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Butlin’s celebrates 80 years in the MICE industry

Butlin’s, a leader from the start in providing the MICE industry with unique and alternative spaces for conferences and events of all sizes, is celebrating its 80th birthday. The conference and events sector of the business has come a long way since Billy Butlin first opened the doors to his Skegness resort in 1936, heralding the start of his legacy as one of the UK’s best-known entrepreneurs.

Today his legacy continues as Butlin’s uses its successful past to inform its future, transforming the events industry and pushing boundaries to provide delegates with memorable events and conferences across all three seaside resorts.

In 1939 Butlin’s had its first taste of the conference and events market when it exclusively hosted the British Army during World War II. The Lincolnshire resort was transformed into ‘HMS Royal Arthur’ and became home to more than 250,000 service men and women, propelling Butlin’s into the spotlight and showcasing the resorts flexibility.

The 1960s saw the appetite for conferences and events at Butlin’s increase; one of the largest early conferences, the Wavy Line Grocers’ Conference, brought 1,500 delegates to Butlin’s in 1964. Other major conferences during the 60s included the Young Conservative Conference, European Youth Soccer Tournament and European Deep Sea Fishing Festival which all welcomed hundreds of delegates onto resort. In the years that followed, Butlin’s played host to a number of other high-profile events including the World Ballroom Dancing Congress and the launch of a new car, the MG3, reveled by British car manufacturer MG.

Although the facilities may have changed since the early conferences - from promoting the availability of central heating in 1964, to offering inflatable airdome spaces today - the famous Redcoats and Butlin’s team hold the same core values that continue to set the brand apart from its competitors. Butlin’s has gone on to host hundreds of conferences, with clients including global beauty brand, Elizabeth Arden, world renowned automotive manufacturer Rolls Royce and confectionary company, Wrigley’s.

Today Butlin’s entrepreneurial legacy continues as the resorts at Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness continually expand their MICE offering, with new and unique venue options including the innovative M3 Airdomes and flexible venue spaces. These developments are all part of the £200 million investment in resort facilities and a marketing push to change preconceived perceptions of the Butlin’s brand. Last year saw a 35% boost in meetings and events sales, welcoming thousands of delegates through the doors.

Simon Jones, National Sales Manager comments, “We are committed to continuing Billy Butlin’s entrepreneurial spirit through innovation and improvement of our conference and events offering to provide the best possible services for our delegates. We will continue to spearhead a future of modern events and conferences in order to cement our position as a market leader in the MICE sphere.”

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