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March 16, 2009

The Farnborough factor

Last year may not have been a great time to launch a new UK events destination, but that’s what ultimately happened to a town in Hampshire, south west England. While others have been worrying about the effects of the downturn, events facilities have been popping up in Farnborough as if it was boomtime.

Well known for the Farnborough International Airshow, which remains a highly successful event, 2008 saw the launch of FIVE (Farnborough International Venue & Events) and the opening of the Aviator Hotel Farnborough.

Variety of events
There’s also now a 4,000 square metre permanent venue, in which FIVE has already hosted large public, trade and corporate events, including international conferences for blue chip companies InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Unilever and FIAT.

What’s more, both FIVE and the Aviator are situated on the airfield owned by TAG Farnborough airport, a dedicated business gateway widely regarded as the best in Europe. FIVE and Aviator clients are able to fly in delegates direct to the venue or hotel, both located only minutes away from the airport’s award-winning terminal.

Staying in style
The contemporary five-star Aviator Hotel, owned by TAG, was officially opened during the 2008 Airshow, and is operated by McCulloch Unique Hotels under Ken McCulloch – the hotel visionary responsible for One Devonshire Gardens, Malmaison, Columbus and Dakota Hotels.

In addition to an imposing façade, the inside of the hotel – designed by European Interior Designer of the Year award winner Amanda Rosa – comprises 150 standard bedrooms, 19 ‘Sky Studio’ suites, conference and meetings facilities and several restaurants and bars.

Flexible friend
“For a company considering locations for a large scale event, in addition to the site being completely private and secure (delegates need never leave it), Farnborough also provides real flexibility,” says FIVE sales manager Barbara Crow.

“Chartering an aircraft to fly in direct can be a very cost effective travel option for multiple delegates saving valuable time out of the office. On the other hand, if it is a VIP experience you are looking to deliver, senior staff and clients in town for a conference can arrive by executive business jet and stay in five-star luxury at the Aviator.”

Although Farnborough would not have been at the top of many people’s list as the next big events destination in Europe, it’s looks like all the ingredients are in place – so watch this space!

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