All work and no play can lead to a tired and demotivated team, which is why golf played a central role in this executive retreat in Wales.
A morning on the golf course can be a great way for executives in demanding roles to unwind and bond with colleagues. What’s more, it can provide just the inspiration and energy needed for an afternoon of meetings.
As such, on-site golf was a key requirement for one of our recent clients. The IT software solutions company wanted help arranging a 3-night executive retreat for 10 male directors, running from Wednesday to Saturday in June 2016.
Our head of events, explains: “They were looking for something upscale, something within 2 hours of London, where they are based, and with easy access.
“In addition to golf on site, they wanted great food, spa and leisure activities, and they wanted it to be somewhere they could go out in the evening.”
Although it may not sound like much of a tall order, it did present some challenges.
“When you’re looking around that 2 hours from London mark, there actually aren’t that many 5-star properties that offer golf on site. We had a handful of different properties, but Celtic Manor won because of everything the property has to offer.”
The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, was a “no compromises” choice, offering 3 hotels, self-catering lodges, 6 restaurants, 2 spas, 3 championship golf courses and conference facilities.
“It’s an amazing resort and best of all it’s only 1.5 hours by train, direct from London Paddington into Newport station. It’s got really good transport links and it was a surprise because Cardiff is not somewhere they would necessarily think of looking at for an event close to London.”
Great access aside, what really sealed the deal for this client was the opportunity to play on the Twenty Ten course built for the 2010 Ryder Cup.
“The chance to play on the Ryder Cup course definitely influenced their decision,” says our head of events. “They were booked for an early tee off on their last morning, but unfortunately it was raining so they couldn’t play. However, they’ve been given tickets to return, which they intend to do.”
Thankfully it wasn’t too much of a disappointment; the team had already enjoyed 2 sessions on the resort’s other championship golf courses, as well as 3 private dinners.
“They were only disappointed that they didn’t have more time to enjoy everything on offer at the resort. They’d had high hopes about what they would be able to fit into the 3 days, but the board meetings took up most of the programme in the end.
“Activities at Celtic Manor include fishing, laser clay shooting and a treetop adventure, which they had planned to do but ran out of time.”
Despite being kept busy, the executives enjoyed quality rest in the resort’s newly refurbished signature collection rooms. A multi-million pound refurbishment programme is currently underway and a total of 186 bedrooms in the resort hotel will be complete by the end of the year.
“In terms of feedback about the venue, they had great service while they were there and overall it was the perfect setting for them,” says our head of events. “They thought it offered excellent value, too. The 24-hour rate was up to 33% cheaper than the other 5-star venues we’d put forward.”
The client had good feedback for Classic Venue Solutions: “They were very happy with the organisation and how we’d been able to save them time and money.
“It was a fairly short lead time booking, with the enquiry coming in May and the event in June. When the enquiry came in it was quite vague but we worked with them, asking probing questions to help develop the brief.
“If you don’t book venues all the time you might think it’s just a case of giving a date and number of participants, but there’s lots more to think about. So, it was offering that extra guidance and finding out what they really wanted to do.”
They add: “The client appreciated the process and we’re already working with them again. This time for an event in central London, so it’s proving to be a good partnership.”