Editor's Blog

Farewell to the promotional stress balls…

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an Eventprofs Live fam trip to the Lygon Arms in the gorgeous Cotswolds at the weekend. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and around eight Beagles from the kennels across the road from the hotel were barking (and howling.) The scene was set for a fantastic fam trip, where we not only stayed at a wonderful historical hotel (and were taught how to play croquet by the brilliant Martin Dock!) but donated to the charity Meeting Needs too.

The hotel, which was formerly a 16th Century coaching Inn, has undergone a fantastic refurb led by Anita Rosato who was also the woman behind the ever so stylish Chewton Glen. Rosato was tasked with retaining the property’s diverse heritage but sprucing the place up, and she has done a fine job. The overall look is historical yet elegant, it’s visually stunning and feels cosy and comfortable at the same time.

The Lygon Arms sits within the Iconic Luxury Hotels portfolio, which include Cliveden and Chewton Glen, and this little gem in the Cotswolds certainly deserves to be up there with some of the best.

The hotel has fantastic meetings spaces, including the Oliver Cromwell room where Cromwell slept the night before the Battle of Worcester. Imagine having a meeting in the very same room where one of history’s greats tossed and turned the night before battle. Priceless stuff.

You can feel the history everywhere you turn at The Lygon Arms, my room was opposite the King Charles I Suite, where King Charles I and his supporters would assemble. The King’s coat of arms still stands regally over one of its fireplaces today.

For the non history buffs among us, the hotel was also the place where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed in 1963 at the height of the scandal surrounding their affair. Looking at the cosy log fires and quiet dark corners, it’s pretty easy to see why they chose the Lygon Arms as their private (or perhaps not so private) love nest.

The fam trip was put together by the dynamic duo Michelle Rees and Kate Bullard, owners of Eventprofslive and Lisa Lernoux Dock from Iconic Hotels. However, this was no ordinary fam trip, instead attendees were asked (with the help of a bespoke tailored link) to donate to Meeting Needs  to secure their place on the trip. Is this the way all fams will go in the future? Let’s certainly hope so. 

We are all in an industry where we are lucky enough to get to sample and stay at some of the finest establishments and destinations the UK and indeed the world has to offer, yet too many times there will be last minute drop outs on fam trips that have taken days, weeks and pain staking hours to organise, not to mention the cost.

Last minute drop outs happen all too often and while the debate over paying for fams rumbles on, surely it’s in everyone’s best interests to secure a kind of deposit on a fam with a donation to a wonderful charity like Meeting Needs.

Rees and Bullard asked attendees to donate £20 to Meeting Needs and told me that when they were approached to partner with the charity, they were all too delighted to do so and knew  that their members wouldn't hesitate in making the small donation in order to attend the fam. “It’s giving back that matters” they told me.

“How amazing that we are able to give something back in return for the all the wonderful experiences we have when we host our groups on fam trips”, they said.

As Jenny Jenkins, CEO of EVCOM and chair of Meeting Needs said, "It is a model for fam trips and tours that allows agencies and individuals to put a price on their time and decide who benefits from that investment.”

The scheme is also working as a ‘donate for appointments’ set up, with Paul Moynihan, director of "Wefindvenues  telling us about his delight at supporting Meeting Needs, as well as detailing his collection of promotional stress balls which he seems to receive every time he has an appointment.

Donations over stress balls seems to be something Moynihan would like to see more of- now, when someone wants to set up an appointment they are sent a bespoke link to Meeting Needs to donate and they can leave the stress balls or trays of doughnuts at home.

"If I had a pound for every promotional stress ball I’d received in the last few years then we’d probably be well on our way to solving world hunger by now," said Moynihan, who went on to say he was looking forward to raising much needed funds for some amazing charities.

Sorry promotional stress balls, but your days are numbered.

For more information visit: https://www.meetingneeds.org.uk

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