Hotel booking agent Expotel’s new initiative for privately-owned venues has signed up more than 100 since the start of the year. The Expotel Collection, designed to help independent venues gain access to corporate and public sector procurement programmes, has placed bookings worth nearly ?500,000 since its January launch, including conferences worth ?170,000 and some 3,000 bed nights.Properties in the collection range from three- to five-star standard and include apartments, conference centres, golfing resorts, hotels and sports stadia. Countries represented include the UK, the US, Bulgaria, Turkey, Malta and the Czech Republic. The UK product offers eco-friendly options such as Natural Retreats in North Yorkshire and the grass-covered Rheged Centre in Cumbria, and unusual venues such as Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.Mark Bevan, commercial manager for Expotel, commented: ‘Independent properties deserve more of a market share, for their rapidly-increasing professionalism as much as their ‘appreciative’ work ethics, character and individualism. ‘Expotel is keen to help this possibly underappreciated sector gain greater exposure to corporate and public sector procurement programmes.’Expotel is the UK's leading hotel booking agency, each year placing more than 1m room nights in venues here and overseas.