Case study

Center Parcs at Longleat proved to be the ideal location for the smoothie brand's annual Nature Weekend event.

Innocent runs several annual events that bring 250 staff together from its UK headquarters and five European offices, one of which is themed The Natural Weekend and takes place in June. This event has evolved in size as the company has grown and started out as a skiing weekend in Europe.

In recent years the event has become UK-based to fit with the company’s commitment to sustainability. "We consider the carbon footprint now and are trying to be more sustainable," says Innocent Environment Manager, Charlie Heavy.

A key focus for this year’s event was the brand strategy but also to provide an opportunity for team building and enable staff to meet people from other areas of the business in an informal and relaxed environment. "One of my key objectives is for staff to get to know lots of colleagues and make sure they enjoy the location," says Heavy.

The biggest challenge was finding a venue that fitted the tight brief. "The venue needed to be in budget, within two hours of our office, have a light and natural conference space, a sit-down dinner venue and on-site accommodation for the whole group," she explains. "We also like to bring as much nature into the event as possible and, weather permitting, spend as much time as possible outside with fun activities." 

Heavy chose Center Parcs, Longleat Forest, because she felt it was on-brand and reflected the ‘going back to nature’ theme. "The Venue for the conference on Friday had windows going all along one wall looking out into the forest so it was like we were in a natural setting," she says. "Center Parcs was also really flexible with the spaces they were able to give us. For example, we had one of the evening events around the Village Square and they also gave us space down by the lake on the Saturday."

The Friday evening featured a footballers and WAGs themed event with a large screen showing the England football game and a WAGs area where the ladies could get their hair and nails done. This was followed by dinner and the Innocent in-house band and DJ. On the Saturday there was a waterworld activity for all delegates, with optional activities including Tree Trekking and Laser Shooting in the afternoon followed by a Caribbean-themed barbecue in The Grand Café in the evening.

Heavy says the balance of a great venue combined with a really good environment, a feeling of being at one with nature and a really good party resulted in the event being a huge success. "The Center Parcs staff were so engaged and dedicated and put so much thought and consideration into everything. It took a huge amount of pressure off and meant that I really enjoyed the event too."