Kents Hill Park: Back to Business, A Case Study
Kents Hill Park is located in Milton Keynes, with excellent transport links to the rest of the country, making it easy for delegates to attend training, conferences and meetings. The purpose-built facility is one of the largest dedicated training and conference centres in the UK. It has 70 event spaces and 300 double and twin bedrooms, making it ideal for day meetings but also longer residential courses.
Since re-opening in July 2020, the team at Kents Hill Park has been busy helping clients to deliver a mixture of events – from week-long training courses with exams for around 20 delegates, to day meetings with overnight accommodation.
During the first lockdown, General Manager Simon Thatcher and his team were able to secure three new significant accommodation contracts for between three and fives’ years each, along with several yearlong training contracts.
“Our team listened to the needs of our clients and were able to create tailored solutions for their individual requirements,” explains Simon. “Our clients and potential clients have been very interested in the ample space, our competitive rates and flexible rescheduling terms. We will do all we can to match or even beat a better rate, and if an event has to move due to COVID-19, we will work with our client to secure a new date with no financial penalty.”
The team at Kents Hill Park has been following the Group’s ‘Stay Safe, Feel Safe’ COVID Secure Standards Charter – a six-point charter that is committed to reassuring organisers and keeping everyone safe. The team has adapted the food available and the way it is served; more ‘grab and go’ options are now offered to guests to take back to their rooms, buffet meals are plated up and screen guards have been installed at counters. Restaurant seating and bar service areas have been adapted to enable each delegate to have lots of space and keep a safe distance from others.
Keeping social distancing in place during an event is paramount to the Kents Hill Park team. The venue now has a one-way flow system and signage across the venue to help guests keep a safe distance from others. The team works with organisers to prevent congestion and to suggest options such as staggered arrival/departure times and catering breaks to make sure they don’t get too busy.
All Venue Collection venues have revised their event layout styles to accommodate social distancing, and the Group also offers training, event and wedding organisers a COVID support pack to help them ensure that their guests feel safe. Kents Hill Park has a lot of outdoor space and a large car park which makes it easy for organisers to encourage their guests to travel alone.
“We are offering our customers an extra 25% more space at no extra charge,” says Simon. “We have over 70 flexible meetings rooms that allow for the many configurations that we have created in line with our social distancing guidelines.”
A regular and thorough cleaning regime has also reassured customers. The team uses recognised cleaning products and antibacterial cleaners used by the NHS and they have increased the frequency of cleaning, paying close attention to high contact areas such as door handles, handrails and card readers. Hygiene stations with hand sanitisers have been placed around the venue for customers and colleagues to use and the team actively reminds everyone to continually practice safe hygiene measures. For extra safety, any colleagues working in close proximity to one another and our guests must wear personal protective equipment.
“Our clients have been really impressed with the procedures set out in our six-point COVID Secure Standards Charter, and this has given them the confidence to book,” continues Simon. “We have been very strict at following our COVID procedures and our clients have told us that this has made them feel very safe at our venue.”
Did you know?
Our team was the first venue team in the UK, to work with Public Health England and the World Health Organisation to repatriate British citizens and their families, after being flown from Wuhan City in China, the epicentre of the current outbreak of Coronavirus. We were delighted all guests tested negative for the Coronavirus, however, our experience has led the way for working in these unprecedented times and all the considerations that go with it.
Simon Thatcher, General Manager, Kents Hill Park