Open Thread: your views on Liverpool

Conference Committee is very keen to hear from delegates what they thought about Liverpool as a conference venue. How was the arena? Were your hotels OK? How would you feel about holding an autumn conference there?

My view is that it’s pretty good already and will all be a lot better when the hotels onsite are completed, and the long walk is reduced. I’d definitely be happy to go back to Liverpool for an autumn conference.

The podcast has views from some conference goers – some of them slightly biassed in favour of Liverpool.

But the thread is open to you… what do you think?

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27 Comments

  • I did not attend conference, but I like the idea of conferences in big cities. I am a lobbyist and so attended Labour conference in Manchester recently, and that was a real success as a venue. It also ensures that there are a lot more better quality hotels to stay in and a wider range of restaurants.

  • I like ‘the student’ from Essex.

  • Hmm, Liverpool. I think the city regeneration will be great when it’s finished. I have two main problems with this venue as it is at the moment – 1) The hotels were extremely expensive and far away from the conference center. Admittedly I only booked in early Feb, but the closest I could get was Lime Street which meant taxi fares or walking half an hour in the gales on Sat. When I booked at a similar stage for last spring conf I got a much cheaper hotel in harrogate 10 mins from the CC. 2) No mobile reception in the conference center!! Hooking up with friends was difficult.

    That said, maybe things will improve as I understand a number of hotels are planned closer to the ACC in Liverpool which will bring the commute and hopefully the cost down. As for mobile reception, at some point the ACC will have to sort this out as any business conference organizers will not be impressed.

  • Susan Gaszczak 10th Mar '08 - 12:42pm

    I think the big problem with Liverpool was the costs of hotels. My parents decided not to come as it was cheaper for them to have a weekend in Venice than to come to conference!

    The other problem was actually hooking up with people. The two venues were so far apart and the walk gave people blisters.That meant you missed some of the people you were looking forward to seeing.

    As for Bex’s comment – the Three signal in ACC was fine. I even managed a video call!

    Having said all that – the staff at both venues were fantastic, the taxi drivers were the most friendly I have come across in years. So thumbs up to the warm welcome!

  • I agree with the cmments about distance from hotels – for me the main issue was the size of the venue – we seemed to get a little lost in it. Once there’s a bit more hotel space I think it’ll be great for an autumn conference but it’s a bit big for spring!

  • Rob Blackie 10th Mar '08 - 2:58pm

    I thought Liverpool was overall a fantastic venue.

    The distance between the main hotel and the conference centre was a little annoying, but no worse.

    The cost of the main conference hotel was also fairly high – possibly more expensive than our southern venues – which is a litle surprising.

    Otherwise though fantastic – friendly, efficient, a hotel bar that worked, a great conference centre… and I really liked Liverpool.

  • Chris Rennard 10th Mar '08 - 3:13pm

    Of course everyone knows that I am biased about my home city ! – But a couple of points to note:

    The Convention Centre is the bit of the set up not finished yet. This will be the main Conference Hall in future – not the much bigger Arena that was partitioned off for our purposes this weekend. This hall seats 1500 – 2500 and will be better in terms of look/acoustics etc.

    Over 1000 more hotel bedrooms will be available in the immediate vicinity later this year. The Liverpool home game added to the pressure on rooms this weekend.

    The Conference was a massive boost for the Liverpool Liberal Democrats who got a lot of much needed good media from it. Thanks to all those who helped deliver leaflets.

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2008/03/08/lib-dems-we-ll-bring-party-rallies-to-liverpool-100252-20580002/

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2008/03/03/echo-arena-in-the-political-spotlight-as-lib-dems-head-to-city-100252-20548818/

    http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2008/03/10/clegg-makes-first-major-speech-as-leader-as-storey-warns-party-faces-local-election-test-64375-20594797/

  • Agree with other comments although I found the mobile reception fine with vodafone.

    Only negative thing to add was that the training / fringe rooms in the conference centre weren’t even remotely soundproof (a real problem when people were clapping and laughing in the auditorium – thanks Vince!) and got seriously hot with the lights. If that can be sorted out very happy to go back.

    Good also to have a hotel bar that’s a really decent size – even if the prices were a bit southern.

  • Richard Clein 10th Mar '08 - 5:45pm

    There is no doubt the Conference was a huge success with record numbers attending. There was also a definite feelgood factor being in a city run by us and people being able to see first hand what a Liberal Democrat Council has delivered. Many people have fed back to me how friendly the people were particularly the taxi drivers and hotel/restaurant staff and that is great to hear. I very much hope the party returns to Liverpool soon for Autumn conference (2009??) as once the Convention Centre is complete and the development opposite it will be an even more impressive venue. Just think it could have been the site of Everton’s stadium if things had gone differently – which reminds me if Everton had been playing at home there would have been more hotel rooms as everyone knows most Liverpool fans are not from the city 🙂

  • Overall I thought Liverpool performed well as a venue. Only downside for me was the distance between venue and fringe hotel – too great a distance between them. Also not enough info on shuttle bus – times etc. Still prefer Bournemouth and Harrogate.

  • Andrew Wiseman 10th Mar '08 - 10:16pm

    Thanks for all these comments, keep them coming as they will be of real use to FCC at our ‘debrief’ on 3rd April and later in the year when we decide if we should go back to Liverpool in 2010.

    As Chris R said if we do go back we will not be in the Arena but the purpose built conference centre which will mean we will not rattle around so much.

    Mobile phone reception was a major issue, the venue are aware of it and are looking at what they can do. In some parts there is no reception at all – something to do with the steel structure!

    The cost of hotels is always an issue in city centres compared with seaside resorts. It was made worse this time by a number of hotels not being completed and Liverpool FC being at home.

    Andrew
    Vice-Chair FCC

  • Andrew Wiseman said ‘The cost of hotels is always an issue in city centres compared with seaside resorts. It was made worse this time by a number of hotels not being completed and Liverpool FC being at home.’

    I wasn’t at conference but I used to know the city quite well, having been at the University very many years ago. I always had doubts about a city without a lot of B&B facilities being suitable for a conference venue – that is what makes more touristy places such as seaside resorts or Harrogate better.

    I was also doubtful about holding a conference in Liverpool while the city is European Capital of Culture – which is presumably causing further pressure on hotel accomodation.

    And if Liverpool had not been at home Everton would have been.

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