VenueVerdict customer service accreditations and awards announced: 33 venues strike Gold!

BDRC Continental, the UK’s meetings sector research specialist, has announced the list of venues achieving VenueVerdict Accreditations for 2014.  Based entirely on genuine, verified customer feedback, these accolades reflect the cream of the nation’s meetings providers.
33 venues and hotels achieved a VenueVerdict Gold Standard accreditation, the highest tier available.  To be designated a Gold Standard venue, a property must achieve a Net Promoter Score of +70 or above from more than 40 customer responses across a twelve month period.

Typically dominated by ‘specialist’ conference venues (such as those operated by Sundial, the IET, the EEF and suchlike), branded hotels nonetheless continue to be well represented, with properties from Macdonald, Park Plaza, Novotel, Holiday Inn and QHotels making the grade at the year-end assessment.

Below those are the “Highly Commended” (36 venues) and “Commended” (20 venues) tiers.  The threshold for the latter is set at around the level of the national average score, meaning any property carrying one of those three badges is delivering a level of customer service to meetings and events above and beyond the norm.

As well as the Accredited Venues, BDRC Continental has also announced its annual award winners for 2014.  QHotels, again, swooped the No.1 Large Group Award, while Park Plaza picked up the accolade for Mid-Sized groups.  EEF Venues was named “No.1 Small Group” as well as “Best Value for Money Venue Group”. 

James Bland, director of hospitality research at BDRC and head of the global VenueVerdict programme, believes that the healthy representation of branded properties within the very highest tier shows that a venue’s attitude is more important than its category, although concedes that the latter can influence the former.

“Clearly excellent meetings experiences are not limited to specialist meeting venues,” Bland observes, “but are delivered at properties who pay this important business sector the appropriate level of attention, not just lip service.”

“I’ve lost count of the number of brands and groups who tell me ‘they’re focusing on meetings this year’,” Bland continues, “but it’s not enough just to say it, you actually have to do it.  The most fundamental thing you can do is find out what the market wants – it’s the starting point for any sensible strategic plan.  All of these accredited venues (and those that didn’t quite make it this time) get feedback from their customers through our programme, but what they also get – uniquely from BDRC – is comparison with a robust national and local benchmark, so they can see whether the things they consider to be important, truly are.”

Group Awards
Given to the groups that record the highest overall scores in each size category

No.1 Small Group (3-5 properties)
Winner: EEF Venues

No.1 Mid-Sized Group (6-19 properties)
Winner: Park Plaza

No.1 Large Group (20+ properties)
Winner: QHotels

Gold Standard Group Award
Given to the group with the highest number of venues achieving VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditation
Winner: QHotels

Best Value for Money Venue Group
Given to the group achieving the highest score for “Overall Value for Money”
Winner: EEF Venues

Venue Awards 
No.1 Specialist Venue
Winner: Engineers House (EEF Venues)

No.1 Hotel
Winner: Ashford International Hotel (QHotels)

No.1 Sporting Venue
Winner: Lord’s Cricket Ground

No.1 Venue Overall
Winner: Engineers House (EEF Venues)

VenueVerdict Gold Standard Accreditations
·         Ashford International Hotel (QHotels)
·         Ashridge House
·         Barnett Hill (Sundial Venues)
·         Broadway House (EEF Venues)
·         Church House Conference Centre
·         Crewe Hall (QHotels)
·         Engineers' House (EEF Venues)
·         Farncombe
·         Forest Pines (QHotels)
·         Highgate House (Sundial Venues)
·         Holiday Inn Lancaster (Kew Green Hotels)
·         Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury (IHG Managed Estate)
·         Holiday Inn Stratford upon Avon (Valor Hospitality Europe)
·         Holiday Inn York (Kew Green Hotels)
·         IET Birmingham: Austin Court (IET Venues)
·         imago at Holywell Park
·         Lord's
·         Macdonald Burlington Hotel
·         Macdonald Manchester
·         Nottingham Conference Centre
·         Novotel Cardiff
·         Novotel London City South
·         Park Plaza Cardiff
·         The Beardmore Hotel & Conference Centre
·         The Cambridge Belfry (QHotels)
·         The Hampshire Court Hotel (QHotels)
·         The Midland (QHotels)
·         The Møller Centre
·         The Oxford Belfry (QHotels)
·         The Stratford (QHotels)
·         The Westerwood Hotel and Golf Resort (QHotels)
·         Woodland Grange (EEF Venues)
·         Woodside (Sundial Venues)