Reaching new ground

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What surprises most people about Cranmore Park is the tardis-like feel, says David Standing, commercial director. Not because the venue resembles a police box but because of the space, the amount of light and number of rooms that the veune has to offer. The independent and privately owned business is a purpose built venue, based in Solihull, for exhibitions, conferences, meetings and training courses. Built over two levels incorporating two main exhibition showrooms, two large conference rooms and seven boardrooms – the team has plans to expand even further. “We are developing a new second car park just two minutes walk from our front door. We are also open to discussing commercial partnerships with event organisers and have conversations taking place with two third parties where we will share some element of risk,” says Standing. “We saw steady growth and utilisation of our various spaces in 2014, and attracted a number of clients for the first time. “That has led us to strengthen the team in order to build on that platform and attract more new business in 2015 and beyond.” Cranmore Park opened its doors as a specialist conference and exhibition venue eight years ago and is part of Associated Independent Stores (AIS). What the venue is very aware of however, says Standing, is the fact that Cranmore Park is not a national brand yet. “And we want to change that,” he says. “We’re confident that once people see the space and facilities here at Cranmore Park, they will consider us as an option when planning any future events in the Midlands.” The venue has recently upgraded its free Wi-Fi access throughout the venue and upgraded the AV provision in some rooms. “A new pricing policy with a scale of day delegate rates subject to a choice of bronze, silver or gold catering packages has been launched. However, we don’t force clients into a DDR option and will price flexibly according to what is the most cost effective for them rather than us.” Lined up for the next 12 months at the venue are exhibitions of various shapes and sizes, but, of the most significant, he says, is the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) with the annual Engineering Education in Schools (EES) event. “Midpoint Furniture Show and a recent client, Exposure Events, will be returning with a bigger and better version of Expo Midlands at the end of March. “We also have a number of high profile retail B2B trade shows such as four seasonal Intersport buying shows and a range of independent fashion shows that sit under the INDX umbrella. Additionally, returning for its sixth year will be the BGNFS, a major national flooring show. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) are regular users and we will be welcoming them again on at least one occasion in 2015.” With competitors including the likes of the NEC, Ricoh Arena, and Stonely Park for exhibition space, the Birmingham venue counts its people primarily as what sets Cranmore Part apart - from the events team itself to the support services such as reception, security, facilities and catering. “Also, in comparison with other exhibition venues, we offer simple all-inclusive pricing packages with no nasty surprises or hidden extras. For example, our exhibition halls include carpet and power as standard and our meeting room and conference facilities all have integral AV equipment that meets most needs without incurring additional costs although upgrades are available as required,” says Standing. “We also have an in house marketing and creative team who can work with clients to create branding, graphics and signage to enhance their events,” he adds. “That makes us a perfect venue for new or smaller exhibitions that have outgrown, or don’t want to use, hotels yet couldn’t justify the cost of a larger venue but still want to have a professional and impressive setting for their event.” This article was first published in the February issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
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