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Enjoy The Seaside And Cut Your Training Costs

Mar 2, 2008
In my days at Best Western Hotels as National Conference Manager I was lucky enough to be win a sizeable government contract for training. Naturally I was delighted at the award and went along to the initial meeting with the client with rather a spring my step feeling very confident , previously all communication had been with procurement up to this point.

The meeting started well and the Training and Development Director explained to me the training plan for previous years, the basis of my tender, and how this year it would be a lot different, I started to get this sinking feeling. Then the real bombshell came, they wanted to train twice as many people this year, which initially sounds good, and then the sting in the tail, there was no more budget, in fact there was less.

I left the meeting with all the information about numbers and frequency of the courses and rather than simply booking them into our hotels and completing the task in a day, I had a bit of a challenge ahead of me now. The only benefit I had was that the previous tender was with a group of 4 star hotels, and they wanted to move to 3 star properties or similar as they did not feel it was necessary or appropriate to be using such properties.

We held all the conference rates for all 220 hotels and they were broken down by month. A pattern quickly emerged and to many it's not rocket science especially if you have been in the industry a while, tourist locations that are not main cities offer some great rates when they are not busy.

The seaside offers some cracking rates out of season, which despite what many people think are very accessible. By train, places like Bournemouth are 90mins from London and Southsea is under hour, Scarborough is just 30mins from Leeds and Blackpool is not much more from Manchester, and the prices in the winter months are less than 2/3 what you would expect to pay for a similar hotel in a major city. The added bonus for me was that some of the courses tended to be 3 - 4 days so travelling a bit further was easier to justify.

A couple of weeks later I was able to present back to the client all the training courses they needed with half based in my favoured seaside locations and the rest in some of the typical central England honey pot locations. And because I placed the longer courses at the seaside locations and the short courses at more central the locations the budget had stretched to what was required.

I have to admit when I walked into the meeting to present my solution I was a bit nervous, I shouldn't have been, they absolutely loved the solution. The client had 8 regional offices and this fitted in very well with the desire to take the training to the regions. The testament has to be that 10 years on the tender has now been absorbed as part of a bigger government tender, and yet when I met up with the client at an exhibition, she was happy to tell me they still follow the same pattern. Sea, sand and the best value training locations - get yourself to the seaside.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has a great deal of experience in finding conference centres for a wide range of different occasions. Why not make life easy by utilising a venue finder?
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