Corporate Client and In-Agency Group Discussion Report

This report has been compiled for Twickenham Stadium

by EIGHT PR & Marketing


As part of the growing relationship between Twickenham and The Live Group, the venue provided complimentary hospitality to the agency and some of its key corporate clients for the England v Wales, 6 Nations International, 10th February 2018.

As a chance to make the most out of this opportunity, EIGHT PR & Marketing hosted a small discussion group before the match in the newly launched World Rugby Museum. The aim of the meeting was to ascertain honest feedback on the venue, current perceptions, and how it can work with agencies and brands to gain more meetings and events businesses.

The session was just 45 minutes long, with a total of nine people in attendance:

  • Toby Lewis, CEO The Live Group
  • Marcus Naef, Commercial Director, The Live Group
  • Nilu Karavadra, Marketing Director, EMEA, Aveva
  • + 1, Nilu Karavadra, Marketing Director, EMEA, Aveva
  • Gemma Langton, Learning & Development Manager, EY
  • Becky Balchin, The Live Group
  • Helena Smith, The Live Group
  • Matt Blood, Twickenham
  • Alistair Turner, EIGHT PR & Marketing

The key findings of the session are listed below.


Three main conclusions:

  • There is still the need for more infiltration of the core message that Twickenham is 'open' for conference and events business
  • Brand alignment is critical in event venue selection
  • It's more than just the stadium that matters to clients, it is the wider destination that equally matters

Two recommendations:
Given by Toby Lewis, CEO of The Live Group

  • Create a piece of collateral that clearly identifies where you are at the Stadium, e.g. proximity to transport and travel, local accommodation etc. This would not be Twickenham branded, so it could be branded by the organiser or the event itself
  • Adopt the Matterport technology to show the 'dolls house' view of the venue and make it available online (it was subsequently mentioned that this is something that Twickenham is already adopting)

Twickenham: Open for Business

  • This applies to other unique and unusual venues, there still seems to be an automatic look to the conventional. This was cited as something that event organisers needed to be less 'lazy' about, but also that the sector needed to do a better job re-education on
  • It was discussed that the worlds of corporate hospitality venue, and meetings and events venue were not far away, but that a switch needed to be made where the client would see the stadium for non-match day events, as well as match day hospitality
  • There was a discussion that traditional venue finding agencies are often a barrier to this knowledge as they naturally favour hotels with larger financial incentives (e.g. commissions and overrides)

The Importance of 'Brand'

  • Twickenham, it was universally agreed, has a very strong brand, something that is critical to venue booking, particularly those that go through marketing departments or third party event production agencies
  • In terms of the high priority of brand alignment, the flow went; firstly, the venue's physical ability to host the event at a very basic level; this was then followed by brand alignment; lastly was the more granular detail of how the event could work from an operations and logistics point of view
  • An alignment with a brand like Twickenham shows that the organiser put additional 'thought' into the delegate experience as a whole and not just lazily chose a traditional hotel or conference centre
  • In terms of the brand the event was aligned to, it was stressed that this was not just an alignment with the stadium but also: Rugby, the RFU, England Rugby Team
  • This alignment was further extended into the emotional connotations of the Twickenham / Rugby brand e.g. statements around leadership and teamwork
  • It was suggested that Twickenham take this alignment even further, e.g. special deals on Rugby aligned speakers, welcome receptions from key people in the RFU staff etc.

Destination Twickenham

  • This discussion came off the back of the importance of giving delegates a complete experience while at a venue, and understanding that delegates need social time, the chance to experience something new, and see new and interesting things in their work life
  • This is a key USP of Twickenham, essentially that it was as much a treat for delegates, as it was a working environment while other purpose built conference centres and hotels created a sense of dread amongst delegates
  • This is a massive opportunity for the World Rugby Museum as part of a conference social itinerary and a way to break up the delegate experience
  • The group was very excited about the prospect of brining celebrity speakers into the post event experience, and creating more wow factor and reward for delegates
  • The importance of partners and family members was also underlined here. The idea of options for partners and families to come with the delegate was a key way of ensuring they come, and stay. This was especially important for international conferences. Twickenham had a major advantage here

Other Discussion Points


  • The positives associated with branding the venue were discussed, and the value put behind multiple branding opportunities. It was agreed that this added to the perceived alignment between venue and event brands
  • This could and should include all electronic stadium branding pitch side and non-pitch side
  • Other venues were cited as frustrating clients because they did not allow access to pitch side; one of the core reasons for coming to a stadium venue

Positives for Twickenham

  • Staff at The Live Group who had already visited the venue, commended the venue for the amount of large breakout space that it has. It was a real unexpected bonus
  • The venue was cited as ideal for 'senior' delegates; it was discussed that Twickenham is a great choice because while the product isn't perceived as a luxury proposition (positioning or price), the brand is held in high regard


  • Location was discussed; this is an issue depending on the type of event. Some events lose delegate 'time' the moment they have to travel outside of zone one. It was also mentioned that delegates whose expenses are covered by the business also presented a problem when travel is charged back; for 400+ delegates this gets very expensive
  • It was however commented that this is reducing as the brand alignment argument grows and the partnership with a high-profile venue attracts a new wave of visitors that may not travel to a more local, but less desirable venue


  • It was discussed that there is an increase in brands moving away from marketing spend on trade shows and exhibitions, and instead looking to create their own events for their own audiences
  • Venuefinding agencies were given their due as clients can sign onto a central set of terms and conditions and not have to negotiate the same agreements with multiple venues. This is important for major corporates as they have complex legal processes
  • There was a very strong point from everyone on the frustration around hidden costs not listed on budgets. This really annoyed both the corporate and agency staff
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