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 73 July/August 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



A conference planned by teachers union NASUWT was cancelled recently after a delegate's wife contracted flu-like symptoms following a visit to the US. (C&IT magazine)

The two-day event, due to be held at the Macdonald Hotel in Aviemore, was cancelled "as a precautionary measure, to prevent potential spread to pupils" in Scottish schools. It later emerged that the woman did not have the virus.

The outbreak of swine flu, which now has official pandemic status, is expected to be "moderately severe" and this carries the risk of enforced bans on travel and gatherings of people. According to Conference News magazine editor Paul Colston the UK is one of the most heavily populated areas in the world and "if a deeply religious nation like Mexico can close its churches then the closure of events venues could not be ruled out" Colston also quotes insurance company Events Assured which points out that cancellations due to swine flu will not be covered on new policies but may well be on existing ones.

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), - whose members supply venues and services to event organisers and who stand to lose much from cancellations - has dismissed news in the press of swine flu developments as "hyperbole and horror stories" and "irrational, hysterical headlines."


Meanwhile event supplier groups in the USA are concerned that failed companies bailed out with public money are being forbidden by their government from spending it on what are seen as junkets and jollies, an approach that many in the UK who make money from expensive corporate events fear will migrate here any time soon.

Currently there is considerable public anger in the UK against spending of public money on such events by failed banks such as RBS, Lloyds TSB and HBOS, although legislation following the US model has not yet been introduced.

In the US a number of event supplier groups have invested money in a Keep America Meeting campaign.


Business travel restrictions forced on companies by the recession are likely to stay in place even if there is full economic recovery in the years to come. (Travel Industry News Update).

Whilst bad news for those supplying the previously lucrative business travel sector it is because companies have found that their cost-cutting measures have worked, says Paul Robin, organiser of the Business Travel Market exhibition held recently.

According to a survey of business travel buyers conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) :

o Nearly 80% are making greater use of alternatives to expensive travel such as telephone and web based meetings.

o Nearly 50% had downgraded the class of travel allowed.

o Nearly 70% booked further in advance to obtain discounts.

o Around 30% were using trains rather than planes for travel into and within Europe, although it was claimed this was for environmental rather than commercial reasons.

o Around 7% had banned all business travel, and around 25% had banned all trips that did not generate revenue.

What would also be interesting to know is how companies are now treating the award of personal inducements for business purchases, such as Air Miles, which are designed to corrupt the purchasing process in favour of the supplier and give the individual a very small personal benefit for placing business at unfavourably high rates. Will some forward-looking companies offer executives a share of the considerable savings they can make on bookings that are free from such inducements? How long before some wake up to the fact that they could pay their executives two or three times the personal benefits offered by Air Miles and still make huge savings?

Watch this space…


In 20 years time a 200mph £30 billion rail network in Britain could replace domestic flights and short hops to near Europe.

This is the vision of Lord Adonis, the new Transport Secretary who claims that journey times from London will be cut to one hour 22 minutes to Manchester and two hours 42 minutes to Glasgow.

What Adonis has not revealed is the likely cost to passengers generated by ill-advisedly handing train operating companies lucrative monopolies, something which has so far increased fares for their captive markets of commuters and business travellers, increased rewards for train company directors and decreased the quality of services

Consumers are best served when there are more choices, and they can vote with their wallets.


A nightclub in Birmingham has been fined £85,000 after a customer died when he was ejected by the club's bouncers and trapped in its enclosed car park. (Health and Safety at Work)

Christopher Clarke, 21, was thrown out of the Oceana night club for taking a glass bottle onto the dance floor. The bouncers ejected him into a car park area enclosed by office buildings and a high spike-topped gate, effectively imprisoning him outside with no coat on a winter night. The judge at Birmingham Crown Court said that Clarke was "disoriented and somewhat shocked by the change in temperature, left to his own devices to find his way out and climbed some stairs and tried to edge his way along a wall but fell and died" Clarke died from a fractured skull after falling 4 metres onto concrete.

The club's owners Luminar Oceana were fined £85,000 and £32,803 costs for failing to brief their bouncers on how to eject customers safely, in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, a penalty that Clarke's parents said was "peanuts"


A group of 8700 fans who brought a class action lawsuit against rock band Aerosmith for a no-show in 2007 have won, with the band agreeing to give them replacement tickets for another date and refunds to cover the costs of travel, hotel accommodation and lost work time.(Audience)

The 2007 concert was due to run in Maui, Hawaii but was cancelled at a few days notice after an earlier date in the tour was rescheduled. Lawyers for the fans claimed that the total cost of the cancellation for them was between $500,000 and $3,000,000 or between £30 and £190 each.

According to a survey carried out by Lovebox Weekender Festival and published in the Daily Telegraph the average music fan spends £600 attending a festival weekend, made up of £140 on tickets, £100 on travel, £170 on clothes and camping equipment, £60 on food and £130 on drink.


Enjoyable Scottish themed food can be had at the Amber Restaurant in the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh.

For a sample lunch recently we enjoyed a big bowl of mussels in a tasty sauce of cream, spring onions and a peaty, smokey Islay whisky, served with some seriously good bread for dipping. This we followed with a selection of Scottish cheeses - a creamy Lanarkshire blue, a soft Howgate brie, a robust Smoked Applewood cheddar, and a Gruth Dhu curd cheese- served with oatcakes and spicy chutney.

The Scotch Whisky Experience has three rooms holding 90/80/16 for a banquet or 80/70/20 theatre-style. Finger buffets run from £8.95, canapes from £13.95 and three course dinners from £25, plus drinks. This last aspect is especially well catered for with a choice of over 300 malt, grain and blended whiskies, plus whisky liqueurs and cocktails. Delegates can also enjoy tutored whisky tastings, and a £3 million refurbishment has provided a new barrel ride around the whisky making process.

Tel: 0131 220 0441 Fax: 0131 220 6288 DDI: 0131 477 8472 Visit: www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk


Conference facilities for 20 to 150 are offered at The Royal Scots Club, housed in a Georgian building in the centre of Edinburgh.

Five main rooms are available. The largest, the Hepburn Suite can accommodate up to 150 and has a 6 metre ceiling height, skylight windows with blackout blinds, built-in AV, a stage and its own bar, catering facilities and toilets. Other rooms can cater for 20, 30, 40, and 50 theatre-style. There are 20 bedrooms available and a 24 hour rate of £140 per delegate and a day delegate rate of £36.

Buffet menus run from £8.50 to £21 and five-course dinners or lunches from £37 to £43.

Tel: 0131 556 4270 Fax: 0131 558 3769 email: info@royalscotsclub.com Visit: www.royalscotsclub.com


Some readers will have known Tony Carey, an energetic and personable event industry trainer, consultant and journalist, who died on June 2 after more than 30 years in the industry and a battle with cancer. (Conference News)

In his early career Tony worked with the Association for Conferences and Events (ACE) and ran training courses in event organisation on his home patch of Guernsey. He was also in demand as a columnist, penning pithy, amusing and thought-provoking pieces for event industry magazines, and wrote a number of books on event organisation. Latterly he worked with American event supplier group Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and was involved with their training courses, and writing for their magazine.

Colin M Brown
Captain 2009-2010
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
KY16 9JD

28 May 2009

Dear Mr Brown

I am writing to let you know about an incident in which I was involved at your Royal and Ancient Golf Club recently.

I was in St Andrews to write about the incentive and corporate hospitality possibilities of the destination for the corporate market. Whilst walking on the designated pathway which runs alongside the first fairway I was suddenly struck, hard, on the side of the head by a golf ball driven off very badly by one of your players.

The point of impact was around three inches from the right eye and the same distance from the right temple.

This happened around 11 00am on Saturday May 23, and, concerned about possible serious injury I attended the Minor Injury Unit at St Andrews Memorial Hospital where I was told that golf ball injuries were common in St Andrews, checked over for signs of serious damage and given some written advice on what symptoms to look out for.

We are both aware that head injury symptoms can sometimes take weeks to develop. However to date the only damage is a sore spot and a negative memory of St Andrews and your club.

On reflection, Mr Brown, I now take the view that we have both had a very lucky escape. The outcome could have been, with a microscopic change in ball direction, so much worse. An eye could have been lost, or, with a hit in the temple, a life. And the victim could have been someone frail, or a child.

With the Corporate Manslaughter Act now starting to bite it raises the question of whether or not your club, and in fairness every other golf club is doing enough to protect members of the public, and players, from potentially tragic accidents caused by bad play. A simple and low cost netting barrier, through which the golf would still be seen could be all it needs. Clearly from my own experience the requirements that all players on your course have a handicap, and that of a shouted warning when one still mis-hits the ball are not enough.

Your prompt attention to this important matter, for all our sakes, would be appreciated

Yours Sincerely

Peter Cotterell


Peter Cotterell

Society of Event Organisers

Response from Peter Dawson, Secretary, Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Dear Mr Cotterell

I am writing in reply to your recent letter to our Captain-elect, Colin Brown.

I was very sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident and hope that you have fully recovered with no lasting damage.

I have to tell you that the golf courses at St Andrews are not managed by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club but by St Andrews Links Trust. I have set out the Links Trust's contact details below as this is the appropriate body to which you should direct your remarks.

With kind regards



St Andrews Links Trust
Pilmour House
KY16 9SF

To Sir Menzies Campbell

Dear Sir Menzies Campbell

I understand that you are a trustee of the St Andrews Links Trust and it is in this capacity that I write to you.

I recently had a very lucky escape at St Andrews involving a badly hit golf ball on the Old Course there. I published a letter I subsequently wrote to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, and their response, in our Incentive Travel Update newsletter, which goes to organisations running corporate events, such as golf days. (see www.seoevent.co.uk Incentive Travel Update, last article entitled CAUSE FOR CONCERN?)

I had to telephone the Trust to get a response from them, which I understand is that they have forwarded my concerns to their insurance company and are putting their PR practitioner in touch with me, neither of which seem to be intelligent, thoughtful or responsible over a matter of public safety.

I would be grateful therefore if you could assure me, on behalf of the trustees that my concerns are being taken seriously by the Trust's management. In this way a potential tragedy at "the home of golf" might be avoided.

Peter Cotterell
Society of Event Organisers



Old Grit is most amused by the seriousness with which the daft pontifications of Ryanair's Michael O'Blarney are taken. The latest nonsense is the hot news story that the leprechaun is looking at saving space on aircraft by supplying stools in place of seats. Valued passengers, the story goes would be strapped to these for take off and landing and allowed to move around for the rest of the time, presumably being very careful in the case of unexpected and violent turbulence not to be thrown around the cabin, injuring themselves and others.

Ho Ho Ho


News that Elaine Holt, 42, the managing director of train operating company First Capital Connect has resigned with no reason being given has been met with deep sadness by all her meal tickets (passengers) of which Old Grit was one.

According to her departure publicity her magnum opus was improving train punctuality although the fact that trains on one of the main FCC money-spinning routes, London to Peterborough, were timed to take nearly 15 minutes longer than they did 10 years ago may have made this achievement as impressive as some of her others, like the introduction of draconian restrictions on discounted travel, and her deceit over court matters and penalty fares.

According to documentation at Companies House Holt's track record there is equally solid, her having had and resigned all of her 23 directorships in the last 9 years, staying an average of 20 months in each.


John Burton-Race, who has had more success as a TV chef than as a real one has declared himself bankrupt.

Burton-Race, 52, once ran the highly-regarded L'Ortolan restaurant near Reading in the 1990's and then the Michelin-starred New Angel in Dartmouth which he was forced by creditors to give up in 2007. He featured in a number of TV programmes including Britain's Best Dish and Return of the Chef.

However his TV debut was unwitting and uninspiring when in 1995 he was secretly filmed for a documentary Take Three Violent Chefs and was shown in his kitchen at L'Ortolan condoning and encouraging violence towards junior staff working there. A number of former employees came forward on the programme to claim that Burton-Race had physically assaulted them. Burton-Race bravely declined to appear on the programme saying that his treatment of staff was not a matter of public interest, and his deputy Nigel Marriage, who was shown kicking a young French trainee, courageously ran out across a nearby field when approached with questions on his actions by an interviewer.

The New Angel restaurant in Dartmouth was bought by Clive Jacobs, the former vice-chairman of LastMinute.com, a friend of Burton-Race who has employed him as head chef.


Some members of ICCA contract swine flu, resulting in more hysterical headlines ----------- The railways are re-nationalised as passengers with more money than sense prove harder to find ------------ Newspapers run the latest from Michael O'Blarney which is that passengers flying their own plane get a free flight and three free trips to the toilet ----------- Elaine Holt explains the secret of her popularity, and what FCC are going to do without her ---------- TV star, bully and bankrupt, John Burton-Race is found hanging from a meathook. Dozens of former employees help police with their enquiries ---------- and much, much more ------------



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, August
o Tutorial – How to write a press release, October
o Tutorial – How to be much more creative, October
o Certificate in Conference Organisation, August and November/December
o Diploma in Conference Organisation, August
o Conference – Delegate Agenda, October
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


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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