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July 2014 ISSUE 118

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

PUBLISHERS ANNOUNCEMENT

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.

NEWS

HOSPITALITY WELL REPRESENTED
Three of the 25 employers named and shamed by the Government in June for illegally underpaying their staff comprise two hotels and a pub

The hotels were the New County Hotel, Perth, Scotland, a three-star, 23-bedroom boutique unit with two event spaces for up to 120 and an AA-rosetted restaurant, and the three-star 20-bedroom Bath Hotel, Reading. The pub was the nine-bedroom Wheatsheaf Inn, Crewe, Cheshire.

The naming was the result of investigations of the employers by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after members of staff called a free helpline to report that they were being underpaid, in the above cases up to a relatively modest £2,068.

One much more serious offender that HMRC has not named, and for no reason that makes any sense, is a Premier League football club, presumably offering its grounds for lucrative corporate hospitality, that made staff pay for their uniforms, made deductions for travelling time and was ordered to pay back more than £27,500. Quite why the brave soldiers at HMRC get publicly tougher with small organisations than very large and rich ones is unknown, but the existence of the gap and the strong pong of corruption around football certainly gives cynics something to speculate about.

 

BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN
Many West End theatres are not fit for purpose and urgently need refurbishment, or demolition.

This is the view of Howard Panter, CEO of the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) which owns 40 theatres in the UK, eleven in the West End, and on Broadway, New York. Panter was addressing delegates at last month's International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference, and his views follow last December's ceiling collapse at the Apollo, a Grade 2 listed theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue built in 1901, which injured 76 people of the 720 in the audience, seven seriously.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has also criticised the state of London theatres and called for the demolition of the Apollo some years ago.

 

SURGE IN WORKING FROM HOME CONTINUES
A record number of 4.2 million people - 14% of the workforce - worked away from the office in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 1.3 million since 1998, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Use of digital technology to work away from an office is fuelling the sea-change, along with increased costs of office space, soaring costs of fuel, increases in self-employment and a desire, particularly in older workers, to avoid the stress and time-wasting of the daily commute and being captive revenue-fodder for train companies.

 

A CINEMA NEAR YOU?
If you're a fan of film you'll want to know about Scalarama.

This group promote an annual September programme of films, many in the specialist category, showing at more than 100 venues around the UK.

One upcoming example, showing at the BFI on London's Southbank and others, is a 2014 restoration of the ground-breaking 1919 silent German horror film Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari. This piece of early film history was hugely influential, exploring madness with a tale of a sleazy and psychopathic fairground showman who exhibits a somnubalist in a coffin and lets him out at night to abduct and murder people. There is a satisfying final twist in the tale, but what really made it most memorably unsettling were the unnaturally jagged and angular sets in the Expressionist style, and the shrieking, jagged musical score, like fingernails scraping a blackboard and arguably copied by Hitchcock for Psycho in 1960.

scalarama.com

 

BE POLITE TO US, FROGGY
French taxi-drivers, waiters and locals need to stop being hostile, aggressive and rude to foreign tourists, or risk losing the valuable business.

This is the view of French tourism chiefs who want to see the country's 83 million tourists increase to 100 million by next year and feel the country needs to recover a sense of hospitality and shake off its well-deserved reputation for being tourist-unfriendly. Paris in particular needs to take steps to stop being regularly voted the rudest city in Europe, and should also spruce up the tatty Gare du Nord railway station, Eurostar passengers first impression of the capital, to the standard of London's new St Pancras.

 

SHAKESPEARE CENTRAL
The boutique Arden Hotel, Stratford-on-Avon, is located in the centre of town with its own car park, is opposite the Avon River and a very short step from the RSC's facilities, which can also be hired.

Offered are 45 bedrooms and suites across five categories - 5 Classic, 18 Superior, 13 De Luxe, 4 Master Suites and 5 Feature Suites - and a conference room for up to 40 theatre-style. There is also an outside terrace, a bar area and space in the attractive gardens for a marquee.

Ideal for small, exclusive meetings the Arden can also be hired on an exclusive basis, and is part of the Eden Collection of seven very individual UK hotels.

Arden tel. 01789 298682 theardenhotelstratford.com
Eden Collection tel. 0845 351 0980 edenhotelcollection.com

 

BIG AND RELAXING IN MANCHESTER
Those who like a large bedroom with a proper bath to relax in will like the fully air-conditioned four-star Renaissance Hotel in Manchester where all the bedrooms are king size on account of the building originally built as an office block, and all of the 203 bedrooms have baths, with shower options for all the busy, thrusting executive types of course.

The Renaissance has arguably the best address in the city, on the intersection of Blackfriars and lively Deansgate and also offers a range of 13 conference rooms and combinations for 40 to 400 delegates theatre-style, all conveniently located on one floor.

From our press visit here last month staff came across as genuinely friendly and helpful and organisers are given a phone app to ensure instant contact with operational staff during their events.

Tel. 0161 831 6000 RenaissanceManchester.co.uk

 

MORE BY THE AVON
Meanwhile, further down the Avon, near Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, the rustic and quirky Old Manor Hotel in a four-acre rural setting is also a popular choice for organisers looking to exclusively take over a venue for their event.

Offered in the 500 year-old manor house and outside are 21 en-suite bedrooms in a variety of styles. There are three main conference spaces - the Drawing Room for 15, the Milking Parlour Restaurant for 65 and a permanent and fully-heated Greenhouse Marquee for 85, all capacities theatre-style. There is also a walled garden and a two-acre paddock.

To hire the whole venue for one night costs £3,450, with day delegate rates from £45 per delegate and 24-hour packages from £125 per delegate

Tel 01225 777393 oldmanorhotel.com

 

REFURB IN CHESHIRE
A £1.5 million refurbishment is taking place at the Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow hotel, in Handforth, Cheshire, around ten miles from Manchester city centre and four miles from Manchester Airport.

As well as a new kitchen and lounge area, twelve new en-suite bedrooms are being added, bringing the total to 70, and re-decorations are being done to the two largest conference rooms, the Tatton Suite for up to 150 delegates and the Cheshire Suite for up to 120. There are also two smaller suites, the Alderley for up to 60 and the Bramhall for up to 50.

Day delegate rate is from £25, and the 24-hour rate from £120

Tel 01625 529211 pinewood-hotel.co.uk

DIARY DATES

September 1-2 The Venue Expo. EventCity, Manchester.
thevenueexpo.co.uk

September 17-18 Square Meal Venues and Events Live. Old Billingsgate, London.
venuesandevents.co.uk

OLD GRITS DIARY

Wednesday
Impressive to note that publishers and exhibition organisers Mash Media are tackling a seriously polarising subject in an upcoming industry debate as part of a hosted race day on September 17th, Is Free Content Worth Every Penny?

This will explore the thorny questions of whether or not trade exhibitions, and conferences presumably, are cheapening their product by giving away free content, in the form of free educational seminars, and ultimately damaging the industry in the future. Also questionable is whether the offering of free educational events to attract visitors to attend the exhibition for the benefit of the exhibitors is then undermined by web streaming the content, and giving visitors a good reason not to attend.

So will Mash be publishing the results of their interesting debate, meaning organisers will not need to spend their valuable time attending to find the valuable answers? Now there's another question..........

 

Friday
It's hard to find an industry event these days that doesn’t have a string of "media partners" supporting it, but what are they?

Well media partners are publishers that have promised positive editorial publicity for the event, and no negative publicity, in exchange for a list of exhibitors they can sell advertising and/or "advertorial" (bent editorial) to.

So should you look to the media partners of an event for an honest and independent view of whether or not the event will be worth your valuable time? Only if you truly believe in the tooth-fairy.

 

Sunday
Interested to read that flying abroad is getting even more of a challenge than normal for those who do it.

Last month the passport backlog disaster that Home Secretary Theresa May firstly claimed wasn't happening affected up to half a million people who faced, and are still facing cancelling their travel due to their passport not arriving, with no chance of any compensation from the Passport Office or their insurers. Intelligent and caring Tourism Minister Helen Grant, in Brazil on the taxpayer's expense at the time, helpfully suggested it might be a good opportunity for victims to experience the pleasures of holidaying at home.

Then there was the check-in baggage disaster, apparently a Europe-wide computer system meltdown that left travellers with no option but to fly without their baggage and hope, optimistically as it turns out, that it would be delivered to them before it was time to come home.

Now it has been reported that in terms of germs, aircraft and airports are a worse health hazard than your local doctor's surgery, with analysis of surfaces showing the worrying presence of toxic bacterial nasties and even excrement traces, giving a good reason (if you need another one) to avoid hand held McBurgers and fries and anything finger licking good.

FOODIE NEWS

o Whilst in Manchester recently we visited, incognito and paying our own bill, the Armenian Taverna in Princess Street, trading since 1968.

We really have to agree with the hundreds of contributors to the Hardens Restaurant Guide, that the Eastern-European food at this quirky and time-warped basement near the Town Hall is good, generously portioned and cheap. The Kaganbov Dolma - beef mince, onion and rice rolled and cooked in a cabbage leaf - was a satisfyingly tasty Armenian take on the stuffed cabbage leaf dishes found in a number of European cuisines and a substantial starter for £4.95, from the list of 17 This we complemented with some hot Armenian bread and a glass of Obolon Premium Ukranian lager (ABV 4.5%) Armenian beer, we were frankly told, not being popular.

Our main course choice, from a list of 14 meat and three fish was the sampler plate, Chef's Mixed Khorovac, comprising charcoal grilled lamb chops, with grilled kebabs of chicken, pork and Lulu (minced spiced lamb) served with rice and vegetables. Like most who eat here we couldn't manage a dessert, but according to a report in the Guardian the baklava are excellent, for those who like honey of course.

One last upside - the Armenian Taverna accept the Tastecard and supply dishes on a two-for-one basis, so even more savings.

Tel 0161 834 9025 armeniantarerna.co.uk

 

For simple, tasty food in a three-star hotel restaurant the dishes we were given to try at the Best Western Cresta Court hotel in Altrincham, Cheshire hit the spot.

Chicken liver pate was rich and liverish and well complemented by the sweet and tart redcurrant jelly, and the rib-eye steak as soft and juicily good as we've had anywhere similar. For us the leg of lamb needed to be cooked a tad on the rare side of pink, and preferably shoulder anyway, but all other diners around us enjoying it hugely, especially with the excellent minted gravy, proved that we were in the minority on this one. More accord came with the desserts and a sharp lemon cheesecake with a sweet raspberry coulis, and a cholesterol-busting Eton Mess made a refreshing/creamy finish for all.

Tel 0161 927 7272 cresta-court.co.uk

 

o Among the plethora of American-style restaurants that crowd London's Haymarket and jostle for the pre-theatre market is a new Vietnamise cafe at 23 called Vietcafe. It's already good value for the quality of ingredients and cooking and is a steal for those having a Tastecard that knocks 50% off on most working days. (Note. Service charge calculated before discount applied on all Tastecard offers)

Since we do we chose the most expensive dish on the menu from the short range of 22, a memorably good fried rice noodle dish with king prawns, calamari, scallop, vegetables and a good ginger hit (Pho Xao Hai San) for £12. Other classic Viet specialities cooked by the Vietnamese chef and served by two seriously friendly and helpful waitresses from Hungary are the legendary main course Pho beef or chicken soup (£9), and juicy and well-stuffed rice-paper spring rolls - Nem - with the chicken and prawn version (Nem Ga Tom) and the vegetable variety(Nem Chay) both costing £6.

Sauteed beef tenderloin in black pepper sauce, char-grilled chicken with lemongrass, and tofu in tomato sauce and spring onions are all served with salad for £10, £9, and £8 respectively, and a side of steamed rice is £2.50, egg fried rice with sweetcorn, peas and onion is £3, as is a portion of stir-fried mixed seasonal vegetables.

This one deserves to wok. Tel 0207 839 3246 vietcafe.co.uk

VENUE CRITERIA SURVEY

The SEO is carrying out an on-going survey to identify what criteria in venue selection are most important to event organisers from the corporate, association and charity sectors.

Results will be published in the Event Organisers Update, Charity Matters and Marketing Matters newsletters.

Click here to take our survey.

NEXT ISSUE

HMRC denies that it protects large companies from the adverse publicity of exposure, whilst exposing smaller firms.......... more workers see the sense in gaining three of four hours a day by not commuting to and from work.......... A spokesperson from the Union of French Waiters comments "Any one who comes over here and cals us hostile and aggressive can **** off back where they came from".......... Tourism minister Helen Grant has her passport stolen in Brazil, flies back without her luggage due to a computer cock-up at the airport and is hospitalised on arrival having picked up a very nasty tummy bug on the plane. She tells the press "I'm considering whether tourism is something I should really be encouraging people to do".......... and much, much more..........

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

 

MORE FREE NEWSLETTERS

MEMBER'S DIRECTORY

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

 

SEO SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY

o AUDIO VISUAL AND IT COMPANIES

EXHIBITIONS & LIVE EVENT AUDIO VISUAL SUPPLIER COVERING UK & EUROPE
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

o EVENT CATERING

AUBREY ALLEN
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

o EVENT TRAINING

EVENT TRAINING - WITH A QUALIFICATION
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

o MAGICIANS

TOP CLASS MAGIC AND ILLUSION ENTERTAINMENT FOR CORPORATE & PRIVATE EVENTS
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

o MEDIA COMPANIES

EMAIL MARKETING
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:IDEAS, FILM AND MOTION CONTENT THAT CONNECT
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

o NEWSLETTERS

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

o VENUES. LEEDS

CONFERENCES & MEETINGS UP TO 90 DELEGATES
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

o VENUES. LONDON. NON-RESIDENTIAL

BOARDROOM OFF CITY ROAD
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

BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE. BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS. HEART OF LONDON
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 .

o VENUE TRAINING

VENUE TRAINING, WITH A QUALIFICATION
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

Edited and distributed by:

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

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