Venues of Excellence (VOE), the UK’s leading collection of independent venues has seen fantastic growth over the past year introducing thirteen new venues to the consortium, with a 94% retention in its current membership.
The latest venues which offer customers a wide range of venue styles and locations include: Horwood House, IXL Centre, Old Thorns Hotel, Lilleshall House and Gardens, The Studio Birmingham, The HAC, Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone, and MTC Liverpool – from left to right below.
To start our new membership year with a bang we are delighted to announce the Old Thorns Hotel and Resort is the latest member to join the consortium, which is set in 400 acres of picturesque Hampshire countryside with excellent conference and event space up to 500 delegates, complemented by an 18-hole golf course, health club and spa. Joining the consortium Andrew Barnes, Director of Sales said: “We are delighted that Old Thorns Hotel and Resort will be joining Venues of Excellence. As an independent venue, we are confident this will help grow and strengthen our reputation as a meeting and events venue, and also look forward to the opportunities to network, learn and share best practice with other members of the Venues of Excellence community.”
Mandy Jennings, CEO commenting on the growth of the consortium said: “We are extremely proud of the membership year performance and it’s so heart-warming to see such a fantastic range of unique businesses joining our wonderful family of excellent, independent venues.
Our sales and marketing activity has reaped great rewards this year with the highest level of confirmed business we have ever seen in our 30-year history as a consortium, which means our member venues receive both ROI and benefit as we can continue to invest in our business by attending more events, exhibitions and continually focus on new initiatives to support our members. For example, one of the key focus areas for our venues is excellence and quality which led us to revitalise our Quality Strategy. We were delighted to partner with David Vaughton, one of our past VOE Chairs and Principal Consultant of Vaughton Solutions, to put this key initiative in place. This means we offer all our members a complimentary quality assessment along with a report of best practice and recommendations from David. This has been really well received by our members and means we can credibly shout about our venues being excellent in service and product.”
A glowing quality audit for Venues of Excellence
Renata Homer, General Manager from Ashorne Hill gave the following feedback on the process by saying: “Thrilled to announce that we have just received a glowing report following our recent external quality audit by David Vaughton in conjunction with Venues of Excellence. This was not just any venue quality audit but so much more. Venues of Excellence have introduced the Four Pillars for assessment:
– Customer Experience
– A Great Place to Work
– Efficient Operations
– Business Planning
I am extremely proud of the team at Ashorne to receive the feedback that we provide an environment that nurtures both staff and customers.”
Venues of Excellence Training and Development Academy delivers bespoke hospitality education
Over the past year the VOE Learning and Development Academy in partnership with Paje Consultancy has also gone from strength to strength with a new and extended range of online training courses bespoke to the hospitality sector. Member venues have welcomed the courses to refresh teams’ best practice, help with new staff members coming into hospitality as a career, especially designed for our conference engine room and operational teams, to develop the skills within their venues.
Feedback from Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre team on our sales office training was: “It was a great opportunity to be part of a team and understand the best way of working and capturing every sales opportunity. This was a great session for us to understand proactive and reactive customer journeys which was clearly explained. In the session they highlighted how we as individuals are ‘the experts’ in the hospitality industry, we were encouraged to believe in ourselves, to be confident and not to be afraid of saying no if not the right enquiry for us, and how as a business we are important, as the engine room of the hotel. The training session was engaging and powerful as it is a key time in the industry to reflect on how important sales team members are to the business.”
Preferred Partner Programme
Over the past 12 months, the consortium has also launched a new Supplier Directory underpinning their Preferred Partner Programme which allows companies providing products and services to the hospitality sector to network with member venues across a range of opportunities.
Reflecting on the hospitality sector and how Venues of Excellence provides a unique support to member venues, Jennings said: “As we begin our 23/24 membership year, we continually focus on how we can add value to our members. A key objective for us is to really get under the skin of each of our members business to not only support them nationally from a sales and marketing perspective, but with our vast knowledge and expertise in the industry, to offer consultancy advice, give key pointers to support their overall strategies and be their sounding board to give confidence in new initiatives they are planning.”
Venues of Excellence now represents over 45 unique, high-quality venues in the UK, from dedicated learning and development training centres to unique sporting venues, residential conference spaces to private clubs. The next 12 months will see the consortium continue to flourish as it welcomes new venues into the Venues of Excellence family.
Have you read the PA Life Summer 2023 issue yet? You will find all our the digital issues here.