Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


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Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). It incorporates Meetings File and is edited to higher standards than the inadequate ones laid down by the self-regulatory Press Complaints Commission (PCC)

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ISSUE 83 March/April 2011

The Society of Event Organisers (SEO) which publishes this newsletter has moved to individual free membership, which can be taken up by organisers, venues, suppliers and agencies in the event sector.

All will receive all the SEO’s free newsletters, which can be unsubscribed at any time, as well as a 20% reduction on all qualifications, tutorials and conferences presented by the SEO. Supplier members, venues and agencies receive a 20% reduction on advertising rates.

To sign up for free membership go to www.seoevent.co.uk



The government has promised, so it must be true, that corporate hospitality and the giving of gifts to buyers (or MP's) will not be an illegality under the new Bribery Act, now due to come into force in July.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said the new watered down Act will allow the UK to clamp down on corruption without disadvantaging those businesses operating in corrupt cultures.


The event industry show Confex is to move from Earls Court to Excel in Docklands for 2012.

According to the organisers the move is to "grow the show". However a number of events have made the move east, only to move back again two years later.

The reason is thought to be because Excel is perceived by some as visitor-unfriendly, due to currently poor access, the cold and clinical atmosphere and the "moonscape" surrounding it, aspects that could take two years to take effect, with those visiting in 2012 deciding not to return in 2013, persuading the organisers to relocate in 2014.


Disused Underground stations and tunnels are to be turned into conference centres and tourist attractions.

This is the plan of entrepreneur Ajit Chambers who points out that a derelict site opposite Stockwell station, used to house 2,000 American troops after the Second World War, would be large enough for a conference hall, or nightclub. The BT Holborn complex, used as an air raid shelter and then a major telephone exchange, comprises four 100-metre long tunnels.

At one time the Underground had a number of licensed bars on platforms, including one on the west platform of Sloane Square, the Hole in the Wall, which closed in 1985.


Those wanting to supply Millenium and Copthorne Hotels now have to pay a fee to be included in the company's new "Supplier Registration Programme", which then entitles them to quote for business, with charges ranging from £35 plus VAT to bid for work up to £5,000 in value to £510 plus VAT for contracts worth £1million plus.

Many suppliers see the scheme, also run by Hilton, as simply a scam to raise money for the procurement department, although M&C deny this and say that paying to bid gives suppliers valuable additional exposure of their products and services and filters out competition.

It is not known if the payments infringe the new Bribery Act, or Competition Law.


The food offering at the hip new W Hotel in Leicester Square has polarised opinion of experts at the Daily Telegraph.

o On March 5 Adrian Bridge wrote in Hotel Watch that the food at the hotel's Spice Market restaurant, presided over by a three Michelin starred chef included successful combinations that were deliciously tender and tasty.

o On March 19 Matthew Norman wrote in Your Table is Ready that Spice Market deserved to bomb, with "grey gloop and vegetable slurry" and rated it just two out of ten.

o On March 27 Fiona Duncan wrote that Spice Market food was fun and delicious, and gave it four out of five stars.


Meanwhile Cambridge has been described as a "wretched eating town" after Daily Telegraph food critic Matthew Norman and two of his colleagues experienced a less than satisfactory meal at the Hotel du Vin there, a chain whose food had always impressed Norman in the past.

Giving it three out of ten Norman published the concern of Simon Heffer, Telegraph deputy editor, that pheasant was offered in late March when the shooting season finished two months earlier, on February 1, so it was very likely to be frozen, rather than fresh.

Heffer and Norman were also less than overwhelmed when their tender and properly cooked but not-aged-enough chateaubriand came without the Bearnaise sauce, this probably illegal in France, and the situation made worse when their French waiter told them they didn’t have it, and the chef was too busy to make it.

After some "boring" puddings, but a very good bottle of Medoc, Norman's other colleague, Telegraph columnist Rowan Pelling told them "People wept with joy when we heard that Hotel du Vin was coming, because there really is nowhere else to eat in Cambridge".


Those looking for a quiet and relaxing environment for their events can consider Holmewood Hall, a Victorian mansion house set in fourteen peaceful acres of parkland at Holme, a few miles from the A1 south of Peterborough, where deer, red kites and squirrels delight urban delegates.

This offers fifteen meetings rooms for up to 60 delegates, and, judging by the delegate lunch we were given, some superior food with the accent on local produce sourced from the Cambridgeshire area.

Day delegate rates run from £33 to £36.50, depending on lunch chosen, with half-day rates from £22 to £26.40, and 24-hour rates, using local hotels for accommodation, from £110, or £130 inclusive dinner. Also available are breakfasts from 7.00am to 9.30am and from £2.50 to £10.95 and upgrades using the chef's homemade cakes from £1. All prices exclude VAT.

Tel. 01487 831166 Fax. 01487 832660 email. holmewoodhall@britishsugar.co.uk Visit. www.holmewoodhall.co.uk


Those using the newly refurbished Spa Complex in Scarborough and looking for centrally located bedrooms can now use the new Premier Inn there, which opened at the end of March.

This offers 74 guestrooms, of which 54 are large family rooms, with prices from £29 depending on time of year, level of business in Scarborough and notice given. Those who like a big breakfast can feast on unlimited cold stuff from the buffet, and then unlimited hot stuff freshly cooked to order. And those watching their cholesterol intake can cut back a little with the healthier option of ice-cold soya milk.

On site is a Brewers Fayre serving pub-grub from £5 a meal, and offering a Chinese buffet on Monday nights , a curry buffet on Thursday nights, and a fish and chip buffet on Friday nights, all including a pint and all you can eat for £7.99.

Tel. 01582 567890 Visit. www.premierinn.com


Good food in the two rosette restaurant and golf is available at the four-star Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel, fifteen miles from York and one of 21 properties operated by Q Hotels.

This Victorian manor house is set in 120 acres of countryside and offers six meetings rooms for up to 240 and 54 bedrooms, including suites and four-posters The spa is the Espa brand and offers a full range of health and beauty treatments.

Aldwark Manor is also available for exclusive use.

Tel. 01347 838146 email. aldwarkmanorevents@qhotels.co.uk
Visit. www.qhotels.co.uk


Leisure resorts are an interesting choice for business events. The Potters Leisure Resort at Hopton-on-Sea, between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, offers a modern, fully-equipped conference suite for up to 360 delegates and divisible into three, a theatre for 800 and single-use accommodation for up to 360. Day-delegate rate is £37 with a half-day or evening rate of £20 and a breakfast rate of £25. Accommodation charges are dependent on time of year.

Tel.01502 735 042 Visit www.pottersholidays.com/Business-and-Pleasure


The refurbished Park Inn Palace Hotel at Southend-on Sea overlooks the famous mile-long pier and offers a ballroom for up to 220 delegates, six meeting rooms for 32/32/40/45/100/150, a private dining room for 30 and 137 bedrooms, some with balconies and sea views but all with flat-screen TV's, freeview channels, a lap-top safe and tea and coffee facilities. The hotel, in its glory days as the Metropole and then the Palace, played host to royalty as well as comedians Laurel and Hardy.

Tel. +44 (0) 1702 455100 www.southend-on-sea.parkinn.co.uk

Those looking for traditional Southend cuisine and a real taste of Essex should head west up the estuary a few miles to Leigh-on-Sea and the Osbourne Bros informal eatery down on the front in Old Leigh. Osbournes have been serving happy shellfish lovers with seafood, including the famous Leigh cockles, since 1880.

Tel.+44 (0) 1702 477233 www.osbournebros.co.uk


Those who have been to Madeira will know what fun a tasting of the islands famous fortified, wine, the result of a happy accident, can be.

Delegates can be taken through the four main styles, set by the grape varieties used - Sercial (dry), Verdelho (medium dry), Boal (medium sweet) and Malmsey (sweet). Tastings can also be made of young and aged Madeiras.

One expert on the wine is Trevor Elliott, who has written a book on the subject, The Wines of Madeira, and who runs tutored tastings which can be included in event programmes. Another possibility would be a specialist importer of Madeiras, such as Bovey Wines, based in Cornwall.

email trevorelliottwines@tesco.net
email boveywines@btconnect.com


Aromatherapy presentations are offered by Scented Events of Leeds.

These give delegates an introduction to the subject and a chance to try different oils as well as blending them into their own individual formulation in a range of take away products. Also available are a range of treatments such as massages and reflexology.

Tel 07980 586813 www.scentedevents.co.uk


The Academic Venue Show will showcase more than 40 venues in the UK and takes place on Wednesday 11 May at the Emirates Stadium, London.

The guest speaker is Tony Blair's popular former puffer Alastair "Mass Destruction" Campbell.


Newbury Racecourse is putting its money on live concerts as a new way of raising revenue.

The first features Rod Stewart on May 29 to a hoped-for crowd of 20,000, when the forever young turk will be having a party sailing through his set and giving his fans a reason to believe it's not the same old song.



Good to see that the Equality and Human Rights Commission is doing such a worthwhile job for our deserving legal profession. Fresh from supporting the much-reported court case against a Christian couple whose beliefs led them to illegally refuse to let two gay men share a bed in their B&B the EHRC is now preparing to defend the right of heterosexuals to stay at hotels that illegally accept only homosexuals, should they wish to. EHRC are worth every penny of our money, of course.


Train operating company First Capital Connect is still overdue for an ethical makeover. A customer due for a refund of around £2,100 on his cancelled season ticket was misleadingly told he was only entitled to £1,500 by brave FCC staff, who only stopped trying to fiddle him out of £600 when the story was picked up by the Guardian newspaper.

Apparently the train travellers enemy, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) advises its members how to cheat their customers out of refunds due to them, and FCC (chief executive the unimpressive former London Underground head Tim O'Toole) are happy to blindly follow ATOC's bad advice.


Some of those promoting tourism have been getting a bad press. In Liverpool officials have faced derision for claiming that Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech was written at the Adelphi Hotel there. Perhaps he was heard to say "I have a dream that room service will soon be here"?

And over at Medway Council they have been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for having a logo proclaiming "City of Medway" when it isn't.


o The society is launching a directory of UK and overseas SEO members supplying products, services, venues etc which will be published as part of the Announcements section of Event Organisers Update.

This will be published six times a year with issues for Jan/Feb, March/April, May/June, July/August, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec. The launch issue for the SEO Suppliers Directory will be September/October 2011.

Entries will comprise a descriptive headline, forty words of text and contact details such as telephone and fax numbers, email and website addresses and contact names, and will be grouped under appropriate headings, with venues headed by city or county, and country.

Entry in the directory is only available to SEO supplier members and prices are being kept low to encourage smaller specialist suppliers to register. For 2011/2012 this will be £65 for six months (three issues) or £95 for one year (six issues). There is no VAT applicable as the society has deregistered.

Event Organisers Update is currently emailed to more than 30,000 recipients.

To download booking form visit www.seoevent.co.uk

o The Society of Event Organisers now has 568 members, representing corporate, association and charity organisations, as well as event venues and suppliers. Most are based in the UK.

o A new in-house training offer for any dates in 2011 is being made by the SEO on its Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) qualification. For SEO members only this can be delivered as one-to-one tuition at delegate's own premises for a fee of £725 plus second-class rail travel and budget accommodation for three nights, if needed. There is no VAT as the society has deregistered and additional delegates can attend for £75.

For venue members of the SEO the offer is also made on the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) qualification.

Free sign-up to SEO and details of both qualifications is at www.seoevent.co.uk To discuss dates email to peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk or telephone 01767 312986 

o The SEO four-day open presentations of the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) are on August 23-26 and then on November 18 and 25 and December 2 and 9. The Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) takes place August 16 to 19, 2011. All open courses are hosted at 16, Park Crescent, London.

o Member offer

A special 20% discount is offered for 2011 to SEO members booking events at The Enterprise Hotel, Earls Court, London. This is a three-star property with 100 bedrooms and capacity for up to 100 delegates, space divisible into two. Current rates are £79.50 for the day delegate and £229.50 for the 24-hour.

The offer is made subject to availability and also applies to food served in the hotel's 15/25 restaurant, which features carefully prepared, authentic and competitively priced Asian dishes as well as a European range.

Contact Kripen Dhrona 020 7373 4502, email info@enterprisehotel.co.uk or visit www.enterprisehotel.co.uk


The government confirms that under the strict new Bribery Act it is legal to bribe someone if it can be shown that it was the only way to get the business .........disused tube tunnels and stations become hip new party venues .........Event organisers start charging hotels in the Hilton and Millenium and Copthorne groups to quote for their events.............Tourism chiefs in Cambridge resolve to do something about the city's image as a culinary desert.......Tim O'Toole resigns from First Capital Connect, telling the press: "I do not want my good name associated with an organisation that treats its customers so shabbily"..........and much, much more.......



A new in-house training offer for any dates in 2011 is being made by the SEO on its Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) qualification. For SEO members only this can be delivered as one-to-one tuition at delegate's own premises for a fee of £725 plus second-class rail travel and budget accommodation for three nights, if needed. There is no VAT as the society has deregistered and additional delegates can attend for £75.

For venue members of the SEO the offer is also made on the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) qualification.

Free sign-up to SEO and details of both qualifications is at www.seoevent.co.uk To discuss dates email to peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk or telephone 01767 312986


The University of Manchester offers a wide variety of venues, and our experienced conference team can work with organisers to tailor facilities to their exact requirements and budgets.

The city centre campus includes the Renold building for large scale conferences up to 490 delegates and Staff House Conference Centre, a dedicated day meeting venue offering facilities year round for 6 to 120 people.

The wider campus includes University Place, with a 1000 seat auditorium, the stunning Whitworth Hall for formal dinners up to 300, and student halls of residence offering value for meeting rooms throughout the year with accommodation in the summer vacation.

We also have our own 3 star hotel and conference centre for meetings for up to 125 and 3 star accommodation for 70 guests as well as ConferCare, a full conference administration service and hotel booking agency.

For further information , please contact The University of Manchester Conference Sales Office on 0161 306 4100, email meeting@manchester.ac.uk or visit www.meeting.co.uk


Offered to let is our one bedroom apartment in a quiet residential area of Kato Paphos in Cyprus, approximately 15-20 minutes walk to the harbour and main bar and restaurant area.

The sandy beach of Coral Bay is a mere bus journey or drive away from the beautiful bustling and newly enhanced harbour. However, 5 minutes walk from the apartment is a small shop and very reasonably priced restaurant.

The apartment is on a small complex with its own swimming pool; our apartment’s veranda overlooks the pool. Also available is a private roof terrace which is accessible from the veranda by a spiral staircase, for sunbathing, reading a book or just relaxing.

The apartment is approx 15 minutes drive from the Paphos Airport and approx 1 hour from Larnaca Airport. This is a great base to hire a car and tour the wonderful countryside of Cyprus.

Prices start from: £200.00 per week depending on the time of year. For more details visit: www.apartment-paphos.com or email enquiries@apartment-cyprus.com


The Society of Event Organisers (SEO) has moved to individual free membership, which can now be taken up by organisers, suppliers and agencies in the events sector.

Members will receive all the SEO’s free newsletters, which can be unsubscribed at any time, as well as a 20% reduction on all qualifications, tutorials and conferences presented by the SEO.

To sign up for free membership simply go to www.seoevent.co.uk


Newsletter, promotion, event invitation or just staying in touch?

We can provide a low-cost, effective solution, tailored to your needs.

Our bulk rates are as low as 0.3p per email, or £3 per thousand.

email: mark.ely@sg7.biz


o International Event Organisers Update (IEOU) for those running events overseas. www.seoevent.co.uk

o Association News (AN) for all those who associate. www.associationnews.org.uk

o Charity Matters (CM) for those working in charities. www.ezinematters.com

o Marketing Matters (MM) for those working in marketing. www.ezinematters.com


A 150-word announcement costs from £72 in this section of Event Organisers Update (EOU) and reaches 30,000 organisers.

To download full details and a booking form visit www.seoevent.co.uk

Alternatively telephone 01767 312986.

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