Pre event planning: Dawson Food Service Equipment, which is based in Barnsley, held its 2012 annual conference at the Jurys Inn Nottingham. The event was designed to unite company members with customers and suppliers to discuss business developments. Prior to the event, credit controller and conference organiser Helen Holden sent several speculative emails to venues located in the Midlands. She says: "We needed a venue which was centrally located, as many of our delegates travel from all across the country. We also needed somewhere with plenty of space and good transport services."
Jurys Inn was chosen because of its large event space capacity and its ability to accommodate the 70 overnight guests.
Challenges: According to Holden, choosing a venue can be difficult, particularly when you need hotel rooms for delegates. "We needed 20 rooms on the Friday night for early arrivals and 70 on Saturday night," she explains. "The Jurys Inn doesn't check guests in until 2pm and there was no parking, which could have been a problem, but fortunately the hotel services were extremely accommodating."
Solution: Staff ensured that all guests were checked in before the conference began at 9.30am and kept luggage safe throughout the day. In addition they organised secure, overnight parking at the neighbouring Virgin Gym for a small fee. During the morning, suppliers and customers gave speeches, which were followed by an afternoon of discussions, quizzes, an evening dinner and a staff party. The hotel offered a choice of three menus and closed down the restaurant to make room for a band and disco. "They even put up blackout curtains around us so that we could have more privacy," says Holden.
Post event analysis: Overall the response from delegates was extremely positive. Holden, who hosted a post-conference office meeting for feedback, says there that was no criticism of the venue or the meeting's agenda. "We've seen a big boost in staff morale since the event. Working relationships have improved and it has also improved communication between customers and suppliers."FACTFILE
Company: Dawson Food Service Equipment
Event: Dawson Food Service Equipment Annual Conference
Group size: 70
Date: Saturday 17 March 2012
Venue: Jurys Inn Nottingham