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December 2013 ISSUE 111

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). 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.


Given all the latest kowtowing to the Chinese government it is clear that our politicians and business leaders are not going to let a few murdered monks, parents killed in front of their children and the brutal Chinese oppression of an entire society in Tibet stand in the way of making some money.

Our own grovelling government are urging that more schoolchildren are taught Mandarin Chinese, the better to fill their pockets in later life. And the relief shown by our gullible politicians at the exciting possibility of getting Chinese funding for the deeply uneconomic HS2 disaster that will only ever benefit those with deep pockets is repellently palpable. Don't they know the difference between an olive branch and a carrot on a stick?

Worst of all is the sick message being given to our children in all this sucking-up. Morals walk when money talks.


No-one with more than one brain cell is likely to be surprised by the allegations that the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, and other bankers have, over many years systematically filled their boots by forcing companies, specifically some hoteliers with property assets to grab, into administration in order to seize those assets on the cheap for their property divisions. It's what bankers do, isn't it?

And no-one should therefore be surprised by the pontifications of RBS ceo Stephen Hester in damage limitation mode at the London School of Economics in 2012 where he said "The current level of negative feeling is, in my view, particularly unhealthy. We need to reach a new compact with society where banks are better at balancing the interests of everyone who depends on them".

Of course, when he said this the poor chap had absolutely no idea what was going on...


The panicked Liverpool groom who staged a bomb scare at St Gearge's Hall on his wedding day to cover up the fact that he had failed to book it has been jailed for 12 months. (See Event Organisers Update, October, OLD GRIT'S DIARY, Thursday)

In a telephone call to the venue Neil McArdle, 36, told them "This is not a hoax call. There's a bomb in St George's Hall and it will go off in 45 minutes".


Those looking for big conference capacity in the centre of a major European city will want to know about the CCH - Congress Centre Hamburg.

This is uniquely located, along with the city's 87,000 square metres of exhibition halls at Hamburg Messe, in an attractive park area on the north (airport) side of the city, with its own S-Bahn station around 20 minutes (8 kilometres) train ride from the airport, and around 5 minutes from Hamburg's main Hauptbahnhof station, so getting there is easy for delegates. And there is a four-star hotel on site and 50 more hotels of 2-5 stars within 3 kilometres.

The modern CCH offers two large fixed raked seating auditoria for 3,000 and 1,500, both with the facility to fold down every other row of seats to form tables and give half the number as parliamentary seating, both with large 200+ square metre stages, both with built in facilities for simultaneous interpretation and both with advanced audio, projection and video technology, the last with the possibility of live and satellite transmissions and transmission to all rooms in the centre.

Complementing these is a hall for around 6,000 theatre style, one for around 2,000, one for around 1,100, one for 800, two for around 600, one for around 400, seven for around 250, seven for around 100 and sixteen for smaller events of 25-75, a total of 39 spaces and combinations for 24 to 6,240 delegates, so lots of possibilities. All halls can be used with classroom and banqueting style layouts - the CCH is well-known locally as hosting an annual bash when more than 1,000 sit down to a tasty treat of a whole healthy roasted pork knuckle, although more international, and perhaps less challenging dishes are also served, along with a range of vegetarian options.

Tel +49 40 3569-2241 visit cch.de


A recent press trip to Hamburg included enjoying a two-night stay in the five-star Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Four Seasons to us Brits), one of the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts collection of 65 luxury properties around the world.

The Hamburg property has an enviable central location as part of the stately backdrop on the west shore of the Binnenalster, the 44-acre (18 hectares) lake to which Hamburg's inner city owes a lot of its charm. Also contributing, on the south shore, is the nearby retail therapy centre, the Jungfersteig, Hamburg's Bond-Street-on-Sea and part of what makes the city allegedly the best in Germany for fans of shopping till dropping. And on the lake is a fountain shooting a jet of water nearly 200 feet (60 metres) into the air, and a range of relaxing boat trips, some incorporating romantic dinner cruises, on the Binnenalster and on its larger neighbouring lake, the 3 kilometre (1.8 miles) long Ausenalster, and all just outside the hotel's front entrance.

Inside are 156 bedrooms and suites, some overlooking the lake and enjoyed over the years by the likes of Sophia Loren, Placido Domingo, Aristotle Onassis and the Rolling Stones and all recently refurbished in the understated and quietly expensive classic style that reflects that of the public areas, and the spaces used for events. These are very traditional in decor, with tapestries, paintings and exposed wooden beams, and the largest space will seat 200 theatre-style, this made up of two rooms seating 160 and 70. Elsewhere there are two other rooms for 70 and two for 40 as well as specialist private dining areas for 24 and 120, although all the nine spaces can be used for this purpose, up to a maximum of 200, as can the hotel's four restaurants. (Review of three of them in our January issue) In addition, for very special private dining for small groups of up to 20 the Vier Jahreszeiten has a range of spaces around its kitchens, some with views of the chefs working - visit and viewing recommended.

Tel +49 (0)40 / 34 94 31 85 visit fairmont-hvj.de


For many there is something adventurous and romantic about travelling through the night by train, especially in the comfort of one's own sleeping compartment, but it possibly wont suit those who love their own bed and need their eight hours beauty sleep.

Courtesy of Rail Europe Event Organisers Update's intrepid editor was recently given the opportunity to experience two overnight train trips, London to Hamburg via Paris and back, around 2,000 miles, 30 hours and £400 worth, including first class on Eurostar with excellent food and drink, and single occupancy of a sleeping compartment for two. Some things he learnt about overnight train travel follow.

o Train motion lulls some folk to sleep but there were quite a few stops and starts, so some sleeping pills or alcohol might help some. It was a good idea to take a fat novel and a book of Extreme Sudoku puzzles.

o The continental breakfast served in the compartment in the mornings was very adequate and tasty, (orange juice, drinking water, large fresh roll, jam, liver pate, butter and a sweet sugar roll), and the coffee excellent. If you are a big water drinker take on your own as well. Hamburg station has some excellent take-away food outlets, for those wanting a self-catering dinner on the train.

o The sleeping compartments are well-designed and comfortable, with a sink, and good lighting for reading. Toilet and shower room is at the end of the corridor - for security lock the door behind you when leaving, remember the number and take your key. Pull the window blind down before you doze off, or suffer the curious stares of passengers at stations where the train stops.

o Beware the confusing information about train destinations on the platforms at Hamburg and check your platform number before you go down. Our Paris train, which split somewhere on route was shown as terminating somewhere in Germany, with no mention of Paris. They do need to sort this out at Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, which has a reputation for poor or non-existent information, for stress-free Rail Europe travel.

o Consider other things that can be done at transfer stations on the route. We had a day in Paris on the return leg, leaving luggage in the lockers at Gare du Nord on the morning we arrived and catching an evening train back to London, which would have cost no more. On the out leg time in London was also arranged, before boarding Eurostar.

Fares from London to Hamburg start at £157 standard class return per person, and are subject to availability. For booking call 0844 848 5848, call at the Rail Europe Travel Centre, 183, Piccadilly, London W1J 9EU or visit raileurope.co.uk


Our survey has so far pulled in two responders, both of whom commute to work via bus, train or car. One spending £3,000 a year on the commute could do 75% of their work at home, would do so if offered the chance, but feels that their employer has to stay city or town-based. The other, commuting at an annual cost of £1,200, could do 90% of their work at home, would also do so if offered and feels that their employer doesn't need to be city or town-based.

More confidential contributions from readers welcomed. See also this month's FROM OUR READERS section.

Click here to take our survey.



February 11/12 2014 Exhibition. Event Production Show, Earl's Court 2

February 13 2014 Workshop. LiveTECH, The Crystal, Royal Victoria Dock, E16



Most impressed, this lover of strong spirits was, to attend the recent annual bash of Liverpool's ACC and their partners - themed as A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY - and to receive in the Goodie Bag a full 70 cl bottle of three-year-old Skipper brand Guyanan Demerera rum from South America, at 40% ABV a jolly effective and robust winter warmer for all those who appreciate the finer things in life.

Known for being "rich, fruity and thick" - not how OG likes his women of course - Skipper's tasting notes by Masters of Malt describe it as "Treacle, butterscotch and manuka honey on the nose, with hints of espresso beans and charred oak" On the palate it's "Buttery and smooth, with notes of creme caramel, gooey toffee and custard. Lots of spice going on, particularly pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg" On the finish it has "Good length, fading away on cinnamon and ginger nut biscuits" So, not to be vandalised with cola. Happy Days, and thanks to the ACC..........


OG hears that some event organisers, if turned down for free hosted trips and hospitality staged by hotels and convention bureaux, are threatening to damage reputations by posting negative comments, anonymous of course, on social media sites. Naturally OG would welcome any documentation of such activity, for publication. It would be fun to expose some of the pathetic little trolls that give our industry a bad name.


Talking of bad names, why is London's mouthy mayor so desperate to get himself one by blaming our unequal society on the fact that many in it have low IQs, rather than unequal amounts of money, luck, connections or opportunity?. As a high IQ sort of chappie doesn't Boris have the intelligence to realise that such ill-advisedly elitist remarks can only alienate all those with lower IQs who support him? Or that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was only a piece of (brilliant) fiction?

We should be told...



o One fine dining lunch bargain, for those in the North and in the know, is to be found at Middlethorpe Hall and Spa, York, where the three-course £26.00 luncheon is on offer for £19.90 on weekdays, January to March 2014.

A sample lunch Old Gannet enjoyed there recently comprised some juicy and tasty crispy cod cheeks (the best bit of the fish, as the Japanese and other fans of fish heads have known for years) from the four starter options, the other three being tomato veloute, wild mushroom risotto with black truffle and roast chicken and leek terrine. OG could have followed this with some pan fried hake, a braised short rib of beef or a caramelised onion tart but instead chose the tender pork fillet, which came with a piece of black pudding and some meltingly tender belly pork that made it worth popping statins and earning OG's doctor the government handout.

More sinful temptation followed with a choice of coffee pannacotta, a mascarpone parfait and a chocolate truffle delice but OG wanted to try some less usual flavours of ice creams and sorbets and chose from a list that included gooseberry, passion fruit, blackberry ripple, cinnamon and popcorn.

Tel. 01904 641241 visit middlethorpe.com


o Staying in the York area OG was also impressed with the seriously good 10oz rib-eye steak (£24.00) served from the grill at The Chase in the York Marriott.

This was the perfect balance of tenderness, succulence and big beefy hit that lovers of this particular cut swoon over, cooked medium-rare to crisp the medallion of fat in the middle and served with the essential Worcester Sauce and Colmans English Mustard it was memorably, lip-smackingly good, apologies to all vegetarians. The pepper sauce, which OG refrained from pouring over it made a tasty dip for the generous heap of soft and perfectly fried fat chips.

On the menu are three other steaks - rump, sirloin and tenderloin - and five other grill options, including rump of lamb, and beef and lamb burgers. Also offered are seven starters (king scallop and crispy belly pork sounds a tasty combo), four mains, six salads, two pastas, seven desserts (warm treacle tart and clotted cream, anyone?) and seven sides.

And there's a 2 for 1 offer to Tastecard owners - see last item.

Tel. 44 (0) 1904 701 000 visit marriott.co.uk


o And staying with the Marriott group the impressive bar food enjoyed a few months back in the Bar Atrium at the five-star Marriott Champs-Elysees in Paris can, in our experience, hold its own alongside many fine dining options.

Authentically rich, cheesy and warming was a generous bowl of the famous French onion soup (£11/E13) and the solid 9oz tenderloin of organic Irish Black Angus Beef at the top end of the menu price scale (£38/E44 including one choice of side dish) tasted properly aged and marbled, and likely grass-fed. A tasty and unusual revelation at the lower end of the price scale was a side dish of gourmet fries (£6/E7) which were flavoured with truffle oil and parmesan cheese and would have also made the perfect up-market snack to team with a glass or two of good French beer or cider.

Elsewhere on the extensive bar menu are three sandwiches, four salads, fifteen mains (including the £23/E27 plat du jour daily special, often the best and most authentic choice in French restaurants) eleven oriental meze dishes and eleven dessert choices, including the ever-popular tasting plates of sample-sized desserts, served with coffee (£9.50/E11) tea (£12/E14) or champagne (£21.50/E25)

Tel. 33 (01) 53 93 55 00 visit marriott.com


o Old Gannet, like many readers, travels around the UK a fair bit and has been testing out a free trial of the Tastecard discount dining card in late October and November. So far in the six weeks to December 2 the savings have been more than £100 over 11 business meals, persuading OG to take out a subscription for 2014. It's not for everybody but if you travel and eat out then their free trial offer could be worth looking at.

Tel 0800 5677 241 visit tastecard.co.uk


Future reviews of those restaurants and hotel restaurants accepting Tastecard will be flagged up.



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



David Cameron announces mandatory won ton soup, foo yung and chop suey for all school meals, mandatory lessons on the cruel rejection of well-meaning China by nasty Tibet, free hotel rooms, food and drink, memberships to lap-dancing clubs, HS2 train travel and full diplomatic immunity for all visiting Chinese businessmen. Also zero tax for all companies with any Chinese directors or workers.......... The Royal Bank of Scotland gives all the stolen money back and compensates all the companies, including dozens of hoteliers, it forced into administration to seize assets.......... Wannabee event organisers trolling to leverage free trips and hospitality are exposed.......... Boris launches www. iloveallthethickoswhosupportme .com .......... and much, much more.........



From Paul Tarlton
Hi Peter,

Hope this finds you well. Just read your latest EOU missive (always enjoyable, including the unashamed plugs to get free meals!) and noted you are looking at the trend for remote working. I think I may have mentioned this at our last catch-up, but if not, we went "remote" over 2 years ago and have absolutely no regrets.

Apart from the frankly massive savings in time and money on offices, travel, etc., it has actually increased our capacity as a business. People in our business worry about the client impact and potential negatives from losing a prestige address and centralised facilities, but we have found the opposite to be the case. If you want a "blow by blow" (in the nicest sense) let me know.

Hope to catch up again soon…

All the best,


Editor's response
Hi Paul, and loved your email, especially the bit about "unashamed plugs to get free meals" (as if).

On the serious side I'll run it along with the responses to our working from home survey in the next issue - there could well be some readers interested in more information about your experiences.

Doesn't Old Gannet still owe you a free meal?

All best
Peter Cotterell


Reply from Paul Tarlton
Hi Peter,

Happy to help - and I never forget a free meal!

Speak soon,



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 Exhibitor Update for all those who exhibit. eou.org.uk

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

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

o Marketing Matters (MM) for those working in marketing. 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 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 409579 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 seoevent.co.uk


Specializing in cabaret shows and close up Magic for galas, charity events, weddings, & corporate events Le Magician Dean Metcalfe is a master manipulator perfector of his own spectacular close-up Magic, performances worldwide, see website for live showreels and more details visit www.lemagicianilluminaire.com


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 web: 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 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. associationnews.org.uk

Charity Matters
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com

Marketing Matters
For those working in marketing. 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 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 seoevent.co.uk

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Society of Event Organisers
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