Heather’s adventures …
I am always thrilled to receive invites to familiarisation trips and educational visits. Why? Because with every hotel or conference centre that I see and every contact I make, the easier it is to propose options to clients, knowing fully that it provides a great option for their event. It adds confidence if the client knows one of the team has seen a venue or has great insight into it as they are more likely to trust our judgement – and it is all about trust! If I am passionate about a venue then I truly believe that will show, which is why I am always keen to keep exploring on different adventures – two of my most recent trips are below!
Becoming a spy – Telford International Centre
Since starting with the company over 2 years ago, no educational visit has been quite this exciting as it was a complete mystery! We received a shiny white invitation in the office and it immediately created a buzz because it was anonymous! The cryptic invite read “We need your secret agents to help us find the missing event crystal,” and disclosed no location or clues.
A car picked me up from the office and waiting for me on the back seat was a safe and a riddle. I was told by the driver to solve the riddle to receive the code inside the safe in order to have access to the venue. With help from the fab superhero team in the office, the safe was opened and the access code was now mine! The car continued to drive up the M5 towards Birmingham and my mind was full of possibilities. I did not expect to arrive at Telford International Centre (or into Telford International Centre I should say, as the car whizzed up a slope into an exhibition hall full of James Bond look-a-likes). What a way to first see exhibition space at a venue!
The spy-themed activity continued throughout the day, as each team of agents was given a briefcase full of clues and tasks and we had to make our way from room to room, cracking codes along the way to gain access until we reached the final destination – the event crystal! A truly innovative way for a venue to get a group of agents to see every single bit of event space in a way they will never forget. The evening continued with a spectacular dinner; 6 courses matched with wine and cocktails, and elements of ‘blindfold tastings’ to keep the mystery alive. The food was truly incredible, as was the way the team transformed the space from great conference facilities into a lovely dinner setting. From attending this event, I truly believe this venue would be a great option for clients – the teams creativity was incredible!
M&IT Agency Challenge – Celtic Manor Resort
It’s not always the spy life for me! I also attended the M&IT Agency Challenge at Celtic Manor Resort this month. A great event full of venues from across the world (from the UK to Dubai, Amsterdam, Portugal, Canada), the event provided a fantastic opportunity to increase my knowledge and make valuable contacts. The event was extremely informative, with presentations from 31 venues and destination management organisations and the opportunity for speed dating meetings to increase knowledge and discuss working together.
The event also had a great balance of hard work and networking with fun! Over the two days, all attendees were split into teams that competed to win points and prizes along the way. This was a great way to get to build new relationships, but also showcased the activities and capabilities of Celtic Manor as venue. We took part in archery and laser clay pigeon shooting, both of which are hosted on-site; and completed an ‘It’s a Knockout’ challenge, as well as creating a film that was required to be based on one of the venues we had learnt about throughout our stay.
This was a great experience, full of fun and extremely educational. I hope to use my new-found knowledge from my adventures to help our clients find the best venues for their event enquiries!