Event Planners seek the "wow" factor

Whether it’s visiting one of London’s famous royal palaces, dining at a Michelin star restaurant or holding a drinks reception at a luxury five star hotel, planners are looking for a ‘wow’ factor to make their events a success, according to London & Partners, the city’s official convention bureau.

Nearly 40 per cent of 59 leading London-based suppliers rated the “wow” factor as the most important ingredient for success, ahead of flexible spaces (29 per cent), tech (12.7 per cent) and creativity (9 per cent).

London also offers better value than ever to international planners looking to hold their event in the city due to the fall in the value of the UK pound sterling against the Euro and US dollar.

Following the vote to leave the European Union in June, the number of enquiries at the city’s CVB have increased by 35 per cent compared to the same period last year, including a 27 per cent rise in enquiries coming from the EMEA.[1]

Barbara Jamison, Head of Business Development Europe at London & Partners, said: “With increased competition in the industry, delegate engagement has become paramount, so it is not surprising the “wow factor” ranks so high on planners’ list of priorities. Thousands of years of history, along with cutting-edge architecture and world-class culture means London has an unparalleled number of outstanding venues and experiences for event planners to woo their delegates.”

Whether it’s a stand-out venue, a luxury dinner or an enhanced programme, the “wow” factor and additional savings currently available will help planners increase delegate engagement and could also contribute to growing their event.

For example, Stamford Bridge offers a range of venues suitable for events for 10 to 1,000 delegates. Planners wanting to put a sport spin on their conference could host a day-long event with catering and backstage tour of the stadium for £75 per person or 87 euros[2], down from 106 euros[3] last year, saving 19 euros per head.

Those looking for their delegates to experience the royal treatment can book the historical Orangery at Kensington Palace (cared for by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces), which was once the setting for Queen Anne’s sophisticated court entertainment. With a capacity of up to 300, The Orangery is the ideal location for an elegant and exclusive evening reception. Planners can now save several thousand pounds on the venue hire, with the rate going down from 14,160 euros in November 2015 to 11,579 in November 2016

Luxury hotel The Langham, London, located in the heart of the West End, is home to award-winning bar Artesian and to Roux at the Landau. Ideal for incentives, planners could organise a drinks reception and private dinner for 20 for 6,368 euros, 1,400 euros less than last year.

Searcys |The Gherkin offers private hire of the top two floors of London’s iconic building, offering fantastic 360 degree views over the city. The space, ideal for evening receptions and product launches, can accommodate up to 260 guests. As of 15 November 2016, planners could save over 6,000 euros on the venue hire, A/V and catering for 150 guests, bringing the cost down to 27,680 euros.

Charley Taylor-Smith, Sales and Marketing Manager at Searcys |The Gherkin, said: “The awe-inspiring view from the top of the Gherkin as well as our industry-leading catering and hospitality help us deliver a real wow factor that engages and delights delegates. With the exchange rate making us more accessible than ever before, we look forward to working with our future clients to create truly memorable events.”

Paul Miller, Managing Director at Spectra DMC, said: “The ‘wow’ factor is really important to clients and being able to offer things in London like climbing The O2 or recording a song at Abbey Road Studios allows us to offer a really compelling package. Once clients understand how affordable London has become because of the better exchange rate the only question left on the table is: what can we do?”

London & Partners will be exhibiting at IBTM World alongside 25 partners. Visit stand G10 to find out more about hosting your next event in London.

London & Partners will also be hosting a networking reception on Wednesday 30 November, in partnership with VisitEngland and VisitScotland.

[1] Enquiries received by London & Partners between June and October 2016 compared to the same period in 2015

[2] Mid-market exchange rate as of 15 November 2016 – 1.1578538008

[3] Mid-market exchange rate as of 15 November 2015 – 1.416045648