February 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 57 COASTAL VENUEScampaigns this will continue."Interest generated by the refurbishment to the Winter Gardens and also investments into other facilities in the town has shown a marked increase in business returning and new enquiries," she adds.Being a seaside resort, however, provides a mixed reaction among potential event organisers. "Medium-sized conferences with an average spend are keen to receive quotes but often corporate enquiries with higher budgets take more communication. Due to their perceptions, they are often suprised by what we can provide and the service we offer," says Tythe-McCallum.BrightonOne of Blackpool's main competitors, Brighton, too, has reported conference enquiries up in 2011 compared to 2010. Visit Brighton's Convention Bureau Manager, Julia Gallagher, tells CN: "Enquiries in 2011 were up 12 per cent on 2010 and in 2011 we converted business with an economic benefit of over £60m to the city."Gallagher adds: "Anecdotally, organisers report a 15 per cent increase in delegate numbers when they chose to hold their conference in Brighton."A succession of new event spaces and venues have opened in Brighton in recent months or are set to open in 2012. The Hilton Brighton Metropole has now completed its bedroom refurbishment, resulting in 140 renovated rooms encompassing the whole front section of the hotel. The hotel will also expand its events spaces with the creation of the Park Suites and an additional three syndicate spaces, allowing events to be held in a separate, self contained area. The total renovation at the hotel, including continuation of the external renovation, amounts to £4m in 2011 alone.The Grand Brighton has completed a £300,000 refurbishment of its largest events space, the Empress Suite, which can cater up to 800 delegates.One of Brighton's most iconic Regency boutique hotels, Blanch House, has recently re-opened after an extensive refurbishment programme and it is now under new ownership. The Grade II Listed property is suitable for conferences, training and private dining for up to 40 delegates in the new Belle Époque suite. Hotel du Vin has invested £150,000 in its 49 bedrooms, and the Brighton Dome, completed a £200,000 refurbishment of its Foyer and Mezzanine bar. The revamped Foyer is available for private hire for up to 800 delegates. A highly anticipated development in the city is the continued investment in the Brighton Centre. One of the largest purpose-built conference and exhibition spaces in the south of England, the beach-front venue is currently undertaking an extensive redevelopment of all facilities. Due to re-launch early 2012, the venue will include a new glass façade, extended foyer area, modernised interiors, and a meeting space with panoramic views of the famous seafront.Gallagher said: "We are excited about the prospects for 2012. We have a high volume of enquiries on our books and we're working with some very high profi le clients."Big conference wins for the town include the LibDems Annual Conference on 22 to 26 September which will be held at the Brighton Centre and is expected to attract 7,500 delegates and the 48th British Accounting and Finance Association Annual Conference on 17 to 19 April for 350 delegates and held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.WalesThe seaside resort of Llandudno in Wales is a popular destination with association clients because of its compact nature and modern facilities. "I think there can be a concern with some buyers that resort towns are looking tired," says Llandudno events venue, Venue Cymru's Conference and Events Manager Adrian La Trobe."Llandudno remains as fresh and unspoilt as it was when the town was fi rst Top: Visit Brighton says organisers report a 15 per cent rise in delegate numbers when they hold events in the town. Below: Llandudno, Wales
58 . www.conference-news.co.uk . February 2012COASTAL VENUESplanned as a high class resort in the 1860s. A couple of photos or a site visit later and organisers are usually sold," he adds.Venue Cymru hosts 1,000 meetings, conferences and events each year and its regional theatre hosts between 250 and 300 performances a year. The majority of Venue Cymru's clients are UK based, however, it says it is also popular with Welsh universities when seeking to host European or international scientifi c or academic meetings.The venue has recently moved its food and beverage offering in-house after many years with a franchisee. "It has given us the opportunity to be much more responsive to being creative with how we contract our clients' events," says La Trobe.Bournemouth The resort of Bournemouth says it's seeing increased interest in the destination as an events hub.Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) hosted events including the Bournemouth Tattoo Convention, the California Dreamin' Motorcycle Expo, the Communications Workers Union Annual Congress and the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland 2011 International Surgical Congress last year. These combined events brought in 11,000 delegates and exhibition visitors, contributing an estimated £10m of economic benefi t to the town.A spokesman for the venue tells CN: "Our 2012/2013 diaries are looking healthy showing a positive increase in association and exhibition business and negotiations are currently taking place to welcome new events to the town for 2014 and beyond."The venue says it is working in partnership with the town's hotels and local service providers to encourage delegates while they are in Bournemouth to make the most of the experience."We are continuing to invest in the building and have recently completed a refurbishment to one of our main conference spaces," adds the spokesman. "We are also planning future investment to ensure that our facilities remain competitive and appealing."It seems seaside resorts' reputations for being old fashioned, run-down and poor value are slowly diminishing, as they can now compete confi dently with the rest of them. Investment in Scarborough has produced signifi cant improvement in accomodation and facilitiesBournemouth newsThe Preston-based agency Glasgows has been awarded the contract to produce the Police Federation of England and Wales' Annual Conference, which will take place in May 2012 at the Bournemouth International Centre. The four-day event is expected to bring together 2,000 representatives of policing bodies from across the UK.Glasgows' Business Development Manager Amanda Gilmour says: "The annual conference is the Federation's largest and arguably most important event of the year; possibly even more so this year, as the delegates debate the sensitive issues surrounding proposed reductions to police numbers, pay, conditions and the fallout from this summer's riots."George Gallimore, Deputy Treasurer, Police Federation of England and Wales, added. "An event like the Police Federation Conference with its high profi le guests requires a fl exible and dedicated team to ensure its smooth running. In the Olympic year, with many challenges confronting the police offi cers of England and Wales, the 2012 Conference will be one of our most important to date."Glasgows will provide all event management and technical services for the event which comprises, at certain times, three simultaneous conference sessions in different parts of the venue as well as live online broadcasting.