Cost Effective Solutions – M&IT Magazine February 2012

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We are all looking to stretch that budget as far as we can these days and this starts with finding a fabulous venue but at the right price. These days, quality, style and service doesn’t necessarily have to equate a large price tag and more often venues are recognizing the ability to offer a great product but also at a great price. Indeed, to find the real bargains, you need to dare cross the Watford Gap Services and look ‘up’ on the map rather than ‘down but still there are fab bargains to be found from north to south.

Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre 

This is really is a hidden gem of a hotel, recently undergoing a multimillion pound refurbishment and located within 5 minutes walk of New street station and top shopping areas including the Bull Ring and Mailbox. Although a 3 star property, its refurbishment brings the hotel in line with many of its 4 start counterparts with free wifi, a fab bar and 13 meeting rooms offering really flexible meeting space. The hotel looks and feels smart and is ideal for pharmaceutical groups where ABPI codes prevail and when budget is a key component to the event brief. I have seen DDR’s as low as £35.00 per person and the quality you get for this is super!

Donington Park Raceway

A fantastic venue for high octane motor heads, Donington offers a surprising portfolio of conference and exhibition space with conference suites ranging from 2 to 800 delegates along with a huge exhibition space offering capacity of up to 6000! Located just of the M1 and also within easy reach of East Midlands Airport, I have been amazed by the quality of customer service and flexibility of rates for a variety of enquiries I have put forward. With a twist of the arm, you can even use the racetrack which is perfect for product launches and UK based incentives where the need for speed prevails .

Mint Hotel Birmingham

My favorite hotel, the Mint is a great value city hotel option. City chic meets high tech, the Mint is located in the heart of fashionable Brindley Place and is reminiscent of a trendy Soho hotel. The staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming and the bar pumps out good tunes and a decent cocktail until late into the evening. Rooms are loaded with features such as free wifi and Apple iMACS and never fail to impress. A true 4 star product at a 3 star price, we have used the hotel primarily for hospitality and incentive programmes where budget is a key focus. Rooms start as low as £80.00 including breakfast which allows us to stretch the budget on creating a whizz bang programme.  The hotel will soon be rebranding as a Hilton Garden Inn but, I really believe the vibe and spirit of the hotel will remain!

Branksome Place – Hindehead

Branksome Place is a quirky blank canvas, which has recently become an incredibly accessible Surrey venue due to the opening of the A3 Hinehead tunnel link. Once a really hard place to reach, now with the tunnel, London is a mere 50 minutes away. For us, Branksome works where team building is a key area of the brief. They have over 33 meeting rooms and 12 syndicates all at jaw dropping good value along with comfortable refurbished rooms that are perfectly adequate. But, what makes this venue so unique is its open space. Its woodland and open grassland lends perfectly for team building activities and their inhouse team can create some incredible packages which are often hard to do within such close proximity to London (especially in one day). With such great value, we find we can really stretch budgets allowing us to offer incredibly innovative and exciting team building activities which really do make an impact.