August, 2013

Blogspot: What changes have you seen in the events market over the last two years?

Guest Blogger: Holly Whitman

Some would say I’m merely a “pup” in the world of hospitality and events, having started my career in a hotel as a Conference & Events Co-ordinator in Bolton in 2008, moving into a Manchester city centre hotel in 2009 and then landing where I currently am as Sales Executive for Manchester Conference Centre & Hotel. But over the last 5 years since I started, much has changed in this industry… even for new eyes like mine.

Lead times for large bookings are getting shorter, gone seem the days of booking a large multiday, international conference 2 or 3 years in advance. Now large enquiries are coming in 8 – 12 months in advance… when you’re lucky! This makes it incredibly hard to plan your business on the books and forecasting as you don’t know when “that biggy” will appear. But we adapt, and we keep an eye on those rebookers!

The buyers appear far more savvy now too, probably largely connected to the recession where budgets were cut, jobs lost and belts tightened. Clients are now more confident than ever to question proposals to find the best deals, happy to pitch hotels and venues against each other to get the best price, and who can really blame them! The lines between competitor venues are now blurred, no more clear boundaries in pricing from your 5* to your 3*, purpose built venue or redeveloped site.

What does this mean for us… well for Manchester I think it means working together more than ever as a city and a destination for all conferences and events. We strive to make ourselves as desirable as possible and if we don’t win that main contract, we can push for fringe events, accommodation or overflow. I think we’re doing a pretty good job too! Hotels and venues are communicating more and obviously don’t want to give away their secrets or their biggest clients, but we know there is always someone at the end of a phone or email to ask for advice or pass on a referral.

Manchester has grown into a hub of international business, with the Convention Centre bringing in large events from across the globe. There really is something for everyone within this “walk-able” city! It’s not just hotels and purpose built venues like ourselves that host events, we’re fighting art galleries, restaurants, bars, casinos and even museums.

This is what makes Manchester great, and the venues and hotels within the city even greater.

So, what’s changed over the last 2 years… communication, competition, relationships, lead times and more than anything buyers who know what they want.

We welcome it with open arms.

About the Author

Holly Whitman is Sales Executive at Manchester Conference Centre and Hotel and is responsible for all New Business and Account Management at the venue.

Category : Blog
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Blogspot: What Makes An Exceptional Event?

Guest Blogger: Steve Jarvis

Everyone wants their next event to be remembered for all the right reasons. In my opinion there are three distinct elements which make an event exceptional rather than simply a good event. If any of these three elements aren’t just right you can struggle for the event to run smoothly.

Choosing the right event with the right elements

It is impossible to have an exceptional event if you don’t first take care to make sure you have chosen the right event.  The very first question you should ask yourself when planning any event is what you want to achieve from the event. This might be a simple answer of we just want to have fun or it might be more complex that you are looking to hold a conference tied in with some team building which is focused on improving communication. Either way you need to know the event’s objectives before proceeding much further.

The second part of choosing the right event is making sure the event doesn’t exclude anyone. You might love running through a muddy obstacle course but the chances are some of those taking part wont and some may be unable to take part. If there is food being provided you need to take care not to exclude anyone there either. So if you want your event to be exceptional make sure you take care when selecting the events and any related elements.

Choosing the right venue

It is vital to any successful event let alone an exceptional one to make sure you choose the right venue which has the best facilities available for your budget. There can sometimes be a bewildering array of venues to choose from for your event. The scope of choice for your event will largely depend on how you answered the question in the section above.

At busy times of year the choice may be limited by other bookings which have already been booked in. To give yourself the very best choice you should try and give as much time as possible to find the right venue. It’s also worth contacting a professional venue finding service to help you see the full range of venues you have available and which would be best suited to your event. You can often find they may get a preferential rate as they book many events each year and also save you money.

Having the right people

Probably the most important of these three elements is making sure you have the right people involved in the event. If you are holding a conference you may be limited to the speakers you can use. If you are holding a team building event it is important to make sure the instructors are fully trained so you gain as much as possible out of the activities. Just like with finding the best venue it’s often wise to employ event professionals to help make your event exceptional.

Summary

So to summarise these three elements can largely be combined into making sure you plan the event properly. If the event is properly planned in detail and has the right type of events in the right location with the right people you have all of the ingredients of an exceptional event. It is important however to make sure you get as much detailed feedback from the event as possible before you can really say how good the event was.  Part of any planning process must be to plan for potential problems including things like the weather in the case of hot sunny days suddenly changing to thundery weather as it has done this week.

About the Author

Steve Jarvis work’s for Demon Wheelers who are a Sheffield based corporate events and team building company who travel throughout the UK hosting events for clients. Steve has worked in a variety of industries in teams of all shapes and sizes over a career which spans over 15 years.

Category : Blog
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