Just one year since its rebranding, Venues of Excellence has grown its membership by 31%, with the addition of twelve leading venues from across the UK joining the consortium.
The now 37-strong national marketing consortium of exceptional venues has broadened its footprint within the wider hospitality and events sector in line with its strategic goals.
New members include several Midlands-based venues such as Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre (The REP), The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry and The Slate (Warwick Conferences). Others are Alderley Park Conference Centre, Lancaster Conferences, Victory Services Club, Keele Hall, Cumberland Lodge, The Lensbury, Jurys Inn Hinckley Island, Manchester Conference Centre, and the latest venue to join the group, Newbury Racecourse.
Stuart Websdale, chairman of the consortium, said: “It has been an amazing year for Venues of Excellence. The strategic investment we made in the repositioning of our brand in 2016 has come to fruition, reflected in the diversity and geographical reach of our membership.
“Our goal is to grow our membership to 50 members by 2020, and our performance over the last twelve months is putting us in a strong position to attain that strategic growth target.”
The journey towards having broader representation and increasing value to members included hosting four member meetings throughout the year, holding an annual conference and organising study tours for members to facilitate good practice, idea exchange and benchmarking.
Stuart Websdale said: “Many of our members are independent players with a similar quality ethos and vision so we have a shared goal of delivering excellence to our end users. Our study tours and other events give our membership an opportunity to network, and also to enjoy insight into each other’s venues, challenges and initiatives to stimulate ideas and drive quality.”
Venue of Excellence’s Preferred Partners Programme for suppliers has seen an 81% renewal of partnerships this year, with Compass recently signing a two year contract as the consortium’s first premium partner. The consortium has also recently signed a three year partnership with UK wine and spirits distributor, Matthew Clark, to support member venues in their beverages purchase and promotions.
Another initiative was the launch of the Venues of Excellence Training Academy in partnership with Paje Consultancy. With over 100 delegates already availing of the training, the consortium has 15 courses in the pipeline so far this year.
Mandy Jennings, sales and membership director of Venues of Excellence, said: “For over 25 years the consortium has provided strong marketing support and networking opportunities for our members, as well as impressive lead generation via our central sales team.
“The addition of bespoke hospitality training enhances resources and support for our members, and is also available for non-members. The strengths of the consortium are many, including our emphasis on transparency of relationships and understanding of buyers’ needs. It is truly great to see so many operators eager to endorse their venue with a badge of excellence synonymous with Venues of Excellence.
“The past twelve months have been a whirlwind of activity, including holding our 18th annual Cook and Serve Challenge to showcase the talent of our members. We are confident that 2017 will be equally dynamic and successful. The diversity of the venues joining us has really cemented our decision to rebrand to Venues of Excellence. The fact that we have doubled our stand size at The Meeting Show – with ten stand partners this year – is a tangible show of strength and an indication of how our brand is growing.”
Before joining the consortium, prospective venues have to meet stringent criteria in terms of quality, facilities, accommodation and customer care.
Tracy Skinner, head of sales at Newbury Racecourse, the latest venue to join the consortium, said: “We are thrilled to be joining Venues of Excellence following the hard work we have been putting into transforming our venue. The consortium has a fantastic portfolio and we are very much looking forward to helping promote its work and become affiliated with like-minded venues. We anticipate many benefits such as joint marketing opportunities, additional sales and networking support and, indeed, all of the advantages of having strength by numbers.”
Venues of Excellence will be exhibiting at The Meetings Show (Stand Number G601) at Olympia from 13-15 June 2017 where Mandy Jennings, sales and membership director of Venues of Excellence, will be available to share further insight into the consortium’s work.