Douglas Macmillan Hospice received a cheque for £2,166
thanks to a Christmas market held at Grade II Listed mansion Keele Hall. Half
the proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the cancer charity.
Deputy head of Keele Conferences, Marcus Wilson,
pictured far right, admits the outgoing year was, however, not so charitable on
the commercial front.
“2009 was a challenging year for us, as I think was the
case for most conference venues. We saw late cancellations, repeat business
deteriorating and very challenging budgets.”
Wilson says the key to survival was providing quality and flexibility,
together with investing in sales and marketing and ensuring strong ROI for
Creating new events, such as the Christmas Market and a
‘Man in Black’ ghost-walk, were other tactics employed by Keele to beat the
A £300,000 refurbishment of Keele Hall’s ballroom
earlier in the year turned it into the largest conferencing and banqueting venue
in Staffordshire. Wilson believes that investment in that coupled
with stepped up marketing activity combined to produce a 100 per cent increase
in new business opportunities for 2010.