Macdonald Hotels Sales Director Gill Jackson reflects on the move from ‘hybrid’ events to a demand for everything under one roof:Trends in events have always reflected what’s happening in the economy as well as the lifestyle and business ethos of the time. In the late 80s and 90s, when businessmen and women were enjoying car phones, pagers and shoulder-padding, they were also going to conferences in grand hotel ballrooms. However, by the turn of the millennium, event planners and businesses wanted to be inspired by unusual locations and were getting seriously creative with several venues to suit multiple activities. While multi-venue or ‘hybrid’ events are still popular, increasingly we are seeing a demand for a single-hotel venue in a desirable location that can deliver it all.
This current trend of a single venue is driven by time poverty and the memory of the recent recession where businesses concentrated on firefighting and survival and the event trend focused on the number rather than the ‘type’. Businesses still want to host their meetings and conferences in the most cost and time effective way, with a slick venue booking and management service and no time wasted by delegates traveling between venues.
Although event style trends change from year to year, our recent in-depth industry research revealed that there are some things that will never change – lack of time – not just for the delegates, but also the event bookers themselves. Event managers, whether agents or direct bookers no matter the size of the event, want the account management and booking process to be prompt and seamless but also personal to them. They have relatively little time and a lot of ground to cover. In addition, there is a big focus on making sure that guests/delegates get the most out of their time whilst away from the office.
It was this industry insight, coupled with the experience of managing thousands of bookings a year across the Macdonald Hotels group that lead to our new five simple promises approach that demonstrates that we understand that time is precious and that we’ll save you time with our meeting experience. To streamline the process further we have categorised our hotels as to their exact suitability whether it be for a meeting, incentive, conference, event or exhibition. We know that it is vital that bookers can have access to product experts who offer expertise in all areas of event planning; from pre-registration and conference logistics, to creating that wow factor for delegates across all the venues. The food and drinks teams are passionate about food, serving only the finest, freshest and, where possible, locally-sourced produce, no matter the scale of the event.
Macdonald Hotels has 15 unique and individual conference hotels across the UK which fit the bill for the ‘everything under one roof’ trend. Macdonald Aviemore Resort is an example of a venue which has it all. The resort boasts four four-star hotels and 18 Woodland Lodges to offer over 460 available beds. Set in dramatic surroundings in the Scottish Highlands, there is conferencing for up to 650 delegates in a dedicated auditorium, 12 flexible meeting rooms and the massive Osprey arena which has theatre style capacity for 1150 delegates or 800 for gala dinners and banquets. No wonder Harley Davidson are return customers for their Thunder in the Glen event.
Trends might come and go, and who knows, perhaps a future trend will be for multi-sensory virtual reality events, but one trend that is here to stay is effective time management, both for the event booker and for the event delegates, and this is something that my team will always offer.