When a major utilities firm wanted something a little bit different for their annual leadership conference, the versatility of the facilities at NAEC Stoneleigh again came to the fore.
Supported by their inflatable event structure partners at Evolution Dome, NAEC laid on breakout spaces with a difference and transformed one of their primary catering spaces into a mindfulness inspired ‘Zen garden’.
The event was the 11th collaboration in less than a year with this particular energy sector client; testament to a new and flourishing relationship and the client’s eagerness to make use of NAEC Stoneleigh’s unique blank canvas.
THE GREAT INDOORS
For a venue famous for its combination of indoor and outdoor space, this was a chance to showcase what could be done with its internal space alone. A traditional cabaret-style set-up was present in Hall 1, accommodating 650 delegates for the formal part of the conference.
By contrast, Hall 2 became a space-within-a-space, with six colourful, inflatable domes providing some rather unusual break-out locations.
These temporary inflatable structures – each able to accommodate up to 120 people and lit to reflect the company branding – played host to a mass scavenger hunt as well as to breakout meetings and workshops throughout the day. Hall 2 also housed the lunch station, where a super-efficient catering operation saw all 650 delegates provided with hot food within just 15 minutes.
Commenting on the event, Ross Stewart Business Development Manager at NAEC Stoneleigh, said: “Large conferences – is an area of the corporate events market that we’re now far more active in. It’s provided us with the opportunity to work with clients like this who have told us they want to steer away from traditional conference formats, in favour of something more creative and quirky. The use of the Evolution Domes clearly ticked that box with their latest event - but so too did the redesign of our restaurant space. No-one’s ever done that before so even we’re still learning about the flexibility we have within the venue!”
Two years ago, NAEC Stoneleigh hosted just four conferences of this size. A concerted effort to target this market saw that number triple last year and a further 50% has already been added to their market share in 2019.
Ross continued: “This was an important event for us as we continue to expand our presence in the market for larger conferences because it really tested our catering capabilities. We’re well used to running large trade shows and exhibitions where we may have thousands of people on site, eating whenever they want across different catering outlets.
However, conference catering is a different undertaking altogether. The client wanted a really quick turnaround within a 45 minute lunch break, giving people time to mix and mingle before the afternoon activities started. We were delighted to be able to do that for them in just 15 minutes.”
Book your meeting with us at the Meetings Show and see what we can do for your events.