A year on from its rebranding, the marketing consortium Venues of Excellence says its membership is up 31%, with the addition of 12 new venues to the portfolio.
New members of the now, 37-strong consortium include Alderley Park Conference Centre, Lancaster Conferences, Victory Services Club, Keele Hall, The REP, MTC Coventry, The Slate (Warwick Conferences), Cumberland Lodge, The Lensbury, Jurys Inn Hinckley Island, Manchester Conference Centre, and the latest venue to join the group, Newbury Racecourse.
Stuart Websdale, chairman of the consortium, says it has been “an amazing year”. “The strategic investment we made in the repositioning of our brand in 2016 has come to fruition, reflected in the diversity and geographical reach of our membership,” he adds.
“Our goal is to grow our membership to 50 members by 2020, and our performance over the last 12 months is putting us in a strong position to attain that.”
Members now meet four times a year, hold an annual conference and take part in study tours for members to facilitate good practice, idea exchange and benchmarking.
“Many of our members are independent players with a similar quality ethos and vision, so we have a shared goal of delivering excellence to our end users. Our study tours and other events give our membership an opportunity to network, and also to enjoy insight into each other’s venues, challenges and initiatives to stimulate ideas and drive quality,” says Websdale.
Compass recently signing a two-year contract as the consortium’s first premium partner UK wine and spirits distributor, Matthew Clark, as signed a three-year partnership with the consortium.
A hundred delegates have now passed through the Venues of Excellence Training Academy, launched in partnership with Paje Consultancy and there are 15 courses also in the pipeline this year.
Mandy Jennings, sales and membership director of Venues of Excellence, says: “The addition of bespoke hospitality training enhances resources and support for our members, and is also available for non-members. The strengths of the consortium are many, including our emphasis on transparency of relationships and understanding of buyers’ needs. It is truly great to see so many operators eager to endorse their venue with a badge of excellence synonymous with Venues of Excellence.”
To join the consortium, prospective venues have to meet stringent criteria in terms of quality, facilities, accommodation and customer care.
Tracy Skinner, head of sales at Newbury Racecourse, the latest venue to join the consortium, says: “We are thrilled to be joining Venues of Excellence following the hard work we have been putting into transforming our venue. The consortium has a fantastic portfolio and we are very much looking forward to helping promote its work and become affiliated with like-minded venues. We anticipate many benefits such as joint marketing opportunities, additional sales and networking support and, indeed, all of the advantages of having strength by numbers.”