Jubilee safety guide released

Those planning street parties in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee are being advised to download a free guide which lays out a number of safety considerations.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has released a three-page guide called ‘Celebrate – an ABI guide to planning an event’ which documents the safety and insurance requirements needed when organising a street party over the extended Jubilee weekend.

There are a number of risks organisers must consider. For example, the ABI has told organisers that a back-up venue, fire safety measures and the safe operation of lighting equipment are all essentials when it comes to holding a party in a public place.

Furthermore, without the right insurance, the organiser could be personally liable if anything goes wrong, leaving them potentially out of pocket.

In fact, it may prove too much work; potentially encouraging Brits to hire event venues  instead in which to hold a party honouring the Queen’s milestone. This could be much easier on the whole, as they won’t have to worry about insurance or any safety measures; it will be taken care of for them.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance at ABI, commented on the guide to Insurance Daily: “With communities across the country planning thousands of events this year, a few common sense precautions will help ensure that events are fun and safe.”

Melvin Benn believes event venues can prosper post-Olympics

A leading festival organiser believes the UK events industry will continue to prosper even after the 2012 Olympic Games has finished, reports Event Industry News.

Speaking at a seminar for the National Outdoor Event Association, managing director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn believes that the 2012 games will be a “massive, massive positive” for the events industry.

According to Benn, event spaces in London can use the Olympics as a springboard to “expand and develop” in the future. In addition, learning lessons from the Olympics gives event venues the foresight to hone future opportunities.

Furthermore, event venues need to always be learning, adapting and developing their own offering in order to attract customers, he added.

A question from the floor suggested whether the UK may suffer from a post-games ‘hangover’ – something which Benn suggests won’t happen. He believes the Paralympics, likely to be the largest of its kind, will “effectively take the games right up until September”, at which point the football season kicks off.

As a result, the UK’s ‘hangover’ will be short-lived.

However, some events have been hindered because of the Olympics. According to Benn, Glastonbury had to take an off year – which has been confirmed by glastonburyfestivals.co.uk – because Avon and Somerset Police could not spare the officers due to them having to protect the USA Olympic team, which is staying close by.

Big Egg Hunt designer art brought together in London

The individually designed eggs that collectively formed London’s Big Egg Hunt have been brought together over Easter.

Anyone heading to an Easter celebration at function venues in the capital can get into the spirit of the season by heading to Covent Garden’s piazza to view the eggs, which were previously scattered around London in what was billed as the biggest egg hunt in history.

According to Scout London, the pieces have been on display there since Tuesday (April 3rd) and will be available to view until the bank holiday this coming Monday (April 9th).

The Easter-influenced collection is the last time people will be able to view the 210 eggs before they are auctioned off, with some of the artists due to be in attendance at certain points to add the finishing touches to their pieces. Among the more famous artists involved in The Big Egg Hunt were the Chapman brothers, Zandra Rhodes and Sir Peter Blake.

Charities Action for Children and Elephant Family will benefit from sales of the fibreglass eggs. Londonist suggested the art project is similar to the Elephant Parade from 2010 or the Cow Parade that has ended up having international success following its launch in Switzerland in 1998 – London hosted it in 2002.

Number of business trips leap in 2011

The number of business trips taken in 2011 grew by 15 per cent, according to figures released by VisitEngland.

Conference News reports this figure beat that of the number of domestic overnight trips experienced by ordinary holidaying Britons – which increased just nine per cent.

However, this wasn’t unwelcome news by any means. England’s national tourism agency also revealed that spending during 2011 was up 13 per cent year-on-year, to £18 billion.

With regards to business travel, the agency said it expects that the number of trips taken this year will be roughly the same as those in 2011. If true, this might give event planners some kind of expectation as to how many people may attend their corporate events. London may well take the lion’s share of these trips though, being the UK’s business capital.

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive seemed pleased with the figures. In a statement cited by Incentive Travel, he said: “2011 was the third consecutive year since 2009 that the number of domestic overnight trips taken in England has been above pre-recession levels.

“This, coupled with our recent ‘Day Visits’ research which revealed that 1.3 billion domestic day trips were taken in England last year, clearly demonstrates that Brits are increasingly inspired to discover the fantastic destination on their doorstep.”

First impressions vital for memorable party, says expert

One of the most important parts of a memorable party is the first impression guests get as they arrive, it has been noted.

Party planning expert Liz Taylor wrote in a column for Female First that are all sorts of ways to create the “wow factor” at event venues, highlighting how creativity – especially at the start of the night – can be effective.

She said: “The more budget you have to work with, the more creativity you can apply to the mission. Remember the welcome – that first impression. You could create a memorable event from the point that guests arrive.”

Among her other recommendations were to have a central focal point to the evening, consider hiring live entertainment, harness the element of surprise and end the night “on a real high note”.

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations coming up in June, there are plenty of people around the country planning events. Freshbusinnessthinking.com reporter Daniel Hunter suggested the scale of the celebrations will “surpass anything experienced for decades”.

He pointed out how there have so far been 1,000 more road closure applications for street parties for the occasion than there were for the royal wedding last spring – around 6,500 have been received.

Councillor Flick Lea, chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, told the resource that the number of applications is “amazing”, particularly since there are still two months to go.

Olympic weekend crowds could triple New Year's Eve

Crowds descending upon London during the Olympic Games this summer could be three times larger than those seen on New Year’s Eve.

Peter Hendy, the commissioner of Transport for London (TfL), warned Telegraph.co.uk that many of London’s event spaces may fill up quickly because of the number of free activities on offer.

Open areas that are destined to show big games on big screens could face the worst of the overcrowding. The opening few days and the two weekends following are already being tipped to be the busiest of the year.

Contingency plans are being drawn up in the event of overcrowding, with ideas floating around including directing people south of the river to Clapham Common if things get out of hand.

With the potential for such disturbances, it’s possible that some might consider that the Games are best watched from the comfort and safety of pre-booked function venues or at home.

“Our approach is to be ready for more people to turn up than you can ever imagine simply because it is a great place to be. We do not want to discourage people, but we will inform people if they can’t get into central London,” said commissioner Hendy of the matter, cited by LondonTheNews.com.

Further Olympic benefits shared by Mayor's office

A £10 billion boost to shops and restaurants is just one of the number-crunching highlights the Mayor’s tourism office has released to ramp up excitement about this summer’s biggest events.

Citing the latest batch of numbers from London & Partners, Express.co.uk says that the majority of this wealth will come from the 12.7 million people who plan to visit the capital this year for the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympic events.

Hotels also look set to be packed to the brim this summer. A spokeswoman for Travelodge confirmed that of its 53 London hotels, with some 7,200 rooms, most are sold out for the Jubilee. However she added that there is some scant availability during the Olympics.

It’s a good thing that at least some people will have somewhere to rest during the event, because when it comes to day-time spectacles and late-night party venues, London has got lots up its sleeve.

An outdoor concert at Buckingham House for example, featuring Sir Paul McCartney and Kylie Minogue, will see tens of thousands of guests littering The Mall. A thousand-strong flotilla in aid of the Queen’s Jubilee, meanwhile, will similarly see just as many line the banks of the Thames.

Commenting on the grand year ahead, Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, said: “The forecast is fantastically encouraging for London as we prepare to welcome the world.

“People are keen to visit the city, whether to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime events taking place this year or simply to enjoy our world-class attractions,” he added, cited by TreeHugger.com.

Half of pubs, hotels and restaurants feeling positive about 2012

Nearly half of the UK’s main hospitality traders are feeling positive about the year ahead, according to a new survey.

Big Hospitality reports that a confident 49 per cent of restaurant, pub and hotel operators believe that their fortunes will flourish over the next 12 months, with only a very small number (four per cent) expressing any doubts to the contrary.

Although specific figures were not released for the event spaces sector in Baker Tilly’s Outlook 2012 survey, the overall positivity of the rest of the industry may reflect similar attitudes within this area too.

When asked what measures could be taken to improve business confidence even further, respondents answered with a reduction in VAT, tax and red tape.

To ensure that the industry performed to its maximum capabilities, 49 per cent of hospitality chiefs said that they’d be further investing in better business processes and systems. Nearly half again (47 per cent) said that they would also look to open up new sources of revenue to remain prosperous in the year ahead.

Commenting on the results, HotelOwner.co.uk quoted Ali Aneizi of Baker Tilly, who said: “It seems that the general sentiment among hospitality and leisure firms is fairly positive and they are looking to innovation and improved service to help flourish through these uncertain times.

“Although there are some measures that the government can take in helping businesses to continue the recovery, the basis of performance for the sector is going to be heavily driven by consumer confidence.”

Is .london on the way for event venues?

London businesses could snap themselves up a .london web domain name within months, thanks to a powerful promotional collaboration.

Top-Level Domain Holdings is to work with London’s tourism agency London & Partners to ensure that every city business is entitled to the unique web identifier, according to the Financial Times.

While it might seem like a novelty, the move could see a range of businesses adopt the title; be it a conference venue in London or a local pet shop.

According to TLDH’s executive chairman, Peter Dengate Thrush, .london will be a stand out name from the .co.uks and .coms of yesteryear. It could provide some real clout when it comes to marketing, it is thought.

“We expect the .london registry to be very successful, as London is such a powerful brand,” Thrush said. “We expect it will be one of the earliest ones available and that it will be very large.”

Several extremely large and powerful companies have already stated that they have made applications directly to ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers); staking their claim to a number of as-yet-unidentified Top Level Domains (TLDs), reports BBC News.

However, while some TLDs might be fought over – such as .eco and .gay, according to the FT – others like .london are widely expected to be passed with no quarrels.

New competition software can create buzz for events

New software launched today has the potential to change the way event organisers drive buzz and promotion for their events.

Event Magazine reports that Wazoku Competitions, a cloud-based service that uses competitions to “increase event engagement, awareness and traffic”, can build up hype for an event as well as encourage audience interaction.

A firm can use the contest software to run a challenge or a competition as a complement to a product launch, event or community gathering, reports wazoku.com.

The software also contains voting and social buttons that allow attendees to submit ideas for competitions – as well as share to others. As a result, the software could be a good complement to a social media strategy.

Behind the scenes, event venues or organisers can use the software’s analytics tool to record audience feedback, find out what aspects of the event attendees liked most and what they would like to see at future events.

Simon Hill, chief executive of Wazoku, commented on the launch: “Capturing and encouraging ideas and innovation is a great way to build buzz around an event.

“Wazoku Competitions is the perfect platform for not only capturing those ideas but enabling people to socialise them quickly and easily, generating awareness for both the event and the idea submitted.”