Conference Care’s Clients’ Fantastic Favourite Venues

Ask anyone in Conference Care what their favourite venue is and you will get a myriad of different answers! What floats one person’s boat is a complete turn off for another, which is why we always treat every event individually.

 

In our recent survey we asked our clients what the most important things are for them when selecting a venue for either business or leisure. Interestingly, the top answer for selecting a venue for business was in fact not the style, location or even budget, it was the people at the venue that came out the highest; showing that it is ultimately the service you receive that can make or break a business event.

When it came to leisure choices however, priorities shifted slightly; becoming less about how venues delivered their services and more about what the venue could offer in terms of onsite amenities and spa facilities.

Of course, many of our clients won’t have just one venue that works for them, as every event brief tends to come with its own audience and objectives. We love the variety of venues we get to work with on a daily basis and know just how great it is when a venue really hits the spot so we also asked our clients to try and pinpoint favourites for them and explain why.

Sadly we cannot list every venue that is doing a great job, but we felt we should share at least some of them! In no particular order, a shout out goes to the following…

 

Ten Favourite Business Venues:

  • The Grove, Hertfordshire – ‘easy to get to, beautiful setting, good service and excellent facilities’
  • Cloth Hall Court, Leeds – ‘practical, modern, high tech and helpful’
  • Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel – ‘comfortable, friendly staff, good food and cleanliness’
  • Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh – ‘clean, modern, attractive, appealing and right in the centre of Edinburgh’
  • Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London – ‘the operation is always really smooth but it doesn’t feel too corporate at the same time’
  • Macdonald Compleat Angler, Marlow – ‘Beautiful settings and good service’
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester – ‘an affordable modern venue which really delivers professional service’
  • ACC Liverpool – ‘great space, professional staff and fantastic facilities – also has some fantastic hotels like the Pullman Liverpool Hotel which work really well together’
  • Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire – ‘a great atmosphere, history and ambience. I love to book guests in here and see their faces of amazement when they arrive’
  • Amari Watergate Hotel, Bangkok – ‘Great service, great food, luxurious bedrooms.’

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

Ten Favourite Leisure Venues:

  1. Hinckley Island Hotel, Leicestershire – ‘a great hotel for both business and leisure!’
  2. Prestonfield House, Edinburgh – ‘Beautiful venue, glamorous, opulent – complete luxury’
  3. Ham Yard Hotel, London – ‘I love this hotel, which contains my husband’s favourite past time a bowling alley!’
  4. Stapleford Park, Melton Mowbray – ‘the rooms are lovely, good spa and they are great at the little touches. There are lots of activities/ country pursuits that can be booked via the hotel too.’
  5. Merchant Square, Glasgow – ‘fantastic location, great atmosphere’
  6. Carden Park Hotel, Cheshire – ‘beautiful surroundings, lots of choice in activities and great service’
  7. King Street Townhouse, Manchester – ‘a grand hotel with personal relaxed service and atmosphere’
  8. Rudding Park, Harrogate – ‘the new spa is just WOW!’
  9. Ashdown Park, Sussex – ‘exceptional rooms with wonderful views of the grounds; a beautiful hotel’
  10. Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai – ‘totally luxurious and service is exemplary’

Ham Yard Hotel

If any of these venues sound like they tick the box for your next event, or if you’d like a chat about what you need to really make your event a success, give our friendly team a call on 02476 369720 or email us sales@conferencecare.com.

 

 

 

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The Meetings Show; Great content or just good coffee?

This week The Meetings Show has been taking place at Olympia London, and promised over 50 hours of free content, 64 expert speakers and countless networking opportunities.

 

While in the current climate we have never had more opportunities to connect, it would seem as we are bombarded by advertising and brands the trust and knowledge of ‘real’ relationships are standing the test of time. An exhibition is a real opportunity to build and nurture these relationships, but only if you have a game plan!

Account Development Manager Julia Green and Team Manager Jayne Turnor attended day one of The Meetings Show, so we spoke to them about their experience…

 

What was your objective when going to the show?

JG: I went to the show with the purpose of introducing a client to new venues, we are currently working on her expanding events schedule for 2019 so it was an opportunity to meet with multiple venues at the same time. I wanted to use my knowledge of their brand, synergy and event requirements to work together on getting the best out of the day.

JT: My objective was to expand my venue knowledge and deepen relationships with suppliers and spending time face to face is always valuable. I wanted to really explore destinations on this occasion as opposed to particular groups or venues; our clients increasingly look to use not just one venue but also tie in surrounding activities, places of interest etc. In particular Belfast was on my list as it’s becoming a very popular destination for the clients I work with.

What was the itinerary for the day?

JG: Sit with coffee! We started with the obligatory cup of coffee and mapped out which were the key venues for us to see. We talked through how much time the client had to spend, what she wanted to gain and then we targeted each one accordingly.

JT: Before the show, I had already identified key appointments I wanted to make to ensure I had a plan, but also when I arrived, I picked out a few in-between that I felt would also be beneficial.

Who did you see and what did you learn about each one?

JG: We saw so many! However those that were particularly useful for the client were The Belfry, the QEII, Cliveden & Chewton Glen, Newbury Racecourse and St Ermins – I had no idea they did Bee keeping workshops! Mercedes Benz World has some great new team building packages and Farnborough International has amazing outdoor space overlooking the runway.

JT: The Visit Belfast team were really helpful to me. I also met with Hastings Hotels who are all based in Belfast too, we have worked with them before, but not yet met and within five minutes we already had a much greater understanding of each other’s business needs. Other meetings which were really helpful were The Barbican as I hadn’t fully appreciated the scope of the space they could offer, and the NEC who we would always contact for large events and exhibition in the Midlands, but also offer some great spaces for much smaller events. My meeting with Butlins also completely changed my perception – such fantastic and flexible space!

 

What was different/unusual/useful about the event? 

JG: The Chill & Charge area was perfect, I was busy snapping pictures and emailing details throughout the day so the charging station was very handy. It was good to see so many venues in short space of time although time flew and I still missed many who would have been good to see!

JT: I went as a hosted buyer with the HBAA, and the buyers lounge was a great place to stop and regroup to ensure I was keeping on track! The variety of supplier and venues was really good, and I found I walked round and around again spotting places I had missed!

 

What benefits were there for you?

JG: My client found the day really useful – it expanded her knowledge she said she found it far more productive going with us than it would have done if she had attended independently. From my perspective it really demonstrated to my client Conference Care’s great relationships with venues; the fact that she got so much out of it was hugely beneficial to me too!

JT: The day had a real energy and buzz about it. I was so proud to be there representing Conference Care; spending time among such a variety of venues gave me a renewed enthusiasm for the industry I work in and reminded me why I love my job!

 

For a chat about your next event, give our friendly team a call on 02476 369720 or email us sales@conferencecare.com

 

 

 

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Working in events; three best and worst things

Working in the events industry can be hard work; last minute changes, multiple suppliers, cancellations, and circumstances beyond your control (the #beastfromtheeast springs to mind) all contribute to a stressful working environment, however events do have a high energy, creative and fun atmosphere which can make it incredibly satisfying!

 

Conference Care recently conducted a client survey, asking questions on event catering, technology, WiFi, trends and favourite venues to name a few. We knew why we enjoy working in the industry, but were curious to see whether our clients agreed! We asked Event Planners, PA’s, Marketing Managers and HR Executives their opinions on the best and worst things about working in events…

 

Top three best bits…

 

1. Variety

The reason Conference Care’s service is so personal is because we understand no two events or clients are the same. We approach each event knowing that everyone’s requirements are particular to them, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Our clients agree, with 13% saying that the range of events, locations, venues and day to day tasks are what keeps them interested.

 

‘No two days are the same, in an ever changing fast moving world, companies want their events to be memorable, and keeping at the forefront of new concepts, venues and trends makes my job fascinating – and is why I come to you!’

 

 

2. The People

It’s unusual to meet someone in the events Industry who isn’t a people person; after all events are normally about bringing audiences together, and it’s often those people that make the job so interesting. 26% of our respondents said working with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, sectors and locations are what makes their job engaging. Networking opportunities provided by attending events are also something everyone enjoys.

‘Working with different people and being part of something special is a great feeling. It’s always good to see a happy face after the event.’

 

 

3. Job Satisfaction 

Some of our clients run events day in day out, some are required to find a venue for team meetings or product launches as part of their role and some are tasked with organising the office Christmas party. However everyone agrees that despite the challenges that you can sometimes face when working in events, the satisfaction you feel when everything runs smoothly is hard to beat; job satisfaction is top of the list with 41% of the respondents saying that it is the best thing about the job.

‘The best thing about my role is the challenges of putting together an event; I get a great deal of satisfaction seeing the end result after months of planning.’

 

 

The downsides…

 

1. Long hours

‘Everyone thinks it’s glamorous – it’s NOT :-)’ said one client! Prep before the event; follow up after the event, travel, unsociable hours and staying away from family are mentioned by 15% of respondents as downsides of the job.

 

2. Stress

19% of respondents said stress is the worst part of their job, with many saying the pressure to deliver a great event without support or understanding of what’s entailed being big contributors. Last minute changes and unforeseen circumstances (reasons four and five on the list of worst things) are also major contributing factors!

‘If something goes wrong on the day or you are relying on something that isn’t under your control you have to deal with it instantly. My motto is to make sure you have a back-up plan for as much as you can!’

 

 

3. Venue Issues

Having issues with venues is unfortunately the highest factor of dissatisfaction, with 42% of those surveyed saying that poor service and inflexibility contributes to venues not meeting expectations. Lack of technical support, organisation and communication are all cited as reasons why clients feel let down.

‘Nothing worse than when the venue turns out to be a disaster and my colleagues don’t enjoy their day’

 

 

Of course, not all venues should be tarred with the same brush; as part of the same survey we also asked about our client’s favourite venues and why, and we had a huge range of venues applauded for their fantastic spaces, exemplary staff, great facilities and professional attitude.

 

However, it does highlight that asking an expert is going to ensure that you get that number one feeling of satisfaction at each and every event! For a chat about your next event, give our friendly team a call on

02476 369720 or email us sales@conferencecare.com.

 

 

 

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Behind closed doors; a sneak peek into hotel life

If you are an event planner the chances are you have a pretty good idea of the essentials needed to pull off a great event: memorable content, delicious food, the perfect venue, but how many of you know what actually takes place behind the scenes in order to make this happen?

 

Conference Care recently took a key client to The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh for a site visit with a twist; instead of simply viewing meeting space and doing a menu tasting, they were granted access all areas passes to the luxurious five star hotel. Conference Care’s Head of Sales – Scotland, Pauline Beattie and The Sheraton’s Director of Sales Stewart Elder created the programme for the day, so we caught up with them to find out more…

 

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

 

CC: What was the objective?

PB: Our client organises and delivers numerous events, but wanted in particular to gain a better understanding of day to day operations in a venue so they could enhance the smooth running of events during their own planning process. We floated the idea of ‘lifting the veil’ with Stewart and he was very happy to be involved.

SE: Yes, we have a great working relationship with both Conference Care and the client, so we already had a good foundation to build on – we had to be confident before we gave away any trade secrets! The client was keen to understand how the hotel operates, and it was a great opportunity for us to share with them the reasons behind why we ask certain questions in the lead up to an event, what the purpose is for the timescales we set and so on.

 

CC: What was the itinerary?

PB: We all met in One Square Restaurant to run through the schedule for the day and I then left the client in Stewart’s capable hands!

SE: We kicked off the day with a personal tour of the back of house by me; I found it most entertaining opening doors to back of house staff with the client in tow, their faces were a picture! We met with Sales & Events to discuss Sales Phase to Event Delivery and the client was able to witness a number of event operations throughout the day including final checks, start of Lunch Service, banqueting team briefing and a room turnaround from Conference to Dinner Set.

 

CC: What were the benefits?

SE: We already had a good working relationship with the client, so we were both happy to approach the day with an open mind; full disclosure has further built the trust between all parties and taken that step towards us being viewed us more as a trusted advisor, rather than simply a supplier.

PB: The client found it hugely beneficial. They met a number of key personnel throughout the day: Maria Seisdedos, Front Office Manager, Becci O’Meara, Conference & Banqueting Manager and Craig Hart, the Executive Chef, which was a particular highlight. Everyone found the information which Craig shared on the technical side of food preparation totally fascinating; and will definitely use that knowledge of timescales and detail to enhance their event programmes in the future.

Craig Hart, Executive Chef

 

CC: Would you do it again?

SE: Yes, we would be open to doing it again. It’s not something you would necessarily offer to everyone carte blanche, you have to have some rapport and experience of the client initially in order to create a programme that is beneficial to everyone, and it is imperative to have a trusted partner such as Conference Care. Having said that we found the experience of complete transparency very liberating, and over 24 hours have built more trust with the client than we could normally achieve over a much longer period. It does put pressure on us to deliver over and above every time though – there’s nowhere to hide!

PB: Yes – the client is absolutely buzzing! The insights from the day have been hugely beneficial for them and they really enjoyed it. From our perspective this has reinforced our client’s trust in us; they’ve seen first-hand that we have strong and dependable relationships with venues, and by working in partnership with them they will benefit from the very best results for them – win win!

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Call our expert team for your next event on 02476 369720 or email us.

 

 

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All you want for Christmas; Cracking Christmas Party Ideas

Organising the office Christmas party can fill you with dismay and delight in equal measure; sure you get to choose where and when, but you also have to try and keep everyone happy, and within budget, which is not always the easiest of tasks!

 

It might seem strange to be talking about Christmas parties in April, but trust us, if you want the pick of the best, now’s the time to start the thought process. Our fantastic venue finding experts have made a few recommendations for you to consider for your party, no matter how big or small…

 

10 + guests…

If you’re seeking a festive experience with lots of atmosphere, it can be hard to cater for the smaller group. Shared parties or ‘joiner’ parties give you the option of booking a table at a larger event without having to pay a hefty cost for all the festive trimmings. Best Parties Ever are a leading Christmas party supplier and entertained over 200,000 guests in 2017 in 22 spectacularly styled venues. For the first time, in 2018 they are bringing a Dream Circus theme to the Airfield Estate in Dublin and in Belfast, a Masquerade Ball hosted at S13. They also cater privately for over 300 guests, but it’s a good place to start if you have a small group.

Another wintery option is to book a dinner at the Ice Bar London. Book a table in their restaurant for a delicious seasonal meal and then enjoy a 40 minute session in the ice bar with a personal ice glass to mark the occasion. Not London Based? Revolution Bars have a Cuban Inspired Christmas buffet this year available or a three course meal option; with over 50 bars across the UK, there is bound to be one near you. North of the border there are a number of wonderful places that can provide a stylish setting to your festivities; Ghillie Dhu, Hummingbird and The Corinthian Club all come highly recommended.

If you would prefer not to sit and eat, why not do something completely different like Bounce. The home of Ping Pong, Bounce provides the ultimate events venues, in both Farringdon and Old Street London, with tailored spaces and custom options for all corporate, social and private requirements – who says Christmas has to just be crackers and turkey?! In the same vein, Namco Fun Scape provides fun for all ages; Pac-man, dodgems cars, American Pool and ten-pin bowling in nine locations across the UK.

 

100 guests and over…

The Slate at Warwick Conferences

For the first time, Warwick Conferences are open for Christmas in and around their newest venue, The Slate, creating the ultimate ‘winterful’ party. You’ll enter the extravaganza through a forest of fir trees to be welcomed by an arrival drink, a festive three course meal, followed by an evening of entertainment. Offering an exclusive experience, guests can spend their night chilling out in the igloo bar, or dancing the night away on the ‘ice’ dancefloor. The Slate will be dressed in Christmas magic to ensure guests become lost in their very own winter wonderland for the evening.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

From the end of November, The Making of Harry Potter will be dressed and ready for Christmas. Enjoy unforgettable festive experiences at the studios where all eight Harry Potter films were produced with special packages from 200 guests to 1000 which have been carefully created to shape your celebration around these iconic film sets. All packages include exclusive access to the Studio Tour, allowing guests to explore the authentic sets, props and costumes after it closes to visitors for the day. Christmas at Hogwarts will certainly be an experience your guests are unlikely to forget! Packages are available from 200 guests to 1000.

The SSE SWALEC

Join the beautiful people at the most exclusive ski resort in Cardiff! Shake the snow off your sallopettes, snuggle up against the roaring fire or take a selfie by the ski lifts at the Après Ski Christmas Ball. Available as either tables at mixed parties on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, or exclusively for private parties of 250+ guests, this promises to be the best party in town.

 

Glasgow Science Centre

In 2018 the Glasgow Science Centre are promising to change your perception of what a Christmas party is.  Designed to be very much extraordinary, their private parties can cater for between 80 – 160 guests and the stunning Atrium provides a fun, modern and exciting setting that’s a million miles from cheesy clichés. If the party itself wasn’t enough each guest also receives a free Science Mall pass so they can return with the family to play and discover something new about the world we live in.

500 guests or more…

Arena MK

For 2018, Arena MK are offering the ultimate festive Après-Ski experience; Festive’L 2018. Entering a themed Alpine Village the chalet team will welcome you with a glass of glass of Glühwein or schnapps from one of the log cabins, followed by a delicious three-course dinner. Throughout the night there will be live acts including fire and ice performers, aerial acrobats, alpine activities, DJ, and a live band. Round off the evening with late night Bratwursts, and an on-piste bedroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton Milton Keynes. Arena MK is available either as a join a party, or privately for over 500 guests.

The Brewery

This year The Brewery has created The Golden Palms lounge & casino. Offering exclusive packages from 350 – 1000 guests, if your party requires the full works this is the option for you! Organisers of Christmas parties are even invited to attend their annual tasting event where you can try their menu, taste the wine and see table layouts so you get a sneak preview of the event ahead of time. Perfect if you’re trying to please the masses.

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museums Scotland offer a stunning range of spaces. The Grand Gallery at the heart of the National Museum is a magnificent setting and requires no gilding of the lily to impress your guests, it can seat 950 guests for dinner and 700 for a dinner dance. Equally Hawthornden Court and the Early People Gallery also offer stunning contemporary options for up to 700 if you don’t want to do the traditional turkey dinner

Christmas in a nutshell. Get ahead of the rest and give our expert team a call on 02476 369720 or email us. Not only will we find you something right for you, we can take all the stress out of the planning process so you can look forward to the festivities!

 

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