For over 40 years the NEC Group has been focused on delivering world class venues and services. Today we are proud to claim over 1000 awards from a variety of respected organisations and publications. These awards recognise the talent and facilities of our business. They set us apart from the rest and place us at the forefront of the live events industry. Here are some of our most recent awards.
Awards won in 2023
Foodservice Cateys 2023: General Manager of the Year
Craig Hancox, Amadeus General Manager, ICC Birmingham
Craig continues to utilise his experience in new concepts and innovation to drive a successful financial performance for Amadeus.
The team hit revenue records like no other at the 2022 Conservative Party Conference, catering for over 12,000 delegates and 456 fringe meetings over three days with a unique catering order at each event. He also led the team to achieve the highest catering revenue recorded at any Amadeus venue ever in one week.
Foodservice Cateys 2023: Rising Star
Valentine Rey, Catering Manager, NEC
Valentine was one of Amadeus’ University College Birmingham hospitality students taken on initially for a 12-month placement between years two and three of her university course. It was evident from the start, that Valentine would soon be team-leading, thanks to her calm, confident manner in dealing with colleagues and customers.
She was hungry to be developed to support all the Amadeus management functions and processes. She quickly became a very reliable and flexible team member, displaying accountability and control of her areas of responsibility.
Foodservice Cateys 2023: Trainee Chef of the Year
John Rushton-Jones, Commis Chef
At only 25, John is still at the beginning stages of his career and enjoys working closely with his team, absorbing skills and learning from Executive Chef at The Vox Aaron Johnson-Waters, and Head Chef Michael Jeyes.
John has succeeded in key achievements on his apprentice journey this year, including mastering his basic culinary skills, including ingredient preparation and cooking techniques. This has led to an increase in responsibilities in the kitchen, such as food preparation and expert plating.
Given his progress, it’s no surprise John is keen to maximise on his ambition, already assessing his career path to his next step of chef de partie, senior chef, then Head Chef.
Team of the Year
Sales and Marketing Team - Gold
The Conventions and Exhibitions Sales and Marketing Team won gold for their work across the ICC, NEC and the Vox.
The team were awarded for their creation of the Easy as 1, 2, 3 campaign, enhancing the brand awareness of the NEC Group Conventions three-venue proposition, linking together the ICC, NEC and Vox offering. The campaign aimed to put venues at the front of mind in a competitive market, following a challenging period during the pandemic.
Results across the FY included a 295% uplift in marketing-generated enquiries, with £1.4m contracted enquiries. In sales, the team finished £3m ahead of budget for FY23, achieving £17.3m revenue.
Events and Operations Team of the Year - Silver
It’s been a landmark year for events and operations at ICC Birmingham, welcoming 350,000 visitors across 400 events in the past year, including some huge, high-profile occasions including the Conservative Party Conference and the Commonwealth Esports Championships, as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG).
By placing a £1.5million capital investment in the latest event technology over the last 12 months, the team was able to deliver a standout product at a memorable time in the heart of Birmingham.
AEO Excellence Awards: Venue of the Year
The NEC has been named Venue of the Year – more than 20,000sqm – at the AEO Excellence Awards. It has been a blockbuster year for the venue, helping to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG), as well as delivering Wireless Festival.
PRCA Midlands Dare Awards: In-house Team of the Year
The Group's PR and Communications team won gold at their industry bodies' Midlands awards ceremony. Judged by fellow PRs from across the country, the team were commended on their support of key projects such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Concert for Ukraine, Wireless Festival and the Conservative Party Conference.
Real IT Awards (RITA): Technology Refresh Project of the Year
The IT team won ‘Technology Refresh Project of the Year’ at the 2023 Real IT Awards (RITA). Across a two-year period and a £7 million investment, NEC Group partnered with globally renowned technology hardware partner Cisco.
The programme consisted of a complete replacement of the Group’s corporate and event network, and moving physical, servers to cloud-based solutions. It also encompassed the complete replacement of the public and internal Wi-Fi at the NEC and the Vox.
BAFTA Awards: Live Event and Entertainment Craft Team
Resorts World Arena
Concert for Ukraine was nominated in the BAFTA's 'Live Event' category alongside coverage of The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II and Platinum Jubilee: Party at the Palace. It was also shortlisted in the BAFTA TV Craft Awards ‘Entertainment Craft Team’ category.
Conference and Events Awards: Large Scale Venue
The NEC won gold for ‘Large Scale Venue’. 2022 was its most memorable year on record, hosting an incredible 168 events, which was headlined by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG), welcoming more than 1.8million visitors through its doors.
The venue has put a focus on innovating at every turn, while keeping the customer experience at the centre of its work.
Conference and Events Awards: Best Conference Venue
The ICC received a Bronze for ‘Best Conference Venue’. The team picked up the award for venue’s excellent reviews and impressive facilities –continually building on its heritage of hosting first-class events. This includes a £1m investment in tech to reduce environmental impact, as well as an event calendar going from strength to strength with incredible feedback.
The Stadium Business Awards: Event of the Year
Resorts World Arena
Concert for Ukraine, hosted at Resorts World Arena won 'Event of the Year' at TheStadiumBusiness Awards. The winning event was a two-hour live spectacular raised over £13.4 million in funds for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
EMECA Awards: Best Exhibition Launch
The National Outdoor Expo, held at NEC Birmingham, scooped the Best Exhibition Launch Award. Judges were impressed with the launch’s size, scale and focus on sustainability, praising its use of the versatile NEC Campus including a 60-metre zipline across one of the venue’s halls and open water swimming, paddleboarding and canoeing on the venue’s lake.
Midas Awards: Street Food Inspired
The Amadeus' food development team picked up the award in the ‘Street Food Inspired’ category at the MIDAS Awards. Focused on menu innovation and development, winners are treated to a place on an Insight Tour of Miami in May.
VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023: Business Events Venue of the Year
The award recognised business events venues that demonstrated an excellent understanding of the market, exceeded the expectations of their clients and had a strategic plan for future development within this area, with clear goals. The ICC won bronze.
West Midlands Tourism Awards (WMTA): Business Events Venue of the Year
The ICC won silver for Business Events Venue of the Year as a result of the fantastic bounce bank post-pandemic, delivering excellent customer service and exceeding client satisfaction.
West Midlands Tourism Awards (WMTA): Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award
The NEC was awarded silver for ‘Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award’ as a result of delivering memorable live events for visitors following the Covid-19 pandemic.
West Midlands Tourism Awards (WMTA): Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
The NEC was awarded silver for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, from hosting memorable live events for visitors following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Awards won in 2022
Conference and Events Awards: Best Conference Venue over 1100 theatre style
The ICC won the silver award for ‘Best Conference Venue over 1100 theatre style’. The venue was awarded the recognition from a shortlist of eight venues.
Conference and Events Awards: Most Versatile Venue over 500 theatre style
At the Conference and Events Awards, the Vox Conference Venue won the gold award for ‘Most Versatile Venue over 500 theatre style’. The Vox beat eight other shortlisted venues for the award, including Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester Central, QEII Centre, ILEC Conference Centre and others.
Exhibition News Supplier Awards: Catering Supplier of the Year
Amadeus was named ‘Catering Supplier of the Year’ at the Exhibition News Supplier Awards 2022. Judges praised Amadeus' commitment to sustainability at the NEC and also recognised its dedication to innovation despite challenging external factors, including COVID and rising food costs.
Foodservice Cateys: Rising Star Award
Jess Savva, Retail Manager at Resorts World Arena, scooped the Rising Star Award at the Foodservice Cateys awards, which celebrates the individuals, teams and businesses shaping the foodservice industry.
Judges said Jess showed 'significant promise' early on in her career, praising Mystery Shopper scores that jump off the page, as well as an increased spend-per-head and her lead role in solving staffing concerns at her venue post-COVID.
Awards won in 2021
The WOWs: Best Arts and Entertainment Venue
The Group was recognised by Birmingham’s Westside Business Improvement District, for our work in assisting with the build of a Nightingale facility at the NEC, clinical care centre at Resorts World Arena and mass testing centre at Utilta Arena Birmingham during the COVID pandemic.
Awards won in 2020
The WOWs: Best Arts and Entertainment Venue
The venue was presented with the ‘Best Arts and Entertainment Venue’ award at the Westside BID event for the second consecutive year.
MIDAS Awards: Sustainability Award
Amadeus was recognised for a second consecutive year, for its work around local sourcing and developing menus with local provenance across its venue portfolio.
CHS Awards: Best Large Meeting Space
The Vox Conference Venue received the best large meeting space award at the 2020 CHS Awards, which showcase the very best of the hospitality industry and recognise a selection of the finest venues and hotels from across the country. This marked a first major award win for the unique venue in its entirety.
The Stadium Business Awards: Sustainability & Community Award
NEC Group Arenas
NEC Group’s Mental Health First Aiders won the prestigious Sustainability and Community Award at The Stadium Business Awards 2020. The NEC Group Arenas were praised by judges for the employee-led initiative which offers mental health support to arena audiences and employees, the first of its kind in the arena sector.
UK National Contact Centre Awards: Silver Manager of the Year
Mark Porter - The Ticket Factory
The Ticket Factory’s Mark Porter won a silver award for 2020 UK National Contact Centre Manager of the Year (Small) in the UK National Contact Centre Awards. The awards recognise the individuals and teams who are working to make their contact centres professional and industry leading.
Institute of Directors: Midland Director of the Year
Kevin Watson, Amadeus
Kevin Watson was awarded IoD Midland Director of the Year – Social Value and Sustainability Impact for leading Amadeus’s commitment to reducing food waste. This has saved more than 50,000 meals going to landfill through using innovative technology and giving surplus food to local families in need.
Conference Awards: Best Conference Venue Customer Service
The ICC was named ‘Best Conference Venue Customer Service’ at the 2020 Conference Awards. The venue was praised for its customer-focused staff ethos with its team working as one resulting in excellent customer feedback.
The Cateys: Foodservice Caterer of the Year
Kevin Watson, Amadeus
Kevin Watson was commended by judges for his determination, drive and passion, with an ‘unwavering focus’ on sustainability, technology and a first-class customer experience at the venues Amadeus caters for.
Asian Business Chamber Of Commerce Awards: President's Award
Paul Thandi was the recipient of the prestigious President’s Award at the 2020 ceremony. It recognised his leadership of the Group, contribution to the economy and the wider business community through helping Asian businesses thrive.
Association of event organisers (AEO) Excellence Awards: Best Venue Over 20,000sqm
For the third year in succession, the NEC has been named Venue of the Year >20,000sqm by the AEO. The AEO Excellence Awards represents the best that the events industry has to offer, showcasing the achievements from within the industry from organisers, venues and service providers.
Awards won in 2019
The WOWs: Best Arts & Entertainment Venue
The WOWs (Wonders of Westside) Awards celebrate the great work of individuals, teams and the Business Improvement District, in making the district safe and welcoming for visitors.
MIDLANDS BUSINESS AWARDS: LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION AWARD
NEC Group CEO, Paul Thandi, has been honoured for his contribution towards business in the Midlands at the Midlands Business Awards 2019. Paul was recognised for invigorating the Midlands economy while making a lot of people very happy at the same time through 100s of live events every year.
GREATER BIRMINGHAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AWARDS
As one of the most prestigious events in the region's business calendar, the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Awards recognises the achievements of businesses across a variety of categories. For 2019, Amplify has won both Excellence in Sales and Marketing and the overall accolade of Business of the Year 2019.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AWARDS: Best Customer Service Collaboration Award
The NEC has won the UK Customer Satisfaction Awards (UKCS), the only customer service awards run by the professional body for customer service. The awards recognise organisations and individuals that have implemented successful customer service strategies.
OUTSTANDING ATTITUDE AWARDS: TICKETING WITHOUT BARRIERS AWARD
The Ticket Factory
The Ticket Factory has won the 'Ticketing Without Barriers Award – Ticketing/Tech Company' at the Outstanding Attitude Awards 2019. The Outstanding Attitude Awards, run by disability-led charity Attitude is Everything, celebrate excellence in live event accessibility and highlight best practice
MIDAS AWARDS: SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
The Menu Innovation and Development Awards recognise the outstanding creative talents of menu development managers and executive chefs within the multi-unit and chain restaurant sectors. Amadeus was awarded the Sustainability Award for its work around local sourcing and developing menus with local provenance across its venue portfolio.
Association of Event Organisers (AEO ) Awards: Best Venue over 20,000sqm
The NEC has won at this years prestigious Association of Event Organisers (AEO ) Awards for Best Venue over 20,000sqm. This is the 4th time the venue has won over the years, which is testimony to the hard work of Team NEC.
NATIONAL RACECOURSE CATERING AWARDS: BEST NEW CATERING CONCEPT
Amadeus has won the Best New Catering Concept award at the National Racecourse Catering Awards, for its work at Stratford Racecourse. The caterer secured a five-year contract with the racecourse in 2018 and since then has completely revamped its catering facilities, including an improved food and beverage offer and improvements to wayfinding and signage.
ECOMMERCE AWARDS: BEST EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN AND BEST USE OF PERSONALISATION
NEC Group’s business intelligence team won big at the eCommerce awards, scooping two awards for ‘Best Email Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Best Use of Personalisation’. Now in their eleventh year, the eCommerce Awards highlight some of the very best online retailers, online companies, innovations, products and campaigns the ecommerce industry has to offer.
2019 MIDLANDS LEADERSHIP AWARDS: COMPANY LEADER
NEC Group Director of Ticketing, Richard Howle, scooped the ‘Company Leader (100+ Employees)’ Award. Richard was recognised for leading a period of strong growth for the Ticket Factory business, with EBITDA increasing by 55% year on year, staff engagement increasing and customer satisfaction at 100% for telephone advisors.
CLICKS AWARDS: EMAIL MARKETING
The Digital and Business Intelligence & Analytics Teams won two awards Clicks 2019 Email Marketing Awards. They won ‘Best ROI Award’ - for the 2019 Take That Tour on-sale campaign and ‘Best Use of Communicator Award’ – for the TTF personalised Newsletter
MRS AWARDS: BEST IN-HOUSE TEAM
The NEC Group’s Business Intelligence and Analytics Team received the ‘Best In-House Team’ accolade at the 2019 Market Research Society (MRS) Awards. The team’s strategy has helped support the business as profits grew from £28.4m to £62.0m over the last four years.
Awards won in 2018
PRCA Dare Awards: Best In-House Team of the Year
The NEC Group PR and Communications won Best In-House Team of the Year at PRCA Dare Awards – one of the PR industry's most recognised awards ceremonies that seeks out and rewards the best practice across the UK.
FOODSERVICE CATEYS: FOODSERVICE CATERER OF THE YEAR
The Foodservice Cateys recognise and reward those individuals and teams that work tirelessly to make sure their business delivers an exceptional service day in, day out. The focus of this winning submission was the leadership Amadeus have shown in retail and leisure F&B space.
FSM AWARDS: PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT AWARD
The industry leading FSM Awards bring the contract catering elite to pay tribute to those outstanding individuals who have been shortlisted. The People Development award went to Lorna New, Catering Operations Manager (Live Events) for her pioneering work with the Amadeus Masterclass.
2018 Midlands Leadership Awards: Transformational leader
Managing Director of the NEC Group Arenas and The Ticketing Factory, Phil Mead, won the coveted accolade of 'Transformational Leader'. Phil has overseen the operation and development of Arena Birmingham, Resorts World Arena and NEC Group Venue Partnerships.
Ladiesfirst Business and Inspirational Women Awards: Business Employee Award
Sally Walder, General Manager for Amplify, was a winner at the Ladiesfirst Business and Inspirational Women Awards 2018. The awards aim to recognise the achievements of Women within Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
The Sunday Times Top Track 250
The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales. It is compiled by Fast Track and published in The Sunday Times each October and this year, the NEC Group have proudly been ranked as no.186 in this prestigious league table.
Venue of the Year > 20000SQM: AEO Excellence Awards
The NEC was once again named ‘Venue of the Year’ at the AEO Excellence Awards by demonstrating how the venue hosts 155 exhibitions, 500 events for over 6million visitors a year, making the NEC the UK’s No 1 venue.
Venue Team of the Year: AEO Excellence Awards
The NEC Operations team won ‘Venue Team of the Year’ for the second consecutive year at the AEO Excellence Awards. The submission demonstrated how the team deliver smooth, seamless services and support for visitors, exhibitors and organisers so they have a great NEC experience - and can focus on making the most of their events.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION AWARD: THE CATEYS
The biggest awards of their kind in the hospitality industry, the internationally renowned Cateys recognise the strongest performers, latest emerging brands and highest flyers in the sector, as determined by the industry itself.
Most Versatile Venue: National Venue Awards
The NEC won the ‘Most Versatile Venue’ at the inaugural National Venue Awards, demonstrating the venues ability to host a wide range of exhibitions, conferences, live events and attractions.
Awards won in 2017
Excellence in People Development: Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Awards
The Chamber awards celebrate and showcase the best of business and enterprise throughout the region. The Group’s winning submission focused on the fact that people are at the heart of the NEC Group and realising their potential forms a key pillar of the Group’s HR strategy. It covered off an employee’s induction, continued learning and development and looking to the future through succession planning.
CONTRACT CATERER AWARD AND SENIOR EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: FSM AWARDS
The industry leading FSM Awards bring together over 400 of the contract catering elite to pay tribute to those outstanding individuals who have been shortlisted. The Senior Executive of the Year award went to Kevin Watson, Managing Director of Amadeus.
Large Company Management Team of the Year (Midlands): BVCA Awards
The BCVA awards are an annual celebration of UK companies, recognising and rewarding brilliant businesses that have been backed by UK private equity and venture capital investors. The NEC Group were announced as Large Company Management Team of the Year (Midlands).
Large Business of the Year: West Midlands Business Masters Awards
The West Midlands Business Master Awards honoured the NEC Group with the award for Large Business of the Year and the Group also shortlisted in the Employer of the Year category.
Ambassador of the Year: West Midlands Business Masters Awards
NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi was awarded the coveted Ambassador of the Year title at the West Midlands Business Masters Awards.
EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
Paul Thandi, NEC Group CEO, was recognised as an entrepreneur inspired to make the world of work a better place at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017, UK Awards.
Best Venue of 8,000sqm: Exhibition News Awards
The Exhibition News Awards recognise the achievements of individuals and companies that power the exhibition industry.
UFI Operations and Services Award
This award, presented by UFI – The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, was the NEC’s first step onto the global stage. The submission focused on the NEC’s successful approach to creating the perfect customer journey.
Venue Team of the Year: AEO Excellence Awards
The much-coveted AEO award for Venue Team of the Year, was awarded to the NEC Operational team who seamlessly coordinate 500 events on an annual basis.
Innovation Award: AEO Excellence Awards
The AEO Innovation Award recognised an incredibly creative marketing campaign, delivered in a sports shoebox that included Fitbit technology, 3D direct mail and a clever video that put the NEC in their customers’ shoes and took them on a journey around the venue.
Best Ticketing Company: Event Production Awards
The Ticket Factory
The Event Production Awards recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements of key suppliers and contractors to the industry. The Ticket Factory’s entry focused on innovation in disabled booking and the online customer experience.
Event/Stadia/Arena Award: Cost Sector Catering Awards
Amadeus were awarded the prestigious ‘Event/Stadia/Arena Award’ at a ceremony which celebrates excellence across the foodservice and catering industry.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Birmingham Post Business Awards (Paul Thandi)
The Birmingham Post Business Awards celebrate the best businesses in the city which have delivered success for themselves, their staff and their customers. NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi was awarded the coveted Business Entrepreneur of the Year title while Amplify won the Sales and Marketing Award. The Group was also shortlisted in the Company of the Year category.
Best UK Conference Venue at the C&IT Awards
The prestigious C&IT Awards pride themselves on being the ‘definitive awards for B2B events’. The ICC submission capitalised on a standout year in 2016 during which the venue hosted 464 events and maintained a 9.2/10 recommendation score with 97% of organisers saying they would return. The venue was also awarded TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in both 2016 and 2017.
Sport & Leisure Caterer of the Year & Executive Chef of the Year: Sport & Leisure Catering Awards
The awards celebrate sports and leisure caterers taking food and beverage to new heights in this fast-paced and inventive industry. Amadeus won the Executive Chef of the Year title and overall Sport & Leisure Caterer of the Year following a record-breaking year for the company.
Catering Manager of the Year Award Foodservice Cateys
The Foodservice Cateys celebrate contract catering employees across the UK. They recognise and reward those individuals and teams that work tirelessly to make sure their business delivers an exceptional service day in, day out. The focus of this winning submission was leadership in development of The Edge restaurant.