Unusual Venues in London
Written in March 2013 by Paul
Seven Green Venues For The New Year.
Written in January 2013 by Charlotte
Five (last minute) Christmas Party Ideas!
Written in November 2012 by Charlotte
Venues with a View
Written in September 2012 by RalphIf you're looking for a conference room with a view in London, then you're in luck. This graphic below shows some of the venues we work with that have brilliant views of the River Thames.
Conference Venue Guide
Written in June 2012 by Matthew
10 Essential Websites to Help Organise Your Work Life
Written on 25th April 2012 by Matthew
Staying organised at work can be very demanding with new challenges introduced everyday. In this digital age, more and more we are looking at the internet and our mobile phone to help us to do this. There is no shortage of websites and apps to make your job easier that promise to transform how you get things done. But do they all deliver.
Here I have compiled a rundown of the top 10 not so well known sites that might make a difference for you and your teams, from booking hotel rooms to venue finding and from organising menu choices to signing documents online. The one thing they all have in common is that they save you time, are simple to use and deliver what they promise.
The best room in the hotel
Room77 - www.room77.com
A great site for finding hotel rooms when travelling on business. It compares prices across multiple sites like Expedia, and Hotels.com. Nothing new here but what makes this different is that you can put in some really meaningful filters like what view the room has along with providing information on noise levels at the hotel and room sizes. They also have hotel ratings supplied by Trip Advisor. They believe that no 2 hotel rooms are created equal and have a room concierge team that identifies the best rooms for you, and requests those on your behalf.
Must write a new to do list
Workflowy – www.workflowy.com
One of my personal favourites. I have this site open all day long. If you like making to do lists then this is for you. Make a list online, you can prioritise, add notes, share actions with others and print a paper copy. The list goes on! Great for organising yourself without having to continuously rewrite your lists. An electronic time saver that you can take anywhere including using it on tablets and phones.
Meeting next Tuesday for 30 people with lunch
The Event Wall - www.theeventwall.com
Finding a venue for a meeting or conference is easy if you know where to go. If you don’t it can involve searching numerous websites for venues with the right facilities, in the right location that fit within your budget and have availability. With The Event Wall you complete the online form giving details of your event and they find venues that meet your requirements. You simply view, compare and manage the proposals online. It also has the added benefit of not sharing your contact details with the venues so no getting bombarded with loads of sales calls.
Not another hotel room
airbnb - www.airbnb.com
Fed up staying in the same old hotels when travelling on business? This site helps you find alternatives. From spare bedrooms and flats to some really unusual accommodation, you will find a wide choice offered by the website’s users with reviews from previous guests to help you decide. Locations across the globe are available and prices are a lot cheaper than traditional accommodation methods. This may not be everybody’s cup of tea but you will definitely see a new side to well-trodden places you may have visited before.
We need your food order by next week
Cenabo - www.cenabo.com
If you have ever organised a meal where guests have to choose their order from the menu before the meal you will know what a chore this can be. Emails, spreadsheets, constant changes, etc. So when I saw Cenabo I thought I would give it a go for a Christmas meal I always organise. I simply added the menu to Cenabo and sent out a link to my guests who then used the website to choose what they wanted. It saved a lot of time, was fun tracking what people were ordering and you can email the final order direct to the restaurant. You can also invite individuals direct from the site, track RSVPs and capture dietary or allergy requirements.
Take a look at this
Twiddla - www.twiddla.com
Ever been in the position when you are talking to a colleague or fiend over the phone discussing a website or document. You may be reviewing a presentation for a meeting or looking at websites for somewhere to hold it. Instead of having to describe what each of you is looking at Twiddla allows you to open a web page or presentation and invite colleagues to join you. You all then look at exactly the same view, circle things you like, write notes on screen and navigate to other pages all at the same time. Make boring conference calls a thing of the past.
Dragon Dictation - www.dragonmobileapps.com/apple/dictation.html
When someone says dictation you may think of a PA or Secretary sitting in their boss’s office taking notes. However the world of dictation has moved on and this handy app offers quite a lot. You can dictate emails, social network updates, make meeting notes and minutes, even dictate conference speeches. Heavens forbid if your boss does ask you to take some notes you could even use it for this.
Your signature please
Sign Now – www.signnow.com
Are you ever in a position when you need to sign and return a document quickly? You could use a fax machine or scanner but if you are not in the office things start to get really tricky. Even if you are in the office how often are these available when you really need one. With Sign Now you do everything online. You open a document using the website then draw, type or upload your signature. Then download your signed document and send it to the required recipient. It is also available on iphone and Android apps.
Print Friendly - www.printfriendly.com
Have you ever tried printing a webpage where instead of 1 page coming out of the printer 10 pages appear, mostly with blank space, adverts and images with the text you wanted hidden somewhere on page 7. With this website you copy the URL of the page you want and paste it into the Print Friendly website. It then creates a clean printable version for you without ads, headers and spaces. You can remove unwanted sections and images and send it to print, create a PDF or email it. A real time saver.
Time off booked but nowhere to go
Make me a holiday - www.makemeaholiday.co.uk
Well not strictly a work-based task but maybe something you do at work! If you have some time off coming up but nothing booked so far and very little time to spend searching, then this could be for you. Simply tell Make Me A Holiday about what you are looking for and they contact travel agents who send you various quotes. You get alerts when travel agents respond and you pick the one that matches your requirements. No trawling through brochures, internet sites or old school Ceefax anymore.
5 Unusual Conference Venues Outside London
Written on 30th March 2012 by Guest Ann
When planning conferences or other big events for work, it can really make a big difference to the success of the day if you choose a conference venue that is a little bit different or unusual. Of course, it depends a lot on location and where your delegates are travelling from, but here is a round-up of five unusual conference venues you may not have considered outside of London.
Apart from being one of the most famous football teams in the world, Old Trafford is also perfectly set up for hosting conferences. There are over 14 event spaces – as well as all the corporate boxes. Five of the spaces can accommodate over 300 people theatre style. Don’t forget to request a pitch side view if you particularly want one, as not all the conference spaces have one. Tours of the stadium can be worked into your timetable.
By the seaside
One of the top venues for hosting conferences in Wales is Venue Cymru. There are over 20 event spaces, the biggest being the 1,550m² arena, which can host a banquet for 1,000 or conference for 1,800 theatre style. Many of the spaces have amazing views of mountains or the sea as the venue is located on the promenade of Llandudno – an old fashioned Victorian seaside town. It is a beautiful setting and transport links to the town of Llandudno are good.
On the big screen
One of the most accessible yet unusual locations to hold conferences or events is at the cinema. Cineworld has over 79 cinemas across the UK and Ireland and every location has high tech projection facilities and 30ft screens, so that any presentation will be memorable to all who attend. Cineworld has an in-house events team to help with all the details for corporate entertainment as varied as Christmas parties, product launches and AGMs. Many of the locations also have licensed bars which are great for break out spaces and where buffets can be arranged.
Hosting your conference at one of the biggest UK theme parks is definitely a bit different. Alton Towers, in the Midlands, is set in the middle of stunning gardens and grounds and has a dedicated conference venue with numerous spaces. For example, the Towers Suite can hold up to 200 people in theatre style or 40 boardroom style. Alternatively head into the park to Cariba Creek which can be used for water-based away days for team building.
The Gallery at the Eden Project in Cornwall is a unique conference venue. The gallery has great views across the breadth of the Eden Project, and truly is a location that changes with the seasons. It can be used to host conferences, dinners, meetings or parties and the beautiful gardens and Biomes make an amazing backdrop.
Office Summer Party - Top 10 London Venues With Outdoor Spaces
Written on 12th March 2012 by Matthew
Summer days are great but summer nights are even better. You have finished work and head over to a great outdoor venue where you sip a few well cooled drinks, nibble on some tasty treats while enjoying the fresh air. Sounds great but where do you go?
Hidden around London are some really special venues with courtyards, gardens and balcony’s you can book for that special office summer party. Here is a rundown of our top 10. All are featured on The Event Wall so just make an enquiry here to get your party started.
St Ermins’s Hotel
Following a massive refurbishment this conference venue is pure luxury. The Caxton Terrace and lobby balcony is a great outdoor space overlooking the beautiful courtyard.
Set in the City of London this venue has a secluded garden that is ideal for evening entertaining. It can accommodate up to 250 guests under an impressive shaded plane tree.
The Livery Hall at this conference venue opens up onto a tranquil garden ideal for post work drinks and food.
Crowne Plaza London St James
Close to Buckingham Place this hotel has a great courtyard with landscaped gardens and a fountain containing ornamental trees and geraniums.
Royal College of Physicians
With an iconic building as its backdrop the RCP conference venue has a private medicinal garden ideal for al fresco dining. It also has a room directly off the garden for wet weather contingency.
No. 4 Hamilton Place
The Argyll Room and Terrace is an amazing space with views over Hyde Park. It has the added benefit of being west facing so you can watch the sun go down while sipping a cold drink.
The Vista at The Trafalgar is set on top of this hotel overlooking Trafalgar Square and beyond. It is now Central London’s largest rooftop bar.
The Skinners’ Hall
This hidden gem is full of character and charm with three separate outdoor areas including the unique fountain roof garden.
This grade II listed building is surrounded by a central courtyard and fountain that offers a wonderful idyllic location for evening events. There is also a Physic Garden that is situated on what was once the home of novelist Charles Dickens.
Cannon Bridge Roof Garden
A spectacular garden with breathtaking views of the Capital. Ideal for large events it can accommodate up to 500 guests and has a luxurious glass fronted marquee just in case the weather works against you.
Top 10 Conference Venue and Meeting Room Finding Tips
Written on 10th January 2012 by Matthew
Need to find a conference venue, meeting room or somewhere to hold a training session then follow these tips and they will save you time, money and a whole lot of stress.
A few minutes spent on this can save hours later on. Write down your requirements in a format that can easily be sent to conference and meeting venues or explained over the phone. On top of the basic things like dates, timings and attendee numbers your plan should include a list of delegate requirements (dietary, room access, parking, etc) and business and AV equipment needs (Wi-Fi, projector, PA, etc). You should also set a realistic budget for your conference or meeting. Look at the costs of previous company events and check the websites of a few venues for their rates to get a feel of what the costs will be. Don’t forget to add some contingency (10% is sensible).
Typically Tuesday to Thursday are conference venues busiest days so if you are flexible on dates then look at Mondays and Fridays. Availability will be better and venues will be more willing to negotiate on the price on these days.
Sharing your budget (minus any contingency) with venues may sound like a sure fire way to making sure you don’t get a good price but from our experience conference and meeting venues are particularly keen to secure what they know is a confirmed budget and are prepared to discount list prices significantly as a result (by as much as 60% in our experience). By sharing your budget you could get more for your money, gaining access to venues that would have normally come in too expensive, or realise some great savings so you come in under budget.
Selecting the right room set up for your event can have a significant impact on the venues available to you and their price as layout determines the size of the room you require. Space saving set ups like theatre style use up half the space of a room set up cabaret style. Your requirements may mean you are fixed to a specific set up, but if you do have flexibility then go for a space saving layout. This could save you a significant amount on room hire or give you a great negotiation point on day delegate rates with conference and meeting venues.
Being realistic on the number of people attending your conference or meeting can save you a lot of money. All too often people book their venue for the highest possible denominator only to have much fewer people on the day. Typical attendance figures are 10% lower than the highest possible turnouts so think about booking your venue for this number. What if more people turn up? Plan this with the venue. Tell them what you are doing and ask what impact more people will have, how they will accommodate them and how much extra you will pay for them. Venues may charge extra for additional people on the day but in most cases it will pay dividends.
Make sure you get enough proposals from conference venues to make an informed decision. Three proposals is quite often seen as enough but I would always encourage people to get at least five. Comparisons can be more easily drawn from this amount and you can use the information from the unsuccessful proposals as negotiation tools.
You have received five or more proposals now score them against the plan you made. Score each one against your requirements (5 points for an excellent fit and 1 point for poor). You are then ready to either view the best conference and meeting veneus or move straight into negotiation with the top 2 or 3.
When negotiating, don’t just think about getting money off the price, but what extras the venue can throw in. If a venue will not budge on price, ask them to include things like an upgraded lunch and refreshments, AV equipment and even event management support.
Before you sign on the line what happens if your conference or meeting is cancelled or postponed, check the venue’s cancellation policy and then think about the likelihood of this happening to your event. If there is a chance it could be postponed, ask the venue what they can do and see if they can make a concession to their policy.
If you are at all in doubt about the venue you have chosen, ask for recommendations before signing the contract. Get the venue to provide a list of clients that you can contact directly for a recommendation. On top of this, ask for comments from your contacts, post a question on LinkedIn Groups or use Twitter to find people who have used the venue’s services.
Santa Hunt Competion Winner
Written on 4th January 2012 by Matthew
Thanks to everyone who entered our Santa Hunt competition. We had loads of correct answers and the odd wrong one but Santa can be found in position Q11. There could be only one winner though and our random generator picked Anita Desilva from The Publishers Association Limited. £50 worth of M&S vouchers are on the way to Anita. Congratulations.
Look out for further competitions and offers in 2012.
To see the high resolution image of the Santa Hunt competition click here.
London Conference Venue Price Guide and Event Planner 2012
Written on 23rd October 2011 by Matthew
Is it more expensive to hold your conference in March or October? Is it cheaper to hold your meeting on a Monday or Tuesday? Put simply there are no hard and fast rules to answer these questions as it comes down to so many different factors that drive a venues availability. If a venue has had no other enquiries, no space is being held and there is nothing in the events diary for the date you are interested in then prices will be lower. If you choose to have your conference in one of London’s busy periods for events or during the peak days of the week then expect to pay more.
To help you plan your event in London conference venues I have summarised below the main factors impacting prices at venues and put together this handy 2012 London Conference Venue Price Guide and Event Planner which you can download here. The planner shows the cheaper and most expensive times or the year along with key London sporting and business events taking place in 2012.
Midweek - Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays are the busiest days of the week when most conferences and events take place so competition for space will be high.
Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Conferences – February and March along with September and October are the times when a lot of the business facing trade shows and exhibitions take place. Bedroom rates can be at a premium during these times. Meeting and small conference space can also be impacted as offshoot events and meetings linked to the trade shows take place.
The Olympics – The jury is out on this one as you will find it extremely difficult and expensive to find bedrooms during the Olympic period if your conference runs over multiple days. However with much of the capitals bedrooms already booked this has led to many conference spaces being free as businesses have moved their conference to another part of the UK or moved their dates. It will be interesting to see what happens but we may find there is plenty of availability of one day conference space during the Olympic period and some great bargains to be had. You will have to leave booking well into next year though for the best prices.
Wimbledon, Ascot and Chelsea – These are probably the three biggest ongoing London events in the calendar with visitors coming from afar and booking out bedroom space. Multiple day conferences requiring accommodation may end up paying a premium during these times.
Monday and Friday - Space at London conference and meeting venues can always be found on a Monday and Friday so pick these dates for some great bargains.
School Holidays – If you think you will be able to get a high turnout for your London conference or meeting during a school holiday then some fantastic savings can be made. August is one of the quietest times of the year for venues and although logistically it will be hard to get everyone to attend it will be well worthwhile.
Bank Holidays – I am not saying that you should book your event on a bank holiday but using the days either side of bank holidays can save you money.
Download the London Conference Venues Event Planner and Price Guide here:
Thanks to Michael Brodie from Grange Hotels for his input into this.
London Conference Venues Continue to Offer Great Discounts in 2011
Written on 23rd August 2011
We completed some research last week looking at day delegate rates at London venues in the first half of 2011 and the results were very interesting. The state of the economy continues to put pressure on venue rates across the capital with some great savings to be found (as high as 63%) if you shop around.
The research studied 500 proposals received using our online proposal system from a cross range of venues. We looked at the average savings on day delegate rates that users of The Event Wall were getting along with venues average published rates versus their average offered rates.
Across all venue types discounts of up to 63% were offered with an average reduction of 25%. 75% of proposals were discounted below the venues published rates. The average published day delegate rate was £72 with the average offered rate standing at £54. The highest published DDR we received was £120 compared to the lowest offered rate of just £25.
Hotels had the highest average published rates at £78 but were massively discounting their rates by an average 29% to bring their average offered rate to just £54. Hotels appeared to be discounting heavily to compete with conference centres and meeting venues, so even if you are on a tight budget don't go ignoring hotels for your next London conference.
Unusual venues offered the biggest average saving of 31%. They had the lowest average published (£65) and offered (£46) rates making them a great place to hold your conference or meeting if you are looking for something a bit different and are on a tight budget.
London conference venues offered average saving of 21%. Average published rates were £67 with an average offered rate of £54 and the lowest offered rate at just £30. They continue to be great places to hold your conference but if it is pure savings you are after then you may want to look elsewhere.
Historic venues average published rate was £68 and they had an average offered rate of £58. They were offering the smallest discounts (14%) on their published rates and were generally the most expensive place to hold your conference. However, great deals of up to 50% off could still be found in these venues.
Average published rates were £69 for these venues and they had an average offered rate of £54. Discounts of 20% were generally offered but went as high as 56%. Day delegate rates went as low as £25 showing they are great value places to hold you meeting.
Note: All rates quoted exclude VAT
London Conference Venues Summer Deals
Written on 5th August 2011
It’s not too late to cash in on some great deals at a number of London conference venues. The pick of the bunch are below.
A - The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
Save 10% off their day delegate packages in October and November. DDR rates from £53.45 including VAT. http://www.graysinn.info/
B to D - CCT venues
They are offering fantastic summer rates across three venues in the City and Docklands. £35 DDR at their City venues and £55 DDR at Canary Wharf. http://www.cctvenues.co.uk/
E - Charing Cross Hotel
Offering special day delegate packages from £45 including VAT until 6th September. http://www.guoman.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/charing_cross/
F - Chelsea Football Club
They are offering an amazing closed season rate of £39.5 until the end of August. http://bluewing.chelseafc.com/
G - The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
Book your event to take place in September 2011 and receive substantial discounts in the Great Hall. http://www.lincolnsinn.org.uk/
H - Novotel London St Pancras
Offering DDR of £45.83 + VAT for events until the 11st September. http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-5309-novotel-london-st-pancras/index.shtml
I - One Queen Anne's Gate
50% off room hire until 2nd September. http://www.oneqag.co.uk/
J - British Library
Book an event in August or September and get treated to a complimentary Indian summer drinks reception. http://www.bl.uk/conferencecentre/index.html
K - Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel
Offering summer DDR of £40 including VAT. http://www.radissonedwardian.com/london-hotel-gb-wc1b-3qd/gbmarlbo
L - Thistle Marble Arch
They have extended their summer promotion to the 2nd September offering a DDR of £40 including VAT. http://www.thistle.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/thistle_marble_arch/
Please note that terms and conditions apply to these offers. See their websites for details.
Booking a conference in London during the Olympics, you must be mad!
Written on 27th June 2011 by Matthew
With the Olympics now featuring heavily in the news and more specifically the ticketing ‘fiasco’ (I applied for 10 tickets and got none) it has focused our attention on the impacts the Olympics will have on London conference venues over the 2012 summer months. We have already started to get enquiries in for this time period so how will the Olympics influence availability and prices.
So what is the view of some of the major hotel chains? I canvassed a few and they said that year on year bookings made for 2012 were pointing to a reduced level of conference business either side of the games. This they believe is due to companies moving their events outside of London or changing the dates so they are earlier or later in the year.
Our experiences so far tend to agree with these views with availability for small 1 day conferences being good. However larger conferences requiring accommodation appear to be hard to find venues for. With many venues allocating their bedrooms to LOCOG, bedroom rates are towards the top end of venues rack rates. This is having a knock on effect to delegate rates as London conference venues with significant accommodation available are in short supply.
So if you usually have a conference in the capital during the summer should you be thinking about moving it to another city, changing the date or cancelling it altogether?
If you need accommodation for your conference and you wish to stay in London you need to book it now. Prices are looking high for these events due to the shortage of bedrooms so you may want to consider looking outside of the capital or changing the date.
If it is a one day event with no accommodation there does appear to be plenty of availability. You may well be paying towards the top end for delegate rates if booked now however it will be interesting to see what happens to delegates rates next year. We could see a lot of venues with accommodation that is fully booked but with empty conference facilities leading to a drop in prices. So my advice would be stay in London but delay booking anything just yet and wait until later in the year as this could save you some significant money.
New 'Venue Search' Functionality Coming Soon
Written on 20th April 2011 by Matthew
We have been gathering feedback on The Event Wall website recently and asking "what could be better." One of the main suggestions put forward has been the ability to search for London conference venues using a map. After weeks of development this new functionality is nearly ready to be launched so I thought I would give you a preview.
You will be able to search for venues based on location, capacity and venue style and see the results on a map. Hovering over the venues brings up further information along with a button to add the venue to a list, much like a shopping basket. You can then get proposals directly from these venues which you will be able to view and manage online. We are really pleased with how it is looking so far and welcome your feedback. It will be the first full map based venue search facility available and make searching for conference and meeting venues that little bit easier.
London Meeting and Conference Venues with Imagination
Written on 7th April 2011 by Matthew
Watching the Imagination Movers on the Disney Channel with one of my children made me think what a great meeting venue it would make. For those of you who have not seen the show (and I must make it clear that I don’t watch it by choice) it is based on 4 guys who solve problems for people and operate out of a big warehouse. Lots of brainstorming and solving of ‘idea emergencies’.
The flexible space of the warehouse and its playful nature makes it ideal for creative thinking. But where in London can you fine spaces like these? Below are 5 great London conference venues that fit the Imagination Movers philosophy and will enable you to come up with the next big thing.
Cool and Contemporary
Wallacespace – With 2 venues in Central London they have an open-house feel and take a new look at what they call tired, overpriced and inflexible London conference venues. They offer creative space with a friendly feel, lots of natural daylight and windows that open (unusual), excellent acoustics and cool, contemporary furniture. http://www.wallacespace.com/
The Future is Bright
The Future Gallery - A brand new, hugely versatile, events space set in the heart of the West End. It is a superb white canvas and ideal that big idea. One thing I really like is the LED lighting system which can give instantly changing colours for different moods. http://www.futuregallery.co.uk/
Altitude 360° - Ultra modern location ideal for London conferences and meetings. It is one large space but with the use of electronic walls the venue can be split into smaller spaces and meeting rooms. As the name would suggest this venue has amazing panoramic views over London. The only risk is that people spend their time gazing out of the windows too much. www.altitudelondon.com
The Window Venue Hire – Not just a window but a great imagination venue which encourages creative thinking and open dialogue. Its panoramic view of the London skyline and trade mark 12ft window make this an impressive backdrop for corporate presentations. http://www.thewindow.org.uk/
One for the Curious
Wellcome Collection - The Conference Centre is a private area within Wellcome Collection, the destination for the ’incurably curious’. Where else could you find an ancient mummy, Napoleon's toothbrush, Darwin's walking stick, a DNA sequencing robot and a Marc Quinn sculpture under one roof? With displays like this it is sure to provide that added inspiration. www.wellcomecollectionconference.org
'Back of a Fag Packet' Venue Finding
Written on 24th March 2011 by Matthew
When I first started sourcing London conference and meeting venues a number of years ago, I would start by contacting a few of them with my ‘back of a fag packet’ requirements. My failure to fully plan what I needed was soon unravelled with questions posed by venues that I did not know the answers to. I would end up spending a lot more time than I needed to trying to answer the questions and getting back to the venues.
Hence I quickly learnt to put together a full plan of my needs before I did anything else. By doing some simple planning it made venue finding significantly easier.
So treat finding a venue for your conference or meeting like any other project you do. Do a plan, document it and stick to it and you will end up saving time, money and stress.
To help you do this I have attached a 5 step conference and meeting planning guide which can be printed and used as a basis for your venue hunting. However in looking at the guide it made me think about the most common things people forget when making a venue enquiry on The Event Wall. So here are my top 5:
1 - Room layout
Saying you are flexible on layout never turns out to be the case. If you really are flexible go for theatre style but otherwise think through exactly what you need during the day and be clear on the set up from the start as this will impact the size of room you require.
2 - Break out rooms
If break out rooms are required for your London conference how many do you need, what capacity do you need for each one and what room set up style.
3 - Accommodation
100 people for 1 night stay does not actually tell you how many bedrooms are needed. Are the bedrooms single occupancy or shared. This can have a massive impact on the venues available to you.
4 - Timings
People often know the timings that their conference or meeting will run but neglect the set up and break down time they need. Make sure you include these in your plan and pass this onto the venue.
5 - Budget
It is really important to have an outline budget for your London conference. In the plan list down everything that will incur cost and put a number to it. It does not need to be massively accurate but having a starting point will ensure you receive proposals from the right type of London conference venues.
Unusual London Conference Venues and Meeting Rooms
Written on 10th March 2011 by Matthew
It’s good to be different (or at least sometimes). This week I thought I would take a look at a few of the unusual London conference venues available to hire. Hotels and conference centres fit the bill a lot of the time but when you need to impress or bring a different feel to your conference or meeting why not try one of these.
A - Casualty
The Royal College of Surgeons – The College traces its roots back to the days when surgeons were barber-surgeons with no medical degree. You too don’t need to be a doctor to use its facilities and is ideal for conferences, meetings and banquets. http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/conference-venue-hire
B – Test Tubes
The Royal Society - The Royal Society has hosted and organised some of the most important conferences in the scientific world. Prince William is a Royal Fellow and you may even bump into Brian Cox. http://royalsociety.org/Venue-hire/
C - All Rise
Browns Courtrooms - The stylish and historical Courtrooms occupy the former Westminster County Courts in Covent Garden. You can hold your London conference in one of two courts and even the old Judge’s Study for more intimate meetings.
D - Private Members
St Stephen’s Club - One of London's most authentic private clubs with roots stretching back 130 years. Members have included Harold Macmillan and Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron used the club to make the historic ‘big offer’ to the Liberal Democrats to form the present coalition government. http://www.ststephensclub.co.uk/
E - On The Buses
London Transport Museum – Offers a selection of vibrant and modern spaces in which to host any function or event. Not just for bus enthusiasts but also hosts trams, trains and even taxis. http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/about-us/our-services/venue-hire
F - Top Gun
The Royal Air Force Club - You don’t need to be a member of Fleet Air Arm to hold a function at the club but it gets you discounts if you are. It can accommodate up to 200 people and has two new additional conference rooms. http://www.rafclub.org.uk/home/conference-banqueting
G - You'll like this...not a lot
The Magic Circle Headquarters - The Magic Circle is a private club where the finest magicians from all over the world meet regularly to invent illusions, share secrets and master their magic. And of course both Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee are members. http://www.magiccirclevenue.co.uk/
H - Travel The World
National Geographic Store - The store has dedicated spaces for private events and exhibitions. During your refreshment breaks you can kit yourself out with explorer gear ready for your journey home. http://www.nglondonstore.co.uk/exhibits/events/index.html
I - Arty-Farty
London Art House – They have 18 unique spaces which have been amazingly decorated with things like special paint effects, gold leafing and marbling. Great for stimulating your delegates and providing a relaxing atmosphere. http://www.londonarthouse.com/
J - Back to School
Beaconsfield - A former Victorian Ragged (free) School, it has now been transformed into a contemporary art gallery. Shorts and knee high socks are now optional. http://beaconsfield.ltd.uk/venue/
10 of The Best Cheap Meeting Rooms and Conference Venues in London
Written on 3rd March 2011 by Matthew
With even more pressure being put on venue budgets I thought I would take a look at some of the best London conference venues that won’t break the bank. Cheap may be the wrong term but they definitely fall into great value. Offering combinations of room hire and day delegate packages these venues consistently offer great prices to suit all types of occasion.
1 - Park Crescent Conference Centre – Overlooks Regents Park and is a short walk from Euston and Kings Cross. Great for conferences, meetings and training. It is bright with modern facilities and can accommodate up to 300 delegates. Day delegate packages start at under £40. Bargain. www.pccc.co.uk
2 - Congress Centre – This venue has recently been refurbished and is located in the heart of the West End. It has a contemporary interior and some quite hi-tech equipment including coloured LED lighting. It can host events up to 500 people theatre style and is definitely worth taking a look. www.congresscentre.co.uk
3 - Blakemore Hyde Park – The only hotel in my list, Blakemore consistently offers great value and a willingness to work with client’s budgets. They can cater for up to 100 guests with DDR rates from £52 with great deals on meeting room hire. If you need accommodation then this venue maybe for you. www.starcrown.com/blakemore/default-en.html
4 - Broadway House – One of 4 venues owned by EEF Venues, Broadway house is situated in Westminster. It a very popular choice for ministerial meetings and press conferences so if you want to join the parliament set for the day this is a good option. It has 12 rooms available to hire with a capacity of 110 delegates. Great for meeting room hire. http://www.eefvenues.co.uk/conference-venues/london/default.aspx
5 - Bloomsbury House - Bloomsbury House was originally built to house the College of Preceptors (they were a Victorian society of schoolmasters, sounds strict). The building was renovated in 2007 and houses 6 meeting spaces for up to 120 delegates. They offer room hire with on-site caterers providing the food and refreshments. www.bloomsburyhouse.com
6 - Hubworking– They have 3 centres in London and offer meeting rooms for up to 50 people for £100 an hour (£2 each, what a bargain). Catering costs are also very reasonable. The rooms have a modern simple look to them. www.hubworking.net
7 - Intuition Computer Training Ltd - Located near London Bridge Railway station in Borough they offer very competitive rates from £45 per person. They are brilliantly placed if you require an IT training venue. www.intuition.co.uk/
8 - Progressive Training and Development - Small training room hire company based in Southwark. Rooms are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Not many can say that. Ideal for IT training or just a meeting. The venue has a great roof terrace with views over London. www.ittrainingroom.co.uk/
9 -The Royal Over-Seas League – Has 7function rooms accommodating 2 -200 people with views over Green Park. The Royal Over-Seas League is a club with 18,000 members worldwide. The Clubhouse has 7 meeting and function rooms that can be hired at great rates. http://www.rosl.org.uk/rosl/pages/rosl.php
10 - Really Useful Theatres – This is a great option if you have a large conference or meeting to organise. They solely own and manage 6 West End theatres and have spaces for 10 people to 2,000+. They are normally available for weekday daytime hire including Sundays. http://www.reallyuseful.com/theatres/venue-hire
Top 5 Money Saving Tips to Maximise Your Conference or Meeting Venue Budget
Written on 23rd February 2011 by Matthew
Sourcing a London conference venue seems straightforward enough, but how can you make sure you get the best deals and maximise your budget? Below are 5 tips to help you save cash and get more for your money.
1 - Select cheaper days of the week
Typically Tuesday to Thursday are venues busiest days so if you are flexible on dates then look at Mondays and Fridays. Availability will be better and venues will be more willing to negotiate on the price on these days.
2 - Save space, save money
Selecting the right room set up for your event can have a significant impact on the venues available to you and their price as layout determines the size of the room you require. Space saving set ups like theatre style use up to half the space of a room set up cabaret style. Your requirements may mean you are fixed to a specific set up, but if you do have flexibility then go for a space saving layout. This could save you a significant amount on room hire or give you a great negotiation point on day delegate rates.
3 - Be realistic on who is coming
Being realistic on the number of people attending your event can save you a lot of money. All too often people book their venue for the highest possible denominator only to have much fewer people on the day. Typical attendance figures are 10% lower than the highest possible turnouts so think about booking your venue for this number. What if more people turn up? Plan this with the venue. Tell them what you are doing and ask what impact more people will have, how they will accommodate them and how much extra you will pay for them. Venues may charge extra costs for additional people on the day but in most cases it will pay dividends.
4 - Get enough proposals
Make sure you get enough proposals to make an informed decision. Three proposals is quite often seen as enough but I would always encourage people to get at least five. Comparisons can be more easily drawn from this amount and you can use the information from the unsuccessful proposals as negotiation tools.
5 - Think about more than just money off
When negotiating, don’t just think about getting money off the price, but what extras the venue can throw in. If a venue will not budge on price, ask them to include things like an upgraded lunch and refreshments, AV equipment and even event management support.
Top 5 Large London Conference Venues
Written on 16th February 2011 by Matthew
Watching the Brit Awards 2011 last night at its new home of the O2 Arena made me think about some of the truly large conference and meeting venues that are available in London. So here is a rundown of the top 5.
Coming in first place with a conference capacity of over 20,000 is ExCeL London. Billing itself as the largest and most versatile space in London it has a dedicated conference suite that can host up to 1100 delegates along with 45 meeting rooms. So not just a venue when you have a massive event but a venue for any event. http://www.excel-london.co.uk/
Next is last night’s venue used for the Brits, the O2 Arena. On top of the main arena space that can host up to 20,000 delegates it has 3 additional spaces that can be hired seating up to 100 theatre style or 600 for a reception. To give some idea of the scale of the venue it claims to be equal in size to 13 Royal Albert Halls. http://www.theo2.co.uk/
Alexandra Palace comes in 3rd position with space for 7,250 delegates. Steeped in history this venue has two large halls, a four room suite and a restaurant. If you want a large venue with some great outdoor space this is the one for you with unspoilt parkland for activities and even a boating lake. http://www.alexandrapalace.com/
The Royal Albert Hall with conference space for over 5,000 comes in 4th position. On top of the main hall it also has a number of additional spaces which can host up to 300 people for sit down events including a gallery and even the Royal Retiring Room (yes it is used by the Queen when she visits) http://www.royalalberthall.com/
Last of the top 5 is Battersea Evolution which claims to have space for 3,500 delegates. I found the 5th spot in this list quite hard to track down as there are a lot of London conference venues with capacities around this amount so I hope I have this right (Hammersmith Apollo has 3,417). Situated in the centre of Battersea Park Evolution has flexible spaces to hire out and is most commonly used as a party venue. http://www.batterseaevolution.co.uk/
If you are looking for large hotel conference venues the two of the biggest are the Hilton London Metropole with capacity for 1,600 and the Sofitel London Heathrow with capacity for 1,700. http://www.hilton.co.uk/londonmet / http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-6214-sofitel-london-heathrow/index.shtml
Is it sensible to share your conference or meeting venue budget?
Written on 9th February 2011 by Matthew
You need some building work done on your house and you get some builders round to give quotes. When asked what your budget is do you tell them? Some will but the more wary of us will just be thinking they will be marking up their work to fill our budget, even if the work is not worth that.
It's Good to Share
So is sharing your conference venue budget any different. Do venues just mark up their prices to maximise their revenues. Well from our experience this is not the case. Venues are particularly keen to secure what they know is a confirmed budget and are prepared to discount list prices significantly as a result (sometimes by as much as 65%).
Conference venue and meeting room enquiries without budgets are seen by venues as very prospective. Some will not bother putting in a proposal at all, others will give their standard list prices as there is no way of them telling if what they are proposing falls within the clients requirements. A confirmed budget on the other hand is worth putting in a proposal for and discounting their prices early on in the process will make sure their venue gets noticed.
All London conference venues have limits on what they can reduce their list prices by. Giving a healthy discount up front instead of going in high and hoping the client will come back to them and negotiate is definitely the trend. There may be less or no room for negotiation at the end but you will have realised savings much earlier on in the process. You will be surprised to see how many venues normally outside of your budget try to win your business.
So by being open on your budget you will either end up getting more for your money, gaining access to venues that would have normally come in too expensive or realising some great savings so you come in under budget.
A final note is on budget contingency. It is always sensible to hold a bit of your budget back for those unknown costs that always seem to appear when you have a conference or meeting. If you do have a contingency then make sure you remove this from the budget you disclose to venues. Hold this in reserve until you need it.