Conservative Party Conference 2016

  • Date: Sunday 2nd October to Wednesday 5th October 2016
  • Delegates: 12,000+
  • Space used: All 10 halls and 10 executive rooms of the ICC plus Symphony Hall and marquees on Centenary Square, plus rooms at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (accessed by a direct secure bridge-link to the ICC) and neighbouring city venues, to stage conference sessions, an exhibition, media centre, 300 fringe sessions, catering outlets, VIP Lounges and banquets.

About the client

The UK’s leading political party in 2016, the Conservative Party had recently gained a new leader in Theresa May and were facing a challenging political climate due to Brexit.

The objective

To deliver an annual conference for the Conservative Party to engage with all members and to announce policies through key speeches.

Why the ICC?

The Conservative Party currently visits Birmingham on a biennial basis thanks to years of hard work in developing a fantastic relationship with the ICC. David Comerford, Head of Conferences, explains why the city, and especially the ICC, is important to their event: “The venue itself is a big draw - we love the ICC. It has enough halls and additional space to accommodate everything we need. There’s so much versatility in this venue. The team is fantastic to work with as well – there’s just nothing that they can’t do; they are so flexible and they have worked with us to accommodate everything we need. They can always be reached and despite everything they have going on and all the other events throughout the year, they still make us feel special and answer all our requests - no matter how big or small. They are completely focused on our event and are just a great team to work with.”

"The ICC has been so supportive and we have been led by their immense experience on putting on great events within their venue. We are looking forward to more successful conferences"
David Comerford, Head of Conferences

Bigger and Better

The 2016 conference was significant for the Conservative Party Conference as they recently gained a new leader and were facing a challenging political climate due to Brexit. This meant there was increased interest in the event meaning more events, international visitors and media attendance. Ian Hateley, Senior Events Manager at the ICC explains the logistics, “It is a huge operation, but this is the fifth time we have hosted the conference so most people working on it know what to expect. To manage all the events, we split the ICC into zones, each with different colour and zone manager to take responsibility for that area during the conference. This is where our event team is just excellent. I can’t remember every single detail but know the rest of the team have their zone under control. There are so many turn arounds each day with rarely more than half an hour to go from one event to another and the team are outstanding in getting all this done.”

David Comerford adds: “The team were phenomenal in delivering the fringe events alongside the conference. They cater for the little breakfast meetings for 10 people right up to fringe events for 600, and the space can be configured to just what we need. There’s just nothing that they can’t do; they are so flexible. We started planning around a year ago and they have worked with us to accommodate everything we need.”

The success

“This was the first Conservative Party Conference since I stepped up to be the Head of  Conferences in 2015 and the structure within our team has changed” explained David. “This time around, I worked directly with the ICC instead of an agency, so for everything to have gone so well is just amazing. The ICC has been so supportive and we have been led by their immense experience on putting on great events within their venue. We are looking forward to more successful conferences.”

Ian adds: “Planning for an event of this scale takes over 12 months and during this time everything is on paper and theoretical. When it goes into build and it physically starts to take shape you get a nice sense of accomplishment. There’s a real buzz on site and everyone is so positive and upbeat. Everyone involved is working towards the same goal – to make the event the best it can be which makes me very proud of our team. Without the commitment, dedication and willingness to help each other out on site we simply would not be able to deliver this event. I feel truly proud to work for the ICC and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of delivering a successful event is a very special one.”

"The ICC has been so supportive and we have been led by their immense experience on putting on great events within their venue. We are looking forward to more successful conferences"