Towergate Partnership in Harrogate

The insurance company chose Harrogate International Centre and the National Railway Museum for an annual conference

Pre-event planning: Broker Network and Countrywide, business networks owned by insurance company Towergate Partnership, organise an annual conference for key insurers. As well as a series of high-level speaker presentations, the event has to give delegates ample opportunity to network. Broker Network's events manager Nikki Lee says she chose Harrogate International Centre (HIC) because "it provided the wow factor to make the event memorable". HIC was chosen for both the conference and the first evening's entertainment, when the Royal Hall was turned into a casino. All the seats were removed from the lower level.

Challenges: The main challenge was the weather, as the event took place at the peak of the pre-Christmas snow. Luckily, delegate turnout remained high and only a few tweaks were required, including changing an outdoors golf activity at Rudding Park to an indoor wine-tasting.

Solution: Registration and an exhibition began at 11am on the first day, with a welcome address to delegates scheduled after lunch. That evening, a drinks reception and casino night was held in the Royal Hall to give delegates the chance to talk. The second day's conference programme finished at lunchtime. That afternoon, delegates were offered the choice of afternoon tea at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, wine-tasting at Rudding Park, drinks and a light lunch at Hotel du Vin and activities at the historic Ripley Castle, including hovercraft flying, clay pigeon shooting and dune buggy racing. Delegates were then transported by coach to the National Railway Museum in York for a glamorous gala dinner. HIC's in-house caterers, Kudos Hospitality, provided finger buffet lunches throughout the conference, with canapes and bowl food on offer during the casino night.

Post-event analysis: "Alongside all the practical considerations such as the ample parking and hotel accommodation, HIC allowed us to put on a real show, with knowledgeable support from the technicians and crew backstage," says Lee. "The grand auditorium and the signature sweeping walkways meant we were able to make a big impression on customers. We look forward to returning."

FACTFILE
Company: Towergate Partnership
Event: Beyond the Horizon 2010
Group size: 550
Agency: In-house
Date: 30 November - 1 December
Venue: Harrogate International Centre (HIC), National Railway Museum

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