BY CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
Why business travel needn’t mean bland
8 of the best venues for messing around in boats
Your checklist for this season’s al fresco events
The changing face of business in Aberdeen, Scotland’s ‘Granite City’ 000_ISSUE16_COVER.indd 1
Events to inspire in venues that will impress
DE VERE G RA ND CO NNA U G H T RO OMS Holborn, WC2B 5DA
At De Vere, we’re proud to provide memorable venues for meetings and events of all sizes in central London. Whether you’re looking for somewhere grand and historic or a space that’s stylish and contemporary, our venues are flexible enough to accommodate all kinds of events. From large scale conferences and glamorous award ceremonies or exhibitions, to intimate board meetings and team training days, our venues will impress. Alongside De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms we also have De Vere West One, De Vere Canary Wharf, De Vere Devonport House and De Vere Holborn Bars.
FOR MOR E I N F O R M AT I O N , P LE A S E CO NTAC T CA P I TA T R AVE L A ND E VE N TS
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Contents 005 Welcome Capita Travel and Events’ Gail Bamforth introduces our latest issue of Destination
IN BRIEF 008 10 things to take on board We round up the latest business travel, meetings and events news 009 Service update Don’t miss the most recent updates from Capita Travel and Events 011
Have you tried? Ultra-compact hotel rooms for the efficient business traveller News digest New venues you need to know and the lowdown on big brands
A to B: Edinburgh Airport The facts and figures behind Britain’s fastest-growing airport
Zeitgeist Network like the business elite at laid-back, invite-only retreats
Talking point Can peer-to-peer accommodation rentals work for business travel?
Around the world Innovation underpins business in glamorous Lisbon 10 top Tips for staying safe on the move, from the City of Westminster Police
020 That figures We’ve delved into the data from countless customer journeys to find ways of Smarter Working
Our selection of waterside and nautical venues is guaranteed to float your boat
FEATURES 024 Destination: Aberdeen It’s not just about oil – Scotland’s third city is diversifying to lure in business travellers 030 Briefing: Independent thinking Insight on what unique and independent properties can add to your travel policy 038 The guide: Brighton Where to work, meet and entertain in one of Britain’s best-loved resorts 041
Eight of the best Water-themed hotels and venues
058 In the event Your checklist for successful outdoor events 061 Day in the life Award-winning chef Adam Reid on life at The French, a restaurant at The Midland hotel, Manchester 062 Travellers’ tales Our experts sample the delights of Boston, Montreal and Iceland
044 Must-have stress busters What to pack to boost sleep, relaxation and energy levels
064 Case notes Could our Events Hub technology help your events work smarter?
048 Check in: Coombe Abbey Historic character is guaranteed at this Warwickshire gem
066 Fit to fly Work out or unwind before take-off at these airport wellbeing hubs
056 Travel clinic We ask the experts to tackle your travel and meetings dilemmas
Sci-Fi Writers Guild Workshop. Radisson Blu Hotel, Leeds.
WHATEVER THE STORY, TRUST US TO HELP TELL YOURS.
E X P E R I E N C E M E E T I N G S AT R A D I S S O N B L U . A S C O M M I T T E D A S YO U A R E . radissonblu.com/meetings
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Capita Travel and Events Head of marketing Neal Poole Senior marketing executive Suzi Johnson Marketing executive Toni Byrne Think Group editor Claire Sargent Deputy editor Gaby Lane Deputy chief sub-editor Marion Thompson Editorial assistant Elizabeth Oliver Art director George Walker Designer Alix Thomazi Account director Rachel Walder Managing director Polly Arnold Destination © 2017 ISSN 2052-4536
COVER IMAGE: COURTESY OF VISITABERDEENSHIRE (VISITABDN.COM)
Published on behalf of Capita Travel and Events by Think Capital House 25 Chapel Street London NW1 5DH 020 3771 7200 destination@ thinkpublishing.co.uk destinationonline.co.uk Printed by Full Spectrum, Basildon
Capita Travel and Events Meridian Court, 18 Stanier Way Wyvern Business Park Derby DE21 6BF 0330 390 0340 Calls will cost 13 pence per minute, plus your telephone company’s access charge email@example.com @CapTravelEvents capitatravelevents.co.uk Capita Travel and Events does not necessarily agree with, nor guarantee the accuracy of, statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any opinions they may express in this publication.
UNIQUE CHARACTER From castles to conferencing, discover our independent venues on page 30
Welcome I joined Capita Travel and Events at the end of 2015 and, to put it simply, my role is all about delivering change. The travel industry is going through a period of incredible change right now, and I am responsible for making sure we are at the forefront of that; whether that means providing exemplary endto-end customer service and seamless booking processes, to supporting travellers on the move, providing fuss-free billback and financial services, and developing our internal teams to stay at the very top of our game. Business travel is an emotional purchase. People can be travelling long distances, away from their families, so we need to ensure they are having the best possible experiences. Our Smarter Working strategy is all about understanding why individuals travel, how this impacts people and organisations, and how we can help deliver changes that improve the outcomes for everyone – learn more on page 20. Safety is also at the heart of what we do. In these times of heightened risk, having
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Chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Capita Travel and Events
the right information and support systems in place to help travellers in a crisis is more important than ever. After the terrorist attack on Westminster in March, we supported more than 4,000 business travellers in the capital, while in the wake of May’s Manchester bombing, we kept around 1,600 people updated and supported their onward travel plans. Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more. And for some tips on looking after your personal safety on the move, turn to page 19. Our business is built on the fantastic relationships we have with our customers and suppliers. We not only work with all the big hotel and venue brands you’d expect, but also partner with many independent properties to bring you the widest possible choice – see page 30. Wherever you’re off to next, Get the latest business here’s to safe and travel insights direct to happy travels your inbox every month with this summer. the Destination newsletter –
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Journey times based on route between London Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 3. Data sources: Google Maps for journey time by Taxi, TfL Journey Planner for journey time by Tube and Heathrow Express. For Tube, the journey time represents an average, based on estimated best journey times shown on TfL Journey Planner on the hour every hour from 5am to 10pm for each day of February 2017. For Taxi, the journey time represents an average, based on an estimated range of journey times shown on Google Maps on the hour every hour from 5am to 10pm for each day of February 2017. For full terms and conditions visit heathrowexpress.com
Lisbon is a key centre for business, a tradition that can be traced back centuries to when Praça Do Comércio (Commercial Square) was a hub for traders and financiers
Your round-up of news, views, trends, tips and must-know insights from across the travel, accommodation, meetings and events industry INDUSTRY UPDATES
SAVVY MICRO HOTELS
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10 things to take on board OUR ROUND-UP OF TOP INDUSTRY STORIES FROM THE PAST FEW MONTHS
London Stansted Airport has received planning permission for a £130m redevelopment. The sum will be used for a 34,000m2 arrivals building that will improve the passenger experience with larger immigration and baggage-claim areas and more shops. The existing terminal will become a departures building. The work starts this summer with an increase in the number of check-in desks and more seating.
More business travellers are using Eurostar to travel to Europe this year. The number of customers travelling to work on the train service has increased by 4% since 2016. Business Premier tickets include a speedy 10-minute check-in and a three-course meal.
Somerset House is to hire out its largest blank canvas events venue this autumn and winter. The unfurnished space runs the length of the South Wing across two floors and can accommodate 800 people standing. The prestigious area has never been available for such a length of time before.
Travelodge is now more popular for business travel than for leisure. The budget hotel brand recently revealed that more than 50% of its business comes from corporate customers. Historically, the figure was 45%. Travelodge says the growth is down to its popular city-centre locations and increasing focus on cost.
Above: Somerset House is hiring out its South Wing for the first time. Below: London City Airport’s Business Lounge opens
A double-decker train design could become a reality in Britain. A 250mph, two-floor bullet train called AeroLiner3000 is one of the finalists in the Tomorrow’s Train Design Today competition, run by the Rail Safety and Standards Board with the Department for Transport. If funding is granted, the designer says it could be operational by 2020, and carry 1,400 people.
Blackpool is to get a new conference and exhibition centre. Built as part of the Winter Gardens complex, it will be able to host 7,000 people across two floors and could be completed by spring 2019. It would also include a hotel for visiting delegates, reaffirming the city’s place on the conference map.
The Business Lounge at London City Airport is now open. Based at the Private Jet Centre, the comfortable space is accessible for all passengers and includes refreshments, a meeting room and shower facilities.
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IN BRIEF NEWS DIGEST
Ibis has opened its first micro hotel rooms. Suitable for business travellers needing a short stay at low cost (see page 11), the snug Nest room measures 12m2 with storage space under the bed and high-speed WiFi. It costs just £55 per night and will first be available at Ibis Budget London Whitechapel.
Healthy food, beanbag chairs and outdoor space are part of the meeting room of the future. Home-style settings, nutritious snacks that give delegates the freedom to network and openair spaces were cited by venues as popular requests in an international survey by American body International Association of Conference Centers.
Cross Country Trains has sold its millionth advance ticket for the day of travel. The service allows rail passengers to book journeys at a discounted rate up to 15 minutes before their departure time. It’s proved popular with business travellers with openended meetings who need to book at relatively short notice.
SERVICE UPDATE THE LATEST NEWS FROM CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS New acquisitions We are pleased to announce that Capita plc has acquired York-based company NYS Corporate Limited. The specialist events and meetings agency brings innovative technology into the business travel and events fold. NYS Corporate will continue to operate under its own brand name. James Parkhouse, chief executive officer of Capita Travel and Events, says: “The acquisition of NYS Corporate will add significant value to our customers and partners, further enabling us to help make their business events, meetings and travel smarter through the
application of both quantitative and qualitative insight.” Capita partners with Concur Earlier in the year we partnered with software provider Concur to combine our range of hotel and rail offerings. Since then we’ve been evolving our technology around our customers, with hightech mobile and online booking capabilities. The collaboration addresses the growing trends of mobile booking, non-GDS content reliance and an emphasis on the sharing economy. We’re on the A List On Wednesday 3 May at an exclusive bash at The Ned
(pictured below), a brandnew London hotel and club, Conference & Incentive Travel magazine (C&IT) launched its annual A List. The A List highlights the top 35 UK event agency professionals aged up to 35. Our very own Stockportbased event manager, Claire Garlick, is a star of the 2017 A List. Kim Collins, director of events, says: “Claire is dedicated to her profession, her team and our customers. She is a
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respected and valued member of our team.” Warm welcome Capita Travel and Events has welcomed Darren Shakespeare in a new creative director role. This will benefit customers who need event design inspiration without eyewatering budgets. Darren’s 15 years of combined studio, in-house and design experience will fill the gap for customers as part of our free creative consultancy process.
Get onboard to Boston The Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines® partnership means we now fly direct from London Heathrow to Boston twice a day. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class or Delta oneTM, and experience innovative products and services just perfect for business travel. Stay connected with onboard WiFi* or relax with the latest movies as you enjoy our delicious selection of contemporary cuisine and wine. Wherever you’re flying, you’ll arrive refreshed thanks to our super comfy, fully flat beds. For more information, contact Capita Travel and Events
IN BRIEF H AV E Y O U T R I E D ?
The micro hotel A NEW TREND REPORT SAYS BUSINESS TRAVELLERS ARE FUELLING DEMAND FOR MINIMALIST, COMPACT ACCOMMODATION. THINK SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED… Thanks to the popularity of smart hotels – think chatbots, virtual check-in and high-tech in-room features – you could be forgiven for thinking 2 accommodation Size of the average is becoming ever budget hotel room grander and more sophisticated. However, a new report from analysis firm Future 2 Market Insights indicates The smallest micro 2017 might be the year hotel room size of the ‘micro hotel’. The term refers to properties with smaller rooms and minimal amenities that don’t compromise on style. Rooms typically provide queen-sized beds, fine linen and Above: citizenM modern bathrooms in a cosy space, Tower of London’s leading to cost-cutting for your rooms are compact yet bottom line. comfortable and “Although there is no standard offer unrivalled definition for micro hotels, usually views of London they have rooms that are as small as 4.6-13.9m2,” explains Medha Gupta, senior consultant for travel
and tourism at Future Market Insights. “The idea is to offer the basic necessities to travellers at an affordable price.” Extreme micro hotels In cities such as Kyoto, the trend is taken to the extreme; business travellers can hire pods at ‘capsule hotels’ that measure the same size as a single bed and contain a sleeping platform, light and power point. The option used to be an essential; “a place you could park yourself on a short business trip”, as Gupta puts it. However: “Thanks to favourable reviews, micro hotels have come to be associated with the smart millennial who chooses substance over grandeur.” Business travellers are also fuelling that demand. Firstly, that’s because space is often at a premium in big business hubs such as Hong Kong and New York. Secondly, work trips are usually activity- and people-focused: 011
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“On average, business travellers stay in a hotel for only nine hours, and therefore demand minimal amenities; micro hotels are able to offer these at a very competitive price,“ says Gupta. “So for organisations looking to reduce their travel expenses, micro hotels are a feasible option.” Small spaces, big ideas Although not quite as ‘micro’ as the tube-like accommodation seen in Japan, the UK has welcomed its first micro hotels in recent years. Moxy hotel rooms typically measure 17m2, in comparison to a budget hotel room’s average of 27m2, but standards and quality are kept high. As we reported last issue, the brand invests in colourful design and funky communal living spaces to ensure great guest experiences. Elsewhere, citizenM Tower of London offers one of the best views of the London skyline from its wall-to-wall windows. With 2m-long, wall-to-wall beds, it’s also been kitted out with ambient lighting and rain showers. The size of the rooms? As the hotel says on its website: Not quite large enough to swing a cat. DESTINATIONONLINE.CO.UK
Behind the brand LAST YEAR, SERVICED APARTMENT PROVIDER SILVERDOOR BOOKED STAYS TOTALLING MORE THAN 1,000 YEARS. ITS CAREFUL PROPERTY VETTING AND ACCESS TO FAR-FLUNG LOCATIONS MAKE IT A SOUND CHOICE FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS SILVERDOOR
What to expect SilverDoor offers access to more than 170,000 serviced apartments in 562 cities, including Frankfurt, Manchester, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Its partner relations team flies out to the properties and ensures they’re more than up to scratch. There’s added space (a one-bedroom apartment is usually twice the size of a hotel room), privacy and a weekly maid service. The team also vows to find options in ‘almost any location’ on Earth. Staying over? The options are endless: apartments range from studios with kitchens to flats with three or four bedrooms, which might be ideal for colleagues to share. Look out for SilverDoor aparthotels, too – spacious
properties with the added extras you’d normally find in a hotel, such as a 24-hour reception and gym. Where to stay Citadines Ópera Paris is a chic aparthotel in the city’s Richelieu-Drouot district. It’s just five minutes from prestigious and architecturally striking events venue Palais Brongniart – the former 19th-century stock exchange – and two minutes to the local metro station. Apartments range from contemporary – think flashes of fuchsia and monochrome flagstone floors – to sophisticated, with cream wingback chairs and modern four-poster beds, and there’s an internal courtyard, breakfast service and concierge, too.
The facts • 2000 was the year SilverDoor was founded • 378,688 room nights were booked with SilverDoor last year • 170,000 serviced apartments are on the books • 1 award for Business of the Year at the Association of Serviced Apartments Providers Awards 2016
New and next
OUR EXPERTS ARE IN THE KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST HOTEL AND VENUE OPENINGS. HERE ARE THREE OF THEIR TOP PICKS TO LOOK OUT FOR
BOOK IT NOW
Ibis Styles Manchester Portland Hotel, Manchester
Inspired by the British weather (yes, really!) the Ibis Styles has opened near Manchester’s Northern Quarter, complete with umbrella art installations, sunshineyellow doors, mock-grass seats and leaf-printed floors. Affordable and quirky, the 229 cosy guestrooms are furnished with the brand’s own super comfy Sweet Beds™. The central location – five minutes from Manchester Piccadilly station – is convenient, while the adjacent Jamboree Foodfest & Bar is a casual place to dine after a long day. ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
A TO B
FIND OUT ABOUT SCOTLAND’S BUSIEST AIRPORT IN NUMBERS
GROWTH IN PASSENGER NUMBERS BETWEEN 2015 AND 2016, MAKING IT THE FASTEST-GROWING UK AIRPORT
£250m AMOUNT THAT WILL BE INVESTED IN IMPROVING THE AIRPORT IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS, INCLUDING MORE RETAIL OUTLETS AND NEW CHECK-IN FACILITIES
NUMBER OF FLIGHT ROUTES SERVICED
LENGTH OF THE MAIN RUNWAY AT THE AIRPORT
YEAR THE AIRPORT OPENED
NUMBER OF FLIGHTS PER DAY TO AND FROM LONDON, ON AVERAGE
DID YOU KNOW? London Stansted is the most popular UK destination for Edinburgh flights, while Dublin is the most popular overseas destination
IN BRIEF NEWS DIGEST
Edinburgh Airport 21%
NUMBER OF PASSENGERS THAT USED THE AIRPORT IN 2016
Principal London, Bloomsbury
Promising ‘five-star luxury for the modern traveller’, the Principal London (formerly the Hotel Russell) will be fully open in September 2017. The revitalised property will offer 334 guestrooms and nine meeting and event spaces, including a ballroom that accommodates 450. While the décor will be classical – think monogramming, elegant drapes and dark woods – Principal is also investing heavily in tech capabilities, which are sure to pack a punch, too. Superfast WiFi will power all of your business needs. Expect the glamorous Palm Court restaurant, coffee house and bar to become social hubs.
ONE TO WATCH As-yet-unnamed Clyde Dixon hotel, Glasgow
The first images of a £20m hotel next to the River Clyde in Glasgow show what we can expect when work starts in autumn 2017. The 150-bed property will reach 17 storeys high and sit at the end of Glasgow’s main shopping precinct, Buchanan Street. Billed as a modern landmark, thanks to its ship- and crane-inspired architecture, plans show shops and restaurants on the ground floor and a rooftop bar that will be open to the public. It’s tipped to open in 2018 and will be developed by Clyde Dixon Land and Property. 013
Elite retreats WHEN IT COMES TO NETWORKING, TOP BUSINESS LEADERS ARE DITCHING THE BOARDROOM FOR THE BEACH. JUST DON’T FORGET YOUR FLIP-FLOPS…
Preferred programme A list of approved properties for an organisation’s employees to use, where we will have negotiated rates, payment terms and extras (and often a level of guaranteed room availability), based on the company’s and its travellers’ needs.
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With a friend request here and a LinkedIn connection there, business networking has been made easy and instantaneous by social media. However, there are signs that what we want from the experience is changing. In her new book, Now we are 40: Whatever Happened to Generation X? (HarperCollins), former Sunday Times Style editor Tiffanie Darke has lifted the lid on how some of the world’s most successful people like to meet. Elusive techie types are rendezvousing with like-minded people in off-the-beatentrack locations (we’re looking at you, Google Camp). Picture midnight feasts and meditation before talks by futurologists, and you’re on the right lines. The tech and media event Stream recently held its self-styled ‘digital unconferences’ in Greece and Thailand, with beachfront walks punctuating daily discussions. Founders Forum is a regular gathering of entrepreneurs who lead companies valued in excess of US$500m, which includes live music and food at exclusive addresses in London,
New York and Rome, and promises ‘cultivated serendipity’. Set the out-of-office So, what can we learn from the big players’ business retreats? Events that are invite-only and deliberately off the radar can work well. “Often, people want to discuss ideas that challenge [the status quo],” says Darke. “But they want to do so in environments where they are not going to be held to account by an angry social media mob.” Think far-flung locations – be they rural hideaways, spa retreats or tropical sands – and low-key, flip-flopfriendly occasions. “It’s very much the American West Coast work vibe,” says Darke. “It helps promote a flatter hierarchy and an easier flow of ideas.” There’s one last bonus with a camp-style networking event, too: “Most people work really hard 24/7 now, so work camps need to feel like something of a holiday,” she adds. “Even if they are helping you to have the best ideas you’ve had all year.”
Preregistration The process of booking in for an event before the day itself, which can speed up checkin times on the day, attract delegates with early-bird discounts and provide organisers with useful advance info. See page 64 for more tips on event management. 014
IN BRIEF TA L K I N G P O I N T
Can peer-to-peer accommodation work for business travel? PEER-TO-PEER PROVIDERS, SUCH AS AIRBNB AND ONEFINESTAY, GIVE VISITORS THE CHANCE TO STAY IN THE HOMES OF OTHERS ACROSS THE WORLD. HERE, TWO INDUSTRY INSIDERS SHARE THEIR VIEWS ON WHAT THEY CAN OFFER THE CURIOUS BUSINESS TRAVELLER
Peer-to-peer offers variety When you travel for business, you’re still a person with your own preferences. People are happy to use peerto-peer accommodation in their personal lives. Therefore, they should be given as much choice as possible when travelling for business, so they feel happy and empowered. Peer-to-peer platforms have made an effort to understand what business travellers want. Airbnb, for example, has curated amenities and shows certain homes as ‘business travel-friendly’. These homes include WiFi, a laptop-friendly workspace and other elements common to a hotel to make a stay convenient. Peer-to-peer accommodation offers variety. Unlike some branded hotels, each flat or house has a different look and feel; when staying in someone’s home, you feel at home. You’re able to relax and have more space than when in a hotel room.
Hotels are good places to network
One of the biggest benefits is cost. In major cities, hotel prices can be high and you may also be paying more for food at restaurants. Having your own kitchen at a home away from home allows you to make breakfast and dinner if you want to. There are more peer-topeer properties in different locations. While hotels might be concentrated in a city centre, homes are also scattered throughout suburbs – there are more locations and an opportunity to explore other neighbourhoods. Reviews of peer-to-peer properties help give you peace of mind. There are fewer regulations for homestays than for hotels, but the platforms do list reviews of a host. Those reviews are what organisations should be thinking about: you could incorporate a certain review rating into your policy to keep standards high.
Hotel brands now offer homestay options, too. AccorHotels bought Onefinestay in 2016 and now offers budget brands, such as Ibis; midscale properties from Mercure; and luxury accommodation by Fairmont, as well as the home-rental option, to cater to all needs. Traditional hotel brands are dependable. They offer an assurance of health and safety standards, ability to track and itemise a stay, and consistent service, which corporate customers can rely on. Hotels offer great work/life balance. Whether you want to spend time in the restaurant, bar or gym after hours, hotels offer excellent amenities. For the business traveller, many of our hotels have meeting rooms, too. While Onefinestay offers an excellent concierge service, this is thanks to the attentiveness of hotel staff.
Caleb Parker, technology
Chris Roe, vice president for
and innovation chair, HBAA
sales, distribution and loyalty, UK and Ireland, AccorHotels
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A hotel might be closer to your office. In cities where real estate costs are high (such as London), peerto-peer properties are often outside of the centre – which might be further away from your office. This is less of a problem in cities like Paris where there are a large number of peer-to-peer rental properties available. Hotels are good places to network. If you want to meet like-minded travellers, you can do it in the communal areas of your hotel. Pick hotels for a short-term stay. Renting a whole house can be expensive. They’re a great choice for senior business travellers who might be working long term on a project or travelling with family, but many corporate guests will be spending a short time in a location before moving on.
Lisbon A bustling mix of ornate palaces and cobbled streets, Portugal’s capital city is a hotspot for commerce and culture THE ESSENTIALS
Time zone GMT +0 City area 84.8 sq km Population 517,802 Language Portuguese Monetary unit Euro Hottest month July (average temperature 24°C) Coolest month January (average temperature 11°C) Wettest month November (average rainfall 127.6mm)
Lisbon has always been linked with innovation. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the city was the centre of Portugal’s maritime exploration, and was known as the ‘Golden City’ of southern Europe. Today, Lisbon is a key centre for numerous industries, including finance, media and professional services. But it’s Lisbon’s emerging tech scene that’s generating global interest. Marked as a ‘city to watch’ in the 2017 Alpha Cities Index, Lisbon is a hotspot for start-ups. It was awarded the European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year in 2015, and is set to host Web Summit – ‘the largest tech conference in the world’ – in November.
WORDS BY ELIZABETH OLIVER
This sun-kissed city has plenty to offer business travellers. Lisbon Airport is located just 4.3 miles from the city, and provides connections to worldwide destinations. To get around the city, the Lisbon Tourism Association advises travellers to purchase a Lisboa Card. This city pass provides free transport on Lisbon’s metro, public buses, trams and the elevadores (funicular railways), and free or discounted entry to main sightseeing attractions. For the ultimate Lisbon experience, take tram 28 and enjoy a tour of the city’s highlights. ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
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Above right: The streets of the colourful Alfama district. Right: The landmark Tower of Belém
Lisbon’s vibrant culture is reflected in its range of conference venues. Lisbon Congress Centre, located a few minutes from the city centre, is a popular choice for business travellers. With 34 meeting rooms, eight auditoriums and five pavilions, this adaptable venue is ideal for meetings, exhibitions, fairs and congresses. FIL Lisbon Exhibition and Congress Centre is another acclaimed conference venue just seven minutes away from Lisbon Airport. This extensive centre offers 100,000m2 of multifunctional space, and an integrated Meeting Centre, complete with five meeting rooms and three auditoriums. For venues with a twist, consider the Lisbon Oceanarium, the National Coach Museum or the historic Convent of Beato
GETTING IN AND OUT Lisbon Airport • 4.3 miles north of Lisbon • 14 million passengers each year • Served by the Aerobus (every 20-30 minutes), Metro (every 5-15 minutes) and taxis • Taxis between €10-15 (journey time 15 minutes)
IN BRIEF AROUND THE WORLD
Find out more António – they can all cater for business travellers, with an added dose of character.
Plenty to explore
Lisbon’s stunning architecture, buzzing streets and nearby beaches provide an inviting backdrop. A visit to the Tower of Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery – both UNESCO World Heritage Sites – is a treat for history lovers. Or to experience a more modern Lisbon, head to the Parque das Nações expo district for shopping and sights.
For the best of Lisbon’s cuisine, treat customers to a meal at the double Michelin-starred Belcanto. Owned by acclaimed Lisbon chef José Avillez, the restaurant is famed for its modern take on traditional Portuguese recipes. At the end of the working day, enjoy a refreshing drink at the H10 Duque de Loulé. This restored 18th-century hotel has a charming rooftop bar, offering panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean and Lisbon’s hills. It’s the perfect spot to savour the sights of the city.
Top: A vintage decorative tram at Praça do Comércio. Above left: Lisbon Oceanarium, the largest indoor aquarium in Europe
To learn more about the latest global developments, or to book overseas travel, hotel stays or meetings and events, get in touch with Capita Travel and Events.
GLOBAL HAPPENINGS A WHISTLE-STOP TOUR OF INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES
Australasia Sydney has been named Australia’s number-one city for business events. The ranking was issued by the International Conference and Convention Association. Over 130,000 delegates plan to visit by 2023.
Europe Oslo Airport is the first in the world to be given an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating – a sustainability award. It uses snow as a coolant, has a 300m skylight to minimise electric lighting, and includes calming water features.
South America The South American hotel industry has reported a year-onyear reduction in hotel room rates and decline in occupancy for the first quarter of 2017. Occupancy is down 1.6% and average daily room rates by 6.1%. 017
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North America Figures from the US Travel Association show that spending on business travel by domestic and international travellers, including meetings, events and incentive trips, has reached $307.2bn each year.
Middle East and Africa The first flight route from Wales to Doha will operate from 2018. Qatar Airways will fly from Cardiff to Hamad International Airport. Ninety per cent of Welsh visitors currently fly to the UAE from London.
Asia Data from ECA International shows Tokyo is Asia’s most expensive city for business travel, overtaking Hong Kong. Kuala Lumpur is the only Asian capital to be ranked among the top 10 cheapest.
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IN BRIEF 10 TOP
Tips for staying safe on the move SERGEANT CRAIG MCMAHON OF THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER POLICE SHARES HIS SECURITY ADVICE FOR BOTH PERSONAL AND BUSINESS TRAVEL
Be vigilant. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately to the venue, or to the police. And remember that travellers are more at risk at Christmas or the summer events season, when thieves can easily blend into parties attended by non-residents.
Avoid leaving your luggage out of sight while you check in to a hotel. Thieves will take advantage of a busy lobby while you are concentrating on the check-in procedure. Leave your name and home address off bags, too. Use a work address or mobile number on them to avoid alerting thieves to the fact that your home might be empty.
Be careful about calls claiming to be from reception. Never give credit card information out over the phone if asked to confirm your details once you’ve checked in. A hotel would never ask this – but fraudsters do.
Ask hotel receptionists to write down your room number, rather than say it aloud. Burglars have been known to walk by and observe room numbers in order to make false charges in a hotel bar or restaurant – or attempt to break in to a room. For this reason, don’t leave your key fob or card on the table beside you in public areas.
For peace of mind, avoid staying on the ground floor. Hotels with doors and windows that open to the outside are more at risk from theft. UK hotels have first-class fire regulations so there’s no issue in staying on higher floors. When overseas, always check the fire and evacuation regulations, and your escape route, on arrival.
Inform reception if you are expecting a guest. Leave the name of the guest with reception (write it down), and don’t open the door to anyone you don’t know during your stay. If an individual says they are a hotel employee, you can always phone reception and check whether they are genuine. Use your door chain, if there is one.
Large items? Leave them with security. If the room safety deposit box has a keypad, I always use it. If a laptop or other device won’t fit in the safe, hotel security might take care of larger valuables in their own safe.
Be cautious when using WiFi hotspots while out and about. Criminals actively phish for information in less protected hotspot areas, so guard your personal and financial information and avoid doing any internet banking. 019
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Find out more Capita Travel and Events works in partnership with the police and supports safety on the move through its Traveller First Programme. Want to know more? Contact your Capita Travel and Events team.
Use a reputable transport company. It is not always possible to pre-book transport when business travel is last-minute. Check your company policy for approved transport providers before you travel.
If a crime happens, report it immediately. Many hotels have excellent policies and insurance in place to protect their guests and their property. If there is an incident, report it straight away and they should help you. Never travel without a personal insurance policy though – you need appropriate cover at all times. DESTINATIONONLINE.CO.UK
18% 46 YEARS OLD
MORE LIKELY TO DIVORCE
“Our research showed female travellers usually spend less on travel, but more on some incidentals – so if you want to truly understand your spend, it pays to dig into your data”
Sam Welch, director of Consulting Services, Capita Travel and Events
HAD BEEN WORKING AT THEIR COMPANY FOR
absenteeism was seen in superfrequent travellers
of business travellers are infrequent
21% more was spent by low-frequency travellers during business trips, compared to highfrequency travellers
OUR EXPERTS HAVE CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS FROM 27,000 BUSINESS TRAVELLERS TO PROVIDE POWERFUL INSIGHTS ON HOW WE CAN ALL IMPROVE WORKING
FEMALE TRAVELLERS SPENT
16% LESS MONEY
DURING BUSINESS TRIPS
OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS ANALYSED WERE FEMALE AND
62% WERE MALE
PRACTICES FOR THOSE ON THE MOVE
ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
Find out more
For more on our traveller insights, contact the Capita Travel and Events team and ask about Smarter Working
SOURCES: CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS, CAPITA COLLABORATION TECHNOLOGIES TEAM, CAPITA ITES
BOOKED TRAVEL AN AVERAGE OF 14 DAYS IN ADVANCE, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF RAIL, WHICH IS STILL ORGANISED AT THE LAST MINUTE
IN BRIEF T H AT F I G U R E S
of the UK workforce regularly work at home or away from the office
“If employees are asked to avoid non-essential travel, they often stop booking trains and taxis, but end up doing more driving instead”
Visual presentations are
34% more effective VIRTUAL COLLABORATION
car journeys were taken during company travel bans
LOST DAYS OF PRODUCTIVITY, PER CAR, PER ANNUM ON AVERAGE
of remote workers said videoconferencing made them feel more connected
30% CAN BE SAVED ON TRAVEL COSTS BY BUSINESSES USING VIRTUAL TECHNOLOGY
23 MINUTES is the average attention span of participants on an audio call 021
in achieving objectives than non-visual presentations
of businesses using virtual collaboration tools say it increased productivity
35 MINUTES is the average attention span on a videoconferencing call
3 IN 4
workers sometimes or always work on their mobile device after leaving their office for the day
Connecting the workforce through mobile devices increased employee satisfaction by 56% and workforce productivity by 55%
It’s not just about oil – Scotland’s third city is diversifying to lure business travellers and conference planners, finds Robin Gauldie ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
D E S T I N AT I O N ABERDEEN
A BLUFFER’S GUIDE
· Ben Iravani’s decision to abandon a career in engineering, launch Orchid, a sophisticated cocktail bar, and create a craft gin label seems symbolic of a city that is reinventing itself. Take your time over the inventive cocktail list. · Learn to slice and dice like a pro with the godfather of modern Scottish gastronomy at the Nick Nairn Cook School. · Sample signature craft beers and curated guest ales at BrewDog Aberdeen, flagship of the artisan brewery empire. · Watch dolphins swimming near the mouth of the Dee, from the Torry Battery viewpoint, on the south bank of the river. For an offshore adventure, hop aboard a dolphin-spotting cruise from Aberdeen Harbour with Clyde Cruises.
Clockwise from above: Lighthouse at Aberdeen Harbour; a beer-tasting session at BrewDog; Village Hotel
berdeen is sometimes called the ‘Granite City’. Even its medieval landmarks have a hard-edged look. But visit on a day when that mica-flecked granite of its city-centre buildings sparkle in the sun, and you’ll see why it’s also nicknamed the ‘Silver City’. And yes, the sun does shine on Aberdeen – daytime temperatures have been known to reach 27°C in summer. Hardy souls go windsurfing from the city’s long, sandy beach. Aberdeen has always wrested its identity from the North Sea – from fishing, shipbuilding and trade, then from its precious undersea resources. In fact, Aberdeen Harbour Board, created in 1136, is the oldest existing company in Britain. Today, the fishing fleet may have dwindled, but more than 9,000 ships use Aberdeen Harbour every year. It bustles with oil industry vessels and container ships, and a major extension of the harbour facilities is under way – part of a wave of regional regeneration.
IMAGE: COURTESY OF VISITABERDEENSHIRE (VISITABDN.COM)
We asked Stevie Brown, PR manager at VisitAberdeenshire, to recommend some great experiences and favourite places to eat and drink in the ‘Granite City’…
STAY Malmaison Aberdeen This chic boutique hotel oozes charm, style and efficiency. Rooms are spacious and decorated in a mix of softly coloured tartans and rich velvets, while beds are memorably comfortable. Perks include fluffy bathrobes, a huge TV, minibar and pampering toiletries that beg to be pocketed. The restaurant menu is another thing of beauty, featuring properly aged steaks and locally sourced seafood, and the bar lists more than 350 distinguished whiskies. Business bonus: Regular tasting sessions in the whisky snug and the champagne cellar. Private dining/ meeting rooms can accommodate groups of 8-50 people for intimate events. Doubletree by Hilton Aberdeen City Centre Midway between the centre and the AECC, and a block from the city’s beach, this low-rise hotel offers classic or premier rooms, plus a Platinum Club wing of executive rooms and suites. Business bonus: The hotel has six meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 60. Platinum Club rooms and suites have minibars stocked with free soft drinks, and some have sea views. Village Hotel Aberdeen Combining post-industrial style aspirations (lots of exposed brick and concrete) with boutique touches (a spa and luxe ESPA toiletries), a good bar and brasserie restaurant, this newcomer to the Aberdeen scene is out of town, but only six miles from the airport and the city centre. Business bonus: The hotel’s dedicated conference hub has space to host up to 200 in four fully serviced meeting rooms. But it’s not all business here: the hotel also has a top-notch gym with a 20m pool.
No more black gold
Oil and gas dominated business in Aberdeen for half a century. The discovery of the giant Forties and Brent oil fields and the Frigg gas field in 1970 and 1971 were quickly followed by the 1973 worldwide oil crisis. The price of crude quadrupled, making the North Sea even more attractive to 025
SCOT LOND Fly between Scotland and LONDON HEATHROW or LONDON CITY. We fly up to 6 times per day to London City, and up to 7 times per day to London Heathrow.
Book now through Capita Travel and Events.
flybe.com *Fares are one way including taxes and charges. Subject to availability. Available for travel until 28.02.18. No debit card fees apply. Bookings made by credit card or PayPal will incur a fee of 3% of the total transaction value, with a minimum charge of Â£5 per booking.
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By air Aberdeen International Airport is seven miles from the city centre and has links to all London airports and numerous UK and international business cities. Jet 727 airport buses take 30-40 minutes from terminal to city centre. By rail Aberdeen is just under eight hours from London King’s Cross by direct train, via Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Dundee. There are also frequent trains between Aberdeen and Glasgow and Aberdeen and Inverness. By road Aberdeen is 10-12 hours from London by road.
Investing in infrastructure
IMAGES: COURTESY OF VISITABERDEENSHIRE (VISITABDN.COM)
Above right: Marischal College buildings are a city landmark. Below: The cityscape at night
Aberdonians may be famously thrifty, but private and public sector stakeholders are pumping more than £5bn into infrastructure projects, including new road links, retail, office and residential developments, a £19m City Centre Masterplan and a £250m City Region Deal supported by the UK and Scottish governments and local councils. “There’s a lot of collaboration in the city,” says Graeme Mackay, VisitAberdeenshire’s Ambassador Programme executive.
D E S T I N AT I O N ABERDEEN
Big Oil. Aberdeen seemed to become a boom town almost overnight, as thousands of workers, technicians and oil company executives flocked to the city. In a few years, the area’s population almost doubled, making it the third-biggest city in Scotland, with a population of 230,000. Today, it’s home to one in four of Scotland’s top 100 companies and more than 600 inward investors. However, it’s a sign of the times that decommissioning will be a key part of SPE Offshore Europe 2017, the North Sea oil industry’s pivotal conference that will be held in September this year. With North Sea oil reserves running low, the focus is shifting. Aberdeen’s most optimistic promoters say the end of the oil boom may be no bad thing. For too long, some argue, other business sectors have been overshadowed by energy. Now, other areas of excellence have a chance to flourish, and older pillars of the economy, such as agriculture and shipping, are resilient. In addition, Aberdeen has been a centre of academic excellence for more than 500 years. The modern University of Aberdeen was created in 1860 by the merger of the venerable King’s College and Marischal College, and its Institute for Medical Sciences is now Europe’s biggest single-site health campus. Robert Gordon University, a relative upstart with 18th-century roots, has earned a worldwide reputation as a hotbed for technical, management and engineering studies and life sciences.
FOR EVENT PLANNERS, THE KEY ELEMENT OF THE CITY’S REGENERATION PLAN IS THE NEW ABERDEEN EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE CENTRE OPENING NEXT TO THE AIRPORT IN 2019 For event planners, the key element of this regeneration plan is the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC). Scheduled to open next to the airport in 2019, the £333m venue will have twice the capacity of the existing AECC, combining a conference centre with 47,000m2 of flexible exhibition space, a 12,500 capacity arena and three hotels. Meanwhile, Aberdeen International Airport is undergoing a £20m transformation to double the capacity of its terminal. New international and domestic arrivals areas and business lounges open this summer.
“Aberdeen understands it can’t stand still any more. It has to move forward,” says Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, which represents 1,300 businesses employing more than 130,000 people. Aberdeen still has time to realign its economy to face new realities. The omnipresent background noise of helicopters landing and taking off from the world’s busiest civil heliport is a reminder that the energy business is still ticking over, despite plummeting prices. Earlier this year, BP group chief executive Bob Dudley called BP’s North Sea business one of its ‘crown jewels’ and said it would continue to invest in major developments, including around 50 new oil wells by 2020, doubling production. “There are still 20 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea, so oil and gas isn’t dead by any DESTINATIONONLINE.CO.UK
Just to warn you, the highlight of your conference might not be your conference.
W E â€™ L L STAY W I T H YO U STATION ROAD, YORK YO24 1AA | +44 (0)1904 653 681 | THEPRINCIPALHOTEL .COM/ YORK
D E S T I N AT I O N ABERDEEN
Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen – Exhibition Centre Until the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre opens in 2019, the Holiday Inn is the most convenient business hotel for those attending events at the AECC. It’s equidistant between city centre and airport – around 15 minutes from each. Meeting spaces: There’s meeting space for up to 28 in two conference rooms.
stretch of the imagination,” Borthwick says. “Our economy is still fundamentally strong – most cities in the UK would give their right arm to have a regional economy like northeast Scotland’s. And we have innovative sectors such as food and drink, agriculture, and life sciences, which are no longer stifled by oil and gas.”
Above: Dunnottar Castle offers epic scenery a stone’s throw from Aberdeen. Below right: The new AECC will offer more conference space than ever
By 2020, hotel capacity in Aberdeen will reach 7,000 rooms: good news for visitors. Suddenly, the city is no longer short of rooms, and prices have become much more competitive: “When oil was at its peak, you couldn’t get an affordable rate midweek,” says Stevie Brown. “All of a sudden, we have a very strong hotel room offering across all categories.” Historic venues will also benefit from regeneration. Aberdeen Art Gallery, founded in 1884, reopens in autumn 2017 after a £30m renovation that includes a variety of spaces for meetings, mini-conferences and hospitality. Aberdeen Music Hall, built in 1822, will relaunch in spring 2018 after a £7m facelift that will give it greater potential as an events venue.
Best Western Summerhill Hotel and Suites This functional, low-rise hotel three miles from central Aberdeen offers value-for-money accommodation in 45 bedrooms and openplan suites. Meeting spaces: The ballroom can be set up to accommodate groups from 30 in a U-shape configuration to 120 theatreor banquet-style. i2 Office This compact venue in the city centre is a onestop solution for those looking for a small-scale meeting space at short notice. Rooms are available by the hour, half day or by the day. Office and catering services can be arranged, and audiovisual facilities, internet access and copying come as standard. Meeting spaces: The most flexible of i2’s three rooms is the Jameson, accommodating from 16 in boardroom style to 40 in theatre configuration. Two smaller spaces accommodate groups of four and eight.
Aberdeen may be a no-nonsense business city, but it’s rich in heritage, too. Old Aberdeen, midway between the AECC and the city centre, is its historic heart, surrounding the 16th-century campus of King’s College and St Machar’s Cathedral. King Street connects this old quarter with downtown Aberdeen, where the major landmark is Marischal College, a grandiose 19th-century pile that offers a glimpse into the world of the city’s business elite in bygone centuries. In contrast, for a breath of fresh air, visit a clifftop castle that’s straight out of Game of Thrones at Dunnottar. On the way back to town, you can stop off for a swim at Britain’s northernmost lido, the Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool (heated to 29°C) or sample Scotland’s most notorious delicacy at the Carron Fish Bar, birthplace of the deep-fried Mars bar. However you choose to round off a trip to the Granite City, you’ll come away impressed by its drive and determination to embrace the future. 029
Jurys Inn Aberdeen Aberdeen hotels don’t come any more central than this no-nonsense, 203-bedroom venue next to the railway station and within Union Square, the city’s prime retail mall. Meeting spaces: Six conference suites range from the Glen Garioch (six delegates) to the Glen Lossie (80 theatre-style).
Can the UK’s independent hotels and venues compete with the big brands when it comes to business travel and events? Catherine Chetwynd finds out
FIGURES FROM MELVIN GOLD CONSULTING
he beleaguered road warrior travels on business as much as three or four times a month – and where they stay and meet plays a major role in their wellbeing and in their employer’s duty of care. Just as employee requirements come in all shapes and sizes, so do hotels and venues and their offerings. Whereas big brands dominate the US hotel market, in Europe unbranded hotels are still in the majority. Although properties with an international name above the door can offer brand consistency, outstanding levels of personal service and plenty of creative verve can also be found at independent venues. “Independents have plenty to offer business travellers – whether that means seasoned road warriors, delegates who are keen to learn or ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
groups arriving together,” says Capita Travel and Events director of supplier partnerships Leigh Cowlishaw. As independent properties don’t all offer the loyalty schemes associated with the big brands, they must instead make their mark through quality of service and overall guest experience: “This drives loyalty, ensuring customers remember them and want to come back, as well as encouraging guests to recommend the property to colleagues, friends and family,” says Cowlishaw. Capita Travel and Events has gathered the best of these independents under the banner Capita Collection: “More than 250 hotels and venues have signed up to our partnership programme for independent properties, ranging from country estates and conference specialists to historic
UK HOTELS 51% INDEPENDENT 45% BRANDED CHAINS 4% SEMI-BRANDED GROUPS, EG BEST WESTERN
BRIEFING INDEPENDENT HOTELS AND VENUES
BUCCHI FRANCESCO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM, GETTY IMAGES, ARSENAL, WARWICK CASTLE
1: THE HISTORIC LANDMARK Venues don’t come much more historic than Warwick Castle, which traces its roots back more than 1,100 years, but offers a gamut of possibilities for today’s meeting and event organisers. It can host an eclectic range of corporate events, from a private board meeting to a gala dinner in the atmospheric Great Hall. Themed dining, drawing on epic battles or ancient myths, is popular, while conferences in the Coach House can be combined with a spot of medieval-inspired team building (think archery or sword skills). Entertainment comes in the form of fireworks, falconry, knights on horseback and more. There’s a varied choice of accommodation, too, from glamping in medieval-style tents (with a few more home comforts) to semi-detached lodges or even a luxury suite in the Castle Tower. The castle is easily accessible from a number of major roads, including the M40, and is only a short walk from Warwick rail station, with regular services from Birmingham and London.
2: THE SPORTS STAR Emirates Stadium in north London elevates multitasking to an art form. Home to Arsenal FC, the football ground emerged 10 years ago from a massive building project that reinvented it as a leading venue for international fixtures, music concerts and also conferences and events. Four major meeting rooms offer space for up to 600 people in the spacious Dial Square Suite, while smaller areas seat up to 120, and include executive boxes with pitch views for a memorable breakout space. If not hiring the stadium for a conference, treat delegates to a tour that lets them explore the changing room, walk down the tunnel and step onto the pitch. The on-site museum provides a lively and stimulating insight into Arsenal’s history – and a quiz on the exhibits makes an unusual team-building option. A great choice for sports lovers!
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OF HOTEL OPENINGS IN THE UK PROVINCES IN 2016 (AND AROUND HALF IN LONDON) WERE IN THE BRANDED BUDGET SECTOR
3: THE GOLF AND SPA LOVERS’ PARADISE A rural retreat that’s just 20 minutes’ drive from Cardiff city centre and airport, the Vale Resort in Glamorgan offers two flexible venues in one. The main hotel offers first-class service, 143 comfortable modern rooms and conferencing spaces for up to 700 delegates. Many guestrooms have balconies that overlook the property’s two golf courses. To fuel up for a match, guests can enjoy AA-rosettequality Welsh dining in the Vale Grill, or less formal but tasty fare in the carvery or on-site bars. Meanwhile, a £10m renovation of the 17th-century Hensol Castle in the grounds of the resort (pictured above right) offers event planners the chance to book their own castle for a day. With plenty of historical character, the venue is available for
conferences and gala dinners for up to 320. As an official training venue for Welsh Rugby Union and Cardiff City FC, the sports facilities at Vale are world class, and the property also makes the most of its 263ha to offer team-building adventures ranging from quad biking to clay shooting. But if all that sounds a bit like hard work, some self-indulgence in the spa is also an option. Treatments range from a 25-minute facial to a tempting variety of spa days.
FIGURES FROM STR GLOBAL AND KNIGHT FRANK
EUROPE VS THE US
EUROPE: 14,642 BRANDED HOTELS 49,921 INDEPENDENTS US: 32,247 BRANDED HOTELS 21,150 INDEPENDENTS
landmarks and sports arenas,” says Cowlishaw. “This gives our customers an array of options to choose from when they are looking for accommodation or meeting venues. And working with a travel management company benefits our independent partners, too – giving them the same distribution, sales and marketing muscle as a global brand.”
Choice and style
Most importantly, including independent properties in your programme offers travellers more choice, says Cowlishaw: “Independents have a unique style; they don’t offer cookie-cutter experiences. They have to work smarter to retain customers, as they don’t have a brand that will instantly identify them; they have to stand out in other ways. 033
“The extra effort they make makes guests feel noticed and appreciated,” she adds. “And when you’re planning an event, there’s nothing like holding it in a unique or unusual property to make delegates sit up and take notice, delivering a high-impact experience for your investment.” The comfort of a more intimate hotel offering may have additional appeal for regular travellers, who may not be looking for a home-from-home, but at least something that feels more like it. Cowlishaw recommends bookers keep their options open: “We suggest customers don’t put all their eggs in one basket,” she says. “Companies using a blended approach, with a mixture of branded and independent properties, can provide a broader choice for travellers. In 2016, no single hotel chain had more than 10% of our customers’ spend.”
BRIEFING INDEPENDENT HOTELS AND VENUES
There are other advantages to independents, too: “When it comes to making a snap decision, independents and smaller UK hotel and venue groups may have an edge; they do not have a set of rules they have to adhere to, and can often be more flexible,” Cowlishaw says. “As a result, they have greater room for creativity in everything from meeting programmes to restaurant menus. For example, letting guests request room service items that aren’t on the menu can provide a more home-from-home experience.” Capita Travel and Events’ relationship with its Collection partners extends to consultation to ensure venues come up to the mark; for example, by advising on ways to tighten up traveller security. “It’s an exciting time for independent hotels and venues,” says Cowlishaw. “And as travellers look for an ever-more-personalised experience, their popularity will continue to increase. They are in a position to employ passionate, dedicated people who can give customers outstanding, one-off experiences. It is time to think independent.” DESTINATIONONLINE.CO.UK
BRIEFING INDEPENDENT HOTELS AND VENUES
5: THE COUNTRY ESTATE
4: THE ALPINE-STYLE ESCAPE It may be in the heart of Royal Berkshire, but there’s a distinctly Austrian feel to the Coppid Beech hotel. Behind the striking white chaletstyle exterior, visitors will find 205 guestrooms and events spaces for anything from 10 to 350, as well as health and beauty facilities, a choice of eateries and even a nightclub,
making it a good choice for day-intoevening conferences and meetings. Themed events are an option, whether ramping up the glamour at a James Bond gala dinner, or taxing aspiring detectives with a murder mystery. Alternatively, a lively cabaret night will keep delegates entertained. Diverse eating and drinking options include the Rowans restaurant, with a regularly changing market menu emphasising local produce and seating for groups of up to 60; the pub-style Bier Keller; or the Lounge Bar, which lends itself to quiet meetings. Within easy reach of Ascot Racecourse and Windsor Great Park, Coppid Beech in Bracknell is also well located between the M3 and M4, putting it just 45 minutes’ drive from Heathrow Airport and making it easily accessible for delegates travelling from all directions.
The 404 surrounding hectares of Cheshire countryside are a big draw at Carden Park Hotel, which combines 196 comfortable, well-equipped guestrooms with excellent facilities. A choice of eateries adds to variety, from the AA-Rosette dining at Redmond’s, through more informal eating at The Vines (named for the hotel’s own vineyard) to the sportier Jack’s Bar at the golf clubhouse. The 18-hole Cheshire golf course is available for exclusive bookings, and culminates in a stunning final hole on a cliff overlooking the estate. If golf doesn’t push delegates’ boundaries sufficiently, try them out on the property’s zip wires, or put them into jeeps to blow off some steam off-road. The excellent indoor and outdoor facilities for team building also include falconry experiences, while a spa, swimming pool, steam room and gym complete the picture.
for business, for events. QHotels offer 26 fantastic hotels all in easily accessible locations throughout the UK, perfect for when you’re travelling on business or planning your next event. Impress your audience with award-winning service and have total conﬁdence that your event will be an unrivalled success. But don’t just take our word for it…Our Inspired by You service keeps on winning awards. Event buyers voted us VenueVerdict’s No 1 Large Group 2016 and we won a gold award at the 2017 M&IT awards, voted for, again, by our customers. • Our 26 hotels are conveniently located across the UK, close to major motorway networks • Free guest Wi-Fi and car parking* • Award-winning chefs creating bespoke menus individual to your event • Over 300 state-of-the-art meeting rooms, ideal for small board meeting to large exhibitions and team building days • On-site AV experts and dedicated event bandwidth available at all QHotels
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TO CHOOSE FROM
Scotland & Northern England 1. The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort – Nr Glasgow 2. Slaley Hall, Hexham – Northumberland 3. Aldwark Manor Golf & Spa Hotel – Nr York 4. The Queens – Leeds, Yorkshire
1 Glasgow Airport
5. Oulton Hall – Leeds, Yorkshire
6. Tankersley Manor – Nr Shefﬁeld
7. The Midland – Manchester
8. The Park Royal – Warrington, Cheshire
9. Crewe Hall – Crewe, Cheshire 10. Mottram Hall – Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire
Central England & East Anglia
11. Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort – Yorkshire & Humberside 12. The Nottingham Belfry – Nottingham
Leeds Bradford Airport
13. Belton Woods – Nr Grantham, Lincolnshire
14. Telford Hotel & Golf Resort – Telford, Shropshire 15. Chesford Grange – Warwick
16. Stratford Manor – Stratford-upon-Avon
17. The Stratford – Stratford-upon-Avon
13 Norwich Airport
18. Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel – Northamptonshire
19 The Cambridge Belfry – Cambourne, Cambridgeshire
20 Dunston Hall – Norwich, Norfolk Southern England 21 The Cheltenham Chase Hotel – Nr Cheltenham
22 The Oxford Belfry – Nr Oxford 23. The Hampshire Court Hotel – Basingstoke, Hampshire 24. Norton Park – Winchester, Hampshire 25. Bridgewood Manor – Rochester, Kent
19 M11 Stansted Airport
22 Heathrow Airport
M3 Gatwick Airport
26. Ashford International Hotel – Ashford, Kent
Experience QHotels award-winning service – tailored to your individual needs. Let’s make your event a great event! To ﬁnd out more, please contact Capita Travel and Events.
QHotels.co.uk/conference-events *Car Parking is chargeable at The Midland, The Queens and The Stratford.
14 - 2015
2014 - 2015
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Brighton EXCELLENT HOTELS AND CONFERENCE VENUES MAKE THIS SOUTH COAST HOTSPOT A GREAT PLACE TO DO BUSINESS – BUT ITS FUN-LOVING SPIRIT MEANS THERE’S PLENTY TO KEEP YOU ENTERTAINED AS WELL, FINDS SUZANNE KING
STAY Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront jurysinns.com/hotels/ brighton-waterfront This seafront property is very close to the pier. It has 210 air-conditioned bedrooms (all with free WiFi), seven meeting rooms, and leisure facilities that include a swimming pool, gym and sauna. The Grand Brighton grandbrighton.co.uk By autumn 2017, this seafront landmark should be looking grander than ever, after a major facelift for its famous façade. The inside won’t disappoint, either, with 201 elegant bedrooms, the two-AA-rosette GB1 and an in-house spa and gym.
Hotel du Vin Brighton hotelduvin.com Made up of a quirky jumble of old buildings set around a central courtyard, the Hotel du Vin Brighton has 49 bedrooms, all with classic, but modern good looks and quality features, such as underfloor heating, Nespresso machines and fine Egyptian linens. Brighton Seafront Travelodge travelodge.co.uk This 159-bedroom property isn’t actually on the seafront, but it’s still well placed, a 10-minute walk from the train station and yards from the beach. Rooms come with comfy, king-size beds and guests get a 25% discount at the NCP car park nearby.
EAT & DRINK
Right: The Coal Shed’s Sunday sharing roast. Below left: The elegant Grand Brighton
Riddle & Finns (The Beach) riddleandfinns.co.uk This offshoot of the original Riddle & Finns delivers great seafood with a beach view. Don’t miss the oysters. Terre à Terre terreaterre.co.uk Even keen carnivores sing the praises of this excellent vegetarian restaurant, famed for its delicious and inventive take on meat-free cooking, often with an Asian twist. 64 Degrees 64degrees.co.uk A tiny place with a big reputation, this highly rated restaurant in the Lanes serves up small plates of modern British food. The Coal Shed coalshed-restaurant.co.uk First-rate steaks cooked on the Josper grill are the star attraction at this urban-rustic restaurant.
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THE GUIDE BRIGHTON
Hilton Brighton Metropole www3.hilton.com This 340-bedroom hotel is the largest residential conference centre in the South. It offers a whopping 5,000 square metres of space, with 33 function rooms that can cater for anything from a small board meeting to a larger affair for up to 3,000 guests.
Royal Pavilion brightonmuseums.org.uk Gloriously flamboyant inside and out, George lV’s former pleasure palace is a suitably eccentric icon for a fairly eccentric city, and a must-see on any Brighton itinerary.
Theatre Royal Brighton atgtickets.com One of the oldest theatres in the country (with a grand regency auditorium) plays host to a varied programme of dramas, musicals, comedians and dance performances.
The Undercliff Walk brighton-hove.gov.uk Walking the three-mile sea wall from Brighton Marina to Saltdean – white chalk cliffs on one side, rock pools and waves on the other – is a great way to get an invigorating blast of salty sea air.
Ridgeview Wine Estate ridgeview.co.uk Ridgeview’s award-winning sparkling wines have been served at state banquets and at No 10. Take a trip to the estate, half an hour’s drive north of town, to tour the vineyard and sample the wares.
BRITISH AIRWAYS i360, GETTY
British Airways i360 britishairwaysi360.com This one-of-a-kind venue allows you to entertain up to 175 guests with a reception aboard the futuristic glass viewing pod as it glides 138m up into the sky. There are also beach-side rooms and terraces that can host meetings and events for 10 to 1,000. Brighton & Hove Albion FC seagulls.co.uk The many options at the American Express Community Stadium make it suitable for a wide range of events. As well as 10 lounges, five concourses and 21 executive boxes, it also has outside space for team-building activities and free parking for 600 cars.
Above left: The landmark British Airways i360. Top: Brighton’s much-loved Royal Pavilion. Right: The famous pier 039
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EIGHT OF THE BEST V E N U E S T O F L O AT Y O U R B O AT
Mess about on the river in The Runnymede on Thames’ HotTug
EIGHT OF THE BEST
VENUES to float your boat
Why not set a course for one of these inviting water-themed destinations for your next awayday or corporate event, says Suzanne King. Just don’t go overboard…
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Clockwise from below: Relax Thameside at Oakley Court; take in amazing views of the capital aboard HMS Belfast; enjoy the lake at Center Parcs Woburn Forest; stay within easy reach of Aviemore with Macdonald; try team building at Wyboston Lakes; soak up the waterside scenery at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa
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THE RUNNYMEDE ON THAMES Egham, Surrey
LAKE VYRNWY HOTEL & SPA Llanwddyn, Powys
At this hotel, a short drive from Heathrow, they’ve taken to heart Ratty’s declaration in The Wind in the Willows that “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. Not just your normal boats, mind. Here, they have electricpowered riverboats to pootle about in, and a luxury launch that’s perfect for a full-day party cruise. Other options include the HotTug, a boat-cum-hot-tub, in which you can sip champagne as you chug along the river.
Stay in a premier lake-view room here and it’s tempting to do nothing more than sit on the balcony and gaze out across the valley. But this beautifully situated hotel is good for team building, too: you can sharpen up everyone’s communication and collaboration skills with raft-building, or send them off to bond over the shared adrenaline rush of white-water rafting in nearby Bala. You can also learn to sail, or hire out canoes and kayaks and paddle across the lake to picnic in a quiet cove.
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CAMERON HOUSE Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire
HMS BELFAST London
Watching the Loch Lomond seaplane coming in to land and skimming its way across the water to the hotel jetty is one of the joys of staying at Cameron House. Even more exciting, though, is to hop aboard it for a tour over the mountains and glens before splash-landing back home. It’s not the only activity on offer at this grand hotel half an hour from Glasgow – you can also take a cruise on Celtic Warrior, the hotel’s private motor cruiser, or cast your reel in search of brown trout and pike.
Venues don’t come much more nautical than this Royal Navy warship. Sadly, only schoolchildren and teachers get to enjoy HMS Belfast’s ‘Kip in a Ship’ experience. Grownups can, however, hire it out as a memorable events space for a meeting, product launch or party. Take a tour with one of the ship’s company, then have a meeting in the Admiral’s Quarters, live it up with dinner in the Officers’ Mess, or host a reception on the Quarter Deck, with views of the River Thames.
EIGHT OF THE BEST V E N U E S T O F L O AT Y O U R B O AT
6 Book it now If one of our water-themed venues has whet your appetite, contact the team at Capita Travel and Events to book a meeting, event or stay.
WYBOSTON LAKES Wyboston, Bedfordshire
MACDONALD AVIEMORE RESORT Aviemore, Inverness-shire
CENTER PARCS WOBURN FOREST Millbrook, Bedfordshire
OAKLEY COURT Windsor, Berkshire
If you have the kind of team that thrives on high-adrenaline activities, this hotel and venue is the place to take them for an action-packed awayday. Within its 153ha of countryside, purpose-built lakes provide the backdrop for all sorts of energetic fun and games. There’s wakeboarding, waterskiing and jet skiing; sports boats and banana boats; a hovercraft that can whizz over water and land... And the icing on the cake is Jetlev, a water-powered jet pack that propels users into the air.
In winter, it is the mountains, with their snowboarding and skiing, that draw people to Aviemore – but in summer, the region’s lochs and rivers come into their own. Macdonald Aviemore Resort offers a choice of three hotels or 18 woodland lodges, with activities ranging from the relatively sedate (a spot of gentle canoe paddling on a quiet loch) to the rather more lively (white-water rafting). Or you could just enjoy the flume and wave machine in the resort’s lagoon pool.
Center Parcs are known for their subtropical swimming paradises, and their newest village at Woburn Forest is no exception. The all-weather water playground at the heart of the resort has flumes, rapids and whirlpools, plus a wave pool, lazy river, tube ride and the chance to try aqua jetting. If the weather gods smile on you, you can enjoy some outdoor action too, with electric boats and katakanus (six-person canoes) available for hire on the L-shaped lake.
When you have the country’s second-longest river running through your grounds, it makes sense to take advantage of it – as they do at this Thameside hotel on the outskirts of Windsor. You can take an electric boat for a self-drive trip, or entertain a dozen guests on a luxury cruiser, with a skipper to do the steering and a picnic provided by the hotel. If you’re there in late July, you can also sit out on the riverside terrace and witness ‘swan-upping’ – the annual census of the local swans.
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Travel stress busters These six suitcase saviours promise to leave business travellers feeling happier, calmer and more alert. Just don’t forget to pack them…
1. The magic sleep mask, £50
We never really rated eye masks until we discovered Aromatherapy Associates’ Relax Eye Mask, created with Holistic Silk. At £50, it might be a steep investment, but it’s super-comfy (backed with navy velvet to filter out the light) and filled with lavender to help promote sleep – whether on a plane, train or in an over-bright hotel room. Prepare to be well rested. In a nutshell: The Rolls-Royce of eye masks aromatherapyassociates.com
ALL PRICES CORRECT AT TIME OF PUBLICATION
2. The pro’s ear plug, £24.99
You’ll never go back to silicone earplugs once you’ve tried this rather scientific pair by Flare Audio. Made from solid aluminium and backed with soft foam, the reusable Isolate Earfoams have the density to stop sound waves from penetrating – including the low-level rumbling of planes and trains. We admit to being attracted by the seven colour options, too – they look the business, and you can buy replacement ear foams for them over time. In a nutshell: (No) music to our ears flareaudio.com
ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
PAC K I N G E S S E N T I A L S T R AV E L S T R E S S B U S T E R S
3. The mood lifter, £171.34
Jet lag, lack of concentration and low mood are just three of the ills that the HumanCharger promises to combat. Billed as ‘the sun in your pocket’, this recent entry into the wearable-tech market shines UV-free light at you through LED earbuds. Makers say 12 minutes of use a day is enough to encourage the brain to release happy hormones such as serotonin, which helps us feel alert. Those travelling across time zones are advised to plug in four times a day. In a nutshell: High-tech light therapy on the go humancharger.com
4. The relaxation app, from £1.99
6. The memory maker, £12
If you feel like you’re always on the move and the days blur into one, the One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book could give you a sense of place. Banish all thoughts of work filofaxes: this pocket journal with its elegant, gold-edged pages has just enough space to jot down a thought for the day – a habit the experts say will help you feel more content. In a nutshell: Live in the moment oliverbonas.com
The number-one-selling fitness app in more than 40 countries, buddhify clears the mind with its series of audio meditations. Designed to be practical rather than spiritual, the tracks are divided into tasks for modern life – and there are five designed specifically for travellers, including one for easing the stress of flying. Sign us up. In a nutshell: Meditation tracks for me time buddhify.com
5. The ‘feel good, look better’ cream, £29
You might have woken up and prepared for the working day, but frequent travel can dry out the skin, making you look and feel more jaded than you are. With this in mind, one of the best 80ml for your hand luggage is The Body Shop’s Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Sleeping Cream. Apply at night to soften and refresh your face – you’ll look like you’ve had a full eight hours. In a nutshell: De-stressing for your skin thebodyshop.com 045
Clockwise from right: The moat; the sweeping approach to Coombe Abbey; the west terrace in full bloom; the Garden Room Restaurant
Few hotels can compete with Coombe Abbey in the heritage stakes – but there’s nothing old-fashioned about its customer service, as Claire Sargent discovers
Sense of history ISSUE 16 DESTINATION CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS
CHECK IN COOMBE ABBEY
atch out for ghosts,” advises the taxi driver on the way to Coombe Abbey. It’s advice that even the most sceptical may find surprisingly hard to discount at this uniquely atmospheric Warwickshire hotel. After all, it’s not every property that can trace its history back to 1150 and boast of having housed monks, princesses and earls; and where every nook and corner conjures up centuries gone by. But then again, Coombe Abbey is, as its motto proudly states, “no ordinary hotel”. The property started life in the 12th century as Warwickshire’s most important monastery, before being seized by Henry VIII during his dissolution of religious houses, and passing into the hands of the aristocracy. As with many English country estates, the manor house has been extensively rebuilt and added to over the years. Today’s sprawling property was shaped by the likes of William Winde, the architect of Buckingham Palace, and landscape gardener Capability Brown, who created the beautiful exterior lake and pool in 1771.
Past and present
“I still get a buzz from seeing the look on visitors’ faces when they arrive for the first time,” says June Picken, Coombe Abbey’s director of sales. “We have some beautiful photos of the hotel, but there’s no substitute for the impact it makes when you step through the front door.” It’s certainly a memorable entrance: the main door is set in the oldest surviving wall of the abbey, letting visitors into a dark and ornate lobby packed with soaring stone arches, elaborate woodcarving, statuary and the odd suit of armour. It’s hard to spot where the abbey’s original stonework ends and later Victorian and modern renovation begins – although heritage lovers can get a fuller picture on a tour with the knowledgeable duty manager, Tony Dipple. 049
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VO T ED EUROPE’S BES T AIRLINE AT T HE 2 0 16 S K Y T R A X P A S S E N G E R S C H O I C E A W A R D S .
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CHECK IN COOMBE ABBEY
MEET Coombe Abbey’s 11 event spaces include a range of wood-panelled, book-lined and characterful meeting rooms, some of which can be joined up to create your own suite of syndicate and breakout spaces. The Cloisters is an elegant, high-ceilinged function room for up to 120 guests, which can be booked in conjunction with the colourful Cloisters Bar next door. There are also several self-contained event spaces adjoining the main property, including The Abbeygate (pictured above), the venue for the abbey’s popular medieval banqueting and murder mystery events, both of which can be tailored to suit private groups. The space seats up to 145 for a banquet, and can also be configured for theatre and boardroom events. Another equally self-contained, if slightly less theatrical, option is The Courthouse, a restored early-19th-century tennis clubhouse with two floors of space that can be booked separately or combined, with space for up to 80 downstairs and 120 upstairs, plus a private bar. And to cater for even larger conferences, the hotel recently added The Marquee for up to 500, offering its own private bar, cloakroom, bathrooms and dance floor.
STAY The 119 bedrooms and suites offer three levels of accommodation, all with a heritage feel. Crown Bedchambers include flatscreen TVs, high-speed internet access, hospitality trays and complimentary toiletries. Feature Bedchambers add comforts such as fourposter or canopied beds, or Victorian roll-top baths, and many have gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside. The Grand Feature Collection comprises 15 rooms, named after illustrious former residents and guests. As individual as they are opulent, these include the palatial Lady Craven room (above), where the king-size four-poster and extra-large bath are at the top of their own flight of steps, or the Lindley Suite, which has hosted the likes of David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. Grand Feature rooms add extra touches including complimentary valet parking and newspapers, and a turndown service with truffles and liqueurs.
“There are many layers of history here,” he says. “In one corner, we uncovered a beautiful floral fragment of 17thcentury ceiling plaster, now on display after being restored for us by the local Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. And just outside the main entrance, you can still see some of the original floor tiles from the medieval monastery.” Decoration throughout is anything but minimal, with a wealth of old portraits, prints and sculpture, rich furnishings and playful touches such as the gilt-framed window in the dining area that fools the eye into believing it’s a mirror. In the midst of all this drama, it’s easy to see how stories of ghosts abound. The abbey is rumoured to have four, although none of the hotel team admit to having personally encountered one. Outside, the property’s surroundings are equally glorious. The encircling land that once made up the manorial estate is now the Coombe Abbey Country Park, a much-loved summer picnicking spot for locals, complete with parkland, wildflower meadows, woods and even a secluded bird hide a short stroll from the hotel, from where you can look out for the county’s largest colony of herons. During the colder months, the Abbey’s cosy, candelabralit interiors are the big draw: “It’s hard to pick a favourite time of year, but Christmas, when everything is decorated, is really magical,” says Picken.
The splendour of Coombe Abbey today is all the more remarkable, given that a just a few decades ago, the property was empty and derelict. But an imaginative refurbishment by the present owner has restored it to its former glory, with the current hotel opening its doors in 1995. Since then, it has earned plaudits for both its accommodation and as a venue for meetings, conferences and special events. The property offers 119 bedrooms and suites, with 80 rooms in the main building and 39 in the modern Park Priory annex. “No two rooms are alike,” says Picken. “Visitors love the character and the quirky features – we get a lot of requests for room 140, where the 051
The elegant Marquee is Coombe Abbey's largest events space
TRAVEL By rail Coombe Abbey is around 15 minutes by taxi from Coventry rail station, with fast trains to London taking approximately two hours. By road The hotel is situated within easy reach of the M40, M1 and M6. Note that there is a charge for parking. By air Birmingham Airport is the closest air hub, within 20 minutes’ drive of the hotel.
Image: Â© The Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
bookcase is actually a secret door into the bathroom. And our Grand Feature bedrooms offer something really special for the incentive market.” Within easy reach of Coventry and Warwick, the abbey offers 11 varied events spaces, all with their own brand of historic character (see page 51). “There’s a real sense of occasion to holding a meeting or event here, because of the nature of the property,” says Picken. “We can offer unique themed experiences, such as our medieval banquets in The Abbeygate, and we’re often asked to host prestigious occasions, such as mayoral receptions with visiting VIPs.” Indoor and outdoor team-building experiences, from archery and ‘It’s a Knockout’ challenges to cocktail making, are also available. With a dedicated events team overseeing each day’s schedule, the larger self-contained venues also have their own kitchens and catering staff. This allows the team at Coombe Abbey’s main restaurant, the elegant conservatorystyle Garden Room, to concentrate on what they do best – serving up fine dining with a strong emphasis on local English produce. If you’ve brought a hearty appetite (and a colleague), you can indulge in the signature dry-aged ‘Knighted Baron of Coombe’ steak platter with all the trimmings. However, there are also plenty of lighter options, as well as regularly changing seasonal specials and an ever-popular afternoon tea menu.
CHECK IN COOMBE ABBEY
“THERE’S A REAL SENSE OF OCCASION TO HOLDING A MEETING OR EVENT HERE, BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE PROPERTY. WE CAN OFFER UNIQUE THEMED EXPERIENCES”
It’s an impressive haul to add to the hotel’s already sizeable (and characteristically Gothic-looking) trophy cabinet – but Picken insists the team aren’t about to rest on their laurels any time soon. “We were over the moon to win this industry recognition, especially as we’re not a big chain with a huge sales team,” she smiles. “And we were also blown away to be shortlisted for best UK hotel overall – that certainly gives us something to aim for in future.” If it’s low-key minimalism you’re after, Coombe Abbey is unlikely to top your wish list – but for the rest of us, its quintessentially English charm and quirky grandeur, along with the evident enthusiasm of the entire hotel team, make it a venue with a real wow factor. And as for the ghosts – if one or two former residents have chosen to linger here beyond their time, who could really blame them?
Clockwise from left: The abbey is encircled by gorgeous parkland; the atmospheric lobby; Feature rooms offer characterful touches such as roll-top baths
An award-winning venue
For all its grandeur, Coombe Abbey strives to offer value: “Some people assume a venue like this must be out of their budget, but we are very competitive on costs,” Picken says. Little wonder, then, that the property recently scooped three gongs in the M&IT Awards 2017, winning gold for Best UK Unusual Venue and Best Value for Money Conference Venue, and securing a silver award for Best Conference and Banqueting Staff. 053
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Trick of the trade
“In a negotiation, humans make a decision emotionally, but justify it rationally. Be prepared to say ‘I’ll come back to you’, if you don’t know an answer to a question. Humans are very good at detecting inconsistencies in what others are saying, so it’s always best to be honest.” For more tips on negotiating in a meeting, turn to page 56
Insider’s guide GETTY
Our experts share tips, tricks and answers to your burning business questions – even those you hadn’t thought to ask TALK THE TALK
BE A VIP
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From the experts Get more tips and insights from industry insiders on our website destinationonline.co.uk
WE ASK THE EXPERTS HOW TO TACKLE YOUR TRAVEL, MEETINGS AND EVENTS DILEMMAS
HOW TO… HANDLE A LOST PASSPORT
HOW TO… NEGOTIATE IN A MEETING 1. Before a meeting, plan your final point first and work backwards. This is like writing the summary slide containing the most important points and then creating the deck from there. It will help you pull together all the supporting evidence you need. 2. Use appropriate language. When convincing others of our ideas, it’s best to speak in terms of ‘you’ the board, as opposed to ‘me’ or ‘I’. Humans make decisions on an emotional level, but justify them rationally, so when stating an argument it’s helpful to highlight what’s in it for the other person. 3. If using slides or prompts, always stand with them on your left. In the West people read from left to right, so if you are talking from that
direction it helps others process the information easily. 4. Be prepared to say “I’ll come back to you”, if you don’t know an answer to a question. Humans are very good at detecting inconsistencies in what others are saying, so it’s always best to be honest. 5. Suggest regular breaks. The human attention span is said to be around eight seconds, and we find it difficult to refocus for periods of more than 20 minutes. Therefore, to keep everyone’s attention, make sure you build time into a long meeting for breaks so that everyone stays alert. PHILLIP ADCOCK, PSYCHOLOGIST AND AUTHOR OF MASTER YOUR BRAIN
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1. If your passport is missing you should report it as soon as you are aware of the loss or theft. UK passports that are not cancelled on Her Majesty’s Passport Office systems are vulnerable to crimes such as identity theft. 2. Report a passport theft to the local police. You will be asked for the crime number when you report your passport as stolen. 3. Tell your company. A colleague can report a missing passport on your behalf, but they must ensure that your contact details are provided to enable the Passport Office to speak to you before cancelling it. 4. Get online. If your passport has been lost or stolen within the UK, then the quickest and simplest way to report it is at gov.uk/report-a-lost-or-stolen-passport 5. Act from overseas. If you need to report the loss or theft of your
PLANE AWFUL PASSENGERS Air travel would be a pleasant experience if it wasn’t for a certain type of traveller
passport from overseas, you will need to fill in a form and post, fax or take it to your nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. Further advice, and the form, can be found on the GOV.UK website. 6. Ask for an emergency travel document. The time taken to receive a new passport varies between countries. If you are overseas and cannot get a passport in time, an emergency travel document might allow you to travel to your destination. Your travel plans will be printed on it, so if these plans change, you will need to apply for a new one. You may still need a visa to leave the country you are in or to travel through other countries. 7. Don’t carry your passport on you – unless you have to. If you are away on business and need an identity document, use another form of identification if possible – it will help keep your passport safe. SARAH GROVES, SERVICE MANAGER FOR LOST AND STOLEN PASSPORTS FOR HER MAJESTY’S PASSPORT OFFICE
HOW TO… GET VIP TRAVEL TREATMENT 1. Look into added extras available for your travel policy. Our Premium Service means a named contact stores your preferences and can help with details that make business travel more comfortable. 2. Collect your frequent flyer points. More points mean an airline sees you as a high-status passenger and you are more likely to be offered upgrades and avoid being bumped off overbooked flights. In line with its travel policy, some companies are signed up to corporate loyalty schemes, so check if you can earn points that can be used for future travel. 3. Give us your details. Our system allows us to keep notes on file, so we can remember if you get ‘travel sick’ and need to be seated near a bathroom, and store your passport and address details, to make the booking process more efficient. 4. If you can’t reserve a seat number in advance, you must check in early. It means the flight is expected to be very busy, so allow extra time at the airport. This is usually the case for once-a-day routes. 5. Think about configuration of a carriage or cabin. It’s not just about legroom or row number – different operators position seats differently. For example, Virgin Atlantic faces some business travel customers towards others. 6. Pets, champagne, lost tickets… just ask. We have systems in place to help repatriate the pets of business travellers, plan surprises for travelling companions and have even delivered missing rail tickets to the platform mid-journey. REBECCA COLLINS, ASSISTANT TEAM MANAGER FOR PREMIUM SERVICES AT CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS 057
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It’s no surprise to me that the International Air Transport Association recently announced a rise in unruly passenger behaviour. When easyJet introduced allocated seats in 2012, I poured myself a drink to celebrate. Free seating on a plane does funny things to people. I’ve seen seemingly respectable businessmen push past old ladies to secure a window seat. A mob of passengers flouting the ‘babies and disabled on first’ rule and using the force of numbers to overwhelm the attendants, leaving the frail and infirm to stagger on behind. As a frequent nofrills flyer, I wear these memories like battle scars. There’s something about being confined to a pressurised aluminium tube miles above the ground that brings out the worst in some travellers. For these people, armrest space is power, and they will do all they can to capture and consolidate all available territory. This will often be coupled with an aggressive knee offensive on their right and left flanks, invading the legroom of the passengers either side of them. Larger groups of them, having enjoyed several pints of Mojito before their 5am flight, suffer the mass delusion that they are the funniest people in the universe, and try out their comedy stylings on their fellow passengers – a captive audience. Some way into the flight, you might find yourself looking across the aisle with pity at the six-footsomething gentleman sitting behind the one passenger that put their seat right back as soon as they were in the air. Reader, that person is me. A certain kind of person will always like to throw their weight around on a plane. Their freedoms curtailed by the dictatorship of airline safety, they feel compelled to assert themselves. While I commend budget airlines for making flying available to all, I pray for the day they announce a new ‘jerk class’ ticket for rude and unruly passengers. I would happily give up my hold luggage space in order for this to happen.
INSIDER’S GUIDE T R AV E L C L I N I C
Outdoor events at a glance
BLOCK OUT THE DIARY
HOSTING EVENTS AT AN OUTSIDE VENUE TAKES CAREFUL PLANNING. HERE, EVENT DIRECTOR ANDREW EDWARDS SHARES HIS TOP TIPS
YOU CAN STILL TALK STRATEGY
Setting up and derigging outdoor events can take slightly longer than other dry-hire venues, because you’ll have more suppliers providing materials. Therefore, make the most of it and opt for all-day events and activities.
Outdoor events are great for mixing business and pleasure. For Virgin Media we staged a day of presentations in tents and combined this with fairground rides for a family fun day.
HAVE A TECH TACTIC
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK? TRANSPORT IS KEY
Be sure to work with a reputable audiovisual and WiFi provider to ensure your event runs smoothly – but carry any materials you need on a memory stick for peace of mind.
INTRUDER ALERT Security and privacy can be more of a challenge outdoors. Opt for a venue with secluded space, as opposed to open ground, such as a field, that might attract gatecrashers.
Provide transport to far-flung locations. Consider having an event manager based at a local train station to direct delegates.
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INSIDER’S GUIDE IN THE EVENT
NOISE = ATMOSPHERE Don’t fear noise. Laughter and conversation from group activities will help lift your guests’ spirits. However, position seating, tent entrances and other starting points away from each other, to help people focus.
ANYONE FOR TAPAS?
A full health and safety assessment needs to be carried out in a new location. Remember that this takes time, and work with your event managers to factor this in.
Take advantage of an al fresco location to get creative with your suppliers. Street food catering vans inject some fun and a relaxed atmosphere into events.
KEEP IT TOGETHER
With large outdoor events, it’s important to create a focal point that draws people together – a circular bar works well.
PLAN FOR SUN – AS WELL AS RAIN Hot weather is as much of a challenge as rain. We plan shady areas and make sure any covered areas have good ventilation to keep everyone cool. 059
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INSIDER’S GUIDE D AY I N T H E L I F E
Power plate Award-winning chef-patron Adam Reid oversees a thoroughly modern menu at The French restaurant in Manchester hotel The Midland The trickiest part of my job is getting ideas across to the team and trying to get people to share that vision.
Eating well as a child gave me a love of good food. Then an unhealthy dose of
cookery programmes in my early teens sealed it! I did a modern apprenticeship through Paul Heathcote’s School of Excellence while working full time. I would suggest this course of action to any young chef. On-the-job training is essential, and the quicker you can get yourself into a work environment the better, as it allows you to mature more quickly.
Above: On the menu – a red mullet dish. Below: The winning Golden Empire dessert
That dictates my management style, and I try to be as interactive and positive as possible.
Creating the winning dessert on [TV show] Great British Menu last year has been amazing for building my profile as a chef. It gets your name out
You only really start learning from a kitchen when the head chef trusts you. I think it’s essential to stay at the same
there as being one to watch – but it doesn’t give you any free rides. It’s still all about putting in the effort to push a restaurant to the next level.
restaurant for a long time. If you’ve not spent a good period of time dedicated to a job, you’ll never gain that experience.
The winning dessert – Golden Empire – is popular at The French. It’s a fresh
At The French we focus on tasting menus, with a small-plates option at lunchtime. You could
take on apple crumble – stewed apple with hazelnut crumble, custard and gold sugar apples. There are a few other dishes making a name for themselves too, such as fried broccoli with cheese and truffle.
describe it as ‘modern British’, but it’s really just modern, quirky dishes that use top-quality, seasonal produce – served in a fun and relaxed way.
The food style is very much my own. I took over from the acclaimed
When I leave work, I still love food.
Other than seeing my family, and making time to watch the new series of Game of Thrones every year, I don’t have much else going on!
head chef Simon Rogan and spent the best part of four years trying to work to his ethos. But I have my own tastes and ideas, so it’s exciting to explore them and see what results.
Above: Adam’s Clementine dessert tastes as good as it looks. Below: The French’s comfortable, relaxed interior is popular with diners
My working day usually starts at 8.30am clearing emails, and I’m in the kitchen until 10.30 or 11pm. I have a great team that carries
THE FRENCH RESTAURANT
out the daily tasks in the restaurant, so I’m mainly looking towards the next day or week and guiding things in the right direction. We’re closed on Sundays and Mondays, so we can guarantee days off, which is nice.
We have a team of 10 in the kitchen and 10 front-of-house staff. A big team
is key to keeping our standards as high as they should be. 061
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Travellers’ tales Our travel experts experience the lively character of Montreal, Iceland’s spectacular landscape and Boston’s picturesque mix of traditional and modern architecture
AS TOLD TO ELIZABETH OLIVER
The traveller: event director Jason Cardy Montreal is a great destination for business travellers – it’s a modern city with a slight rural element. Our Air Canada flight from Heathrow to Montreal flew along the coast of Canada, giving us some stunning views. Our group stayed in three venues across downtown Montreal: Le SaintSulpice Hôtel Montréal, W Montréal and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Old Montreal. Le Saint-Sulpice is a friendly boutique hotel with 108 suites. As it is within walking distance of awardwinning restaurants, bars and shops, it would make a perfect choice for incentive packages. For larger groups, the modern Marriott Old Montreal works well as an overflow location, and has 897m2 of event space. The W Montreal is a bit of a rock-star hotel. Nothing is too much for the staff. I loved their breakfasts – the chefs laid on these amazing displays of lobster and poached eggs, with waffles, crispy bacon and maple syrup. I felt as though I was eating modern art! W Montreal’s hip vibe is ideal for large groups of younger business travellers – the hotel even has its own nightclub. Our hotels were within walking distance of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, a conference and events venue in the middle of the city. With 51,280m2 of space, and 113 rooms and venues, the centre can host anything from meetings to congresses. We packed lots of activities into our trip, but learning how to play ice hockey at the Bell Centre was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The coaches were so friendly; they kitted
TIPS • Visit Au Sommet – this observation deck gives you breathtaking views over the city, and is great as an orientation activity. • Try poutine, the local speciality of chips, cheese curds and gravy; there are so many flavours available. Beef casserole, anyone? • Play ice hockey, Canada’s favourite sport (or at least go and see a game).
us up, explained the rules and showed us how to skate. This was one of the best team-building activities I’ve ever done – and being able to take home my team shirt was a nice touch. Montreal is full of character, and it was great to go on an orientation tour.
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I loved wandering through the markets and trying local bagels and poutine (a Quebec fast-food favourite). Learning how to make tapas and cocktails at Ateliers & Saveurs, a family-owned restaurant, was another highlight. Montreal is a lively event hub, and would suit all business travellers, from public sector workers to young incentive groups. I’m sure I’ll be back!
The traveller: event executive Jadene Cook Iceland is an incredible place – there’s no other country like it. It took three hours to fly from Heathrow to Reykjavik, and I recommend using Icelandair. Reykjavik is more like a small village than a capital city; everyone says hello. We stayed at the Hótel Borg in the city centre, and it had such a cosy atmosphere – it’s ideal for small incentive groups. The hotel is also a short walk from the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, with 6,600m2 of space and several meeting rooms. In the countryside, the landscape is fabulous, but also surreal; you feel like you’re on the moon. The second hotel we stayed at was Hotel Húsafell, an hour’s drive from Reykjavik. With 48 rooms, it felt so homely, and offered stunning views.
TIPS • Go to the Blue Lagoon. You can’t go to Iceland and not experience it! • There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. • Travel out to the countryside – the mix of volcanic land and mountains is fabulous.
The traveller: partner executive Louise Hill Visiting Boston was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was cold and wintry when we arrived – the snow came up to our knees! We flew out first class with Delta Air Lines from Heathrow to Boston Logan International, and this made the trip extra special. We chilled out in the Virgin Atlantic lounges, drank signature cocktails, and even had complimentary treatments. We stayed at the awardwinning Eliot Hotel, in Boston’s Back Bay neighbourhood, and the service was fantastic. My suite felt like an apartment – it had a separate living room and bedroom, a refurbished bathroom and great city views! It’s ideal for long-stay business travellers who are after a special experience. Just next door, the Harvard Club of Boston is a luxury venue that hosts meetings and corporate events.
Boston is a very picturesque city. It’s a mix of traditional and new buildings, and has a really relaxed atmosphere. We visited the Skywalk Observatory in the Prudential Tower, which has amazing views over Boston. Walking through Boston Common, America’s oldest public park, was another highlight. The lake was frozen over and everything was covered in white – it was so magical. The city is full of high-end restaurants, which are perfect for networking. Eastern Standard is about five minutes from The Eliot Hotel and serves incredible food. I had the deliciously rich pasta with melted Camembert. There’s something in Boston for every business traveller. It has many interesting areas to explore, and I would love to return to it.
TIPS • Make sure to visit the Cheers Bar, where they have amazing hot chocolates. • If time permits, Boston is great for shopping, with a mix of big chains and boutiques. • Try to visit during the warmer months – when we travelled in February, the snow played havoc with our flights.
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We had so many memorable experiences – I loved relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa in a lava field. I had an in-water silica face mask and my skin felt incredible! We even went super-jeeping and snowmobiling, and saw the inside of a glacier. Seeing the Northern Lights has to be the highlight of the trip. They’re not like anything else you can imagine; they were brilliant shades of purple and green. We were told the lights were the best they’d had all year! Iceland has so much to offer business travellers. It is geared towards those who like the outdoors, but there’s so much to see and do. We visited in March, when temperatures were relatively cold, but I would love to go back again in the winter when it’s snowier.
INSIDER’S GUIDE T R AV E L L E R S ’ TA L E S
YOUR ROADMAP TO
event success Our Events Hub tool provides step-by-step support before, during and after your big occasion, to ensure you make the most of your budget and get your message across to delegates. Here’s how to put your next event on the right track...
BEFORE THE EVENT Nail your brief The top question for your brief is: what outcome should this event deliver? “If you don’t capture the key objectives of your event upfront, you’re never going to deliver value for money,” says Alisdair Ross, head of operations (events) at Capita Travel and Events. Build your hub Creating a website for your event provides a place for attendees to find key info, register and engage: “With Events Hub, we can build a site that’s totally customised to your event,” says Ross. “If it’s a gala dinner, we’ll add a page on the dress code and entertainment; if you’re going overseas, we’ll make sure there’s advice on visas and local laws and culture.” Different pathways can also be created for delegates, exhibitors and VIPs to access the right information. Get the invite right To maximise attendance, every piece of communication should be carefully targeted at your audience: “We work closely with customers to get the tone of voice right for their business and the different groups they may be inviting,” says Ross. He advises sending out invitations at least six weeks ahead: “And if you’re emailing, think about when it will arrive in their inbox – 10am on Monday or Tuesday will get more attention than a Friday afternoon when they’re about to head home.” Nudge, nudge With Events Hub, automated nudge emails can be sent out to remind invitees to RSVP, and registered attendees can be sent email confirmations and text reminders for your event. Organisers can also access the hub at any point to quickly send out customised messages or reminders.
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“If you’d like to add an element of gamification to your event, we can create a scavenger hunt-style challenge to increase engagement”
INSIDER’S GUIDE CASE NOTES
A WORD TO OUR SPONSORS
ON THE DAY
“If your event lends itself to sponsorship, Events Hub is a useful tool,” says Alisdair Ross. “Sponsor banners and pages can easily be incorporated into your event website, and we can also track whether people have engaged with your sponsors on the day, for example by visiting their stand.”
Paperless check-in Having an online hub for your event can help you collect and track all your event data in one place, starting with delegate arrivals: “Checking your guests in on your iPad, rather than ticking off names on a paper list, means you’re collecting accurate, live data on attendance rather than trying to collate that after the event,” says Ross. Track your delegates Giving attendees trackable electronic badges on the day could provide more useful live data from your event, such as which breakout sessions people attended or areas of an exhibition they entered. Use an app An app that delegates can download, as with Events Hub, can be a great way to engage them on the day. “If you want an update on how a session went, we can push out a survey or vote through the app and get instant feedback,” says Ross. “Or if you’d like to add an element of gamification to your event, we can create a scavenger huntstyle challenge to increase engagement in a playful way.” Make it social Through the Events Hub app, delegates can network and book in one-to-one meetings, as well as post social updates. “Whether or not you encourage live social media activity depends on the nature of your company or event,” notes Ross. “Tech-savvy companies often welcome live tweeting to build buzz; but if it’s a work Christmas party, you might not want photos being posted on social media late into the night! Having social media walls at the venue, where delegates’ comments appear live, is a good way to add interactivity without necessarily going public.”
AFTERWARDS Ask for feedback This doesn’t just mean asking delegates whether the food and accommodation were nice (as Ross says, “that should be a given!”), but measuring how the event performed against its agreed objectives. Follow up later To assess an event’s true impact, Ross follows up with event managers a few months down the line: “Questions might include: did your key message reach everyone, from senior staff right through to team level? Did the event deliver return on investment in terms of new business?” Keep in touch “Networking doesn’t end at the event,” says Ross. “One customer held an induction for new graduates, so we kept the event app live for several months to help foster the connections they made on the day.” Look ahead Armed with all this useful data from your last event, you should be well placed to plan the next one – and you can use your previous event website or app to start building anticipation.
Find out more To discover how we could help you deliver a seamless event, contact Capita Travel and Events.
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INSIDER’S GUIDE AIRPORT FITNESS HUBS
Airports around the world are adding health and wellbeing fixes for travellers who want to take time out before they take off 1. STRETCH APPEAL
What? Yoga at Frankfurt Airport
As part of its multimillion-pound makeover in 2016, Frankfurt Airport added a yoga room to Terminals 1 and 2. Those who want to limber up and unwind before a lengthy flight will find studios complete with wall mirrors, cushions, blocks and yoga mats, all decked out in suitably soothing colours. Access is free of charge, and beginners are welcome – video screens show travellers how to master the poses.
2. ANIMAL MAGIC
3. SWIMMING STOPOVERS
4. CARDIO CORNER
Francisco International Airport
Singapore Changi Airport
What? The Wag Brigade at San
Nervous fliers can enjoy a rather cute distraction in San Fran – the airport’s very own ‘Wag Brigade’. This army of creatures includes dogs, rabbits and cats (as well as pig LiLou – right) that are all certified for Animal Assisted Therapy. This means they have calm, friendly temperaments and can be petted. And rest assured, the Wag Brigade is, in turn, looked after by a local animal hospital.
What? The rooftop pool at
Known for its uber-luxe amenities, Singapore Changi Airport offers stopover passengers access to a rooftop pool overlooking the runway. Officially part of the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel, it’s part of Terminal 1, and you don’t need to be a hotel guest or leave the departure area to benefit, although a small fee does apply. Open daily from 6am to midnight, there’s a Jacuzzi and showers, too.
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5. SPA-ING PARTNER
What? The gym at Baltimore/
Washington International Airport
What? Sleep and spa lounge at Heathrow Airport
Airport gyms are nothing new, but ROAM Fitness at Baltimore/ Washington International Airport claims to be the first to appear behind security lines – and if it proves popular, we could see more across the world. En route to the departure gates, the gym is stocked with weights, cardio equipment and yoga mats. Equipment is by TechnoGym, toiletries are from luxe brand Malin+Goetz, and you can either hire Lululemon fitness clothing to wear or have your own used kit vacuum-packed for your hand luggage to eliminate any odour.
The Plaza Premium Lounge promises business-standard access to comfortable sleep pods, healthy refreshments and spa treatments to passengers, regardless of which airline they’re travelling with. Available in Heathrow Terminals 2 and 4, you can book in for up to 12 hours of uninterrupted peace and relaxation. Book a single or double ‘resting suite’ ahead of a red-eye flight, freshen up before your journey in a shower room or opt for a calming 15-minute massage to ease tired muscles. We guarantee you’ll feel less cranky.
TS IN PO K E OO BL B Y U U UL O O J D Y ST N 1 R N HE 3 EA W BY
So many reasons TO JOIN
The AccorHotels loyalty club for meeting planners offers so many benefits. • • • •
Organise your meetings Enjoy benefits and rewards Earn loyalty points Use them all over the world
PLUS Join today and for every meeting you book and pay for before 31st July 2017 at any of our 2,800 participating hotels, you’ll earn DOUBLE POINTS – which you can redeem for reward vouchers, airline miles or money off future events.
Le Club AccorHotels Meeting Planner terms and conditions apply
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For more information, contact Capita Travel and Events. At Lime Venue Portfolio we’re a popular choice for banquets and gala dinners. Offering you the UK’s largest collection of unusual and unique venues, all supported by superb food, we’re perfectly positioned to help you deliver inspiring and memorable events.
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Published on Jun 22, 2017