Browsing Tag


Venue spotlight: Westminster Suite at The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall

It can be challenging to excite the delegates when you host your event at a hotel. Everyone will expect a standard conference room.

But what if you use The Presidential Suite instead of a conference room? That’s what we did for the latest #EventPlannersTalk LIVE event. The event took place at The Westminster Suite at The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall.


Located in the heat of London, just walking distance from Westminster tube station, The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall, is a hidden gem in the busy and very touristic city center. I didn’t even know that the hotel was there until I went for a site-visit. All London’s top attractions – The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament, Westminster Bridge and London Aquarium – are also just walking distance from the venue.


The room is on the 5th floor and signage can be provided. The venue can accommodate about 25 people for an event like #EventPlannersTalk LIVE, where people can seat comfortably on sofas and bar stools. For private dinners or boardroom style events the capacity will be maximum 1o at the table. Unfortuantley the table cannot be moved.

The only downside of the venue is that the TV screen, the 42in/107cm, is fixed so you can’t reposition it when holding a presentation. For us it didn’t matter and was very helpful using it for a holding slide.


The The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall has great food selection and we went for the buffet option.








Pulled Pork Wrap, Cabbage-Apple Slaw

Roasted Duck, Thai Vegetable Salad, Glass Noodles, Sesame-Soy Dressing

Homemade Dill Cured Salmon, Pea Shoot, Lemon Crème Fraiche

Compressed Watermelon, Herb Goat’s Cheese, Pistachio, Aged Balsamic

Ham Hock & Pea Salad, Pickled Onion, Sweet Mustard Dressing, Crackling

Semi-Dried Tomato Salad, Mozzarella Cheese, Pine Nuts, Black Olive Vinaigrette

As you can see on the pictures the food was beautifully presented and tasted even better!

Unique expereince

Everyone loved the venue! It was something different, exclusive, luxurious and provided a uniue experience, definitely not the usual hotel conference room and I can highly reccomend!




Photos by Sandeep Rai

Third-party websites effectiveness for venue bookings: Case study of the Hilton London Metropole

Couple of months ago I had the pleasure to give an interview to Pauline Malafosse, an event management student at Surrey university who wrote her dissertation on the topic: Third-party websites effectiveness in hotels’ conferences: The case study of the Hilton London Metropole.

I was happy to assist because in my opinion this topic is of great interest for planners, venues and third party booking websites and many things in this space can be improved. Pauline and Hilton London Metropole kindly agreed to share the findings of her study with you as you find below.


Events, and more precisely MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) have been growing since the 20th century and are now one of the largest sectors in the Hospitality and Tourism industry (Comas, 2008, Mair et al., 2009). Thus, venues had to adapt their offer to become more attractive and answer the growth of the demand in this sector. A review of previous literature has shown that these venues started to work with multichannel distribution, as a way to catch the attention of many different types of potential customers, using the internet and its development as major channel (Teltzrow et al., 2007). This growth has thus increased the rise of third-party websites, which have become one of the most popular channels to organise events (TravelCLICK, 2015, ONLINE). Venues, and especially hotels now need to adapt their offer in order to work with these websites the most efficiently.

This study sought to analyse the effectiveness of third-party websites to promote and sell event-space in hotels, and more specifically in the Hilton London Metropole. As literature and studies about this subject were rare, the purpose was to help the Hilton London Metropole improving its sales and being able to then adapt its offer to attract more customers, by understanding the role of third-party websites during the venue selection process.


During this research, the results found matched with previous literature, showing that third-party websites for events are not used very often by event organisers. These websites were seen as too expensive, too complicated to use, too long and too impersonal. Furthermore, the findings indicated that instead of using third party websites, event organisers used venues websites, conference-search websites and their personal connections to get information about venues, and that they were calling venues, sending emails or arranging meetings in order to book event-space.


The participants also outlined some ideas that third-party websites should use to improve their sales and their collaboration with event organisers. Indeed, it was developed that they should offer some promotions for event organisers after a certain amount of bookings such as vouchers or a reduction of price for the next reservation. Indeed, the study has shown that event organisers would be more willing to work with third-party websites if they were gaining something in return.

The last part of the discussion was focusing on the main criteria that event organisers were looking at when they were searching for venues. Once again, the findings were matching with previous literature. Overall, the location and accessibility, the price, the quality of service and infrastructures and the destination image were the main criteria to select a venue. Indeed, it has been found that the event-space must fit the event in terms of theme, atmosphere and capacity.

Managerial implications were then developed in this research in order to help hotels improving their sales. It focused on the main points discussed during the interviews such as the fact that hotels should focus on other distribution channels for their corporate events because third-party websites were not effective enough. It was also found that they should focus on building strong relationships with event organisers, on developing their website to attract better event organisers, on offering promotions to event organisers after a certain amount of bookings, and on promoting better the different opportunities available around the venue (such as site-seeing, restaurants, bars, etc.).

Limitations and further research were finally discussed, showing what could be done in the future in order to study more in depth the subject and to complete it by researching as well the effectiveness of third-party websites for leisure customers. It was also suggested to use a larger sample in order to be able to generalise the data at the end of the future research.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

Picture by Hilton London Metropole (via Facebook)

March special feature: venue of the day

Thanks for joining me this March for the “venue of the day” feature. After visiting so many venues over last two years, I have realised that I still have so much to share with you, be it a story or a picture that didn’t go on the blog. So, sharing with you these venues on Instagram and Facebook seemed as the right way to go to complete this gap. All the venues you have seen I visited on different occasions and while some are very luxurious and exclusive, such as The Shard, others are very casual for community events, such as Timberyard Old Street.

All 31 venues are listed below. I really hope you have enjoyed this feature, as much as I did, and I will be back soon with more surprises (and venues, of course). If you liked this and would like to see more of it, or have any suggestion, please let me know by commenting below. I am constantly aiming to make this blog the best source of information and inspiration for you, enjoy!

1 – Old Billingsgate

Kicking off “venue of the day” feature when every day I’ll share with you venues for small and big events or even just for an after work get together. I want to start with the Old Billingsgate – a venue I’ve been to several times for the Square Meal – Venues & Events show, an exhibition for event planners and suppliers. I love this venue because it’s very central with stunning views over London Bridge and the Shard and reminds visitors of the historic London. Did you know that it used to be world’s famous fish market before it was transformed into event space? In 1982 the fish market was relocated to Canary Wharf.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

2 – Regent’s University London

Have you ever considered an academic venue for your event? If not – think again. Back in January I attended the International Partners’ Conference at Regent’s University London and it exceeded all my expectation. Modern facilities, five event spaces & large number of classrooms with fully equipped AV, multiple catering facilities on site, very central location and extended list of preferred suppliers! That’s where I studies International Events Management so high standards and know-how guaranteed, too.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

3 – ExCeL London

This conference centre is one of my favourites and I usually visit it during the World Travel Market. It isn’t central, but easily accessible from London city via tube/ Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and even cable car. It has stunning views over The O2 Arena and Canary Wharf. I like the venue because it’s easy to navigate between the exhibition halls and they have great seminar rooms upstairs and dedicated media centre. But what I like the most is the varied and value-for-money catering offer they have on-site.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

4 – The Scotch Whisky Experience

When in Edinburgh don’t miss out on including The Scotch Whisky Experience in your programme. After our tour (back in 2012) and whisky tasting class we had a very delicious lunch at their on-site restaurant. The venue is just next to the iconic Edinburgh Castle – so you can do both in one go!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

5 – Public events

Shout out to all public events in London! National celebrations, public viewings, sports and community events, there is always something for everyone. With a small picnic and good company of friends every event rocks! My favourite event is BNY Mellon Boat Races, which takes place this year on the 11th of April. It’s recommended to arrive about 4 – 5 before the race and enjoy the cheerful atmosphere!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

6 – The Shard

The Shard has officially announced its opening for corporate and private event hire last week! The space is located on the upper levels 69 and 72 from where you’ll have the most stunning views over London. But the experience begins already when you enter the venue. You’re exposed to animated maps, screens and graphics storytelling the historic context of The Shard and its surrounding before taking the lift to level 33. Then at the “Transfer zone” you’re led through an all-enveloping graffiti word map of London. If you have some minutes to spare before the transfer you can test your London knowledge as you go through. 

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

7 – 8 Northumberland Avenue

8 Northumberland Avenue is the first to offer 3D Holographic Technology on-site in London. It creates very unique experience and I had the chance to see it back in 2013 during a site-visit. To experience it you don’t even need 3D glasses and can capture the images with your camera. Perfect for product launches, presentations, pitches and even concerts.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

8 – Tobacco Dock

I visited Tobacco Dock only once for the FEAST food festival last year and absolutely loved it! Dating to the early 19th century and built in the propose to serve as a warehouse for the receipt and storage of goods, it was re-launched in 2012 as an event space. I particularly liked the fact that over two floors you can run different event functions (dining, music, entertainment) and the outdoor space which is excellent for sunny days. The ship statue by the entrance reminds of the venue’s history. Great for large scale events.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

9 – Manchester Metropolitan University

In recent years academic venues become more and more popular for events. Not only they offer competitive rates but they have fully equipped conference facilities and established relations with catering, AV and other suppliers. Last year I had the chance to visit the Benzie Building at Manchester School of Art in Manchester (Manchester Metropolitan University Conference and Events) and it’s a real gem. It almost felt like being in a museum rather than a university! One of the things that caught my attention was the concrete wallpaper pillars in the main event hall and the pattern on them – I’m sure that this and other pieces of art created by students will impress you, too.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

10 – L’Abbaye de Fontevraud

If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that I like to feature unique venues. I’m happy to see that more and more venues recognise the benefits of offering their space for events and reach out to larger audience. This time I want to present L’Abbaye de Fontevraud near Angers, France. What used to be a cloister is now transferred to be a destination, Cité Idéale (ideal city). At first, when we’ve been told that it used to be a monastery, my first thought was that it’s the “retreat” type of venue. But that was the complete opposite. It’s a destination up to the highest standard you can imagine. It’s where you find heritage and technology, modern and ancient, past and future, tradition and innovation, simplicity and luxury. The design of this dining room where we had our group dinner gives a gentle reminder of the monastic atmosphere of the past. Can’t recommend enough!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

11 – The Banking Hall

The Banking Hall in the heart of London’s financial district is truly charming venue which I discovered last year when I visited the London Christmas Party Show. Hope to host my own Christmas party there one day!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

12 – Hilton, Munich Airport

This venue is from my very first blog article in 2011 – Kempinski Hotel Airport Munich – which I visited for the first ever Kempinski Career Day and wrote the article about the event and hotels facilities. Recently I’ve found out that since January 2015 it officially belongs to the Hilton group. The real palm trees in hotel’s Atrium are the highlight of this venue!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

13 – Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

Looking for a venue with a view? Ace Hotel London Shoreditch is a chic and modern boutique hotel with this stunning view perfect for a summer BBQ (visited the venue back in September). Not long to go until we can enjoy drinks on the terrace, spring is in the air!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

14 – Château de Crémat

This venue is for all fashion enthusiasts. Did you know that Château de Crémat in Nice, France, is the birthplace of the worldwide famous Chanel logo? Legend says that Coco Chanel was good friend of the owner and attended many parties at the castle. Their CC logo inspired her to use it for her new perfume, which later on she registered as a trademark and the rest is history.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

15 – Den Blå Planet

Truly amazing venue I visited during the MIND event last December. It’s an absolutely unique experience having dinner among hundreds of these beautiful and fascinating species and at the same time relaxing and educating.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

16 –  Google Campus

The old good Google Campus is the favourite venue for all #eventtech community events. Was honoured to be part of the panel on two occasions and share my blogging experience with event planners.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

17 – Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

The team at Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers has lots of creativity! Instead of the standard site-visit during MIND event last December, they set up three rooms in different themes. This one is a room of a business traveller, another had a romantic set-up, and last one had a Fifty Shades of Grey theme (which I’ve published last month ;)) No way you forget this site-visit, such a great idea!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

18 – The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club in Liverpool is where the Beatles were playing every night before they got discovered and received international exposure. On my last trip to Liverpool in 2011 we had a fun team building activity singing and playing on the same stage as the Beatles. We had a fantastic lead band which supported the activity and we even discovered hidden talent among the team.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

19 – Level39

Level39 is another venue, besides google campus, famous for start-up events in London. Nothing beats this spectacular view. Just WOW.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

20 – Zelo’s

Zelo’s in Monaco is a chic and modern restaurant and events space which is located just above the congress centre Grimaldi Forum. It’s a favourite party location on weekends but can be also privatised for events. And the view is truly amazing, too!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

21 –  Zefi

Weekend’s pick is Zefi in west London where I was for friend’s bday. Casual, great atmosphere and company (sorry for the bad image quality!) 

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

22 – Four Seasons Canary Wharf

The Four Seasons Canary Wharf is one of three in the UK, other two are London Park Lane and Hampshire. I had the pleasure visiting the venue on two occasions and network with other event planners and meet some of their partners. Be it a corporate event or personal celebration, Four Seasons offers modern luxury for today’s savvy customers.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

23 – Nice Observatory

By now some of you might have seen this venue in the latest movie by Woody Allen, Magic in the Moonlight. I’m not sure what makes this venue more unique, the fact that it was in Woody Allen’s film or that it’s an observatory, but the venue is a real gem. It’s located high up on the summit of Mont Gros from where you have a magnificent view over Nice, France!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

24 – Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco (SBM)

The Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco (SBM) is a major player in the Monaco tourism, culture and entertainment industries and is a ‘one stop shop’ for MICE in Monaco including ,among others, a Beach Club, 23 tennis courts, 18-hole golf course overlooking the sea, 5 casinos and 2 night-clubs. The SBM group has so much to offer, would be impossible to visit all of the venues in five days I spent there last summer, but good reason to come back!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

25 – Château de la Perrière

In Angers they save the best for last. After three intensive days of site-visits and exhibition we had a surprise event at Château de la Perrière and all got dressed up! Instead of a formal dinner (as you would expect in a castle ;)) it was a rich buffet of cold and warm appetizers and desserts, sushi station and open bar. Shortly after everyone arrived the DJ opened the dance floor and we just enjoyed ourselves, great way to finish corporate event!

P.S. – This picture was taken by a drone to capture the castle in the background. Lately we talk about this event tech and this is a perfect example how to use it at events. Photo credit to Helidrone Ouest.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

26 – ArcelorMittal Orbit

Some people love its design while others don’t understand it. I visited it back in 2012 during the London Olympics and indeed it has beautiful views over the Park and London. As event planners we always look for interesting and unique venues and The Orbit perfectly falls into this category. It was created by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as an entry to a 2009 competition to design an iconic tower for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and when accepted it cost £22.3 million to build! During the day it’s open to the public and afterwards operates as an event venue.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

27 – Château Soucherie

There’s no trip to France without some good wine tasting, right? Today “travelling” back to Angers and presenting another unique venue, the vineyard Château Soucherie. During the two hours we were there we tasted only two wines and the rest discussed flavours, regions, did blind tasting accompanied with good food. To conclude our activity we opened a bottle of Prosecco with a knife, a common French tradition called Sabrage and usually used for celebrations. That was such a perfect day, with blue sky and good wine, couldn’t ask for more.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

28 – Timberyard Old Street

Not only Timberyard Old Street is one of my favourite coffee places in London, downstairs they have space that can be privatised for events (that’s how I discovered it). Perfect location for small community events and excellent coffee guaranteed!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

29 – Sunborn Yacht Hotel

One of the latest venue openings in London is the luxurious Sunborn Yacht hotel which I visited during World Travel Market last November for Rio CVB event. Ideal location if you want to combine your event with major events at the ExCeL so it’s just a walking distance for your attendees.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

30 – The Dartmouth House

The Dartmouth House in the heart London’s Mayfair is a luxurious and historic venue for corporate events and private celebrations. If you want a truly authentic British experience that’s the right venue for your event!

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

31 – One Horse Guards

One Horse Guards, part of One Events collection is a lovely and central venue, overlooking London Eye and just walking distance from Big Ben. With this venue I’m wrapping up this venue of the day March feature, hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll be back soon with more surprises (and venues, of course).

If you liked this and would like to see more of it, or have any suggestion, feel free to let me know. Thank you for your ongoing support and I’m constantly aiming to make this blog the best source of information and inspiration for you.

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

Which one is your favourite?

Corporate Away Days at the Old Manor Hotel


Located in Bradford on Avon, just about two hours’ drive from London and about one hour from Bristol, I discovered this gem – The Old Manor Hotel. In June 2013, when the hotel was acquired by a hotel veteran Tudor Hopkins, it also opened its doors to host events, and among others, corporate away days.

Accommodation and facilities

Nothing encourages creativity and increases team building effectiveness as taking the employees somewhere away from the usual environment and the big city hassle. Located on the countryside just outside Bath, the 500 year old house was transformed into a hotel and is a perfect location for such getaways for small to medium size groups.

It has 21 rooms and event space that can accommodate up to 85 delegates in the three different event spaces:

1. Drawing Room: Theatre 15/ Boardroom 14

2. The Milking Parlour: Theatre 65/ Boardroom 25



3. Greenhouse Marquee: Theatre 85/ Boardroom 45



Of course, you can also have an exclusive hire of all the hotel facilities and event space.



Outdoor and indoor activities

There is also a two acre paddock belonging to the hotel which is perfect for outdoor team building activities. You have the convenience of combining outdoor and indoor activities without major logistical challenges (e.g. – lunch break, splitting the groups etc.). The range of outdoors programs include: Archery, Speed Shooting, Air Rifles Target Shooting, Laser Clays, Falconry and Axe Throwing. The hotel cooperates with a local incentive company Teampursuits and can assist you with designing the right corporate teambuilding or leisure events and support you on site.


You can use one of the three event spaces mentioned above for an indoor seminar, wine tasting, training or other team exercises. After a long day when you just want to chill and have a pint of local ale The Old Manor has an on-site bar with a large selection of drinks.



The menu is designed by Matthew Briddon, one of the UK’s top Chefs. After working in renowned restaurants, Matthew Briddon took over The Old Manor’s kitchen and designed the menu based on local and seasonal ingredients from hotel’s own garden. In addition there is an on-site smokery and you will definitely find smoked salmon on the menu. I had the pleasure of tasting the fine dining 5- course degustation menu:

Amuse Bouche


 Pickled beetroots, whipped goat’s cheese, roast nuts, brown bread and a garden herb crumb


Chefs Home cured hay smoked salmon, pea salad, herb crème


Butchers Block


Treacle Tarte


My power breakfast





If you choose to stay longer, there are also other activities to consider, such as visiting the near city of Bath Spa and Stonehenge. I would definitely recommend to hire a coach rather than using a public transport.

At the moment, the hotel develops additional food and beverage related projects, such as its own herb garden and flavored gin. Good reason to visit again!

Getting back to London and the London traffic reminded me how much I needed this getaway!  With all the technology and social media, it’s good to take a break from it all and get closer to nature.

Note: The hotel offers its facilities also for other events, such as weddings (19 weddings are already booked for 2014!), birthdays and other celebrations. You can stay up to date by following The Old Manor on Facebook and Twitter.

A big thank you to The Old Manor Hotel who hosted me and showed me around. All opinions expressed above are mine. For prices, packages and availability please contact the hotel directly.