Real light bulb moments are rare and the simplest ways of finding new ideas for your operation are to listen to your delegates and staff, to collaborate with a range of partners or learn from what others are doing.
Innovation can apply to a new experience, or can relate to simplifying processes. Here are some examples.
BlueSky Experiences launch BlueSky in a Box
Experiential learning and corporate team building provider, BlueSky Experiences based near Perth has launched an innovative new training product "BlueSky in a Box". Designed to bring a new dimension to conferences, team meetings and training programmes whilst being flexible and affordable for businesses. Each BlueSky in a Box is run by participating delegates, with 18 diverse and challenging team building activities to energize and act as ice-breakers, and is run "from the box" at a hotel or venue.
SECC Inspire Healthy Delegates with European Stroke Organisation
Delegates, 2600 of them, at the inaugural European Stroke Organisation (ESO) Conference, which took place in April at the SECC, were among the first to benefit from free bikes
The conference, organised by PCO Kenes International, successfully attracted over 2,600 delegates, far above the expectations of the ESO. Attendees at the event were among the first to benefit from the new partnership between the SECC and Nextbikes, that allowed visitors complementary biking throughout the duration of conference; providing a healthy and free alternative to getting around the city.
"We’re delighted to support the SECC in this initiative; it’s a great idea and allows us to offer delegates healthy, free transport. Kenes is deeply involved with social responsibility and is happy to see our partners engaged in such an important activity,” commented Dan Rivlin, CEO, Kenes Group, “We’re always looking at initiatives that enhance the experience of delegates at our conferences and it's great to see venues taking the lead.”
"One of our key focuses as a venue is to enrich the delegate experience whilst at conference. This is the first partnership of its kind and allows us to offer a healthy, alternative for attendees to travel in and around the conference district of the city,” comments Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SECC. “This is an innovation that lends itself to the many national and international association conferences that come to the SECC and offering Nextbikes to delegates of the European Stroke Organisation Conference was a natural fit for everyone."
The SECC’s partnership with Nextbikes was launched last month and has been well received by clients. Free bikes are available to association delegates visiting the venue, with plans to extend the offer across all conferences as the offer becomes more popular.
Cold Water Island Tourism Conference - VisitArran creates a new business event
Alastair Dobson of Arran Dairies is a passionate supporter of all things Arran. He was one of the driving forces behind a new 120-delegate conference created in 2015, growing business tourism on the island.
The conference aimed to build an understanding of the value, market demand and economic impact of “cold water” islands which have a different tourism offering from that of their warm water cousins.
Accommodation: 10 providers. Venue: Arran High School
Attendees numbered 120 and included delegates from as far afield as Spain, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Jersey, Orkney and the Isle of Man!
Professor Terry Stevens facilitated the event which was opened by Alastair Dobson, and closed by Cllr Marie Burns from North Ayrshire Council.
It was important to use a venue with a capacity of 200, showcasing the best of Arran while offering the level of service and facilities which international attendees expect.
The programme was varied and for two days offered interactive presentations with experts from both tourism academia and industry. Following the first full day a Gala Dinner was hosted, and delegates enjoyed true Arran entertainment, provided by Arran Pipe Band, Arran High School pupils and a ceilidh band. Different attractions set up informative stands to enable attendees to find out more about the island’s tourism offering.
The event was led by VisitArran. Support came from Highland & Island Enterprise and North Ayrshire Council, who have advised that they will support such event again in the future.
Business Tourism was a new venture for VisitArran. However, the evaluation and conference feedback indicate that CWIT2015 was well received and is something for the organisation to build upon, in order to successfully deliver future business tourism events.
The Cold Water Island Tourism Conference 2015 could not have taken place without support from sponsors, local business and Arran’s community, and for this VisitArran is very grateful.
The success of this first conference and the offer of continued support from the Council for a second event in March 2016, indicate that there is a will for the conference format as it stands to grow and develop.
Winton House Highland Games
To celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Winton House created a completely new Winton Commonwealth Highland Games, ideal for team building activities or just for a bit of fun!
Groups are organised into countries and given team colours. Each team must complete one activity before rotating to the next one as instructed by the chieftain who will lead the event.
The Winton Commonwealth Highland Games includes:
- The Scottish Javelin (aka ‘tossing the caber’), scaled down appropriately for ladies and men.
- The Winton Slalom - using tree trunks, the team must carry and race around an obstacle course in the quickest time.
- Wheat Sheaf High Jump - a traditional games event that is still strong in East Lothian at agricultural shows, the wheat sheaf must be thrown over the bar, at an ever increasing height, using a pitch fork.
- The Haggis Discus – using a chieftain haggis you must spin around and throw the haggis into the box. How accurately can you throw after spinning on the spot?
- Hay bale - rolling 100 metre relay; the quickest team to get the bale up and down the track in a straight line! Sounds easy.... just try it!
- Strong Man Tug o’ War - always popular and very competitive!
The Commonwealth Highland Games takes about 2½ hours and is offered for a minimum of 20 people. They provide medals for the best team and the best male and female competitors for each event – and of course a podium!
Winton House is a dramatic, Scottish Renaissance castle just outside Edinburgh. Grand but welcoming and designed for entertaining royalty, Winton House is available for exclusive bespoke corporate events, gala dinners, conferences and private parties. A range of activities take place in the gardens and grounds, from clay pigeon shooting, miniature hovercraft and falconry, to Winton Laser Tag, the Winton Commonwealth Highland Games and whisky tasting. More information is available from www.wintonhouse.co.uk
Apex Hotels online booking platform
Four-star hotel group Apex Hotels has launched an online meeting room booking system to their website.
The introduction of the new system will give organisers the flexibility to book small meeting and event rooms in Edinburgh, Dundee and London. The web-based solution operates in real time meaning customers are able to search for their required location, enter their meeting and catering details, book and confirm directly on the Apex Hotel website. Organisers will also be able to view live room availability, choose from a variety of catering options, add amenities, and pay and make booking amendments.
"We are delighted to launch our new Apex Meetings Online solution" said Lucy McNicoll, Apex Hotels Group Director of Sales. "The new booking tool ensures we provide our customers and third parties with complete flexibility and control when booking their meetings and events in our venues across the UK."