Event Organisers Update February 2015 ISSUE 125 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).

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Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


Campaigners opposing Germany's legal brothels are concerned that some companies there view it as just another type of corporate hospitality they can buy for their male clients.

And another fear is that some of the girls working in Germany's thousands of legal brothels there - set up with the good intentions keeping prostitution of the streets and keeping the girls safer - have been illegally trafficked from Eastern Europe and forced into prostitution, usually to repay a huge "debt" their captors say they owe for their passage. One recent thought-provoking Channel 4 TV documentary on the subject, The Mega Brothel, featured 800 German police officers raiding all five large brothels in the Paradise group and arresting a number of people, including the group's marketing manager, on suspicion of involvement in trafficking.

Apparently one cruel ploy used by the traffickers on vulnerable (poor) young girls from deprived Eastern European areas is the "lover boy" whereby the girl is befriended by one of them swearing undying love and persuaded to move out of her home to get married and live in another country. Once there her new partner lovingly forces her onto the streets, or in a brothel to work, sometimes claiming that he owes some "very bad men" a large sum of money, and that if he doesn't pay it back his family will be harmed. One girl thus treated was told "If you really love me you'll do it".

In another recent TV documentary on the Really Freeview channel, Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets, a girl trafficked from a slum suburb of Kosice in the Czech Republic to Amsterdam in Holland at the age of 17 told the reporter that her boyfriend said they would be married there and that he would take care of her parents and daughter. The same day she arrived he led her to a room where two men tore off her clothes and raped her, starting a year of rape and abuse that left her contemplating suicide before she finally escaped. Later in the programme a trafficker from Prague, who obviously and worryingly had no fear of police action against him, or any sense that what he was doing was wrong, told the reporter "I go to Slovakia and to poor Roma families, buy girls, put them in a private apartment and tell them what to do. They don’t have any option".

The documentary suggested that the traffickers were aided by the demand created by stag events which included visits to prostitutes, and the brothels, and that the participants and organisers should take some share of the blame.


Some in the events industry have been getting an email, styled as from MBL (Seminars) Ltd of Manchester advising them that they are overdue on payment for a "Season Ticket" for MBL events, and attaching an invoice demanding payment "by return".

Receiving a number of the emails, and unwilling to open the attachment the author telephoned the telephone number given and was told that the email had not come from MBL, that they had received "hundreds of telephone calls about it and that the attachment contained a virus and should not be opened.

Mind how you go on the web.



o Local residents are vociferously opposing a plan by Genting Casinos to install a 30,000 square foot, 24-hour casino, restaurant and bar on the ground and first floor of the Holiday Inn on London's Cromwell Road.

It is estimated the casino will attract 1,500 gamblers a day and residents are concerned about the quality of the people who will be using it and the impact on the neighbourhood. One told the London Evening Standard "We already have a problem with gangs, pimps and brothels, which will increase with a casino". Another, a psychotherapist commented that Kensington and Chelsea council "should take a stand against gambling" the addiction to which was worse than that to drugs or alcohol.


o Meanwhile the nearby Millennium and Gloucester Hotel has cancelled a booking originally accepted for a meeting of investors and fans of Rangers Football Club.

The hotel's management say that they have been advised that the event, where feelings were anticipated to run high, could not take place without "significant disruption to hotel guests and neighbours".


These include, according to event caterers Tapenade :

o Middle Eastern grain freekeh (pronounced fari-kah) to replace quinoa as trendy alternative to rice or couscous.

o More imaginative fillings for sliders (mini-burgers) than minced beef or chicken, such as mushrooms, fish, shellfish or duck, and with range of complementary accompaniments.

o More delegate choice with food stations, and giant utensils used to cook and serve, food stall style.

o More unusual/exciting receptacles for food, following on from chips in mini deep fat fryers etc.

o Japanese influences to continue beyond sushi.

o Items delivering a bitter taste to proliferate, though hopefully balanced with sweetness.


Organisers wanting big spaces, or lots of little ones should view Whittlebury Hall Conference, Training Centre and Hotel, located near Towcester, and the Silverstone racetrack, Northants.

Offered for residential events are 213 modern en-suite bedrooms, mostly twins and doubles, and including 10 triples, 40 club rooms, 5 disabled rooms and 5 suites. Rooms can be upgraded with coffee machines, better toiletries and a Welcome Tray with a selection of soft cookies, popcorn, toffee bon-bons, mineral waters and a half bottle of Chilean Merlot delivering black cherry and plum flavours. (£10) Our spacious Club Double sampled had a big comfortable bed with good reading lighting, a large bathroom with twin sinks, bidet and bath with shower over. Also there was effective heating, a large fan for comfort in hot weather, tea/coffee facilities, extra-fast broadband and a TV zapper with 53 buttons to play with.

The serious conference and training facilities at Whittlebury comprise a total of 55 rooms, including 33 syndicates for eight boardroom-style, a boardroom for 18, eight training suites for 80, eight for 120 and two large suites for 300 and 500, all capacities theatre-style. The largest suite, the self-contained Brooklands, is on the ground floor with a dedicated entrance, car park for 400 cars, vehicle access, stage and built in bar, kitchen and cloakroom.

Current conference rates are from £49 to £99 DDR, and from £145 to £209 for the 24-hour, all dependent on type and size of event, day of week, time of year and type of bedroom etc.

Tel 01327 857 857 Web: whittleburyhall.co.uk


The Scandic Hotel Group have five properties in the Danish capital, giving organisers more than 1,000 bedrooms and 50 meetings rooms and combinations.

The largest is the centrally-located, modern, Hotel Scandic Copenhagen with 486 bedrooms and 18 conference areas for 8-250. Also central is the very traditional and historic Scandic Palace Hotel offering 169 bedrooms and three small rooms for 16/20/70. Both hotels were sampled by the author on a recent trip to Copenhagen.

Large conference areas are also available at the modern Scandic Sydhavnen Hotel, around 3 kilometres from the centre and with 281 bedrooms and 23 conference areas for 8-350. Back in the centre is the Scandic Front Hotel on lively Nyhavn with 132 bedrooms and 3 meetings rooms for 16-60, and the Scandic Webers Hotel overlooking a main shopping street with 152 bedrooms and three small meetings rooms for 6/12/30.

The Scandic Group clearly take fire safety for their guests seriously - we found a helpful leaflet in one of the rooms we stayed in which had clear instructions on what to do in case of a fire in the hotel, printed in 14 languages, including English. All hotels should do this.

For more information about meeting in Denmark contact Ines Lebaek at Visit Denmark in London on 020 7201 3985 or email: il@visitdenmark.com


One nifty encouragement to networking we recently experienced was the electronic delegate badge system used at the Clic+ organisers conference at Robinson College, Cambridge in November.

By touching badges together until they flashed and buzzed delegates could capture information about each other, as well as about exhibitors there by touching the badge on a spot on the exhibitor's display, both for later downloading, thus saving going home with a pocketful of business cards and/or an armload of brochures.

It's the future, they say......... See more at Web: projogroup.co.uk

The next Robinson College Clic+ will be on Thursday October 1st.
Web: robinson.cam.ac.uk/conferences


Those who enjoy gritty psychological dramas will want to see The Offence (1972), a bleak and harrowing story of a detective-sergeant (Sean Connery) brutalised and damaged by the horrors of his job, and a suspect (Ian Bannen) brought in after a series of rapes of young girls, and killed during a shockingly revealing interrogation.

The film, based on the 1968 stage play This Story of Yours and directed by Sidney Lumet, did not do well at the box office, nor with most film critics, yet the acting of the two leads is superb - Bannen won a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor- and the film benefits from strong performances by Trevor Howard as the investigating officer and Vivien Merchant as Connery's long-suffering wife.

The Offence is being released in April in a Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format edition by Eureka Entertainment as part of its Masters of Cinema series.

Diary Dates

Friday Feb 20 Open Day at Cranmore Park Conference and Exhibition Centre, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands.
Tel: 0121 713 4450 Web: cranmorepark.co.uk

Wednesday March 11/Thursday March 12. Best of Britain and Ireland exhibition, NEC Birmingham.
Web: bobievent.com

Wednesday May 20 Venuemasters academic venue show. ILEC Conference Centre, Earls Court, London.
Web: venuemasters.co.uk

Tuesday July 7 - Thursday July 9 The Meetings Show. Olympia, London.
Web: themeetingsshow.com


Those wanting to promote the events sector as a credible career for young execs are getting all moist over the possibility that Channel 4 might be screening a documentary about it. (Exhibition News)

Apparently the PR aim is to "paint a picture to demonstrate the value, complexity and diversity of what our industry does" and the possible documentary is seen as "a fantastic opportunity to promote and highlight our industry, help push it forward, let the government know what we're doing and show how many jobs we support in the UK".

Let's hope, then, that Channel 4 has the same laudable aims for its proposed documentary as our industry puffers and that its researchers won’t be probing too deeply into some of the industry's less impressive aspects. Like the shameful fact that the UK events industry in one of a very few that have had to have government intervention and laws passed to force some of the exhibition venues in the sector, such as Earls Court and Olympia, to treat their customers ethically. Like the shameful fact that a manager working for the Barbican, and a manager working for contractors Giltspur were jailed for corruption. And the shameful fact that, today, the management at the O2 events venue, along with others, confiscate food carried in by customers to persuade them to buy the stuff sold in the venue.

Doesn't seem like much to be proud about.


Meanwhile another previous top venue operator of whom we in this glorious industry can all be proud, Lord Brocket, has recently recovered artworks and antique furniture worth an estimated £7 million from German hotelier Dieter Klostermann.

Brocket, 62, was jailed in 1996 for a £4.5 million insurance fraud involving his classic car collection and had to lease Brocket Hall while he was away at the expense of the taxpayer. Klostermann took out a 60-year lease on the hall and grounds in 1996 and runs it as a luxury hotel and golf complex. He also made a separate agreement to rent the antique furniture, and paintings by Van Dyck and Landseer, an agreement Brocket says was broken by Klostermann not paying the agreed rent, hence the claw back.

In June last year Brocket's representatives went to Brocket Hall, loaded up the items and drove off with them, only to be stopped by eight police cars on the A1M, after Klostermann's representatives had reported it as a burglary, and escorted (again at the expense of the taxpayer) back to Brocket Hall to put them all back.


The dreaded spellchecker-reliance syndrome strikes again, this time on the menu at The Portman Corner Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London.

Here diners are offered a range of tasty extras to "compliment" their dishes - the correct term is of course complement - and some top types are surely being startled to be offered, rather than a crudite, a raw vegetable appetiser of a "crudity". Could this be two cherry tomatoes and a carrot artfully arranged on a plate? We should be told.

Meanwhile, having eaten there twice in the last six months Old Grit can reassure worried readers that the cooking is definitely better than their spelling..........


News reaches Old Grit that, due to a most unfortunate "computer glitch" at our government's tourism agency VisitBritain, American tourists staying in Cardiff were being persuaded to take a £51 day trip to lovely Brecon Beacons National Park - with a photograph of equally lovely Skiddaw in the Lake District, 250 miles away.

The unintentioal misleading follows a similar case a few weeks back when a promotional video made by the National tourist board for Greece showed footage of Australia, even more miles away, to promote their Greek islands.

Life's a barrel of laughs in today's sophisticated tourism industry...


o Foodies finding themselves in the Sarasota area, on Florida's west coast are spoiled for choice, as we found out during a recent January holiday and business trip.

Fish and seafood are a favourite choice and one small chain, Bonefish Grill with more than ten branches in the area is good enough to get into the highly regarded Zagats guide to the best American restaurants, and a good place to feast on a range of tasty wood-grilled fish. Ubiquitous in Florida eateries is the common dolphinfish, called by its romantic Hawaiian name of mahi-mahi by marketeers anxious to distance it from dolphins to which it is unrelated. Other names are dorada, and lampuki in Malta, but whatever called it really is a good eat, up there in our view with grouper, snapper, sole, bass and bream.

Also good for seafood in Sarasota, we found, was the cavernous Crab and Fin in the expensive St Armands Circle shopping centre, which can cater for up to 200 diners and could be a good choice for groups. Early diners eating before 5.45pm get a choice of free starters and 20% off a range of mains. And seafood with a real beach atmosphere can be found at a small chain of three beach-side restaurants at nearby Anna Maria Island (The Sandbar, sampled), Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key where the grouper sandwiches and everything else tastes better in the open air, making them a top choice for weddings and social gatherings.

Back in downtown Sarasota, stuffed with restaurants, a bargain Italian meal can be bagged at Salute with orders placed by 6.00pm, where a substantial three course choice from six starters, seven mains and three desserts is billed at $19.95 (£13) For events Salute can cope with a total of 220 in four areas. Very close is Patricks on Main Street where classic American fare such as good soups - the clam chowder and French onion was personally enjoyed - burgers and sandwiches big enough to share are popular and the queue for the Monday $5 (£3.25) burger reportedly stretches around the block. Also close for American food served outside is chef-owned Mattisons City Grille, with a menu of 80+ items - including a tasty and filling meatloaf and Jack cheese sandwich with bacon, garlic mayonnaise and onions in rustic bread, best eaten with knife and fork, for $11 (£7.15). Mattisons also run an extensive-choice outside catering service from this and their two other restaurants in the area.


o Some of the more educational wine events we attend are those staged by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board and their last London presentation at the Institute of Directors featured more than 120 wineries and importers offering more than 600 wines to taste, supplemented with lots of printed information about wine in general and Austrian in particular.

Being a fan of some of the sweet dessert wines, specifically drunk chilled on their own or with a salty mature cheese or pate, we were interested in a Schilfwein (Straw Wine) made from the late-ripening Muskateller grape with picked bunches dried on beds of reeds for several months to concentrate the sugars and develop the intense raisin taste before pressing. Muskateller represents just over 1% of the total Austrian grape acreage with only 527 hectares planted - compared to the 13,518 hectares (29%) of the most popular white Gruner Veltliner grape - and the limited availability and the labour-intensive production makes it an expensive option.

One superb muskateller Straw Wine we sampled (liquid raisins balanced with the lively acidity of a good Auslese) was from the Ziniel Winery on Austria's eastern border with Hungary, also known for its Tokai sweet wines, and was likely to cost around 50 euros (around £40) for a 50 cl bottle. Ziniel are currently looking for representation in the UK so well-off sweet wine fans should hope they find it.

Those into film, and wine trivia will want to know that in the novel The Silence of the Lambs, cannibal Hannibal Lecter claims to have eaten the liver of a census taker with "fava beans and a big Amarone" that is broad beans and an intense Italian red Straw Wine, that would probably pair well with liver. When the film was made the sophisticated film-makers changed the highly-regarded vino to "a nice Chianti", this being any old glugging wine from the huge Chianti central area of Tuscany, the squat bottles of which used to be imported in their straw cradles in the 60's and hung, after drinking, from the ceilings of Italian restaurants for decoration, or turned into table lamps.


o To the new Tapas Revolution bar and restaurant at 58, Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London, that officially opens on February 24 but is having a soft opening till then and offering half-price food.

The menu offers 40+ choices, divided up into nibbles, egg dishes, Iberian ham, vegetables, fish and meats, and there is also a daily dish for £10 (£5) inclusive bread and salad featuring roast chicken on Mondays, fish stew on Tuesdays, chorizo stew on Wednesdays and paella on Thursdays.

Being a Tuesday on our visit and not being a great lover of salt codfish (baccalau) we opted for two tapas. The steamed octopus (pulpo) served on a wooden platter with new potatoes really could not have been better - it was very tender, just cooked perfectly with just the right amount of crunchy sea salt, and a bargain at the half-price of £3.62. The marinated lamb skewers (£3.50) were blackened by what seemed to be overcharging and served with a dipping sauce that also delivered a bitter taste that may well be trendy - see piece about cooking trends above - but for us overpowered the wonderful flavour that we eat lamb for.

We feel the same way about the bitter hit from excessive charring on a steak that's supposed to be how true gourmets like it. However it won’t stop us going back to the newly gentrified Bethnal Green Road to try some other selections.

Web: tapasrevolution.com


The Society of Event Organisers (SEO) is staging a public presentation of its Certificate in Conference Organisation qualification in 2015. This is a four-day course for organisers, with an examination, covering all the most important aspects of running an event and will take place in central London from Monday August 24th - Thursday August 27th 2015.

Cost per delegate, to include all tuition, documentation, lunches, teas and coffees, is £1,000, or £800 for members of the SEO. There is no VAT as the Society has de-registered.

Free sign-up to the SEO, and full details of the Certificate programme are available at seoevent.co.uk . Please email a request to peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk, or call 01767 312986, for a booking form to be sent.


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.


An organiser of stag events in Prague comments "Our trips operate to strict ethical standards with prostitutes, Our punters ask the toms if they have been trafficked and if the answer is yes they tell me they still pay them but then make an excuse and leave. You cant say fairer than that"... Genting Casinos cancel their plans for the Holiday Inn after the hotel accepts a booking from Rangers Football Club... A candid documentary about the exhibition industry puts thousands of students off applying for jobs in it. A PR executive complains "They didn't have to be so honest"... VisitBritain confuse more Americans by showing the justly-famous Annual Haggis Shoot takng place on Dartmoor, when everyone knows it really takes place in the Trossachs... 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




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 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

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

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