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March 2013 ISSUE 102

Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.

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)

EOU is FREE and circulated monthly to more than 30,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)

If you have any views on how our newsletter could be more useful to you please e-mail us at info@eou.org.uk



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.


The French multinational caterers, Sodexo, withdrew all it's frozen beef products on February 22nd after three of them tested positive for adulteration with horsemeat.

The firm supplies catering services at 2,300 UK sites including a number of event venues and events where corporate hospitality is provided. These include the racecourses at Royal Ascot and Sandown Park, Newcastle United Football Club, the Golf Open Championship, the Rugby World Cup, the Chelsea Flower Show, Bateaux London boats and the Churchill War Rooms.


"Challenging conditions" have been blamed for a 15% slump in profits at Millennium and Copthorne hotels.

Full year profits were down to £157.7 million and the company said that its performance in New York and Singapore was similar to London


According to psychologists "empty-nesters", or those whose children have grown up and left home, just love going to the seaside and rolling back the mists of time to their own childhoods. And a seaside location provides a healthy overdose of uplifting and positively-ionised ozone, which blows away the mental cobwebs and stimulates thought, so perfect for conferences where the age of delegates is on the upside of 40.

One venue that fits this bill is the Sunderland Marriott Hotel, actually located on the seafront at nearby Seaburn and a favourite haunt of one Mancunian, Lawrence Stephen Lowry. Following a chance visit there in 1960 Lowry fell in love with the unspoiled charms of the promenade in all weathers, and stayed at the Marriott - then the Seaburn Hotel - a number of times before his death in 1976, aged 88.

Today, as well as offering a walking base the Marriott offers 82 en-suite bedrooms and six meetings spaces. These comprise one large suite for 300 theatre-style which is divisible into three sections holding 80 in each, and two rooms for 70 and 20. There is also a large indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna steam room and keep-fit area, and a large bar and restaurant with North Sea views.

Possibly good news for the area, and those visiting is that the seafront area is to receive a £5 million investment from the local council, and private sector funding to turn a lighthouse keepers cottage and a seafront shelter into eating places.

Lowryburgers on the way, then?

Tel. 0191 529 4227 www.sunderlandmarriott.co.uk


To the Stadium of Light, Sunderland AFC's 49,000 capacity football ground, to enjoy a football match and some tasty hospitality on one of the 19 match-days the club has.

The largest room is the high-ceilinged Banqueting Suite in which 700 diners can be fed, and adjacent is the new Business Lounge (formerly the Durham Suite) which can cope with 100 theatre-style, or up to 400 for a reception and features leather banquette seating and a movable wall that divides it from the Suite. This gives the potential to have up to 400 supping in the Lounge and then moving the wall to reveal the dining in the Suite. Catering for up to 150 is also supplied by the Riverview Brasserie, which has an outdoor terrace for the al fresco occasions.

Elsewhere there is the Black Cats Bar with panoramic views of the pitch and capacity for up to 1,000 quaffers, rooms for 30/30/30/35/50/50/76 and 54 Executive Boxes with pitch-views and holding up to 25 delegates. All spaces can be hired on non-match days for a fraction of the match-day rates, and tours of the facilities can also be arranged, along with tours of the club's £15 million training Academy for young footballers.

The Stadium of Light, regarded as one of the best stadia in Europe, was built on the site of the old Wearmouth colliery and named as a reference to the miners coming up off shift and into the light. Historians will know that Monkwearmouth monastery was a home to the world's greatest historian, the venerable Bede, who died in AD 735 having written over 40 historical works. Those studying much later history will know that "Mackems" are Sunderlanders, and that the name dates from shipbuilding times when the hulls were made in Sunderland ("We mak 'em") and taken up to Newcastle, where "Geordies" are thought to have been followers of King George, for fitting out ("And we tak 'em")

email: hospitality@safc.com


Newcastle City Library opened a range of meeting spaces to organisers late last year, from as little as £1.70 per person flat room hire fee.

Subject of a multi-million pound rebuild the library offers the Bewick Hall for 185 theatre-style, divisible into three and with sprung wooden floor, spotlights, stage and PA system. In addition there are two rooms for 12, two for 36 and a training suite holding 24 PCs with free internet access and divisible into two. The use of flat screen TVs, digital projectors and interactive whiteboards is included in the hire charges, which start from £100 plus VAT for a three hour session.

And Ms Keeler? Well some delegates of a certain age may recognise some of the curvy back chairs as the type that young model and friend of powerful politicians Christine Keeler sat astride and nude for the iconic 1963 photo. Actually the chair used was a copy of the No 7 chair designed by Arne Jacobson, and had an extra aperture cut out of the back to avoid copyright legalities. The photo was taken at the height of the scandal linking Keeler with John Profumo and by photographer Lewis Morley, at his studio above "The Establishment", the satirical London nightclub owned by Peter Cook and featuring the Dudley Moore Trio playing jazz in the basement.

Ah, those swinging sixties.............



One unique non-residential venue that opened in July last year is the Cultural Centre, located a mile out to sea at the end of Southend Pier.

Access is by pier trains that take nine minutes to complete the journey, the cost being included in the hire charge, which runs from £150 per hour. The centre offers one main hall of 206 square metres, accommodating up to 150 delegates and with a high ceiling and a floor to ceiling window with views over the sea. There is also a small boardroom accommodating 40 and a very small kitchen area. Organisers of large events requiring lunches or dinners will need to plan for food to be brought from the pierhead, on the trains.

The centre is licensed for alcohol consumption between midday and 10.00 pm and a sound system and 6m x 3m stage are available.

Tel. 01702 618747 email vic@southend.gov.uk


Grand Central Railways, which started running from Kings Cross to Sunderland in late 2007 offer advance purchase single tickets from £12, less any applicable railcard discounts.

There are four or five trains a day in each direction and the route runs via York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Eaglescliffe, and Hartlepool.



Meanwhile those who cannot take advantage of advance purchase single tickets continue to be lucrative revenue fodder.

One politician this category usually includes is Earl Atlee, who recently decided not to be milked on one of the rail firm's rip-off routes and cancelled a return trip from London to Birmingham when he found out it was going to cost him £158, saying it was "too expensive" (Aint it the truth?)

As readers may be aware Atlee is a Conservative transport spokesman, so he should know....


One unusual option for entertainment we've seen is Kennedy, a 28 year-old from Newcastle who has a mind reading act.

Used by such as Mars, PC World and Mensa, Kennedy forecasts playing cards, shapes, colours and places thought of by members of his audience, and the fun bit is trying to work out how he does it, Those who play poker, however, will know that part of the answer is the reading of "tells". the tiny involuntary signals that players give out that betray their hands. But the rest of it........?



The Confex exhibition at ExCel in faraway Docklands. March 19 - 21st has a couple of co-located events at the venue that organisers might want to know about, perhaps to make it worth the trek.

o On the same dates is the Live Experience Expo featuring event production, technology and innovations and run by the Confex organisers. www.liveexperienceexpo.co.uk

o On March 20th is The Unusual Made Easy Showcase for the Lime Venue Portfolio of venues - see www.limevenueportfolio.com This takes place in South Galleries 23 - 26, 3.30 - 7.00pm



Most amusing, it was to note the absence of Mash Media's Conference News editor, Paul Colston from the panel session How to Get Your Organisation in Print, staged at the recent exhibition for charities and associations, CHASE.

Colston, who promotes himself in his publication as an "sector personality" had originally agreed to speak at the session at which an editor from Haymarket's Third Sector charity publication and Old Grit were also subsequently booked. However the presence of the latter did not suit Mash Media and Colston, on behalf of his employer, demanded that OG be removed, on the grounds that his employer did not like anything OG wrote, nor the way he wrote it. (see email to Mash Media's CEO, Julian Agostini, published in the February issue of Event Organiser's Update, and so far unanswered)

Fortunately, for fair play if nothing else , Mash Media's stupid and childish demand was refused by the organiser, Michael Webb who, like OG, edits a number of emailed industry newsletters, and who then took Colston's place on the panel when Colston failed to show up for the 60 or so delegates attending.

Toys out of the pram time at Mash Media was it, Paul and Julian?


It was sad to read of the two gay young men from Manchester who had booked a double-bedded room at the Thistle City Barbican hotel.

Arriving after 11.00pm to check in they were told that there were only twin-bedded rooms available and then allegedly asked repeatedly and in a "homophobic manner" by the male receptionist if they were sure they didn't want twin beds. On complaining to the hotel, and discreetly whispering their story to the press the couple, 22 year old Nick Hurley and 28 year old Gavin Maclean were offered two free nights at any UK Thistle hotel, to compensate for the way they felt they had been treated.

Of course it could be argued that there is no way to ask two gay men looking forward to snuggling up together in a nice warm double bed for the night if they are sure they dont want twin beds without sounding homophobic, or at least a tad disingenuous And it is possible the hotel could have diplomatically poured oil over troubled waters by extolling the virtues of two singles pushed together, namely that after a good cuddle or whatever, hopefully without one or both men falling down the gap in the middle, the pair could then turn over and get a decent night's sleep in their own spaces, with the independent springing of the two beds ensuring that one of them could be tossing and turning all night without disturbing the other, a non-discriminatory aspect that would apply to heterosexual couples too.

That's the way to do it?



o To the Retro Italian restaurant at the Best Western Roker hotel, located on the seafront at Roker, a couple of miles north of Sunderland, and holding up to 130.

This has the decor and atmosphere of someone's living room and some authentic food and charming Italian staff to go with it. Old Gannet feasted on some rich and tasty duck liver and green peppercorn terrine with tangy beetroot and horseradish chutney (£5.95) but could have equally enjoyed the meatballs, pork ribs, mussels or the mix of garlic king prawns, scallops and calamari (£7.95) included in the list of 16 hot and cold starters.

Choosing a main from a list of 13 pastas, 12 stone-baked pizzas, and 22 other steak, chicken and fish dishes was a tough call but the chef's speciality pasta of lobster ravioli with cherry tomatoes, spinach and king prawns in a creamy tomato sauce (£12. 45) won the day, if not the waistline, and left no room for the delicious sounding choice of 14 desserts, including some speciality ice-creams such as cinder toffee and caramel, and blueberry flavours.(£3.95)

Tel: 0191 567 1786 www.tavistockleisure.com


o More good food at a Best Western venue was enjoyed recently at the Best Western Kilima hotel in Holgate Road, York, a former rectory and around a 15 minute brisk walk from the railway station.

Included in the list of 9 starters were three that OG was allowed to have a small portion of each - some moules in a cream, white wine and herb sauce ( £6.25 and that just cried out for crusty bread for dipping and a spoon to drink it with afterwards), some fiery tiger prawns with chilli and garlic (£7.95) and some of the seriously good "queenie" scallops popular on the Isle of Man and served here with garlic butter and melting cheese.(£6.95)

Main from a list of 8 was a soft and tender 10-ounze rib-eye steak with a pepper sauce and served with tomato, onion rings, mushroom and thick hand-cut chips (£19.95). According to another diner the pink-cooked roast breast of duck with braised red cabbage and a plum and ginger sauce (£17.25)had been an excellent choice the night before, as was the slow-cooked pork shoulder with winter greens, caramelised apples and cider sauce (£14.95) she was enjoying.

Tel: 01904 625787 www.kilima.co.uk


o For those foodies who just want a break from all the rich and expensive food Old Gannet can heartily recommend the Angel Inn.

It's not actually an inn at all but a rather good caff situated at 420 St John Street, Islington, near the Angel and opposite the rather more pricey Jamies Italian. A speciality is the gourmet-favourite ADB, or All Day Breakfast, with four variations at £4.90 and whilst visiting an exhibition at the nearby Business Design Centre OG tucked into one of them for a lunch comprising two fried eggs over-easy (that tasted free-range), baked beans for lubrication, sizzling mushrooms straight out of the pan and bubble, the pan-fried mashed potato and cabbage "bubble and squeak" that used to be a good way of frying up leftovers but now a dish in its own right. This all came with two full slices of toast to put the eggs, beans and mushrooms on and a mug of coffee. Costed out at individual prices on the menu it should have been £6.20, so a bargain any time.

For a really big scoff there is the mixed grill of burger, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans and chips at £6.50, and for offal lovers the liver, bacon, onions, potatoes and two veg at £5.50. Those with smaller appetites can enjoy a baked potato priced from £2.30 - £4.50 and with substantial fillings including curry, bolognese and coronation chicken, while those counting calories can feast on desserts at £2.50 each including jan roly-poly or spotted dick and custard, or apple pie and ice cream , and count quite a few.

Mugs of tea are 80 pence, coffee £1.00 and posh coffee like across the road is £1.70

0207 837 7946



Please complete this survey if you have attended, in 2013, an "educational" seminar at an exhibition, or session at a conference that turned out to be a sales pitch, and you feel that others should be warned.

Click here to take our survey: STOP THE SALES PITCHES



o The Society is now in a position to let out its offices at 29a Market Square, Biggleswade, Beds, SG18 8AQ for any tenancy period up to 80 years.

There is one large office on the first floor of around 350 square feet and suitable for 6-8, available from around £300 per month. On the second floor are two offices, suitable for 2/3 people in each, a storeroom area (which could accomodate 1/2 people) and a bathroom/toilet, totalling around 350 square feet, and available from around £250 per month for the whole space. (or could be split)

Please call Peter Cotterell on 01767 312986, or email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk to arrange a viewing

o The Society of Event Organisers now has 764 members, representing corporate, association and charity organisations, as well as event venues and suppliers. Most are based in the UK.

o Member offer

A special 20% discount is offered for 2013 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



Much celebratory champagne is drunk at corporate hospitality events as significant percentages of bovine DNA are found in Sodexo beef products..........In a landmark legal action in the USA a hotel group is successfully sued for $50 million after a gay receptionist asked two lawyers, a husband and wife checking in, if they were sure they didn't want breakfast in bed "in a heterophobic manner"..........Paul Colston, editor of Conference News explains why he likes to promote himself as an "sector personality" in his magazine, and why he failed to turn up for an industry panel session that he'd agreed to do, and promoted himself as doing..........and much, much more.............



Text only ANNOUNCEMENTS can be run once for new products, new venues, venue refurbishments, new packages, organiser's trips, and industry showcases, receptions, seminars, conferences and exhibitions likely to be of high interest to event organisers.

Sizes, when printed out on an A4 page, and prices of ANNOUNCEMENT boxes available are:

One fifth page, 45mm x 170mm £200
One quarter page, 60mm x 170mm £250
One third page, 85mm x 170mm £325
One half page, 120mm x 170mm £400

To book email peter.cotterell@eou.org.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



This is published in every issue of Event Organisers Update and the cost to suppliers, based on a headline, forty words of text and contact details, is £95 for one year (twelve issues) or £65 for 6 months (six issues) Costs are being kept low to encourage small suppliers to participate.

If, as an organiser you know of any good suppliers you feel other organisers should know about please forward this issue on to them, or refer them to the SEO website at www.seoevent.co.uk




Located in London and Birmingham, Computec AV cater for all your rental requirements. Equipment available includes LCD/Plasma screens, PA systems, Projection Equipment and Lighting. Also in-house we have our Set Creation company specialising in staging, bespoke set design and build. Tel 020 8807 2002, Fax 020 8807 3818, email: sales@computecgroup.com Web: www.computecgroup.com


Quality event catering services for private & corporate functions using the finest ingredients in delicious & creative menus that can be tailored for any occasion, taste & budget. We work with quality venues in & around Warwickshire, inc. Compton Verney. Telephone: 01926 311208 Enquire in-store at Aubrey Allen, 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa ,CV34 5DB Email: events@aubreyallen.co.uk Visit our website: www.aubreyallenevents.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) running in Central London three times a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit 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 www.sg7.biz

Mocha offer a complete film and motion design service to corporate, association and charity event organisers, venues and others in the event sector. Mocha also offer a 10% discount to readers of this publication and visitors to www.seoevent.co.uk - just quote "SEO". Tel: 0151 706 0761 email: hq@mocha.tv Web: www.mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos


Association News
For all those who associate. www.associationnews.org.uk

Charity Matters
For those working in charities. www.ezinematters.com

Marketing Matters
For those working in marketing. www.ezinematters.com


LCI offers conferencing with an ethical edge in Leeds City Centre. Five Rooms (Max 90 people) with Smartboards, loop systems, WIFI. Disabled access. LCI supports community/voluntary groups by offering significant discounts. Very close to railway & bus stations. Contact Moira or Wendy on 0113 245 4700 or email conferencing@leedschurchinstitute.org


Our pleasant boardroom is available for full or half day meetings. It seats 14 people, boardroom-style, or can be arranged to suit your needs. Catering and equipment is available on request. We are conveniently located just off City Road. Call Claire/Nora on 0207 324 0750; fax 0207 324 0760; email: enquiries@keyring.org; address: 27, Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR

The classical regency terrace at Park Crescent, near Regents Park includes number 16, which offers seven beautifully appointed meetings rooms, all with natural light and modern facilities, for up to 60 delegates, and a dedicated team to ensure event success. Tel. 020 7612 7070, Fax. 020 7612 7078, email. enquiries@16parkcrescent.co.uk visit www.16parkcrescent.co.uk .


The 100-bedroom,three-star Enterprise Hotel is located in Kensington, close to Earls Court tube and offers the Earls Suite for 100 delegates, which is divisible. Contact us for a tour, with an Asian or European lunch in our 15/25 Restaurant. Contact Kripen Dhrona 020 7373 4502, email info@enterprisehotel.co.uk visit www.enterprisehotel.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) running in Central London once a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit www.seoevent.co.uk

Edited and distributed by:

Society of Event Organisers
29a Market Square, Biggleswade, Beds. SG18 8AQ
Tel: +44(0)1767 312986

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