March, 2014

Blogspot: New Year, New Event: Better Late Than Never!

Ok lovely blog readers, this one’s a bit late, but rather late than never right??
So here’s what our lovely friend, Holly Brailsford had to say about new years and events….

 

Now that 2014 is in full swing, everyone can start to plan their yearly event calendar, whether big or small. Some may even begin thinking about what might be coming up for 2015 and after. Post-Its and note-pads are covering desks up and down the country, as cups of tea and coffee are drunk whilst ideas are thrown back and forth. What a wonderful time of year!

Year on year we see the same events and conferences hit our doors, it’s fantastic to have the repeat business and we love seeing a familiar face. What is even greater is when the event gets better and better, we love nothing more than an enthusiastic organiser! Numbers rise, delegates are more excited to attend and the whole experience becomes more well-rounded for all. What are these organisers doing differently? Whether their field is medical, charity, financial etc, they keep people attending time after time and keep them engaged with the topic.

One of the key points is changing with the times, it sounds so simple but embracing the new can make a huge difference to the delegate experience. We have events now that can stream internationally so delegates and companies whose budgets have been cut can login and watch from afar, keeping the interest going for those who can’t attend in person. It’s also a great way for those people who do attend, but miss a key speaker, to login afterwards and watch their talk at a later date.

Twitter and hashtag-ing is becoming more and more popular and powerful, giving your event its own hashtag is a brilliant way of drawing in a younger and more tech savvy audience and also broadening your reach across social networking. Your hashtag can be included on promotional material prior to the event, to create a buzz before you’ve even arrived. It can be printed on banners, hand-outs and event t-shirts to push the message that you want your delegates to interact! If you want to go one step further you can include a live news-feed during your conference.

We see very formal events, who sometimes are dealing with incredibly difficult or troubling topics lighten the mood with brightly coloured welcome packs, banners and matching t-shirts and hoodies for staff. This is a great way of taking the edge of a conference which could otherwise be very emotionally draining.

As you head into 2014 and think about a new event you plan to hold, something totally new for you and your company think about “you” as the delegate. What will make you excited to attend, what will make you comfortable throughout and most importantly… what will make you want to come back for the 2nd year it’s held. There is nothing more valuable than constructive feedback and opinions of others who attend events regularly. Ask them what made a particular event stand out for them, you’ll probably be surprised by the answer!

If you’re gearing up for your annual event… what can you shake up to cause more interest and a buzz! If you’re bored of planning the conference, the chances are your delegates are bored of attending. What would make it fun for you, even when covering the darkest of subjects? How can you engage and interact with the attendees more effectively and what do they need to take away with them at the end.

Large events are also fabulous networking opportunities across companies or within larger frame-works of people who only see each other a few times a year. Sharing best-practice between colleagues and peers during these times is something to consider as well, giving your delegates enough down-time to work the room.

2014 is going to be about experimenting and trying something new, and sometimes a little out of the norm. But, who says the norm has to be dull…. Throw in some colour and a sense of humour and even the heaviest of subjects can be met with a smile.

About the Author

Holly Brailsford 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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Notes from Down Under – Blogspot – Expos Expos Expos!

Here’s our latest blogspot from our regular monthly blogspotter – the lovely Emily…..


Expos Expos Expos!

It is coming to that time of year again when all the major venue expos in the UK and Europe are kicking off and preparations are well under way. This sector occupies a high percentage of the events industry in the UK and Europe and similarly on the other side of the pond.

Confex and Imex are approaching, two of the biggest and leading exhibitions for the event industry and event industry specialists will be flocking in their thousands to ensure they attend as a means of networking for business, getting up to date on industry trends, discovering fresh ideas and new event technologies and gain some inspiration for their year of events ahead. For individuals in the industry it really is a must attend. Strangely after much research it seems Australia doesn’t host an event of this sort for us event professionals which is rather baffling, Australia is home to some of the world’s finest event venues and spaces, not to mention the size of the market over here and the host to world renown events. Being the nosey parker that I am I have contacted several bodies and main convention centres to discover if they were aware of any and if there were none, then why not, I have yet to get responses.

The Australian’s sure love a good expo though. Since arriving in Melbourne in November there has been a number of large expos taking over Melbourne’s Convention Centre. There seems to be a pattern over here however, up to Christmas there was a series of Home/Garden expos leading up to the summer period including the Grand Designs Live show for people looking to undergo home improvements, followed by an array of music industry expos for the music lovers hoping to secure a place at the summer music events. It has seemed to quieten down throughout January but there is a whole host of new events in the pipeline in Melbourne and the trends appear to be Bridal Expos. With Australia being at the peak of their summer, most weddings tend to occur this time of year so wedding planners, excited newly engaged couples and those just wanting a nosey are flocking to the city to gain some inspiration for the upcoming year’s weddings.

Another key trend to kick off the new year seems to be health and fitness expos along with hair and beauty conventions for those inspiring towards a ‘new me’ for the new year. Coming up to Autumn here in Australia there appears to be a second wave of Home and Garden expos and Travel expos for those wanting to get their homes in order or take off before winter sets in. Of course I think the venue expo calendar here will be completely opposite to that of the UK and Europe as the seasons are the opposite. This seems to be the theme for expos in Australia, they seem to follow the flow of the seasons and what is trending at the time. This next couple of week as the summer is coming to a close, food and wine/beer expos are taking over Melbourne and people from all over Australia and surrounding countries are heading here in there 100s to experience Melbourne’s vast culinary delights.

Similarly to the UK and Europe, Australia also hosts a range of interest specific expos including craft fairs, mind and body, health and fitness, textiles and career specific events such as those in the medical profession, science, arts, design and illustration, construction & architecture and the list goes on. The space is also popular for the use of company award ceremonies, concerts, conferences and launches.

Now I am going to admit, shameless as an event professional, that in the UK I very rarely attended exhibitions unless it was of great interest to me. I think this is down to several reasons. Since I have been in Australia I have been to rather a few, the difference I feel is; 1 – There appears to be more on offer with a wide range of genres, 2 – The expos are either free or a very minimal cost, 3 – Accessibility to the venue and general marketing of the expos. In the UK I rarely saw anything advertised for expos of interest to me and I usually had to read about it in a review afterward. Expos here are highly marketed by the venues and they place a lot of emphasis on them and the visitor experience.

The only niggle is that of the lack of event industry specialist exhibitions but then I guess the ozzies have to count on us Brits to show them how its done, though I better not let any ozzies hear me say that.

Emily Dwyer is an event manager originally from the UK that’s just emigrated to Australia with her partner. Emily regularly writes blog of her experiences in the event industry and has a monthly blogspot here on the Top Venues website amongst writing her own. You can read other blogs Emily has written about her experiences here: www.theeventure.wordpress.com

Category : Blog
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