THE PULL OF ST ANDREWS BOOSTS CONFERENCE TRADE
Businesses from across the UK – and overseas – are choosing St Andrews as a conference and event destination in ever-increasing number, according to the town’s leading hotel.
The five red star Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa has just announced figures on the previous three years’ events and conference business – and it shows year-on-year growth, with specific peaks in bookings from companies in Aberdeen, the City of London and the United States.
Helen Parker Director of Resort Sales, Marketing & Real Estate, is “quietly confident” that the increases seen since 2010 will continue, explaining: “The events business is a very competitive one, but we have taken time to target companies and build relationships to develop repeat and referral business. Clients who choose St Andrews love the fact that an event can be planned in a five red star hotel that is alongside the world’s most famous golf course and a short walk into the historic town centre.”
But Helen knows it is not simply “location, location, location”. She adds: “We are very fortunate to have such a stunning position in St Andrews – it is iconic and unique. But with corporate events and especially conferences, there’s a multitude of ingredients that have to be right for the customer – from the accommodation mix to the conference facilities, from the staffing and management of the events to the food and drink offering.”
Helen explains that the market place has changed – and continues to change: “Companies want great value – but when you are committing to an event for you, your staff and your clients, you want to ensure every ‘t’ is crossed and every ‘i’ is dotted. The extra touches that we are able to bring to the equation due to our experience, understanding and exceptional facilities are very much an influence for those choosing the Old Course Hotel.”
Over 10% of the resort’s business now comes directly from corporate clients in Aberdeen. Helen says: “The energy sector is a key one for Scotland. Many of our local clientèle work in Aberdeen and know that we can meet the high demands of their industry. As a consequence, we will host a near 30% increase in company events and conferences in 2013.” London remains a significant market. Helen explains: “For companies to head this far from the City of London, they have to be 100% certain of their choice. The costs escalate due to travel and time, but the counter is a location that provides exclusivity with relative ease of access. We know clients who can be with us via the City & Dundee air link faster than if they were heading to a location outside the M25. That is a significant draw – and as one guest recently told me, the home of golf beats the home counties.”
Richard Pinn, Regional Director for VisitScotland, congratulates the resort on their business building saying: “The business tourism market is essential to Scotland’s economy. The Old Course Hotel’s continued development and success in the market, both at home and abroad, is testament to their five star credentials.”
The United States remains a key market. Helen concludes: “St Andrews has a very high profile in America and our connections through Kohler Co., the resort’s owning company, means we are a favourite destination for many corporate clients.”