Venues of Excellence ‘Fast Lane to Excellence’ 2023 Annual Conference focuses venue to strive for maximum results and continued excellence.


Venues of Excellence (VoE) has hosted its 2023 Annual Conference at Silverstone International Conference and Exhibition Centre, and Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone.

The annual conference titled ‘Fast Lane to Excellence’ was attended by 128 delegates, including 20 exhibitors and sponsored by Oyster Recruitment. This year’s conference had an overall aim to motivate, strive for excellence and drive members to achieve outstanding results.  The conference programme was packed with an excellent range of industry speakers and workshops covering topics including Leadership, Inspiration, Innovation, Technology, Sustainability and Industry Best Practice.

Venues of Excellence CEO, Mandy Jennings opened the conference sharing the event objective was to give everyone an inspirational kickstart to 2023, and help give some golden nuggets of knowledge to take back to their business. Reflecting on the momentum they have seen since the last conference in March 2022, she highlighted they have seen a 98% retention of current members and a 25% growth in new members joining. Mandy said “We have seen a record-breaking year for sales from our venue find service and that ensures we can continue to invest in marketing, new exhibition stands, grow our highly skilled team and give increased focus on our quality accreditation programme for members, always ensuing excellence is at the heart of everything we do. This really highlights the importance as an independent venue of being part of a consortium with the range of benefits membership offers.”

As delegates settled in the conference, Stuart Pringle, Managing Director, Silverstone Circuits Ltd welcomed them to the prestigious venue, before handing over to Jonathan Peach – The Art of Brilliance presenting his passion to help people achieve their dreams setting the scene for an inspirational and motivating day.  Other topics on the day covered current and future trends in MICE Trends, Robotics in Hospitality, Food Innovation and Trends, Sustainability and a choice of three interactive workshops: Diversity and Women in Leadership, Navigating the Technology Jungle and Optimising Body Language to increase Sales.

The food and beverage teams were particularly interested to hear the Food Innovation and Trends session presented by Wilson Vale, with Richard Allen, Executive Chef, Alton Towers Resort commenting: ‘It was a great insight into a large national company and their thought process on up-and-coming food trends.  I was particularly drawn to the segment regarding ‘Forgotten Fish.’  This resonated with me based on several years working in the Channel Islands where mixed catches were often received from recreational fisherman and creative thinking was needed to create dishes from typically unused fish.  Overall, it was a great, thought-provoking session.’

Bringing in on the home straight, Catherine Bond Muir founder of the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers delivered an inspirational and motivational presentation around her journey in women’s motor racing.

Blendology, provided the paperless and sustainable delegate badges making it easy to network and capture key contacts on the day. The conference was complemented by a great networking area for peer-to-peer engagement and to meet with 20 exhibitors who offer products and services to the hospitality sector.  Many of the exhibitors work with Venues of Excellence (VoE) members within the renowned Preferred Partner Programme.  This provided delegates with an excellent opportunity to meet with a range of suppliers; from software companies to industry compliance, catering suppliers to recruitment and so much more during the breaks and lunch, providing key contacts to work in partnership with for the future.

From an informative and packed day with industry experts, the annual conference concluded with a Champions Dinner and Awards Ceremony, where members, suppliers and the VoE team informally networked, tested their driving skills on F1 simulators and contributed to the charity raffle supporting the Ruiga Children’s School in Kenya which raised over £1,000. VoE are now in its fourth year of supporting the school through its preferred partnership with Paddy and Scott’s.

Julian Kettleborough, Commercial Director, the studio, reflecting on the day said: “As always, the VOE Annual Conference was a really great opportunity to network with industry peers, with a healthy dose of personal development and entertainment for good measure. I particularly enjoyed the inspirational presentations and forever more I will remember to strive to be in the top 2% mindset and ‘every day is a SPECIAL pants day!’  It was obvious how much planning had gone into the event and the location chosen was perfect. Thank you.”

Looking to the future of hospitality and how robotics could be introduced, Chairman of the Advisory Group and Director of Campus Services Cranfield University, Stewart Elsmore reflected on the how robotics could be introduced into hospitality in the future commented: “We were delighted that Cranfield University showcased some of their leading research about robotics in the hospitality industry, which with the recent recruitment challenges, demonstrated how robots could supplement the skills of people and assist our customers by performing some of the more repetitive, less attractive tasks needed to deliver our services. The conference delegates were thrilled with the 2 robots present – including the one which successfully introduced the session.”

The success of the 2023 Conference is attributable to great speakers, and we would like to thank W Series, The Art of Brilliance, MICE Knowledge, Cranfield University, Wilson Vale, Silverstone Circuits Ltd, Hilton, Rattray Milne and The Face Whisperer for their contributions to the conference programme, our sponsor Oyster Recruitment, all our exhibitors and our VoE Team to bring together our Venues of Excellence Annual Conference 2023 – Fast Lane to Excellence.