The Clubhouse opens new flagship site

The Clubhouse, London’s leading business club and meeting space has opened a new flagship site on St. James’s Square, one of London’s most prestigious garden squares and one of the Capital’s most prominent businesses addresses.

The brand new building at 8 St James’s Square was designed by renowned architect Eric Parry and sits on a site that was once home to Josiah Wedgwood, founder of Wedgwood Pottery. With an interior designed to a high specification the space redefines the concept of flexible working and boasts a stylish members’ club feel. The new Clubhouse has been designed around the needs of its members and offers a unique, sophisticated and flexible meeting and work space tailored to the needs of today’s entrepreneurs and growing businesses.

Home to businesses of all shapes and sizes and across all industry sectors, The Clubhouse offers a range of individually designed meeting rooms, hot desks, lounge areas, dedicated desks, flexible meeting areas, a Club deli, event spaces and conference facilities for up to 80 delegates. In addition, The Clubhouse has launched its first innovation hub with a fully interactive video wall in partnership with MultiTaction.

For more information or to enquire about your next event click here.

Get on your bike at 110 Rochester Row

110 Rochester Row has teamed up with the magnificent Virgin bikes to make sure you get to your event on time.

Dodge the traffic, slip on some leathers and a helmet and ride like the wind all the way to the flexible meeting space. It really is that simple, when you book a suite in September 2016 at 110 Rochester Row.

Just contact the team and let them know where you need picking up from within London and the motorbike will be dispatched.

To find out more or to make a booking please visit www.110rochesterrow.co.uk or call the team on 0207 828 2888.

And the winner is…

Awards season is now in full swing throughout the industry and our member venues have been getting in on the action.

Congratulations to member, RIBA Venues which was voted the Best UK Conference Venue for 300 to 900 delegates at the Conference Awards 2016, which recognise and reward excellence in the UK events industry.   The judges picked RIBA Venues, with its conference facilities and auditorium for up to 400 delegates, due to the impressive approach and strong commitment to customer service and flexible food concepts.

The QEII Centre was also recognised at the Conference Awards 2016, receiving a mark of excellence in the Best Conference Venue Customer Service Over 600 Delegates category.

Cavendish Conference Centre achieved finalist status in the Best Conference Venue Customer Service Up to 600 Delegates category and One Great George Street were also named as finalists in the Best Conference Venue Up to 300 Delegates category.

In other awards news, we’re proud to have members Denis Hickey of Cavendish Venues, Stuart Drummond and Steven Mann of the QEII Centre and Stephanie Gadd of Victory Services Club shortlisted for a prestigious miaList award.

Run by The Meetings Industry Association the miaList celebrates individuals from the meetings, hospitality and events industry who go above and beyond the call of duty. We wish them the best of luck for the lunch on Friday, 16 September when the winners will be announced.

Welcome Regent’s Conferences & Events

The Westminster Collection is proud to introduce our newest member venue Regent’s Conferences & Events.

Just a few short minutes from Baker Street Station and located within 11 acres of private grounds in Regent’s Park, the venue offers capacities of up to 370 for conferences as well as vast opportunities for outdoor events such as team building or barbeques.

Chairman of the collection Robin Parker commented on the new member venue: “We are delighted to welcome Regent’s Conferences & Events to our collection and look forward to involving them in all our activities. We are in the middle of a really exciting period for the collection and it is the perfect time for our new member to immerse themselves in everything we have coming up. To welcome a venue with such impressive outdoor space is fantastic and I know they will be a real asset to the collection.”

If you are reading this on behalf of a Westminster venue and are interested in becoming part of the collection please contact robin.parker@churchhouseconf.co.uk

Church House unveils new identity

From February 29th, Church House Conference Centre will be known as Church House Westminster.

The rebrand forms part of a strategic plan as the venue looks to the future and its continued investment, in particular in the technical facilities of its larger rooms.

Church House Westminster worked with design agency Deep on the rebrand which includes a new logo, a redesign of all marketing materials and the launch of a new website. With a logo inspired by their domed Assembly Hall and black and gold colour scheme, Church House Westminster new branding reflects the quality of the venue.

General Manager Robin Parker commented: “The rebrand is a milestone in the venue’s history. It highlights that we are no longer just a conference centre but a venue that can host a variety of events, from product launches and exhibitions to national consumer events and large award dinners. We wanted our new name to reflect not only this but also our location in the heart of London.

“Since opening in 1991 Church House has established itself as one of the highest quality venues in London known for its exceptional levels of service and friendly staff. Church House may have a new name but we will still be providing our clients and their guests with the same high levels of service that they have come to expect of us over the last 26 years.”

Church House Westminster is an AIM Gold accredited venue, and a frequent winner of the BDRC Gold Standard, placing it amongst a select group to achieve both awards. It has also been recognised for its audio visual capabilities, in which further significant investment is being planned for later in the year.

Church House Westminster is one of London’s most versatile event venues offering 19 flexible event spaces, which accommodate between 2 and 664 guests hosting a wide variety of events including meetings, conferences, awards ceremonies, gala dinners and receptions. For more information call 020 7390 1590 or visit www.churchhouseconf.co.uk.

New suppliers, new venues as The Westminster Collection prepares for its 2015 events programme

The Westminster Collection (TWC), London’s venue marketing consortium, is delighted to welcome a selection of new venues and suppliers to membership.

Accomplished event photographer Karolina Krasuska specialises in music, event and editorial photography and has over 10 years’ experience in the field, with established long-term relationships with clients that include Toni & Guy, Pernod Ricard UK and IFC. Renowned for her contemporary, edgy style and ability to capture the energy of an event, she has covered London Fashion Week for seven years and she also worked with TWC at its Destination Westminster venue showcase in October 2014, which was held at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly.

Mobile bar specialist The Bar Bazaar provides high quality event bars, reception desks, food service stations and all manner of stylish event bar solutions to venues and clients including The Brit Awards, the V&A and Jimmy Choo. The bars are custom built offering bespoke finishes and layouts and they can be branded thanks to the company’s exceptional in-house production facilities.

The Event Hire Company provides exclusive furniture, kitchen equipment and accessories for hire to both the private and public sectors and has experience of a wide variety of events, including corporate hospitality, weddings, exhibitions and conferences. The team is expert in providing a wealth of knowledge and seamless pre- to post-event service to a client portfolio that includes Team GB, The City of London, John Lewis, BBC and ITV. The Event Hire Company was also a supplier to Destination Westminster at BAFTA and enjoys established relationships with a number of venues within TWC membership.

New to the collection’s portfolio of venues is St James Theatre, the first newly-built theatre complex in Central London in 30 years. Located just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, it plays host to cabaret, comedy, music and theatre with current shows including the critically acclaimed Bad Jews.

The theatre is a perfect venue for product launches, private screenings and for more intimate creative workshops. It’s only a few minutes from Victoria station and boasts an intimate 312-seat theatre available for daytime events and a flexible 100-seat studio, a wonderful live entertainment space that lends itself to becoming a flexible and self-contained corporate events venue. The St. James Bar and Brasserie and the Carrara Restaurant offer a range of stylish, informal dining options.

Another recent re-joiner of TWC, after a break from membership, is the award-winning QEII Centre, newly refurbished as part of a £12 million rebranding and renovation project. The iconic venue, which sits opposite Westminster Abbey, is boldly re-establishing its wow factor within the global events industry, now offering a more modern and stylish environment for the 400+ national and international events that are hosted there each year. It provides the ideal central London location for high profile conferences, conventions, exhibitions and corporate events with impressive capacity for up to 2,500 delegates.

Karin Parkinson, TWC board director and Central Hall Westminster’s facilities and administration manager, said: “We wish a very warm welcome to our new venues and partners, who have already shown real eagerness and commitment to becoming active members of The Westminster Collection’s network of venues and suppliers. Through our energetic 2015 marketing communications programme, we look forward to assisting in bringing their services to the attention of prospective new clients.”

TWC will shortly look forward to the opportunity to promote its member venues to events professionals at International Confex in London on 18-19 February 2015. Sales and marketing representatives from more than 20 of its 41 venues will be present at TWC stand CF57 to meet and greet show visitors across the two days of the event, ready to talk event planners through the collection’s eclectic portfolio of central London venues.

TWC’s 2015 events programme includes International Confex (18-19 Feb), Embassy Event Expo and The Meetings Show (7-9 July) together with its own annual venue showcase (Sept 2015) and a newly-revamped series of venue familiarisation trips for buyers.

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The first TWC fam trip of the year takes place at St James Theatre on Weds 25th February, 08:30-10:30am. Any event planner wishing to attend this exclusive event can email news@venues-london.co.uk to request a place.

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Event spend on the up as UK emerges from recession

The Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed in his recent budget that the UK is gradually emerging from the recession, forecasting a 2.7% increase in growth for 2014. Although still a long way from full economic recovery, this positive indication is as much an encouragement for the London events market as it is for UK business as a whole.

As more and more cash flow frees up, companies are once again looking at their budgets and to meetings and events as good marketing and networking tools for their businesses.

As economic pace has started to gather momentum, so too it seems has a renewed willingness to invest more money in events through enhancements and add-ons, offering delegates a more rounded experience than ‘the basic package’, which became a trend through the lowest points of the recession, as companies looked to make savings.

This begs the question: Has there been an increase on event spend as the UK emerges from the recession?

We asked some of The Westminster Collection’s member venues for their views, focusing on activity in January – March 2014 compared with the same period last year. We also asked where they think event organisers are directing the extra spend:

Robin Parker, general manager at Church House Conference Centre, feels that there has been an upturn in spend on events:

“We can report a 20% increase in catering spend compared with the same period last year. Although the spend in the public sector remains flat, reflecting a large number of budget freezes across government departments, the private sector is definitely spending more on adding value to their events through post-event receptions or by upgrading their lunch from basic sandwiches to a hot fork buffet.”

Guy Booth, venue manager at etc. venues Victoria, agreed, highlighting the benefits of adding a networking reception to meetings and conferences:

“We can confirm an upturn in added-value events at etc. venues Victoria in comparison to this time last year. As the recession lifts, more and more organisers are increasing their average spend to add a networking reception to finish their event. It is a clear sign that companies are appreciating the important business development opportunities that these extra touches offer whilst adding a fuller experience for delegates. Two out of three of all large meetings and conferences at etc. venues Victoria now incorporate a reception at the end of the day, encouraging relaxation in the courtyard garden.”

Tom Walsh, director of sales MICE at St Ermin’s Hotel, was more cautious in his response but felt that organisers were more receptive to upscaling their events:

“We are finding that budgets for events have become less restrictive than in years gone by. Certainly blank cheques are not being issued but neither an increase in F&B spend, nor package enhancements are being shunned as we had previously seen.”

Has your venue seen an increase or decrease in spend on events in the first quarter of 2014? If you have a view on this issue we would love to hear from you. If so, please email your response to henry@custardcommunications.com.

RIBA marries up room hire, doubles capacity, launches new DDR

RIBA is excited to announce that it has doubled the capacity for conferences to 400 by introducing the grand Florence Hall as an exhibition and refreshment area in conjunction with the Jarvis auditorium. To mark this occasion and make it simple to book, RIBA has also just launched a new day delegate rate (DDR).

Stephanie Ellrott, head of venues at RIBA said: “This double first helps conferences to enjoy the very best of RIBA. We have also included access to our seasonal exhibitions which provide a great talking point for delegates, as they can appreciate displays of architecture design and craftsmanship from around the world. There are also no extra hidden costs in our first ever DDR and all profits from events at our venue go back into supporting the work of the RIBA charity and its role in supporting British architectural talents.”

The DDR includes day hire of the Jarvis auditorium and the Florence Hall with its high ceilings and large windows opening onto the Terrace. A personal event manager and the use of the auditorium’s audio-visual equipment supported by an AV technician are also included. The package offers full catering for the day (including Danish pastries, biscuits and homemade cookies) with a standing hot buffet lunch, certain to make an impression on all delegates.

Conferences taking place between November 2013 and March 2014 at The RIBA can take advantage of the introductory rate of £68+VAT per person. Minimum numbers of 200 apply.

No.11 Cavendish completes £250k refurb

The refurbishment of 10 meeting rooms at No.11 Cavendish Square is now complete and event organisers are invited to enjoy the spruced up surroundings at this centrally located venue, near Oxford Circus.

New carpets, re-painted walls and new blinds complement a collection of contemporary photographs of iconic London scenes hung on the walls, including views of the Shard, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.

One wall in each of the meeting rooms is now magnetised, enabling delegates to attach free-standing magnetic flip charts as required. Low wattage lighting and energy saving LCD panels also now feature in each room.

The £250,000 refurbishment, which includes renovation of the Marlborough and the Maynard Theatre and their adjoining break-out rooms, sees AV upgraded to include state-of-the-art, 55-inch slimline LCD monitors with wall-mounted sound bars. These provide high quality, easy-to-adjust audio without the need for data projectors and screens. Clients connect directly to a floor box for user-friendly, slick presentations.

Popular room The Orangery now boasts multi-colour LED lighting throughout, which can be used to colour match a brand or create a theme. The lighting is controlled from an iPad or via a wall-mounted control panel.

For more information on No.11 Cavendish Square click here, or to discuss your next event, please email Lucy Johnson Brown or call 020 7307 2488.

Mandarin website launches Central Hall’s march on China

Central Hall Westminster has launched a series of sales and marketing initiatives aimed at attracting bookings from China. The drive to target the Chinese market comes as a result of steady growth in this sector in the last two years.

Earlier this month, Central Hall rolled out a Chinese version of its venue website, written entirely in Mandarin. This is bolstered by a portfolio of new marketing collateral, including brochures, banners and case studies specifically highlighting the public and private events held by Chinese delegations in 2012.

Paul Southern, managing director at Central Hall Westminster, said: “During 2011 we were able to generate significant interest for Central Hall Westminster as a key player for hosting conferences and events in the UK. It shows the Asian market is increasingly important in the years ahead and it is vital to take advantage of the growing opportunity.”

Longstanding employee and Chinese culture enthusiast Kevin Blackman, senior sales manager at Central Hall, has been appointed dedicated account manager for the campaign.

The new Chinese website was launched this month at China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market (COTTM), with Blackman present to promote Central Hall to the 4,000 leading, outbound tour operators from all over China. He later travelled for a further 10 days, attending various business meetings with corporate clients in Beijing and other locations.