Leanne Fowler, our Director of Strategic Meetings Management, looks at how far airport venues and hotels have come in their need to de-bunk the perception of being transactional and, in the past, too ‘traditional’ in their approach.
“Airport hotels can sometimes be overlooked with meeting planners, often preferring to meet in the city, however, there are benefits of using airport venues. The obvious one being extremely good transport connections, with domestic and internal flights, extensive road and rail networks.
Previously, organisers have been limited by choice however, they do play a vital role and we are seeing increasing investment into these spaces. A good example of this is the various hotels at Resorts World in Birmingham. Located nearby Birmingham airport and centrally in the UK, this is ideal for hosting meetings and events as lots of new ‘quirky’ hotels and outdoor venue spaces have opened.
Holding meetings at airport hotels are ideal for travellers meeting for a short period of time from different countries. We have hosted a range of meetings and events at global airport venues including; Singapore, Vancouver, Amsterdam; Hamburg and Athens to name a few.
Our most recent event was held at the Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow airport. After reviewing several options outside and within the airport vicinity, the decision was made to host at the Sofitel as it could satisfy the client objectives, yet save considerable costs of avoiding travel to and from central London. The Radisson Edwardian hotel at Heathrow is also another popular choice, with excellent meeting facilities and technology. Likewise, the surrounding areas of Heathrow, Maidenhead and Windsor are easily accessible and offer a variety of venues.
On the other hand, Manchester has had huge investment and a large number of new openings over recent years. However, the concentration of new venues and hotels have been based in the city centre or around Media City/ Trafford Park. Whilst there is choice for the smaller meetings around the airport, for larger events it’s a little more limited.
If you understand where your delegates are travelling from and if there are international attendees why not consider airport venues as part of your venue shortlist… with great transport links this could reduce the time your delegates are required to travel and could save you money, you also may be surprised with what’s now available.”