Event Organisers Update March 2017 ISSUE 150 - 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.


The number of hotels amongst businesses named by the government as paying employees less than the national minimum or living wage rate has risen from 4 out of 197 in August last year to 14 out of 359 this February.

This equates to nearly double the percentage caught, with the amount underpaid by the hotels rising from £10,533 last August to £87,334 this February. In August last year the hotels named, with the underpayment and the number of workers involved were:

Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley, Yorks                  £5,836.66 10 workers
Macdonalds Hotels and Resorts Ltd, West Lothian    £2,123.10  6 workers
McCleod Hotels Ltd T/A Beechwood Close Hotel, York £1,526.20 13 workers
Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa, Formby, Yorks     £1,047.00  1 worker

This February the hotels list was:

Tag Hotel Ltd T/A Aviator Hotel, Farnborough      £32,094.17 37 workers
Fallowfield Country House Hotel, Abingdon, Oxon   £19,436.88  6 workers
Faversham Arms Hotel, York                        £19,407.32 31 workers
Swan Hotel (Newby Bridge) Ltd, Ulverston           £5,674.99 14 workers
Winford Manor Hotel Ltd, Bristol                   £2,182.90  3 workers
The Stannylands Hotel (Previous Owners) Wilmslow   £1,790.61  2 workers
The Castle Hotel, Taunton                          £1,404.77  4 workers
Lanhydrock Hotel and Golf Club, Bodmin             £1,130.65  1 worker
Hogarths Hotel, Solihull                           £1,104.94  1 worker
Highbullen Hotel Golf and Country Club, Umberleigh   £907.23  8 workers
Salcombe Harbour Hotel, Salcombe                     £455.69  2 workers
Worlington Hall Country Hotel, Bury St Edmunds       £323.07  1 worker
Curran Court Hotel Ltd (Previous Owners) Larne       £282.88  3 workers
Jaguna Ltd T/A The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon      £188.59  2 workers

The government says that the hospitality sector is one of the worst offenders. Common excuses for failing to pay are using tips to top up pay, and making staff pay for their own uniforms, or Christmas party.


A former receptionist at Premier Inn, Cardiff has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years for the murder of a former girlfriend and her current boyfriend.

Andrew Saunders, 21, stabbed to death Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Simmonds, 33 , last September in a premeditated killing that featured Saunders researching sick internet sites and threatening the couple.

The Attorney General's Office is currently considering whether the sentence was unduly lenient.


Relatives of the 38 British tourists killed in the June 2015 terrorist massacre in Sousse Tunisia have claimed that Tui, the parent company of travel agent Thompson instructed its sales staff to play down the risk of terrorist attacks in the country, despite warnings from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

A coroner has obtained an internal Tui document that was published two days after the Bardo museum massacre in March 2015, when 22 European tourists were shot, which instructed Tui staff to tell customers "Tunisia remains a popular destination for us and customers are enjoying their holidays as normal".

Three months after Tui's reassuring words 38 more tourists were shot in Tunisia.


Following our piece in last month's issue about Liverpool streets, such as Penny Lane, named after slave traders, a row has broken out over a building in another UK seafaring city famous for its slave traders.

Colston Hall, a music and event venue in Bristol was named after Edward Colston, deputy governor of the Royal African Company which got very rich indeed from 1672 to 1698 transporting around 100,000 captured Africans to plantations in America and the West Indies, with thousands dying and being dumped in the sea. Colston, who also has half a dozen streets, pubs, three schools and student flats named after him, as well as a stained glass window dedicated to him in Bristol Cathedral latterly made lots of friends in Bristol with generous philanthropy. His bronze statue in the city centre has a plaque describing the slaver as "virtuous" and "wise".

Another naming row, this time in London, is over an apartment block that has been named by Wandsworth borough council after aviation pioneer Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon Roe, who was a member of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Facists. The group's gangs of yobbish Blackshirts intimidated London's Jewish community in the 1930's.

Meanwhile GeoPlace, the local government quango that oversees the official database of addresses used by councils and emergency services has warned against naming streets after individuals who may later be linked to "inappropriate activities", citing the case of DJ Jimmy Savile where hundreds of streets, footpaths and plaques had to be altered when Savile was exposed, after his death, as a child abuser. At the time of the namings paedophile Savile was proudly described by Leeds council members as "a typical Leeds lad".

The Local Government Association has defended the warning saying that it could save taxpayer's money in the future, whereas others have argued that it will stop the honouring of local heroes, such as soldiers killed doing their duty, by having streets named after them.


Those who admire our pillar of political integrity and judgement, Speaker John Bercow, might well spot him at his favourite curry house, Madhu's at the Sheraton Skyline hotel, Heathrow Airport.

Bercow opened Madhu's in 2014, and four weeks later accepted a £5,000 donation from them to his 2015 re-election fund.

Now some unkind Westminster types are saying that the arrangement is a bit smelly, and not specifically in the vindaloo sense.

As if...


The five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Knightsbridge, formerly the Hyde Park Hotel is "as tacky as a plastic Christmas tree in a spray tan salon".

This is the view of Daily Mail TV critic Christopher Stevens, who gave a one star out of five panning to C4 documentary "A Very British Hotel", claiming that the title was a hilarious misnaming on account of the fact that none of the staff shown were actually from Britain. This was, according to the GM, because "the work is too hard, the hours too long and the pay too poor to attract anyone but immigrants" Of course it wasn't because the mainly very rich middle-eastern clientele who drop huge piles of money there are well used to being served by immigrants.

Stevens also opined that the programme proved that "A chav is a chav, no matter how rich they are" and that the hotel "looks like a cheap knock-off from Taiwan".


Boasting one of the most impressive cast lists in cinema history A Man For All Seasons, the 1966 film of the final years of Sir Thomas More (1529-1535) was showered with accolades, winning six Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design.

King Henry VIII wants to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon and marry his mistress Anne Boleyn and only More stands in his way.

Directed by Fred Zinneman the virtuous and intellectual man for all seasons More is superbly played by Paul Scofield in a part that was originally offered to Richard Burton for him to turn it down. Also excellent is Robert Shaw as the corrupt and terrifying Henry VIII, for which Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole were considered and for which Shaw received a well-deserved nomination. Other notable performances are turned in by Leo McKern as the villainous Thomas Cromwell, Orson Welles as the malleable Cardinal Wolsey and John Hurt as the disgusting Richard Rich who sealed More's fate on the execution block with his perjury to win himself high and profitable office in Wales.

A Man For All Seasons was released last month by Eureka Entertainment in a Dual-format Blu-ray/DVD edition as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. The pack includes a featurette The Life of Saint Thomas More and a book with new writings on the film.


April 12-13 2017 Venue Expo EICC Edinburgh


Whilst Old Grit can appreciate the vulnerability of cyclists he does wonder if his sympathy is sometimes mis-placed.

Walking along a narrow pavement in Scarborough a few weeks back he was suddenly aware of a cyclist on the pavement trying to pass him on the road side and starting to overbalance into the road, in front of a large lorry. Fortunately for the stupid cyclist OG grabbed his handlebars and pulled him safely upright as the lorry thundered by.

And off he rode, still on the pavement, without a word of thanks.

Then last week , in Bedford, a pair of masked cyclists were doing wheelies in the road in front of cars trying to overtake them...


Fun to note that this year's Oscars award ceremony was enlivened by an error from one of the two senior officials from accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Brian Culliman and Martha Ruiz were entrusted with the tricky task of handing over the correct announcement envelopes as each winner was announced and Culliman, distracted by just having to send out an essential tweet about the ceremony managed to pass the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who then announced that movie La La Land was the winner of the Best Picture award. Problem was that movie Moonlight was the actual winner.

Cue amusing chaos, confusion and a grovelling apology from top accountants PwC for their mathematical mistake.in not accounting for all the envelopes before passing on the wrong one.


Diners at the Ibis Hotel restaurant in Luton had some extra excitement with their entrees last month courtesy of FirstGroup rail company director Michael Barker, who used the venue for some very public sex games with a woman, thought to be a prostitute.

Reportedly the woman handcuffed Barker to his chair, made "spanking gestures" with a metal ruler and groped him under the table She then freed him and the pair made "four or five" visits to the toilets together before the police were called and Barker was arrested with his hot date and handcuffed again.

Berker resigned from FirstGroup shortly afterwards and has admitted public indecency and "a terrible lack of judgment" He will be sentenced later this month.

It is not known what they had to eat


o In Harrogate recently on a Sunday we were looking forward to the Pan-Asian Sunday Brunch buffet in the Orchid restaurant at the Studley hotel, particularly as it gets such a high score for its food in our trusted Harden's restaurant guide based on diner's reviews, and less significantly is rated 7th out of 325 Harrogate restaurants on TripAdvisor.

In fairness nearly all the food we had was worth the accolades, with chicken and beef satay and salmon fillet in a creamy coconut sauce being especially memorable. The cold Thai salad was also mostly excellent, offering tasty greenlip mussels on the half shell, large juicy tiger prawns and squid, all tossed in a fish sauce. Our problem was with the squid, which after a few chews we spat out into a napkin, on account of it tasting off, and the fact that dodgy seafood can be dangerous to swallow We took another piece of squid from the salad and alerted the head waiter who took it out to the kitchen to check it and the decision came back "Nothing wrong with it. It's the fish sauce you can taste".

So we took another piece of squid from the salad, washed it to get rid of the fish sauce and sniffed it, to find it just as bad. We then gave this to the head waiter who took it to the kitchen and got the chef's final verdict "Everyone's been eating it and you're the only one who has complained".

Faced with this inescapable logic we concluded that it was all our fault for not appreciating that Rancid Squid was in fact well known as a top Thai delicacy and an acquired taste, one that we had obviously not yet been sophisticated enough to acquire.

Web: orchidrestaurant.co.uk


o Top value for carnivores, we've found, is the Rodizio Especial lunch at the Viva Brazil Brazilian Steakhouses, for £9.95 and served from 12 midday to 5pm.

These are located in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool (Londoners eat your hearts out) and we recently enjoyed the Liverpool experience where we were offered the unlimited 20-variation salad bar, which also had some hot dishes and side dishes, along with four different barbecued meats from a selection of fifteen. These included the signature cap of rump, complete with wonderful crispy fat, along with five more beef choices, leg of lamb, four chicken options, three pork choices, and Brazilian sausage. Also available is toasted garlic bread, and the wonderful barbecued pineapple with cinnamon to finish.

In the evening the Especial includes seven meats for £16.95 and the full Rodizio of all fifteen meats costs £24.95, with a lunchtime price of £14.95 Monday to Friday and £15.95 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Web: vivabrazilrestaurants.com


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.


The hotel sector explains why it has such a poor track record for underpaying staff... A spokesperson for Tui tells the press: "If we told customers the whole truth about Tunisia no-one would pay to go there"... Councils find perfectly acceptable but less permanent ways to honour local heroes than having streets or buildings named after them... At the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, Heathrow a "very fishy" mix of seafood and rice at Madhu's restaurant is dubbed the Bercow Biryani... Clients leave PWC after the top accounting firm admits "At the Oscars we just mis-counted the envelopes"... A sizzling new cocktail takes the Ibis Hotel restaurant in Luton by storm. A spokesperson confirms "FirstGroup directors are flocking in for Sex in the Toilet".... 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: 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: 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 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: 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 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 21,000 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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