The outlook for the meetings' industry is looking bright. In 2018, around 1.4m company meetings and events took place in the UK, compared to 1.29m in 2017. Forecasts for 2019 show meetings activity continuing to increase across Europe and particularly the UK.
Venues are gearing up for this rise in demand and, with the new venue stakes rising and a key focus on the delegate experience, we’ve seen a trend for event planners to immerse attendees in “Instagram able” surroundings and an increase in the number of “unique” venues being booked by meeting planners.
To celebrate the arrival of summer our teams have compiled their new venue “hot list”.
With many new openings including larger event spaces at the Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA) in Scotland and the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), we start with a few that opened their doors later in 2018…
Soho Residence, London
The original home to a blues and skiffle club, the Soho Roundhouse re-opened at the end of November as a premier bar, club and lounge space for up to 350 people across three floors. The re-named Soho Residence has a botanical bar, a gin parlour (yes please!) and Festival Club space, the latter two being available for private hire.
Science Gallery, London
London’s Science Gallery combines contemporary spaces with a Georgian setting. A first-floor studio can stage receptions for up to 100 guests with a private balcony overlooking the courtyard and the Shard. The re-landscaped Guy's Courtyard is an event space with a difference for up to 350 guests.
Somerset House, London
The east and west Wings at Somerset House in London are now available for private hire during the summer. These spaces include the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court with a large-scale installation featuring over 100 mirrors. The east wing accommodates up to 300 for a standing reception and the west – which consists of 19 separate spaces for up to 150 guests.
The Fingal, Edinburgh
The Fingal, a luxury floating hotel permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s vibrant waterfront is boutique in style. With 23-cabins this hotel can be hired as an exclusive use venue – run by the award-winning team at The Royal Yacht Britannia.
And 2019 is equally exciting, with an abundance of venues offering indoor and outdoor spaces...
The Secret River Garden, Twickenham
The Secret River Garden at Twickenham, just outside London, is ideal for a summer event, amidst wild gardens and woodland, and two marquees are available on selected dates. The venue can accommodate 150 - 200 people for away days, events or perhaps a mini festival.
In the centre of London, Illuminate is a new event space at the top of the Science Museum in Kensington with plenty of natural daylight and panoramic views of the City. The venue is available for daytime and evening hire, holding up to 400 delegates for conferences or dinners and 450 for drinks receptions.
Kent House, London
Kent House in Knightsbridge is a historic townhouse with two new terraces for drinks receptions and networking events accommodating up to 300 delegates across indoor and outdoor areas.
120 Fenchurch Street, London
Meanwhile, 120 Fenchurch Street is a new rooftop restaurant concept, seating 200+ covers with stunning views across the River Thames, Tower Bridge, Tower of London and The Shard.
Kimpton Fitzroy London
Not technically a new opening but with a £85m refurbishment and recently re-branded as Kimpton Fitzroy London in Bloomsbury. Our team love that the ballroom’s original architectural has been restored and perfect for larger numbers up to 450 guests. Watch this space as Kimpton are busy with openings in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester too.
Outside the UK, Paris was ranked the world’s number one destination for international meetings [Source: The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)] in 2018. The city is set to cement its position in 2019 with six new venues opening in the first half of the year alone.
Opening its doors in May, after a complete makeover the Hôtel du Louvre, an Unbound hotel by Hyatt. Eight meeting spaces range in size from 194 to 1,464 sq ft, whilst June will welcome Le Grand Quartier, an 84-room hotel with four meeting rooms, cafe, shop and rooftop in the 10th arrondissement.
Say hello and tell us about your favourite venue top picks.