Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.

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Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). It incorporates Meetings File and is edited to higher standards than the inadequate ones laid down by the self-regulatory Press Complaints Commission (PCC)

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ISSUE 72 April 09

Note: As a matter of policy Event Organisers Update does not carry any 0870 telephone numbers in entries for the news or announcements section of EOU. This is because these numbers operate as covert premium rate lines – misleadingly called “national rate” by BT and others that sell them – and are charged at five or more times the current normal cost to dial a normal geographical UK number.

Readers are advised to visit www.saynoto0870.com for more information about this customer-unfriendly scam, and to ask all suppliers and potential suppliers to provide a normal number.

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.

To sign up for free membership go to www.seoevent.co.uk



Expomedia Group, which owns and runs event venues across Europe, and half of events publisher Mash Media, has gone into receivership with a shortfall of £13.3 million.

The group part-owned and ran the exhibition hall in Katowice Poland that collapsed at a Pigeon Fair in January 2006, killing 65 people and injuring 140.


A party organiser accused of cheating his clients has been made bankrupt by one he sued for part non-payment of the bill.

Matthew James’ company DNA Productions successfully ran extravagant events for the likes of Sir Elton John, Kevin Spacey and Stella McCartney but the party stopped after they ran an £800,000 family event at Elton John’s home for property tycoon Rafi Manoukian in December 2006 and, according to evidence presented at the High Court, were less than transparent in the charging.

James was reportedly “double dipping” in that he was charging his client a management fee and also taking substantial commissions from suppliers who were told to mark the bills up to cover the backhander. Manoukian was alerted to this when he was sent, in error, by DNA a list of the real costs and he refused to pay over £200,000, also citing unhappiness at some aspects of DNA’s service for the non-payment.

James sued, and lost his case after the extent of the fiddling came out in court, with James and a former employee admitting that DNA had a policy of concealing the suppliers’ backhanders from all their clients. One e-mail from DNA to a supplier read: “When you do quote could you also just include 10% commission to us hidden in the quote? We have to show the client all our invoices which is why we need the written quote and also the commission included”.

Ordered to pay Manoukian £100,000 DNA went into voluntary liquidation in June 2008 with a shortfall of £512,187. Manoukian then counterclaimed his £450,000 legal bill as well as the £100,000 awarded by the court. On Monday 2 March this year the court made James personally bankrupt, following an application by Manoukian.

James has always been highly regarded in the events sector winning trophies for his efforts from the Incentive Travel and Meetings Association (ITMA, now Eventia) and attracting lots of positive coverage in Haymarket’s RSVP magazine, now Event.

(Sources: The Observer, Evening Standard).


The phoenix audiovisual company, Presentation Services London Ltd (PSLL) incorporated seven weeks before Presentation Services Ltd (PSL) went into a “pre-pack” administration, has now itself been put into administration on March 10, (See DOWN, AND BACK UP FOR PSL, Event Organisers Update, Issue 70, December 08).

The PSL/PSLL administrations have prompted other AV companies in competition with them to offer to honour any orders placed by organisers with PSL/PSLL at the prices agreed.

PSL were the “official” suppliers of AV Services to the Confex event industry exhibition. A percentage of the turnover of PSLL was supposed to be returned to pay PSL creditors under the agreement made by administrators Tenon Recovery.


Lack of business forced restaurateur Anthony Worral Thomson’s AWT restaurant and gastropub business into administration in February with reported debts of £10.5 million.

The company ran the Greyhound and the Lamb Inn at Henley, the Notting Grill in West London and the Barnes Grill in South West London (The Appointment).

Two other AWT restaurants, the Windsor Grill in Berkshire and the Kew Grill in London have been bailed out with the chef’s personal savings as has a delicatessen the Windsor Larder.

Worral-Thompson’s business partner and fellow director at AWT is exhibition organiser Tim Etchells who had to cancel a new restaurant show A La Carte a few years back due to lack of sufficient exhibitor interest, the same thing that happened to Etchells’ RSVP event on its first outing.

RSVP was recently sold by Etchells to a rather iffy Australian company, Exhibition and Trade Fairs (UK) Ltd.


One nightmare for caterers, a peanut allergy emergency, looks like becoming just a bad memory.

Doctors at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge have cured four children of the life threatening condition by feeding them tiny but increasing amounts of peanut flour every day until they could eat 10 or more whole peanuts a day without a reaction.

Previously the children could have suffered fatal anaphylactic shock from just a trace amount of the nuts. The same reaction occurs in those severely sensitive to wasp or bee stings and kills 10-20 people a year. Sufferers carry an epi-pen to inject themselves with adrenaline in the event of emergencies.


A De Vere group hotel has picked up a bad review in the Daily Telegraph.

According to hotel reviewer Fiona Duncan the four-star (formerly five-star) De Vere Grand Harbour hotel in Southampton has two-star bedrooms “with all the hallmarks of a hotel that’s coasting” with “limp sheets and towels, no bathrobes, stingy toiletries, a completely empty minibar, missing internet cable, dust behind desks and tables, and someone’s notepad by the bed”. Also only meriting two stars out of five was the cuisine which Duncan said was “boring, limited and not terribly nice” with a menu “peppered with hopeless spelling mistakes and laughable wine descriptions”. Staff got three out of five stars for being friendly and helpful though “a receptionist who says ‘cool’ the whole time” is hardly “suited to a premier property”.

Other De Vere properties are The Grand in Brighton, the Cameron House at Loch Lomond, the Carden Park, Chester, Belton Woods, Grantham, Herons Reach, Blackpool, Dunston Hall, Norwich, Mottram Hall, Prestbury, Oulton Hall, Leeds, the Royal Bath in Bournemouth, University Arms in Cambridge and Slaley Hall in Northumberland. The Grand Harbour has 173 bedrooms and eight meetings rooms for up to 500.



The new Business Travel Market exhibition takes place at Excel, London June 17/18.

It features, as well as exhibitors, a number of free conference sessions and an appointments system, and is organised by Paul Robin, formerly the director of the Business Travel Show (BTS) for Centaur Publications.

According to the Financial Times a survey of buyers at the BTS show showed that only 20% claimed the current recession would have no impact on their operations, and 40% were booking executives into cheaper hotel accommodation and 18% were requiring them to ditch taxis in London and use public transport instead.

Also reported was a survey amongst international members of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives which indicated a cut of up to £80 billion (20%) in the annual amount spent on business travel.



One central London hotel likely to be popular with groups that enjoy their food is the four star Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes hotel at the top end of Baker Street, a few minutes from Oxford Street shops. The Sherlock’s Grill there has an AA Rosette for its cuisine.

Bedrooms (119) are priced from £95 and are traditional style with modern bathrooms.

Included are executive rooms, studios and loft suites with enhanced facilities. There are four meetings rooms with capacities from around 30 to 70 and three boardrooms from 10-22. Most can be used for private dining for 10-60. There is a gym, sauna, steamroom and beauty treatment room, and a lively bar.

Tel: 0207 486 6161
Fax: 0207 958 5211
e-mail: ppshres@pphe.com
Visit: www.sherlockholmeshotel.com.

Note: See SEO news section for special members offer.


One good thing about Gordon Ramsay, thinks Old Gannet, is that he can turn out some good food at a keen price.

OK, so his TV efforts contain a lot of ham, his bad language lets the country down, his financial affairs are a well-documented mess, he reportedly enjoys an away game of hide the sausage and he tells porkies about his football exploits, but hey, no-one’s perfect.

So to one of his more recent efforts, the York and Albany in Camden Town where to speak as he finds Old Gannet enjoyed a jolly good set lunch for £18, reportedly cooked by Ramsay’s protégé Angela Hartnett. After a rather tasty and smooth amuse-bouche of aubergine relish with crusty bread, a starter of Scottish salmon with beetroot, horseradish and cucumber made a nice tart combination.

This was followed by a generous, lean and meltingly tender portion of loin of lamb, with spinach and puy lentils and dessert finished it all off with a sweet apple tatin which Old Gannet could have had with praline ice cream but had with, on request, a slice of decent farmhouse cheddar from the adjacent deli which is part of the package there. Oh, and they didn’t quibble about serving tap water.

Overall, it seemed this would be a good place to do some non-extravagant entertaining for up to 50. and the York and Albany also offers 10 rooms and suites priced from around £175 a night as well as two meetings rooms for 24/40.

Tel: (Restaurant) 0207 388 3344
Tel: (Bedrooms) 0207 387 5700
e-mail: y&a@gordonramsay.com
Visit: www.gordonramsay.com


One surprise entry in the Harden’s Good Cheap Eats in London guide is the Min Jiang oriental restaurant at the Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street.

This opened in September last year on the 10th floor with panoramic views over the area and has won 3 AA Rosettes for its food. The cheap eat option is the top quality lunch time dim sum which are £3.90 - £6.50 a portion and limited to around 20 dishes. On this basis a light lunch of 3 will cost around £15 and not spoil the appetite for a pre theatre dinner, and a more substantial meal of 5 will cost around £25 plus drinks.

For the location, the ambience and the view this could be a good choice for a business event. The restaurant holds 180 and there is a private dining area, without a view, for 24.

Tel: 0207 361 1958.


One very different addition to Durham’s growing bedroom stock, perhaps for special occasions, and special guests is the new five star rated Fallen Angel Restaurant With Rooms, which opened on the east side of town last September after a £2 million refurbishment.

This offers ten themed bedrooms, an antidote to modern chain hotel boxes which include:
· The Premiere with one wall covered by a cinema screen, a Rolls Royce for an alternative and intimate viewing possibility on the back seat, a popcorn machine and an outside hot tub.

o The Russian Bride, a penthouse bridal suite with lounge, spa bath and sauna.

o The Cruella, the divinely decadent option with black velvet furnishings, a sleigh bed, private steam room and sauna.

o For train fans the Edwardian Express has railway memorabilia and a bathroom in a railway carriage.

o Other themed rooms include the Boudoir, Sci-Fi, Garden Room, Cruise, Library and New York, complete with fully fitted kitchen, jukebox and bucking bronco.

Prices (rack rate) run from £150 - £300 night with substantial discounts around 40/50% available on internet sites, and on selected dates.

Those wanting to pay a reasonable rate for more contemporary luxury should check out the self-catering option at Durham City Apartment at Freeman’s Quay. This penthouse apartment, popular with the corporate market, is located in the centre of modern Durham adjacent to theatre, cinema, restaurants, bars, library and swimming pool with Old Durham market square very close and overlooking the river Wear. It offers two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a lounge area with digital TV, Sky, DVD/CD player and internet access and a fully fitted kitchen, with cooker hob, microwave, fridge, freezer and dishwasher.

The rate, midweek often drops from £120 to £95 a night for two nights minimum stay, price including two days parking in the adjacent city centre car park. Also included are towels, linen and a welcome pack of milk, tea, coffee, bread and preserves, and the apartment could be used for small meetings/interviews.

Fallen Angel Restaurant with Rooms:
Tel: 0191 384 1037

Durham City Apartment:
Tel: 0191 371 9060


The Academic Venue Show takes place on Wednesday May 13 at Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium London featuring around 40 exhibitors.

Also featured are three free speaker presentations on event subjects, some food sampling and tours of the ground.



o Venue member the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel in Baker Street, London offers SEO organiser members a 50% discount on all a la carte dishes for lunch or dinner in the AA Rosette Sherlock Holmes restaurant. Offer based on minimum two courses per person, one of which must be a main course, and finishes November 22, 2009.

Starters run from £7.95 to £10.25, mains from £14.95 to £23.95 and desserts from £5.50 to £7.50. So a two course meal with the SEO discount would average out around £14 and a three course at around £18.

Reservation essential on 0207 958 5201 or e-mail bmeca@pphe.com.

o The SEO now has more than 200 members, UK and overseas including organisers, event management companies, venues, tourist boards and convention bureaux.

o Supplier members of the SEO (venues, destinations, service and product suppliers) are invited to make an offer to SEO organiser members, to be featured once in this section.

Details to the SEO.


Chris Owen

A good read.

Well done.

Chris Owen
Royal Armouries (International) plc.



Old Grit is pleased to report that long suffering victims of the mess that is London’s Circle Line could get a much needed better service in plans to extend it.

These involve making it a lasso shape with an extension to Hammersmith – the bit from Edgware Road currently served by the Hammersmith and City. Frequencies of trains are to be doubled and the only downside is that all passengers currently passing through Edgware Road will have to change there.

Meanwhile American Tube boss Tim o Toole, whose salary for his success is a modest £450,000 a year, is quitting his post next month after six years to return to the USA. O’Toole was highly regarded by some, and regarded as weak by others, like Old Grit.


A press release from PR company Mason Williams on behalf of their client Radisson Edwardian caused OG to chuckle, a tad unkindly, perhaps.

This covered news of the exciting rebranding of the groups Marlborough Hotel as the new Bloomsbury Street Hotel, complete with a new conference and event suite of seven high tech spaces for up to 300 delegates.

What was not covered was one possible reason for the re-brand and that was the bad press the Marlborough attracted in April last year when an exposé Posh Hotels Undercover was televised revealing poor hygiene practices at the Marlborough and other group hotels. According to one of the catering staff there were “mice everywhere” at the Marlborough.

Still, that’s PR for you ….

(See EOU Issue 67 May/June 2008, CHEERS).


We hear that the aisles were thronging at the recent Confex exhibition.

Reportedly though it was with a noticeable increase in visitors of all ages carrying their CV’s presumably to discuss job prospects with all the lucky exhibitors.

It will be interesting to see if this “Gis a job” phenomenon affects other exhibitions in other sectors as unemployment climbs towards 2 million in these troubled times.

Meanwhile also touting for work this year was a former editor of the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie, optimistically billed by the Confex organisers as an “inspirational celebrity”. This will be news to those who remember that it was under MacKenzie that Rupert Murdoch’s disreputable rag famously, erroneously and inspirationally blamed Liverpool football supporters for the tragedy at Hillsborough in 1989 that saw 96 of them crushed to death.


Matthew James reveals how much he has made from double dipping - - - - Presentation Services Ltd directors explain how pre-pack administrations work in favour of creditors - - - - Rentokil book a conference into Radisson Edwardian’s newly launched Bloomsbury Street Hotel, formerly the Marlborough - - - - Kelvin MacKenzie reveals what it is about him that is “inspirational” - - - - and much, much more - - - -



Want some fresh ideas on venues for any of your conferences, meetings or other events? Spending too much time researching venues yourself?

If so, Complete Event Solutions are here to help.

Let Complete Event Solutions inject some new ideas or take some of the strain off you. Their venue-finding service is totally free of charge and they know every venue in the UK and worldwide. They will negotiate the best rates possible at the most suitable venues.

No cost, no obligation, no drawbacks – just an ideal way to find the perfect venue – every time.

They can also provide event management, conference production, team-building, party-organising, hotel reservations and corporate hospitality.

Do check out their website www.completeeventsolutions.com or telephone 01420 561165 or e-mail info@completeeventsolutions.com for more information or for ideas for your next event.


Opened in 1912, this unique Edwardian building is situated in the heart of Westminster London, adjacent to Westminster Abbey.

It has hosted many events of national importance and eminent speakers, perhaps the most famous event being the Inaugural General Assembly of the United Nations in 1946.

Today Central Hall offers a wide variety of meeting and event spaces, from a fine wood panelled boardroom, to the Great Hall seating over 2,000 people. Fine cuisine, the latest in audio visual and technical support are offered by on site partners.

Call our dedicated events team today on 020 7222 8010.

Central Hall Westminster
Storey’s Gate
London SW1H 9NH

Tel: 020 7222 8010
Fax: 020 7222 6883
W: www.c-h-w.com
E: info@c-h-w.co.uk


As one of the largest theatre companies in London, Delfont Mackintosh Theatres own and run seven venues in London’s west end; showcasing a variety of productions such as Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables, Eurobeat, Into the Hoods, Avenue Q, Donmar & RSC Seasons and Jersey Boys!!!

With a maximum capacity of 350, we cater for the complete spectrum from corporate hospitality, auditorium buyouts, after-show parties to film shoots, product launches, AGMs, working lunches and weddings.

Our corporate hospitality packages start from as little as £65.00 per person inclusive of VAT which can be tailored to suit your needs, including meet the cast and backstage tours.

Tel: 0207 759 9669
Fax: 0207 766 2156
e-mail: louise.hassett@delmack.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers (SEO) has moved to individual free membership, which can now be taken up by organisers, suppliers and agencies in the events sector.

Members 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.

To sign up for free membership simply go to www.seoevent.co.uk

The list of events for 2009 includes:

o Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing, January and August
o Certificate in Conference Food and Beverage, June
o Certificate in Exhibiting, June
o Tutorial – How to write a press release, April and October
o Tutorial – How to be much more creative, April and October
o Certificate in Conference Organisation, March, August and November/December
o Diploma in Conference Organisation, August
o Conference – Delegate Agenda, April and October
o Conference – Training and Qualifications for Event Organisers, June
o Regular members-only Networking Forums


The Enterprise Hotel is an excellent 3 Star hotel in the heart of Kensington, close to Earls Court tube station, with 100 well appointed rooms.

The Earls Suite can accommodate 100 people or can be split, for smaller functions.

The Function Rooms offer a bright contemporary space ideal for any type of event, from conferences to parties with,
Natural Light
Street Access
Climate Control
Convenient Transport Links
Licensed for Civil Weddings
Choice of Asian and European Menus.
Visit us, and experience out great hospitality for yourself. Please call us to organise a tour with lunch and take in the ambience of our great hotel.

15-25 Hogarth Road
Tel: 020 7373 4502
Tel Int: +44 20 7373 4502
Fax: 020 7373 5115 or 020 7373 2578
Fax Int: +44 20 7373 5115 or +44 20 7373 2578
Email: info@enterprisehotel.co.uk
Web: enterprisehotel.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers (SEO) has around 400 square ft of offices to let, overlooking the market square centre of Biggleswade, Beds. The town is 45 miles from London, just off the A1 and with a regular fast train service to London (45 minutes) running on the East Coast mainline, also serving York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

The office area is on the first floor with the SEO occupying the second floor and will comfortably accommodate 4-5 workstations. It has its own kitchen and the office furniture in place is free if required.

Rent is around £4,000 p/a negotiable on length of lease taken (1-10 years available) and is payable quarterly in advance. Rates (general and water) are around £300 a quarter with electricity extra as consumed and all payable in arrears.

Contact: Peter Cotterell at 01767 316255. Fax: 01767 316430


Mocha is an award-winning creative team working with clients in the corporate, association, charity and government sectors. We use film, video, dvd and cd-Rom to create cost-effective solutions for internal and external communications, marketing, sales, public relations, promotions, tenders and bids, and from conception through filming, editing and production.

Recent projects have included filming large conferences and events, promotion of venues, video installations and corporate documentaries and films.
Contact us for an initial no obligation discussion.
Tel: 0151 706 0761 Fax: 0151 706 0762
e-mail: info@mocha.tv
Visit: www.mocha.tv


o International Event Organisers Update (IEOU) for those running events overseas. www.seoevent.co.uk

o Incentive Travel Update (ITU) for users of motivational travel. www.seoevent.co.uk

o Association News (AN) for all those who associate. www.associationnews.org.uk

o Charity Matters (CM) for those working in charities. www.ezinematters.com

o Marketing Matters (MM) for those working in marketing. www.ezinematters.com


A 150-word announcement costs from £72 in this section of Event Organisers Update (EOU) and reaches 30,000 organisers.

To download full details and a booking form visit www.seoevent.co.uk

Alternatively telephone 01767 316255 or fax 01767 316430.

Edited and distributed by:

Society of Event Organisers
29a Market Square, Biggleswade, Beds. SG18 8AQ
Tel: +44(0)1767 316255 Fax: +44(0)1767 316430

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