At a glance, employee benefits may seem like a broad concept, with an aim to appeal to wide range of group businesses; from conferences and meetings to rewards and rates. Under this corporate umbrella fall the employees, who are offered a vast range of organised event scenarios and negotiated offers. Amy Moore outlines a generous selection of companies that provide superb group accommodation, with many others commended for their adequate team building facilities.

Alton Towers Resort Hotel

Alton Towers Resort Hotel provides superb onsite accommodation

THEME PARKS

Alton Towers Waterpark

Alton Towers Resort is home to one of the most impressive waterparks in Europe

Alton Towers Resort offers a ‘business with a twist’ type affair, featuring a deluxe choice of corporate and entertainment venues for groups to choose from, having been labelled one of the best conference venues in the midlands. If fine dining is on the itinerary, a spacious conference centre is on hand which caters to groups in the hundreds, commended especially for corporate awards dinners. Attached is The Stateroom, which can seat a further 320 people in a layout of choice. Smaller groups could perhaps choose to enjoy an underwater themed event, courtesy of a glass aquarium overhead. Other additional venues include The Towers Suite, boasting a panoramic view of the attraction itself, with a 500 acre park available for corporate hire, estimated to house around 2,000 people and recommended for hosting concerts or similar large scale events. On-site accommodation welcomes one of the most impressive waterparks in Europe, with The Splash Landings Hotel in particular boasting 216 individually themed bedrooms and four additional suites, perfectly suited to a beach hut theme with authentic driftwood furniture. In regards to hospitality, The Dragon Bar hands guests a unique taste of the orient, with the venue catering to a range of high end needs, perhaps washing down a succulent steak or marinated chicken breast from the meatier bar and grill. The range of corporate packages included aim to provide ease to access, with tailored itineraries to suit any budget. The resort itself is available to hire for parties of 5,000 to 15,000 guests and promotional activities are on hand for businesses looking to expand.

Thorpe Park Resort boasts a centralised events venue located 30 minutes outside of London, specially designed for businesses looking to entertain clients or reward their staff. Residing within a 940 square metre resort, the appeal lies in the generous availability of attractions, inviting businesses to reach for the sky. The Thrill Day Picnic package is perfect for parties of up to 3,000 guests, inclusive of entry to the resort, use of the private garden between select hours, unlimited soft drinks and prefilled lunches for guests to enjoy on the premises. For smaller groups, a 2 course BBQ luncheon is available to book, with groups able to upgrade to the Exclusive Thrill Day package, acquiring priority access throughout the resort. A ride and dine feature tailored to groups invites evening use of the private garden, with additional access to a select number of rides on an hourly basis. Groups can upgrade to gold to increase ride access, or platinum to include a dance floor, disco and DJ in proceedings, inviting the ideal environment to comfortably network. In consideration with official meetings and conferences, a full day or half day package is available to book, each providing a two course buffet lunch to accompany any form of corporate entertainment. A complementary stationary kit injects a personal element into an otherwise building exercises with a creative twist are what set this venue apart. The Thrill Bill challenge, for example, invites teams to locate as many hotspots around the resort as they can. Of course apps and tablets are supplied, with the activity recommended for 50 guests or more.

Chessington Holiday Inn

Groups travelling long distance could stay in resort accommodation

Chessington World of Adventures is well suited to businesses travelling long distance, with the resort located a short drive from London’s Heathrow Airport. Seek comfort in the resorts specialised hotel accommodation, kitted out with air conditioning for comfort and a 24 hour dining service for convenience. Following its mantra ‘business gone wild,’ animal lovers in particular are guaranteed a memorable experience via the Ultimate Adventure package, boasting exclusive hire of the theme park and zoo alongside. For something a little subtler, the Adventure Day package invites a dedicated event manager to aid organisation, with primary access to the designated venue and accompanying patio. A spacious conference centre consists of six modernised meeting rooms which could easily accommodate up to 300 guests at a time. Corporate rates are available on select venue hire, with the Day Delegate Rate inclusive of complementary WiFi, an LCD screen and projector for presentation and flipcharts, pads and pens gifted to delegates. Groups can choose to upgrade to a 24 hour package and enjoy a full English breakfast the following morning. A complete park buyout gifts group access to the thrilling rides and rollercoasters this spectacular venue has to offer (All retail outlets and restaurant openings are subject to availability). The resort works in close affiliation with event organisers ‘Wildgoose’ to ensure those visiting are provided with the highest quality experience. Team building exercises such as The Chessington Challenge invites those participating to embark on an adventurous treasure hunt. Groups can upgrade to a full day if required.

ATTRACTIONS

Arguably one of the UK’s most extraordinary attractions, Ripley’s Believe It or Not in London is the largest of its kind, with a little over 25,000 square feet of display. Born from Robert Ripley’s collective interest in the weird and wacky, the venue boasts late night opening seven days a week, offering an extensive collection of exhibits spread across six floors, with ample space to welcome a total of 450 guests. The attraction has recently launched a corporate affiliate scheme providing preferential rates to members as well as family and friends. Accompanying business opportunities include the increased flexibility to creatively cater upon request, with personal touches added to enhance a guest’s experience. Caterers and event coordinators are able to work alongside for breakfast or evening launches, with a designated VIP area on the premises tailored to larger groups in particular. VIP perks include a complementary glass of bubbly, served by a delectable selection of canapés before embarking on a personalised guided tour. Smaller groups can enjoy a contained mini-venue ideal for the standard meet and greet scenario or team building activities. Private functions allow earlier closing times to the public, with groups acquiring full access to the venue. Specialised travel trade programmes aim to cater to a variety of markets, featuring exclusive rates and fast track entry for clients. Most packages are subject to availability, so those eager shouldn’t hesitate. As the venue is situated in the West End, the attraction welcomes direct access to a range of theatre hotspots and a vibrant nightlife should the event be a huge hit.

ACCOMMODATION

Park Plaza Riverbank Boardroom

Park Plaza Riverbank Boardroom

Park Plaza Hotels offer a deluxe range of group business facilities ideal for any occasion, from miniature meeting rooms to the larger banqueting sized conference room. Part of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, guests are guaranteed to receive the upmost professionalism when organising an event, with a designated hotel team on hand to assist. Booking groups can take available for conferences and meetings, further accompanied by discounted rates on hotel rooms. Perks include a dedicated meeting specialist, a personalised web page set up as well as any other day to day requirements needed. The London branch specifically, boasts five contemporary conference venues, approximately 80 meeting rooms and an additional 2,200 guest rooms for those perhaps seeking an overnight stay. Each is conveniently placed within close proximity to transport links and an array of popular attractions around the capital. The function space provided proves highly flexible, with rooms designed for up to 30 delegates. Additional perks include a vibrant display of fresh fruit. Those looking to attend could choose to download the regional meetings and events brochure online. Alternatively, a designated events team is on hand for group requests of 10 or more. Groups of less than 10 are advised to contact the hotel directly.

A LOOK FORWARD: EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LIVE

In September, the prestigious conference venue Olympia will play host to Employee Benefits Live, aptly labelled one of the largest reward and benefit events in Europe. Introduced by leading publication Employee Benefits, the ever popular trade show invites professionals from all over the globe to meet and network. The editorial driven conference is usually exhibited over two days, meeting this year on September 24 & 25. Free tickets can be booked online in advance of the event, which is guaranteed to keep businesses ‘ahead of the times.’ Such companies in attendance span the UK and beyond with British Airways, American Express and the British Red Cross having made an appearance. For those looking to exhibit, the event provides an ideal base to promote. Information and advice regarding transport and nearby accommodation is available on the event’s website. More news is to be announced nearer the time.

Looking to attend? Contact Samantha Keating, Marketing Assistant, on 020 7970 4583 or alternatively email marketing@employeebenefitslive.co.uk 

Looking to exhibit? Contact Juliette Losardo for all sales enquiries on 020 7943 8066 or alternatively email luliette.losardo@centaur.co.uk