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2012March 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 41 CITY FOCUS2013, able to seat 1,000 covers against a backdrop of historic aircraft. A 5,000sqm section of turf laid to the rear of the hangar has created a new showground space equal in size to the hangar itself. A newcomer on the conference scene is Raithwaite Hall Country Retreat. The new, 45­bedroom, £30m luxury hotel in Sandsend, Whitby, offers distinctive meeting spaces including the Raithwaite Suite (140 delegates) which opens out onto a terrace and landscaped gardens. In spring 2012 York will welcome a unique chocolate­themed visitor attraction, The Sweet History, which will also include conference and event facilities.After a £1.5m refurbishment and many months standing idle, York Barbican reopened in May 2011 for the conference market. Its auditorium can handle conferences of up to 1,400 delegates. Organisers brought international snooker to the venue last May.Bar Convent. Seventy delegates can use the The refurbished National Railway Museum is popular for event dinners and can host up to 140 delegatesconvent facilities for meetings or training seminars. The refurbished premises are a fi ve­minute walk from the railway station. Chapter House is home to some of the oldest stained glass in the UK. Still used for formal meetings of the Dean & Chapter, the Chapter House can accommodate events for between 50 and 250, with optional tours of the Minster available.York's fi rst fi ve­star hotel and the only AA fi ve­star rated hotel in Yorkshire, Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa, boasts seven meeting rooms. The £25m hotel's oak panelled Chairman's Suite can accommodate 40 theatre style. The Boardroom can host 120 guests. Burn Hall Hotel and Conference Centre, a former Victorian mansion, has undergone extensive business coming from outside of the Yorkshire region, compared to a 25 per cent national average.Conference hotels include the boutique Hotel du Vin, the Park Inn by Radisson, Marriott and Principal Hayley Royal York. The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa is Yorkshire's only fi ve­star hotel. Strong brands like Hilton continue to have confi dence in the York business tourism market and new properties with conference facilities are planned for development in York for 2012. There are 30 conference ambassadors in York, a cross section of academic and corporate. The programme is still in its infancy but bookings have already been confi rmed this year. The addition of York Barbican Centre has given a broader choice when catering for larger delegate numbers. York can now appeal to some of the larger association events with which the Ambassadors are affi liated.Yorkshire Air Museum is the largest independent air museum in Britain. Its main hangar opens in to meetingsRECENT AND UPCOMING EVENTSJanuary 2012 ­ Group Travel Organisers Association Conference for 230 delegates at the Park Inn by Radisson. May 2012 ­ Nautical Institute event for 100 delegates at the Royal York Hotel July 2012 ­ Department of Social Policy conference for 300 delegates at the University of York with dinner at the National Railway Museum. October 2012 ­ Rotary 1210 conference for 650 delegates at York Barbican Centre, with dinner at the National Railway Museum and accommodation at the Hilton.

42 . www.conference-news.co.uk . March 2012March CITY FOCUSThe King's Manor's year-round meetings facilities include a 17th century refectory, the 16th century Huntingdon Room and a range of meeting rooms. Kings Manor can seat up to 100 delegates theatre style.City Screen offers panoramic river views and three auditoria which accommodate 236, 145 and 136 respectively. Smaller rooms in the basement and fi rst fl oor Sky lounge offer opportunities for smaller meetings.Dating from the mid 15th century, the Guildhall Grade I listed building is equipped for conferences and meetings. The main Guildhall can offer seating for up to 200 and a choice of smaller meeting rooms catering for up to 35. Merchant Taylors Hall can hold a maximum of 150 for conferences or dinners. A separate small hall can be used as a syndicate or dance area, with an upper fl oor room which can be used as board/meeting room. refurbishment and offers meeting space for 200 delegates, with four syndicates and 96 bedrooms including six with disabled access. The Hospitium is a picturesque 14th century listed building overlooking the Yorkshire Museum and Museum Gardens. One of the oldest timber-framed structures surviving in York today, it can host events for up to 200 people.York Racecourse offers conference and exhibition space inside two grandstands. There is on-site catering and plentiful free parking.The Royal York Hotel and Conference Centre offers conference and meetings facilities for up to 410 people. The National Railway Museum is the largest of its kind in the world and has a refurbished conference centre and a view over the great hall. It can handle events and conferences for up to 140. The Merchant Adventurers' Hall is a 14th century building in the city centre. It offers two large fl oors providing venue space for receptions, gala dinners and conferences. The Natural Centre for Early Music, situated in a restored medieval church off Walmgate, within the city walls, offers state of the art AV equipment. York is at the conference races with its meeting on the Knavesmire optionsVISIT YORK'S MARKETING MANAGER LAURA FREER LOOKS AT SOME EVENT TRENDS IN THE CITY"We have seen delegate packages tweaked to cater for all budgets - big or small - and venues almost expect short lead-in times. Those prepared to work with the organisers to encourage delegates to attend have thrived in the tougher times; now is certainly not the time to be complacent."Price pressure has been a concern with a perception that York can be more expensive than some UK destinations. The reality is that York can cater for all budgets. "Sometimes it's the little things that incur a relatively low cost that can add value to organisers and enhance the experience of the delegate. An example is Bedern Hall, one of the smaller venues, which has included a 'gurus' option to its package allowing delegates to tap into the expertise of various training and management companies. Equally it's so important that the basics are right and York offers good value and high service levels."The York Hoteliers Association has formed a conference working group supported by the city's hotels and larger conference venues to work collaboratively. Some exciting ideas have come from the initial brainstorming sessions."Delegates frequently tag on extra days and bring partners to enjoy the leisure side of the York experience."York & Scarborough ConferencesMarketing Manager (Business Tourism) - Laura FreerT: 01904 554453 E: LF@visityork.org W: www.yorkandscarborough.com