Event Organisers Update February-March 2018 ISSUE 161 - 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.


An undercover investigation by the Financial Times at a President's Club fundraising dinner in January at the Dorchester Hotel, London, led to allegations of hostesses being groped by some of the guests and sex workers supplied. Since the details were published the Club has wound up and some charities have refused to accept its donations.

Shortly after this it was revealed that hostesses at the February ICE Totally Gaming conference and exhibition at Excel, London were told to wear "nothing more than swimsuits" to attract buyers (presumably male) to their stands.

All this has brought on tut-tutting attacks of the moral compasses and calls in some of the event trade press to "root out sexism" from our industry, and everyone else's, but it is left unclear who can or will actually do it. Question is, should the event or exhibition organiser be responsible, and in turn their sponsors and exhibitors? Should it be any trade association behind the event? Or should it be the venue where the event is being held?



A very public row has been running since a blogger on social media asked the owner of a Dublin hotel for a free five-night stay for herself and a partner in exchange for some positive publicity on her website.

Elle Darby,22, who blogs her followers about beauty, lifestyle and travel, sent her email request to Paul Stenson, owner of the Charleville Lodge Hotel, Dublin, who turned her request down, and then obtained publicity for his hotel by publishing the request, and his rejection. Darby, who received abuse from bravely anonymous internet trolls as a result, has published a tearful video entitled "i was exposed (SO embarrassing)" and Stenson has responded by offering his customers T-shirts featuring the row.

Views on the uninspiring spat are polarised. Some feel that Darby overestimated the selling power of her blog and was accordingly naive in asking to be given an expensive five-night stay for two. As a rule most honest event industry journalists writing about hotels are offered just one or occasionally two nights to do the job. Others feel that Darby was also naive in assuming that a hotel highly star-rated for its facilities would not be cursed with poor service and/or terrible food.

However there is also the view that Stenson was gratuitously cruel in the way he rejected Darby's hopeful approach, which came across to us as just something to boost his ego, something he clearly needs.


Britain's first women only members club is set to open its doors in a townhouse at Rathbone Place, Bloomsbury, London on March 8, where facilities include meetings rooms, an exhibition area, wellness area, library and beauty bar. Annual membership is £750, founding members include Kathy Burke, Tara Fitzgerald and Naomi Harris and the founders, business women Anna Jones and Debbie Wosskow, say that the club will provide an environment for over-21's to socialise, network, debate and work out.

Men can only attend as guests, all the wines served are from all-female vineyards and all the cocktails are named after famous women. These could possibly include the delightful Queen Mary 1of England who sadistically had hundreds of male Protestants murdered by burning at the stake for their religious beliefs in the 1550's, which earned her the nickname Bloody Mary.




o Three hotel groups have been named as supplying freebies to the UK's serial acceptor of glad-handing, Westminster Council's deputy leader Robert Davis, who trousered 514 gifts, meals, tickets for events and overseas trips in a three year period.

Hilton gave him a Christmas present of six bottles of wine, Edwardian hotels gifted him Wimbledon centre court tickets and he enjoyed a Spa trip to Mallorca from Hyatt Hotels.


o Travelodge have apologised for branding a 46 year old father a paedophile when he booked a double room for himself and his 14 year old daughter at the Travelodge, Macclesfield.

Karl Pollard booked the room with his daughter Stephanie after being told by the hotel that it was the only one they had left. He needed it to visit his mother who had just been diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer, and the pair had travelled four hours from south Wales for the purpose. After they had checked in a policewoman knocked at the door to advise him that, following a tip-off from Travelodge hotel staff he was being investigated on suspicion of grooming an underage girl.

On the basis that the underage girl was his daughter Travelodge apologised "for getting it wrong" and refunded his room charge. However Cheshire police commented that they had "done the right thing" by reporting what they believed to be suspicious activity, that "thankfully turned out to be a misunderstanding".


o Blenheim Palace have apologised after organising a Chinese New Year party that was described as "shambolic", "a farce" and "embarrassingly awful" by some of the guests.

Reportedly the £25 a head bash suffered long queues at the single food truck. The palace said it was the first time they had run the event and that they had been let down by several food vendors.


A stupid decision by precious souls at the Manchester City Art Gallery to remove its famous Victorian painting of Hylas and the Nymphs so as not to offend those who might be offended by the sight of topless young ladies in an artwork has sensibly been reversed after public outcry.

The 1896 painting, by pre-Raphaelite artist John William Waterhouse, shows seven beautiful young water-nymphs, most waist-high in water in which they are trying to entice the handsome and gay Argonaut warrior Hylas to a watery grave in their lily pond, and scupper his place in the search for the golden fleece. As the story goes they succeeded since Hylas, who was sent to fetch water for the Argonaut camp presumably rose to the challenge, was never seen again, and Jason and the rest of the Argonauts sailed on without him.

The work is widely regarded as one of Waterhouse's finest.


Event show Confex has announced a Future Focus of the London based exhibition to take place in Manchester, July 4-5.

This will be at the Victoria Warehouse, a 1900's canal-side cotton storage facility located in Old Trafford, west of the city and offering a combined 4,533 square metres of space, including areas for parties and a 20-capacity cinema . There is also a hotel on site with around 30 rooms, many without windows, from £29 a night, room only.


Organisers of events for charities and associations might be interested to hear that the dedicated exhibition for the non-profit sector, CHASE, is being revived after a brief hiatus.

CHASE was founded by organiser Michael Webb, who sadly passed away in June last year (See obit. MICHAEL WEBB, Event Organisers Update, July 2017) Now consultants Hart Square and some others are bringing the show back as a one day presentation at The Brewery, London on Thursday July 5, incorporating the popular free speaker sessions and ending with a garden party.



In 1954 director and screen-writer Joseph L Mankiewicz followed up his 1950 All About Eve biting satire of Broadway with a biting and bitter-sweet satire of Hollywood, The Barefoot Contessa. The cast for All about Eve included Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm and Marilyn Monroe in an early role and received 14 Academy Award nominations, winning six, including Best Director and Best Writing Screenplay for Mankiewicz and Best Picture for the film. The Barefoot Contessa included Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner in leading roles, and Edmund O'Brien, who picked up an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his supporting role.

The Barefoot Contessa is Ava Gardner, who seriously sizzles playing the lovely and charismatic barefoot flamenco dancer Maria Vargas and who is discovered dancing in a bar in Madrid. Her funeral, after a short and ultimately tragic Hollywood career, starts the movie, which moves along in flashbacks and features a narration from a wonderfully world-weary and avuncular Bogart, playing down-on his-luck director with a heart Harry Dawes who directs her three films. Playing the nasty, rich and abusive producer Kirk Edwards, who is only interested in her earning potential is a convincing Warren Stevens, and complementing him as his sweaty, charmless, publicist Oscar Muldoon is the excellent and Oscar-winning Edmund O'Brien.

Mostly down to her trust in Dawes Maria moves to Hollywood sporting the new name of Maria D'Amata and quickly becomes the beautiful toast of Tinseltown, forging relationships with a number of unsuitable men, culminating in a marriage to a Count who tells her, on their wedding night, that he seriously loves her with all his heart, but that there are good reasons for a purely platonic relationship.

Clocking up more than two hours some critics found the film over-long by around 30 minutes but we found the snappy and cynical dialogue, the fabulous photography of Jack Cardiff and the acting qualities held our attention and made us resolve to watch it again. Certainly it's a satisfying piece of Hollywood history we'll not see the likes of again as Mankiewicz died aged 83 in 1993, Bogart aged 57 in 1957, O'Brien aged 69 in 1985, Stevens aged 92 in 2012, all died in America. Ava Gardner died aged 67 in 1990, at her London home for the last 22 years of her life, in 34 Ennismore Gardens, SW7, marked today by an English Heritage blue plaque.

The Barefoot Contessa is being released in a Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD edition on March 12 by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema Series, and included in the pack is a rarely-seen interview with director Mankiewicz and an audio commentary with film historians Julie Kirgo and David Del Valle


Good to note that tuition fees charged by our universities are now being described by our government as "unfair and poor value" and that "we now have one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world" Reportedly a major review is to take place following the greed of most of our venerable seats of learning in tripling fees because they were allowed to.

The extra money slushing in produced a large number of greedy and grossly overpaid university vice-chancellors with their feet firmly in the trough, an unsavoury aspect that has brought the unis into disrepute, hence the need for a government to act.

Could this coming change make negotiating with unis for meeting space a little easier for organisers? Meanwhile the latest uni to be criticised for over-indulging its new vice-president is Edinburgh, which is paying professor Peter Mathieson a £410,000 welcome package and throwing in a five-bedroom grace and favour home in the city centre.


Also good to note that another couple have been caught making false claims of food poisoning whilst on holiday.

Leon Roberts, 37, and Jade Muzoka, 27, both from Derby, have admitted fraud by misrepresentation after a holiday in Turkey in July 2015, and after they had posted pictures of themselves on Facebook tucking into food. In April 2017 however they made a solicitor richer by filing a claim against operators TUI that they had both been "bedridden with vomiting and diarrhoea", a claim they later discontinued.

They have yet to be sentenced but have been warned by a judge at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court that the "tsunami of false claims" from British holidaymakers was a real problem in the UK and that they may well face a custodial sentence.

Wonder if that could also apply to the solicitors living off the proceeds of fraud?


Those white-knuckle fans who love their roller-coaster rides will be thrilled to hear of the new one at Merlin's Alton Towers theme park.

This follows their 2015 crash on their Smiler ride where two young women suffered leg amputations. Merlin were fined £5 million for health and safety failures and a far bigger loss of a 25% drop in visitor numbers was reported.

The new one is Wicker Man, based on the cult horror film of the same name where a devout Christian policeman, played by Edward Woodward, is investigating the disappearance of a young girl on the fictional Hebridean island of Summerisle, which is populated by pagans who believe that sacrificing a human being (Woodward as it turns out) their crops will not fail. This they do by incarcerating the policeman in a giant figure made of branches, the Wicker Man, and setting fire to it. The Alton Towers ride runs through a wooden figure with fire effects, giving thrill-seekers a taste of what it might be like to be burnt alive.

Just the thing for a corporate event, pre-lunch?


o One place worth knowing about for its food on the quiet Suffolk coast is The Ship, an 18-bedroom pub in Dunwich.

Cuisine here is definitely of the hale and hearty and rustic style with very substantial freshly cooked breakfasts, and for a recent stay there we enjoyed porridge with honey followed by eggs any way with sweet and mild bacon, and local pork sausages from nearby Blythburgh, all served with fried bread, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed potato, and good coffee.(non-residents pay £12.50)

Dinners are equally impressive with starters including home-made soups, whitebait with home-made tartare sauce, a half-pint of shell-on prawns to peel, Tempura batter soft-shell crab with bloody mary mayo, homemade scotch eggs in three varieties and a vegetarian deep fried Brie from nearby Bungay, with home-made chilli jam and dressed leaves. Starter prices range from £6.25 - £7.50. Mains include baked free range ham from Blythburgh with free-range eggs, chunky chips and home-made pineapple relish, fish pie with cod, smoked haddock, salmon and prawns, topped with cheese-crusted mash and served with fresh vegetables, home-made minced beef and vegetable pie with red wine gravy, creamy mash and local greens, fish and chips and vegetarian butternut squash and blue cheese tart with crushed potato, local greens and balsamic glaze. Mains range from £12.95 to £15.25. Desserts include chef Colin's sticky toffee pudding, home-made treacle tart, apricot bread and butter pudding and warm chocolate and orange bakewell tart, all served with cream, custard or vanilla ice cream. Flavoured ice creams and sorbets from Suffolk Meadow are also on offer, as is a cheeseboard with creamy Norfolk Binham blue, soft and creamy Suffolk Bungay brie and a Suffolk Shipcord farmhouse style cheddar. Prices for desserts range from £5.50 - £8.25.

The tiny village of Dunwich was once a bustling port-town with 4,000 inhabitants and eight churches but, due to heavy coastal erosion is now mostly under the sea and no more, though some swear they can hear ghostly church bells ringing out, presumably after a few reassuring pints in the Ship of the excellent Adnams ales from nearby Southwold. Today visitors come for quiet stays at the Ship, long beach walks a minute away, country walks to nearby villages, and bird-watching at RSPB Minsmere. Rooms at the Ship are graded as "Good", "Best" and "Marsh View" and there are special half-price deals available in the winter months, see below.

(Note. The writer enjoyed a two-night half-price winter break at the Ship in early February, staying incognito, sharing a "Good" room with his partner and paying a total of £120 for accommodation and breakfast, plus food and drink for dinners at full price)


o Fans of Japanese cuisine, like the writer, will enjoy a new Eastbourne restaurant, Yoku Sushi, one of only two in the town.

Here there is a menu of more than a hundred dishes, with 13 different nigri sushi choices ranging from £3.20 for two pieces to £4.50, 8 choices of hosomaki rolls (6 pieces) from £3.20 to £4.20, Uramaki in-side out rolls, (8 pieces) 15 varieties from £7.50 to £12.80 and 5 options for sashimi from £3.50 to £4.20 for 3 slices and from £6.80 to £8 for 6 slices. There are 12 appetisers, including miso soup, yakitori and gyoza, from £2.60 to £6.10, 5 tempura options from £5.30 to £8.80, 5 salads from £4.80 to £8.90, and 9 temaki hand-rolls from £3.60 to £4.20 Also on offer are rice bowls, terriyaki dishes, Korean Bulgogi and Bento boxes. For the Japanese noodle fans there are 4 choices with the Soba (thin brown) noodles and 4 with the Udon (thick white) noodles, from £7.80 to 9.00, and ramen soup noodles in three varieties from £8.50 to £9.40.

Our own personal choice here was a large and very warming bowl of Spicy Kimchi Seafood Udon in soup for slurping (as they do in Japan) and we slurped happily on the spicy kimchi-flavoured broth with king prawns, salmon, squid and vegetables flavoured with garlic and hot chillies, and pronounced it the perfect dish for a cold day.(£9.80)

We'll go back for the sushi.

(Note. The writer visited incognito and paid full price for the food and drink enjoyed)


o Looking for a light lunch in Bournemouth recently we were pleased to find the Key West Bar and Grill, located 200 metres out to sea, at the end of Bournemouth's pier.

The restaurant accepts the Tastecard discount dining card so we very much enjoyed two "light bites" from the menu for our lunch, with the cheapest one free. Feeling in a fishy mood we had the mild and tasty oak-smoked salmon, from a local smoker, with guacamole, side salad and very good granary bread and butter (£10) and the Pier prawn cocktail of sweet Atlantic prawns in home-made Marie Rose sauce with mixed salad leaves and more of the excellent granary bread and butter (£8 but free with the card)

Also on offer here, as well as the great views, bracing sea-air and friendly staff is an impressive range of burgers, jacket potatoes, ciabatta and baguette sandwiches, salads, steaks, fish and chips and ice creams. The venue also hosts weddings, parties for minimum 20 and corporate events with a total capacity of 300+

(The writer visited incognito and paid for all food and drink at full price, less the Tastecard discount)


We are starting an ongoing survey of problems reported to us that organisers have with their use of speakers. Some common examples are listed on our website Please check the ones that you have experienced and add any others not on the list. No identities of anyone contributing to the survey will be revealed and speakers will not be named.

Click here to take our survey.


An event trade journalist taking a sanctimonious position against sleaze is caught in a three-in-a-bed love romp… Sales of Bloody Mary cocktails soar at a women-only club… Westminster Council's deputy leader Robert Davis reveals what favours he bestowed on Hilton, Edwardian and Hyatt hotels in return for their generous gifts… A spokesman for Manchester City Art Gallery comments "It's utterly disgusting and offensive. If you study Hylas and the Nymphs carefully and with a magnifying glass, as it's been my misfortune to have to do, you'll see at least five offensively pert little nipples"… Universities with the most over-paid vice-chancellors suffer big drops in conference business… Prison awaits a number of solicitors who have knowingly profited from fraudulent claims for food poisoning brought by British holidaymakers… The Wicker Man at Alton Towers catches fire and burns down… 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


OUT OF HOURS SUPPORT GROUP provides MEDICAL COVER and SECURITY SERVICES for the full range of events.
Based in Hampshire, but covers events across the country. Experienced staff include doctors, Emergency Nurse Practitioners & Paramedics working with vehicles equipped to NHS specification, including an ambulance, 4x4s and all-terrain quad bike. Mobile medical centre available. Reliable and versatile staff are fully screened in line with enhanced DBS requirements with separate Disclosure and Barred list check.

Out of Hours Security teams work separately or alongside the medical teams. Security staff are registered and licensed by the SIA. All staff wear visible ID at all times. Contact Leo Burdock at leo@outofhoursmedics.co.uk or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828


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 17,000 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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