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Organising a Church Group Break

2 June 2014

Hothorpe Hall’s Tips for Organising a Church Group Break

Hothorpe Hall is a successful residential conference venue on the border of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire - which is run on Christian values – and has been hosting church groups for 30 years. We asked Conference and Events Sales Manager, Josephine Taylor (who herself has 20 years’ experience in the industry), for her thoughts on how to organise the perfect church residential. 

Jo’s first piece of advice is to plan well ahead. “Book your venue as early as you can,” Jo said. “Not only will you be amazed at how quickly the time goes from booking your event and it taking place, but lots of venues will be booked much further in advance than you would expect, especially at busy times like summer months. I would recommend booking at least a year in advance, ideally 2 years if you can. Our Midlands residential conference venue is in demand and we have bookings from church groups right through to 2019.” 

Another area to consider in order to make your event a success is the venue itself. “Think about what you need from a venue – how many bedrooms will you need, are there a variety of meeting rooms to suit your needs, where in the country do you want to be located, what’s your budget, what type of setting are you looking for?”  All these things (and many more!) need to be considered when looking for the perfect venue. Jo continued: “Another key consideration is whether you want to share your venue with others? This is one of the benefits that keep visitors coming back to Hothorpe again and again – we offer reasonably priced exclusive use for groups, so they can really make themselves at home here during their stay. They have at their disposal 55 en suite bedrooms (146 bed spaces, including 40 for children only), 10 meeting spaces (max. capacity of largest room is 160), private dining rooms or large dining capacity of up to 200, licensed bar and two coffee lounges,  as well as 12 acres of gardens with an outdoor games court. The facilities at Hothorpe are second to none, with plenty to keep all ages amused when the have the chance to enjoy some down time." 

Jo also advises church groups to think about what they want from their break: “Is it for fun, for spiritual purposes or simply an opportunity to bond? Do you have a particular goal or outcome in mind?” Setting out what you hope to achieve from your break at the outset will help you to plan appropriately. “Think about who needs to be involved? What kind of venue do you need? How big? If you are clear on the purpose of the break, with a little more thought, the rest will fall into place!”   

Promoting the break to your group is also something that needs a lot of planning and hard work. By following Jo’s advice and booking your venue early, you can start publicising your event as far in advance as possible – this gives potential attendees more opportunity to save and budget. “Perhaps you could consider fundraising events to contribute towards the costs of the break? As well as generating funds for the trip, this will also raise awareness and create a ‘buzz’ around your break. They say that pictures speak a thousand words, so use as much visual information as you can in the promotion of your break – do you have photographs or videos from previous trips and events? These will bring back happy memories for previous attendees, and will let new comers see how much they will enjoy it,” said Jo. 

On a practical note, Jo says it is worth considering cancellation insurance. “The financial impact for your church and its members should you need to cancel your trip for any reason, could be a great burden, and one which is easily avoided. Build this into your costing from the start and you will have the extra peace of mind that should things go wrong, at least the financial aspects will be covered.” 

We hope that Jo’s insight and experience is useful for anyone in the planning stages or who has a church group break already booked. Hothorpe Hall has hosted countless church groups since its current owners took over in 1984, so we are well placed to offer advice about your break. Many of the churches who stay at Hothorpe Hall are repeat visitors who return every year or two, which is testament to Hothorpe’s offering. 

If you’d like to discuss availability for your church group break at Hothorpe Hall, or would like some advice, we are always happy to talk, so please get in touch.



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