of tourism. Names such as Bletchley Park; Warner Hotels; the National Garden Scheme; Corus and Laura Ashley Hotels; Daish’s Holidays; Ticketmaster Groups and Waddesdon Manor rubbed shoulders with the likes of Westminster Abbey; AGTO; Hever Castle; Denbies Wine Estate; Torquay Leisure Hotels and the Royal Horticultural Society.

French Brother’s Boat Trips of Windsor; The Rugby Town; Ena Mill Retail of Manchester; Visit Guildford; Classic Lodges Hotels; Travel World Association; City Cruises and Brooklands Museum were just a few of the attractions, hotels and tourism businesses represented at the Group Buyer Forum. The event was purely about group bookings.

To accomplish this, Steve Reed Tourism invited coach and tour operators; wholesalers; GTOS and inbound tour operators to the event. They met the exhibitors face to face for a series of ten minute meetings. The Grovefield House Hotel near Windsor hosted some of the buyers with dinner and a night’s accommodation. French Brothers of Windsor treated the overnight attendees to a special River Thames Cruise.

‘We’ve developed the way we arrange our events over the last few years and as a result we think we’re giving the tourism industry even more value for money,' says Steve.

‘Our events are not just about numbers. Instead, we simplify them and concentrate on trying to make sure that each of the tour planners we invite are bone fide and active in the industry. So we’re focusing on quality more and more nowadays. That’s not easy to do of course but we’re definitely getting there!’

The next Group Buyer Forum takes place on Monday 14 October from 10.30am to 2pm at the Lowry in Salford Quays, Manchester. The Farringdon Lodge Hotel at Leyland in Lancashire will be looking after some of the buyers the night before and City Centre Cruises of Manchester will be hosting a cruise at 2pm from the Lowry on the 14t October immediately after the Group Buyer Forum.

Any tourism businesses interested in exhibiting at the Lowry, or tour planners wishing to attend the event, should email or call 01420 560288.

PHOTO: Harley and Emma from Travel World Association (centre) meet Jane Lee from Stonor Park and Gavin Davies from Groups Direct at the Forum

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