Event Organisers Update October 2019 ISSUE 179 - 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.


Those who like to travel around our cities without their plans being disrupted by yet more deliberately damaging and potentially dangerous stunts by eco-activists will have been cheered by the recent set-backs experienced by demonstrators trying to hold innocent people who cant possibly help their cause to ransom for publicity purposes.

There was first widespread relief that our authorities finally clamped down on stupid stunts that could kill hundreds, such as flying drones above airports, and those that deliberately cause traffic jams, stopping ambulances and other emergency services from getting through. More recently there were angry and violent scenes at tube stations when activists tried to disrupt the Underground by climbing on top of tube trains, and were quickly pulled down by commuters who were furious that they were being prevented from getting to work, or getting home from work. The commuter's actions have been widely praised, even by London's mayor, Sadiq U-Turn, who only days before had ill-advisedly defended the activist's right to protest.

Celebs have been getting a kicking in some of our media for supporting the activists. These include Peter Capaldi, Jarvis Cocker, Lily Cole, Olivia Colman, Steve Coogan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Poppy Delevingne, Stephen Fry, Nick Hornby, Natalie Imbruglia, Jude Law, Daisy Lowe, Sienna Miller, Mark Rylance and Ray Winstone.

Meanwhile those running events at hotels might need to be especially vigilant. Apparently an elderly couple sat down to breakfast in mid-October at the Intercontinental Hotel, Mayfair, before walking into the lobby and setting off the fire alarms, screaming "This hotel's on fire" necessitating a full evacuation. An Oil & Money conference was taking place at the time.


The annual Which? Travel poll of UK hotel groups has placed budget brands Wetherspoons and Premier Inn at the top with a customer score of 79% each, and Britannia Hotels at the bottom, for the seventh year running, with 39%. Wetherspoons was the only hotel group to score five stars for value for money.

The survey is carried out annually with around 8,000 consumers rating the hotels they use, and other large groups doing well this year were Hilton Garden Inn with 78%, Radisson Blu Edwardian with 77%, Hilton Hampton with 74% and Holiday Inn Express with 73%. Also highly rated in a separate small groups list were Apex and Warner Leisure with 76% each and Q Hotels with 74%.

The customer score ratings for the 34 large hotel chains (minimum 31 or more hotels worldwide) were, with the number of hotels in the group bracketed : Premier Inn (2,664) 79%, Wetherspoon Hotels (63) 79%, Hilton Garden Inn (87) 78%, Radisson Blu Edwardian (60) 77%, Hilton Hampton (174) 74%, Holiday Inn Express (428) 73%, PH Principal Hayley Hotels (42) 73%, Crowne Plaza (204) 72%, Ibis Styles (80) 72%, Novotel (136) 72%, Ramada Encore (57) 72%, Marriott Renaissance Hotels (53)71%, Hilton Doubletree (222) 70%, Best Western (429) 69%, Fullers Hotels (52) 69%, Holiday Inn (422) 69%, Marriott (170) 69%, Marriott Autograph Collection (44) 68%,Radisson Blu (137) 67%, Ramada (46) 67%, Hilton (200) 66%MacDonald (79) 66%, Ibis (203) 65%, Old English Inn Hotels (49) 65%, Thistle (34) 65%, Travelodge (879) 65%, Days Inn Hotels (60) 64%, Jury's Inn (113) 64%, Radisson Park Inn (45) 64%, Copthorne (53) 63%, Mercure (217) 62%, Ibis Budget (82) 60%, Easyhotel (70) 58%, Britannia Hotels (111) 39%

Customer score ratings for 8 small and medium hotel chains.(Maximum 30 hotels worldwide) were Apex Hotels (53) 76%, Warner Leisure (183) 76%, Q Hotels (67) 74%, Hotel du Vin (60) 72%, Village Hotel Club (73) 72%, Youngs Hotels (45) 71%, Malmaison (66) 67%, Abode (52) 66%


Those looking for some extra value for their flight charges are advised to consider Premium Economy seats, particularly when booking is being made a few weeks before flying.

This, advises Elizabeth Monahan from the SeatGuru comparison site, is when the difference between Standard Economy and Premium Economy prices can be as little as 15%, rather than the normal 200-300% more.

Differences to check are seat pitch, seat width, food and drink offered and the number of luggage items carried free.


Battersea Power Station is launching some venue spaces for events in 2021.

There is a total of 70,000 square feet, or 6,503 square metres available in total, across five spaces. The largest is the Generator Hall, holding 1,400 delegates, with the next down, the Control Room A holding 250, with Art Deco interiors. There is also a terrace area with views over the banks of the Thames and a small lounge area.

Tel 0207 062 1870


The well-regarded Chancellors Hotel in Fallowfield, Manchester is to close at the end of this year, when its owners, Manchester University, will turn it into student accommodation for 64 students, with a study space and cafe. (The Business Desk)

The historic Grade 11-listed building was once the vice-chancellor's residence but was converted into a hotel in 1997 and underwent a £4 million face lift two years ago. The increasing competitiveness of the current market and the South-Manchester location have been blamed for the closure.


The Blackfriars House building, just off Deansgate in Manchester has been granted planning permission for a rooftop restaurant, garden and event space overlooking the city.

The event space will hold up to 55 people and will be available from mid-2020.


The Red Cross is to cease providing first aid at events such as festivals, marathons and concerts from March 2020.

According to CEO Michael Adamson their event first aid section has been running at a loss for some time and cost them £1.8 million this year.


This classic adventure/romance of 1951 may well be one of the most loved, starring as it does Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, voted the two greatest film legends of all time by the American Film Institute (AFI).

In addition Bogart got his only Best Actor Oscar ever for his portrayal of Charlie Allnut, the grizzled, cantankerous, gin-swilling soak at the helm of the African Queen tramp steamer, beating Marlon Brando's impressive nominated performance as the brutish, mumbling Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire That 1951 film featured Vivien Leigh as the troubled Blanche Dubois, whose performance won her a Best Actress Oscar, beating the nominated Katharine Hepburn that year for her part as the African Queen's passenger, the stiff and upright British Methodist missionary Rose Sayer.

The story begins when WW1 breaks out in September 1914 and German colonial troops invade the village of Kungdo, where Rose Sayer and her brother Samuel (Robert Morley) are missionaries, and burn it down, forcibly recruiting the natives as soldiers.. When Samuel protests he is beaten, develops a fever and dies, leaving Rose to fend for herself, with some un-Christian revenge in her heart. Visiting the village soon afterwards the good-natured Charlie helps Rose bury her brother and they set out down the river in the African Queen for safety. However Rose has no intention of letting the Germans get away with killing her brother. She learns from Charlie that the lake the river eventually runs into is patrolled by a powerful German gunboat, the Konigin Louise, which prevents any British attacks, so hatches a cleverly thought out and most un-Christian plan to convert the old tramp steamer into a kamikaze boat with home-made torpedoes, and ram the gunship on the lake, blowing it out of the water.

As Charlie points out however the lake is several hundred miles down river and there are crocodiles, violent rapids and a German fort on the bank to be negotiated. To cope with this he consults his old friend, the gin bottle, becomes drunk and insults Rose and her plan. When he wakes up with a splitting head she is vengefully pouring the last of his gin store into the river. Shortly after that they have to cope with being fired on from the German fort, followed by some seriously steep and rough rapids to ride down. With some classy tiller work from Rose, the mechanical skills of Charlie and some luck they make it through to calm water prompting them to spontaneously hug and kiss in triumph, proving that opposites really do attract and leaving them to part in embarrassment and wonder how it all happened. Thereafter they accept that they have fallen heavily for each other and work together as a willing team to make Rose's revenge a reality. Bless.

The African Queen was directed by John Huston, who had already directed Bogart in The Maltese Falcon (1941 - Huston's directorial debut), and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Key Largo, both in 1948. Shooting of the film in Uganda and the Congo over four months brought its own set of difficulties, with the cast and crew battling heat, torrential rain, invading soldier ants, bad food and water and much disease, such as malaria and dysentery. Huston and Bogart kept well throughout however due, they said, to only eating canned food such as asparagus and baked beans and refusing the water in favour of the Scotch whisky they had brought, a well-known traveller's preventative of stomach upsets. Tetotaller Kate Hepburn however caught dysentery spent much of the time feeling and being nauseous and having a bucket placed near for use between takes, which should have secured her the Oscar for her heroic professionalism.

The film's other heroine is, of course, the boat itself, now 107 years old. This started life at Lytham Shipbuilding, Lancashire in 1912 as the S/L Livingstone and was shipped out for work on Lake Albert, on the border of the Belgian Congo and Uganda, and was used to carry cargo, hunting parties, mercenaries and missionaries on voyages. After the film it had a number of owners but was bought and restored in 2011 by movie fans Suzanne and Lance Holmquist who give it an easy life chugging around the rapid-free canals of Key Largo, Florida and charging 49 dollars for a 1.5 hours cruise and 89 dollars for a 2 hour dinner cruise. So if you're ever down Key Largo way...

The African Queen is being released in a Blu-ray version by Eureka Entertainment on November 18 as part of its Masters of Cinema series and the pack includes an Audio Commentary by cinematographer Jack Cardiff, new interviews with film critic and writer Kim Newman and film historian Neil Sinyard and a 59 minute documentary, Embracing Chaos, about the making of the film.


So who can say they've never seen The Wizard of Oz (1939) and enjoyed the acting of Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion looking for courage, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow looking for a heart, Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman looking for a brain, all folowing the Yellow Brick Road and hoping the wonderful Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan) can help them? And who can forget the Wicked Witch of The West (Margaret Hamilton), the Good Witch (Billie Burke) and the diminutive Munchkins? And last but not least who can forget Dorothy Gale, the sweet, pigtailed little girl next door, played by a 17 year old girl who was once Frances Gumm, who gets caught up in all the surreal adventures and who sings like a much older angel in the song Over the Rainbow. Frances Gumm, who had been on the stage since the tender age of two and a half had, of course, changed her name five years earlier, to Judy Garland.

Judy, a new biopic featuring Renee Zellveger was released in the UK earlier this month and concentrates on the five week run Garland performed at London's Talk of the Town nightclub, now The Hippodrome, in early 1969, 30 years after her famous debut as Dorothy. Here she still thrills with Over the Rainbow, The Trolley Song and Get Happy but her consumption of amphetamines to keep her awake and sleeping pills to counter her insomnia, said to have been given to her from her teenage years by her past studio, Metro - Goldwyn - Mayer (MGM) take their toll on her reliability. Her audiences start to grow restless as she appears drunk, slurs her words, wonders whether she is performing in London, San Francisco or Chicago, and staggers when walking. Flashbacks show Garland as a wide - eyed teenager, played by Darci Shaw, terrified by studio head Louis.B.Meyer, played as a controlling bully by Richard Cordery.

Other strong support in the film comes from Jessie Buckley as Rosalyn Wilder, Garland's sensible and unflappable stage manager for her Talk of the Town run, Michael Gambon as Bernard Delfont, Rufus Sewell as the third and longest - lasting of her five husbands, Sidney Luft (m.1952: div. 1965) and Finn Wittrock as nightclub manager Mickey Deans, who married her just after the end of the Talk of the Town run, in March 1969 at Chelsea Register Office. They lived in a rented mews house in Cadogan Lane, Belgravia, where Deans found her dead in the bathroom on June 22, 1969, 12 days after her 47th birthday. The inquest found that her death was caused by an accidental overdose of barbiturates.

Back in the film Garland has just finished a rendition of Over the Rainbow, assisted by a supportive and loving audience. And the last words she utters are "You wont forget me, will you?"

Some hope...


Not all cruises go as planned, or as customers have paid for, it seems. On September 27 the Norwegian Spirit, one of the ships of the US based Norwegian Cruise Line, sailed from Southampton for a 14-night "Mystical Fjords" cruise taking in ports in France, Holland, Norway and Iceland. High winds and high seas, apparently caused by Hurricane Lorenzo, prevented safe docking in Amsterdam, and then Le Havre. Plans to sail to Iceland were also thwarted by the weather and the ship was heading to Greenock in Scotland as an alternative. This was also aborted and the ship sailed instead to Belfast, where some passengers got off and made their own way back to London, rather than stay on any longer.

Angry passengers, most of whom would have paid around £1,000 but some up to £5,000 for a luxury suite, staged noisy demonstrations to demand full refunds claiming that some of the toilets were overflowing and that due to the delays they were offered three day old food to eat. Norwegian Cruise Line has declined refunds but.has offered passengers 25% off their next cruise with the company, offer valid for two years.

Question is, what rights have passengers on cruises when unpredictably bad weather makes docking unsafe? And is it really the cruise operator's fault?


We hear that pub and hotel operator Wetherspoon is being illegally copied around the world.

A recent piece in the firm's magazine identified passers-off in Oludeniz, Turkey in 2000, Benalmadena, Andalusia, Southern Spain in 2002, Goa, India in 2003 and 2007, Tenerife, Canary Islands in 2007 and Bagan, Myanmar in 2017.

Wetherspoon's chairman Tim Martin warns that his company has no outlets outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland and that the above are all fakes.


Amusing to read that go-ahead, modern, young politician, Jacob Rees-Mogg, was enjoying a quiet drink recently with his wife Helena in the bar of the Radisson Blu hotel in Manchester when someone with an axe to grind yelled at him "You piece of s***, you've lost touch with the people".

Apparently Mrs Rees-Mogg merely turned to her startled husband and cooly remarked "What wonderful hospitality".


o Lovers of good Italian food will want to know about Isolabella a well-regarded 10 year-old restaurant at 45, Red Lion Street, Holborn, London, with the same name as Isola Bella, a "beautiful island" at Lake Maggiore, Northern Italy.

One big attraction for us was that the restaurant accepts the Tastecard discount dining card and offers the best deal - 50% off all food for up to 4 people. Unlike some restaurants on the Tastecard list they also accept bookings for one person to enjoy the discount so we picked a 12.00pm slot on a Monday and started with the Antipasto All' Italiano (£9.25/£4.62) This comprised three Italian sliced meats - a sweet and salty cured Parma Ham, or prosciutto, from the Po Valley, Mortadella, a mildly spicy pork luncheon meat from Bologna and a slice of Bresaola, the tasty air-dried beef rubbed with cinnamon and nutmeg, from Lombardy. These were served with grilled marinated courgettes and aubergines. In fact there is a large choice of 21 starters here including a Caesar Salad (£6.25/£3.12) deep fried calamari (£6.95/£3.47) chicken livers (£8.25/£4.12) and king prawns in a tomato sauce (£9.50/£4.75)

The choice of mains here runs to 25 risottos and pastas, 8 pizzas, 22 meat and fish dishes and 11 side dishes, so, spoiled for choice we plumped for our all-time favourite pasta, the linguine al.scoglio mixed seafood. (£15.95/£7.97) This was a generous and filling portion of linguine, perfectly cooked al dente, stuffed with clams, mussels, squid and prawns in a garlicky tomato sauce with a good fix of chilli and was one of the best we've had. Other choices were a risotto and seafood version (£15.75/£762), a tagliatelle with duck ragu (£13.95/£6.97) black scabbard fish fillets with lobster and crab sauce (£17.95/£8.97) grilled fresh Dover Sole (£24.95/£12.47) and braised lamb shank on a bed of mushroom risotto (£18.95/£9.47)

Sadly, on this occasion we had no time to enjoy one of the 15 desserts on offer but we'll make more time on a future visit, and try some other starters and mains too. The staff here were helpful and friendly and our bill for the two courses came to £12.60 with the 50% off, and service charge was left to customer's discretion, another plus that will get us back.


o A good Pan-Asian place we've found in London's Charlotte Street is Dim t.

This accepts the Tastecard for 241 eating and we recently enjoyed what looked like a generous half aromatic duck, with the pancakes, hoi-sin sauce, spring onion and cucumber batons. This was one of the classics range, which included seven chicken dishes, a barbecue roast pork, crispy beef, crispy sea bass, two prawn options and three vegetable options. priced from £8.55 to £12.75, the price of the aromatic duck.

We followed this massive starter with one of the "superfood" teriyaki stir fries from the noodles and rice section, in our case a bowl of carrot, pak choi, butternut squash, chinese leaf, broccoli, courgette and spinach with the "carb option" of egg noodles in soup topped with a large chunk of salmon with teriyaki . We also had the choice of Japanese rice noodles, or udon, and toppings of prawn, chicken or tofu. Also in the section were Singapore fried noodles, Nasi Goreng (nixed meats and fish with fried rice) sweet coconut stir fry with chicken, tofu or prawns, Phad Thai noodles with chicken, tofu, prawn or chicken and prawn and chicken or tofu chow mein, priced from £8.55 to £11.95.

In addition there is a section for Ramen noodles in soup, with BBQ roast pork, tofu, chicken or vegetable, and spicy Tom Yum with chicken, salmon or prawn, priced from £8.95 to £11.45. There is a range of four salads at £8.75 to £9.95, and a range of seven "Small Eats" that could make a tasty tapas style option with four or six on the 241 basis.( Chicken Satay, Five spiced squid, Sichuan beef wonton, vegetable or duck spring rools, chicken or vegetable Goyoza, £5.25 to £6.95) Sadly Dim t's range of fifteen hand-made Dim Sum steamed dumpling selections are excluded from the Tastecard 241 offer.

However, we were pleased with what we had and with the 241 and the cheapest free our bill was just the £12.75 for that excellent crispy duck. There is also no service charge added, a big plus given that some Tastecard places put a 12.5% charge on the full amount before they discount it, meaning that the service charge is actually nearer 25%


Irate members of the public who have had their lives disrupted by climate change activists start finding their addresses and visiting them at home for some frank discussion... The number of demonstrations plummets... London's mayor, Sadiq U-Turn, explains why he goes anyway the wind blows... Cruise operators agree on a passenger compensation scheme to address what they will do in the event of bad weather and other happenings outside their control, and publish this to passengers before they book... In a new scandal dubbed "Todgergate" by the tabloid press PM Boris Johnson claims that an unspecified number of unidentified Westminster women grabbed his manhood when he was trying to sort out Brexit... 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 protected]




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: [email protected] Web: computecgroup.com


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 [email protected] 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


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: [email protected] 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 [email protected] or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828


Association News
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk


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 protected]


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: [email protected]; 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. [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 14,000 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 [email protected]

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