Working in events; three best and worst things

Working in the events industry can be hard work; last minute changes, multiple suppliers, cancellations, and circumstances beyond your control (the #beastfromtheeast springs to mind) all contribute to a stressful working environment, however events do have a high energy, creative and fun atmosphere which can make it incredibly satisfying!

 

Conference Care recently conducted a client survey, asking questions on event catering, technology, WiFi, trends and favourite venues to name a few. We knew why we enjoy working in the industry, but were curious to see whether our clients agreed! We asked Event Planners, PA’s, Marketing Managers and HR Executives their opinions on the best and worst things about working in events…

 

Top three best bits…

 

1. Variety

The reason Conference Care’s service is so personal is because we understand no two events or clients are the same. We approach each event knowing that everyone’s requirements are particular to them, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Our clients agree, with 13% saying that the range of events, locations, venues and day to day tasks are what keeps them interested.

 

‘No two days are the same, in an ever changing fast moving world, companies want their events to be memorable, and keeping at the forefront of new concepts, venues and trends makes my job fascinating – and is why I come to you!’

 

 

2. The People

It’s unusual to meet someone in the events Industry who isn’t a people person; after all events are normally about bringing audiences together, and it’s often those people that make the job so interesting. 26% of our respondents said working with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, sectors and locations are what makes their job engaging. Networking opportunities provided by attending events are also something everyone enjoys.

‘Working with different people and being part of something special is a great feeling. It’s always good to see a happy face after the event.’

 

 

3. Job Satisfaction 

Some of our clients run events day in day out, some are required to find a venue for team meetings or product launches as part of their role and some are tasked with organising the office Christmas party. However everyone agrees that despite the challenges that you can sometimes face when working in events, the satisfaction you feel when everything runs smoothly is hard to beat; job satisfaction is top of the list with 41% of the respondents saying that it is the best thing about the job.

‘The best thing about my role is the challenges of putting together an event; I get a great deal of satisfaction seeing the end result after months of planning.’

 

 

The downsides…

 

1. Long hours

‘Everyone thinks it’s glamorous – it’s NOT :-)’ said one client! Prep before the event; follow up after the event, travel, unsociable hours and staying away from family are mentioned by 15% of respondents as downsides of the job.

 

2. Stress

19% of respondents said stress is the worst part of their job, with many saying the pressure to deliver a great event without support or understanding of what’s entailed being big contributors. Last minute changes and unforeseen circumstances (reasons four and five on the list of worst things) are also major contributing factors!

‘If something goes wrong on the day or you are relying on something that isn’t under your control you have to deal with it instantly. My motto is to make sure you have a back-up plan for as much as you can!’

 

 

3. Venue Issues

Having issues with venues is unfortunately the highest factor of dissatisfaction, with 42% of those surveyed saying that poor service and inflexibility contributes to venues not meeting expectations. Lack of technical support, organisation and communication are all cited as reasons why clients feel let down.

‘Nothing worse than when the venue turns out to be a disaster and my colleagues don’t enjoy their day’

 

 

Of course, not all venues should be tarred with the same brush; as part of the same survey we also asked about our client’s favourite venues and why, and we had a huge range of venues applauded for their fantastic spaces, exemplary staff, great facilities and professional attitude.

 

However, it does highlight that asking an expert is going to ensure that you get that number one feeling of satisfaction at each and every event! For a chat about your next event, give our friendly team a call on

02476 369720 or email us sales@conferencecare.com.

 

 

 

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Behind closed doors; a sneak peek into hotel life

If you are an event planner the chances are you have a pretty good idea of the essentials needed to pull off a great event: memorable content, delicious food, the perfect venue, but how many of you know what actually takes place behind the scenes in order to make this happen?

 

Conference Care recently took a key client to The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh for a site visit with a twist; instead of simply viewing meeting space and doing a menu tasting, they were granted access all areas passes to the luxurious five star hotel. Conference Care’s Head of Sales – Scotland, Pauline Beattie and The Sheraton’s Director of Sales Stewart Elder created the programme for the day, so we caught up with them to find out more…

 

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

 

CC: What was the objective?

PB: Our client organises and delivers numerous events, but wanted in particular to gain a better understanding of day to day operations in a venue so they could enhance the smooth running of events during their own planning process. We floated the idea of ‘lifting the veil’ with Stewart and he was very happy to be involved.

SE: Yes, we have a great working relationship with both Conference Care and the client, so we already had a good foundation to build on – we had to be confident before we gave away any trade secrets! The client was keen to understand how the hotel operates, and it was a great opportunity for us to share with them the reasons behind why we ask certain questions in the lead up to an event, what the purpose is for the timescales we set and so on.

 

CC: What was the itinerary?

PB: We all met in One Square Restaurant to run through the schedule for the day and I then left the client in Stewart’s capable hands!

SE: We kicked off the day with a personal tour of the back of house by me; I found it most entertaining opening doors to back of house staff with the client in tow, their faces were a picture! We met with Sales & Events to discuss Sales Phase to Event Delivery and the client was able to witness a number of event operations throughout the day including final checks, start of Lunch Service, banqueting team briefing and a room turnaround from Conference to Dinner Set.

 

CC: What were the benefits?

SE: We already had a good working relationship with the client, so we were both happy to approach the day with an open mind; full disclosure has further built the trust between all parties and taken that step towards us being viewed us more as a trusted advisor, rather than simply a supplier.

PB: The client found it hugely beneficial. They met a number of key personnel throughout the day: Maria Seisdedos, Front Office Manager, Becci O’Meara, Conference & Banqueting Manager and Craig Hart, the Executive Chef, which was a particular highlight. Everyone found the information which Craig shared on the technical side of food preparation totally fascinating; and will definitely use that knowledge of timescales and detail to enhance their event programmes in the future.

Craig Hart, Executive Chef

 

CC: Would you do it again?

SE: Yes, we would be open to doing it again. It’s not something you would necessarily offer to everyone carte blanche, you have to have some rapport and experience of the client initially in order to create a programme that is beneficial to everyone, and it is imperative to have a trusted partner such as Conference Care. Having said that we found the experience of complete transparency very liberating, and over 24 hours have built more trust with the client than we could normally achieve over a much longer period. It does put pressure on us to deliver over and above every time though – there’s nowhere to hide!

PB: Yes – the client is absolutely buzzing! The insights from the day have been hugely beneficial for them and they really enjoyed it. From our perspective this has reinforced our client’s trust in us; they’ve seen first-hand that we have strong and dependable relationships with venues, and by working in partnership with them they will benefit from the very best results for them – win win!

______________________________________________________________

Call our expert team for your next event on 02476 369720 or email us.

 

 

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All you want for Christmas; Cracking Christmas Party Ideas

Organising the office Christmas party can fill you with dismay and delight in equal measure; sure you get to choose where and when, but you also have to try and keep everyone happy, and within budget, which is not always the easiest of tasks!

 

It might seem strange to be talking about Christmas parties in April, but trust us, if you want the pick of the best, now’s the time to start the thought process. Our fantastic venue finding experts have made a few recommendations for you to consider for your party, no matter how big or small…

 

10 + guests…

If you’re seeking a festive experience with lots of atmosphere, it can be hard to cater for the smaller group. Shared parties or ‘joiner’ parties give you the option of booking a table at a larger event without having to pay a hefty cost for all the festive trimmings. Best Parties Ever are a leading Christmas party supplier and entertained over 200,000 guests in 2017 in 22 spectacularly styled venues. For the first time, in 2018 they are bringing a Dream Circus theme to the Airfield Estate in Dublin and in Belfast, a Masquerade Ball hosted at S13. They also cater privately for over 300 guests, but it’s a good place to start if you have a small group.

Another wintery option is to book a dinner at the Ice Bar London. Book a table in their restaurant for a delicious seasonal meal and then enjoy a 40 minute session in the ice bar with a personal ice glass to mark the occasion. Not London Based? Revolution Bars have a Cuban Inspired Christmas buffet this year available or a three course meal option; with over 50 bars across the UK, there is bound to be one near you. North of the border there are a number of wonderful places that can provide a stylish setting to your festivities; Ghillie Dhu, Hummingbird and The Corinthian Club all come highly recommended.

If you would prefer not to sit and eat, why not do something completely different like Bounce. The home of Ping Pong, Bounce provides the ultimate events venues, in both Farringdon and Old Street London, with tailored spaces and custom options for all corporate, social and private requirements – who says Christmas has to just be crackers and turkey?! In the same vein, Namco Fun Scape provides fun for all ages; Pac-man, dodgems cars, American Pool and ten-pin bowling in nine locations across the UK.

 

100 guests and over…

The Slate at Warwick Conferences

For the first time, Warwick Conferences are open for Christmas in and around their newest venue, The Slate, creating the ultimate ‘winterful’ party. You’ll enter the extravaganza through a forest of fir trees to be welcomed by an arrival drink, a festive three course meal, followed by an evening of entertainment. Offering an exclusive experience, guests can spend their night chilling out in the igloo bar, or dancing the night away on the ‘ice’ dancefloor. The Slate will be dressed in Christmas magic to ensure guests become lost in their very own winter wonderland for the evening.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

From the end of November, The Making of Harry Potter will be dressed and ready for Christmas. Enjoy unforgettable festive experiences at the studios where all eight Harry Potter films were produced with special packages from 200 guests to 1000 which have been carefully created to shape your celebration around these iconic film sets. All packages include exclusive access to the Studio Tour, allowing guests to explore the authentic sets, props and costumes after it closes to visitors for the day. Christmas at Hogwarts will certainly be an experience your guests are unlikely to forget! Packages are available from 200 guests to 1000.

The SSE SWALEC

Join the beautiful people at the most exclusive ski resort in Cardiff! Shake the snow off your sallopettes, snuggle up against the roaring fire or take a selfie by the ski lifts at the Après Ski Christmas Ball. Available as either tables at mixed parties on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, or exclusively for private parties of 250+ guests, this promises to be the best party in town.

 

Glasgow Science Centre

In 2018 the Glasgow Science Centre are promising to change your perception of what a Christmas party is.  Designed to be very much extraordinary, their private parties can cater for between 80 – 160 guests and the stunning Atrium provides a fun, modern and exciting setting that’s a million miles from cheesy clichés. If the party itself wasn’t enough each guest also receives a free Science Mall pass so they can return with the family to play and discover something new about the world we live in.

500 guests or more…

Arena MK

For 2018, Arena MK are offering the ultimate festive Après-Ski experience; Festive’L 2018. Entering a themed Alpine Village the chalet team will welcome you with a glass of glass of Glühwein or schnapps from one of the log cabins, followed by a delicious three-course dinner. Throughout the night there will be live acts including fire and ice performers, aerial acrobats, alpine activities, DJ, and a live band. Round off the evening with late night Bratwursts, and an on-piste bedroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton Milton Keynes. Arena MK is available either as a join a party, or privately for over 500 guests.

The Brewery

This year The Brewery has created The Golden Palms lounge & casino. Offering exclusive packages from 350 – 1000 guests, if your party requires the full works this is the option for you! Organisers of Christmas parties are even invited to attend their annual tasting event where you can try their menu, taste the wine and see table layouts so you get a sneak preview of the event ahead of time. Perfect if you’re trying to please the masses.

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museums Scotland offer a stunning range of spaces. The Grand Gallery at the heart of the National Museum is a magnificent setting and requires no gilding of the lily to impress your guests, it can seat 950 guests for dinner and 700 for a dinner dance. Equally Hawthornden Court and the Early People Gallery also offer stunning contemporary options for up to 700 if you don’t want to do the traditional turkey dinner

Christmas in a nutshell. Get ahead of the rest and give our expert team a call on 02476 369720 or email us. Not only will we find you something right for you, we can take all the stress out of the planning process so you can look forward to the festivities!

 

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Eight New & Unique London Bars & Restaurants

Keeping on top of new venues can be a challenge, and nowhere is this truer than in London!

 

We’re often asked for new and unique venues, particularly bars and restaurants, so we asked our wonderful venue finding team for their top picks from London’s diverse portfolio. Here we share with you eight rather distinctive options that are either new or just a little bit different for you to consider…

 

Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden

Petersham Nurseries brings nature and elegance to the heart of Covent Garden. This is a second, central London site for the original destination restaurant in Richmond, and the home shop, garden shop/florist and delicatessen is already open. The Petersham will serve British-Italian food while La Goccia’s menu will focus on food cooked on the grill or in a wood-burning oven. Both restaurants, due to open soon, will open onto a courtyard, where you can expect laid-back glamour and plenty of floral influences.

 

LIBRARY

Eclectic design set in the heart of London’s theatreland, Library is a hub for creativity and innovation drawing particular inspiration from literature, theatre local community and sustainable design. Available to hire to members and non-members this venue provides six fantastic spaces for everything from product launches to fashion shows, book clubs to celebrations.

 

Temper Restaurants

The brain child of chef Neil Rankin, Temper Restaurants are unique BBQ and open fire pit restaurants with a focus on New World wine and innovative cocktails, created in house. They cook everything in front of your eyes using only wood and charcoal in a huge open kitchen fire pits in the middle of the room. Current Restaurants in Soho and the City have private spaces which can be used for intimate dinner parties or evening events, and will be joined by a new restaurant in Covent Garden, due to open May this year.

 

Ballie Ballerson

Ballie Ballerson is a ball pit cocktail bar with one million balls, retro sweetie cocktails and fabulous food; it is the ultimate adult playground. This Shoreditch venue provides masses of space and nostalgic hedonism with unparalleled photo opportunities, and can accommodated up to 500 guests for an event; perfect for parties, product launches and lots of fun!

 

Horatio Street Social Club

Horatio Street Social club is a basement cocktail bar and social club located beneath The Nelson’s Head in Shoreditch. This speakeasy is run by a pair of barkeeps who worked at the award winning cocktail spot Callooh Callay. Available for private hire this nautical club rotate their cocktail menu with their artwork, giving a completely different feel to the venue on a monthly basis.

 

Bluebird Café White City

Bluebird’s Café in Chelsea is opening up its doors at Television Centre, White City in April. Taking the buzz and familiar charm of the café at the original Bluebird, this new sister will bring a chic, all-day drinking and dining destination to West London. Exclusive hire for 70 seated guests and up to 150 standing guests with a cosy heated terrace, this venue will be a perfect spot for impressing clients and colleagues.

 

The Spread Eagle

As of January 2018, The Spread Eagle became London’s first vegan pub; all their food, drinks, fixtures and fitting are plant based and sourced sustainably where possible. One of East London’s oldest pubs, its large and beautiful space makes it the perfect spot to host events of all shapes and sizes.

 

Swingers West End 

Swingers West End is the second site for the crazy golf, bar and street food destination, located on John Prince’s Street near Oxford Circus. Opening this month this venue is themed around the glamour of 1920’s English Riviera and combines all its elements including two 9 hole crazy golf courses and four bars to create an incredible social experience. Totally unique and outrageously fun, this is an ideal venue for a host of occasions ranging from team building to client entertaining.

 

These are of course only a snapshot of what’s available! If you are looking for new London bars or restaurants for your next event and don’t know where to begin, do give our expert team a call on 02476 369720 or email us.

 

 

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What’s in it for me? Five reasons to call Conference Care

If you regularly have to find venues for meetings and events as part of your day to day role, chances are you’ve learned a few tricks along the way. Perhaps you’ve nurtured some great relationships and contacts in the Industry, perhaps you have a tried and tested list of venues that ‘work’ for you, or maybe you’ve got years of experience and are confident you get the very best deals…

Or maybe not!  Whether you are a seasoned event planner, or have just had something thrown at you last minute why enlist the help of a venue finding agency? We spoke to Krishan Pankhania, our New Business Manager for five reasons to call Conference Care:

 

1. Time is money

Just because you are perfectly capable of calling around venues, or googling your potential choices doesn’t mean you should spend your valuable time doing it!

We all know how easy it is to waste time scrolling through pages and pages of information so why not save time and allow us to conduct your search while you focus on other pressing tasks? Within 24 hours of providing us with your brief, you’ll have a customised list of venues that are perfect for your event, are available, with relevant costs. This is particularly helpful if, as many events are these days, your lead time is short and you are pushed to get results fast.

 

2. Ok, money is money!

Ultimately a lot of choices in venue finding come down to cost, and Conference Care can not only help you stay within budget, but help you achieve the very best value for money in the process.

We are proud of the relationships we have with venues, many of which have been built right from when the company was founded over 20 years ago, and will harness these to work in your favour. We also have the buying power of all of the business we conduct, which ensures that with every booking our clients benefit from negotiated rates, cost savings and flexible terms, even cancellation fees. There is no charge either for our venue finding services – bonus!

 

3. Two heads are better than one

You may have years of experience under your belt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a whole team working on your behalf! Our professional Events Consultants provide award winning, impartial, expert advice from start to finish, and from the outset you will have a dedicated point of contact to guide you. Need to negotiate minimum numbers? No problem. Unsure about hidden costs? We’ve got it covered.

 

4. Creative venue options

By tapping in to the knowledge of our extensive team you can find out about new and interesting venues, venues that are due to open which you have not yet heard of, or amazing refurbishments of a once tired option. Our team are out and about visiting venues all the time and can actually tell you what a venue is like, how it compares to the pictures on its website and what feedback we have received about it from our diverse portfolio of clients.

We have a global reach with over 160,000 venues worldwide and cover everything from the quirky to the sublime, from a barn in the middle of nowhere to a lavish five star city centre hotel – the choice is yours. We can even accompany you on site visits once you have shortlisted your favourite options (see our blog – the secret to successful site visits for more advice on this).

 

5. One stop shop

The advantage of using Conference Care is that not only can we help you with your venue finding; we’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeve too. Should your event grow arms and legs we can help you with team building activities, accommodation, incentives, motivational speakers, private dining, restaurants and audio visual solutions. We even have a dedicated Event Management team who can assist you with onsite event support, delegate management, logistics and event registration sites. Simply let us know what you need and you can pick and choose exactly what’s right for you and your event with ease.

 

What’s not to love?! Call our friendly team on 02476 369720 or email us on sales@conferencecare.com and see how it could work for you!

 

 

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