Matt Devine from Square Events reports
What is the second most requested location for a Ladies Weekend?
What is the first most requested location?
Anywhere but Bournemouth!
As more and more Lodges look for an alternative to Bournemouth for their Ladies Weekend, our job here at Square Events is increasingly to educate venues nationwide on the benefits of hosting these events. Quite often, they will need to offer a lower rate than they might offer for an ad-hoc leisure guest, but the rewards are reaped when it comes to the in-hotel spend. Lunches, spa treatments, bedroom upgrades and a healthy bar spend. Often, Lodges regale me with stories of groups of their members that regularly ‘drink the bar dry’ or keep the party going until the sun comes up, and we often use these boasts when negotiating rates with hotels.
In the post COVID world, negotiating rates has become all the more important as hospitality prices have shot up across the industry. So far, in 2022, we’re seeing average increases of 15% on 2021 rates. Compounded with the fact that a lot of Lodges have not had an event since 2019, it creates quite a change in cost. This rate growth is attributed to increases in the number of staff necessary and, of course, in the costs for energy and various supplies.
The good news is that there are scores of high-quality, sensibly priced hotels dotted all over the country that are very keen to welcome you and your thirsty brethren for your next Ladies Festival or Weekend. We are here to introduce you to them, negotiate the best possible rates and contractual terms and offer any support you need in delivering the perfect event (and yes, of course, you can still go to Bournemouth if you want to!).
It gives me immense pleasure to let you know that we had our busiest February for Ladies Festival enquiries ever. It certainly seems that these wonderful events are coming back, which I hear is also the case with other social events linked to Freemasonry.
February also saw a ‘Welcome Back to Freemasonry’ Burns Weekend hosted by W Bro Tim MacAndrews PJGD, MetGInsp for the Lodges within his Inspectorate. It was a bold idea at the time when Bro Tim first thought of it in mid-2021 but, with a lot of hard work and assistance from Square Events, the weekend at the Marriott Hotel in Bournemouth proved a huge success.
Guests had the opportunity to learn the art of sabrage (removing the cork from a champagne bottle with a sword), enjoy various musical acts, dine on some fantastic food and dance to a traditional Scottish Ceilidh band. More than £750 was raised on the Burns night and donated to the Masonic Charitable Foundation.