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25 April 2014

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Hospitality Focus London 2012 : Let The Games Begin

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Olympic Stadium CGI large - Picture2_larger.jpgIt seems appropriate, given the depth of the endeavours the world will witness during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, that the first on-site hospitality programme in the event’s history is such a serious undertaking. The complete spectrum of hospitality, spread across six venues, stretches from Eton Dorney in the west to the Olympic Park in the east. A total of 80,000 guests will be entertained by Prestige Ticketing, the games’ official hospitality provider, in a style which, in true Olympic spirit, will push the boundaries of hospitality as we know it.
While each of these venues has its own appeal – Greenwich Park has the views, Horse Guards Parade the show-stopping backdrop, Wimbledon the heritage – it’s the Prestige Ticketing mothership, a £7m pavilion in the Olympic Park, that’s got everyone talking.
With 3,000 covers across six restaurants, the Prestige Hospitality Pavilion is the largest and most impressive of the hospitality facilities, the three-storey glass atrium flanked by two giant wings and private access to the Olympic Stadium, just 70 metres away. Unlike those with general admission tickets, hospitality guests are able move freely in and out of the stadium.

The New Face of Hospitality
Visually, the Prestige Pavilion is going to pack a serious punch. Yes, it’s a semi-permanent structure, but only just – you don’t need seven million pounds, planning permission (applied for in August) or foundations (to be laid at the end of November) for a simple marquee. The build starts at the beginning of January. This, says Prestige, will be pioneering stuff.
Branding agency Jack Morton, which worked on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Games, is overseeing the overall ‘experience’ within the three-storey pavilion, which will start when guests enter through a soaring glass atrium. ‘The standard of the fit-out, the quality of the finish, the attention to design, the calibre of the service and what will end up on your table – all of these will be taken up a notch,’ says David Proctor, executive producer at Jack Morton. ‘A lot of that is about primary ingredients, whether that’s real oak veneer on a table or organic beef from Ireland.’
LOCOG won’t release seating plans until 2012, though guests are guaranteed top-category tickets, which, in the stadium, run along the 100m straight with great views of the finishing line. There will be no cheap seats in the pavilion either, says Proctor. ‘Everybody in the venue gets the same quality of experience.’

Gold standard
Prestige is determined that service – notoriously difficult to get right – will match the standard of the food and facilities in the Olympic Park. Firstly, each of the pavilion’s restaurants will cater for a different event, so staff are dedicated only to that group of guests. For top-category events, parties can book either 10 or 20 place on private tables. For other events, tables will be shared between smaller groups.
Training staff and a number of personnel are already on the books. ‘We’ve recruited a training manager from a five-star hotel and have nominated key personnel already so we have a year for training,’ says Prestige’s marketing director Tony Barnard.

Olympic Park packages start from £325 +VAT per person. See: opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, diving, swimming, water polo, basketball, cycling, handball, hockey, and paralympic events. For Prestige Ticketing, call 0844 728 2012, squaremeal.co.uk/2012-park

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This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events Autumn 2011.

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