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What happened at the Head for Points Winter Party? (And how much money did you raise?)

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Thank you to everyone who came to our Winter Party on Monday evening at the Marriott Grosvenor Square.

We had around 500 people there, who had managed to avoid the current flu bug and ‘dry January’!

Head for Points party

The Westminster Ballroom at the Marriott is by far the largest venue we have ever used, and it meant that the event was always bustling but never felt too crowded. Here is the cavernous room before anyone arrived:

Head for Points Winter Party   …and here it is, during the raffle:

Head for Points Winter Party raffle

We want to thank Marriott Bonvoy for sponsoring the event which covered the cost of everyone’s first drink.  Marriott Bonvoy also provided a selection of desserts:

Head for Points Winter Party desserts

…… although they were all gone by the time I got to them, which means some of you must have had seconds!  It is not an exaggeration to say that without Bonvoy’s help – financially and logistically – an event of this scale would be extremely difficult to manage, so we are grateful for their backing.

Head for Points Winter Party Rob

The feedback we have had so far has been very positive, and I think we managed to fix some of the issues from the summer party, including the queue to get drinks!  This time round we had three bars which seemed to be the right number.  Whilst we didn’t mention it publicly, we subsidised the cost of beer and house wine which meant you were almost certainly at the cheapest bar in Mayfair!

If anything, the biggest queue was to purchase additional raffle tickets with all proceeds going to our charity partner, Orbis.

Your generosity exceeded our expectations. 

We thought if we would do well if we sold £1,000 of extra tickets but it was actually over £4,000.  Including the donation added to ticket sales and the donation box on the ticket desk, we raised a grand total of £4,640 which was an amazing result.  Emma and Fiona from Orbis are thrilled to bits, as will be the many adults and children in developing countries whose vision will be restored with your help.

Head for Points Winter Party raffle

Emma helped me draw the raffle. What I had not realised at the time, but quickly became apparent, was that the six different colours of raffle tickets were incredibly hard to differentiate under the orangeish mood-lighting in the room!  It was virtually impossible to distinguish the coral tickets from the pink ones, or the blue ones from the teal ones!

We managed to get through the extensive prize list in record time – around 15 minutes at my count – and I felt a bit like an auctioneer at times!  Perhaps next year I will bring a gavel ……

Ritz Carlton Budapest

Our grand prize, generously donated by Marriott Bonvoy, was a 2 night stay in the five-star Ritz Carlton Budapest, including breakfast and access to the spa:

Next up was two nights bed and breakfast at the five-star Domes Miramare Corfu, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection:

We also had three nights bed and breakfast at the Prague Marriott.

Moxy Heathrow

Marriott Bonvoy also donated a voucher for a two night stay at any Moxy hotel in the Belvar collection.

Here is the full list of prizes:

2 sets of 20,000 Avios, donated by Avios Group 

A pair of Business Premier tickets, donated by Club Eurostar 

£100 John Lewis gift vouchers and a model aircraft, donated by ANA 

A limited-edition hardback coffee table version of ‘British Airways: 100 Years of Aviation Posters’, donated by British Airways 

10,000 Avios, donated by Avios partner Alan Boswell Insurance Brokers 

20,000 IHG Rewards Club points, donated by IHG Rewards Club 

5,000 Heathrow Rewards points (x 4 sets!), donated by Heathrow Rewards 

A Galaxy Tab A 10.1” tablet, donated by ShanCo IT Services 

2 passes for any Heathrow Plaza Premium lounge (x 2 sets), donated by Plaza Premium 

A weekend car rental, donated by Avis Budget 

4 passes for any Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (must be flying Virgin Atlantic), donated by Virgin Atlantic 

2 ‘limited edition’ Flybe model aircraft AND 2 x round trip tickets to any Flybe destination, donated by Flybe  

A Signature ELITE Class Experience at Luton Airport (be driven to your plane!), donated by Signature (click for review) 

£100 of British Airways credit and three elite memberships, donated by Reward Flight Finder 

Three annual premium memberships to SeatSpy, donated by SeatSpy 

A return Mercedes airport transport to Heathrow or Gatwick from anywhere inside the M25, donated by REAL Transfers

A lifetime subscription to App in the Air, donated by App in the Air

£150 voucher from Aircraft Model Store 

A Dash Cam, donated by Enterprise Car Rental 

A Malaysia Airlines goody bag, donated by Malaysia Airlines 

A Vietnam Airlines model plane, donated by Vietnam Airlines 

London City Airport: 30 Years Serving The Capital‘ book, donated by Business Travel News

An Aspinall of London passport cover, donated by Curve 

… and a big thank you to all the companies that generously donated and helped to raise so much for Orbis.

If you were there on Monday night you should have got a follow up email yesterday with a link to a very short survey. We would appreciate if you could complete it as it helps us plan future events.

Thank you again to everyone who came and made this event such a success, and especially to Marriott Bonvoy (Andrew, Elina, Nidhi, Emily, Lauren, Clara, Kate) and the Grosvenor Square team.

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Comments

  1. it was a lovely evening Rob and all, thank you for organising 😁👍🏽

  2. Rob – Looks like a great party. I love the idea of HFP supporting a nominated charity, last year I donated the cost of a ticket to Cat’s Just For Giving Page.

    • I hope you make it to one of the parties soon Mike! It was a fantastic night Rob, Rhys and Sinead, thanks!
      BTW, my Just Giving page closed a couple of weeks ago, I raised a grand total of £1640 for Macmillan, a substantial amount of which came from HfP.
      Thanks so, so much for everyone who contributed! All those miles uphill felt so much more virtuous than they normally would have done because of your contributions!

  3. Neil Donoghue says:

    Whilst we didn’t mention it publicly, we subsidised the cost of beer and house wine which meant you were almost certainly at the cheapest bar in Mayfair!…………..This makes much more sense now! I was still trying to figure out how three bottles of Peroni only cost £13

  4. Oh! Matron! says:

    I was well chuffed when my number was called in the raffle… Had a great night, and was good to meet some new friends 🙂 And some old ones too!

    • Was nice to meet you OM! And good to put some other faces to BTL names. Didn’t meet Genghis though 🙁

      Thanks for organising Rhys, Rob et al. We appreciated the bar subsidy as we did think it was decent value for Mayfair. The wine was much more drinkable than in St Pancras too!

    • Nice to meet you too, and congrats on the prize…

      • Lady London says:

        Was great to meet you.

      • I second that! Congrats on the prize, and I’m looking forward to hearing all the recommendations!
        As usual, I’m late to the (after)party on the comments (today I’m blaming Pythagoras and his theorem).

  5. LondonFoodie says:

    Was a fun evening thanks for organising!
    Was also fun meeting so many cool people with the same nerdish obsession! I felt like a kid going to ComicCon for the first time and meeting a whole tribe of people who like him are obsessed with some arcane character in a comic series.

  6. memesweeper says:

    You weren’t the only person to struggle with the raffle ticket colours. I rushed up to collect a prize I hadn’t won! Many fewer tickets at a much higher price next time perhaps?

    • My partner did exactly the same thing, embarrassing! 😂

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      As an occasional organiser of charity raffles I can tell you that they sell better at £X per strip rather than £X per ticket. This is obviously totally irrational as your chance of winning is the same either way, but is a universally observed behaviour showing a nice practical demonstration of one of our less-than-accurate mental shortcuts (heuristics) that we all have as humans. So given it’s for chaaaarity so maximising sales is very much the goal, I’d say definitely keep lots of raffle tickets … just choose your colours carefully!!!

  7. Terry S says:

    It would have been the first HFP party I could have made……alas man flu!!

  8. I wouldn’t worry about man flu, you wouldn’t have wanted to be standing near the exit immediately after the raffle , as you would have been killed in the stampede. It was a good evening though.

    Embrace the Geekiness!

    • “you wouldn’t have wanted to be standing near the exit immediately after the raffle , as you would have been killed in the stampede.”

      To the bar or out

      • Genghis says:

        Out. Mass exodus after the draw.

        • It seems to happen every time.
          Still, it’s nice when it’s just the hardcore few left, most of them usually seem to be regular commenters.

          • Need to do the raffle in rounds as many other events do. Let’s say a third of prizes at 7, another third at 7.30 and the last one at 8pm

  9. Great evening, despite not winning anything in the raffle (and having quite a few strips) it seemed like everyone around us won, some people twice! The guys on our table looked very chuffed to win the two nights in corfu! Well done if it was you.

    If anyone at Marriot wants advice on how to run a bar, I’m available for the price of dinner for two and a bottle of LPR.

    Working in the Night Club industry for 17 years I dread to think how much money they lost over the bar on that one event. Every time I went to the bar (5 in total I think) they charged me the wrong price. Totally wrong set up on the bars.

    • Think I saved about £40 Which I spent on additional raffle tickets, so at least the Orbis benefited from Marriots cock ups!

    • it was a really good evening! I maybe particularly enjoyed because I was the one winning twice! While my head was thinking to not say anything, my mouth was already shouting “that’s me again!” too excited!!!
      Thanks to Rob, Rhys and Sinead to organise the party and to all sponsor for the amazing prizes!

    • It was my boyfriend who won the Corfu hotel nights. I think he was looking particularly chuffed as I’d turned up early and bought 10 raffle tickets, then sold him 5 which contained the winning Corfu ticket! Not that he has the option to take anyone but me with him 🙂

      I also managed to score the Malaysian Airlines goody bag, so overall it was a very successful night!

      • I stayed at that hotel in October, really enjoyed the stay and it’s a bargain if you use points, I think at one point it was only 30,000 points per night.

  10. Jill (Kinkell) says:

    Sounds like a great time was had by all. I’m quite envious! Never quick enough to get a ticket…..on the one hand disappointed! on the other relieved as it’s a flight , train and hotel expense and a couple of days away from north of Inverness! Maybe one day……. ( Rob, Rhys. How about a T-365 advance guaranteed ticket ,then I can plan accordingly?!)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think there is always a good chance of getting a ticket just before or on the day as people drop out / realise they can’t make it.

      • We are always willing to be flexible with people who want to prebook travel from afar.

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          That would be great.
          At least I’m not as far as Inverness, it’s still a 6 hour train ride from Sunny Dundee, so it’s not just a quick drink after work for me 🙂

  11. TGLoyalty says:

    Sounds like a good time was had by all.

    If there’s any chance of a bit more notice and a Thursday/Friday/Saturday night in summer I’ll be there 🙂

    • Might try something different for Summer ….. let’s see.

      • Great party! Rob, please keep the release of the second batch of tickets at 9pm as I suspect many are busy during the day. It is much easier to be by the computer or phone at that hour.

      • Better to do a similar event in summer, just another one. Last summer one was a bit of a disappointment

        • Actually, all the folks around us were really enjoying themselves at the summer party. Great fun, nice to be outside intermittently during the warm summer evening. Probably not big enough, but you can’t have it all.

          • May or may not do Summer this year. We are tempted to try something different, although what that is remains to be seen. We have ideas. That said, if Marriott wanted to do Summer so we didn’t have to find a new sponsor, it may happen.

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