The revamp of Fairmont St Andrews, one of the jewels in the crown of the AccorHotels group, gives it fresh impetus in the business events market, says Director of Sales and Marketing Jane McGee.

Jane McGee is just about to jet off on a well-deserved sunshine break after ‘bedding in’ a multimillion revamp for Fairmont St Andrews, which has made for a busy summer. She’s been spearheading a drive to increase MICE market sales for the east coast Fife destination, which is ideally suited to the meetings industry.

It is a very large hotel with multiple plenary and breakout spaces, and has wide halls and corridors which caters well for exhibitions. But it is the redesign that has genuinely brought a sense of luxury and business traveller edge to the venue, which from its cliff-top perch commands some of the best sea views to be found anywhere in Scotland.

“I’m delighted the refurbishment has happened and we are now up there with the big key five-star players in Scotland,” says McGee. “I really feel as though we have a product now that fits extremely well in the market. The feedback we have had from business users has been very positive: they feel it is much nicer and more intimate feel throughout the hotel, especially with the enhanced leisure facilities.”

McGee is keen to use the hotel’s redesign as a hook to bring in more incentive reward trips to the venue; a special package has been put together for £249 per delegate which includes a full Scottish breakfast, meeting room hire, two course buffet lunch, a three-course dinner with coffee, all day coffee (for the highly caffeinated individual or ‘healthy option’, where required), a dedicated event manager, and a treasure hunt around St Andrews assisted by an app.

It is the last entry on this list – in association with Maximillion Events, using GPS digital technology – which piques my interest. Fairmont St Andrews has recognised the increasing use of gamification in incentive and team-building activities which helps bolster the delegate experience and, of course, fun, whilst keeping the offer competitively priced.

McGee says: “It’s great for groups and small parties. People are very busy and time poor so if you can put some options together for them, it has that lightbulb effect. It’s looking to bring a bit of fun and exploration into the visitor experience.”

Also adding to the experience is Fairmont St Andrews’ focus on cuisine. When I speak to Jane, the hotel has just hosted an evening of Scottish gastronomy to celebrate the relaunch. The charity event was attended by GMs from across the luxury hotel market in Scotland and featured Gary Maclean, the Masterchef Professionals champion. “Our own pastry chef Gerard is also a keen forager and picks a lot of ingredients from the local woods,” says McGee, emphasising the hotel’s own focus on sustainable produce, which has seen it develop its own growing garden for herbs and vegetables, and sourcing 75% of its food from Scottish producers.

“We recognise that is what our consumers increasingly want from their stays,” she adds. “The food is part of the experience of Fairmont St Andrews.” She adds: “There is so much to shout about at the moment: I think with the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing and the V&A coming to Dundee, the timing for our redesign could not be better.”

For details call 01334 837000 email Visit Eventsbase | autumn 2017 | 15 WINNER