The threat of Brexit has been put off until Halloween, but the British currency is still depressed—hovering around 77 pence to one dollar, lower than this time last year when the dollar was worth 70 pence. As a result, planners looking for a meeting or incentive venue in the United Kingdom can take advantage of the weak pound to book previously unaffordable venues, such as Britain’s famous castles and palaces.
Liz Young, head of events at Historic Royal Palaces, gave us the lowdown on what planners should know about hosting an event in a venue where members of the royal family live, vacation, and occasionally, have been beheaded.
What restrictions are there when booking a historic venue?
Meeting planners need to consider conservation restrictions in some historic venues. For example, with Historic Royal Palaces’ venues (Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens) only approved suppliers, such as specific caterers, can be used.
Should meeting planners budget for insurance and security?
Our venue hire includes provision for any security required so there is no need to budget for additional security. Likewise, insurance coverage would be the usual event insurance that we would advise any client to get. Both Historic Royal Palaces and our suppliers carry their own insurances.
Historic venues are often open to the public. Is it possible to hold all-day conferences?
In some venues, it is possible. The majority of our palaces are open to the public during the day but there are spaces available that can be hired for all-day conferences, including the New Armouries at the Tower of London and the Albemarle Suite at Hampton Court Palace. The new Kensington Palace Pavilion is also available for all-day hire.
What kind of technology is available to conference presenters?
The Garden Room at Hampton Court Palace offers wireless microphones and a lectern, along with a projector and screen with ceiling-mounted speakers throughout the room. There is also fast Wi-Fi available. The New Armouries at Tower of London has wireless microphones and a lectern, a projector and screens, plus TV monitors and ceiling-mounted speakers. The venue offers fast broadband download/upload capacity, as well as staging and a laptop.