Emirates Old Trafford hosts British Swimming Summit: Case Study
Organisation: British Swimming
Date: 18 September 2020
Number of Guests: 12
Emirates Old Trafford was delighted to welcome British Swimming to its award-winning facility for a recent two-day Board Meeting.
Despite the ongoing restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the executive team at the national governing body for Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water in Great Britain where keen to host a face-to-face meeting as they - like many other organisations - ponder key strategic decisions for the futures of their sports.
Emirates Old Trafford hosted the 12-strong Board, plus additional British Swimming staff, in its renowned 1864 Suite, with all guests staying overnight in the on-site Hilton Garden Inn Hotel.
British Swimming’s Chief Executive, Jack Buckner, explained the importance of meeting in person for his organisations:
“This has been our first Board Meeting face-to-face and it’s been really valuable and given us the chance to talk about some strategic matters that can be quite tricky on Zoom, Teams or any other video conferencing apps. Face-to-face meetings are important. Most organisations and most sports are facing really hard decisions about the future and those strategic discussion can take a bit of time. When you are working remotely it’s good for operational work, where you make quick decisions, but when you have those hard decisions for the medium and long-term, nothing beats being face-to-face where you can think things over and reflect. There’s no doubt the quality of the conversation does improve for strategic matters.”
As a regular visitor to Emirates Old Trafford over recent years, Buckner was keen to praise the venue and it’s events team:
“It’s a really good location and we’ve got a great relationships with the venue - you do a cracking job here. We’ve been here on a number of occasions and it’s a great atmosphere, good facilities and really great relationships with everyone here. The fact that there is plenty of space here helps because we can move around the rooms. And you do need space. If you were in a confined area you’d find it really difficult, but the facilities here are great, the staff are great and they are also very respectful.
The conference and events industry has faced significant disruption this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with all public events cancelled between March and the end of September. Since October 1, Emirates Old Trafford has been able to welcome groups of up to 30 people and has leaned on the experienced gained during the Summer when the venue hosted a record 21 days of International cricket in a behind-closed-doors, bio-secure environment.
For British Swimming this was a key factor in their selection of the venue for their important meeting:
“I think it also helps the fact that you’ve hosted behind-closed-doors cricket here all summer, so you clearly have the experience and expertise of being it that bubble environment and that was reassuring for us. It wasn’t as if we were the first group here – we’ve all watched what you’ve been doing on TV and that gives us confidence for us to come here as well.”
Following the latest Government advice and Manchester’s current classification as a Tier 3 area, Emirates Old Trafford is currently restricted to events of up to 30 people, but the leadership team are hopeful that large scale events are around the corner. As Angela Hodson, Sales Director at the venue, explains:
“It’s been an incredibly frustrating time for everyone impacted by the pandemic and there is no doubt there is a growing desire to have larger scale face-to-face events back up and running. However, we appreciate and respect that public safety must come first and are patiently waiting for Manchester to be moved to a Tier 2 classification, which would enable us to welcome 500 guests for a single event with social distancing measures. Off the back of successfully hosting 21 days of cricket during the summer, when we returned zero positive COVID-19 tests and suffered no outbreaks or disruptions, we could not be better prepared or qualified to host bio-secure events. For now, we continue to operate first-class service for all clients who have chosen to host their events with us, like our friends at British Swimming, and look forward to welcoming back full-scale events in the very near future.”