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Brain Food and a Brain Box are just parts of the Experience Meetings initiative

Philip Mahoney

Philip Mahoney, Radisson Blu Area Vice President for UK and Ireland explains all to Sydney Paulden

There are 260 Radisson Blu hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Area Vice-President for UK and Ireland is Philip Mahoney and he is very busy at this very moment touring the properties and launching a new initiative under the heading of Experience Meetings. ‘This initiative’, he says, ‘comes directly from very detailed research into what event organisers see as the most important requirements from a venue.’

Philip then reels off the list that was compiled as a result of the research. It includes consistency, ease of booking, rapid response and no surprises. ’

‘By no surprises’, I suggest, ‘I presume they meant no shocks when they get the bill?’ ‘Well’, replies Philip, ‘the billing is hugely important. We have always followed a principle of transparency in invoicing. As part of it, we give proforma invoices in the quotation and unless there are written agreements on changes to the offer, then the final invoice corresponds with the proforma.

‘This list was not news to us’, he agrees, ‘but it all confirmed the direction we had to take, but at the same time, we decided to up the ante and give more than they were asking.’

‘There are three main aspects to Experience Meetings’, he goes on. ‘They are Brain Food, Brain Box and Connectivity.’

Summarising the detailed content of Philip’s explanation, Brain Food will now be the standard offered to delegates, but of course organisers have the option of choosing anything else they might prefer. ‘We do have the motto: Yes I can’, says Philip. But Brain Food is aimed at keeping delegates alert, whilst tempting them with healthy food that tastes good. ‘We are talking in terms of flavoured waters and home-made Muesli bars for the breaks’, he says, ‘and, for lunches, wholesome, nutritious and light foods based on nuts and fruit and so on. These are dishes based on recommendations from nutritionists’.

Brain Box relates to the environment where a meeting is held. It is a space with flexible layouts such as brightly coloured lightweight chairs and cushions that can be moved into any configuration; adjustable lights; simple apparatus such as plexiglass walls that can be used for writing on.

Connectivity is the third plank on which Experience Meetings is based. ‘Radisson Blu has been a pioneer in offering free Wi-Fi’, says Philip and he adds that few other hotel groups have been as quick to follow as he would have expected.

The bandwidths have been increased to ensure that organisers have peace of mind when using the internet.

‘We are just now introducing Experience Meetings’, Philip points out, ‘but it is not an untried concept. We served the Brain Food at a gathering recently and were delighted with the number of tweets we afterwards received saying how good the food was. We also found an excellent occasion to try out the new broadband when there was an AGM at the Radisson Blu Stansted Airport. As a matter of course the delegates needed to tweet and there were over 200 sending messages simultaneously – and there were no delays. They were not aware they were amongst the first to be benefiting from an improved service.’

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