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A flying start at Hotel Verta


Dec 13, 2010 | Editors

It has been a difficult few years for many event venues. As both public sector organisations and private sphere companies have struggled with financial pressures, venues across the UK have seen their bookings drop, with fewer organisations and firms opting to hold a meeting outside of their own offices.

Yet one new hotel is confident that it can carve out a place for itself within the competitive London venues market.

Hotel Verta opened its doors in September and has since put a lot of emphasis on attracting conferences, meetings and other events.

Douglas Acton, director of sales at Hotel Verta, said: "Meetings and events is huge for us. It's our key market as we've only got 70 bedrooms."

Located in Battersea beside London Heliport, this triple-glazed venue has been purpose built and has enviable views over the river Thames.

Its design has drawn praise, with the Daily Mail stating: "This glass building is a cut above the rest, its curves blending with the bends in the river."

Being a new build is important, Mr Acton believes, as it has meant that the hotel features all of the latest technology.

He expects the heliport and the venue's location to play a key role in helping to draw visitors and companies.

"We're Europe's first heliport hotel, so that's a huge differentiation from any other hotel in London or in Europe," he noted.

Although he does not expect all delegates at meetings to arrive by helicopter, Mr Acton noted that the people who tend to use helipads are celebrities, foreign heads of state and the chief executive officers (CEO) of companies.

"It's the only place where you can take off or land a helicopter in London, which means that every head of state and celebrity has to land with us and all the meeting spaces have views of that," he said. "We've captured the helicopter market for London."

Many of the CEOs using the London Helipad currently have to get into a car and travel into the City or the West End, often ending up "stuck in traffic", to get to a meeting, he said. Mr Acton believes that that some CEOs will wonder why the meeting was not held at Hotel Verta, where they could avoid the hassle of traffic and where they can easily get back in the helicopter and return home at the end of the day.

"The helipad is attracting quite a lot of opportunities, as a result of the CEOs flying to the port," he stated.

"We're also the nearest luxury hotel to the best connected station in Europe – which is Clapham Junction."

The meeting spaces themselves have much to offer event organisers, he noted, including state-of-the-art technology. Interesting, all of the meetings rooms have screens which are both 2D and 3D.

All of the seven spaces, which can hold between ten and 200 people, are based on the first floor and each venue has natural daylight, floor-to-ceiling windows, river views and is pillar-free. There is also complimentary high-speed internet access for group meetings.

Being a five-star hotel is also a differentiator within the local area, he said, but he also acknowledged that the hotel still has to change the mindset of some event organisers.

"We are, I think, the only luxury hotel south of the river Thames in the borough of London, which is an advantage itself," he added.

"No-one is really used to having a hotel here, certainly not a luxury hotel."

The emphasis now is on "penetrating the local market and making sure they have a reason to stay here instead of going over to the other side of the river to experience a decent hotel".
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