July, 2011

London City Selection Weekend

The Morris DancersI can honestly say that this weekend is probably one of the only ways to view a number of venues and get a real understanding of a destination.

It’s a genius idea.

Take a handful of agents who book with multiple clients on a regular basis. Then take a group of venues, all within a short distance to each other that can offer space for these events, add a lot of fun and games and you have the perfect mix of business with pleasure.
Having gone on the original weekend back in the days when this group of venues were known as ‘the EC Collective’ (predominantly as they were all based within the EC postcode), this group of venues has grown to an impressive 27 and don’t seem to be stopping.

The group consists of hotels such as The Hoxton, Apex Hotels and Crowne Plaza Shoreditch, conference centres such as ETC.Venues, Barbican Centre and The Mermaid Conference and Events Centre. Livery halls such as Ironmongers’ Hall, unusual venues such as a shopping centre and historical venues as well as companies that service these venues such as caterers are also included.

The group renamed to ‘London City Selection’ a couple of years ago as they wanted to establish themselves as a ‘select’ group of venues, not allowing just anyone to be part of it. Their aim to offer the finest venues working within the city of London and that includes excellent customer service!

The weekend consists of an informal dinner at one venue on the Friday (this year was the Brewery incorporating the newly built Montcalm Hotel – one of the newest 5 star venues in London) and a chance to get into your teams supported with a teamleader from one of the venues. You stay for two nights also in one of the supporting venues from the group.

On the Saturday morning you meet at another venue for breakfast – a leisurely affair allowing you to get your team together and create your costumes (this year my team were Morris Dancers so we donned our hats, bells, sashes and anything else we deemed fit for a Morris Dancer) whilst having a fantastic breakfast to test out the catering!

Then, you’re off.

Each team were given an order to visit certain venues within the group and do a task or game of some kind whilst there. The games would either have a link to London or the venue in some way and allowed you to see for yourself how easy it was to get there and what the venue could offer your clients.

After a full day of running around the streets of London, the Saturday night consists of photos taken from the day and a mini awards ceremony based on the tasks that had been assigned throughout the day for the different teams along with dinner and, for those who like to party into the night, a trip out to a bar/club.

Although a rather full-on weekend, you can choose to do as much or as little as you want, allowing you to see the venues at the pace you need.

I only wish other venue groups would consider this as the way to present their venues.

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Holland – Not Just A Vacation Location But A Business Destination Too!

Some people would think that flying across the ocean to Europe for three days sounds like bliss. Add into that 27 business meetings and you might think again.

Having done just that I can safely say, it’s a mixture of both. I was there for the M&I Forum event in Noordwijk, approximately 40 minutes from Amsterdam and right on the coast of Holland.

Three days of back to back meetings and lots of networking – and all in a beautiful place!

These events are perfect if you’re out to find out about new destinations, venues and create new contacts. All something I need to do in order to know what’s available for my clients and their events.

Of course you don’t get the same understanding as visiting the venues themselves and getting a real feel for what they can offer, but it gives you a chance to find out more information than just looking online. It also allows you to make face to face meetings and get to know the people who run or work in the destinations much better.


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