Butlin’s Bognor Regis – West Sussex

Location

Two hours by car from London via A3 – bags of parking. Regular rail and coach service from London Victoria direct to Bognor Regis. 50 minutes from Gatwick/Southampton Airport, onward taxi or pick up can be arranged

What's on offer

The unexpected! A resort that can cater for 5 – 2,500 delegates/guests. A multitude of large event spaces ideal for conferences, product launches, expos and award ceremonies. In-house AV, staging/rigging and production teams. Team Building options a plenty – from zip wire to carousel. Three high quality hotels on site.

Why Book?

Phenomenal, flexible service levels. The answer is yes, now what is the question? Delegates can leave the outside world completely behind and mix work with fun and great food. Excellent event planning support comes as standard and if the sun doesn’t shine, head indoors for a multitude of wet weather options.

STARTER FOR 10:

Not what you think…

Billy Butlin would be proud! Over 80 years since he opened his first Holiday Camp in Skegness, he could never have imagined that one day Bognor Regis would be a flagship venue hosting an extensive range of conference and events. He’d be even more pleased to note that Brand Butlins is still true to his values of offering high customer service ensuring every conference delegate and guests leaves having had a great time.

If already you’re shaking your head or groaning at the very thought of hosting your next event at Butlins then think again! Step through the famous gates and experience a well-oiled event planning operation. Marvel at the millions that have been spent creating three high class hotels and be prepared to think outside of the proverbial box.

Twenty first century Butlins welcomes a whole range of different client’s year-round. Leading FTSE 100 corporates stage major annual conferences for their staff. Charities hold gala dinners for their supporters. And many special interest groups make the trip down to the south coast for England for their annual event.

But why? The answer can be summed up in a few words. Facilities, Flexibility, Food, Value and Service. But service deserves a special mention because rarely will you find all team members so on their game, so customer focussed and living and breathing the belief that “our true intent is all for your delight.” Exceptional!

WHY SO SPECIAL?

SERVICE SERVICE SERVICE!

Mentioned before but has to be mentioned again. Everybody buys into the notion that the customer is king, and service is key. The security guard on arrival will engage with your delegates at the entrance gate and direct them to the car park. Butlins Butlers (Ocean Hotel) will make you feel special. The staff on the reception desks smile and are genuinely interested in you as a person and housekeepers at each hotel say hello and show a real pride in their work. And as for the iconic Redcoats, well they really need no introduction always on-hand to meet, greet and support delegates. Their enthusiasm, passion and sheer energy is something to behold. Do check out meetingsclub’s 12 Minute Interview and Quick Fire 20 with Redcoat Eleanor Rodgers. In summary it’s no coincidence that Butlins is in The Times Top 10 Best Companies to work for.

GREAT FOOD!

Back to the unexpected for just a minute. Sure, you can have traditional favs’ such as seaside fish and chips or have a retro burger in one of the diners. But healthy options are all the rage with dishes such as butternut squash and pear tart to die for. There’s a fantastic array of dining locations to consider from the restaurant in the Ocean Hotel through to the newly opened Pub and Kitchen. Or if street food – or as Butlins call it “Kerb Food” – is more your thing, then the onsite Team will happily talk you through the options, always offering healthy and balanced menus from breakout snacks to full blown Gala Dinners.

ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE

Many venues claim to be accessible but play lip service. Not here. Butlins Bognor Regis is a truly inclusive resort. Mobility scooters are readily available on request and the Butlins Team are trained in how to help and work with guests who have disabilities. There is a tremendous sense of family and caring everywhere you turn which is truly memorable and noteworthy. Respect!

FLEXIBLE

Nothing is too much trouble when it comes to planning and organising an event. “The answer is yes, now what’s the question” pretty much sums up the reaction you will get to a request, idea or suggestion from Team Butlins. Want to change where you want to eat from restaurant to outside BBQ? No problem. Need to turn around quickly from conference plenary to awards dinner? It can be done. Want to accommodate 50 people in one hotel, another 100 in apartments and 75 in the chalets? Of course! You get the picture.

UNDER ONE ROOF

It’s all there. Event space, bedrooms, restaurant, entertainment, team building all pretty much under one roof.

FUN UNIQUE VENUE

You leave with a smile on your face and whilst unique is a much-used word which many claim, Butlins Bognor Regis is and a standout venue which will remain long in the memory.

GOOD TO KNOW!

How big is big when it comes to event size? Some will say a one-day meeting for 50 is large, others a gala dinner for 1000. And the good news is that Butlin’s Bognor Regis can genuinely cater for all sizes thanks to its extensive range of meeting and event space.

Sitting in the heart of the resort is a calm, corporate conference centre that immediately feels different from the outside leisure area. Large Conference suites for 300 can be divided for smaller events, break out rooms are just next door to each other and there is plenty of space for expo stands or catering points.

Looking for even larger space and you won’t have to look too far. Gala awards dinners for 1000+ can easily be hosted in the iconic Skyline Pavilion, which when dressed looks quite simply stunning. If large plenary rooms are needed for more formal presentations, then the Centre Stage fits the bill with flexible space which can double for awards ceremonies or large expos. In-house production equipment and staging is as you would expect included so budgets stretch that much further. And there are a further ten different rooms of varying different styles with the capacity to hold between 100-200 delegates.

Mixing business with pleasure is another real strength of Butlin’s Bognor Regis with literally hundreds of different fun team-building activities, either as part of a conference package or a standalone tailormade programme. If sliding down zip wires is your thing, scaling climbing walls or shooting round go-cart tracks, “the child inside” will re-appear. But it’s not all adrenalin fuelled with team GPS treasure hunts and coastal adventures ever popular. Big tick for are all the indoor wet weather options. Of particular note is the futuristic “games room” great for digital racing game competitions! And of course, all the fun of the fair…

But what about the accommodation, surely a negative in terms of standards? Well no actually! The apartments which have all been updated and refreshed are particularly popular as they give delegates space to relax and unwind. And there’s the modern well-equipped hotels with hotel safes, ironing facilities, well stocked tea/coffee making tray and all-important comfortable beds offering a great night’s sleep. The Shoreline Hotel was the first to be opened and is now joined by the Wave and the Ocean, all centrally located and close to meeting and restaurant facilities. Don’t forget to watch out for the Butlin’s Butlers at the Ocean Hotel who offer a friendly meet and greet service.

Perhaps the most important good to know point from a venue/event bookers perspective is the fact that a large part of the planning process is taken off your shoulders. Cleverly Butlins have developed a system which really works. At the initial site visit, prior to contract signing you will be joined by your appointed Event Planner to ensure continuity of project understanding should you sign on the dotted line. Nova and Claire are two experienced in-house planers who know their stuff. Supported by a large team of event managers and administrators, they’ve seen it, done it and offer a wealth of advice and help which really makes a difference in the run-up to and during the event itself.

BEAR IN MIND…

So, what are the negatives? All perfection? Well you would be hard pressed to find a better value for money offering for small or large events. Just a few things to bear in mind:

– It’s a big resort site, so your delegates and guests will have some short 3/4-minute walks from bedrooms across to conference areas or dining restaurants.

– Careful management of delegates and guests around Butlin’s Bognor Regis should be considered. In fairness they’ve pretty much got it taped in terms of signage boards and then there are always the Redcoats who are great at directing people around.

– Come prepared just in-case it rains. Whilst this part of Sussex has the highest number of sunny days anywhere in the country, you’ll not be surprised to learn that it does rain now and again.

– Butlin’s Bognor Regis can be hired on an exclusive basis from November through to March (excluding Christmas and New Year). It is very much open for business all year round though for event and conference bookings but remember that you will be with other happy smiling holiday makers!

– Watch out for seagulls on your car! Don’t be surprised to return to your vehicle after you have enjoyed the free car parking to find a few deposits waiting for you. But hey, you are at the seaside after all.

ANYTHING ELSE?

LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Everywhere is very clean and tidy. The Operations Directions leads by example and gives £20 if a member of the Butlins Team sees him NOT pick up a piece of paper, crisp packet or Coke can. He leads, and everybody follows – seen in action numerous times. This small thing is typical of the attention to detail shown by all staff.

SPLASH: Watch for the opening in 2019 of the brand new, all singing and dancing, £36 million art-deco style pool that has been designed to bring out the best of the British Seaside inside! With exclusive seaside inspired rides, there’s likely to be no better way for delegates to let their hair down after a hard day in conference plenary sessions!

MAKE CRABS: It’s true, you can. Try your hand at creating a towel crab. Full instructions available. Prize for the best!

TAKE YOUR SUN CREAM: With the highest number of recorded sun hours in the UK – take your hat and sun cream.

DON’T FORGET: Whilst this review is all about Butlin’s Bognor Regis, don’t forget that similar facilities are available at Butlin’s Minehead (Somerset) and Butlin’s Skegness (Lincolnshire).

IT’S A WRAP – SERVICE IS THE SECRET

meetingsclub’s strapline is ‘service is the secret’ and the team at Butlin’s Bognor Regis are well on their way to discovering it! Over the years, Butlins have unearthed a wealth of entertainment talent from Des O’Connor and Stephen Mulhern to Harry from Steps. You could say a breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow. But the real stars of today are the Butlin’s Team (they don’t say staff) who make the whole place tick. A positive attitude and great customer service means if things ever did go wrong you know that somebody would take ownership and put it right.

To really appreciate what’s on offer you must go and SEE for yourself.

This review started with the words BILLY BUTLIN WOULD BE PROUD – perhaps you can now see why.