Conference Winchester shares Best Practice

The dynamic group of conference and meeting venues in the Winchester District known as Conference Winchester is going for gold with the introduction of a range of 'master classes' for members.

Gathering at Winchester's Wessex Hotel on Monday, over 20 customer-facing staff from local venues enjoyed the first of a series of half day seminars designed to equip them to exceed customer expectations and build long-term relationships.

The master class - called Turning show rounds and site visits into profitable bookings - was run by Mike Lyon, Director of Write Style Communications Ltd. Well known for his training services and publications and boasting 15 years' experience in event management, Mike is a regular speaker at national industry tradeshows such as Confex and the Business Tourism Conference.

Chair of Conference Winchester, and Marwell Hotel's Area Sales Manager, Sarah Hudson said: "As a group of venues, we are interested in business development in all its forms. We are already engaged in joint promotional work to generate new enquiries and customer relationship building to enhance existing business. But by offering relevant and sensitively-priced master classes like this one we can help individual member venues to improve conversion rates from enquiries to firm bookings."

One of the delegates at the master class was Rosie Dwelly, Events Co-ordinator for University College Winchester. She said: "It was a very useful session. Not only did Mike give us plenty of tips to help us find out more about our customers' needs, but he explained how to sell to them without appearing to sell which is a real art.

"I also benefited from talking to colleagues at the session and finding out how they manage show-rounds. I shall be putting what I have learnt into practice during a client meeting this week and will look forward to seeing the results."

Local businesses who have not yet tried out the Conference Winchester 'one stop shop' are invited to give it a go on tel 0870 744 7022 or e-mail For a preview of the range of venues and activities offered by the consortium, visit