A run-of-the-mill space can mean an away day will all too often fall flat, fading from the memory in a blur of the beige and the functional. H&E North explores how investing in a high end venue can bring your business unexpected returns.
It’s easy to overlook the influence of setting when trying to get the best from people. For the sake of budget and ease, it’s all too simple to book your team into the cheap and cheerful chains with your local A-road for views. The results will often prove as uninspiring as the magnolia walls, and the productivity threadbare as the grey nylon carpets. Behaviour has always proved a reflection of setting. Mundane surroundings will bring out the mundane in your employees. In order to stimulate and inspire, you need to take them out of the ordinary.
A great space has the potential to make an indelible impression. Five-star luxury might seem like an indulgence your business simply can’t afford. But when staff leave away days more uninspired than when they arrived and brainstorming in blank, cold meeting spaces throws grey clouds in the way of blue sky thinking, can you really afford the wasted expense?
Businesses need to reframe their thinking. Not only will hosting your event amid awe-inspiring architecture make a lasting impact on your team, it will bring out the best in them. When you’re creating an experience for your business, it’s up to you to curate the right environment to foster the best response. A little bit of luxury can go a long way to ensure a successful event and show your staff and clients some major appreciation.
Hosting a session in a space that doesn’t mentally engage your staff will set them up for a day of clock-watching from the get-go. Stimulate the imagination with the architectural grandeur offered by stately homes and period estates with a touch of historical magic. The unexpected extravagance will not only create lasting associations with the event, but will make an aspirational statement about where your business is going.
Looking out the window to sprawling vistas of lush greenery is like a mental balm for burnt out employees. Many luxury venues are out in the country and off the beaten track, but the extra travelling will be well worth it. With space to wander, the beautiful grounds that often come with these settings give staff a chance to free their minds away from the stresses and distractions of the metropolis.
There’s a reason Google HQ invests in beanbags for employees. When people can’t fully relax, they won’t work at their best. Get your team comfortable in their working environment and watch the productivity skyrocket. Luxury venues boast plush meeting spaces, with sumptuous decor to make work feel like less of chore. They often boast the added benefits of dedicated staff on-hand to ensure your team’s needs are met – letting them concentrate on what they do best.
Your best ideas tend to arise when you least expect them. More often than not, that won’t be at the desk. That lightbulb moment has the knack of hitting you when you’re in the shower, or going for a stroll. It might seem like a waste of valuable paid time, but give employees a chance to take their mind off the task at hand and they are sure to come back to the meeting table with ideas a-plenty.
By splashing out on five-star treatment for your team, you’ll demonstrate how much you value their hard work. Think of it as making an investment that will pay dividends in the long-run, helping to boost morale and foster company loyalty. Whether it’s treating them to fine dining, relaxing spa treatments or an afternoon of exciting activities, it all contributes to a culture of mutual respect that ensures staff stay motivated to tackle the task at hand. With a luxury venue, all this can often be found under one roof, with all-inclusive packages that accompany the venue hire.
Here are three of the best…
St Georges Hotel, Llandudno
St George’s Hotel has played host to an array of famous names throughout its long history, including Napoleon III, Bismarck and seven British Prime Ministers. Winston Churchill, arriving late after an evening’s merriment, demanded a candle to light his cigar. Despite all the shops having closed, the hotel staff went out of their way to appease the tipsy PM’s eccentricities. To this day, the team at St George’s pride themselves on going the extra mile for all their guests, however challenging their request.
The 19th century hotel offers a wide selection of business accommodation with a wealth of history and local tradition – the foyer remains home to the original brass bell-knobs labelled ‘Boots’, ‘Ostler’ and ‘Chambermaid’. Enjoy bespoke menus of speciality cuisine in its terrace restaurant or relax with a drink in its elegant lounge. Its in-house business centre offers dedicated corporate facilities, where you can hold a range of conferences, events and meetings in stylish comfort. The Wedgwood suite, one of North Wales’ largest and most renowned function rooms boasts beautifully ornate, Grade II listed features bathed in natural daylight, while the Mostyn suite offers a beautifully intimate syndicate space extending out onto a private sea view terrace.
Ackergill Tower, Wick
At Scotland’s northernmost tip, Ackergill Tower has stood majestically on the rugged shoreline of the Caithness coast for over 600 years. Perched atop a cliff edge, the castle overlooks its own private beach, with the Orkneys in the offing, making it somewhere your team aren’t likely to forget in a hurry. The luxury Highland estate offers five-star service and an award-winning restaurant, with a choice of elegant function rooms hosting up to 350 delegates, including Europe’s largest treehouse.
Looking out from atop the granite castle walls, you can enjoy views of its 3,000 acres of rolling private estate which plays host to various team building activities from a quiet spot of a fishing, to crashing through wetlands behind the wheel of a Land Rover. It may have been built in the 15th century, but if offers all the latest technology, facilities and equipment to make your event a resounding success. Despite it being situated in one of the most remote spots in the UK – yes, Wi-Fi is indeed available.
Carden Park, Chester
Located in the heart of over 1,000 acres of sprawling Cheshire countryside, Carden Park’s 17th century estate offers a scenic escape, with plenty of space to think. Its main space, the Cardigan Suite boasts a ceiling with 6,000 fibre optic starlights, intergrated mood lighting, state of the art projection facilties and a Bose sound system for some serious ‘wow’-factor. Packed with facilities for work and play in equal measure, the estate hosts an award-winning spa with a pool, sauna, and hydrotherapy baths for some well-earned rest and relaxation after a productive day. Coupled with an on-site unisex salon, your staff can return to the office looking and feeling their best.
Practice your drive on its two championship golf courses, or if you’re after some more relaxed fun, take your game to its crazy golf course. If you don’t fancy working on your handicap, activities including a high ropes course, laser clay pigeon shooting and Segways offer a great opportunity for some team bonding. Enjoy experimental, seasonal cuisine at the AA-Rosette restaurant, headed up by celebrity chef Graham Tinsley, who’s just as comfortable advising top eateries as tickling the taste buds of high profile figures, including David Cameron and Her Majesty the Queen.