Fancy meeting you here

Strict ABPI regulations governing promotional meetings often catch out unwitting organisers. Finding a suitable venue for your next get-together is now as crucial as the quality of the midmorning biscuits. But help is at hand to avoid breaching increasingly detailed regulatory codes.

 Healthcare events in the UK are big business. Across the pharmaceutical, medical device, aesthetics and associations industries – plus the NHS and patient groups – there are approximately 100,000 events staged each year. This equates to a market worth a cool £378m annually.

 However, staging a meeting isn’t as simple as plugging in a projector, opening a pack of rich tea biscuits and sending a couple of invites via Outlook. As regulatory codes are tightened, and breach examples help guide the pharmaceutical industry in delivering code compliant meetings, the ever-present challenge of finding an appropriate setting for specific audiences aligned to scientific programmes remains.

 Preferred venue programmes and internal processes should guide those at head office or in territories in selecting appropriate locations for meetings.

 However, interpretation and impression still play a part – and this is difficult to quantify.

 Whether you are booking a restaurant for a dinner meeting or a venue for a larger event, making the right decision is crucial. Your guests, certainly if they are healthcare professionals, are looking for correct decisions to be made; and have been quick to bring to task any organisation they perceive using a venue or location as an inducement to encourage them to attend an event. A recent code breach over the water in Ireland is a perfect example of how even medical societies have to think about code compliance – even if their events are only sponsored in a minor way by pharmaceutical companies. You can never be too careful.

As the transparency drive by regulators continues and the rules become more complex pharma and meeting venues across the UK that stage healthcare events have had to get smarter. Accreditation – by organisations such as Compliant Venues – is now in place for venues which have met set metrics and undergone comprehensive training to understand pharma’s new remit for staging events.

 Future regulations, such as imposing limits set to the cost of food functions applied to events for healthcare professionals, has made finding and working in partnership with a suitable venue more imperative than ever.

 More information on Compliant Venues can be found online at: compliantvenues.co.uk.

 Top tips for organisers and hotel venues

 • Present clearly the location as a meetings and events venue

• Be open about any facilities that can mask the events purpose of a venue, such as golf or spa facilities

• Is the venue one which is perceived as lavish?

• Have you taken time to understand what lavish, extravagant or deluxe means to the pharma sector?

• What does your location say about your venue? Are you the primary focus or are their distractions to divert attention from the scientific programme?

• Ensure that all operational teams have a practical knowledge to stand out in the crowd

• Do you know the meeting and audience types that are considered most appropriate for particular venues?

 Compliant Venues Director Mark Handforth is a recognised expert in meetings and events, with over 20 years’ strategic experience. He is currently working on a Directory of Healthcare Enabled Venues, which goes live soon.

 Weetwood Hall

 Weetwood Hall is a dedicated conference centre with 36 meeting rooms ideally located on the outskirts of Leeds. It is the meeting gem in Leeds, only 4 miles from the city centre with easy access from Leeds/Bradford International Airport and the M1, M62, M621 and A1 road network. It is also one of the few hotels in Leeds with extensive free onsite parking.

 Wrapped in a 4star product this flexible and dedicated conference centre offers extensive meeting/conference and seminar facilities along with a range of breakout areas enabling privacy and confidentiality whilst hosting multiple events.

 In the last five years, Weetwood Hall has invested over two million pounds on developing and refurbishing the 106, 4-star en-suite bedrooms into a fresh and contemporary style, providing a practical interior and a spacious work environment. Guests can also take advantage of the complimentary hi-speed Wi-Fi internet connection throughout the venue.

 Providing various dining options, the seasonal menus reflect their passion for regionally sourced food and are carefully designed to cater for the increasingly popular breakfast, “lunch & learn” and dinner meetings.

 Weetwood Hall is looking forward to working closely with Compliant Venues to demonstrate to clients their investment and understanding of the principles and regulatory codes set out for the healthcare sector, whilst adapting their product accordingly to meet expectations.

 In light of this, the recent assessment by Compliant Venues accredited Weetwood Hall with the highest Green Status.

 “Weetwood Hall is proud to have achieved this accreditation standard and look forward to working in close partnership with Compliant Venues to ensure that those companies who operate within the healthcare sector can be assured that Weetwood Hall adheres to the appropriate and conducive standards expected by the industry,” said Peter Chubb, Development Director.

 This accreditation follows in the footsteps of the Meetings Industry Association AIM Gold reaccreditation in 2012, as well as Investors in People Gold reaccreditation in 2013.

 For further details please contact Weetwood Hall’s Healthcare Champion, Marie Astle on marie.astle@weetwood.co.uk or call 0113 388 5798.

 Yarnfield Park

 Yarnfield Park helps people and organisations from a diverse range of sectors to achieve their conference, training and development goals. Since its re-launch nearly 3 years ago it has developed a successful track record in delivering both residential and day events for small meetings up to large events for up to 450 delegates.

 It helps organisations grow, inspire and empowers people by providing them with the location, facilities and environment to achieve their goals. In the heart of the Midlands, it is just 10 minutes o­ the M6, 90 minutes from London by train and less than an hour by car from both Manchester and Birmingham.

 The conference and training centre has recently reached another milestone in its ongoing journey of development. It now offers one of the fastest dedicated internet solutions available at any conference or training venue in the UK, with a dedicated 300Mbps superfast connection across all of its meeting, accommodation and public spaces. This free service allows delegates to easily access online learning resources, stream videos, live link and share information easily and effectively. The system lends itself perfectly to the increasingly popular hybrid events. Ian Parkinson, the site director, said “We know that organisers are crying out for better Wi-Fi and internet at venues and we believe that we now meet these requirements.”

 In addition, the venue now sleeps over 400 delegates on site after it twinned just over 60 of its 338 bedrooms. It has also increased the number of meeting spaces in the conference centre to 25, following the addition of 3 new spaces, including the 100 delegate capacity Maple and Willow suites. Yarnfield Park plans a year of investment with upgraded technical facilities and a new website, due for a mid-summer launch. For more information call 01785 762605.

 The Convention Centre Dublin

 Since opening in 2010, The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD) has hosted over 700 events and won 22 industry awards, including recognition as one of the top four convention centres in the world at the AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres) Apex Awards in 2012. It has also scooped the M&IT gold awards for ‘Access Excellence’ 2012 and ‘Best Overseas Conference Centre’ 2012 and 2013. It truly is Dublin’s shining light.

 Dublin is highly accessible for delegates travelling from the UK, US, Europe and beyond, with Dublin Airport – serving 55 airlines over 169 routes – located a mere 15 to 20 minute journey from the CCD. There are over 18,500 hotel rooms within a 10km radius of the CCD, which is within walking distance of many of Dublin’s cultural, architectural, academic and social attractions.

 Designed by Pritzker award winning architect Kevin Roche, the CCD has already become an iconic symbol of modern Ireland. The venue offers 22 flexible meeting rooms and six spacious foyers, including a 2,000 seat auditorium and banqueting facilities for 3,000 guests. As a new venue, The CCD is finished to the highest specifications and incorporates the latest cutting-edge technology throughout, including complimentary Wi-Fi access. In 2012 the CCD complemented its exceptional service by offering a special ‘CCD Client Host’ service, giving qualifying clients a uniformed PA/chauffeur for the duration of their event.

 In 2012 the CCD also hosted a range of major international events, including the International Bar Association’s Annual Conference (5,200 delegates), Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (4,500 delegates) and the 16th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders (5,000 delegates). The CCD has also secured ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditation and the British Security Stand BS7499, and consistently achieves a customer satisfaction rate of 96%. For clients who are environmentally focused, The CCD is one of the ‘greenest’ venues in the world, achieving a remarkable waste recycling rate of 95% last year.

 This year, the venue plays host to a wide range of events, including the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (3,000 delegates), the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Conference (3,300 delegates) and the 15th International Congress of the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – ESCAP 2013 (2,000 delegates). To find out more about the CCD visit www.theccd.ie or email sales@theccd.ie.