Even before they begin, the 2012 Olympics have already created an unprecedented influx of people into London. For the Olympics themselves, an estimated half a million people will pour into the city. Many of them will arrive early, needing somewhere to stay, while others will turn the visit into a real holiday, taking advantage of the opportunity to see the sights and experience London.
Aside from the tourists and sports fans, a great many businesses will be arriving in London for the Olympics. The games offer unparalleled opportunities for business. The half a million people visiting London for the games will all need food, accommodation, entertainment and other resources. Beyond the games themselves, there's an opportunity to invest in the Thames Gateway, a new business and residential region that is being brought to the fore by the Olympics.
All this means that more and more businesses are booking into London's business venues. The Olympic crowds are making it harder and harder to find quality conference venues as the Games draw closer. Meeting destinations are becoming scarcer as advance bookings soak up the remaining free spaces in London's hotels and conference centres. Venues in London, especially quality venues, are filling rapidly so it's a good idea to book as soon as possible if you need conference facilities in or around London.
Instead of taking a scattergun approach and contacting individual venues in the hopes of finding an opening, a more structured approach is called for if you want to find a good conference venue at a reasonable price. One option is to look into a venue finding agency. These are companies who search available venues to find you the best deals on meeting places and conference facilities, as well as appropriate accommodation for conference-goers. A venue-finding agency can be a good option if you're struggling to find a suitable location and time is short. They do charge a fee for their services but they can save you a significant amount of time and effort -- as well as, potentially, money, since an agency can hunt around for the best prices. Bear in mind, however, that some agencies may only look at a certain range of businesses rather than investigating all the possible options.
You could also look into the possibility of locating your conference outside of London. Since London has high-speed rail links to several other towns and cities, it can sometimes be a good idea to use facilities in other areas. Conference venues and accommodation outside of London may also be less expensive than those located in the city itself. Parking, dining and entertainment for your attendees is also likely to cost less than equivalent amenities in London. Overall, this can represent a more cost-effective option.
Another approach is to contact the companies that operate hotels and conference venues. One example is Millennium & Copthorne hotels, a leading British-based hotel business that offers hotels and conference facilities around the world. Its Copthorne Hotels in London and other major UK cities; as well as the Copthorne Tara hotel in Kensington, another Copthorne Hotel is conveniently located near Gatwick Airport. Visiting the website of a hotel business will give you an idea of the facilities they offer and what is available during this Olympic year.