Virgin Holidays choose Woburn Forest for its Peak Launch
Why did you choose Center Parcs Woburn Forest?
In the early event planning stages, we had three key requirements from a venue. Number one was location – we needed somewhere in the UK that was easy to get to from all areas along with good train links. Two, we wanted somewhere that had a completely different experience from all other Virgin Holidays events. Lastly, we wanted to give our delegates more of a break – somewhere to relax and recharge their batteries ready for the busiest campaign month of the year. With all three requirements in mind Center Parcs Woburn Forest ticked all the boxes.
What were your core goals and objectives?
Virgin Holidays Peak Launch is the biggest event of the year and a hot ticket to attend. We kicked off Peak Launch at Center Parcs across two days. The delegates were made up of managers, team leaders, key suppliers, senior team members and the top performing consultants. Overall the event number hit a huge 330 attendees and to date is the biggest event we have held.
The core goals and purpose of the event was to deliver the key campaign messages to our people, as well as to motivate and inspire them to be the best versions of themselves. We encouraged teambuilding and making new friends and the different activities made our staff feel excited and relaxed, which helped us achieve our goal.
What happened throughout the event?
Day one was all about relaxation and fun. Delegates split into teams and took part in two activities of their choice with lunch incorporated in between. We gave our delegates downtime in the afternoon to explore and enjoy Center Parcs – they hired bikes, went swimming or chilled out in their lodges. In the evening, we kept it casual by having an informal gathering at Leisure Bowl. This was a great opportunity for everyone to mingle and talk about what they got up to during the day and even challenge their mate to a game of Ten Pin Bowling.
Day two was all about business. We first spilt the main room up into five conference/breakout areas so the agenda was very much like a speed dating format. In the morning, everyone attended a keynote conference in the main room then spilt into smaller groups and went to breakout sessions. We find this format is much more interesting and the delegates are more engaged with the content. We then ended the day with a Q&A session with the Directors.
In the evening, we had our famous Peak Launch gala dinner and show. This was held in The Venue - the space was completely open and set up with 34 cabaret tables along with an amazing stage set-up. In true Virgin Holidays style, we had a big production to really capture the ‘wow factor’. The evening started with a sparkling reception, three-course gala dinner, show time, end of year awards, celebrity appearances and ended with everyone on the dance floor.
On the final day, our delegates checked out of the lodges and made their way home.
Please give details of the logistics of running the event
The entire event itself was a huge logistical operation. With 330 delegates all doing different activities at different times meant a robust plan was key. We had 20 groups and leaders for each team so everyone knew where they needed to be at all times.
I would recommend to all companies that are planning a large-scale event to have an event app with the itinerary of each pre-loaded – this worked extremely well for us.
What added extras were you able to include in the event due to holding it at Center Parcs?
- We were able to take more staff to our annual event than ever before
- We could have a huge stage production due to the amazing venue space
- More downtime for our delegates to enjoy the facilities
- Team building and time to spend with their colleagues in their lodges
Which leisure activities did you choose for delegates and what was the response like?
We had a range of activities, from Aerial Tree Trekking, Aerial Adventure and Laser Clay Shoot Out to Willow Workshop, Table Tennis, Badminton and even half of delegates enjoying time in Aqua Sana Spa. Everyone loved getting stuck in and taking part in the activities, it was so different from all other past events and made our delegates feel really rewarded.
What feedback did you receive from guests?
We received extremely high engagement scores from the delegates – out of 5 starts the overall event was rated 4.8 stars – the highest event engagement scores that we have ever had. They loved that the event was held in a location that was easy to get to, taking part in activities and spending time with their colleagues. Being at Center Parcs was a breath of fresh air.
Client comment: The Virgin Holidays Annual Peak Launch is the event that everybody looks forward to all year and it’s also the most important event in terms of delivering the key campaign sales messages to our teams. Our experience working with the event teams at Woburn Forest was excellent, from start to end they were on hand to answer our questions and provided plenty of site visits so that we knew where everything was.
Throughout the event I felt supported by the events staff and they even got stuck in and helped us with smaller tasks like setting the tables for the gala dinner, fulfilling all last-minute catering requests and even fixing a table plan. I would highly recommend any company to hold an event at Center Parcs, you won’t be disappointed.