Wales the big winner on awards night
We enjoyed a very special St David’s Day at the beginning of this month as we staged a Welsh takeover of the Meetings & Incentive Travel Awards in London.
This event is the Oscars night of the meetings industry with 1,500 distinguished guests descending on Battersea Evolution for a black tie gala dinner and awards presentation. We decided it was the perfect occasion to announce our new Convention Centre to the world by making ICC Wales the headline sponsor.
There was a rousing welcome for all guests from Only Boys Aloud and we launched the evening with a spectacular opening celebrating Welsh culture from the poetry of Dylan Thomas to a stunning live performance of her No 1 hit, Louder, from singer Sian Evans.
Something that could not have been any “Louder” was the message not just that ICC Wales is here and ready to open later this year, but that Wales as a whole is ready to emerge as a true destination for holding business events. This was an evening that put us centre stage and we wanted to show what Wales can deliver.
The feedback from the guests was amazing. People who have been attending the awards for decades were blown away by the spectacular show to start proceedings. You can see some of the highlights in the video at the bottom of this page.
We also had Welsh touches running throughout the evening from daffodil buttonholes and corsages on arrival to Pembrokeshire crab and Welsh lamb on the menu (printed bilingually with Welsh) and we created our own special sneak peek area where guests could wear virtual reality goggles to see ICC Wales as well as iconic Welsh landmarks and landscapes.
This space included Ponder Pods with the outdoor brought in, just as we will encourage at ICC Wales where we have designed meeting rooms with floor to ceiling views of the adjacent woodland and outdoor breakout areas to give conference delegates a real breath of fresh air.
Our team did an amazing job to make this the best possible showcase it could be for Wales and ICC Wales, and a fabulous night of celebration was capped off when the Celtic Manor Resort won one of the final awards announced. This is the eighth time in the last nine years that we have been voted the UK’s Best Hotel and shows just how well we are regarded by our clients, the industry professionals who vote for the winners.
I was able to thank most of our team for making this possible at another awards dinner two weeks later as we hosted our own Making A Difference staff awards. While not quite on the same scale as the M&IT Awards in London, we do put on a pretty lavish event for our own team, too.
We even had the same host as the M&IT Awards in the shape of TV and radio presenter Gethin Jones who brought some showbiz sparkle to our Greatest Show theme which included aerial acrobat acts, stilt walkers, circus strongmen and table tricks.
Our team really enjoy this event and they certainly deserve it for the effort that goes in throughout the year in our non-stop, ever-changing, 24/7 operation.
Helping to judge and then presenting some of the awards, I was once again reminded how many of our people are prepared to go the extra mile and “Make A Difference” to our guest experience. Once again, it was brilliant to see how much the recognition meant to not only the winners but also to all their colleagues as each and every name announced brought loud cheers.
This enthusiasm and dedication is our greatest asset at Celtic Manor – we can only be the UK’s Best Hotel because we have the best team and with nights like the MAD Awards, we strive to remember and reward that.