Events enhanced by social media

Conference space organisers are turning to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more in order to enhance their events, reports Event Magazine.

According to a new survey, almost 90 per cent of event organisers are using social media platforms to advertise and promote their event. Facebook is the most popular platform, with 65 per cent of industry experts utilising the social network.

However, a massive 14 per cent still neglect the use of social media in promoting an event or an event venue.

Marketers could create events or groups on Facebook to promote their conference or exhibit. This, in turn, could reveal how many people will be attending or not attending the event, allowing the marketer to edit the size of the venue accordingly.

Similarly, retweets on Twitter could show how many people are interested in the event.

Lucky Wright, an industry insider, lists the benefit of the social media experience in events organising: “Social media will hopefully enhance and prolong the event experience and venues themselves can also help facilitate this with their own Twitter feeds and services like live streaming of events.

“Like any other form of marketing though, it’s important to know your audience and identify the correct channel before launching any activity,” she added.

The Mercury suggests that social media is an integral tool in marketing, with “events in Britain this week underlin[ing] its power”.

London tops city destination list

London is the world leading city destination in 2011 for international tourists, according to a poll released by MasterCard.

The capital beat Paris, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong into the top spot. The financial giant predicts that London will receive 20.1m inbound passengers this year, which is 2m more visitors than Paris who polled second.

MasterCard also believes international expenditure will reach $25.6bn (£15.6bn) in the capital, more than New York’s $20.3bn (£12.4bn).

These costs not only include tourism spending in shops, restaurants and transport costs, but also in business spending; through the booking of meeting venues and conference centres for example.

The presence of Asian-Pacific markets was consistent throughout the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities: Cross-Border Travel and Expenditures report. Eight of the top 20 were cities from this region, The Independent reported.

Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, MasterCard’s global economic adviser, said that international travel was a key indicator of monitoring economic growth in the post-crisis global economy.

It underpins the “growth of key industries, such as transportation, retail and hospitality, as well as professional services like marketing and advertising,” he said in a MasterCard company statement.

“The economic and business impacts of international travel are especially pronounced in cities that are popular destinations of international travel, and in the destination cities, spending by international visitors contributes significantly to local commerce and business activities, amplifying the dynamism of these urban economies,” he added.

The company compiled its predictions of international arrivals, by analysing airline schedules and UN expenditure figures.

Deadline delayed for Events Awards

The deadline for entries into the Events Awards has been extended due to pleas from industry professionals to provide extra time.

According to Event Magazine, the deadline for entries into the awards now stands at Friday June 10th, offering an extension of around 15 days.

This is the second time the event’s organisers have extended the deadline, Events Secrets confirmed, as a day was added originally to “accommodate a special entry.”

Despite the organisers being behind the extension, those that do submit an entry now will still be subjected to a penalty fine – given that the original deadline was Thursday May 26th.

The Events Awards are being held by Event Magazine, whose writer, Jeremy King, spoke out regarding the upcoming awards ceremony. He said: “Having reshaped the categories to reflect the ever-evolving industry this year’s awards are set to be the best yet, with a record number of entries.”

Professionals throughout the UK’s event spaces and conference centres may be delighted at the news, as it will give them an extra chance to get their entry in front of the judges.

The judges reportedly include “representatives from brands including British Airways, Nike, Vodafone and Red Bull”, and the panel has been described as being “of the highest calibre.”

Meetings can enhance business relationships, says expert

Holding a businesses meeting can not only bridge geography but cement relationships between internal employees and outside business relationships.

That’s according to James Campanini, the managing director for Cisco WebEx, who noted that hiring out corporate venues to hold business meetings is “a big part of the fabric of our working lives.”

Campanini, writing for IT Pro Portal, stated firms who convene with employees about the company’s future or possible prospects are the firms that “survive and prosper” as it is a “proven way to bond [with] workers and bring them together.”

Holding business meetings is the perfect way to speak face-to-face with senior management or ground-level employees in order to achieve that vision.

In addition, employees are at their most productive when they engage with the brand, says Campanini.

He wrote: “The emotional association that comes from being involved in their work and their company’s mission result in a commitment that makes the workforce more dedicated to their jobs.”

According to You At Work, another way to engage with the brand is through flexible working – like working at home or allowing the employee to choose their hours. This ensures “lower stress levels”, giving employees the chance to concentrate fully on engagement.

Royal Wedding made London "hip again"

This year’s Royal Wedding has made London a “hip” destination, according to one professional tour guide.

Speaking to Canada East, the London tour guide, Dean Hadley, said that the wedding helped bring the capital to the attention of the entire world.

He revealed: “That’s what happens when a young and good-looking Prince William marries a young and good-looking Kate Middleton. The whole world watched their wedding on TV and now everyone wants to visit [to] see everything Royal for themselves.”

His theory was echoed by tourism expert, Jeremie Gabourg, who said the wedding really got foreigners interested in London. Gabourg also said on “It’s only going to get stronger as we move into next year when the summer Olympics are in London and it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”

This may prove to be good news for those who own event spaces or conference centres in the capital, as they may experience a rise in people renting out the venues – particularly if the masses flock to the UK.

However it’s not just London that has benefited, the experts say. Areas such as St Andrews in Scotland, where the couple famously met whilst at university, have experienced a rise in popularity.

This was confirmed by Seth Kitson, an ambassador for the university. He claimed that: “I think almost every place in St Andrews can claim some sort of Wills and Kate connection.”

Double celebration for Lily Allen

Songstress Lily Allen married partner Sam Cooper last weekend, and had a double celebration after announcing on the day that she is “at least” three months’ pregnant.

According to the Mail Online, Allen revealed the news after the ceremony, during the reception, and is apparently “ecstatic” that she’s got another chance at motherhood – after miscarrying twice.

Cooper and Allen were wed in a small church in Cranham, in the Cotswolds; and her laid-back, rustic approach may have inspired other brides-to-be to opt for a similar vintage theme at their wedding ceremony and reception venue.

A source who attended the wedding spoke of how beautiful the day was, particularly when the happy groom announced the news, telling “It was so very, very touching.

“The day was always going to be amazing, but when Sam said Lily was…pregnant, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. There were tears of joy for Lily and Sam.”

Another guest confirmed that Allen is “over the moon” about her pregnancy, calling it the “best news” ever.

Even Allen’s dress designer, Delphine Manivet, spoke out about the pair’s happy announcement, claiming Allen looked even more beautiful with her “little stomach” and that the bride looked “very cute” in her white lace dress.

Brides increasing their hen do budgets

Brides-to-be are spending more and more on their pre-wedding celebrations, according to bridal expert, Jade Beer.

Writing for the Mail Online, Beer claimed that budgets for hen do events are increasing to upwards of £1,000 per head; with ladies opting for more sophisticated offerings over the traditional knees-up.

Beer suggested: “Even women on a comparatively modest budget are opting for chic European city breaks in designer hotels, over latex outfits and cheap booze at the seaside.

“They want a slice of the glamour too, and will make sure there is room in the wedding budget to accommodate that.”

This ever-increasing trend may see more hens hire out entire function venues for their big night, spending thousands on their friends to ensure a night to remember. This was confirmed by Alex Packenham, a luxury lifestyle specialist, who said ladies are now looking for “no-expense-spared experiences” that are “lavish” and “elaborate.”

Packenham added: “Budgets can run into the hundreds of thousands, especially when you include the bridesmaids’ gifts.”

Some have speculated that this rising trend is in part thanks to so-called ‘party girls’ like supermodel Kate Moss, who are often depicted in the press having wild nights out.

Moss herself has just had her hen do, apparently “knocking back the booze” at the Isle of Wight Festival last weekend and “getting trollied” with friends. even said the model hired her own private chef to cater to her and her friend’s every need, potentially spurring on other hens to follow in her (expensive) footsteps.

Wedding jibe caught Harry off-guard

Prince Harry looked decidedly nervous yesterday as a Chelsea pensioner quizzed the young Prince about his future marriage plans.

Harry, 26, who was best man at this brother William’s recent royal nuptials, visited 300 ex-soldiers at the famous Chelsea Hospital in London.

Harry, who was commemorating the hospital’s 1682 opening, was asked by 85-year-old William Titchmarsh: “When are you going to get married?”

“Not for a long time,” the Prince quipped, quickly followed by, “who put you up to that?”

The Independent reports that Titchmarsh joked shortly after meeting the Prince: “They’ll shoot me in the morning,” while a fellow resident said: “Put him on a charge Sergeant Major.”

Harry has just rekindled his on-off romance with 25-year-old Chelsy Davy and he reportedly whispered to her “you’re next” during his brother’s wedding in April. According to the Mirror, they also spent all night together at the wedding reception venue.

However, Now Magazine revealed last month that Chelsy, 25, is having doubts about becoming Harry’s bride.

A source who is said to be a pal of Chelsy’s said: “She adores Harry but doesn’t know if she’ll marry him as she isn’t sure the royal life is for her.”

“She’s told him she doesn’t want to be like Kate and Wills but wants him to at least show more commitment now,” they added.

Sustainability attracts clients, says MPI

Having sustainable practices within event, conference and meeting industries can attract clients and increase revenue.

These were the thoughts of president elect, Samme Allen from the Meetings Professional International group (MPI).

Speaking to delegates at the Sustainable Events Summit in London, she stressed the importance of education and the implementation of standards across the events industry with regards to sustainability.

“There are many different agendas in this field so it’s important to simplify the message and promote best practice,” she said, according to CIT Magazine.

She added that sustainability isn’t just a buzz concept, adding that it can be profitable for owners of event venues and function venues etc.

“Sustainability is a massive tool for us and we have won a lot of business off the back of it. So, yes, we do make money from this,” she said.

The aim of this year’s Sustainable Events Summit is to create a roadmap towards a more sustainable events industry, according to Therefore many others were pitching in, keen to push ‘green thinking’ forward.

A spokesperson for the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), also speaking at the summit, argued that the practical application of sustainability practices for the events industry cannot work without engaging business leaders.

However, they said that common standards could be created for all businesses: “We need industry and government standards to work together. Having too many processes can stifle creativity,” they said.

“We need to follow the positive examples given by event planners,” added the spokesperson.

Conferencing can boost staff morale

Small business owners across the UK can boost staff morale and ultimately gather more sales by holding conferences, according to a leading body.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has advised that conferencing can improve inter-employee communication and engage staff on a higher level, ultimately leading to increased sales or more clients, cites Thomsons.

This could initiate SMEs who are failing to boost staff morale to hire one of a number of conference centres in the UK and take the time to have a chat with their staff about the vision of the firm, business practices and other subjects.

The organisation also suggests that conferencing is more important for small businesses than larger ones as each individual employee is “more important” in a smaller firm. Employees in larger firms “tend to get lost in the structure of the company”, cites Taxassist.

Phil McCabe, spokesman for the FPB, explains the importance of holding regular meetings: “I think you can’t underestimate the importance of team building exercises and other events where staff and management come together. However, it is an obvious difficulty for small firms [because] they lack the space and resources to carry out those conferences.

“As always, the advice is to shop around for the best deal. There are cost-effective conference providers out there that can allow businesses to put these events on without breaking the bank,” he added.