Spring forward

In spring time an event organiser’s fancy turns to rooftop terraces, wide open spaces, and meetings beyond the confines of four-square walls, no matter how well-appointed.

This year Donington Park unveils its new infield works, a multi-million pound project to reinstate, re-shape and landscape the infield spectator and outdoor exhibition areas.

The project saw approximately 400,000 tonnes of material shifted to create the new viewing bank. The venue operator teamed up with nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, to recycle 360,000 tonnes of pulverised fuel ash  – an environment agency approved material which would usually go to waste.

The original Donington Park infield was excavated by contractors working for the previous operator’s ill-fated Formula 1 circuit rebuild in 2009. The new Donington ownership and management has committed to transform the circuit infield into a more spectator-friendly area. With the major works complete, Donington Park is now shepherding in the spring time with the arrival of its resident sheep – which have been let loose onto the infield works to increase the new grass to grow.

Meanwhile, a brand new 4×4 area designed in partnership with industry experts will be ready by summer offering experience days throughout the year.

In conjunction with Donington Park’s onsite race school, the new track will soon be catering for a number of corporate events, from hospitality packages to teambuilding activities.

Roger Lowe, head of events at Donington Park, says: “We’re really excited about this new 4×4 track – it offers something different to our usual activities and is the perfect corporate hospitality or teambuilding exercise. Waiting lists for these kinds of experience days are notoriously long, so this new offering will allow many more people the chance to test out a 4×4 on a challenging off road course.”

A dose of pre-meeting adrenaline is also on the menu at the Alton Towers Resort which is launching three brand new corporate rollercoaster add-ons, to get the adrenaline pumping, and bring the best out of delegates holding meetings and events at the resort.

In addition, all three packages include theme park entry, £8 of Magic Money to spend on the resort, meeting room hire, refreshments, a two-course lunch, complimentary Wi-Fi and parking.
The Nerve Calmer is a day delegate package with Scream Fastrack (Nemesis, Air & Sub-Terra) add-on – from £76.50 per person. The Inspirer features a day delegate package with themed Adrenaline Fastrack (Oblivion, Rita & Thirteen) add-on – from £78.50 per person. The Distraction offers a day delegate package with Big 6 Fastrack (The Smiler, Oblivion, Nemesis, Air, Rita & Thirteen) add-on – from £99.50 per person

The new add-ons can be booked in conjunction with the day delegate package or can be tailored to fit varying needs and numbers.

Not to be outdone, Kelley McGann, marketing manager at Butlins Conference & Events, says: “One of the key benefits of hosting a conference or event at Butlins is our location, with all three resorts situated beside the seaside delegates are exposed to the fresh sea air, helping teams feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated. With many of our accommodation options offering balconies or outdoor spaces overlooking the coastline, Butlins is the perfect place for delegates escaping city life to start their day – for those who really want to embrace our unique location, the seafront provides the perfect location for a run before breakfast.

In addition to the extensive on site conference facilities, bespoke teambuilding offering and new accommodation options at Minehead, Skegness and Bognor Regis, Butlins made the bold claim that its seaside location and abundance of fresh sea air will bring out the very best in your team.
With its ability to maintain concentration as well as stimulate creativity, fresh sea air is a key component when looking to bolster team productivity. The resulting increased oxygen is transported around the body and ensures higher energy levels as well as clarity of mind, crucial for both individual progress and overall team building. Research also indicates that the sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb this oxygen. The negative ions also balance levels of serotonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why after time spent by the coast you feel more alert, relaxed and energised.

The Kent Event Centre has announced the launch of a £150k campsite facility, available for corporate events such as teambuilding and residential conferences. The campsite will offer organisations the opportunity to add a more rural experience to their event as an alternative to hotel accommodation.

The site, equipped with brand new toilet and shower facilities and uniquely designed plots for visitors to bring along their own tents or caravans, will provide accommodation options for all events being held at the venue, from festivals and concerts to the many teambuilding events available which include archery, shooting, surf simulating, human table football and bungee running.

The £150k development of the new site follows a £2.4m investment in venue facilities in 2014 which included the new Maidstone Exhibition Hall.

Alison Wallington, Kent Event Centre manager, says: “We’re really excited to be offering something quite unique. Giving the average residential conference a festival type of feel is something which we feel would be a great way to shake-up the routine conference, offering a greater variety to the event itinerary.

“Kent Event Centre gives delegates the perfect opportunity to switch-off from the everyday corporate environment and enjoy the fresh air and scenery of rural Kent. The new site will be the perfect add-on for the teambuilding packages we offer or for conferences with a teambuilding aspect as it gives delegates the perfect opportunity to bond with fellow colleagues.”

For city slickers, Hotel Russell, in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury, has announced its new spring into summer offer. Organisers booking evening events at the hotel will receive a complimentary 30-minute drinks reception with a selection of specially crafted seasonal inspired cocktails and mocktails.

The spring into summer offer is available for new events booked and taking place by 30 June 2015.
A stone’s throw away, Middle Temple has just launched three new spring afternoon tea packages for corporate meetings in the Rutledge Suite. Organisers booking meetings can choose from: West Country Tea, Healthy & Happy Tea or the Easter Bunny Tea. Tea is served during afternoon breakout sessions with options created to span tastes from traditional to contemporary healthy. The packages offer a vibrant spring twist to the usual coffee and biscuit tea breaks.

The West Country Tea includes delicate finger sandwiches with classic fillings, buttermilk scones served with strawberry preserve and Devon clotted cream, a selection of cream cakes and a pot of speciality tea.

This was first published in the April issue of CN. Any comments? Email John Keenan

John Keenan


John Keenan

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