April 5, 2019

The story of how etc.venues began.

With our upcoming launch in New York, we tell the story of curly sandwiches, poorly lit rooms and a moose head.

Picture the scene: It’s mid-day during a hot summer and you’re sitting in a small, poorly lit hotel meeting room in Central London. You’re waiting for 50 of your clients to arrive for a day’s training. It’s muggy and there’s no air-con. There’s just one window and it only seems to open an inch or so, allowing a barely perceptible breeze into the stuffy interior.

Curly sandwiches and moose heads

A bulky TV and video player along with a handful of wires, leads and connectors is wheeled in by a surly porter and left for you to figure out. A tray of pre-packed sandwiches – which have already begun to curl at the edges – sits unappetisingly on a table in the corner of the room. An old, dust-covered stuffed moose head adorns the oak panelled walls. It seems to be staring across the room out of the small window. Even he looks like he doesn’t want to be there.

One by one people arrive. The training day is supposed to be a perk; an opportunity to learn, to develop their skills and advance their careers. They look as pleased to be there as the moose.

It was time to stop compromising

The year was 1992. It was the moment our founder, an experienced trainer, decided that enough was enough. Hotels were not set up to cater for business customers, they were too busy looking after their leisure guests to genuinely care. It was the catalyst for a new type of venue; purpose-built and created specifically for business only. For that reason, the company would be called ‘etc’ – an acronym for events, training and conferences.

Transforming events, training and conferences

From its original inception 27 years ago, through to today, etc.venues has transformed the events, training and conference experience.

Instead of gloomy settings, rooms are full of natural light to energise people. Instead of pre-packed lunches, energy-boosting nutritious food is freshly cooked by onsite chefs. Instead of old-fashioned decor, interiors are vibrant and decorated with contemporary art to stimulate ideas and conversation. Instead of clumsy and confusing tech, devices are intelligently integrated, simple to use and ready to go. Every single aspect is rigorously thought-through.

Building on our UK success story

Led by entrepreneur, Alastair Stewart, etc.venues has gone from strength to strength. Under his careful stewardship, etc.venues has become the UK’s premium choice for event, training and conference planners. Last year, we hosted 850,000 guests – including Royalty and the Prime Minister. Going forward, we’re set to build on our UK success story by launching 6 new meeting and conference venues in New York where we plan to make a ‘Brit’ of a difference. Stay tuned to find out more…

Read our next blog: Discover how etc.venues is about to make a ‘Brit’ of a difference in New York here

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