Meeting the University Challenge

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 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 a comprehensive events and conferencing service within a truly collegiate atmosphere, 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 co-ordinating 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, the whole process was 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.

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