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News in the Meetings & Events market


London is the perfect place to find incredible meeting venues for your next corporate event.

And while there is no shortage of fabulous event spaces like traditional hotels and meeting rooms, why not host your next one in of the unique meeting venues in London that are as unique as the capital itself.

We've handpicked a selection of secret (and not so secret) gems ranging from historic houses and museums to secret wine cellars, ice bars & WWII war ships.

While we can't promise that running a meeting in one of those venues will increase attendance, it will certainlu leave a long-lasting memory and create an amazingly unique experience for your guests.

Let's do some exploring together, shall we?

1) London Transport Museum

Ever wanted to see the historical London Bus up close?

The London Transport Museum is located centrally in the heart of London, in Covent Garden. The venue features some of the most iconic London talking points, including the infamous London double decker, historic trams and early tube carriages.

The galleries & exhibitions are the perfect backdrop for evening receptions and dinner parties, mixing old and new with dynamic displays of posters, vintage vehicles and interactive exhibits.

Expect a vibrant and modern athmosphere across three unique event spaces which can cater for various group sizes and requirements.

Did you know? The London Transport museum cares for over 450,000 items in total across their galleries & exhibitions. Your guests can explore, and explore, and explore.


2) The London Wetland Center

Ever wanted to go nose-to-beak with London's exciting fauna ranging from otters, swans, ducks, geese, bats and butterflies?

The London Wetland Center is the perfect space for you nature loving friends out there.

Just imagine being surrounded by 42 hectares of scenic lakes, water pools and meadows close to the capital's city centre. This is a truly sustainable meeting & event experience.

Did you know? The London Wetland Centre is home to many wild birds that cannot be found anywhere else in London. In 2012, the venue was voted Britain's Favourite Nature Reserve in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.

Unique Meeting Venues in London - Ice Tank London

This is essentialism at its best. Fancy a meeting in a unique and clean "canvas" in the heart of Covent Garden (Central London)?

The Ice Tank is the perfect space for press launches, conferences, private dining events, receptions and private corporate parties.

You can put your own stamp on the space with any branding or theming, or you can keep it simple with the venue's contemporary design.

Did you know? The purpose-built luxury kitchen from the brand Miele can also be used for live cooking - adding a unique little quirk to the drinks reception.

Unique Meeting Venues in London - The Shard

Welcome to one of London's most exclusive event venues.

The Shard is Europe's tallest venue and hotel and gives your attendees a surrounding view over the city. Meet ~300 metres above the streets of London in a unique environment surrounded by 11,000 glass panels.

With three meeting rooms available named after the first three of five virtues of Confucianism, The Shard is the perfect venue for a wide range of meetings including breakfasts & private dining events.

Did you know?: The lifts that take you to the top of the building are some of the fastest in the world, moving at 6 metres per second.

Unique Meeting Venues in London - The Whirled Cinema

Camera Ready & Action.

A little off the beaten track, Whirled Cinema is a stone's throw away from hip Brixton and Herne Hill. The venue is tucked away in the railway arches under Loughborough Junction.

This unique meeting venue is perfect for team meetings, smaller conferences and screenings with up to 60 guests. It's the ultimate combination of small, cosy, and intimate.

Plus, for £220 per day, it's one of the more affordable meeting rooms in London.

Did you know? In 2018, Whirled Cinema launched a series of dog-friendly cinema screenings. Another interesting f

6) The Drum at Wembley
Unique Meeting Venues in London - The Drum Wembley

The Drum in Wembley offers a variety of meeting venues suitable for groups from 8 to 1,000.  These flexible areas are capable of hosting a wide range of events, from large-scale exhibitions, meetings and conferences to corporate functions.

Built for purpose, The Drum contains the latest audio-visual technology, including the ability to stream events live over the internet.

Did you know? The Drum in Wembley is located within the UK's greenest public building.

7) The National Maritime Museum
Unique Meeting Venues in London - The National Maritime Museum

Located in Greenwich, this venue will offer a unique experience for your participants due to its stunning and innovative architecture and atmosphere.

The venue works particularly well for large scale dinners and awards ceremonies. In the warmer months, pre-dinner drinks can be hosted underneath the stone colonnades which offer amazing views across Canary Wharf and Greenwich Park.

Did you know? The musuem is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and it may be the largest of its kind in the world.

Unique Meeting Venues in London - Pop Brixton

This space can be hired as an inspiring and engaging event backdrop.

Pop Box is made up of indoor and outdoor spaces that can host meetings & conferences for up to 200 guests.

It also has two smaller spaces, The Greenhouse Table and The Dining Room which are more suitable for small workshops or meetings for up to 50 people.

Located in South London, the athmosphere around Pop Brixton is bustling and vibrant and gives your guests different areas and levels to explore.

As an event space, it works well for forward thinking companies who want to inject a little creativity into their event.

Did you know? The entire site is made up of shipping containers(!)

Unique Meeting Venues in London - Stafford Wine Cellar

Perfect for drink receptions, exclusive dinners and wine tastings (who would have thought?).

Housed beneath The Stafford London near Green Park, this former World War II shelter now houses up to 8,000 bottles of fine wine. The meeting space can accomodate between 44 and 70 people.

Did you know? One of the star attractions is Gino Nardella - a charismastic gentleman who ensures that every wine tasting experience is engagement, informative and entertaining. 

Unique Meeting Venues in London - ArcelorMittal Orbit

Spread across the three floors, ArcelorMittal Orbit is situated at the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The location promises unforgettable views and contemporay interiors and is suited for drinks receptions, to product launches, team building events and brand events.

Did you know? The ArcelorMittal Orbit has the world's largest tunnel slide. Give your guests a little thrill and let them travel up to a speed of 15mph (~25 km/h) down the building. 

Unique Meeting Venues in London - HMS Belfast
 

Travel back in time.

The HMS Belfast is the ideal meeting venue for private dining, product launches, receptions and corporate parties. The war ship offers a spectacular 360-degree view of London and gives guests an authentic experience with fully decorated rooms, each with its own individual character.

Guests can dine in the Officer’s Mess, climb a gun turret or watch the sun set on the Quarterdeck.

Interesting Fact: HMS Belfast is the last remaining light cruiser from the Royal Navy’s WWII fleet. 

CONCLUSION
London is definitely one of the best places to hold your next meeting or event. No matter what your meeting objectives and goals are, you can be reassured to find a venue that suits your needs.
Sending and submitting successful event venue RFPs can be a tedious and time consuming process. (As if event planning wasn't stressful enough, right?)

You not only want to find the best event venues for your needs, you also want to establish a good relationship with your supplier and create an amazing experience for your attendees.
And all of that within the constraints of your super tight event budget.

To help you out, we've created some tips on how you can create a successful event venue RFP without loosing your mind.

What is an Event Venue RFP?
Selecting the perfect venue that tells your event story & meets the requirements of your audience is key. If you're a sophisticated planner, your requirements go far beyond location, availability and parking spaces available.

While those pieces are important, you need to consider other dimensions as well. RFPs can help you logically structure your needs and find potential suppliers that match that needs.

By sending out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to a pre-selected shortlist of hotels or venues, you're showing interest in buying a range of services (e.g. sourcing hotel guest rooms, unique meeting spaces, event technology, and food & beverage).

In exchange to your request, interested venues might then participate in your RFP and submit their pricing proposals and offers back to you.

The quality of your initial request for proposals (RFP) can hugely influence the quality of the responses.

If you send out your event requirements in a structured way, it's not only easier for you to compare the responses that come back to you, it also helps making a fair decision which venue you want to work with.

You might also consider sending out an RFP if you're planning a meeting at a new destination for the first time to get an overview of the market. Or maybe you've been unsatisfied with your previous choice and are now trying a new city.

Building fruitful relationships with venues and suppliers is crucial. It's not nice to 'pit' one venue against the other for the sake of driving costs down.

But wait...before you scan through this article, hit the phone to arrange dates, write an email to your favourite venue, or use an online venue database, here are some important strategic points to consider first:

Your Event & Meeting Goals
Event Venue RFP - Event & Meeting Goals

1. Tell Your Story First
Venues evoke emotions, bring people together, and reflect your event's brand and ethos. The venue is the center stage which tells your story. Start with your event & meeting goals and your "Why" in the first place:

  • What type of event are you organising?
  • What's your vision, topic, and objective for your event?
  • Is this the first time you're running the event?
  • What's unique about your event?
  • What ambiance and look & feel are you hoping for?
  • What's the event website?
  • What is the anticipated format, e.g. one day conference with 6 breakout sessions before and after lunch and a gala dinner in the evening?
  • What's your reason for choosing the city or destination?
  • Why is this important? You want the venues to get excited about the opportunity to hosting an event and potential co-marketing opportunities.

2. Who is your target audience?
  • What is the minimum and maximum number of attendees you're anticipating for your event?
  • What's the demographic profile of your target audience?
  • Why is this important? If your target audience matches the ideal audience of the venue, it might help you negotiate better rates.

Try to give as much information about your event as possible. This enables the venue to quote accurately and also helps to understand the bigger picture for potential co-marketing opportunities.

3. Your Event Basic Needs
Once you have your WHY, let's not forget the basics. It's always good to include a reference in your email or proposal letter. Let the venue know about the deadline for responses and how the responses should be returned.

Be aware: Often, venues try to send large email attachements with menus, images, or brochures, which can end up in spam. Be clear and transparent and only ask for the information you need.

To be entirely respectful, also include when the decision will be made and how the venues will be informed. Remember, it's a partnership based on respect. 

Don't forget:
Dates and times for the event
  • When will you set up and how long will you need?
  • When will you breakdown (not mentally)?
  • What's the arrival pattern from attendees?
  • Do you need sleeping rooms? If yes, how many room nights?
  • Do you require early access on the day of the event?
  • Identify Meeting Space Requirements & Accessibility
  • Event Venue RFP - Meeting Space Requirements

Although, not always easy, try to identify your meeting space requirements the best you can. If you've hosted a previous event, look a the historic attendance level and then ensure you ask the venue about the maximum capacities in both, the main and breakout rooms.

Questions to think about:
  • What's the main room for your event?
  • Where can breakout sessions take place?
  • Where is the registration area?
  • What's the distance between the rooms? Are they all easily accesible?
  • Can the venue provide floor plans?
  • Where is the cloakroom?
  • Where will you have your organisers office?
  • Where is the exhibition area?
  • Is parking included?
  • What's the distance between your preferred location and/or nearest airport / train station.
  • Why is this important? Room rental is typically based on the capacity and has a minimum food & beverage spend requirements if you decide to go with the venue's in-house catering.

Your Food & Beverage Options
Venues love sharing their incredible catering menus. But too often, these don't match your needs, budgets or are simply boring.

It's not wrong to ask the venue about your preferred food choices. Maybe you're looking for a special theme or have a large group in your audience who can't eat Gluten, are Vegan, or Halal.

Tech, Wifi & AV Requirements
Event Venue RFP - Tech, Wifi & AV Requirements

Try to be as specific as possible when mentioning your tech, wifi, and AV requirements. What setup and equipment is required. For example: "We need a laptop and projector in the main room and all breakout rooms.

We anticipate a panel on the main stage with 6 participants. We require a PA system, 4 lapel mics and 2 handheld mics or a Catchbox.

Venue wifi is known to be flakey (at least in some properties). The main question for you to ask is if you need dedicated access with your own password or if delegates will use the public venue wifi.

Tip: For your site inspection, always make sure you run a Wifi test on your own device. Login to the venue's wifi and run a speed test.

Other Important Questions to Ask
Below are some other important questions you should ask. In addition, Event Manager Blog has put together an amazing and comprehensive event venue checklist which you should definitely check out.

  • What is the payment schedule and terms & conditions?
  • What is the attrition rate for room nights?
  • Is there commission payable for you (if you're an agency)
  • Can the venue block a specific range of dates for you until you've made a decision?
  • What is the best way of communicating with the venue?
  • Are there further opportunities for co-marketing & promotion?
The venue - event planner relationship is based on trust and respect. Be clear about your objectives, tell your event's story and don't forget these all important questions when writing your next venue RFP.

What are your considerations when creating an event venue RFP? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter at @meetingselect.

We’ve been keeping this secret for months, but we’re excited to finally announce UNITE: the first ever best-in-breed event tech semi-unconference.
  
What’s a semi-unconference, you ask? In addition to uniting the best people and the best tech, we’re pairing up the magic of the user-led unconference with the best parts of a traditional conference—namely, the inspiring speakers.
  
We know there are other a lot of other things competing for your time this summer—swatting flies, watching paint dry, all-in-one event tech conferences—but with leaders from Atlassian, Hubspot and other leading technology and marketing firms, UNITE should not be missed.
  
You’ll be sitting alongside the smartest event professionals in the world for an alchemy of awesomeness that includes keynote speakers, workshops, networking and an unconference, where you choose the topics!
  
The best part? This event will be offered totally FREE, but we have a limited amount of spaces, so RSVP soon.
 
JOIN US:
Unite
July 26
At the LinQ in Last Vegas
  
Unite is hosted by the Event Tech Tribe, a collaborative ensemble of seven best-in-craft event tech companies.
 


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