Top tips for successful events in 2011

Events cover a range of fields including fundraising dinners, sports events and school reunions, in addition to professional and academic conferences.

Event Industry News has offered event organisers their top tips for planning successful events for the year ahead. The website’s first tip to event organisers is that if they are trying to attract a new special event, they should study every aspect of it before making their bid. Event venues are much more likely to win their bid if they do their homework and ensure they know the basics, such as the event demographics, whether there are any special events and whether their venue will be able to offer everything the customer needs.

Those with venues for hire should make sure they know the answers to the basic “W” questions- Who, Why, When and What. These are essential questions and venue owners should ensure they can answer them. Not only are the answers key to running a successful event but they also help promote positive word of mouth advertising.

Learning the event’s time necessities will help to prepare a timeline for the venue’s role in the event. Often it is small things that make an event special and win over a client. By having a timeline the chance of a mistake or oversight is decreased, but it is worth remembering that the timeline should indicate when something starts in addition to when it will be completed.

Britain on target for £100m tourism fund

Britain has almost reached the £100m marketing fund target set for a new tourism campaign, designed to boost visitor numbers and create jobs.

Last year, the government called on British businesses to become part of a marketing campaign which aims to boost tourism to fill up event spaces around Britain such as The Porter Tun, King George III, Sugar Rooms, Queen Charlotte room, Smeaton Vaults and James Watt room, during big events like the Royal wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the four year marketing campaign aims to deliver one million extra visitors from overseas each year in addition to boosting visitor spending in the UK by £2bn. It is hoped the marketing initiative will also create 50,000 new jobs across the country.

Visit Britain’s chief executive Sandie Dawe told CIT Magazine: “Britain is poised to host an unprecedented series of events over the next few years. This will offer us a golden opportunity to showcase ourselves to the world.”

British Airways, P&O and DFDS Seaways are among the companies that have pledged cash and made payments to contribute to the £50m of public money already committed by Visit Britain. The money will be used to target new growth markets in Asia and Latin America in addition to the more established markets in Europe and the US.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “A Royal wedding, Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination.”

London prepares for year of sport

London is the place to be if you are a sports fan as the city is playing host to a series of major events this year.

Visit London have highlighted some of the unique events in the sporting calender that are set to be held in London during 2011. Events include the UEFA Champions League final, which will be played at Wembley Stadium on 28 May. Thousands of football fans are expected to descend on the capital to fill pubs and hire function venues to watch the best team’s in Europe battle it out for the Champions League trophy.

The O2 Arena will host the first ever NBA basketball season game, to take place outside North America. The New Jersey Nets are set to take on the Toronto Raptors on 4 and 5 of March. In addition to the new events, major events set to return to the city this year include the Oxford vs Cambridge boat race, the London Marathon and the World Badminton Championships, Opodo reports.

Iain Edmondson head of events at Visit London said: “London is an iconic destination for event goers all year round with international sport being staged every month of the year.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson told Fresh Business Thinking: “2011 promises to be another jam-packed year for major events in the capital, with twelve months of thrilling sporting action to look forward to. Almost any day of the week London is home to an astonishing variety of sport at all levels and this exciting programme will see some of the biggest names competing at the very highest level right here on our doorstep.”

“It sets the scene in top notch style as we build up to 2012,” he added.

2011 must seen an improvement in customer service across London

People 1st have urged companies across London to invest in training their employees, to ensure customer service levels improve before the Olympic Games in 2012, reports Cater News.

According to the sector skills council for the hospitality, tourism, travel and leisure markets, those working in hospitality roles must ensure their customer service skills are top notch by the end of this year, and to help the cause, People 1st has set up a training campaign. This will give 200,000 employees the chance to upskill and train ahead of the Games, and has attracted interest from names such as the London Eye, Twickenham Stadium, McDonalds and Flybe.

It is thought People 1st launched the idea after results of a recent survey showed 68 per cent of UK businesses who had invested in customer service training noticed a significant increase in repeat business, and 18 per cent said their sales had improved.

Experts are suggesting that if London does not prepare for the large influx of visitors, it may discourage them from returning to restaurants, event venues and hotels throughout the capital – perhaps even stopping them visiting Britain again later in life. Brian Wisdom, the chief executive office of People 1st, claims: “There is a lot of focus on developing the infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but not enough on ensuring we have the softer skills needed to welcome the world to Britain.”

Wisdom’s thoughts are echoed by Miles Templeman, a spokesperson for the Institute of Directors, who was cited in HR Magazine as saying: “It is imperative for businesses to invest in the people who will be on the front line, hosting our visitors and acting as ambassadors for the rest of the country.”

Roads in central London to be closed for Royal Wedding

Roads throughout central London could potentially be closed for three days prior to the Royal Wedding, to allow police to check the safety of the route.

An even wider area will be shut down on the actual day of the wedding, April 29th, meaning local residents will be unable to travel by car or public buses for a period of time.

It is crucial that police check the route in advance for safety reasons, particularly after the recent incident involving an attack on Price Charles and Camilla. This will ensure all invited parties are able to travel to and from the ceremony and wedding reception venue without fear of being hounded.

A spokesperson for Westminster Council yesterday claimed: “It is too early to confirm how many days the road will be shut for,” however added that the current estimate was three days in The Daily Express.

Reports have suggested that Transport for London, Westminster Council, the Royal Parks Agency, Clarence House and the Metropolitan Police will work in partnership to decide which roads will be closed and when. It is thought Kate Middleton, bride-to-be of Prince William, will travel through the route in a state-owned vehicle – potentially the Rolls Royce Phantom VI that Prince Charles was travelling in when attacked by rioters protesting the tuition fee changes.

This is London has suggested that areas surrounding Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and Victoria Station could be shut down, in addition to the local roads in and around Westminster.

Report predicts meetings will increase by 8 per cent in 2011

Meeting venues in London and around the world are set to benefit from a ‘positive change’ in the coming year, Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) FutureWatch 2011 study has found.

The report, which is published today includes insight from more than 450 industry professionals in 20 different countries. The document indicates that the volume of meetings, the number of attendees and the overall spend will see moderate increases during 2011. The report projects an 8 per cent increase in the number of meetings planned, which will boost bookings at conference centres, it is thought there will be a 5 per cent increase in the average spend.

Bruce MacMillan president and CEP of MPI told Meetpie: “After two challenging years for the business of our industry, we’re back with FutureWatch 2011 responses indicating material real growth in activity of 8 per cent.”

“FutureWatch 2011 also indicates that this is the year when recent industry forays into virtual events and collaboration through social media will become increasingly mainstream. Thinking outside the room to drive performance through connectivity is becoming entrenched.”

The research looks at four trends making meetings more strategic, followed by in-depth data on crisis collaboration amongst planners and suppliers and considers five key areas of technology which are impacting the industry. According to Bill Voeglei president of Association Insights, the report contains resources including links to webinars which would help industry professionals use the data in their day-to-day business.

Royal Wedding day may be subject to Tube strikes

London Underground Drivers have threatened to strike on April 29th – the day of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

This could chaos for Londoners requiring to travel around the capital, as it was also recently announced that the local roads in Westminster will be closed to the public, allowing attendees to travel to the ceremony and wedding reception venue safely.

The drivers are threatening April 29th as their strike date in order to gain leverage in a row over bank holiday pay. ASLEF, the trade union for London Underground drivers, has made requests for three days’ pay and a day off in lieu for tube drivers who work on bank holidays.

Speaking to the Press Association, the managing director of the London Underground, Mike Brown, claimed: “Tube drivers already have very fair levels of pay and get around seven weeks/ holiday a year, including allowance for bank holidays.”

“Londoners will be simply stunned at such a claim. The only way to resolve this issue is by getting round the table for constructive talks,” said Brown, asking the union to consider options other than strike action.

“The ASLEF leadership is tearing up long-standing agreements that cover pay and annual leave and demanding even more. I urge [them] to end pointless strike threats and work with us to resolve this without any disruption to London,” he added on BBC News.

The threats come only weeks after Tube drivers undertook strike action on Boxing Day, causing massive disruption on one of Britain’s largest and busiest shopping days. Although London Underground had previously take action to halt the strike, it went ahead unaffected.

Venues granted late licenses for Royal Wedding

Public houses across England and Wales will be granted late licenses for the Royal Wedding in April, allowing them to stay open until 0100hrs.

It is thought venues will be given the license for both April 29th and 30th, without having to liaise with local licensing authorities, according to The Daily Mail.

Throughout England and Wales, licensing laws are the government’s responsibility, however in Northern Ireland and Scotland, liabilities are devolved to the local administrations, meaning it is unclear as yet if the same leeway will be given to venues in those countries.

The news has been received warmly by venue owners, as it will allow them to reap the full benefits the public holiday and national celebration will bring. Industry expert, Brigid Simmonds, claims: “This is great news, and it is really good to see the government recognising that this is a brilliant opportunity for us all to get together, to celebrate a great national event.”

Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton back in October, whilst on holiday in Kenya. BBC News reports that after being married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the couple will travel through the streets of London in a glass carriage, before heading to their reception for dinner and dancing.

The news comes shortly after many communities throughout the UK announced plans to throw Royal Wedding parties, themed around the big day. For those searching for the perfect party venues, London has a wide range of colourful, diverse options, with something to suit every style, taste and budget.

Popstar Sarah Harding says planning a wedding is stressful

Popstar Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud fame, has spoken out at the stress she’s experiencing trying to organise her upcoming nuptials to Tom Crane.

Harding claims that the myriad decisions required, such as what type of wedding reception venue to choose, the style of dress she wants and where to go for the honeymoon are overwhelming. Reports have suggested that, due to Harding’s outgoing, wacky personality, she may opt for a more low-key affair, rather than the big white wedding many people choose.

“The more I think about it, the more I realise how much work goes into a traditional wedding,” she commented on Sky Showbiz.

“There’s so much to think about. It’s stressful,” adds Harding, who, when asked about her thoughts on dress said: “I think I’d like something fitted then I’d change into another dress afterwards. Sometimes you have to suffer for fashion, and I’d say Cheryl suffered on her wedding day in that tight dress.”

Reports suggest that Harding will have to cope with planning the couple’s engagement party, before throwing her complete efforts into the big day. However with reports surfacing that Harding has snubbed her bandmate, Nadine Coyle, by not inviting her, it may prove even more successful to arrange than the wedding itself.

A source said in The Sun: “The proposal was very private so they haven’t had a chance to celebrate with all their friends yet. There has been so much animosity flying around Girls Aloud in recent months, and Sarah and Tom just want this night to be about them. Most of the band has been invited though.”

US business travel is recovering

The amount being spent on business travel in the USA is expected to increase by five per cent in 2011, as one industry leader spoke of the sector’s ‘cautious optimism.’

According to research from the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Foundation, the rate of growth in the spending could as much as double this year. Last year, business travel spend was up by around 2.3 per cent, a sharp contrast to the 14 per cent fall that was experienced in 2009.

The study findings form part of the NBTA’s latest Business Travel Quarterly Outlook report, which is based on the organisation’s Business Travel Index (BTI). The BTI measures the sector’s performance and it showed that the number of business trips fell unexpectedly during the third quarter of 2010. However, in the last three months of the year and into January 2011, the figure appeared to recover strongly.

NBTA executive director Michael McCormick told Meetpie: “Our research is ringing in the new year with reason for cautious optimism. The year wrapped up better than expected thanks to a number of factors including higher than expected GDP, stronger exports and very strong corporate profits. These trends are translating into greater business travel spending as companies invest in travel to drive revenues and compete aggressively in a recovering economic environment.”

Those with corporate venues for hire and owners of conference centres in London will be pleased to hear that international travel continues to be strong.

“International outbound travel in particular remains strong and should continue to grow through 2012 as American companies seek opportunity in robust export markets. Companies are once again recognising the value of face to face meetings with customers, prospects, partners and colleagues to build relationships and set the stage for top-line growth,” he added.

The total spent on business travel in the USA during the first quarter is estimate to be $58.8bn (£37bn), seven per cent higher than the during the same period last year. It is predicted that the number of trips taken to March 31st will be around 110 million – 8.6 per cent higher than the same period last year.