The Brief: East Yorkshire-based firm Fenner, which specialises in manufacturing conveyor belts for everything from food factories to diamond mines, hosts a management conference in the UK each year. Around 50 of the company's high-flyers are invited and travel from all over the world to attend the event. A series of meetings take place over a four-day period, alongside a main conference, team-building event and a gala dinner on the final evening.
Challenges: Fenner gathers its managing directors from various companies from within the group for the conference, so the event comprises a variety of meetings and networking opportunities that run simultaneously. Prior to the refurbishment of the Chester Grosvenor's banqueting facilities, breaking down the space to allow for these events of a different size and nature would have been problematic.
Solution: The new layout at the venue provided some of the answers, according to Paul Cookson, event director at the Chester Grosvenor. "The logistics, at first glance, looked very confusing because of the various meeting spaces Fenner needed, but the renovated Westminster Suite and our new executive board room - the Eaton Suite - make it much simpler. The space can be subdivided into a total of six individual meeting rooms in a matter of minutes and Fenner used all of those spaces, hosting different types of meetings for different numbers in the mornings and afternoon."
Execution: The first meetings started on the Monday. "We held divisional, executive and board meetings throughout the week with a special dinner in the Arkle restaurant on Tuesday night," says Fenner event organiser and PA to the chief executive Christine Dove. "The main conference took place on Wednesday afternoon, while on Thursday, we had a motivational speaker and ran management games from the afternoon into the evening.
"This year, a company called Team Spirit got the delegates building racing cars but they were only given some of the materials and they had to go chasing around Chester to bargain with the shops to get the extra parts they needed. In the evening, the room was set up with a race track board game, with tables in black and white like a chequered flag. It was very well done," adds Dove.
Verdict: Fenner will be returning to the Chester Grosvenor again in November, for the third consecutive year. Cookson concludes: "The event has never been hosted in any other venue more than once, so this shows that the client trusts in us and likes the product."
Dove, who has been organising the event for 14 years, concurs. "In all those years, only two or three venues stick in my mind and the Chester Grosvenor is top of the list," she explains. "The hotel is not part of a chain and I think that makes a difference. The facilities are superb, the rooms are just wonderful, as are the staff. I would recommend it to anyone."
Group size: 50
Agency: Venue's in-house team
Date: 30 October - 1 November 2007
Venue: The Chester Grosvenor & Spa