So just outside Oxford is Bicester Shopping Village, which I’m sure many have visited to give their credit cards a good work out. For those that haven’t been it’s a discount retail village that has branded stores selling heavily reduced items. The current list of stores seems endless with Gucci, Prada, Mulberry, Links of London, Jack Wills and Ralph Lauren just to keep you busy for a morning!
What you might not know is that the village can be hired for exclusive use…now I’m not suggesting it’s a substitute for a luxury travel incentive but it does offer a unique experience and space that can cater for 2000 guests and the shopping discounts will certainly appeal to most in your office.
Recently I was invited along to experience their VIP offering as they are open to using the space for corporate events, product launches and incentive style events. As a VIP guest, I have to say you get treated very well indeed and as an experience it is a slice of luxury/celeb status that we all deep down crave. Champagne and shopping surely ticks the boxes for many people!
The site can be hired exclusively for your group or for smaller groups there is a VIP lounge (located above the main Villandry Restaurant) which can cater for up to 50 guests in one sitting. This space also gets used for larger groups as a drop in area whenever guests need a well deserved rest! Food is brilliant and your menu can be as extravagant as you like for breakfast, lunch and even dinner all possible.
As far as the shopping experience goes, you have two options – hire the village exclusively or become a VIP guest for the day. As a VIP you can queue jump to get in the stores and you gain access to some exclusive offers that are not open to the public. Extra discounts can be arranged in advance with all stores ranging from an extra 10-30% off. Valet parking is a nice touch and will make sure your group are welcomed in style. Other benefits include hands free shopping offering a concierge service that will pick up your purchases and take them to your car for you!
So Bicester as an event space…I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Regarding exclusive hire of the whole village, well obviously for any group that loves shopping, it would be incredible. The main appeal though of this venue is that it’s different and unusual. Whether you fancy creating a carnival in the walkways or a glamorous gala dinner, the options are open. Bicester is unique and yes a little different to the norm but certainly has an events offering. Personally I could see it being used as a mini sales incentive before Christmas or as a special treat for some of the top achievers within the business and their partners.