Posted: 24 August 2022

We pride ourselves at Ashorne Hill on being a flexible venue that is able to offer exactly what our clients need, and we certainly delivered this when we were tasked with providing a different type of learning environment for one of our clients. Hear from Renata Homer, General Manager, and Josh Tucker, Front of House Operations Manager, on a recent bespoke event.

First of all, can you tell us what your client was looking for?

We received a brief from one of our clients who wanted to hold a number of learning sessions for their team, but it was essential that it wasn’t held in a typical conference room. They needed to offer 12 two day learning events over a 10 week period with approximately 25 delegates per a day. Accommodation and all meals were also required. So, they asked us to think outside the box and see what we could deliver.

And what was the event you came up with?

Through a collaborative exercise, that included the customer and interested stakeholders within the Ashorne Hill team, we agreed on setting up a tipi in our grounds to give the delegates a completely different Ashorne Hill experience.  Alongside the tipi, outdoor meeting pods were ideal to be used as informal break out areas and the firepit area provided the perfect spot to relax between sessions. It was a great opportunity to show the full extent of how the setting at Ashorne Hill can contribute to the overall learning experience.

 Nutrition and wellbeing are high on many companies’ agendas, how did you meet this requirement?

Our chefs outdid themselves with the bespoke menu they developed for this event. As well as traditional drinks we offered freshly made vitality smoothies accompanied by bliss balls throughout the day to keep everyone’s brains fuelled. The wellness buffet lunch was chosen to be filling yet still nutritious and included gazpacho, chilli tuna poke bowl and char-grilled chicken pitta. As a reward for everyone’s hard work, in the evening we produced a street food festival banquet. With delicious dishes such as slow roast suckling pig slider, Chinese BBQ belly pork and slow roast beef rump, there was something for all tastes. After all the hard work the doughnuts certainly went down well at the end. It certainly wasn’t your usual delegate menu that’s for sure.

 Any unusual requests?

Well the client was keen that the delegates would be able to leave a legacy behind them and in particular they were very keen to be able to plant some trees. The team were able to find the ideal spot in our 35 acres of grounds and created an orchard which now has 30 new trees planned. Not only was this a great teambuilding exercise, it has left a legacy for future delegates to enjoy as well.

Did you face any challenges with the brief and if yes how did you and the team overcome them?

We are really fortunate at Ashorne Hill that we have 35 acres of ground along with over 40 meeting rooms so we had a lot of options available to offer. However, the main challenge was the short lead time. We only had 4-5 weeks from the initial enquiry to the launch of the event. The location was also a slight challenge to ensure we could get all the necessary equipment and services to the right place. The amazing team effort included many staff at all levels within the business (from the gardeners to the Managing Director)  enabled an event of this scale and type to go ahead and ultimately we provided a memorable experience for the client.

Have you had any feedback from this event?

We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive feedback received and it’s a real highlight for all the team here at Ashorne Hill to receive such praise. Some of the positive feedback has included:

“Perfect, tent, fresh air, firepit BBQ (excellent food) all a refreshing change.”

“Lovey grounds, I explored parts I have never seen before. Fantastic food and really helpful and friendly staff.”

“Lovely grounds and setting with great catering and service from the staff.  Created the right environment for deep thinking and away from distractions.”

“Having the opportunity to walk in the nature before/after the training is just fantastic.”

What’s next?

After the success of this event, the tipi will return once again in September and will be available to hire for companies looking for that alternative meeting experience. So, if this is something your company would be interested in get in touch with us on for your bespoke quote.