Why consider a wildcard venue?

Think of a wildcard venue as a playing card – it can have any value, suit, or colour. For meetings and events Bien Venue’s ethos is that a wildcard venue can fuel imagination and inspire attendees.

So, this blog explores why we propose wildcard venue options in our client proposals, and how we identify a wildcard venue.

What is a wildcard?

A great wildcard option can be a unique or quirky space that you have never heard of, an amazing location that needs to be seen to appreciate its full potential, or a venue that we know, from experience, will excite, motivate and surprise your attendees.

On fully understanding our client’s objectives and requirements, we can pitch an option that may have been off the radar.

Why a wildcard venue?

At Bien Venue we enjoy playing a venue wildcard, especially when they can add the wow factor to a client’s proposal. We include wildcard options in proposals to pro-actively offer an alternative solution, while still meeting your brief and objectives.

It gives clients something out of the box to consider for their meetings or events. These venues often have the wow factor that will keep attendees talking about your event for a long time to come.

Our dedicated venue consultants often include their personal wildcard preference when working on client briefs, as we know one of the most effective ways of building an impactful event is a venue that fuels imagination and inspires attendees.

Our team is measured on wildcard options and proactively searches for hidden gems and unique spaces to share them with our clients. We also regularly visit new and existing venues and have educational sessions with venue groups and unique venues. This approach and first-hand experience enable us to propose alternative spaces confidently – maybe one the venues below:

Examples of wildcard solutions


One of our favourite northern wildcards is MAGNA, a former Sheffield steelwork factory. Partly transformed into a science museum, it has one of the most impressive canvases for an event in the north. And it offers a huge array of indoor teambuilding opportunities from ziplines to bungee jumps.

Exterior view of Magna Science Adventure Centre
Magna Science Adventure Centre

The Hurlingham Club

The Hurlingham Club on the banks of the Thames in Fulham, London, is recognised as one of Britain’s greatest private members’ clubs in the World. Its meeting space is just as impressive, and it’s a favourite wildcard option for London enquiries. From the tied lecture theatre to function space with a blend of quintessentially English architecture, the Hurlingham Club offers a unique and memorable experience.

The Terrace Room @ The Hurlingham Club

Our favourites from previous enquiries include The MTC, Coventry; the National Space Centre, Leicester; Kubicki Arcades, Warsaw (Poland); Hispaniola, London; Bristol Aquarium, Bristol; Solent Forts, Portsmouth; The Tower of London, London and The Space Needle, Seattle (U.S.A).
Whether it is a team incentive to inspire, a gala dinner to dazzle or an event that needs to be extraordinary – our team has got it covered.

Residential Conference

We put our wildcard hats on for a client brief for a 3-day residential conference. While the venue needed to have an option for multiple breakout rooms, a welcome networking event, and an awards dinner, the client was flexible on the UK location.

Based on the original request for a large midlands or northern UK city with good transport links, we thought of locations such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, York, Glasgow and Edinburgh. On speaking to the client for a deeper understanding of their event goals, expectations, and key criteria, we proposed Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Chester, and a wildcard – Southport.

Why Southport as a wildcard?

Firstly, yes, we did say Southport! A wildcard option can also be a location, and the stunning Waterfront Southport was perfect for the client’s scenario. The location and venue ticked all the requirements for the full event brief, yet clients often only consider neighbouring Liverpool and Manchester.

Did you know Waterfront Southport is one of the largest integrated conference centres in the UK? It can comfortably hold large conferences and exhibitions in one space with private entrances and good delivery access. It’s easily accessible from Liverpool, Manchester, and London and, it is a fab space for North West enquiries. 

The large venue complex includes a theatre, ballroom, casino, convention centre, and a hotel with meeting rooms. It also has a prime location overlooking a boating lake, all within a short walk of Southport’s attractions. So delegates can enjoy the fun of a seaside resort in their downtime, alongside the conference facilities.

Exterior image of Bliss Hotel Southport
Bliss Hotel Southport, Trademark Collection by Wyndham

Team Away Day

We love client event briefs for an overnight team-building away day. And this one was for a team of Executive Assistants, requiring a venue around 90 minutes from London. The venue needed space for fun team-building activities, accommodation, and a gala dinner.

Away days with team-building is a specialist area of ours. And one and a half hours from London opens many fantastic locations – you are spoiled for choice with superb four and five-star venues! Taking all other points of the brief on board, we proposed Windsor, Brighton, Weybridge, and a wildcard – Port Lympne Hotel & Nature Reserve.

Why Port Lympne Hotel as a wildcard venue?

Many people associate a team-building away day with a team of executive assistants as a countryside hotel stay. Think dinner in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, etc!

Port Lympne ticked all the boxes for the style of venue our client wanted and offered some exciting team-building and dining options. Slightly over the 90-minute mark, we still included it in our proposal as the potential itinerary was unique.

The Team building activity combined the team’s working skills development with giving something back – social value. The challenge was to create enclosure furniture or enrichment items for the animals at Howlett’s and Port Lympne.

After the activities came seeing the animals interact with the creations in their enclosures and ‘meet the animal’ experiences. Dinner would follow in a private dining room decorated with hand-painted animal murals or the stunning Moroccan Courtyard. The accommodation choices within the reserve included hotel bedrooms, forest cabins, and the gorgeous Tiger Lodge or Treehouses.

Exterior view of the back of Port Lympne Hotel
Port Lympne Hotel
For more information on how the featured venues can accommodate your next event, email info@bvevents.co.uk.
And you can find out more here, about our venue finding and event management expertise.