hotel

Something Everyone Should Do….

Here’s a few pictures taken from a video one of our clients, Winning Pitch, created during their Christmas conference and party that we organised for them…gives you an idea of some of the festivities they got up to, something I think every business should do!

Lots of fun had and a brilliant event all in all:

It was absolutely fantastic, the whole day was perfect everyone loved it and the room was magical at the night time – all twirly lights all over!!! Thanks so much for sorting it all out, we really appreciate it.

 




Category : Blog & Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Blogspot: What changes have you seen in the events market over the last two years?

Guest Blogger: Holly Whitman

Some would say I’m merely a “pup” in the world of hospitality and events, having started my career in a hotel as a Conference & Events Co-ordinator in Bolton in 2008, moving into a Manchester city centre hotel in 2009 and then landing where I currently am as Sales Executive for Manchester Conference Centre & Hotel. But over the last 5 years since I started, much has changed in this industry… even for new eyes like mine.

Lead times for large bookings are getting shorter, gone seem the days of booking a large multiday, international conference 2 or 3 years in advance. Now large enquiries are coming in 8 – 12 months in advance… when you’re lucky! This makes it incredibly hard to plan your business on the books and forecasting as you don’t know when “that biggy” will appear. But we adapt, and we keep an eye on those rebookers!

The buyers appear far more savvy now too, probably largely connected to the recession where budgets were cut, jobs lost and belts tightened. Clients are now more confident than ever to question proposals to find the best deals, happy to pitch hotels and venues against each other to get the best price, and who can really blame them! The lines between competitor venues are now blurred, no more clear boundaries in pricing from your 5* to your 3*, purpose built venue or redeveloped site.

What does this mean for us… well for Manchester I think it means working together more than ever as a city and a destination for all conferences and events. We strive to make ourselves as desirable as possible and if we don’t win that main contract, we can push for fringe events, accommodation or overflow. I think we’re doing a pretty good job too! Hotels and venues are communicating more and obviously don’t want to give away their secrets or their biggest clients, but we know there is always someone at the end of a phone or email to ask for advice or pass on a referral.

Manchester has grown into a hub of international business, with the Convention Centre bringing in large events from across the globe. There really is something for everyone within this “walk-able” city! It’s not just hotels and purpose built venues like ourselves that host events, we’re fighting art galleries, restaurants, bars, casinos and even museums.

This is what makes Manchester great, and the venues and hotels within the city even greater.

So, what’s changed over the last 2 years… communication, competition, relationships, lead times and more than anything buyers who know what they want.

We welcome it with open arms.

About the Author

Holly Whitman is Sales Executive at Manchester Conference Centre and Hotel and is responsible for all New Business and Account Management at the venue.

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Top Ten Tips When Booking A Venue

As part of our ongoing want to help you busy event planners, we thought we’d offer a quick run-down of tips for when booking a venue. We’ve split the list into a quick-fire list and a more detailed list. Use the tips as a tick-list or as a more detailed reminder. Whatever way you choose to use them, we’re sure they’ll come in useful!

However, if you’re still struggling once you’ve got through these tips and need some help – give us a call or contact us here and we’d be happy to step in and take all these things into consideration for you.

1. Location

2. Facilities

3. Cost

4. Response Time

5. First Impressions

6. Suitability

7. Accessability

8. Food & Drink

9. Accommodation

10. Quality of Customer Service! (Last but by no means least!)

 

 

Location

Setting is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a venue. It can determine accessibility, the facilities available for you and the suitability for your event. Things to consider –

  • Do you want a local venue or an international venue?
  • What type of location are you looking for? e.g. a countryside spot or an inner city area?
  • How far are your delegates travelling? Do you need access to public services/airports/railway/motorways, and if so how far away are they?

Facilities

Having the perfect facilities for your event can mean the difference between it running smooth and running wild.

  • Can the venue offer a room large enough to hold your delegates? Can guests travel around the space without trouble?
  • Are there suitable toilets nearby?
  • Can they accommodate disabled people?
  • Can caterers provide food and drink inside the venue, or is it in another room? If so, can guests easily access these areas?

Cost

Make a budget right at the beginning and stick to it. Provided you choose a good quality, experienced venue committed to making your event the best it can be then you’ll get far more from the experience –

  • Have you made a clear budget, and stuck to it?
  • Does the cost include everything you need for your event?
  • Are there any extra hidden costs?

Response Time

How fast or slow a venue responds to an email, or call can give a clear indication of what the service of the venue will be like on the day of your event. If they give clear instruction to wait at least 42 hours, and they have not responded within that time, it may be wise to have another search.

First Impressions

If possible, book a viewing at your chosen location. When you first view your chosen venue does it amaze you, or does it make you yawn?  If your first look is positive – great! If your first impression is a bit of a let-down, don’t give up – there will be other options! (it may be the inside inspires more than the outside – let’s face it, unless your event is outside, most of your attendees will only notice the inside.

  • Make a list of things you want to see in the venue. That way, you can thoroughly assess your venue in terms of your event’s needs. If at the end of the viewing you are still not satisfied, search again.

Suitability

You’ve viewed a few venues and have narrowed them down, but how does your venue suit your event?

  • Is the venue available on the date(s) you want? Are they flexible if change is necessary?
  • Does the venue fulfil your events purpose?

Accessability

Your venue is set in the beautiful English countryside, surrounded by thick forests and a large lake. But can you actually get there? And how are your guests getting there? How about disabled delegates?

  • If you need a venue which has good transport links for example a motorway or an airport then the countryside venue would be no good. If possible, make sure guests can access your venue easily and research into possible options and routes.

Food & Drink

Venues may provide catering or they may not. Whatever the outcome, discuss a few things –

  • What type of food/drink do they offer? Does it come under the price or is it an extra charge?
  • Ask for sample menus – maybe organise a tasting session. Make sure the menu offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Accommodation

Choose somewhere that can cater for everyone, not just a few people. If you’re event needs overnight accommodation, find out the following –

  • How much are they charging per room / per night?
  • Do they have the space for all your guests? If not, ask for an alternative near by.
  • Ask to view a few rooms – what are your first impressions? Do they offer en-suites, coffee and tea and towels? Would you feel comfortable staying there yourself?

Quality of Customer Service

When you visit your chosen venue, what is the overall customer service like?
From the initial phone call, to the visit itself and how they deal with you and others around you, there will be a clear indication of how they will treat you and your event.

  • Are they attentive and have good product knowledge or are they somewhere else and give you little to no useful information?
  • Can they identify problems and sort things out quickly or do they time waste?
  • How do they approach you? What manner do they talk to you with? Are they interested in your event? How do they respond to your questions?

 

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s To 2013!

We thought we would create a little video to welcome you into the New Year (it is still January so we’re allowed 🙂 ). We hope you like!

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Events – Are You Creative Enough?

Alternative London Venues for Events

It feels strange to be talking about summer at this early stage of the year but with time going quicker and quicker you can never start to plan your events too early. There are so many events going on in London during the summer it’s important to give yours that little something extra that makes it stand out against the rest. There are a number of ways to do this and perhaps the most important of all is by selecting the best venue for your event. When looking at venues people are often drawn to the same mundane features, price, location, accessibility etc. and whilst these are very important issues it is also vital that the organisers do not forget to be creative with their event. Being creative means looking that little bit harder for the perfect venue and not necessarily going with the first suitable one you find just because it ticks all the boxes.

The Ice Tank London

 

 

Whether it be a corporate business meeting, company training or a press event there are venues out there that can give your event that extra something that has been missing in the past. A good example of one such venue is the IceTank in Covent Gardens in London. The IceTank is a 2500 sq ft space spread over two levels, to look at pictures you might mistake it for a modern family home but it has all the necessary conference requirements and more. Amenities include Wi-Fi, plasma screens, a HD projector, a large skylight, luxury kitchen and even a fireplace. When it comes down to it the venue is just a room but it is the style and presentation of it that sets it apart from the usual venue spaces you find in the majority of London.

Science Museum London

The IceTank is a great example of a premium event space that has used style to turn what is essentially just a room into something different, this can often work great but sometimes you need an event space with even more creativity than this.  London has so many of these to offer, the Science Museum in South Kensington, the Imperial War Museum, the Tate Modern and even London Zoo all offer state of the art meeting rooms with facilities that can accommodate as little as two and as many as two thousand conference delegates. A conference at the Zoo may not be appropriate for all businesses but for some it will be ideal. The most important thing is not to settle for an average venue when the perfect one is out there just waiting for you to find it.

 

If you need help finding that perfect venue or something a little bit unusual then get in touch here and we’ll work with you to find what you need.

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Accor – from Ibis to Pullman Hotels

I was recently at an event called the ‘World of Accor Expo’ in London which was a showcase from the Accor Hotel Chain of a number of their world-wide hotels. Whilst there I was asked by someone from C&IT Magazine whether Hotels/Chains were doing enough to entice and promote their hotels to agents (that’s me). My response to that was that some are and some aren’t. Whilst this wasn’t really an answer I did go on to explain that while times are much tougher than ever before for business (from both client and agents’ perspective) it was more important now than ever before to keep clients interested and in the know about hotels, be it a chain or an independent, and while the bigger chains have bigger marketing budgets it was just as important for smaller independent venues to keep working with clients and getting out to see potential new clients to show them what they can offer. However, of the larger hotel chains, one brand that is promoting themselves well, is that of Accor. With the hotel brand changing and increasing in size quite rapidly, they need to make their clients, and potential clients, aware of what they have to offer.

Accor Expo Exhibition Stands

In the last two months, I’ve attended a more low-key UK-based event (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed) where I sampled their Mercure brand and now the World of Accor Expo where I have been able to sample both the Ibis and Pullman brands. In between all that, I’ve been regularly updated on the new venues coming on board and those currently going through a refurbishment.

Accor is a French brand and you notice a French feel throughout each of the brands, although it may be quite subtle, from staff to literature to just the colours and style. The company are very proud of the fact that they are French and I think this is great that they’re keen to make people understand the history behind the group.

At the World of Accor Expo, it was apparent as to how much they love their hotels by the fact that five of the six Parisian hotels are all undergoing major refurbishments over the next year to keep the hotels up to standard.

The Pullman London, the newest addition to the Pullman part of the chain has undergone a major refurbishment. Formerly a Novotel (another of the Accor brands) it boasts a tiered theatre to hold 446 along with other meeting spaces. Within 2 minutes’ walking distance to both Euston Station and St Pancras Stations and directly next to British Library it’s ideally placed and while it’s not the prettiest building on the outside, from the inside, it offers imagination and a quirkiness that you just can’t help but love.

Even the lower budget hotels (Ibis) have undergone a rebrand and facelift. Having stayed in an Ibis hotel and attended the event at a Pullman hotel it was clear to see that all brands, from budget to more luxurious, are clean and spacious with friendly staff and a modern and up-to-date feel.

So while I’m all in favour of Accor Hotels and as a brand it offers something for everyone, I hope they continue to keep up the good work of keeping us informed as, with so many hotels and venues on offer for both business and leisure, it can be difficult to be seen and heard unless you shout!

 

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dare I say It – Christmas Events (There, I said It!)

It’s that time of the year when clients have to start thinking about planning for their Christmas party events.

I know, we’re only just in September, I hear you cry. I too dislike having to think about Christmas as it feels like I’m wishing away the year.

Sadly, if you want to get a decent place for your Christmas gathering now is the time and, for some, is probably too late to get the venue they want.

Since July (well actually, I received my very first brochure back in January!!) I’ve been receiving Christmas brochures from venues wanting to show off their Christmas parties and I have to say some of them look and sound amazing!

It’s also been up to me to supply ideas to clients of what they can do for both their smaller and larger Christmas gatherings. From finding small and intimate places for dinner with a difference to large marquees and extravagant themes.

I recently went to the Hard Rock Café Manchester who hosted a Christmas taster event where the venue went all out to show you what they can do for your Christmas event. I could go so far to say they really over did it (there were live reindeer and even a Santa on his sleigh!) but I won’t as it was lots of fun, if not a little random in the heart of summer.

Now Hard Rock Café Manchester isn’t somewhere to use if you want a big extravagant dinner, but it does offer something a little bit different with their regular live bands and exclusive events along with the mezzanine area that overlooks the whole of the venue and offers a bit of VIP treatment for those who are allowed up to this area.

With the ‘recession’ (shh!) in full swing and the media constantly reminding us of the trials and tribulations we’re having as a country, some businesses have opted to either cancel their Christmas events or change the way they host them altogether by making the attendees pay something towards them.

That’s not the case for everyone as some business bosses also realise the benefit of rewarding their staff with a little something to celebrate the end of the year.

So whether you’re looking for something big and brash or just want a small casual get together, now is the time to start looking. Some of the best deals are available if you’re able to book quickly but be warned, those larger event spaces are booking up so you might want to look into the options before the real rush takes place. If you’re still stuck, give us a call and we can help point you in the right direction!

Good luck! 🙂

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Top Venues’ Top Tips for Event Planning

Here are a few of Top Venues’ top tips for event planning and providing your delegates with information based on events within large towns and cities (some of these tips will also work for smaller towns too):

#1.    Prior to your event, send your delegates location guides so they have the opportunity to understand where they are going and get the most out of their stay.

#2.    Work with Blue Badge Guides in the city to give your attendees a local’s insight into where to find the city’s hidden gems. Blue Badge Guides will have knowledge about the city that sometimes even locals don’t know and it’s great to have that opportunity to learn some history of the city.

#3.    Check out if the city has an event schedule and plan the conference around one of the free events, providing free downtime activities for delegates.

#4.    Make use of unusual venues. Book your next conference in a sport stadium, converted Church or somewhere else equally unusual.

#5.    Try to avoid peak times in order to keep cost down. If you can be flexible, ask the venue when they have more availability and therefore lower costs.

#6.    Take advantage of the free museums and galleries in the area. Delegates can see some amazing works of art without costing them anything.

#7.    Be creative! Think of offering something different for your refreshment breaks. Try a macaroons stall or curry stand or look at what’s local to where you are.

#8.    Find local knowledge. Contact the local council and find out what’s going on in the area. Speak to your agent and get them give you information on the location of your event and details of what else is available to you.

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

To Confex or Not To Confex, That Is The Question.

Throughout the year there are a number of exhibitions, or ‘Expos’ as they’re referred to, aimed at the Conference, Events and Incentive Markets. These take place throughout the UK and the world and can be a fantastic way of meeting new suppliers, clients and generally managing to meet as many people as possible who work within the events industry all under one roof and in a short space of time.

Confex is one of those Expos and this year it moved to a new location, the Excel Conference and Exhibition Centre in Canary Wharf. There are a number of reasons why the show would move location, it’s been at its previous location (Earls Court) too long, the old venue is closing, the show organisers feel they need to boost their footfall with a ‘new’ show, the organisers want to be closer to the Olympics Village….the list is endless.

In the last few years Confex, as well as other well known Expos, have suffered. One reason is due to the economic crises where less people are able to leave the office without real justification and reason. Another is the fact that these events sometimes have the same suppliers year in and year out and charge a huge sum of money to be there, knocking out any possibility of a smaller, lesser known company to be able to afford to exhibit.

This year I was indecisive as to whether to attend Confex. It gives me a great opportunity to meet with a lot of suppliers I already know (the plus side to having the same suppliers there year in year out) and potentially meeting new suppliers. The new location and offer of a ‘new’ event was definitely intriguing but could I really afford to spend the time (it would be at least one full day) and money (cost of travel from Manchester to London ) out of the office and was it worth it?

Having thought about it for quite a while, I decided that this year was not the year for me to go down to Confex, my time was better spent in the office managing the work load that was here already. I have yet to hear as to how the event was received and whether the move really did make a difference to this years’ attendance but I’ll certainly be keeping my ear out. Perhaps next year I’ll make the trip to see for myself what the move has achieved.

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , ,

An End To Another Year…

And so, we’ve come to the end of 2011.

What a year…it’s been manic to say the least. With lots of
conferences, meetings, exhibitions, trade shows, incentive trips…the list is endless…taking place this year, we’ve been very busy.

Along with all that we pushed the business forward by offering our Event Management services (although the website is still to reflect this – we just simply haven’t had time to update it!).

We’ve had some tough times with the economic crises having a knock on the market and clients being unable to do the events they want but we have hope…there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Careful management is the key and we’ve made sure that all of our clients have managed to get what they need within their budget and with the customer service they require (and should expect)!

Our aims for 2012 are:-

  • To continue to put our clients’ needs first
  • To continue to source new venue options and make sure customer service comes first
  • To work with our clients as much or as little as is required
  • To keep smiling even if things seem tough

With that in mind, we wish everyone a fantastic Christmas, a brilliant New Year and we look forward to speaking to you in 2012.

 

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Confec Green 2011

Having been to numerous forums where suppliers (i.e. venues and companies who supply to the industry) and buyers (i.e. those who buy into the venues etc) meet together to create new contacts. I was pleasantly surprised with the format for this forum.

For once, I was sat at the table and suppliers had to move to come and see me rather than the other way round.

It was a relatively small group of both suppliers and buyers but that meant you were able to get to know more of the attendees and people mixed equally rather than gathering into little groups as is often the case with these events.

The attendees spent around a day and half at the 5 star Andaz Hotel in London, situated right next to Liverpool St Station.

After what seemed to be a relatively short day we were whisked away to the newly opened 5 star Corinthia London Hotel. What a fantastic hotel! Having made the quick show-round before dinner I was extremely impressed with the quality of everything from the entrance hallway to the suites and the two different restaurants the hotel offered.

The Corinthia London Hotel has every right to make its claim on being the flagship of the group. It should also make claim to being one of the best five star hotels in London at the moment.

The Andaz Hotel is another lovely five star hotel but has a completely different feel and style to it. A mix of old and new, traditional and modern, it really is a bit of everything. With the different buildings that have been collaborated over the years I’m not sure if it’s a little bit like a maze, although after a while you do get your bearings.

One of its’ little secret’s (although not for too much longer) is the Masonic Temple that was discovered after years of being hidden. A wonderful space for small events that really want to show off.

Both the Corinthia Hotel and Andaz Hotel have their own quirky features and would certainly cater for many different events for any kind of client.

Back to Confec Green, I certainly found the event to be useful with some really valuable contacts and would definitely consider attending the next event.

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , , ,

Square Meal 2011

Predominantly focused on venues and services for the hospitality industry, Square Meal takes place in September every year at Old Billingsgate Market.

As far as Expos go, Square Meal is most definitely one of the best.

For starters, it only lasts for two days (most large Expos last for at least three). This means the people exhibiting aren’t stood on their feet for three days running and so don’t lose the enthusiasm of their product.

It is housed in a building that’s not too big, not too small and easily located.

In previous years Square Meal has been predominantly focused on London venues and services. This year was different. There were more venues from outside the London boundaries. This makes quite a difference to the people that come to the show. It means that not only will you get to see some fantastic venues and event options from London but also fantastic venues and services from around the country.

Despite the fact that Square Meal is housed in a venue that can’t offer space to expand, it actually makes it a bonus feature.

You can get around the show in two hours, an afternoon or a full day making it as accessible as you need it to be.

One small thing that I would suggest to anyone organising these events is to provide a full show guide offering contact details for all the exhibitors attending the show. It just means that should you not manage to get around as a visitor, you still have access to the contact details should you need them. Also as an exhibitor paying quite a lot of money to attend, I would expect clients to be able to contact them from either the website or the show guide should they not be able to on the day of the event.

However, having said that, it’s only a small issue and as my favourite Expo, I will most definitely be attending again next year!

Category : Blog
Tags: , , , , ,

Our approach

From start to finish we will help you find the right solution for you and your event.

No matter what size your event is, we can take the pressure off you by sourcing, negotiating and making the arrangements, allowing you to spend your time on more important issues.

Get in touch!

Contact us
Request a callback

Testimonials

 

"Thanks for all of your help - you really made the difference for me because of a) the time it saved me hunting around and negotiating rates, and b) getting such a good rate."

P.T, Gore Workwear