We have been busy with Olympics business for several months now. Typically the clients are corporate groups who have booked their hospitality packages through the official sources, and are turning to us to manage their travel requirements and for added-value experiences to make their time in London extra special.
Getting to London
We’d advise anyone coming in from overseas, or even from other parts of the UK, not to delay booking your travel. Rail services and scheduled flights are already filling up. We are arranging charter aircraft and private jets too, but of course they require airport slots which are disappearing fast.
It’s not just the tickets!
A lot of the overseas Olympics clients we’re dealing with concentrated first on securing their corporate hospitality package for their chosen date, then waited to investigate accommodation options. If you’re in that position, act now.
Just as flights are busy for the duration of the Games, so are the best hotels. You’ll find it almost impossible to book a one- or two-night stay, as properties are imposing minimum-length stays, often with very stringent terms and conditions.
Getting there on the day
The majority of our clients are looking for a real VIP experience for their guests, so spending hours in traffic or fighting the crowds on the London Underground aren’t really options. The Thames will be vitally important in getting guests as close to the Olympic Park as possible without delay - river transfers from central London to Greenwich, then a private vehicle from there.
Depending on clients’ budgets, private helicopters can also come into the mix - options to land in and around East London are limited but for our out-of-town guests we are looking very closely at places like Battersea’s Hotel Verta, which has its own heliport, and onward river transfers again.
Places to go and see
Your guests’ time in the Olympic Park will only be one aspect of their visit. Your challenge is to find other great and exclusive experiences to make the rest of their time in London just as memorable.
Exclusive private dining evenings and chef’s table experiences have always been hugely popular with our corporate clients. A favourite of mine is The Studio at the Andaz Liverpool Street hotel - a loft-style space which has a real wow factor as a private dining room. In the West End, we recently arranged an amazing chef’s table evening at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill in Portman Square, and this again is on our radar for Olympic corporate hospitality groups.
Private boat charters on the Thames are always a good bet, but to make this experience even more special there are some great historic vessels available - such as the Havengore, a 40-passenger launch notable for its role in the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. Alternatively, groups might enjoy becoming part of the UK maritime tradition aboard one of the tall ships based in Greenwich.
By the time the Olympics start the London Hippodrome will have completed its extensive renovation and been re-opened as The Hippodrome Casino. With three gaming floors, a stylish three-tier restaurant and cocktail bar, as well as the intimate Matcham Room performance space which converts post-show into a classic old-style ‘speakeasy’ until 5am, this will be a great spot to hit after an evening at the Olympic Park.
The Hippodrome renovation is paying huge attention to recapturing the original feel of this Victorian theatre building so we’re expecting this to be a really atmospheric experience - far more than just another London casino. And it will be open on a 24-hour basis.
We’re also arranging entry for visitors into some of London’s most exclusive private members’ clubs - it’s all about having the right connections. But we’re predicting that the party to end all Olympic parties will be the pop-up ‘Nikki Beach’ at Trinity Buoy Wharf opposite the O2 Arena.
Miami-based Nikki Beach is an ultra-stylish beach club concept combining fine dining, fashion, art and entertainment. Produced in conjunction with Event Atelier and running throughout the Games, this is set to be the hottest ticket in town with big-name DJs, live music, aerial acts, contemporary dance and fire artists.
The Appointment Group is one of the UK’s leading corporate travel and event management specialists.
To contact The Appointment Group, please call 0208 962 6792
Picture credit: London 2012