Monday, 30 April 2012

Need Inspiration For Your Next Team Building Conference

Organising a team building conference can sometimes be tricky what with the British weather, budget restrictions and the 'not to be seen spending money' mentality that exists these days. The corporate team building event seems to have taken a back seat over the past year or so as clients concentrate on business only events but is showing signs of a resurgence as teams need motivating or to just have some fun!

Well Placed Conference offer a full range of event ideas & activities but our favourite of the moment overcomes all the negatives mentioned in the opening paragraph.

Animation Innovation is an indoor event which means the weather can't affect it, it is very cost effective as the kit needed to run it is minimal and its behind closed doors so you are not seen as outwardly spending money.

Ideal for numbers of between 2-60 delegates, Animation Innovation needs a window of 3 hours to complete. Its great team building conference event as it appeals to all levels of staff, male & female and has no physical boundaries. The event itself promotes use of resources, time management, creative thinking & teamwork although above all is just good fun!

Based on 'Aardmans Studios' Wallace & Gromit, teams are equipped with craft supplies, modelling clay and tools, corner studios and recording equipment before being tasked with creating, filming and editing a movie of their own. The teams will build sets, sculpture characters and create audio files before presenting their film on a big screen to be judged by the event manager. Each member of the team takes control of their own area but teamwork is essential to ensure the whole production comes together for the final preview on the big screen.

This type of corporate team building event overcomes all the reasons why not to do team building, so call us for a quote for next event!

Well Placed Conference also find suitable team building venues at which you can run this and many other events.

Images courtesy of KDM Events

Friday, 27 April 2012

Healthy Hotels for Corporate Accommodation, Do They Exist?

At Well Placed Conference we are committed marathon runners and like to think we lead a healthy lifestyle. All too often though when we have to book corporate accommodation or we have to travel and stay in business accommodation the hotels don't lend themselves to maintaining our healthy habits!

Well, is all this about to change with IHG's new brand called Even Hotels

The pitch on their website goes:
"When we travel, we make a few compromises. Our routines get turned upside down. We leave our friends and family behind. We sacrifice a little style to fit everything in the carry-on. We've accepted it as a reality of being on the road. But we shouldn't make compromises when it comes to healthy living. And soon we won't have to. EVEN Hotels will make wellness an easy, natural part of travel. You'll find a place to stay, work, relax, socialize, exercise and eat on your own terms, the way it should be"

This is great news and what the hotel industry needs for the everyday traveller, if you are staying in corporate accommodation why shouldn't it be geared up for leisure and down time as well. So what will you get in your business accommodation?

Hang up or pull up - Our coat rack is a pull-up bar and our luggage rack is a workout bench. Who would have thought?
Zen before zzz’s - Yoga mats for stretching and foam rollers for a back-roll after a long run.
In-room trainer - A circuit training guide for a quick workout, without leaving the room.
Rest easier - Hypoallergenic linens and a comfy mattress help you get a better night’s sleep.
Room to move - Space to work out is standard, not a luxury.

And that's just in the bedrooms, the rest of the hotel will be geared up for a healthy lifestyle although we understand burgers and fries will still be on the menu!

Launching in 2013, Even Hotels we think are a great idea and what our clients are demanding when making corporate hotel reservations. Watch this space and we'll bring you more on this exciting new brand of hotels.

(Photo and text courtesy of Even Hotels)

Why Choose Birmingham Conference Venues Over Other UK Cities

There’s a level of energy and confidence here that’s clear the moment you arrive. Named as the UK’s most popular conference and event destination outside London during 2010 by the British Meetings and Events Industry Survey 2010, Birmingham is a city that welcomes major events and visitors like no other.

With undeniable connectivity, located in the heart of the UK, the incredible range of world-class Birmingham conference venues and state-of-the-art facilities make it the best placed city for events of all sizes.

Accommodation, amenities, entertainment, retail opportunities – in Birmingham, everything is nearby, the city centre alive with possibilities and new experiences with plenty of event space for you to choose from. From Michelin-starred dining to dazzling theatre productions and designer shopping, Birmingham really does offer it all.

Proud of its distinctive heritage, yet energised by the youngest population in Europe, Birmingham’s transformation into a dynamic, cosmopolitan, accessible and welcoming conference city has been truly remarkable.

From global events and exhibitions shared by thousands, to smaller more intimate meetings, conferences and launches, Birmingham’s range of event and conference venues offers a world of choice. So where do you start when planning an event? Well we would avise that you contact a conference venue finder like Well Placed Conference who have the expert knowledge of all the venues across the city of Birmingham.

The diverse range of venues across the city includes:

Sporting Venues

From Aston Villa FC & Birmingham City FC to Edgbaston Cricket and the Belfry Hotel with its extensive golf facilities if you want to combine your conference with sports then there is great opportunities.

Birmingham Conference Hotels

Birmingham offers all the major international chains such as Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inns through to many independents such as the new kid on the block Hotel La Tour which recently opened its doors. From modern, like Malmaison to traditional, like Plough & Harrow and from large (Metropole) to small (Hotel Indigo) the range is superb.

A Unique Meeting Venue in Birmingham

Birmingham has more canals than Venice so why not make use of them for your next conference or event? Away2meet is a canal boat with a capacity of 30 delegates, quite unique or Fazeley Studios which houses a chapel, Victorian school and a brasserie or maybe ThinkTank which is Birmingham's space museum. There are many other unique conference & event spaces for hire so just email us your enquiry and see what we can propose.

Historic Conference Venues in Birmingham

Offering a great backdrop to your next conference or event there are some wonderful historic meeting venues in and around Birmingham. Venues such as Aston Hall a Jacobean mansion, Warwick Castle or the Grade 11 listed Banqueting Suite in the city centre all make perfect locations for creating memorable events.

Add a splash of cultural and academic conference venues in Birmingham and you have a full range of choices to suit all events and budgets.

Birmingham is truly a world class conference destination so give it a go for your next event and see for yourself what it has to offer.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Leeds Conference Venues - Marriott Leeds Completes Refurbishment

Looking for Leeds conference venues?

Why not consider the Marriott Hotel in Leeds as it has just completed a £500k refurbishment of its restaurant and bar areas.

The new facilities include a revamped entrance to the 1871 bar and lounge with an impressive new freestanding central bar and new seating. The restaurant has also been renamed the 'Midtown Grill Steakhouse' which is inkeeping with Marriotts US roots.

The 236 bedroom hotel has one of the most extensive conference facility in Leeds with 18 meeting rooms totalling over 702sqm of space with the largest room seating 300 delegates.

If you are looking for conference venues in Leeds then the Marriott may be a good choice with this refurbishment bringing it bang up to date.

For great rates at this Leeds conference venue then call us or see our special offers page where we have featured their 'Think Thursdays' promotion

Image courtesy of CIT Magazine

Event Management in Jersey - A brief destination guide

Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey
Choice...whatever the shape or size, as conference event management organisers on Jersey we provide the best programmes for your needs

Jersey is easily accessible from all over the UK and Ireland with scheduled flights available from no fewer than 20 airports in the British Isles, and regular ferry sailings from Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth enabling you to take your car to Jersey. The fast ferries take as little as three hours and flights can take less than an hour. With the modern facilities available at Jersey Airport and Harbour, you can also be on your way within a few minutes of arrival.

Jersey plays host to many different types of corporate events. A popular and established choice for pharmaceutical companies, the communications and manufacturing sectors and the finance industry, Jersey is a natural choice for companies whether delegates are all travelling together or are attending from across the UK and even Europe.

Being so small the down time in Jersey is also minimal. It is not only the travel to the Island that is quick. Once you are here journeys rarely take more than 15 minutes and you are able to get more done in a shorter period of time. This makes Jersey not only a cost effective but also a time effective choice. It also makes choosing your venue that much easier as you are not restrained by exact location and as experienced corporate events management people we are well placed to advise on options.

Jersey plays host to car launches, product launches, business conference, corporate entertaining, corporate travel incentive, corporate challenges and team building activities as well as small executive meetings. We also provide for meetings for up to 800 delegates at The Hotel de France and 2,000 delegates at The Fort Regent and can offer support in bringing you to the Island to view the facilities. One of our favourites is the Radisson Blu Hotel which sits on the harbour in the capital of St Helier as they offer great facilities at value for money rates.

You can also choose from some very unusual venues. La Mare Wine Estate offers the glorious Elms Farmhouse as well as one of the more unique settings for your event in the Distillery. The crypt in the middle ward of Mont Orgueil , a 13th Century castle, is the perfect setting for a small reception, while the medieval Great Hall is fantastic for small dinners. But perhaps the most popular private use of the castle is for evening parties with drinks on the ramparts and a marquee on the lower keep affording views of the harbour below and across the narrow channel of water to France. Our Event & conference management skills will ensure you get the right venue for your needs though.
Rooms with a view at Radisson Blu
Well Placed Conference highly recommend Jersey as a conference destination as it offers the flavours of an overseas destination yet close to home and affordable.


Monday, 23 April 2012

A Hotel Booking Agents Site Visit - Mercure Brandon Hall

One of the many benefits of being hotel booking agents is getting to go on site visits when conference venues and hotels showcase their products.

This gives us the opportunity to evaluate the suitability of venues for our clients events. after each visit we can then inform and educate our clients from a personal point of view. This weekend sees me at the Mercure Brandon Hall hotel which is tucked away between Rugby and Coventry in the Midlands. The hotel can easily be found off M6 or A45 so is a great conference meeting point.

Driving up to the hotel the children said 'wow' I'd love to live in a house like this. Brandon Hall is, well, an impressive old hall and going into reception it doesn't disappoint. A country house feel with modern touches gives a warm welcome and sitting down to check is a nice personal touch.

After settling into our rooms we remarked how spacious they are for a 'chain' hotel and have everything you need for business accommodation or leisure stays. the only negatives were WIFI wasn't free, a big bug bear of mine and no extra pillows which was soon rectified.

It was then off to sample the leisure club as with 3 children we couldn't put off swimming for long. the pool is one of the largest I have seen in a hotel and the facilities were great for a conference venue. After a few lengths and a play with the rubber ducks that had been thoughtfully left in the rooms for the children we had worked up an appetite for dinner.

Before dinner I had a walk around the hotel conference meeting rooms which I have to say were very impressive. If you are looking for a conference venue that offers seclusion, character, modern facilities and business seminar rooms that have lots of natural daylight then i would recommend Brandon Hall as it has it all.

Dinner was good as we ate from the set menu and the children's menu came presented as well as the adults with a professional touch which made them feel special. Food is all locally sourced and was very tasty although the portion sizes were a bit on the small side.
Sunday morning was a leisurely affair with the papers in the hotel lounge and after a quick walk around the lovely gardens that the hotel sits in it was time to leave. Overall the staff were very friendly and anything we asked for was attended to very quickly. I was left feeling that being part of one of the UK's leading hotel booking agents is just a great job when we get to experience venues like this.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this conference venue in the Midlands to any of our clients that are looking for a country feel with a modern twist at a value for money price!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Conference Venues in Leeds - Latest offers round up

There is a huge choice of conference venues in Leeds catering for small boardroom meetings, large scale conferences or private dinners and events. Leeds is an ideal conference destination with easy road, rail and air access and has a wide range of conference venues to suit all budgets.

Its our job to keep up with all the latest offers from the Leeds conference venues so that we can advise our clients where is offering great value. The following is just a selection of the offers currently available and Email Us if you want more information any of these venues.

5% Added Value or 5% Off Your Next Event at The Met Hotel, Leeds
There are many decisions to make as a conference and events orgainser. The Met Hotel Leeds have a simple one for you to make:
5% added value - The Met Hotel will give you 5% of the value of the event as added value to enhance your event.
5% cash back - the Met Hotel will give you 5% of the value of your event back in a credit note for the next event with any Principal Hayley Hotel.

Doubletree Hilton Leeds - Added value offers
Confirm your event within 21 days of enquiring before the 1st June 2012, and you can tailor your meeting by choosing 2 added value options at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Leeds.

Choose from the following added value options:
One in five delegates goes free (minimum of 10 delegates required)
Room upgrade for the organiser
Double event bonus points
Themed Coffee breaks
LCD projector

Weetwood Hall Hotel Leeds
Weetwood has some of the largest conference facilities in Leeds and they are offering great value for money packages

8 hour delegate rates from £35.00 p/p with 1 delegate going free in every 10 booked
24 hour residetial rates from £135.00 p/p with a complimenatry drinks reception before dinner

The Headingley Experience
Headingley Stadium is a world famous bastion of sporting tradition, renowned for it's rich heritage of international and domestic cricket and rugby league, Headingley Experience offers a range of first class facilities for conferencing, banqueting, business meetings, special occasions and events.

8 hour day delegate packages from just £29.00 p/p inc vat

 We can also make business hotel bookings in Leeds if you just need overnight accommodation. Are you a conference venue in Leeds and have special offers then let us know or if you want further information on what Leeds offers as a conference destination then we are here to help.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Conference Venues - Service Promises

At Well Placed Conference we deal with conference venues, independent hotels and the corporate chains on a daily basis when venue finding for our clients.

The level of service we receive as a conference venue finder varies dramatically from call to call and is dependant on a lot of factors. Some venues offer highly trained and personable enquiry handlers whilst others it seems offer unqualified and disinterested people. As an experienced hotel booking agency we tend to know which hotels and venues to avoid and which ones we know will look after our clients from start to finish.

In this competitive environment venues are always looking for a USP or a reason to choose them over their competitors. Simply put though all we and our clients expect is consistent, quality service throughout the process. This is why its refreshing to see some hotel companies getting back to basics and relaunching their service promises. Jurys hotels are one company that have restated their conference venue guarantees, what they promise is:

Jurys Inns 12 point Service Promise

1 All UK enquiries will be responded to within 2 hours of receipt, if made by phone or via the website/e-mail.*
2 You will not be charged any hidden extras. All event costs will be clearly itemised within the initial event proposal, so
they are clearly understood.
3 The event organiser will receive a detailed breakdown of the event 72 hours prior to arrival.*
4 The event organiser on the day will be met on arrival by a dedicated Jurys Meetings team member whereby the
arrangements for the day will be confirmed.
5 All refreshment breaks and meals will start no later than the times specified and agreed before the event.
6 All meeting and event rooms will be set up 30 minutes prior to the contracted arrival time (as detailed in the event contract)
7 All AV equipment ordered and detailed in the event contract will be set up and ready to use 30 minutes prior to the contracted arrival time in your conference meeting room
8 Your Jurys Meetings representative will conduct a debrief with you before you leave.
9 Within three working days, you will receive a follow-up call or email to discuss your event and a guarantee to respond to any points raised within 48 hours.*
10 We will send your bill no later than three working days after the event. It will clearly reflect the written quotation, plus any extra charges that you have authorised.
11 All enquiries and arrangements will be looked after by a member of our professional Jurys Meetings team.
12 The event organiser will be offered the best available room at the hotel, luggage assistance and where possible reserved parking (only available at selected hotels, please enquire with the hotel directly).

Jurys then are going one step further with a money back guarantee if they don't deliver!

The Conference rooms Checklist includes as standard:
Natural daylight*, Wi-Fi and wired Internet access, LCD projector & white screen, Adjustable air-conditioning, Adaptable, modular furniture, Blackout facilities, Stationery toolkit, Refrigerated mineral water, conveniently positioned phone & power points, Flipchart
If we fail to deliver on points 1-10 above and cannot rectify the situation to your satisfaction, we will deduct 2% per point from your final invoice up to a maximum of 20%.

Did your last conference or event promise and deliver all the above, were you satisfied with the level of service you received? Lets hope more venues resort back to getting the basics right like Jurys Inns are doing. Would love to hear about the levels of service you have received from your recent conferences.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Making Business Hotel Bookings? - Beware of the sales speak!

Making business hotel bookings isn't an easy job anymore as there is so much choice of styles, standards and locations. Whilst this choice is great for the travellers its confusing for the person booking the business accommodation to know where is best.

Hotels don't make the choice any easier either with their sales and marketing techniques and 'stretching the truth' phrases. Even experienced corporate hotel reservations agents need to be on guard to spot the tricky phrases and the deceptive wording on advertising not to be misled.

Courtesy of we thought we would share with you some the sales terms and the underlying meanings that cover up a hotels shortcomings that we found on their blog post and thought amusing.

What they advertise: 'City views'

What they mean: "If you want to wake up to a panoramic vista, upgrade." When a Hong Kong hotel website gives you a choice of a “city view” room versus "harbour view," know this: the latter is more expensive for a reason, and it's not because you're getting a bigger suite. Book a room with a city view and chances are you’re going to be staring into an apartment building 20 meters away.

What they advertise: 'Deluxe room'

What they mean: "This is the baseline room. Similar to the 'Tall' at Starbucks. Rather than call it what it is -- the smallest, cheapest room -- we're giving it a fancy name so you don't feel sad that you can't afford one of our nicer suites."

What they advertise: 'Wi-Fi available'

What they mean: "We're going to charge you a ridiculous rate to use the Internet in your room. And yes, we know it should be free. We don't care." Again, the reality is in what’s not being said. If Wi-Fi is free, they’ll always say it’s free on their website. Always.

What they advertise: 'Boutique'

What they mean: "Small and overpriced. A glorified guest house with no swimming pool. But our decor is nice!"

What they advertise: 'Perfect for business travelers'

What they mean: "Our rooms have a bed, a sink and a toilet, perfect for those so exhausted from attending conferences all day that they just come in and pass out. But you're going to love our selection of plug sockets."

What they advertise: 'Centrally located'

What they mean: "You won't get to sleep till 6 a.m. once the drunkards have passed out and you'll be woken again at 7 a.m. by buses and taxis honking."

What they advertise: 'Two-minute drive. 10-minute walk'

What they mean: "Multiply whatever number we say by five."

What they advertise: 'Steps away from the beach'

What they mean: "You’re going have to hoof it 10 blocks before you even catch a glimpse of sand." If it was on the beach, the hotel website would say, in 70-point letters, “Right smack on the sand. So close to the sea you can smell the fish.”

Now we know there are plenty of reputable hotels out there that wouldn't dream of trying to mislead you when booking your corporate accommodation, we are just saying be careful and do your research. Of course if you don't have the time then you can always hand over your business accommodation bookings to a hotel booking agent like Well Placed Conference who can see through the jargon!

Sure you have many more examples, we'd love to hear them.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Hotel conference meeting rooms pricing model - Is it outdated?

At Well Placed Conference we are booking hotel conference meeting rooms every day of the week and it seems to us that the way we are being quoted by conference venues is becoming outdated.

With the economic climate these days, conferences have become shorter in duration, for less numbers and sometimes without the overnight accommodation anymore, all to save on company costs. A lot of clients these days are looking to book small, quick meetings just for a couple of hours. This maximises their time, productivity and eliminates costs..... or does it?

The traditional model for pricing small meeting room bookings is by the half day or full day as that is how hotels and conference venues have filled their diaries. Is this model outdated though as a lot of requests these days are for a conference room for 1 hour or 2 hours so why should the client pay for a half day or full day?

It seems that some hotels are agreeing with us as can be seen from the following article from

Apex City of London Hotel announces hourly rates for corporate event hire
Apex City of London Hotel is now offering corporate guests a first in flexible pricing by hiring out its Geneva Suite meeting space by the hour. The conference room at the hotel will now be available from just £80 per hour (incl. VAT and equipment hire) which Apex has introduced following extensive feedback from its guests calling for a change in the traditional event hire structure.

So should conference venues and hotels adjust their tariffs and publish hourly rates for meeting room hire as that is what the client is starting to demand. This may not help the sales figures for the venue but it may help to fill empty days in the diaries!

Clients are demanding short sharp meetings that are cost effective and are all inclusive of equipment and WIFI so come on all you hotel conference venues out there, give them what they need and start filling your diaries by the hour!