22nd September 2016
Well where do I start? What an amazing day is was to spend in London. It was 32c at its hottest but the venues I saw where taking it all in their stride!
First off was The Royal Society. This venue is home to the death mask of Sir Isaac Newton and steeped in history, I was in my element. The Marble Hall is definitely the place to be if you’re looking to impress. With its own Juliet Balcony, it’s hard not to fall in love with the space.
Next on my list was Kings College, Strand Campus. Walking into the courtyard, the fountains were a welcome site and I must admit I was a little jealous of the children in swim suits enjoying them! Kings College has lots of quirky spaces including a beautiful terrace with stunning views of the Thames. Just imagine a drinks reception in the evening sun – heaven!
It was time to move on to No. 11 Cavendish Square, upon entering it was great to see ten free secure charging points for electronic devices with a variety of connectors, helpful for every event organiser. The spaces here can so easily suit all your needs but my favourite was definitely the Orangery and Courtyard Garden, beautiful light spaces with a great atmosphere.
I made my way to University of Westminster, it’s great location was easy to find and the traditional spaces would work really well for small to medium events.
30 Euston Square was my penultimate stop and it didn’t disappoint. The penthouse State Rooms and Roof Terrace were amazing, if you take the rooms you get the floor exclusively so great for extra privacy. I could have happily sat up there for the rest of my day.
My final stop was the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, with its own dedicated level and a manned reception desk you know you would be in safe hands here. The Henry Wellcome Auditorium is fully equipped and is a great choice if you've got a meeting for approx 150 delegates.
After all that excitement, it was time to make my way home and update the rest of the team on my adventures! Here’s to many more!
If you've been tasked with organising a meeting, give our free venue finding service a go - even the call to us is free CALL 0800 849 1042!! What are you waiting for?!
22nd September 2016
It is a hot day in London, with high of 29 degrees, blue sky and plenty of sunshine. My colleague Hannah and I are in visiting some fantastic venues. It’s my first trip, since joining the company and what an exciting day ahead!
We started our day in Westminster. First stop: Church House Conference Centre a well-hidden multi-purpose conference and event venue, a grade II listed building with loads of character.
Of the 19 available rooms available, my favourite meeting space was the Bishop Partridge Hall, which features an atmospheric blend of elegant stucco ceiling, traditional oak panelling and a stunning stone balcony with views of Dean's Yard and Westminster Abbey.
Still in Westminster – between the end of rush hours and beginning of tourist hours – we headed for Central Hall Westminster, another Grade II listed building, with an impressive staircase, which was apparently inspired by the Opera in Paris. It is no wonder that this venue it’s popular choice for film locations.
The venue includes 22 rooms of different sizes: from intimate meeting rooms for 5 delegates to facilities for 500, conference and exhibition space for up to 1,000 guests and a 1,400 m2 auditorium with versatile floor space, holding 2,039 delegates or up to 2,400 standing concert. If you are looking for an historic building, then Central Hall Westminster is definitely worth considering.
Only a short walking distance is the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, our next stop. The venue is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment, which will make it an even more versatile venue.
With 32 ‘empty box’ style spaces, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre is suitable for a wide range of events including: exhibitions, high profile conferences and conventions.
We could only visit part of the venue, due to undergoing work and this included the third floor, the largest and most impressive event space, with double height windows, which offer a stunning view of Westminster Cathedral, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, which would have made it the perfect spot on the day of the Royal wedding, when Kate, now Duchess of Cambridge entered the Cathedral to say ‘I do’!
The second part of our day was spent in South Kensington. Here we visited the Royal Garden Hotel, which I must admit was the highlight of the day. Not only was the hotel beautiful and offering stunning view of Kensington Palace and the Royal Garden, but its member of staff gave us the warmest of welcome!
The Royal Garden hotel offers 10 flexible spaces that can accommodate a wide range of events from a small meeting of 10 to a conference of 800 guests. The Hotel also offers private dining space for up to 20 people in the Min Jiang, Chinese Restaurant. Located in the top floor, the restaurant has fabulous views of Hyde Park and London’s skyline. The food looked delicious and smelt great. Personally, I am looking forward to dining there!
Less than 20 minutes’ walk is the Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington with the Millennium Conference Centre, which provides a wide selection of spaces, with 26 rooms that vary in size and style, and a James Bond style entrance in a glass lift.
If you are looking for a truly impressive space for a private dinner or a drinks reception, I would recommend their Conservatory, an outstanding glass structure adorned with palm trees, which can accommodate up to 250 guests.
Finally, we made a short detour onto Hammersmith to our final stop: Novotel London West. Temperatures in London had now reached what felt like 40 degrees, so we were really grateful for the air conditioning boost!
The hotel offers some truly impressive meeting spaces with 33 meeting rooms and 630 bedrooms. It can cater up to 2,000 delegates and has a dedicated entrance & registration area. If you are planning a big conference for up to 2,000 delegate and direct links to Heathrow airport, the Novotel London West could be the right venue for you.
14th June 2016
What does….. 96 staff, 43 desks, four locations, 11 weddings, six babies, one typewriter, three websites and five logos all add up to? 30 years in business for The Conference People that’s what!
1986 1 June The Conference People was born
1987 Moved to Trinity Trees, first proper office with our first employee!
1988 Our first Event Management contract
1990 Meetings Industry Association formed, Robert was a founding member
1996 Euro’96 – managed all accommodation and hospitality for the FA
1997 Moved to Lismore House – our converted town house
2000 Launched UBook, our very own online delegate management system
2001 We lost Maggie Doyle to Motor Neurone Disease
2002 We renovated our basement to accommodate our growing EM team
2011 Cyprus to Brighton – crisis to success after 9/11
2012 Our own Social Marketing events born
2014 Fuse Event Management created, and we moved to our new home in Upperton Farmhouse
2015 Created the first conference themed game, for both Android and iOS
2016 We celebrate turning 30!
2016 and beyond…. Onwards and upwards as ever!
So, 30 years in this industry, an accomplishment we are rightly very proud of! So much has changed since those early days and we’ve seen some amazing highs and a few lows.
On 1 June 1986 Robert Enefer and Maggie Doyle created The Conference People. One room, one typewriter, two desks and two phones! We had an email account which we only needed to check once a week – yes, once a week! Initially we concentrated on venue finding, and we were part of a very small group of venue finding agencies in those days!
Celebratory champagne in tumblers - so classy....!
Our very first piece of business was a Roadshow around the UK for Matchbox cars. It would be challenging now even with 30 years’ experience as it was a detailed brief with extremely complicated requirements. But it sealed our fate – we were both hooked!
In 1987, we took on our first employee and moved offices, closer to the town centre in a building in Trinity Trees.
We continued to grow and in the following year we established our close link with the local college, in particular their PA Diploma course. Suzanne Tanner was our next employee, and the first who came from the PA course, she wasn’t the last – a further eight followed her over the years! 1988 was an important year for us in terms of growth, not only did we take on more staff – but we also started to provide an Event Management service.
1990 was an important year for the industry because the Meetings Industry Association was formed, and Robert was heavily involved – being a founding member. With the birth of the MIA it gave those in the industry a voice, help and advice on how to move forward in this incredibly fast paced industry.
Euro’96 was a real turning point for The Conference People. We managed all of the accommodation and the hospitality for the Football Association at the Royal Garden Hotel. It became home for Mel and Robert for the duration of the competition.
Our Euro'96 framed picture - takes pride of place in our office
Following on from the success of the project, further expansion meant we had outgrown our Trinity Trees offices and we moved into a lovely townhouse, Lismore House. Our ever growing team fitted perfectly into all four floors.
We had our first wedding in 1998, when Mel married Julian (some of us vaguely remember the wedding party, hic!), we’ve had a few more weddings since, with the next one taking place in September this year. Oh and not to mention we’ve had six TCP babies during our 30 years!
2000 saw the launch of our very own online delegate management service – Ubook. Until that point, most of our delegate management had been paper based (yes, it really had – ask Mel about our hotel booking allocations for the Social Services conferences which dealt with rooms for over 1,200 delegates during the week long events!). We didn’t like the constraints that the off the shelf packages seemed to offer – so we designed our own. It was then, and still is now, totally bespoke and entirely flexible.
In 2001 we experienced our first real low; with the loss of founding partner, Maggie Doyle, to Motor Neurone Disease. Maggie continued to work as long as she could – and losing her was a genuine loss to the industry. But as she would have wanted, we continued to move forward.
2002 saw our basement floor in Lismore House completely renovated from three offices to one large open plan space. It was a lengthy job, made more complicated by one of the smaller offices being lined with steel due to it being a ‘safe’ room from when the building was owned by solicitors. You never could get a mobile reception in that room!!
In September 2011 The Annual Sales Conference for 300 delegates for a major Pharmaceutical company was scheduled to be held for a week in Cyprus, with delegates arriving on Sunday 21 September. Then 9/11 happened and the company implemented an immediate ban on all international travel. TCP were managing the event; a complicated programme involving extensive production, team building, delegates packs and gifts – all of which were already on the island. In just two days an alternative venue had been booked (the Grand Hotel, Brighton) and the entire programme, packs, badges and so on had all been replicated in the new location. Something of a miracle – but we can do that sometimes!
In 2008 we managed the first ever Social Marketing conference on behalf of the National Social Marketing Centre which took place in Brighton. Not being a company to ever stand still, following a lack of funding from the NSMC to run another Social Marketing conference, and seeing a real niche in the market we launched our own programme of events. 2012 was the first UK event, closely followed later that same year with the first European event in Lisbon – and the first ever World Social Marketing event the following year in Toronto in 2013. There have since been events in London, Rotterdam, Finland and Sydney. Future events are planned in Washington and Berlin. Such has been the success of the World events, that next year will see them become an annual event.
Before flying back, we were lucky enough to fly over Niagara Falls.....!
2014 saw a real change for us, not only did we move into our new home in Upperton Farmhouse (co-incidentally a building Robert and Maggie had considered before Trinity Trees!) but we launched Fuse, a stand alone, social enterprise Event Management company to look after the majority of our event management business.
In 2015 we launched the first ever conference game app – where you have to get all your delegates seated before the presenter starts talking – something we’re often doing in real life!
2016 and beyond…. How much easier life would be if we could predict the future – and how boring too! The Meetings Industry has always been unpredictable but never more so than now. One version is of a gloomy future with the Referendum result, tighter budgets, greater demand on ROI and international terrorism. But we have found in the last 30 years that there are always opportunities, it might be harder to find them sometimes, but still there. We have developed a brilliant array of clients across all areas – blue chip, association and third sector and there are always events of some sort being planned. Some of these clients have been with us from the beginning, Penguin Random House is one of those.
At the beginning for us technology was an electric typewriter - now it’s our own programmes to look after venue finding, delegate management and event support all linked to our client database with everything being constantly upgraded and updated; TCP continues to develop support systems as needed. Our industry will always be fascinating, challenging, rewarding and exciting!
The final photo above..... and the process of getting that shot below.....!!!