By DAVID WOODING in Manchester
TWO former Tory girls are helping to kick start the party conference every day – with a mega caffeine boost.
Katie Perrior and Jo Tanner have set up a VIP marquee where MPs, journalists and other visitors can get down to business over free-flowing Starbucks coffee.
Guests of the ex-Central Office Press officers can enjoy a complimentary cuppa and a pastry while they charge their mobile phones, connect to their internet wi-fi or use one of their private meeting areas.
It’s like an airport departure lounge with ministers, broadcasters and public relations chiefs checking in throughout the day.
Jo and Katie’s company InHouse PR teamed up with sponsors Starbucks and the Total Politics magazine to launch the “London Lounge” inside the conference arena in Manchester.
It has proved such a big hit that plans are already afoot to extend it next year. Katie said: “We’ve been attending conferences for years and the biggest complaint is that there’s so few places to hold meetings.
“Most hotel meeting rooms have been booked up months in advance and there’s nowhere to have a private chat at short notice. We’ve tried to recreate the experience you have when you travel first class – comfort, free refreshments and plenty of room to get on with your work.
“We issued 750 passes to a wide range of people and are delighted with the take up.”