Our group head of sales, Martin Terry, tells us why this season is the perfect time to take your pick of our flexible event spaces – either inside or out.

Summer is officially here and looks to be one of the best we’ve seen for some time. So, while the sun is shining and the evenings are light and long, we must make the most of it when we can.

During a meeting or event, where delegate concentration and engagement is so crucial to success, it is perhaps more important than ever to factor in enough energy-boosting touchpoints throughout the day. There are so many opportunities to do this during a summer-time event at a Hand Picked Hotel - here’s a few of our top tips:

1. Maximise breaks with seasonal summer delights 

Working in 90 minute intervals, then taking a proper break is said to keep us at our most productive. During a busy event it can be easy to overrun and ‘eat’ into precious down time for your delegates. Hearing the soft knock on your meeting room door followed by the delivery of your break or lunch service is like music to the ears and importantly helps to ensure that the organiser and participants all get chance to down tools and restore. 

Hand Picked Hotels’ meeting packages include a mid-morning and an afternoon break item, all of which are freshly made and locally sourced. Think Tunworth cheese and spinach quiches at Audleys Wood in Basingstoke, Whitby smoked haddock and leek tartlets at Wood Hall in Wetherby and Isle of Arran rhubarb and ginger drizzle cakes at Norton House in Edinburgh. You will also enjoy an unlimited selection of teas, great coffee, fruit and freshly flavoured water. Whichever package you chose, you will also get a delicious and seasonal lunch. Our summer menus are bursting with fresh ingredients such as the ‘chorizo, grilled pepper and rocket open sandwich on multiseed bread’, ‘apricot, peach and strawberry salad served with lime Greek yoghurt’ or the ‘summer berry Eton mess’. For a memorable summer twist in the afternoon, we can also provide additional pick-me-ups like homemade ice-cream, iced lemonade or fresh fruit ice lollies.  

2. Make sure to take a walk outside 

Our brain needs 20% of our body’s oxygen to function and for an organ of its size it uses a lot of energy. Remaining focused and processing information for long periods of time in a meeting room is enough to leave anyone feeling really drained.  Taking a short walk outside and inhaling clean fresh air is all it takes to bring clarity, improved concentration and increase energy levels.  Studies have also shown that walking through a green space can lower frustration, induce a state of meditation and increase engagement when returning to a task.

With all of our hotels set in picturesque grounds, gardens or even by the beach, your event is never going to be more than a short stroll away from the great and glorious outdoors – in fact many of our meeting and event spaces offer direct access outside meaning everyone can break out together. During break times why not encourage everyone to take at least 10 minutes outside

3. Schedule an outdoor activity or energiser 

Physical and social activities increase endorphins and help to sharpen our focus, plus, they are just great fun – especially when enjoyed with colleagues or fellow delegates. Many of our venues have fun outdoor activities available all the time such as giant jenga, giant chess and croquet sets. Or we can organise a specific team building activity of your choice to break up the day and there are plenty of things to choose from; archery, geese herding or inflatable challenges to name a few. Whichever you choose it’s definitely worth factoring in some outdoor fun time while the weather is on our side.  

4. End on an alfresco evening, or two!

Ending on a high note is a sure way of making an event memorable. After a busy day or two of absorbing information, we all need to unwind and enjoy ourselves. Planning an evening drinks reception and meal for your attendees post event means everyone can stay in the same place, continue conversations and more importantly continue to build relationships. With some event planners reducing the amount of group-based offsite events each year, there seems to be extra onus on making sure valuable away time is well spent and not rushed.

Upgrading to our 32 hour packages is a great way to lengthen the experience – essentially having two evenings with everyone involved as opposed to just one, for not much more investment. During the summer months we can host outdoor BBQs or hog roasts to make the most of the light evenings, accompanied with summer cocktails, Pimm’s or chilled glasses of Champagne. A number of our venues have outdoor terrace areas which are perfect for hosting alfresco evenings during the summer months. If you do have two evenings to plan, why not give one a ‘delegate-wellbeing’ theme with some free time to enjoy the grounds or unwind in the health club and spa facilities?

5. Share ideas with your event specialist

Lastly, when planning an event always share your aspirations with your dedicated event specialist - chances are they have helped to bring similar things to life in the past or have additional ideas to ensure you get exactly what you want, and more, out of your Hand Picked experience.