SO GET GOING
The current low value of sterling against the euro and the dollar has opened up some interesting business opportunities, for those who can take them.
It means that anyone buying in euros is finding UK goods and services more than 20% cheaper, and those with dollars to spend are finding our prices more than 30% cheaper.
Already inbound tour operators, UK attractions and UK restaurants and hotels are reporting bumper business uplift as a result, and this can only help event organisers looking to attract overseas delegates, although it wont help UK organisers running UK events aimed at UK paying delegates who will be finding their venues, especially in expensive London, less likely to drop prices when business is so good. (Why should they?)
For organisers who can put together attractive products, such as commercial conferences and seminars run in the UK, priced in sterling and aimed at overseas markets there is a very profitable opportunity waiting, as there is for those selling conference and exhibition products and services overseas.
A very old but gold business axiom is "When the going gets tough the tough get going" So what are some of you out there waiting for?
TRAVEL GETTING BETTER
Those whose train journeys are made worse by strike action, delays and cancellations can now claim back 25% of their single ticket price if their train is 15-29 minutes late.
This extends the Delay Repay scheme run by Govia Thameslink Railway - which includes the troubled Southern operator - and will be extended to the rest of the network. At present compensation of 50% of the single ticket price or 25% of the return ticket price is paid back for delays of 30 minutes to 59 minutes, with 100% of the single ticket price being paid back for delays of 1 hour or more, 50% of the return ticket price being paid back for delays of 60 minutes to 119 minutes and 100% of the return ticket price being paid back for delays of 120 minutes or more.
The compensation is paid when tickets are sent in with delay details (taking and keeping photocopies strongly advised) using the reply-paid forms available at ticket offices. The vouchers sent can either be used for future train travel or handed in for a cash refund, and they are valid for twelve months.
Meanwhile Transport for London has also improved its offer with two bus or tram journeys for £1.50 when you change within an hour, perfect for a quick coffee, lunch or shopping spree.
I'LL HAVE THE SPICY MOUSEAKA
You'd think the restaurant at the 30-bedroom boutique Sanctum Soho Hotel, near Carnaby Street was a great choice for some private dining, given its positive review in Square Meal magazine, and its inclusion in the Square Meal list of the 30 Best Private Dining Rooms.
According to Square Meal the tasty offerings found at this "all about rock and roll" themed venue include pots of mussels with pints of beer, BBQ ribs, salt beef hash, shredded duck salad and home-made profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce. (yummy)
However health inspectors who visited the kitchens and food storerooms there last year found they stank of mouse urine, with mouse droppings littering the floor and work surfaces, and an obliging mouse that cheekily jumped out at them. Staff were not properly trained in food hygiene, the kitchen had no sink for washing hands and the top chef claimed that he thought the little black pieces of mouse poo were spices.
Operators Sanctum London, and their parent company Concept Venues were both held to be culpable and fined a total of £19,500 for offences relating to hygiene, infestation, staff training and protection of the public.
The Red Hot World Buffet restaurant in the Liverpool One shopping centre has closed after inspectors discovered live mice caught in sticky traps and mouse droppings in areas where food was prepared.
The company behind the popular restaurant, Passepartouts, admitted 10 breaches of Health and Safety regulations and were fined £14,000 and £7,816 costs at Liverpool Magistrates Court. The company has since gone into administration.
Meanwhile management at the highly-regarded Shajan Indian restaurant in Clayton-le-Dale, Lancashire are suing a diner who ate at the restaurant with a group of seven others, inserted a dead shrew into a vegetable curry served to him and then posted a complaint, with a photograph of the dead rodent, on Facebook, claiming it was a dead mouse.
Hygiene inspectors were called in and they confirmed that the dead shrew had been killed in a mousetrap been placed in the dish and had not been cooked with it. Inspectors also found no evidence of rodent activity at the restaurant.
It is not known yet whether the complainant or any of the group he was with has any familial or commercial links with competitors of Shajan, as is so often the case on social media.
Those organisers who believe in learning from others might want to take a look at the Event Professionals Handbook.
This is a collection of articles by practitioners from the conference and exhibition sectors detailing their thoughts, ideas and predictions, and can be obtained in digital format free.
There have been mixed reviews about director Billy Wilder's bitter-sweet film about fading glamour in Hollywood, but those who enjoyed his Sunset Boulevard, also starring William Holden playing world-weary, will probably enjoy Fedora too.
This has Marthe Keller as the reclusive Fedora, a famous film beauty who lives in the Villa Calypso on an island off Corfu with a disabled Countess (Hildegard Knef), a doctor (Jose Ferrer), an overbearing PA (Frances Sternhagen) and a violent minder (Gottfried John). The big mystery is that the beautiful Fedora doesn't seem to be aging as the years advance, along with the mystery of why she throws herself under a train at the start of the film and the fact that always wears long white gloves that she never takes off.
All this intrigue doesn't stop a washed-up Hollywood producer (William Holden, who stars and narrates) trying to coax her out of her villa to star in a new remake of Anna Karenina and revive both their careers, something that Fedora wants to do but that clearly goes against the wishes of her protective entourage. At her funeral the whole sad story of her life is told in a series of flashbacks and feature Michael York, who she falls in love with, playing himself, and Henry Fonda in a cameo as the President of the Academy who gives her a career achievement award.
Fedora was released at the end of last month in a dual format edition by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema series, and includes deleted scenes, and a booklet with two new essays
OLD GRITS DIARY
Old Grit is always pleased to hear of clever young things getting terribly difficult degrees in event management at our top universities and getting all set for success in our glorious events industry, and certainly the recent case of one thrusting and entrepreneurial 22 year old young lady, Poppy Murray, is not to be snorted at.
Poppy works for the event team at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, as well as running a catering business, while she completes her studies in events management at Manchester Metropolitan University. Sadly a little matter of a lucrative sideline cleverly helping her brother Joel, 19, supply cocaine to delegates at events she attended, as well as needy students came to the attention of the authorities after a police raid on the family house in 2014.
This resulted in Joel getting seven years for drug dealing. Poppy just got a 12 months jail sentence, suspended for 18 months and 80 hours of unpaid work after her defence counsel claimed that she was "a very clever, ambitious and driven young lady" and that a spell in jail "would do nothing but blight a very bright career" in the events industry.
Quite right. We need all the top talent we can get, especially young, clever, ambitious and driven ones, don't we?
Aintcha sick of it yet? More emails bombard all of us urging us to vote for some industry venue, supplier or other in some naff (sorry, "prestigious") award event or other, usually with the bribe (sorry "inducement" or "incentive") of a free weekend/spa break/Air Miles/M&S vouchers in payment for our support.
Question is if votes have to be bought in this way is the product or service any good, and the votes got worth spit? And who really cares, apart from the suppliers and their PR people, anyway?
Given the infestations of sweet little rodents at a London hotel and a Liverpool restaurant, those outside the events business can surely now be forgiven for sniggering disrespectfully, as they do, when some in our industry refer to themselves as being in the MICE sector.
o Not many restaurants get an "Exceptional" for their food in the trusted Hardens UK Restaurant Survey, and a glowing review from the late Michael Winner, who died in January 2013, but Indian Zing in King Street, Hammersmith, was, for our money, definitely worth these and other numerous accolades it receives.
And it's not expensive either with an Express Lunch of four starter options, four mains and two desserts for £15, or £12 if you've only time for two courses. We lingered over our three choices and savoured our griddled fish patties with potato, pumpkin, spices and coriander cress, served with a tangy onion and tomato relish. Our main was generous portions of chicken pieces cooked dhansak style with more pumpkin, aubergine and lentils, with tamarind, dill and fenugreek. A specialty of the Mumbai Parsee community this came with equally generous portions of fluffy white rice and a potato and onion mix with added molasses syrup. Dessert was a lovely thick and creamy dairy vanilla ice cream spotted with vanilla pods and served with a piquant mango coulis. There were even little pots of mint imperials and chocolate raisins to finish.
Indian Zing opened in 2005 and in his very readable autobiography Unbelievable, published five years later, Winner republished part of his May 2010 review from his Sunday Times Winner's Dinners column, stating "This place is more than a find; it's an Aladdin's cave of taste bud enlightenment" And we're not arguing with that.
020 8876 7766 Web indian-zing.co.uk
o Food and drink exhibitions, we've found, are good places to sample what's new in the marketplace.
At this year's Specialty and Fine Food Fair, Olympia, September 4-6 we enjoyed sampling some of the award-winning Shepherds Purse Yorkshire artisan cheeses, particularly their creamy blue Mrs Bell's, Yorkshire and Harrogate blues, and for a lighter touch the Katy's White Lavender. More powerful savory tastes were found on the Spanish stand where the Burgos black pudding (morcilla) is made from an 18th century recipe and includes rice, pork lard, paprika and onion along with the pig's blood. Black pudding is also used in one of the interesting recipes suggested by the South Devon based Potted Fish Company, where their crab cakes are combined with black pudding and scallops and drizzled with raspberry conserve, just one way of using items from their range of crab, prawn, mussel and fish products. Smoked salmon from the Chesil Smokery was also a treat, where the range of smoked products includes other fish along with chicken breasts, duck breasts, grouse and venison.
On the snacks offerings one very unusual and tasty option was the new duck crackling snack from Wildings, made from duck skin and available in Peking Duck, Smoked salt and pepper and chilli and lemongrass flavours.- those who know about taste will know that the fatty skin of fowl, discarded by those counting calories, has the most and will wonder how long it will be before chicken, turkey and goose scratchings hit the market Those into beef jerky, or biltong, can enjoy the air-dried beef strips, Meat Bites, from Urban Food Fest and available in Original, Mexican Chili and Teriyaki flavours. Crisp makers Burts have some new styles, including Firecracker Lobster, Guinness Toasted Cheddar, Caribbean Coconut Curry and Hobgoblin beer, while Yumsh snacks have launched Poptang popcorn flavoured with orange and apple Tango fizzy drink.
For an impressive afternoon tea parlour trick Floratea supply a range of eight green teas tied with dried aromatic flowers and designed to be dropped into a glass of boiling water where they bloom and release their aromas - when fully bloomed the tea is ready to drink. Those preferring the tang, and effect, of alcohol can try 40% ABV Black Cow vodka made from milk whey and perhaps accompanied by the tangy Black Cow cheddar cheese made from the curds. Dappa is the UK's first grappa, made by Devon Distillery from grapeskins sourced from English vineyards and delivering a fiery 43% ABV. And ice cream flavoured with alcoholic cocktails comes from the Boozy Udders company where the range includes Margarita, (tequila, triple sec, lime or lemon juice) Jamaican Rum Punch, Chocolate Brandy Alexander, Passion Fruit Martini and Pina Colada, with Strawberry Daiquiri in the summer months and Whisky Mac Daddy and Cosmopolitan (vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice) for Christmas.
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.
Exports continue to boom as the pound continues to lose value. Europe and the USA become too expensive for most travellers, who stay at home and support UK hotels and restaurants. Made in England becomes a desirable label once more. Ambitious politicians take Scotland out of the Union, depriving the now independent country of the massive subsidies always paid. The economy collapses and English consumers book all their holidays in bargain Scotland to snap up tartan kilts for £1, top single malts for less than £10 a litre, haggis for 50p and finest wild Scotch smoked salmon for £2 a kilo... Poppy Murray lands a top job running conferences for the legal profession and tells the event trade media that she is looking forward to supplying "all my delegate's needs"... Event organisers assume that every award given has been canvassed and paid for and rate them "insignificant" in choosing suppliers... 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 email@example.com
MORE FREE NEWSLETTERS
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: computecgroup.com
o EVENT CATERING
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: email@example.com Visit our website: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org visit seoevent.co.uk
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 lemagicianilluminaire.com
o MEDIA COMPANIES
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. Tel: 01462 896679 email: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com
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 email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.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. email@example.com visit 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 23,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)
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