exhibition

The Meetings Show 2016

This year’s meeting show took place from the 14th – 16th June 2016 at Olympia Exhibition Centre, London. Our girl Laura headed down for one night and one day for a busy but productive whirlwind 24 hours in London….
It all began on Tuesday 14th June. I hopped on a train to London at 5.04pm, arriving at 7.20pm I headed straight to check in at my hotel for the night, the Melia White House.  The Melia White House is beautiful and quite possibly has the best smelling lobby area ever! It was a vacation for my nose (my house tends to smell look cooking but not the nice kind, the kind when you are full and smell food and you just think ‘nope’. I’m not making myself sound great here am I?). Moving on, I checked in, collected an envelope with my pass and important details about the show from the concierge and then headed to my room. Okay, that sounds simple but funny story I’m a numpty and didn’t know how to use the lift (highly embarrassing). A kind man had to show me how to make the lift doors open. Heads up, you use the touch screen machine to the right of the first set of lifts, select what floor you want and then it tells you what lift to go to and it takes you there, it’s simple really once you know what you are doing or if you aren’t a numpty like myself. The Melia White House not only has 581 lovely rooms in eight categories it also has great event space. They have 10 meeting rooms and the largest can hold 150 delegates. Day Delegate Rates are between £60.00 – £70.00 for a full day meeting and include: 2 coffee breaks, 3-course buffet lunch in the restaurant, Wi-Fi, water, stationary, roll up screen and flipchart.

On Wednesday 15th June I woke up bright and early to get ready for a day at The Meetings Show. I headed down for breakfast which was lovely, checked out and boarded the coach that took us straight to Olympia for the show. I believe this is the first year that the event has taken place in the larger hall and it was a good and manageable size. Not too big, not too small.

Whilst at the show I had meetings with venues that we currently work with and found some new ones to start building strong and positive relationships with. One of the new venues I met was CentrEd at ExCel, London.

CentrEd (with a capital E, that was not a typo) is located at the Royal Victoria Dock in London. Although a bit further out than the sought after City area of London, CentrEd is easily accessible via public transport and heading out of The City has its benefits. For example, all 29 rooms have natural daylight and balconies with views of the beautiful Royal Victoria Dock. The rooms have flexible walls so the venue can create spaces for 20 delegates all the way up to spaces for 400 delegates. Plus you are only 20 minutes away from The City so should you need to get back there after it won’t take you long.

Next up is the Ibis London Earls Court Conference Centre or ILEC for short. This venue claims to be the most versatile space in West London and I can most definitely see why. The venue has an innovative modular space called The London Suite. This suite can then be partitioned and divided up to create smaller rooms. The whole hall can seat 1200 in a theatre style but then can be divided up so many ways that it can create as many as nine individual rooms. Not only can the venue cater for pretty much anything and everything they also have 504 bedrooms on site making it a great option for large conferences that also require bedrooms.

If you’re interested in any of the venues above or want to find out more on how we can help, get in touch!

You can email myself or the rest of the team at theteam@top-venues.co.uk or give us a ring on 0844 8709963. We look forward to hearing from you!

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IBTM World 2015 – A Trip Back In Time

One week in November 2015 was a week of firsts for Laura. Her first time flying on her own, first time to Barcelona and her first time attending IBTM World. See what she has to say about the experience, what she learnt and what she got up to below….

 

I attended last year’s IBTM (the first year not being EIBTM I am told) as a hosted buyer. I was hosted by Barceló Hotels who have over 140 different venues around the world. I stayed in Barceló Sants a very cool and quirky hotel that was space shuttle themed which felt like I was in James Bond film or something (if you have read any of my other blogposts you will notice an recurring theme of me feeling like I am in a film).

I also got to see the equally quirky but boutique style Barceló, Raval. On the Wednesday night after a day at the show Barceló took all their hosted buyers for a lovely meal at the Raval. This was a really nice evening with plenty of wine and it was a great opportunity to network with other agencies and get to know more about Barceló in a relaxed environment.

I arrived in Barcelona on the Tuesday night and after checking in to the hotel headed straight to bed for some well needed rest before the show on the Wednesday. Throughout both the days I spent at IBTM I met lots of venues that would be great for our clients. Stand out venues for me were the Barbican, 1 Wimpole Street and Arcotel. The Barbican and 1 Wimpole street are both located in London and have some really unique spaces to offer to clients.

The Barbican has 19 spaces that can cater for 2000 delegates all the way down to 20 delegates. The venues largest space is the Barbican Hall which is a raked auditorium making it perfect for large scale events. But the Barbican can also cater for smaller events such as training events and meetings in their Frobisher Boardroom which can hold up to 20 people.

1 Wimpole Street has 16 event spaces that are perfect for meetings and conferences. The venue is also really easy access as it is located between Oxford Circus and Bond Street tube stations, making it a great option for events that have delegates attending from all over. 1 Wimpole Street has three auditoriums which can seat 80 people, 150 people and 300 people. The venue also has a really unique space called the Toynbee Mackenzie ENT Room (ENT stands for Ears Nose and Throat). This room has exhibition cases around the room that have old medical implements in from when 1 Wimpole Street used to be part of the Royal Society of Medicine making this quirky room absolutely perfect for events for clients within the medical sector.

Arcotel have 11 hotels. 4 in Austria, 5 in Germany and 1 in Croatia. The 11th is opening in Salzburg in January 2016. All the properties are 4* and each hotel has a different feel to them so you don’t feel like you are in a hotel anywhere in the world as they are all different to one another. Dietary requirements such as vegan are an option on their menus as standard. This is something that I feel all hotels, venues and restaurants should follow.

IBTM was a great experience not only for myself and to improve my venue knowledge. But also for our clients. By attending events like IBTM we are able to meet new contacts and discover new venues to offer to our clients so that they are always provided with the best rates and venues for their events.

Overall I really enjoyed IBTM. It’s a very fast paced and hectic few days but that’s what the events industry is like and it does take some getting used to (I was pretty much a zombie for three days after). The only thing I would change is the amount of time you get to see the city the event is being hosted in. It would have been great to see a bit more of Barcelona and see a couple more venues there.

If you want to find out more on how we can help, get in touch!

You can email us at theteam@top-venues.co.uk or give us a ring on 0844 8709963.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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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

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The Recipe For A Successful Event

Following on from the recent Great British Bakeoff, here at Top Venues & Events, we thought we’d continue with the theme in producing our very own recipe for a successful event. If you follow it down to the letter, we’re sure your event will be every bit as successful as you anticipate it to be. 🙂

Ingredients

A Nice Big Cake!

– 100g – You
– 210g – Time
– Five teaspoons of budget (work out pre-event planning)
– A tablespoon of imagination

Step 1. Brainstorm Ideas – like a cake, what do you want the outcome of your event to be?

– Theme?
– Number of Attendees?
– Catering?
– Type of venue?

Step 2. Choose a theme, date, time and venue.

People enjoy different types of cake – chocolate, jam or possibly even carrot?
Make sure the flavours of your theme mix well –  mint and pineapple, in a cake, we think not!?
Co-ordinate a date and time for your event that works well for all guests.
Choose a location that will accommodate your number of attendees. Maybe go for a tasting session at a few venues – visiting your venue will give you a better idea of how your event will pan out and whether the venue is actually the right one.

Step 3. Add 135g of invites to send to your attendees.

Make sure your invites give a taster of what to expect – you want to make it enticing to your guests. Is it an event of fun and games – make your invite suggest so. Likewise, if it’s an informative event – give them something that will make them want to attend and get bums on seats.

Step 4. Choose what kind of filling (catering!) you want.

Three course meal or buffet?
Depending on your event, you can choose what kind of catering you want (if any!).
Think about the time of your event – will your attendees miss their dinner or lunch? If so, you may want to offer something to take the hunger pangs away – the last thing you want is people feeling hungry at your event as this will take their attention away from what you’re really trying to tell them.

Step 5. Decorating your cake (event).

What kind of entertainment will you have?
A few speakers, a cabaret act, a musician?
Make sure not to go overboard with the icing – having a range of entertainment can either be a great finale or a taste disaster.

Step 6. Finalise arrangements and budget.

Ccheck up on attendee numbers (dietry requirements – who can/can’t eat the cake)
The boring bits, like cleaning up the messy kitchen! (Get helpers, like they have in Great British Bake Off!)

Step 7. See event through. (Eat Cake)

Slice of Cake

Think this is fairly self explanatory.
Be prepared for things to go wrong on the night – there will always be something not quite right but if you can mask it with enough filling and are ready to act should anything happen, most likely no one will notice except you. Your event will look like it’s running smoothly on the outside, when in fact (to you) it’s a real mess!

Step 8. Was the event successful?

Take time to reflect on how the event went and whether there was anything that could have been done better.
Did the cake have the right amount of filling?
Did it lack in icing?
Ask attendees for feedback on your event so you can learn for next time

Step 9.

If a successful cake (event), do it again! 🙂

 

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The Start Of 2013 And Our Year Ahead….

The year gone by….

So 2012 went by in a flash! It felt like only yesterday when I was last writing an end of year report on how well the business was doing and looking at the following year.

Despite 2012 flying by here at Top Venues we seem to have managed to achieve quite a lot for a small business.
Taking on two new members of staff, updating our proposal system so that our proposals are even better than before and working on some pretty big events with new clients has been just a small part of our year.

#Queenof Venue Finding

On top of that we were crowned #Queenof Venue Finding on Twitter in October which was a fantastic surprise to us and one that we were so pleased to be part of.

So what are our intentions for 2013?

Well, with wedding bells ringing in May for me, it’s a big year in more than one way. Having spent the last year and a half managing my own wedding along with my clients’ events, it will soon be time to see the fruition of my work unfold. Very exciting, although quite a different experience working from the ‘clients’ side and aspect of things.

We’ve also taken on some new clients with multiple events taking place both here in the UK and Internationally which is extremely exciting and means we can look at continuing to expand the team. If that happens, it also means a new office!
So with the start of the new year really getting going this week, the team and I want to wish you all a very happy and prosperous year and look forward to working with some of you in the very near future.

Here’s to you and your events!

Sian

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A Dickensian Christmas Market

(Event management experience and words from a Top Venues Intern)

Dressing for the part!

As part of the International Events Management course that I am currently on each student is tasked with attending a week long placement working on a real life event, helping out from the preparation stages to the management of the event whilst it’s on. I was assigned the Dickensian Christmas Festival held at Lightwater Valley in Ripon North Yorkshire which is a Victorian themed four day event that offers a huge range of high quality contemporary and traditional merchandise. Originally I was apprehensive as one of the first things I learnt about the event was that everybody involved dresses up in traditional Victorian Clothes and stays in character whilst the event is on. On top of this the event is aimed at elderly cliental and I wondered whether this would put me outside of my comfort zone.

Upon arrival at the event venue, Lightwater Valley Amusement Park, the events manager gave us a brief description and history of the company and the event we would be working on. The event has been running for 7 years and has grown in size each year; it now has over 100 stalls exhibiting over the four day period with thousands of people visiting during that time. As well as high quality services and merchandise the festival also offers entertainment with carol singers, a school choir, bell ringers and a magician all featuring. The event has a real Christmas feel to it with the whole thing being Dickensian themed, the decorations and the opportunity to meet Santa and his Reindeer. The Dickensian theme extends to the exhibitors and the people working on the event such as myself, during the course of the event I wore a fetching traditional Victoria outfit consisting of a waistcoat, neckerchief, jacket and top hat.

The first couple of days spent at the event were focused on the exhibitors and it was my job to ensure they all arrived and got set up in their area as smoothly as possible. Having spoken to the event manager I learnt that a huge amount of planning had already gone into the event for something as basic as the layout, the whereabouts of each exhibitor had been meticulously planned for a number of reasons. The first was the type of stall; they had to ensure that stands selling similar things were not placed near to each other. The second was the exhibitor’s requirements as each exhibitor had different needs, some required electricity and so had to be placed round the outside of the halls or marquees to ensure this could be accommodated. Some required additional tables so they could correctly display all their products.

Before a single attendee had walked through the doors I had already experienced numerous problems which gave me a real taster of what it’s like to be hands on at an event. The first was a dispute between two exhibitors over boundaries; each exhibitor is given a certain space which they must stay within and a gentlemen selling shortbread believed that the lady next to him was taking up part of his space. Having consulted the regulations and the master plan for the event I was able to reach an agreement that both exhibitors were happy with and the conflict was settled. The next problem came from a gentleman in the corner of one of the marquees who wasn’t happy with the space he had been given, in a large exhibitor event such as this there are sometimes people who don’t turn up or have to cancel, in this case I was able to swap the man to a table which had been cancelled leaving him pleased with the new space he had been given.

Once the event had begun I was assigned the task of ensuring the entertainment went smoothly, something I was very happy about as it is something I can see myself doing in the future. I greeted the entertainment as they arrived, relayed the information to them regarding where and what time they would be performing and ensured they had everything they needed. Again I was faced with the kind of problems that arise frequently during events involving live performances; some of the acts were running late and so with the help of the event manager we shuffled round some of the other performances to ensure that there was no area left quiet for too long.

Whilst there I was involved in all aspects of the planning and management of the festival from the setting up of the stalls to organising the entertainment during the event and I left with a real sense of satisfaction that I was taking some invaluable experience away with me. Working on this event has given me a great insight into how events work from an operational point of view and the problems that are faced by event planners during the course of a live event, the best thing I will take away from the past week is that events truly are unpredictable and it’s the way you react to the things that occur that define you as an event manager.

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Accor – from Ibis to Pullman Hotels

I was recently at an event called the ‘World of Accor Expo’ in London which was a showcase from the Accor Hotel Chain of a number of their world-wide hotels. Whilst there I was asked by someone from C&IT Magazine whether Hotels/Chains were doing enough to entice and promote their hotels to agents (that’s me). My response to that was that some are and some aren’t. Whilst this wasn’t really an answer I did go on to explain that while times are much tougher than ever before for business (from both client and agents’ perspective) it was more important now than ever before to keep clients interested and in the know about hotels, be it a chain or an independent, and while the bigger chains have bigger marketing budgets it was just as important for smaller independent venues to keep working with clients and getting out to see potential new clients to show them what they can offer. However, of the larger hotel chains, one brand that is promoting themselves well, is that of Accor. With the hotel brand changing and increasing in size quite rapidly, they need to make their clients, and potential clients, aware of what they have to offer.

Accor Expo Exhibition Stands

In the last two months, I’ve attended a more low-key UK-based event (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed) where I sampled their Mercure brand and now the World of Accor Expo where I have been able to sample both the Ibis and Pullman brands. In between all that, I’ve been regularly updated on the new venues coming on board and those currently going through a refurbishment.

Accor is a French brand and you notice a French feel throughout each of the brands, although it may be quite subtle, from staff to literature to just the colours and style. The company are very proud of the fact that they are French and I think this is great that they’re keen to make people understand the history behind the group.

At the World of Accor Expo, it was apparent as to how much they love their hotels by the fact that five of the six Parisian hotels are all undergoing major refurbishments over the next year to keep the hotels up to standard.

The Pullman London, the newest addition to the Pullman part of the chain has undergone a major refurbishment. Formerly a Novotel (another of the Accor brands) it boasts a tiered theatre to hold 446 along with other meeting spaces. Within 2 minutes’ walking distance to both Euston Station and St Pancras Stations and directly next to British Library it’s ideally placed and while it’s not the prettiest building on the outside, from the inside, it offers imagination and a quirkiness that you just can’t help but love.

Even the lower budget hotels (Ibis) have undergone a rebrand and facelift. Having stayed in an Ibis hotel and attended the event at a Pullman hotel it was clear to see that all brands, from budget to more luxurious, are clean and spacious with friendly staff and a modern and up-to-date feel.

So while I’m all in favour of Accor Hotels and as a brand it offers something for everyone, I hope they continue to keep up the good work of keeping us informed as, with so many hotels and venues on offer for both business and leisure, it can be difficult to be seen and heard unless you shout!

 

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Center Parcs – Something a little bit different!

I decided it was about time I made the trip to Nottingham’s Center Parcs (the largest of the venues in the group) to see what all the fuss was about in relation to using the venue for events.

I’d been to the ‘village’ over ten years ago, purely on a leisure basis and I have to say, while I loved the place for leisure, I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work for business events.

In my head I had the picture of a large event space and facility that, by day, was a resting place for those families that wanted to get away from all of the activities on site, and by night, would turn into an event space similar to that of the cabaret acts you’d find at those well-known leisure seaside resorts we all know about.

How wrong was I!

I got to the ‘village’ (which is what the staff lovingly call the resort) early afternoon to be greeted by fake snow on the way in, lots of fairly lights in the trees and Santa’s reindeer on the roofs of the buildings dotted around the place. It reminded me of Christmas. In fact, it basically is set for Christmas which is fair enough considering we’re close enough to December.

My site inspection consisted of walking around all of the facilities, which actually didn’t take as long as I imagined it would, past real reindeer and Santa’s grotto through the ‘square’ (a street with all the food outlets) through the indoor leisure spaces including ten pin bowling, indoor badminton courts (that can double up as exhibition space or a large space for corporate dinners or awards ceremonies). I was then taken through ‘The Venue’ which is the private event space that is totally separate to any of the leisure space and consists of one extremely large floor space that can br subdivided into smaller rooms.

Center Parcs - Santa's Reindeer!

With its own bar and foyer area and located in an area that the general public don’t tend to frequent, this space is perfect for keeping the business, business and moving into the leisure side as and when you need or want to.

It’s location in the middle of woodland with its man-made lake (which looks as natural as any normal lake), beach and plenty of options for both food and activities provides the perfect option for a venue with a difference!

With easy access to the M1 motorway and fab new rates of £39.00 for a day delegate meeting rate (from Jan 2013) or from £79.00 to include 2 activities, it makes meetings more affordable and interesting.

Accommodation can be provided in the lodge facilities onsite, a little bit higher in price but then, you get a lot more for your money than staying in a standard (if there ever is such a thing) hotel.

So all in all, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the venue options and choices that you have for mixing a bit of business with pleasure. Consider it for your next meeting, if you’re travelling, as all of the sites have meeting facilities onsite and with a new location opening in 2013 near to Woburn Safari Park, it will provide options up and down the country.

(plus it’s well worth the visit, even if you only want to sample the spa facilities – something I’ll certainly be returning for!)

Happy Christmas from Centre Parcs! (and me)

 

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A Conversation About Venue Finding Agents

Whilst sat having a break at a venue expo show recently I overheard a couple of ladies having a conversation about whether it’s better to source venues themselves or use a venue finder.

There are lots of opinions about whether venue finders are good for your business or not. I suppose it very much depends on the venue finders’ business ethics and what their main aim is. There are some agents that are only in business for the money. Those agents don’t care about the end result for the client and their event, they only care about the final amount of their commission or charge. These agents, in some ways, make it harder for the smaller or more caring agent and in other ways make it easier. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Getting back to the two ladies. Part of their discussion was that it was nice for them to see what’s on offer in person (relating to the venue Expo) rather than use a third party, as their colleague had done. Another thing they mentioned was that having the opportunity to see the venues themselves they could see what the actual rates were.  At this point I very nearly interjected their conversation to say that the agent obviously hadn’t done their job properly if they hadn’t shown them what the rates would be normally or explained to them in details about what an agent’s role to the client is.

For those of you who are unsure (and in my opinion), a venue finding agents’ job is to get an understanding of what the client’s requirements are, search and source options that fit their requirements, negotiate rates for the client and then present them so the client has an understanding of what there is on offer that best suits their event and the best rates available to them. In my eyes, if an agent hasn’t looked at and summed up the best options for their client then they’re not doing their job right.

For me, sourcing the right solution for the client is not totally money orientated. It’s based on the satisfaction of knowing that I have found the best solution for my client based on their budget and requirements. It’s also about getting to know my clients in such a way that I can easily source venues for them for all of their events and build up a relationship where they trust me and I understand them. The money is a part of it, yes, as it’s how we earn a living but it isn’t the most important factor.

I get a buzz knowing that I’ve done the best for my client and that their experience, not just of my service but of the venues, is beyond their expectations.

So, coming back to those agents that don’t care about the end result, and why this makes my job easier in some ways. Basically, they prove to me the reason why I do a good job and I have clients that have used me time and time again. A personal service! That’s what it’s all about. Getting an understanding of what my clients’ needs are and making sure those needs are catered for. Something that a lot of the bigger fish don’t and can’t do.

As for those ladies. I think that really they were just happy about the fact that they had managed a day out of the office (something us agents can help with when sorting out site visits to venues). It’s great when you can see lots of venues under one roof and certainly saves time but I don’t think they fully appreciate the time and effort that goes into venue finding and the fact that knowledge and good relationships with the suppliers are the key elements to the find. I’m happy to leave those ladies to do their own search if they want to and will continue to work with those clients that really do appreciate my help. However, should those ladies ever get in contact, I’d also be happy to help them too!

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To Confex or Not To Confex, That Is The Question.

Throughout the year there are a number of exhibitions, or ‘Expos’ as they’re referred to, aimed at the Conference, Events and Incentive Markets. These take place throughout the UK and the world and can be a fantastic way of meeting new suppliers, clients and generally managing to meet as many people as possible who work within the events industry all under one roof and in a short space of time.

Confex is one of those Expos and this year it moved to a new location, the Excel Conference and Exhibition Centre in Canary Wharf. There are a number of reasons why the show would move location, it’s been at its previous location (Earls Court) too long, the old venue is closing, the show organisers feel they need to boost their footfall with a ‘new’ show, the organisers want to be closer to the Olympics Village….the list is endless.

In the last few years Confex, as well as other well known Expos, have suffered. One reason is due to the economic crises where less people are able to leave the office without real justification and reason. Another is the fact that these events sometimes have the same suppliers year in and year out and charge a huge sum of money to be there, knocking out any possibility of a smaller, lesser known company to be able to afford to exhibit.

This year I was indecisive as to whether to attend Confex. It gives me a great opportunity to meet with a lot of suppliers I already know (the plus side to having the same suppliers there year in year out) and potentially meeting new suppliers. The new location and offer of a ‘new’ event was definitely intriguing but could I really afford to spend the time (it would be at least one full day) and money (cost of travel from Manchester to London ) out of the office and was it worth it?

Having thought about it for quite a while, I decided that this year was not the year for me to go down to Confex, my time was better spent in the office managing the work load that was here already. I have yet to hear as to how the event was received and whether the move really did make a difference to this years’ attendance but I’ll certainly be keeping my ear out. Perhaps next year I’ll make the trip to see for myself what the move has achieved.

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An End To Another Year…

And so, we’ve come to the end of 2011.

What a year…it’s been manic to say the least. With lots of
conferences, meetings, exhibitions, trade shows, incentive trips…the list is endless…taking place this year, we’ve been very busy.

Along with all that we pushed the business forward by offering our Event Management services (although the website is still to reflect this – we just simply haven’t had time to update it!).

We’ve had some tough times with the economic crises having a knock on the market and clients being unable to do the events they want but we have hope…there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Careful management is the key and we’ve made sure that all of our clients have managed to get what they need within their budget and with the customer service they require (and should expect)!

Our aims for 2012 are:-

  • To continue to put our clients’ needs first
  • To continue to source new venue options and make sure customer service comes first
  • To work with our clients as much or as little as is required
  • To keep smiling even if things seem tough

With that in mind, we wish everyone a fantastic Christmas, a brilliant New Year and we look forward to speaking to you in 2012.

 

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Square Meal 2011

Predominantly focused on venues and services for the hospitality industry, Square Meal takes place in September every year at Old Billingsgate Market.

As far as Expos go, Square Meal is most definitely one of the best.

For starters, it only lasts for two days (most large Expos last for at least three). This means the people exhibiting aren’t stood on their feet for three days running and so don’t lose the enthusiasm of their product.

It is housed in a building that’s not too big, not too small and easily located.

In previous years Square Meal has been predominantly focused on London venues and services. This year was different. There were more venues from outside the London boundaries. This makes quite a difference to the people that come to the show. It means that not only will you get to see some fantastic venues and event options from London but also fantastic venues and services from around the country.

Despite the fact that Square Meal is housed in a venue that can’t offer space to expand, it actually makes it a bonus feature.

You can get around the show in two hours, an afternoon or a full day making it as accessible as you need it to be.

One small thing that I would suggest to anyone organising these events is to provide a full show guide offering contact details for all the exhibitors attending the show. It just means that should you not manage to get around as a visitor, you still have access to the contact details should you need them. Also as an exhibitor paying quite a lot of money to attend, I would expect clients to be able to contact them from either the website or the show guide should they not be able to on the day of the event.

However, having said that, it’s only a small issue and as my favourite Expo, I will most definitely be attending again next year!

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Our approach

From start to finish we will help you find the right solution for you and your event.

No matter what size your event is, we can take the pressure off you by sourcing, negotiating and making the arrangements, allowing you to spend your time on more important issues.

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Testimonials

 

"Thanks for all of your help - you really made the difference for me because of a) the time it saved me hunting around and negotiating rates, and b) getting such a good rate."

P.T, Gore Workwear