Leading UK catering and hospitality company Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events has experienced an increase in demand for team building and event venues which offer delegates a ‘great escape’ from their office environment.
And now museums, stately homes, visitor attractions and sporting stadia across the country have risen to the challenge, offering corporate clients the chance to take part in everything from meeting zoo animals and Segway challenges to giant games and even fairground favourite, hook-a-duck.
In London, visitor attractions such as Thames river cruise company Bateaux London and the Emirates Aviation Experience are enabling corporate clients to take to the water and the cockpit, in a flight simulator.
Business visitors to historic Knebworth House can enjoy a tour of the 600-year-old building – or head outside to its 250 acres of parkland for giant, garden patio games – while Perth Racecourse, Scotland, is laying on everything from Highland games, to Segway and quad biking and even traditional sideshow stalls.
At Newcastle upon Tyne, the Great North Museum: Hancock, is not only home to nationally and internationally important collections, but is also a registered zoo.
And corporate guests can meet some of the Museum's live animals and their keepers, who will answer questions and provide an insight into the animal kingdom.
Sports fans are also catered for, with stadia such as Everton’s Goodison Park, Headingley, Brighton’s Amex Stadium and Newcastle United’s St James’ Park all offering tours to conference delegates.
“Clients are increasingly asking for unusual venues that offer something different and quirky,” said Natasha Carr, marketing manager for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, “and there is a growing emphasis on activity.
“It’s about taking their staff away from their desks and exposing them to new experiences and environments to get the mind and body more active and think out of the box.”
In line with the increase in demand for activity packages, Sodexo’s chefs have rolled out a new healthy and nutritious conference menu to help delegates get the most out of events and avoid the afternoon slump.
Based around concentration boosting super-foods, each meal option is packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre and good fats as well as vitamins C, A, K and B; all which are thought to have an impact on focus, memory and energy levels.
Tom Beauchamp, head chef at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events in Scotland, said: “Through creative menu development we have addressed the challenge of delegate fatigue by designing an energy boosting and nutritious menu.
“Introducing superfoods, such as chia seeds and eggs at breakfast and healthy proteins, such as mackerel and chicken alongside good fats, such as avocados for dinner, we have created a full-day offering, which we hope will improve mood and engagement.
“Ultimately, we want to help our clients achieve more from holding events in our venues.”