Asda at Doncaster Racecourse

Asda convened at the refurbished Doncaster Raceourse for a meeting and team-building motivation day

Asda was seeking to arrange a daytime conference and motivational team-building event for 250 staff and chilled-food suppliers in March 2008. This was to be followed by a more relaxed evening gala dinner for 600 delegates with a Hawaiian theme, including entertainment from an Elvis impersonator, a beach area and a dedicated Hawaiian menu.

It was a short-notice event with just a five-week lead-time, and it required a venue with a combination of parking, capacity and flexibility to accommodate the various strands. Doncaster Racecourse had reopened in September 2007 after a £34m refurbishment and this was a real test of the new facilities.

C&IT caught up with Mike Marshall, director of agency MM Events, which organised the Asda conference, to find out how things went on the day.

Why Doncaster Racecourse? Asda wanted a business-focused day and a fun evening. We set about looking for a venue within an hour of Leeds with the capacity to host the numbers and offer sufficient parking. Having searched around, We decided Doncaster Racecourse was a fresh and new venue.

What were the key challenges? Asda was looking to convey a one-team approach, based on good working relationships. It wanted to outline plans for the year during the day, then use the evening to cement relationships and raise money for two charities. The event had to achieve both aims.

How did the venue respond?
The venue was very reactive to our requests and staff seemed to be very committed to making the event a success. With things clearly well under control on the night, my role was made very straightforward and I could enjoy the event.

Any highlights? The food, a four-course dinner menu of jerk-spiced prawns, lemon-chilli chicken and pineapple in rum, plus cheese, was excellent and the service on the night very professional. They kept to the strict timings for the smooth running of the evening event.

What feedback did you get?
The client said that it was a very successful working conference with some of its major suppliers. The evening was a fabulous gala dinner and, in the end, some £100,000 was raised for two charities - a great result.

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