Posts Tagged ‘Venue Finder’

Our Friends in the North

July 2016

Is it just KDM’s experience – or are Northern venues suddenly standing out as exciting and innovative challengers to their Southern counterparts?

With bases in Staffordshire and West London, we routinely deliver corporate events all over the UK and are used to a heavy London bias in venue-selection because we, and our clients, felt that the Capital set the pace in terms of variety and wow factor.

But over the last year or so we’ve seen a shift.  Many more event planners are keen to explore locations north of Watford (in fact, north of Nottingham!) and we’ve been delighted to recommend a range of destinations in the top half of the map – not just for their stunning venues, but for the surrounding infrastructure in regenerated spaces.

Take Liverpool, for example. Enjoying the legacy of its 2008 European Capital of Culture status, the city has continued to receive development funding, sparking interest from corporate groups. This may be for companies based around the UK attracted by the better value of northern locations, or for Manchester-based clients keen to find a new, fresh destination within easy reach.

630x397.fitandcropAngel-of-the-North

With all the investment in regeneration around the Albert Docks, the museums and the new hotel builds, organisers are spoilt for choice in Liverpool.  The Titanic hotel is fabulous, especially its highly versatile Rum Warehouse – a great atmospheric space for meetings and dinners. The newly-built Jury’s Inn also provides excellent meeting space and proximity to the Echo Arena.  And the waterfront location of the award-winning ACC is a huge draw.

We’ve had great success with Black Cab GPS themed treasure hunts around Liverpool, taking teams to the Docks to explore the Maritime Museum or The Beatles Story; also to Knowsley Safari Park.  And with free entry, the World Museum provides further scope for team events.  And of course, the Docks offer a prime opportunity for Dragon Boat racing.

Further afield, another of our current favourites is the Toffee Factory in the heart of the Ouseburn area of Newcastle – itself a fascinating area of interest.  Featuring design classics and locally produced furniture, the Toffee Factory hires out an event space for up to 70 people.

In recent months we’ve run a series of amazing events at other Northern venues – including a daytime team event at Thorpe Park Hotel in Leeds, another team event at the Westerwood Hotel in Glasgow.  Also, an evening’s beer tasting and giant games at the Railway Museum in York, and a Yorkshire Fete themed event at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.

So watch this space for further Northern gems. We’re confident that when it comes to venue selection, the North is the new Black, and we look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of corporate guests from around the UK to experience its rich industrial heritage and dazzling natural landscapes.  Oh – and Northern hospitality takes some beating as well …


Meeting the University Challenge

September 2015

To the casual observer, booking a conference venue must simply be a matter of browsing online or leafing through a directory – and then picking up the phone.  And sometimes it can be that easy.  But quite often it’s a real challenge to match the desired location with a suitable facility that is available at the required time.  Especially when flexibility is not an option.  There are times when even the professionals admit defeat, and the client is left with the uncomfortable prospect of accepting second best or going back to the drawing board to come up with an entirely new plan.

These were the unhappy circumstances that prompted keyword technology provider Grapeshot to contact KDM earlier this year.

Grapeshot is proud of a corporate philosophy that’s based on working hard, loving the work you do and loving the people you are working with.  The company provides an innovative environment where staff are given big problems that they are encouraged to explore and solve.  To further enhance these collaborative working relationships, team-building events are staged throughout the year and the company’s Summer Meeting brings together as many members of its international team as possible.

Reflecting this ideology, Grapeshot’s summer event incorporates a morning meeting and an afternoon of fun.  The company is building an internal reputation for putting on unique summer parties, so the event co-ordinator’s brief was to find a venue that offered both indoor conference facilities for a morning’s team meeting, together with outside space suitable for fun and frolics in the afternoon.

With the company headquartered in Cambridge, the city was the obvious hub for the national and international teams to convene.

At first glance, this seemed a simple enough requirement. Cambridge offers a wealth of colleges all with extensive grounds. However, the chosen date happened to be the last day of term and the universities were still populated by students.  Other event companies drew a blank in pinpointing a suitable venue in the city centre. Beginning to despair, Grapeshot found KDM Events online.

At times like this, a vast venue database compiled over a period of years, coupled with the local knowledge and excellent contacts can make all the difference.  We were confident that we could not only secure an appropriate venue but also devise an afternoon of appropriately-themed activities to delight the Grapeshot team.

Our research identified the prestigious Churchill College, part of the University of Cambridge and one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world. Not only can the College offer comprehensive events and conferencing service within a truly collegiate atmosphere, but it also boasts more than 40 acres of parkland featuring a huge range of on-site sporting and recreational facilities.

So with an end-of-term feeling in the air and a whole campus to play in, how could we resist a School Sports Day theme for Grapeshot’s afternoon fun?  Liaising with College staff and outside suppliers we managed and delivered all elements of the day’s agenda, including arranging and coordinating old fashioned sports day races, a barbecue, liquid refreshments, first aid provision and prizes.  Not surprisingly the whole day had the effect of stimulating and motivating Grapeshot’s 50-strong employees – converting our sports teams from reluctant competitors to triumphant participants.

Grapeshot was delighted with its Summer Meeting from beginning to end. Gael Norris, Grapeshot HR Business Partner based in the company’s London office was tasked with organising the event and said:

“Our experience of working with KDM Events was outstanding. Not only did they find us a suitable venue where other event companies had failed, but the whole process was also simple, seamless and delivered within a very reasonable budget. Lyndsey was so accommodating, friendly, flexible and nothing was too much trouble. She handled changes to the plans like the addition of a BBQ professionally and her communication was exemplary. Despite the Grapeshot team’s apprehension about the Sports Day theme, once they got involved in the games they really enjoyed themselves. We will most certainly be using KDM Events for any requirements we have in the future.

grape


9 Knockout Venue Dressing Tips

June 2014

Some venues are fabulous inside and out; others need a little help to create a setting that will truly  wow your guests.  Our in-house theming expert, Kathy Davies shares some valuable venue-dressing tips. 

Whether you are hosting a formal reception, a product launch or a party, choice of venue is the first and most important decision to be taken, and factors such as budget, size, location and timing will narrow your choice dramatically.  So once all of those boxes have been ticked you may still be left with the challenge of transforming the event space into a stunning environment.

kathy

How much should you spend?

Top-line expenditure will be on room hire, catering and possibly transport, but it’s important right from the outset to safeguard some budget for dressing the space.  We suggest that the absolute minimum sum required to dress a venue would be £1,000.

Venue assistance 

Don’t forget that the venue will almost certainly have some decor resource at its disposal, so a conversation while you are still at venue-selection stage will reveal what is available in-house.  With a little timely negotiation it will be possible to have such elements as table centrepieces and coloured chair covers and tie-backs included within your overall hire cost.

Working within the space

For a large scale project with a decor budget of over £1,000 you will have several spaces to work with and some traffic flow considerations.  Factor-in the importance of allowing room to position some large props to create a stunning first impression.  And be very careful not to end up with a lot of guests crammed in a tight space for the drinks reception.  Not only is the effect claustrophobic, but the wow factor of your gorgeous decor will be sadly missed in the crush.

Eye-catchers

Sometimes organisers have the opposite problem – a large space that won’t be filled by the expected number of guests.  The natural response would be to fill up every area of empty space, but in fact if you create just a few key focal points, your guests’ eyes will be drawn to these and they won’t notice the empty corners.  We find that putting a lot of focus on a dramatically themed doorway or walkway between reception and dining rooms confers more visual impact than a collection of smaller props strategically positioned around the room.

Themed settings

If you have the space and the budget to work with large set pieces, avoid the temptation to park them at equal distances around the room.  Instead group them in pockets.  By siting props together you automatically create a themed setting, which will have the affect of attracting guest to cluster together and form natural conversation groups.

Screen drama

Events that incorporate AV production provide an added opportunity to amplify and dramatise the decor or theme at little or no extra cost.  On-screen visuals add colour, movement and of course messaging to grab your guests’ attention, while supporting the overall theming. Plasma screens and projection are a great way of injecting a ‘live action’ feel to the event, while adding light and extra focal points.

Star-spangled venues

If your budget allows you to really go to town on decor, imagine silk drapes falling from a central spot on the ceiling, bathed in coloured LED lighting.  Corporate branding or event theme can be projected by lights which sweep around the room, spotlighting your giant props and set pieces of scenery as they go. Tables are the key areas of focus in a dining room, so invest in some fabulous LED-lit centrepieces.  Entrance doorways are also prime areas for dramatic treatment, and these can be framed with swathes of fabric, with spot lighting to guide your guests into the adjoining room, or special prop archways leading the eye to a glittering carpeted runway beyond.

The centre of attention

We can’t always have free rein when it comes to decor spend, but  it’s still possible to achieve a stunning effect on a modest budget. If you are decorating a room that will be largely populated by dinner tables, it’s probably a waste of money in any case to decorate the walls with props or other solid objects.  Far better to dress the tables themselves to create maximum visual impact.  Again, those  self-lit themed centrepieces will steal the show, supported by stylish linens and colour-themed chair covers. And shining colour washes of light up the walls will, in itself, transform a non-descript room into a magical space.

Creativity on a tight budget

Occasionally there’s no option but to theme your event on a shoestring, and for such occasions there’s still scope to inject some sparkle into the proceedings – via novelty elements such as colour-themed cocktails, or cupcakes that have been branded with corporate logos or messaging.

No matter what your budget, the secret to gaining maximum mileage in dressing the venue is to  make sure that styling and theming your event are included in the action plan from the earliest  planning stage. It’s amazing how far your money will stretch with some creative thinking and clever resourcing from the outset.

Kathy



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