PA Life Magazine – Summer 2024

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Summer events to wow your guests

Brimming with unique venues, pop-up gardens and rooftop terraces, South Bank has the buzz your summer event needs, in a convenient central London location. Find out more inside...


Helen Haslam,

for You

SHOW TIME Business Travel Show, Meetings Show & London

Christmas Parties

SPOTLIGHT Gorgeous hotels, spas and the races – Cheltenham has it all and more!



Business travel with a personal touch

As an EA or PA, you’re an expert in caring for the people around you. Here at Travel Counsellors for Business, we make sure that the level of care you show to your colleagues and senior leaders is exactly what they experience every time they travel for work. Speak to us today 0161 464 5350 Personalised end-to-end travel planning and management Self-book simple trips using myTC Online 24/7 support across time zones A dedicated Travel Counsellor for you and your travellers

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For the latest stories visit

The PA Life Team

Marja-Leena Toseland PA Life Editor 01992 374066

Lucy Gallivan Media Manager 01992 374054

Charles Dragazis Production Manager 01992 374070

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Lisa Carter Director, Mimram Media Ltd 07970 164201

Stuart O’Brien Director, Mimram Media Ltd 07732 114067


The sunshine has finally arrived and with it the rush to secure your summer event venues. Don’t panic, there are still fantastic options available, such as London’s vibrant South Bank – featured on our cover. This colourful riverside stretch in central London, conveniently located near Waterloo station, has plenty of choices for any size and style event, from popup gardens to arty venues, and to cool rooftop bars. Take your pick!

Our Venues feature has even more great options for you, both in London and beyond, as well as event experts who can take the strain by organising it all for you (pages 20-35).

We also bring you highlights of this summer’s key industry expos to attend. Starting with the Business Travel Show Europe which celebrates its 30th year on June 19th and 20th at ExCeL London. Discover what’s new, including the latest innovations in the industry, meet with a broad range of suppliers, learn from the experts at the many excellent talks and reconnect with your peers.

The Meetings Show runs alongside the Business Travel Show, and a delegate pass to either grants you access to both shows. Meet with over 650 global event suppliers, including hotels, destinations, venues, conference centres, technology suppliers, and more. We bring you a snapshot of some of the top suppliers at the show on pages 44-49. PA Life will be there too, so pop by to say hello to us on stand F73! The show also runs an exceptional seminar programme, with our panel on ‘Innovation: Crucial For Event Success’, being one of the talks on June 20th, at 11am.

London Christmas Party Show on July 16th and 17th is another ‘must-attend’ show for PAs and EAs whose remit covers events. You are sure to be inspired and learn from the experts.

In this issue we also showcase a great selection of Business Travel specialists who help you navigate the increasingly complex travel landscape and the rising costs. Whether you need help with sustainable options, complex itineraries, achieving cost savings or complete travel management solutions, turn to pages 36-43.

Our regular features include a PA Profile of an exceptional PA, who’s either climbed the career ladder, or like Helen Haslam, who we interviewed for this issue, has set up their own VA business. Another accomplished Business Support Professional interview asks Greg Bird, Project Manager, responsible for events, about his work and life (Club section, page 9). Our regular columns and How To pages bring you expert advice on AI and the EA/PA role; how much of a threat is it, and tips for using ChatGPT. Mastering cultural nuances and business etiquette are vital for successful relationships in the Middle East, as we find out on page 17. Wellbeing is a crucial ingredient to incorporate into all events – Lucy Eden, our wellness columnist talks about the ‘how and why’ on page 12.

Plus our Ask Abi columnist, Abi Jones, a Senior EA, answers your burning questions.

And last, but not least, we shine our spotlight on Cheltenham and all that this Regency spa town in the Cotswolds has to offer to organisers of premier corporate meetings, events and hospitality functions.

Hope you’ll enjoy the read. Our autumn issue will be with you late-August. In the meantime, stay informed with our daily updates at and on our social media channels.


Advance your career with PA Life Star Awards and Mentoring Programme

PA Life Club continues to go from strength to strength as a premium networking group for the Assistant community, with a great programme of FAM Trips and a steadily growing membership - currently standing at over 1,100 individuals…


Once again, we are searching for star quality Administrative and Business Support Professionals in our annual PA Life Star Awards’ seven categories, including the Star of all Stars – PA Life Star of the Year.

Our PA awards are amongst the most coveted industry awards and recognise the professionalism and dedication of PAs, EAs, VAs and Office Managers in their demanding and constantly evolving roles.

You can either nominate yourself, a friend or colleague. The process is quick and simple: email a bio and testimonial from your boss or a colleague to with a subject: ‘PA Star Awards 2024’.

The nominations open on June 30th, and close on September 30th, and the finalists and winners will be announced at the awards ceremony during PA Life’s

Christmas party. Venue and date will be revealed soon.


As a PA Life CLub member, you can apply to join either as a mentor or a mentee. The one-to-one, and totally free, learning from an experienced peer is a golden opportunity to advance your skills and gain confidence.

Menteeships are ideal for those relatively new to the Assistant or Office Manager role, or who are looking for career or task specific advice from someone who’s climbed the career ladder. Mentoring helps with goal setting, identifying strengths, and developing skills, confidence and personal growth.

Open to Club members only. For enquiries, email with subject ‘Mentoring’.

Our Partners include


PA Life has teamed up with leading brands and suppliers who are pleased to offer our members great exclusive offers that you will not find anywhere else.

The offers range from hotel bookings to restaurants, from flowers to hats, and include greatly reduced fees for training courses, recruitment, wellness and event management and more.

New offers are added all the time, so it’s worth keeping an eye on our ‘Offers’ page on the Club website.


Our extensive Recommended Supplier Directory at is here exclusively to help Assistant and the Corporate Booker community to find trusted suppliers for whatever you need – from AV to entertainers, and hotels to venues, plus anything in between in 18 categories. It’s a great place to start your search!



The best networking, showcase and learning events for PAs and EAs to attend this summer...

PA Life Club FAM Trips...


Our Club members are invited for an introduction into all things Gravity Max at their brand-new venue in Westfield Stratford City - London’s biggest Urban Theme Park. We’ll kick off the evening with a prosecco reception and a chance to network with other guests. We’ll also hear about the latest Gravity Max

venue and what’s on offer for corporate events, and will also be entertained by a guest speaker (tbc).

But that’s not all – as you’ll also get the chance to put the exhilarating activities to the test, including e-karting, electric darts, immersive game box, a virtual reality experience and much more.


The Open House events and marketing team extends a warm welcome to you, first at The Broadcaster, in White City – on their rooftop terrace, with sweeping views of West London. You’ll enjoy a full tour of the spaces, and stop for a selection of pastries, tea and coffee to start the day off the right way.

You will then be taken via a private transfer to The Lighterman, situated at the historical Granary Square by the canal in Kings Cross,

July 18th

The team at Viva Esprit, a boutique event management company, is inviting PA Life Club members to an exclusive experience at The Grove, Watford. Join us for an afternoon of interactive sessions, followed by dinner in The Glasshouse Restaurant, topped off with the option to stay overnight at The Grove. The FAM Trip will offer an

where summer cocktails await, followed by a tour of the venue as well as a delicious lunch showcasing the new Summer inspired menu.

opportunity to get to know Viva Esprit and their joint Managing Directors – Paul and Nadine Fenton. You will be able to enjoy an interactive session to discuss your requirements for booking events and also take part in some fun experiences. Places for all our events are limited, with minimum of 72 hour notice for cancellations.


The Experimental Experience, Covent Garden, is hosting an unmissable evening for PA Life Club members. We’ll rendez-vous at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (CVS) in Seven Dials, where the journey begins with a refined wine-tasting paired with canapés from our seasonal menu.

We will continue to Henrietta Hotel’s Henri restaurant, helmed by chef Jackson Boxer, showcases a blend of British and French influences in both cuisine and design, with the space curated by Dorothée Meilichzon. To cap off our evening we’ll head to

You are invited to experience an evening on the Hawksmoor Wood Wharf, housed in an eco-friendly floating pavilion in a new riverside neighbourhood in Canary Wharf. You will be enjoying what Hawksmoor does best – award winning cocktails, carefully paired wines, and a full preview of their Hawksmoor canape & bowl food menu. Gently rising and falling with the tide, the main restaurant at docklevel is joined by a 120-seat waterside bar, which includes

the late-night venue, STEREO a 30-second walk away to enjoy dessert, cocktails and live music.

a beautiful summer terrace with views across the water. Hawksmoor restaurants have been given the highest rating for sustainability by the Sustainable Restaurants Association.



PA Life Club members are invited to enjoy an evening of wine and food at Vinoteca in London.

Launched in 2005, the group has since opened sites in Chiswick, King’s Cross, the City and Borough Yards, picking up multiple awards along the way, from Decanter, Star Wine List, Wine Buyers Awards and more. It


makes a great venue for team socials and celebrations. A group of our Club members recently visited Borough Yards for a great evening, putting wines from the New and the Old Worlds to test. Now, this is a chance for more PA Life Club members to experience what Vinoteca has to offer –at a different venue this time (tbc).

Best Industry Events for PAs and EAs...


The PA Life Summit is a ‘Meet the Buyer Event’ - specifically designed for senior PAs and EAs looking to connect with solution providers of innovative products and services that will help them respond to their professional challenges.

This event is a small, niche event, tailored to meet the needs of the attendees for both supplier and delegate side. It is unique and unlike other large, busy exhibitions and conferences. Experience a day of private meetings with corporate suppliers of venues, corporate gifting, hospitality and travel managers.


Delegates will have their own bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged meetings with industry suppliers who match your requirements. This

means that you can meet with service providers from the comfort of your own Delegate Booth

The day will also include a series of insightful seminars led by industry experts and networking throughout with fellow PAs and EAs who share your challenges.

Lunch and refreshments included. First seminar will start at 8:45am.


Please complete the booking form at

For any enquiries email:

WHARF July 1st

The London Venues Summit is dedicated to professionals whose role includes sourcing venues. This focused one-day event brings together the top London venues and event planners and organisers, such as Assistants.

The Summit is a highly informative day of prequalified one-to-one meetings, inspiring seminars and informal networking, helping you to build valuable relationships with the best contacts in the events industry.


• Pre-arranged meetings with solution providers of your choice

• 20-minute meetings in a relaxed environment, with no hard sell

• Attend a tailored programme of inspiring seminars

• Easily compare and benchmark potential products, services and solutions

• You will be one of just 60 guests at the event, ensuring

that you get personal attention

• Attendance is entirely free of charge, which includes entry to our seminars and lunch.


We pride ourselves on our personal approach. We understand that your time is precious, valuable and limited. You tell us who you want to meet, and we handle all the details.

We arrange all meetings in advance based on your preferences; providing you with details of solution providers’ products and services, taking the hassle and time consuming process out of sourcing new suppliers.

98% of past attendees say that our events are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show.




PA Life Club members enjoyed a wonderful evening on February 7th at 10 Union Street, near London Bridge, hosted by Graysons – the hospitality partners of the venue. 20 members came to see what the recently refurbished venue has to offer to meetings and events hosts. We were welcomed at the impressive atrium, with a striking spiral staircase, a stunning backdrop for us to

20 of our members visited Birmingham’s latest addition to the city’s event venues –Eastside Rooms - on April 25th, with an overnight stay at the on-site 4* Aloft Birmingham Eastside, a 195room Marriott hotel. The trip was one of the highlights of our event calendar so far in 2024. Located a short 20 minute walk from

enjoy drinks and fresh oysters ahead of our tour of the rest of the building, including the museum that’s part of the heritage of the Royal College of Midwives, the main occupants of the building.

Birmingham New Street station, the venue is a great choice for train travellers, helping to keep your venue sustainability score high. A state-of-the-art venue with a great selection of meetings and event spaces, including the Affinity Suite spanning over 800m², which is great for dinners, awards and conferences.

The PA Show ExCeL 2024 on February 28th and 29th was a great success for PA Life and our 16 stand partners who joined us on our colourful tropical beachthemed 60 square metre stand, located in a prime spot near the entrance to the show. We even had a beach style bar where one of our partners, Sip ‘n’ Swig, were mixing delicious cocktails for visitors to try.

The stand was buzzing with activity throughout the two-day show and we all enjoyed the many great conversations we had

with PAs, EAs, VAs, Office Mangers and other business support professionals. And that wasn’t all as this year’s seminar programme was more popular than ever, with 60 hours of expert-talks and panel discussion, including PA Life’s session: Enhancing your event experience with wellbeing offerings.

Our FAM Trip on March 21st to Gravity Max in Wandsworth, London, was a fun and activity-filled evening with a motivational talk to kick things off, followed by us putting the team activities to test. We loved the thrill of e-karting, urban street golf, bowling, a digital gamebox and fighting zombies in VR. The venue is great for team events and parties; fun for everyone to get involved, what ever you experience, skill or fitness level.

Our event started at Newton’s Sports Bar, a sophisticated cocktail and sports bar, tucked away on the third floor, away from the buzzing games areas. We were greeted with a glass of bubbly upon arrival and delicious finger food followed as we gathered around to hear from the evening’s guest speaker, Nigel Risner, a leadership coach and motivational speaker.

We are going to Gravity Max Westfield Stratford City next.


The London Summer Event Show 2024 returned on 20 –21 February to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The show’s organisers Story Events, welcomed 943 event agents and corporate buyers to the iconic, Art Deco Freemasons’ Hall in London. The two days networking with 150 of the hottest event venues and suppliers, as well as the jampacked content programme were outstanding. The seminars featured an array of

Vinoteca Borough Yards hosted us for a very entertaining and educational evening of wine tasting on March 27th. After a greet and meet over a glass of very good prosecco, and a generous serving of delicious finger food, we moved to a private dining space upstairs, a mezzanine floor with a beautiful arched ceiling, reminiscent of the yards’ industrial past. The space

informative content and there were also workshops for everyone to get involved with.

overlooks the main restaurant and bar, nicely tucked away for more intimate dinners and events.

Sommalier Fabio ran an excellent and entertaining tasting session, comparing Old and New World wines.


Greg Bird

Project Manager and Events Organiser – Multinational Insurance Company

“PAs would be great PMs and vice versa.

Greg is an IT Project Manager for a global insurance company. He’s been interested in technology all his life, and is also also a very organised person, making the role of a PM a perfect one for him. His strong organisational skills didn’t go unnoticed and he was soon asked to organise events. As you’d expect he demonstrated a great aptitude for it and his career progressed from there.

Is there a cross-over in skills between an event Project Manager and a PA who organises events?

Absolutely! The skill sets are intertwined. PAs would be great PMs and vice-versa. All PAs I know have first-class organisational, communication, motivational, leadership, timemanagement, and interpersonal skills.

What do you enjoy most about your role? And what do you find most challenging?

I enjoy the evolution of technology that

keeps me on my toes. There’s always something new to learn. Technology should make life easier, but the challenge is getting new technology adopted. It should be intuitive and easy to understand.

What aspects of the Club membership have you enjoyed most during your first year?

The people and the places! I really enjoy meeting people and seeing new places, and the PA Life Club is ideal for that. It’s great to get tips and advice from fellow event organisers.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, and do you have a favourite quote?

‘If you want peace, then prepare for war’ We need to plan for the outcomes we want. But it’s also important to plan for outcomes that we don’t want so we don’t get caught out. Things aren’t always plain sailing. It’s imperative to

anticipate the ‘unexpected’.

Do you have any personal development book recommendations?

How To Change Your Life In 7 Steps by John Bird - founder of The Big Issue. (No relation). And the 10-Day MBA by Steven Silbiger. So compelling. I read it in 3 days!

Reading in bed with a hot-chocolate is a great way to wind-down. I’m currently reading Johnny Marr’s autobiography Set the Boy Free which is entertaining.

Who inspires you?

Nelson Mandela. Gravity yet humility.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I maintain a healthy balance of exercising and eating well. I go for a run or cycle every day. Just as well, as cooking and eating are passions of mine too.

Connect with Greg at greg-bird-a7414b2/

Greg (right) at an International Cricket Match, Man of the Match prize ceremony.

Why AI will never oust the Executive Assistant

There’s a new buzzword in town: ChatGPT. Personally, I’m getting a bit tired of hearing about it, says Adam Fidler, founder of Adam Fidler Academy. We’ve had scores of emails from Executive Assistants (EAs) and Personal Assistants (PAs) all over the world asking how ChatGPT and, more collectively, artificial intelligence (AI), will affect their roles…

Interestingly, my views on artificial intelligence, technology and other forms of automation, vis-à-vis the EA role, remain pretty much as they have always been. My well known ‘black box/ red box’ analogy, which I have been teaching since 2011, simply identifies, predicts and warns business support staff of how elements of their jobs would be subject to automation. It also addresses how their managers are becoming more self-sufficient. That model remains one of the most popular topics we teach our students at Adam Fidler Academy. Their eyes still light up when they see it. It’s also the model that leaders and CEOs attending our sessions find the most memorable.

The world has moved on enormously since I first started educating EAs, but I am still confident in my assertions about how, and why, AI will never completely eradicate the need for good leadership, good management – and exceptional business support.

“Although AI can successfully undertake complex processes, research and analytics, it doesn’t mean that EAs who take the right steps to stay relevant are at risk of being replaced. I stress that only EAs who have broader scope and responsibility will survive the ‘long game’ in the ever-changing commercial world.

I stress that only EAs who have broader scope and responsibility will survive the ‘long game’ in the ever-changing commercial world.


Start thinking about where AI could impact your role and identify areas that won’t be replaced by AI.

• What do you spend most of your time on, excluding repetitive, high-volume and processing type activities?

• What are you responsible for and take ownership of?

• How do you evidence and demonstrate your management and leadership qualities?

• Where, perhaps through projects, do you initiate, create, or take the lead?

• How do you support and act as a role model for your organisational culture?

• What aspects of your job demonstrate human skill versus something that could be done by artificial intelligence?

These are tough questions. And, I fear, that many people who call themselves EAs still spend far too long on activities that could be automated. If your role is predominately high-volume, transactional work, then now is the time to assert those human skills that cannot yet be done by AI.

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The secret sauce to summer event success

As the warm embrace of summer approaches, the allure of outdoor events, teambuilding retreats, and corporate gatherings beckons. Yet, in the rush to plan the perfect summer soiree, we often overlook a crucial element - the wellbeing of our attendees. In today’s fast-paced world, integrating wellbeing into your events isn’t just a luxury... Lucy Eden, founder of Be In Your Element shares her top four ways to incorporate wellness into your events...


Summer events offer a unique opportunity to foster connections, both personal and professional. Whether it’s a company retreat or a networking event, bringing people together in a relaxed and rejuvenating environment can have profound effects.

Shared experiences under the sun can break down barriers, stimulate creativity, and build stronger, more cohesive teams and relationships. If a summer gettogether isn’t currently in the diary, add it in. It’s a super powerful time to build stronger and deeper connections.


Choosing a venue with ample outdoor space isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about enhancing the overall experience for everyone involved. Outdoor settings have been proven to reduce stress, boost mood, and increase overall wellbeing. Whether you prefer a serene garden setting, a tranquil beachside location, or a lively rooftop terrace, the outdoors offers a natural backdrop that promotes relaxation and rejuvenation.


Incorporating wellness focused activities into your summer events is more than just a passing trend, it’s a commitment to prioritising the health and happiness of your attendees. From sunrise yoga sessions and guided meditation to team building exercises and nature hikes, there are countless ways to infuse wellness into your events.

These activities not only provide a welcome respite from the daily grind, but also encourage attendees to prioritise their wellbeing. By offering opportunities for relaxation, mindfulness, and physical

activity, you’re empowering your attendees to take an active role in their health and wellness.


It’s often the simple decisions that make the biggest difference. Opting for healthy catering options, providing ample hydration stations, and ensuring comfortable seating areas are just a few ways to show your attendees that their wellbeing is a priority.

Moreover, creating a supportive and inclusive environment where attendees feel valued and respected can significantly enhance the overall event experience. Encourage open communication, prioritise accessibility,

and be mindful of individual needs and preferences to create an event that is truly inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

By integrating wellbeing into our summer events, we not only enhance the overall experience but also foster connections, promote health and wellness, and create lasting memories. So, as you plan your next summer event, remember to keep wellbeing at the heart of your planning process. Your attendees will thank you, and you’ll be setting a new standard for what it means to host a truly exceptional event.

To learn more contact:



Hilton Canary Wharf 1st July 2024 Hilton Canary Wharf 12thSeptember2024 London Heathrow 16th&17th October202 Hilton Canary Wharf 14thNovember 2024 Hilton Canary Wharf May 2025 Find out more 01992 374054

How happy are assistants in the workplace?

How many hours are you working, compared to how many you’re employed to work? Do you have flexible working conditions? And are you contacted regularly outside of working hours? PA Life asked almost 170 PAs and EAs exactly that and more. Here’s what you said…


We asked how many hours you’re employed to work – and how many you actually work. For those working a standard full-time week, 37.5 hours is how long Assistants are officially contracted to work.

However, many of you are regularly working 10 hours more each week, some even more. And one poor (and presumably exhausted) Assistant reported working 80+ hours a week. Give that person a rise – or another job.


Sadly, but maybe unsurprisingly, the large majority (66%) of Assistants are regularly contacted in the mornings, evenings and even when they’re on leave. Some respondents could be working with execs in other time zones, of course, but otherwise it’s surely unreasonable for anyone to feel they need to respond

to calls and emails outside of standard working hours?

Yes – 66% No – 33%


I work some days in the office, some at home – 64%

I work full time in the office – 15% I work full time remotely – 9%

Hybrid working conditions are surely here to stay, providing a good balance between being in the office to meet with execs and colleagues – and having the opportunity to work remotely, avoid the commute and better manage the work/ life balance.

“I work from home and from the office, but my managers and close team members are based in a different country, so even when I go to the office I don’t see them in person”

“I work at home and out of normal working hours”

“I work one day at home, can be flexible if I need more around childcare”

“My working arrangements are hybrid, but I choose to be in the office most of the time so that I can speak to my boss as and when required”

“I can choose when I work in the office and when I work remotely. I choose to work

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

mostly in the office, usually four days a week”


As you can see, those who have hybrid working conditions are more likely to be happy with the arrangement.

Yes – 87%

“Yes, before the pandemic I was in the office full-time. I prefer hybrid working and I am more productive at home”

“I’m happy with the flexible working arrangements and the ability to pick my office days to suit me and my boss”

“My work/life balance is much improved now. I could never go back to five days a week in the office”

“It gives me flexibility and the opportunity to be at home for tradesmen, etc.”

“Yes, we are treated like adults and trusted to get work done, wherever that may be”

“Yes, travel costs are now prohibitive and train times have changed, making the commute expensive and difficult”

“Good balance of time in the office to connect with colleagues, but get more work done at home without interruptions”

me, due to childcare in the mornings and evenings, although when working at home, work/life blurs into one”

No – 15%

“I’m tired constantly and the commuting is difficult and costly”

“Would prefer more days working from home as currently it is four days in the office”

home/children commitments and family life”

And those who don’t have flexible working options had this to say:

“I am more productive in the afternoon/ evening so would prefer if I could flex my hours to suit this occasionally”

“It would boost productivity and morale” “It would help with childcare arrangements”

“Yes, saves money on travel, dealing with crowds on the tube and can concentrate better at home”

“Yes, as it empowers me to use judgement and flex my time as needed”

“I live an hour from the office and have caring commitments, so working hybrid suits me”

“I can work longer without being late home”

“Flexi working suits

“I am mandated to come into the office part of the week, when it would suit me better to come in more if my execs are in, and fewer days if they’re not”



Yes – 52% No – 48%

A BREXIT Referendum style result here, with almost an equal split between the haves and have-nots of flexible working. Here’s what those who can flex their hours have to say about the benefits:

“I can make up hours where needed”

“I do compressed hours so can get one day off a week without losing pay”

“I get to pick up my kids from school”

“As long as the work is done, it doesn’t matter when it is completed. It means I can easily juggle work objectives with

“It would be amazing! I would be happier to work extended hours too if I could manage it around my personal life and commitments and family”

“More flexibility would allow me to plan my day better and therefore increase efficiency”


It’s a big question, and an important one – and it would seem that despite being contacted outside of office hours, and maybe not having their ideal working conditions, the large majority of you (62%) do feel valued.

Yes – 62% No – 22%

Some 168 PAs and EAs took part in this survey.

If you’d like to have your say, email

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Elevating Executive Support with ChatGPT: Mastering the art of AI assistance

The role of the Executive Assistant is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the advent of groundbreaking technologies like ChatGPT. Paul Pennant, founder and principal trainer at Today’s PA is a Microsoft Master and Trainer who has over the past two decades seen first-hand the profound impact such tools can have on professional roles. ChatGPT, with its exceptional natural language processing capabilities, presents a unique opportunity for EAs to enhance their efficiency and secure their indispensability in modern organisations. The essence of incorporating ChatGPT into the EA’s toolkit is not to replace the human element but to augment it, ensuring that EAs who adeptly utilise AI remain invaluable…


ChatGPT excels in generating and understanding natural language, making it an indispensable asset for EAs responsible for a broad spectrum of tasks, from managing communications to scheduling. Here are several practical ways EAs can leverage ChatGPT to their advantage:

• Streamlined communications: ChatGPT can assist in drafting emails, creating reports, and responding to queries, significantly reducing the time spent on routine tasks and allowing EAs to focus on more complex responsibilities.

• Enhanced calendar management: By integrating ChatGPT with scheduling software, EAs can improve the accuracy and efficiency of managing meetings and events.

• Efficient information gathering: ChatGPT can swiftly compile research, find industry data, or prepare briefings, tasks that traditionally consume much of an EA’s time.

• Personalisation: Customising ChatGPT to understand the executive’s preferences can provide tailored support that becomes more refined with each interaction.


Achieving mastery over ChatGPT involves crafting prompts that elicit

precise and useful responses. These strategies help with effective prompts:

• Detail and specificity: Providing detailed and specific prompts helps ChatGPT understand exactly what is required, leading to more relevant outputs.

• Clarity is key: Opt for clear and straightforward language to minimise misunderstandings and ensure that the responses meet your expectations.

“EAs that embrace and excel in using AI tools like ChatGPT can elevate their capabilities, contributing even more to their organisations, cementing their positions as essential members of the executive team.

• Iterative refinement: Use the responses as a feedback loop, refining your prompts based on the outcomes to improve accuracy and relevance over time.

• Utilise follow-up questions: ChatGPT’s ability to maintain context means you can ask follow-up questions to delve deeper into a topic or clarify previous responses, enhancing the richness and utility of the information provided.


In summary, the integration of ChatGPT

into the EA’s workflow doesn’t signify the obsolescence of the role, but rather its evolution. EAs that embrace and excel in using AI tools like ChatGPT can elevate their capabilities, contributing even more to their organisations, cementing their positions as essential members of the executive team.

The future of executive assistance isn’t about choosing between human or AI but about how human intelligence and artificial efficiency can coalesce to redefine the boundaries of executive support.


The Middle East: Understanding the culture is essential for business success

In the world of business, effective communication and cultural understanding are essential ingredients for success. The Middle Eastern culture and business etiquette are different from the West and it’s important to learn how best to work with the partners from this region, advises Didi Basry, an expert in Middle Eastern business culture...


The Middle East includes countries such as Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq, as well as the Gulf region. Didi will look at the Gulf region here, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. These countries are similar in many ways, but they also have their unique cultural heritage and customs, including societal conventions and business protocols. It’s important to know the appropriate titles and forms of address, and how to differentiate between ruling families.

To excel in business in the Gulf you will need to adhere to their norms. This way you can work well with clients and business partners, build trust, and be respected in return, no matter what your job title is.

Practical tips to make your life easier when working with Gulf clients and colleagues


Weekends are different to the West, especially Fridays, which serve as a religious and significant day off in several Gulf countries (excluding the UAE). Holidays don’t all conform to the

“Gregorian Calendar and several celebrations are being announced according to the Hijri, or the Islamic calendar. Additionally, some dates differ year on year such as Ramadan and Eid. Make sure you know when they take place.


To excel in business in the Gulf you will need to adhere to their norms.

communication. Internet penetration sits close to 100% in all Gulf countries, with over 90% using it daily. Whilst preferences vary, LinkedIn really stands out. Several giga projects, companies and many C-level executives use it daily to share updates about their projects and news from the region.

Trust is the currency of business in the Gulf, and it is nurtured through genuine connections and understanding. When you take time to understand the country, their vision, and its people you show that your interest extends beyond business.


Email is not always the chosen form of communication with Gulf clients, and it is advisable to adapt to their preferences. Usually, written communication on Messaging Apps is preferred, as are voice notes. Nothing however is stronger than in-person interactions. So, if you can make time for a trip to the region, this will strengthen relationships hugely.


Social media is a very valuable tool for

Use it to share greetings for important holidays such as Ramadan and Eid, you’ll stand out amongst your competitors.


Keep abreast of new developments and events in the Gulf, particularly related to your clients’ industries and business interests. This demonstrates your commitment to the partnership and facilitates meaningful conversations.


Keep an open mind and a willingness to adapt to different cultural contexts. Meetings can change at short notice and contracts may need more time or move faster than anticipated.

Connect with Didi at middleeastexpert/


Helen Haslam

Director and Founder, Virtually for You

Helen Haslam is the Founder of Virtually for You, a Virtual Assistant service, based in Cumbria. She’s worked as an Executive Assistant for over 23 years, mostly within the NHS. She made the move into self-employment three years ago and have built up a client base of over ten clients, ranging from healthcare, a bio-health start-up, property, lifestyle brands, fintech, property, government, a celebrity sportsman, famous artist and a ladies’ choir…

What led you to become an Executive Support professional?

My Mum! Having started my career path wanting to be a hairdresser, it soon became clear that it wasn’t the job I wanted to do. My mum suggested a secretarial role as – according to her – I spent most of my time organising the family, so should give it a try.

I also wanted to be a dolphin trainer, but there wasn’t much call for that in Derbyshire!

You now run your own Virtual Assistant business. How do you combine your duties as a business owner and a VA?

I think what drives me is my passion. I love what I do, and I see any task where I am working on my business as a positive. My working week begins at 8am on a Monday morning. I try to

have calls with my all clients to ensure the week is set up and we are ready to go. Saturday mornings I work on businessrelated tasks and Sunday is planning for the week.

What would be your top advice be for an Assistant considering setting up on their own?

It is important to have enough savings to see you through the early months without a salary. This will give you the headspace to transfer from employment to finding your own clients. I spent a lot of time planning out what I would need to work as a VA, such as IT setup, insurance, ICO registration. When I started out, I signed on with a VA agency. The pay wasn’t the best, but it gave me the experience of working in a virtual world.

“Being part of the mentoring programme has given me the opportunity to share my experience of the industry and help my mentees”

What makes a great Assistant today?

Organisation is a key skill, as well as having a level head. A PA’s job can be as stressful as the CEO’s. They often look to you for that calming influence; if something in their day is going badly, you can’t be stressing out too.

Technology is changing, so it is important to keep up with this, and part of this change is working from home. There is a great deal of adaption required to work closely for someone, but remotely, communication is key to making that relationship a successful one.

You are part of our PA Life Club Mentoring Programme supporting two mentees. What has this experience given you as a mentor?

Being part of the mentoring programme has given me the opportunity to share my experience of the industry and help my mentees. It is great when I see them come to me with a problem, or if they are feeling deflated. Then at the end of the call, when I have shown them how much they are achieving, they have a smile on their face and feel empowered.

What does the future of the Assistant role look like to you and how can Assistants ensure they stay at the top of their game?

As technology advances, Assistants will become more important on the ground, being even more the ears and eyes for their execs. I see the role moving more into arranging briefings, working closely with stakeholders, project work and business development.

Training plays a big part of staying ahead of your game. It is vital to keep on top of industry and technology changes and know how to integrate these into your working life. It is about adapting and adopting new technologies.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and by whom?

Well, I do remember one of my favourite bosses saying “never have a tidy desk, as people will think you have nothing to do!”, but that’s probably not the best advice!

A CEO I worked with at the NHS was very pedantic and would reject a 40-page report if it had a comma missing. He wanted everything that came out of his office to be perfect, as reputation mattered to him. He believed if a document left the hospital with errors, it gave the impression that the hospital didn’t care. If they couldn’t get a simple letter right, why should patients put their faith in their healthcare? He was right, everything you do should be done with the highest level of professionalism you can provide.

Are you involved in any special projects, either at work or during your free time, that you are particularly passionate about?

I’m working on a few interesting client projects at the moment,

including a rebranding project, a project to bring on investors and an office move.

In my personal time, I volunteer for a Horse Rescue Centre in Scotland and I’m currently helping them with transferring from a charity trust to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Do you have any recommendations for other PAs and EAs on career or personal development books or courses?

One of the main courses I often recommend is minute taking, as this is a dying skill these days, so it’s a good one to have under your belt to make you stand out from the crowd. I recently read The Modern-Day Assistant by Lucy Brazier. I found this book to be inspiring, as it provides some great insight into how to innovate in this ever-changing world.

What are you favourite things to do and places to visit in London?

I love heading to London, as I am in awe of the history and architecture of the city and love visiting famous sites and will always go to Covent Garden too. I also love a proper London pub. One of my favourites is The Clarence on Dover Street, near the Ritz. The food and atmosphere is amazing.

Plus, what are your go-to places when booking business lunches or dinners in London? And your favourite hotels to book for your visitors?

My go-to hotel is The Tower Hotel. It is perfect in terms of location as it overlooks the Tower Bridge. For visitors, I look for hotels that are close to a tube station. Some of my favourite choices are the Nomad Hotel in Covent Garden, the Mondrian in Shoreditch, and for high end opulence, the NED can’t be beaten.

For business lunches, I recommend Caravan in Kings Cross, HUO in Chelsea, Sketch in Soho and Hide in Mayfair.

You can connect with Helen on LinkedIn at:


Event Horizons

The vision is there: a conference, a corporate team gathering, a product launch or an awards ceremony. But before the invitations go out, a crucial first step awaits – finding the perfect venue. This space sets the stage for your event, impacting everything from atmosphere to logistics, and ultimately its success. But this is where PA Life is here to help. Over the following pages, we’re highlighting some of the UK’s best venues to consider, whatever your event, and whatever your budget…

When you want to give your guests a vibrant summer event in a central London location, there’s nowhere better than South Bank. In this stunning riverside stretch, summer is when South Bank comes alive. Brimming with unique venues, pop-up gardens and rooftop terraces, the area is a buzz of music and entertainment, making it the perfect destination for your event.

Take to the skies with stunning rooftop suites at Sea Containers Events or the Buffini Chao Deck at the National Theatre. Host your very own garden party at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden or in the beautiful

surroundings of The Garden Museum. Bring the Caribbean vibes with boozy rum cocktails at Limin – complete with sandy beach or go beyond the conventional with artist-designed spaces at Bankside Hotel.

When you want to incorporate some social

teambuilding, there’s a host of attractions and venues right on the doorstep. Hire a private capsule on the London Eye, sing your heart out at Lucky Voice karaoke, take on the London Dungeon Escape Room, or hire out American sports bar Passyunk Avenue, complete with

baseball batting cages and shuffleboard.

Plan your perfect summer event in South Bank and explore the online directory to find your ideal space.

For further information and enquiries, please see:

The Kia Oval is not just one of the most famous cricket venues in the world, it operates 365 days of the year as one of the capital’s leading Conference and Events spaces. With a range

of facilities, including rooftop terraces with unbeatable views of the London skyline, private bars, and indoor social spaces, they have a little bit of something for everyone. Just in time for summer, The Kia Oval is offering Summer Party Packages, available from just

£84 per person (inc. VAT).

The Summer Party Package has everything you’ll need to impress your guests, including terrace hire for the evening, one hour of summer cocktails, a sumptuous twocourse street food menu, and when the sun sets, an

indoor after-party room complete with a PA system.

The Summer Party Package at The Kia Oval is perfect for any occasion this summer.

For further details, contact the dedicated Events team at or phone 0207 820 5670.

An incredible 880sqm space with endless flexibility to accommodate up to 1200 delegates Adjoined to the 195-bedroom Aloft Birmingham Eastside Hotel 23 meeting spaces in total with masses of breakout space 195 Bedrooms & 2 Suites Re:Charge Gym W xyz Cocktail Bar Tempo! Restaurant CONTACT US TODAY! CONTACT US TODAY! different. by design. Birmingham's Newest Conference Venue YOUR NEXT EVENT AWAITS YOU! YOUR NEXT EVENT AWAITS YOU! 0121 820 6060 | EVENTS@EASTSIDEROOMS.COM aloft birmingham eastside Part of the Marriott family the hotel boasts 195 guest rooms, a cocktail lounge and 120-seater restaurant. Scan to book your stay here!


With a range of facilities, including rooftop terraces with unbeatable views of the London skyline, private bars, and indoor social spaces, we have a little bit of something for everyone.

Contact us: 0207 820 5670

Summer Party Package

Perfect for any occasion this summer

From £84 per person (includes VAT)

• Terrace hire

• 1 hour of summer cocktails

• 2 course street food menu

• Indoor after-party room

• PA system until midnight

Unveiling Extraordinary Event Venues: MEET Beyond London

In the fast-paced world of event planning, finding the perfect venue can often feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. MEET Beyond London can help you to discover inspiring meeting and event spaces across South East England…


Just a 22-minute direct train ride from London Paddington, with convenient connections from central London on the Elizabeth Line, Reading stands out as an event destination. Malmaison Reading, situated in the former home of the Great Western Rail building, is maximising its location with the launch of its new ‘Work + Play’ event spaces this year, providing an inspiring backdrop for board meetings and private dining solutions for up to 20, just outside of London.


For elegance and sophistication, Windsor is unparalleled with its regal charm and a variety of venues fit for royalty. From banquets at Hurley House Hotel to conferences for 400 at The Castle Hotel. Escape the norm and bolt on riverboat drinks or dragon boat racing to invigorate the team. Windsor’s free venue-finding service simplifies your search, presenting a collection of venues that provide a majestic backdrop.


The Isle of Thanet emanates coastal beauty and artistic flair, within a 90-minute train ride from the city centre. Beyond being quintessential seaside holiday destinations, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate are emerging as key meeting, event, and team-building hotspots.


Portsmouth blends maritime history and contemporary appeal just 90 minutes from London Waterloo. The National Museum of the Royal Navy offers an array of unique experiences from dining amongst the historic cannons onboard HMS Warrior 1860, to an out-of-hours tour of the UK’s only surviving World War II submarine. Meanwhile, the Royal Maritime Hotel welcomes delegates with its nautical charm, 90 refurbished bedrooms and banqueting space for up to 290.


For intellectually stimulating gatherings against a scholarly backdrop, Conference Oxford provides a free venue-finding service for over 70 Oxford University and College venues. Envision hosting a conference in the Grade I listed Sheldonian Theatre, or a celebratory dinner at Balliol College, the oldest university building in Oxford. Conference Oxford is here to help you explore all the possibilities.


Renowned for its world-class aviation history Farnborough International Conference and Exhibition Centre is just 15 minutes off the M3 or a quick 35-minute train ride from London. This state-of-the-art facility offers a vast exhibition space of 12,332 square meters and has over 2,500 hotel bedrooms within a 10-mile radius.


For events that blend productivity with rural tranquillity, Tapnell Farm on the Isle of Wight, offers a truly unique location. In just two hours from London, including your journey across the Solent, delegates will find themselves transported to this idyllic location. Whether it’s a unique team building away day or a residential retreat for up to 110, an array of with activities await, from aqua parks and target sports to fitness classes to guided walks.

Visit to explore exceptional venues and venture beyond the ordinary.


Partnering with Global Brands for over a decade we are a Venue Finding & Event Management Agency that specialise in organising Corporate Festivals & Away Days both in the UK and Internationally, plus Christmas Parties & Conferences for 200 to 2,000 guests BRANDS WE’VE WORKED WITH


The event was electric and we loved the energy and passion that shone through. We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you for helping us pull off another incredible event!

What a fantastic evening!! We have been told it is the best party we have ever had. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you so much, as always you’ve been amazing! Incredible party, venue was fantastic and look forward to next year’s planning.




Summer is when South Bank comes alive with pop-up gardens, rooftop terraces and the area is a buzz of music, riverside entertainment and things to do.

Throw in those iconic views in an accessible central London location, and you’ve got the perfect spot for your summer soirée.

Limin SouthBank

From the Festival of Britain in 1951, right through to the BAFTAs in 2024 – join the list of iconic events that have been hosted in South Bank.

Whether you’re looking for a sparkling rooftop drinks reception, vibrant summer party on a sandy beach, flexible meeting space with sweeping views of the river, or some competitive socialising and teambuilding, South Bank’s extensive portfolio of inspiring venues has the answer.

Explore our venue directory at

h ecka ona h t rd n eu

The Feel-Good Factor

Event organisers are increasingly looking to design corporate gatherings with wellbeing in mind – and Center Parcs has some great advice on how to do it…

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced work landscape, where the boundaries between professional and personal life have become increasingly blurred, and burnout and stress are all too common, prioritising employee wellbeing has become a major focus for employers everywhere.

One way to help maintain a happy and healthy workforce is by designing corporate events that place wellbeing front and centre – and what better environment for hardworking teams to relax and recharge together than at Center Parcs? Whether it’s a teambuilding retreat, a conference or a company-wide celebration, events in the forest provide a unique opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to employee wellbeing and help employees to feel cared for and valued.

When it comes to wellbeing, it’s really important for companies to practice what they preach. These days, it’s all too common for employers to talk about wellbeing at work, sending out the odd company newsletter

or launching an eLearning module on the subjectbut actions speak louder than words.

For example, when planning a corporate event, organisers should think carefully about the wellbeing of event attendees. As well as regular coffee and comfort breaks during the day, here at Center Parcs we actively encourage event planners to include some time spent outdoors for people to get some

fresh air and stretch their legs, as well as downtime for them to relax and socialise together. Jam-packed all-day event schedules filled with presentations, guest speakers and seminars require people to concentrate for longer periods of time than is generally recommended – include regular breaks, and you’ll find that people are more likely to actually remember those key takeaway messages.

Many event planners take things even further. These days, we’re seeing

increased interest in mindfulness and relaxation activities such as meditation, yoga or spa sessions, or outdoor leisure activities such as hiking or forest bathing. Try to offer a variety of options to appeal to different people, plan some activities that the whole team can join in (such as a gentle stroll or a picnic) and, crucially, give people the option to opt-out if they wish. Not everyone will be comfortable trying yoga, and that’s okay!

Your event provides a valuable opportunity to help hard-working teams feel refreshed, revitalised and rewarded, and a well-planned, wellbeing-focused event can help to generate positive feelings towards the company – so why not put it at the top of the agenda? Did you know you can book exclusive hire of Aqua Sana as part of your corporate events package? Book a Twilight Spa session so delegates can enjoy private access to the spa between 5:30pm – 9pm, exploring 25 immersive spa experiences inspired by the natural world. This package also includes two wellbeing sessions, a Mediterranean platter and a glass of prosecco.





Discover our charming Apart Hotel apartments revived with modern British design, nestled in the heart of St. Paul’s & connected to London’s best bits. Choose from studios as well as one, two- & three-bedroom apartments. Spread across seven Grade II listed townhouses, in the fourteenth century the building safeguarded the King’s ceremonial robes - the King’s Wardrobe.

Native King’s Wardrobe is also home to COUNTER Café Bar & Courtyard, a lively space bringing together the best parts of a deli & a neighbourhood eatery - a meeting place for residents, locals, & everyone else. Drop in for a beer, stay for a bite or grab a coffee on the fly.

FIND OUT MORE GET IN TOUCH I @nativeplacesuk @counterplaces Quote KWPA24 for exclusive discounts.


Set in the heart of the city, Church House Westminster provides the perfect backdrop for joyous gatherings and spirited celebrations. Nestled in the heart of this historic district, Church House effortlessly marries tradition

with modern facilities, creating an idyllic setting for unforgettable summer parties.

The lush green gardens of Dean’s Yard surrounding Church House provide a serene escape from the bustling city, offering the perfect setting to enjoy summer events with fresh

air and delicious catering options to go with it –provided by in-house caterers Searcys. The grandeur of the architecture, steeped in centuries of history, imparts a sense of timelessness to all manner of festivities, creating a unique setting that blends English heritage with world

class facilities and production capabilities.

The spacious interiors and versatile event spaces cater to a spectrum of celebrations, from intimate gatherings to larger formats that require multiple layouts or spaces.


The UK cricket and outdoor event season may be well and truly underway but there are still plenty of unmissable events coming up at Destination Emirates Old Trafford, the home of live experiences. So, get ready to elevate your hospitality experience to new heights here in Manchester! The crowning jewel of the

venue’s hospitality offering is the private pitch-view hotel bedrooms based in the onsite, four-star Hilton Garden Inn, which are available for both concerts and cricket events this summer.

Experience live music and sport taking place on the world-famous, iconic pitch from the comfort and privacy of your own hotel bedroom, with a panoramic viewing balcony for two guests to enjoy the action from. The

following morning, enjoy a delicious breakfast from The Edge restaurant whilst admiring the spectacular stadium views.

Our unique hotel experiences start from £299 (based on two adults sharing a bedroom) and offer a whole new meaning to premium event hospitality.

If you’re looking for premium hospitality experiences which are suitable for larger corporate

groups, there are a number of traditional sports hospitality experiences available in The Point. Or if you’re after a more intimate affair with the ability to network with small groups in a formal setting, the venue’s traditional Pavilion building offers exactly this.

For more information, please visit: cricket. hospitality

Unforgettable experiences with lasting impact | +44 (0)20 3981 0112 | Flawless event management and delivery 10% off event management fees, exclusively for PA Life members Quote PALIFE10 to receive your discount and welcome gift Ts & Cs apply Offer valid until 31.3.25 Conferences Meetings Exhibitions Outdoor Events Banquets Team Building Live Events Christmas Parties Book your 2024 event with us. THEJOCKEYCLUB CO UK/VENUES/PA ENQUIRIES@JOCKEYCLUBVENUES.CO.UK Choose from one of our 15 Racecourses across the country. UNIQUE SPACES. WORLD-CLASS VENUES.


In 2006, two childhood friends, Will Beckett and Huw Gott, opened a restaurant serving ‘dictionary thick’ steaks from traditionally reared cattle alongside oldschool cocktails in, a then unfashionable part of London, and changed steakhouse standards in the UK. Since then, Hawksmoor has grown to include seven restaurants in London, one in Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Dublin and New York, and soon to follow, Chicago.

Will and Huw’s obsession with flavour and ethics has led them to collaborate with and highlight individuals and companies who share their beliefs, from Brixham fishermen to One Water, while the restaurants’ have also been given the highest

rating for sustainability by the Sustainable Restaurants Association. Hawksmoor is the only hospitality company to have featured in the annual ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list every year for over a decade, and the first UK restaurant group to become a certified B Corp

Beyond its incredible

restaurants, Hawksmoor is the ultimate destination for any occasions, with awardwinning bars, private dining rooms and event spaces.

In London, Hawksmoor has dedicated private dining and events spaces at Guildhall, Wood Wharf, Borough and Spitalfields. The private dining rooms accommodate

between 14 to 24 guests across the three locations – Bank, Shoreditch, London Bridge and Canary Wharf.

Private Dining Room and events enquiries: privatedining@


Nestled in Birmingham’s vibrant Eastside district, the Eastside Rooms is a beacon of elegance and innovation. This modern venue, with its sophisticated design and advanced facilities, elevates every event, from corporate conferences and lavish weddings to intimate

workshops. Tailored to your vision, our versatile spaces ensure flawless execution with precision and flair.

The Eastside Rooms embodies the power of connection, creating moments that inspire and endure. Our sustainability efforts blend with Birmingham’s culinary heritage, offering locally

sourced delights and energyefficient solutions. Advanced technology enables seamless, boundary-defying events, whether in-person or hybrid.

Our dedicated professionals, with their passion for excellence, provide bespoke planning to transform your events into extraordinary experiences.

The Eastside Rooms is

more than a venue; it’s a destination where every gathering becomes a landmark. Experience the future of events with us, where innovation meets your aspirations.

For enquiries:


Discover the best of Christmas in July at the London Christmas Party Show 2024

Celebrating its 10th anniversary with its biggest Show yet, Story Events is taking the event to the iconic Art Deco, Freemasons Hall on July 16-17th. Here’s the full lowdown…


The London Christmas Party Show, organised by boutique London event management agency, Story Events, is an award-winning exhibition that brings together a mix of the UK’s best Christmas venues and event suppliers with hundreds of event bookers. It’s a must-attend event for PAs and EAs looking not only for inspiration for their Christmas events and beyond, but also looking to gain knowledge, upskill their event planning and build their network.


The Show already has an amazing lineup of exhibitors confirmed for this year, including some of our returning favourites: AOK Events, Best Parties Ever, City Pub Company, Nightcap, Photobot and Yahire. As well as some brand-new exhibitors, including the likes of Abba Voyage, Albert’s Schloss, Between the Bridges, Big Penny Social, Fortnum & Mason, STK Steakhouse, The Westin

London City and so many more!

The floorplan continues to grow, making it the perfect event to find event inspiration under one festively fabulous roof!


“This year, the London Christmas Party Show is partnering with London’s leading event caterers, Moving Venue. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, there is no one more trusted to cater for our bustling industry. Moving Venue will be putting on a delectable spread of complimentary catering throughout both days of the Show, to include an assortment of delicious canapés, bowl food and food stations, complemented by plenty of fine wine, cocktails and other refreshments!

The floorplan continues to grow, making it the perfect event to find event inspiration under one festively fabulous roof!

in corporate gifting and a very special keynote from Angela Hartnett.

You can also upskill your crafting expertise in the free-to-attend workshop sessions, from wreath making and festive table-scaping, to paint and sip masterclass and crafting the perfect cocktail. All this and more as part of this year’s London Christmas Party Show.



If you are eager to learn and stay on top of the latest trends in an ever-evolving industry, make sure you set aside some time to sit in on one of the educational seminars on offer over both days of the Show.

Some stand-out sessions this year include top new venue openings with Venue Search London, latest trends

Register now to secure your complimentary ticket and get ready for an unforgettable Show filled with festive event inspiration, networking, an abundance of delicious complimentary food and drink and many more surprises that will be revealed along the way!

Corporate event buyers can apply for free tickets at


Embrace the spirit of summer with exceptional events hosted at Church House, Westminster – the perfect venue for your summer event! Nestled in the heart of Westminster, we offer a unique blend of historical charm and contemporary elegance, with beautiful outdoor space at Dean’s Yard overlooking Westminster Abbey.

Summer packages including summer themed food, drink and use of our terrace and outdoor space from £125+VAT per person





An overnight stay in a luxury pitch-facing bedroom
Your own bedroom balcony to watch the match or concert from Breakfast the following morning overlooking the iconic Lancashire Cricket pitch
0207 390 1590


Nestled in the Haldon Hills, Exeter Racecourse merges tradition with modernity, offering versatile event spaces. Established in the 17th century, it’s a resilient cultural icon, now catering to diverse needs beyond racing.

Versatility is its hallmark, hosting gatherings from intimate meetings to grand exhibitions. Sustainability is a core value, with the Club committed to achieving Net Zero by 2040 through initiatives like solar panels and a Green Programme.


Center Parcs Conferences & Events now has two venues refurbished and open for the first time since the pandemic. With two central locations – Sherwood Forest in the Midlands, and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire, just an hour from London, – it’s easy for organisers across the UK to book Center Parcs for corporate events.

And of course, when delegates arrive, they’ve got everything they need all in one place: a variety of accommodation types, premium events spaces,


As a PA, you are tasked with organising events like the senior leadership conference, annual kick-off meeting, team away day, and company parties, all while managing your day job. Your events must impress and run smoothly, despite all the organisation required.

Enter Viva Esprit, your boutique events partner. We specialise in designing and delivering tailored, stand-out experiences worldwide. We are committed to exceptional hospitality experiences that

Its 2,600m2 indoor area, 17 flexible rooms, and outdoor spaces cater to all event requirements, equipped with modern technology and free wi-fi. Collaborating with Jockey Club Catering, they offer locally sourced menus tailored to each occasion.

Convenience is prioritised with easy access from the A38, ample free parking, and proximity to Exeter Airport and train station.

Contact jo.kingston@ or visit venue-hire

hundreds of team building activities, onsite restaurants and our award-winning Aqua Sana Spa.

The Venue offers a range of meeting spaces for up to 600 delegates at Woburn Forest and 550 delegates at Sherwood Forest. Each Venue has a terrace with a range of seating options, including wooden booths, as well as some covered areas – making it a lovely space for delegates to relax, network and enjoy the great outdoors, whatever the weather.

Being in nature is known to have profound positive effects on our mental health

make guests feel valued and inspired.

We work with PAs to elevate corporate events. Our personal approach allows us to understand your needs and goals, infusing your organisation’s life and energy to create truly inspirational events.

and wellbeing – so having those striking views right outside the window, as well as opportunities to enjoy some recreational time in the

forest, is a great way to help delegates feel their very best during an event.

We bring your event to life with room and stage design, content creation, guest speakers, and video production. Our creative team and partners develop highquality, event-specific creative content. While we encourage your creative input, rest assured, the heavy lifting is on us.

As an introductory offer to any PA life members, you will receive a 10% discount on our event management fees by quoting PALIFE10*

The PA making the booking will also receive a personal gift once the event has been completed and fully paid. *Ts & Cs apply.





Agile travel management backed by exceptional personal service, bestin-class technology and global reach. Delivering business travel with care Contact our dedicated London corporate team on 0207 233 9494 or Wherever you’re going, see what’s possible with Wings "Once you've sampled Hawksmoor, you'll never go anywhere else" GQ Business meetings. Corporate events. Summer and Christmas parties. All-day delegate events. Birthday dinners. Engagement parties. Special occasions. THE ULTIMATE DESTINATION FOR LUNCHES, DINNERS, PRIVATE DINING AND EVENTS
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Mastering the Itinerary: A PA/EAs Guide to Business Travel Success

With the Business Travel Show – which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year – taking place alongside The Meetings Show at ExceL on June 19th – 20th, PA Life checks its itinerary and rounds up some of the best options available…

Planning business travel for executives is a delicate dance between efficiency, comfort, and company policy. As a PA or EA, you’re the maestro of this intricate choreography. Here’s a breakdown of key elements to consider:

UNDERSTANDING THE TRIP’S PURPOSE: Every trip has a goal. Before diving into logistics, grasp the objective – a client meeting, a conference, or potential partnership discussions. This knowledge guides your choices: booking a central hotel for client access or a quieter location for premeeting preparation.

EXECUTIVE PREFERENCES AND NEEDS: Comfort and productivity are paramount. Learn your executive’s travel


As an EA or PA, Travel Counsellors knows you’re an expert in taking care of people – and that’s why Travel Counsellors for Business is committed to going above and beyond for you and your travellers.

A truly bespoke service is exactly what your business leaders deserve. Their travel requirements are a genuine priority for Travel Counsellors. Whatever they need and

preferences – preferred airlines, seating (window or aisle?), dietary restrictions. Do they require extra legroom for long flights? Knowing these details ensures a smoother journey.

BUDGET CONSTRAINTS AND COMPANY POLICY: While comfort is important, adhering to the company’s travel policy is crucial. Familiarise yourself with budget limitations for flights, hotels, and incidentals. Research cost-effective options that meet both policy and your executive’s needs. Consider loyalty programmes and corporate rates for potential savings.


AND JET LAG: Respecting the clock is vital. Factor in

wherever they need to go, your dedicated Travel Counsellor will get them there safely.

Your Travel Counsellor will work with you to understand the needs of your business. Not only will they plan the perfect trip, but they’ll also leverage data to help you travel more sustainably and cost-effectively. They’ll take care of everything, overseeing the full end-to-end process of your business travel.

Plus, the company has just

time zone differences when scheduling meetings. Provide your executive with resources to combat jet lag – predeparture sleep adjustments, hydration strategies, and arrival-day activity recommendations.

VISAS, SECURITY, AND COMMUNICATION: Research visa requirements well in advance, especially for international trips. Ensure all travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance) are valid and easily accessible. Set up clear communication channels for updates or emergencies, like international roaming options or secure messaging apps.


Be prepared to adjust the itinerary for flight delays, cancellations, or unexpected meetings. Research alternative transportation options and have back-up hotel options in case of unforeseen circumstances.

TECHNOLOGY AND TOOLS: Embrace technology! Utilise travel booking platforms that integrate company policies and loyalty programmes. Travel apps can help with navigation, currency conversions, and language translation. Consider providing your executive with a portable wi-fi hotspot for seamless global connectivity.

And, just as importantly, read on to discover some great options for helping you with your planning!

launched myTC Online - a simple self-booking tool for straightforward trips, allowing your Travel Counsellor to focus on more complex itineraries. Rest assured you’ll never lose that personal touch, with 24/7 support still available for trips you’ve

booked yourself. It’s time to discover a new level of care in business travel. Visit business., call on 0161 464 5350 or email businesstravel@ to find out more.



We Don’t Do Dull...

Creating innovative connections for a Brighter experience, with an all-encompassing end to end technology solution, from sourcing sustainable meeting venues to curating unforgettable event experiences.

Where the brilliance of our people and the brightness of our innovation brings your vision to light and elevates your business beyond the extraordinary.

What we do...




(Part of Clarity Business Travel)

Prestige Group is one of London’s longest established full-service passenger and transport services, operating 365 days a year, across the UK and worldwide.

We offer a global travel concierge service with a large fleet of Mercedes E, V and S Class cars and a range of BMWs.

Our courier fleet includes bicycles, motorbikes, electric cars and vans, refrigerated vans and Luton box vans for removals. We can also offer storage for your goods.

Contact us for a quote and get 10% off your booking!

Archie Isles:

020 7384 2300 | 07796 676 000

Prestige House Unit 4, River Reach, Gartons Way London SW11 3SX



Prestige Group is one of London’s longest established full-service passenger transport and courier companies. It provides a range of transportation services to large corporate companies through to smaller organisations and private individuals, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Through its courier division, Prestige offers cycle/ motorcycle, electric car/van and refrigerated van deliveries, removals and storage, UK wide, as well as UK overnight and international parcel services.

Prestige offers global travel concierge through its network of chauffeur driven cars/ electric V Class Mercedes people carriers/minibuses, helicopters and private jet charters.


The strategic acquisition of Agiito by Clarity Business Travel and Brighter Events amalgamates years of unparalleled expertise and enviable reputations for service and driving value in corporate travel, meetings and events.

With almost 900 of the industry’s brightest minds, the acquisition has brought together a wealth of knowledge, experience and

Through its longestablished affiliations, Prestige offers global transport solutions in over 500 global towns/cities (and growing). It only works with the world’s most prestigious and experienced global transport companies that demonstrate the same quality and share the same ethos. It is through these affiliations that Prestige is able to organise onward travel for its discerning clients beyond the UK.

Airport meet & greets are also offered, along with assisting with check-in, escorting passengers through ‘fast track’ security, helping with security screening and accompanying to the dedicated premium lounge (Business & First Class). Passengers will be notified and collected from the lounge and escorted to the

creativity to support PAs. The fusion of specialised travel, meetings and events expertise guarantees innovative solutions tailored to meet the needs of every PA.

Through cutting-edge technology, PAs have seamless travel management and flawless event execution, with excellence at every turn.

This powerhouse collaboration makes the company one of the largest UK TMCs with exceptional buying power so PAs get favourable rates and

departure gate/aircraft. Everyone is a potential Prestige client. The company collaborates with directors of businesses, celebrities and high net worth individuals taking the difficulty out of intricate and complex travel itineraries, to keep everything under the ‘Prestige roof’. However, the company points out that it loves working with

busy PAs and EAs, getting to know them and helping in some small way to make their lives that little bit easier. Anyone signing up through PA life will have a 10% discount applied to their corporate account with Prestige.


accessing exclusive perks.

Plus, it is the first TMC with a distinction from The Institute of Customer Service and ISO 20121 accreditation in delivering sustainable events.

Multiple industry awards show the team’s collective strength and specialist knowledge as industry leaders.

For a busy PA, coordinating complex travel arrangements such as flights, hotels, visas and transfers can be daunting and time consuming. So it makes sense to partner with TMC Wings Global Travel. We manage the trip from start to finish, taking care of every detail. You get a dedicated London-based account

manager providing hightouch service, comprehensive reporting and 24/7 traveller duty of care. Extended opening hours mean you can reach us between 7AM and midnight. Headquartered in London with 20 operations worldwide, Wings has been managing travel programmes for over 30 years. Email letsgonow@wings. travel |



In the dynamic realm of business travel, Natalie Pawley (pictured right), Director and co-founder of Global Travel Management (GTM), has been recognised as a luminary, earning the esteemed title of Travel Businesswoman of the Year 2024.

Natalie’s 27-year journey with GTM commenced as its inaugural employee, where her meticulous financial management ensured stability and enhanced operational efficiency.

Her adept leadership helped navigate GTM through adversities like post-9/11 downturns and the recent pandemic, prioritising team wellbeing amidst challenges.

Natalie’s commitment to sustainability shines through GTM’s pioneering carbon offset program, reflecting her

environmental consciousness and the company’s dedication to responsible practices.

As a visionary, Natalie adeptly balances leadership aspirations and fosters innovation within GTM, garnering admiration from colleagues and peers.

On receiving the award, from Woking MP Jonathan Lord at the Palace of Westminster, Natalie said: “This is a great honour, but it also throws down the gauntlet to me: I will be continuing to work hard to lift women within Global Travel Management, so that we can continue to offer the best all-round service to our customers.”

Natalie has worked with the whole GTM team to provide tailor-made services for Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Virtual PAs.


Time is money and Business Direct can save you both time and money.

Business Direct is a real time booking platform that is packed full of features that will not only make your life easier, but will save your business money, and more importantly your sanity.

The organisation has worked closely with its customers and listened to the feedback to improve and develop its offering, and one of the areas that PAs consistently found a frustration when using other booking services was the aftersales service.

Business Direct aims to resolve any issues within 24 hours. That means that when

you need to make a refund and it meets the criteria, the refund is processed - no continual back and forth. Your time is important to you and chasing refunds is the last thing you want to do.

Business Direct is totally free to use, has no hidden costs, you can book tickets anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales, add-on bus tickets, TFL services and

selected ferry tickets. No booking fees at all.

Business Direct offers full 1-2-1 training and a dedicated team that will support you and your company with their business train travel needs.

Simply email businessdirect@swrailway. com today for a conversation and demo to make your life easier today.


The Meetings Show 2024

The Meetings Show 2024 returns to ExCeL London on June 19th and 20th, providing a great opportunity for all event planners to meet with hundreds of global suppliers under one roof. There is also an excellent seminar programme with expert talks to enhance your industry knowledge and professional development. The exhibitors at this year’s show represent a broad selection of businesses from across the meetings and events sector around the world. PA Life takes a look at some of those to look out for…


Glaziers Hall, the historic Livery building on the Southbank in London, has invested £200k to replace its existing electric chillers and gas boilers with heat pumps. In addition to delivering improved efficiencies, the change will also support the company’s sustainability strategy and ambition to become net zero, which has already delivered an annual reduction in gas consumption of 40% thanks to an upgrade to point of use boilers.

Managing Director of Glaziers Hall, Will Simmonds, said: “We are very mindful of the environmental impact that we have. It is important to us that we do what we can to make continuous

improvements as we work towards becoming a net zero events venue.

“This year alone we have reduced our gas consumption by 40%, and we know that further efficiencies will be delivered are a result of the investment into heat pumps. While our customers may not be aware of the changes, we know that we are meeting with our ambitions to implement more sustainable ways of working, and that matters to us all.”

Glaziers Hall has seven unique spaces within the building, each with its own character and charm. These include the Banqueting Hall, River View Suite, Court Room and the London Bridge Arches.

We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback!

Come and meet the PA Life team at The Meetings Show! We’ll be on stand F73 where we’d love to talk to you about the magazine, our website and digital newsletters to learn what more you want from us in the future. Is it expert advice you’re craving, do you want career inspiration from other Assistants? Additional recommendations about venues, event organisation, business travel and more?

If you’re not yet a member of the PA Life Club, we can tell you all about the amazing benefits of joining - as a reminder it’s free to join the Cub, so what are you waiting for? Our Mentorship Programme is going from strength to strength, and if you’re interested in being a mentor or mentee, you can find out more. And we’ll have details of all of our upcoming events. See you there!



Leading UK lifestyle Apart Hotel brand Native Places has opened its newest property in one of London’s most historic locations, The King’s Wardrobe, in the heart of St. Paul’s - marking the seventh Apart Hotel in the brand’s portfolio which spans the UK, and its fourth Apart Hotel in the capital.

Formerly known as the Royal Wardrobe in the 14th century, Native King’s Wardrobe, served primarily as a storehouse for the King’s state and ceremonial robes, as well as those belonging to members of the Royal Family. Breathing new life into the area whilst celebrating its fashionable history, Native Places introduces a revived, spacious, and characterful place to stay right in the heart of the City of London.

The aparthotel is spread across 7 Grade II listed townhouses inhabiting a beautiful, private courtyard located just behind St Paul’s

Cathedral. There are 92 bright and spacious apartments in total, each with fully equipped kitchens, living and dining areas, and workspaces –kitted out with everything guests need for maximum comfort and enjoyment, whatever the reason for their stay; be it business or leisure, a long stay or short break. Guests can choose from studios as well as one, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

In a nod to its fashionable past, each townhouse has been named after pioneering British fashion designers and international designers who transformed British attire and style from the 17th century onwards.

The Hotel is also home to COUNTER Café Bar & Courtyard; a lively neighbourhood space serving sandwiches, salads and artisanal pastries during the day. By night, the cosy space transforms into a wine bar hosting curated events and serving a diverse array of

beverages alongside locally sourced, seasonal evening bites.

A stay with Native combines the freedom and authenticity of a local apartment with the luxurious comfort and premium service found in boutique hotels. Each historic property is taken through a meticulous restoration and conscious refurbishment to respect its history and character. Rooted in an

appreciation for local culture, Native forges partnerships with kindred local business, visionary designers, and talented artists. As a result, each Native property boasts its distinct individuality, offering guests inspiring and unparalleled experiences.

Stays at Native King’s Wardrobe, St Paul’s start from £250 per night.


IET London: Savoy Place knows that one event space does not fit all – and, luckily, has 18 of them.

From the historical charm of its Maxwell Library, home to centuries-old engineering books encased in stunning floor-to-ceiling

bookshelves, to its Riverside Room with its large private balcony overlooking the captivating River Thames, and its exceptional audiovisual facilities capable of making branding visible from the other side of Waterloo Bridge; or to its breathtaking Johnson Roof Terrace, which offers panoramic views of the capital’s mesmerising skyline

and river below.

Combine this with an easily accessible location in thriving Central London, an expert catering partner, sustainable practices such as 100% renewable electricity and zero-waste policy, and an ability to host events as diverse as conferences, summer parties and award ceremonies to team building,

Christmas parties and filming. Whatever your brief, whatever your vision,

IET London: Savoy Place provides an eclectic range of versatile and adaptable event spaces, which can be used individually or in conjunction with one another, giving you the flexibility to bring it to life in spectacular fashion.

We know the feeling. That’s why we offer a place for you to tackle your challenges and dive into the world of events, meetings and incentives in just a couple of days. Take the time to save time /register EXCEL LONDON 19-20 JUNE 2024 Feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s amazing what you can achieve when you #TakeTheTime


This December event specialist Eventspiration is teaming up with Big Penny Social to invite you for some jolly, jovial fun at FEAST17, a bespoke Christmas Party Package running throughout December, and located just 12 minutes by tube from Kings Cross.

Think Bavarian winter vibes and cosy catch-ups over hot chocolate in their fur-lined private seating areas. DJs will be spinning your favourite festive ditties while you feast from a selection of hearty street food traders. Expect darts, dancing, donuts and plenty of Mistletoe and (mulled) Wine.

Catering for groups from 300 to 1,000, this exclusive Christmas Party Package includes full venue hire of Big Penny Social for five hours,

a warming welcome drink, 4 hours of unlimited beers, cider, wines, ‘no & low’ and soft drinks, five food portions per person, a DJ, games and a festive photobooth.

And for those whose Christmas wishlist requires something a little extra this year, Eventspiration is offering the chance to add an exclusive performance by legends of Walthamstow, EAST 17, to your event.

The trio of festive music royalty will perform three live tracks, including their Christmas Number 1, Stay Another Day, leaving you to don your white parkers. Imagine the snow is falling and belt out the bangers like it’s 1994!

If you’re looking for the perfect multi-area venue for your 2024 Christmas Party then contact colette@

Prices start at £100 (+ vat) per person. Check out the full brochure over at and let the specialists create

some magical moments for you and your teams this December!

THE MEETINGS SHOW A4 A3212 Lond Lond Waterloo Lond Blackfriars Waterloo East London Charing Cross City Thameslink London Eye Pier St. James’s Park Festival Pier Savoy Pier Blackfriars Pier Bankside Pier Westminster Pier Oxo Tower Tate Modern St. Paul’s Cathedral Leicester Square Nelson’s Column Houses of Parliament Westminster Abbey The London Eye STRAND FLEET ST THEMALL VICTORIA ST PALL MALL EGDIRB OOLRETAW SRAIRFKCALB SOUTHWARK ST V C T O R A E M B A N K M ENT S O U THWARK BRIDGE UPPER THAMES ST COMBINING A PRIME LONDON LOC A TION WITH THE BEST VENUE FACILITIES T +44 204 579 3764 W IET Services Limited is registered in England. Registered Office: Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL, United Kingdom. Registration Number 909719. L O O KING OUT L O O KING IN


In today’s fast-paced business environment, Personal, Executive and Virtual Assistants are increasingly finding themselves at the heart of corporate event planning. Mastering these skills can significantly enhance your efficiency, effectiveness, and career progression. Since 2005, The Event School London has led the way in event management training offering masterclasses, certificate, and diploma courses designed to support assistants in a range of industries to excel in event planning.

We understand the unique event planning challenges and demands that PAs, EAs and VAs face in the corporate world. Our programs are crafted by industry experts

with extensive experience in corporate event planning. This ensures that the training you receive is not only up-to-date and relevant, but also tailored to meet the specific needs of your role. By upgrading your event planning skills, you can handle everything from highprofile corporate meetings to large-scale conferences with confidence and finesse.

Why are event planning skills so crucial for PAs, EAs and VAs? Firstly, these skills

enable you to manage events more efficiently, saving both time and resources. Secondly, strong event planning capabilities reflect a high level of professionalism and organisational prowess, making you an indispensable asset to your employer. Furthermore, having a recognised qualification from The Event School London on your resume can significantly boost your career prospects, demonstrating your

commitment to professional development and your ability to take on more complex and higher-level responsibilities.

Empower yourself with the skills and knowledge to elevate your career. Join The Event School London and become a master of event planning. Your journey to greater efficiency, effectiveness, and career advancement starts here.

A unique event space in London For more details contact Will Simmonds, Managing Director 9 Montague Close, London Bridge London SE1 9DD 020 7403 3300 THE MEETINGS

Learn and be inspired

The Meetings Show’s Education Programme is a perfect opportunity to hone or brush up your knowledge with a range of speaker and panel sessions covering everything you could possibly need to know…

The Meetings Show’s Education Programme will feature 28 sessions split across four key themes – Impact & Inform and Innovate & Inspire – with a stellar line up of expert speakers covering topics including event marketing trends, security, AI, creativity, experiential design, contract negotiation, sustainability and much more.

The show will kick off with ‘9 to Thrive: Dolly Parton’s Guide to Sustainably Rocking Events and Meetings’ with Be in your Element’s Lucy Eden and ‘Judge the Poet - How To

Trust Your Imagination And Explode Your Creativity’.

Day one will also include a session led by Cvent marketing director Felicia Asiedu entitled ‘What Are You Worth? Unveiling findings from the Annual Events Industry Salary Survey’, insights from Amex GBT’s Emma Bason on ‘Venue Sourcing in the New Era: Evolving from Order Takers to Strategic Consultants’ and ‘The Great Debate - How to improve the supply chain for Buyers & Suppliers’ with We Are MEaT founder James Bacon.

Highlights on day two include Mike Ghasemi on ‘Fuelling Innovation Engines: The Role of Creative Intelligence in Turbocharging Your Success and a session with Nick Rosier entitled ‘From Zero to Event Hero: AI-Powered Event Creation in 30 minutes’. Our editor Marja-

Leena Toseland will host a panel session on June 20th at 11am, entitled ‘Innovation: A Critical Element for Event Success’. She will be joined by Alex Hewitt, AOK Events; Kelly Bliss, South Bank Bid; Jodie Mears, EA, Cohesive Group & The Crodie Files Podcast.

Gain essential Event Planning skills with training from The Event School London in London or Online 0203 239 0950 | | Elevate your Experience and Boost your Career THE MEETINGS SHOW
SECURE YOUR PLACE LEVEL UP YOUR CURRENT TRAVEL PROGRAMME The perfect place to meet, network and do business

Spotlight On Cheltenham


The best of Cheltenham

Cheltenham is a Regency spa and festival town with world-renowned sporting and cultural events, picturesque venues and provides the gateway to the Cotswolds. Recognised as the ‘cradle of cyber innovation for the UK’ and a hot spot for both cyber and digital businesses, it’s also a destination for delegates wishing to enjoy the relaxation of the countryside without missing the culture and feel of a city…

Cheltenham and the Cotswolds region, as a business events destination, offers a wide choice of venues both within the Regency town and beyond into the Cotswolds with a fantastic range of venues to suit any style, taste and price range. Mixing luxury and budget, boutique and traditional, you’ll find the perfect place to hold your event or conference.

If you are looking for hands-on team building, exciting away days, luxurious and cultural incentive programmes and a location that can help generate creative thinking, Cheltenham – together with the surrounding countryside of the Cotswolds – offers the perfect destination.

Our Spotlight on Cheltenham Feature over the following pages (52 to 57) showcases some of the best hotels and venues in the region, as well as a review following our stay at the Ellenborough Park Hotel & Spa.

Meet in Cheltenham & the Cotswolds can help you with a range of services when planning your event. Whether you are looking to organise a large conference over a number of days, a one-off bespoke event or a small meeting, we’re here to help.

Great Western Railway offers your conference delegates easy and cost effective to travel, including special offers. Ask Meet in Cheltenham for details.


Nestled in Prestbury on the northern outskirts of Cheltenham, Cheltenham Racecourse is famous for hosting the prestigious Cheltenham Festival. Beyond its racing acclaim, it offers an unparalleled venue for events of all kinds.

Boasting 2,600m² of flexible indoor space and over 360 acres of scenic outdoor space, Cheltenham Racecourse adapts effortlessly to your event needs. From intimate gatherings to grand celebrations, the venue’s facilities ensure a comfortable and welcoming environment that will impress every guest.

Its prime location, just off the M5 and against the stunning backdrop of the Cotswolds, provides not only easy accessibility but also a breathtaking setting for any occasion. Cheltenham Racecourse stands out as a stunning natural arena, offering top-tier amenities and service.

Make your next event truly memorable at Cheltenham Racecourse. Contact us today to discover how we can bring your vision to life. | cheltenhamevents@thejockeyclub. | 01242 539 53



Set in the stylish Montpellier district, Hotel du Vin Cheltenham is a luxurious boutique hotel offering a quintessentially English experience. This exquisite hotel is the ideal base to explore Cheltenham, a characterful spa town. Moreover, its proximity to The Promenade, the town’s fashionable shopping street, allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the charm and elegance of the locale. Featuring 49 unique rooms and suites, Hotel du Vin Cheltenham prioritises guest comfort. Each room is meticulously designed and boasts a huge hand-sprung mattress adorned with luxuriously soft Egyptian cotton bed linen. The well-appointed bathrooms feature either a deep roll-top bath or a refreshing monsoon shower.

Our extensive amenities invite guests to indulge in a range of experiences. The Laroche wine tasting room offers the opportunity to explore an array of fine wines. In the mood for socialising over drinks? The bar serves as the perfect spot. For those seeking a culinary


Plan your next meeting in the Cotswolds and let The Queens Hotel bring your event to life. Inspire your team, watch creative ideas flow and make big business decisions at our Regency venue. We are located right in the heart of Cheltenham.

Built in 1838, The Queens Hotel has been welcoming VIPs, hosting big dinners, gala events and multi-day meetings for over 175 years. We are perfectly located within three miles of the M5 motorway and one mile from Cheltenham Spa station, making us a central location to welcome your delegates from across the UK.

Our Regency meeting room is one of the largest in town and can hold up to 100 delegates. During the day, this functional space can be set in multiple ways with high tech equipment to ensure your message is loud and clear. By night, the room can be transformed into a beautiful space for a private dinner or networking event. Work alongside our chefs who can design bespoke event menus, created using local Cotswold produce wherever possible. Boasting 84 modern bedrooms, we are perfect for overnight events.

If you need to add a bit of flair to your event, we also have a book full of local


a selection of seasonally inspired dishes prepared with great care and passion. If you’re in the mood for a unique dining experience, you can dine al fresco or enjoy a private dinner, party, wedding, or civil ceremony in one of our eclectic function rooms.

Whether you’re visiting for a midweek or weekend break, a business meeting, or a special occasion, we are committed to providing an unforgettable experience that elevates your stay in Cheltenham. Tel: 01242 370855

partners who can bring team building ideas, motivational talks, food and drink tasting or live entertainment to your event.

We are the UK’s festival town after all. To find out more, visit meetings

adventure, trademark Bistro offers


Keeping the spa tradition alive and well is Ellenborough Park Hotel, Gloucestershire’s only five-star country house hotel. Set in the middle of 90 acres of beautiful parkland, just a skip and a hop across the field from Cheltenham Racecourse, it’s just what you’d expect from a tranquil luxury hotel. It is also a busy venue for both private and corporate events, offering a multitude of spaces, from a 15th century dining hall to an outdoor covered bar, and plenty in between.


You can’t visit the Cotswolds without passing at least one perfect chocolate box village. Broadway, home of The Lygon Arms, is as pretty as they come, and the historic Lygon Arms has plenty of county chic to charm even the most demanding guests at your meetings and events.

Offering great facilities, including The Lygon Spa, as well as extensive grounds, it’s a great choice when you are looking for a place for everyone to unwind. lygonarmsevents@iconicluxuryhotels. com |


You’ll find plenty of things to keep you busy during your stay in our historic spa town. No.38 The Park is conveniently located a short walking distance from Cheltenham town centre. The boutique hotel offers a luxurious stay and a welcome escape from the ordinary,

whether you are staying in Cheltenham for business or leisure.

You can also enjoy a lovely meal in the restaurant to fuel your adventures –whether you’re enjoying an afternoon at the polo, or listening to inspirational talks at The Cheltenham Literature Festival, or entertaining clients at the races.

Food & Drink - Whether you’re tucking into a succulent prime cut or sipping decadent cocktails with friends, our menus have something for everyone. The hotel’s intimate bar is a perfect stop for pre-dinner drinks or a naughty night cap before bed. Part of the Youngs & Co Brewery Group.


If you are after a real Regency experience, then let The Queens Hotel charm you. It’s located right in the heart of Cheltenham, making it a great spot for a promenade to explore the rest of this lovely spa town. It’s a popular venue for dinners and awards, as well as meetings, boasting one of the largest spaces in town, fitting 100 delegates.


Housed within this impressive building in the chic Montpellier district are 49 timelessly styled bedrooms and stunning suites. We have a variety of rooms to choose from including standard, deluxe and our suites which feature signature du Vin roll top baths.

At our bistro restaurant in Cheltenham,

we adore good, honest food made with great, fresh, seasonal produce. We are very excited to welcome you for some alfresco dining and drinking. After all, there is really nothing more delicious than the British summertime with warmer weather. longer days and of course, seasonal food and drink to enjoy in the great outdoors.

What better to enjoy with friends and family than fresh ingredients plus our inspired wine list, and a wonderful colourful collection of cocktails.


The 17th centrury coaching inn feels like a retreat to tranquillity, and is located close to the Cotswolds’ top spots like Cheltenham Racecourse and Bourtonon-the-Water (aka, the Venice of the Cotswolds).

The Wheatsheaf Inn houses 14 bespoke bedrooms, all with a blend of calming neutral tones, striking wallpapers, and trendy industrial lighting adding a contemporary twist. Original beams, exposed brickwork, and charming wooden floorboards add to the homely feel. And the great outdoor space is a perfect spot for teams to come together.

The chefs take pride in cooking fresh, seasonal food that matches the enchanting and historic pub.

THE WORLD’S MOST Legendary Coaching Inn The country cool Cotswold venue for events, offering a relaxed charm and authentic heritage in the heart of picturesque Broadway. T: 01386 852 255 E: The Lygon Arms, High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DU Find Out More

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

Ellenborough Park Hotel, Gloucestershire’s only five-star country house hotel, welcomed PA Life for an overnight stay to experience the splendour and to learn about its ‘next chapter’ following the recent bedroom transformations, Brasserie revamp and the opening of the luxury Spa Garden Retreat…

This magnificent 15th century English country estate and luxury spa is set in 90 acres of parkland. Just a stroll away from the famous Cheltenham Racecourse on the edge of the Cotswolds – it looms large just across the gently undulating hills. Race days, especially the Gold Cup Race Festival, are key dates for Ellenborough with many loyal guests returning year on year.

We started our stay with a tour of the venue by the event team, taking in a good selection of the individual bedrooms, dining and lounge areas, as well the beautiful and varied event spaces – indoors and outdoors too. The designer behind the sensitively restored and created hotel is a local talent, Ilze Reinke. Ilze describes the task as “a dream job that has required much careful thought and consideration to capture the history and elegance of the building”.


All 61 bedrooms are individually designed and have undergone an affectionate refurbishment with lavish fabrics, elegant wall coverings, plush carpets, and ‘country chic’ furnishings. Brimming with personality, the designs are masterful and beautifully capture a graceful homeliness.

They are different shapes and sizes with luxury bathrooms – my bathroom was simply enormous. Even the colour schemes have fitting names such as Blossom, Wildflower, Countryside, Tudor, Chrysanthemum, Gingham and Rustic.


We dined in the grand wood-panelled dining room with many of its 15th century décor still intact, including the magnificent window decorated with coats of arms of former owners and

significant royals of that time, such as Henry VIII.

Nadine Linington, Director of Sales and Marketing, joined us for the three-course dinner. She couldn’t have been more welcoming, as were the rest of the lovely staff. The menu was well-balanced with plenty of seasonal and local choices.

During the summer months you can also enjoy the full menu, drink and afternoon tea on the gorgeous lawn whilst taking in the countryside views.

The Tudor Great Hall is another


At the heart of the hotel sits the Horse Box Brasserie which has undergone a complete transformation and serves as a more relaxed space with a bar. It’s great for working lunches. We loved the soft leather brocades, low lighting, tartan flooring, and countryside tweed fabrics.

area can be booked for exclusive private use for up to 12 people. Guests can even order drinks and light bites and play their own tunes through the in-house Sonos system.

There are also great pampering packages available such as The Spa Garden Retreat Package when you really want to indulge in luxury. Or treat your team at the indoor Elemis spa with a De-stress Body Ritual or Revitalise Facial Ritual before enjoying complete privacy with exclusive access to the Spa Garden’s outdoor facilities.

spectacular space, now used as a lounge, where guests can soak up the history over a traditional afternoon tea or a drink by a roaring fire. The heritage of the building is evident all around you, but it’s been complemented well with all that’s expected of a modern luxury hotel.

Choose from a two-course lunch with bubbles or a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea in the hotel’s historic Great Hall. A new App allows guests to the Spa Garden Retreat to order drinks and light bites and guests can connect to the in-house Sonos system to play their own relaxing background music.

Marwan Hemchaoui, General Manager of Ellenborough Park Hotel, added: “Planning of this project began long before the pandemic, so it feels even more special to fulfil it now. We are very proud of Ellenborough’s growth over the past few years, and these new bedrooms are a fitting celebration of our ten-year anniversary.”


Even the chill in the air on our April visit couldn’t keep us away from the outdoor spa in the Walled Garden. We certainly didn’t feel the weather in the hot tub and sauna, whilst sipping Taittinger. The spa is open year-round, but sadly it wasn’t quite the season for the outdoor pool yet. Both the indoor spa and the outdoor

The spa is just one way to build wellness activities into a corporate retreat. There is plenty more to do at Ellenborough Park and the surrounding Cotswolds, including country walks (Dubarry boots can be borrowed from the hotel), games on the lawn, trip to the races or to visit some of the nearby villages. Burton on the Water has been named the prettiest village in England several times and Broadway is equally gorgeous. There are lavender fields, heritage steam railway, horse riding, e-bike hire, clay pigeon shooting and much more on offer.

Spa Garden Retreat Packages start from £199 for 90 minutes of Exclusive Use for 12 guests, with a variety of packages available. Visit the website for more information. Nightly rates at Ellenborough Park start from £299 inclusive of VAT and breakfast based on a Traditional Bedroom sleeping two people.


Address: Southam Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 3NJ Tel: 01242 545454

A Traditional Room costs from £279 during June, A De-Luxe Double from £348.


How to make your executive prioritise your one-to-one meetings

Abigail Jones, a career EA, answers burning career related questions sent to us by PAs and EAs. Abi currently works at Instagram and also provides professional coaching and mentoring to individuals and corporate groups…

Thank you for writing in with your question. It’s a tough one isn’t it? It’s a mix of perceived urgence and importance conflicting with politeness and prioritisation.

I think there are a few ways of approaching this. Depending on your relationship with your Executive, you could say something along the lines of: “I’ve noticed that we often don’t get our full 1:2:1 slot. Shall we move it to another day or time that would suit you better, when there are less likely to be interruptions?”

Or you could say: “Our time is incredibly useful and its invaluable time which I need to support you to the best of my abilities. If that time is reduced, I don’t get all the information I need to do that’.

You could also try writing an agenda for your 1:2:1 meetings so both of you can see how much there is to discuss, and equally that way they can see what is not being tackled due to interruptions.

Part of your role as an EA is to maximise the time you have during your 1:1 and to manage and communicate the importance of that meeting.

However, context is everything.

Q:How do you politely ask one of your Executives not to pick up other calls in the middle of your weekly 1-2-1 meeting with them, or just beforehand, so that you only have 5-10 minutes to run through a whole list of things?

What are these calls and interruptions your Executive is taking? Are they personal? Are they business critical? Is it an important client? I think it would be a great way to demonstrate your understanding if you knew what they were, so you can help your Executive prioritise your time in the 1:1, and if necessary, put the phone on ‘do not disturb’.

My final suggestion would be to hold time in the Executive’s diary straight after your meeting so that if you are interrupted, then there is some over-flow time you can use, instead of goin straight into another meeting.

Fundamentally, this is a question about communication - if they are prioritising other people’s communication, then it’s time to speak up and establish your voice.

Follow Abi on Instagram at @thepacoach What’s your burning questions for Abi, to be published in our autumn issue?

Email in total confidence editorial@ with subject ‘Ask Abi’.

Creating relationships between PAs and their industry suppliers

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