MCOCO Coventry Building Society ...Ryan’s point of view
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
I attended the annual MCOCO Exhibition on Monday 20th September as part of my introduction to joining the InLoco Events team with Kickstart. I am writing as a young person new to the hospitality industry and eager to learn as much as I can.
Parking at the Coventry Building Society Arena was well manned, organised and plentiful. Straight away I noticed the electronic sign with the MCOCO logo outside the venue, and Managing Director David Tremmil later commented how pleased he was with it. David introduced me to some people he works with at Eliot Park Innovation Centre as well as those running the event with him as part of MCOCO. He gave a speech to everyone and it was nice to hear him thank the staff of Coventry Building Society for hosting it.
The venue was clean and had plenty of space to move around. Lots of businesses had set up in the auditorium with their banners and handouts. It was a chance for me to see how companies network with one another, and not to mention a way to pick up as many freebies as I could! Yew Lodge (Best Western) had fun games like picking a lollipop to win a prize and a locked puzzle box designed to test your problem solving skills. I went around the stalls with Mark Blyth, Small Events and Accommodation Specialist, and David Evrall, Golf Director, who handled most of the talking and looked for business proposals where they could. I soaked in the information like a sponge, for lack of a better phrase. I gathered that this was to see whether I would feel comfortable in this kind of environment which I think I did overall, even if I didn't have any knowledge in the industry yet. I was made to feel at ease and wasn’t afraid to approach people and offer a handshake - it’s so good not to have to avoid everyone like we have all gotten used to doing! There was a real buzz in the air as the hospitality industry had been hit very hard during the pandemic and businesses are now starting to get back on their feet. It was clear to see that a lot of hard work had gone into making the exhibition a success.
One of the highlights for me was Visit Belfast, who secured us a ‘Fam Trip’ to see Belfast. This is the first time I have heard of this phrase, which is a shortened form of ‘Familiarisation Trip’. We were impressed by their proposal and on a personal note I would love to go there and tick it off my bucket list. So far I have only been to the neighbouring Republic of Ireland, where my grandparents were from. Other companies I remember taking a liking to were Hastings Hotels, LGH and OneAldwych. We were also lucky to receive a complimentary bed and breakfast stay from Countrywide where we look forward to visiting soon. There was a random prize draw and I was very fortunate to have won an afternoon tea for two at Kilworth House. I plan to take my nan there at some point.
There was a lot of standing and I understand that the lack of comfortable seating was to encourage people to walk around and talk to one another rather than just sit in small groups.
The staff seemed friendly and were on hand to make coffee at all times. Also available was a selection of popcorn. Food was served at 7.30pm, with a limited choice of fast food meals. I understand that COVID restrictions were probably kept in mind to prevent people from serving themselves and cross contaminating foods. It was nice of them to open a small area where you could acquire Prosecco or bottled drinks. There was even a head to head game involving tapping light up buttons which was useful as a little icebreaker.
Overall I would say that this event catered well to everybody and encouraged a really fun and engaging atmosphere!