Venue space isn’t hard to come by in the north, but it must offer something exceptional to meet the increasing expectations of delegates. H&E North looks at multipurpose venues taking the event scene to a new level.

If you’re on the search for a venue flexible enough to meet the most demanding of requirements, while giving attendees a day to remember, you need to think outside the box. From the outset, you might assume a venue caters for a certain genre of event, but dig deeper, and you could uncover a world of possibilities. Think music arenas, theatres, hotels, sports stadiums and museums – they all have a primary purpose but many also house space that can be repurposed to host diverse corporate events. We dive into the world of multipurpose venues in the north…

First Direct Arena, a multipurpose venue in Leeds, lit up colourfully

First Direct Arena, Leeds


Multiple Purposes, Multiple Benefits

The beauty of being able to repurpose space is that it will benefit your event in more ways than one. From tailor-made experiences to unique offerings, you are provided with a blank canvas in which to organise an event and make it your own.

A great example of a world-class multipurpose venue providing such benefits is first direct arena in Leeds. Opening its doors in 2013, the following year it was voted ‘Best New Venue in the World’ at the Stadium Business Awards. Famed for its live music and comedy events, first direct arena regularly hosts conventions, exhibitions, conferences, award ceremonies, fundraisers and product launches, too.

This is all thanks to the choice of versatile space within the venue. “The arena’s unique ‘super theatre’ style configuration is designed to enhance the visitor experience,” explains Lisa Turton, Head of Sales and Hospitality. “Event organisers are excited by our tailored approach to ensuring expectations are exceeded with every ‘touch point’ to create an unforgettable event experience.”

Lisa adds: “Visitors, guests, delegates and presenters alike, enjoy an ‘intimate’ atmosphere with reduced viewing distances inside the main auditorium, which can accommodate up to 12,000 people or 2,500 sqm of exhibition space. We also have 400 sqm of ancillary exhibition space, as well as our outdoor plaza, which is a great place to create an exciting welcome and buzz.”

Events with Pizzazz

Any successful event should make an impact while providing value for delegates; they need to be confident it’s worth taking time out of their busy schedule to attend. Cue an injection of personality and values – something Lime Venue Portfolio, which heads up the UK’s largest collection of diverse venues, advocate.

An interior shot of Welford Road Stadium, a multipurpose venue which is home to the Leicester Tigers

Welford Road Stadium, home of Leicester Tigers

“Unique and unusual venues are all about brands, values and personality. This is particularly the case in the corporate market, but increasingly so with association organisations and events where the business wants to use the event to project a personality or a value. If it can use the venue to do so, it will,” says Jo Austin, Sales Director.

“It’s not uncommon for elements such as menus to reflect those same values and for the room to be dressed to underline a message as well. It means the visitor gets a full event experience, from pre-event anticipation to the wow factor at the event, right through to a lasting memory – all because the venue played its part.”

Welford Road Stadium, home of Leicester Tigers, and Concorde Conference Centre at Manchester Airport, are part of the Lime Venue Portfolio family. They are also examples of multipurpose venues full of personality and creative potential. Known for its rugby match days, Welford Road has flexible meeting room and executive suite space to host corporate events. In fact, it’s the largest venue of its kind in the East Midlands. Likewise, Concorde Conference Centre provides a unique opportunity to host an event under the wings of a world-famous icon. You’ll find over 1,600 sqm of event space catering for up to 700 guests, as well as smaller areas ideal for meetings, team building events, and break-out areas.

An aerial shot of DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel and Spa, a multipurpose venue for events and conferences

DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel and Spa

Collaborative Success Stories

In terms of the benefits multipurpose venues bring to your event, it’s worth looking at the bigger picture. For example, ensuring both the venue and organisers work together to involve the local community and bring business to the area. This isn’t always possible or appropriate but it’s something the newly rebranded and refurbished DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel and Spa, formerly The Majestic Hotel, recently embraced.

Proving the venue is more than just a £15 million refurbishment with state-of-the-art conference and events space, accommodation and spa, it demonstrated a commitment to Harrogate and a warm welcome to its visitors while hosting the UCI World Championships 2019. How? With a commissioned piece of land art in the form of a 20-metre smiley emoji, of course!

“Putting Harrogate on the map and smiles on the faces of our guests, it’s proof that the venue is capable of creating amazing experiences, no matter what the brief!” says Gillian Venning, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Lime Venue Portfolio’s Jo Austin spoke to us more in depth about choosing a unique venue – check it out here!