Average day delegate rates rise

Average day delegate rates (DDR) for conference centres and meeting venues have risen by £2 over the last 15 months, new research shows.

According to figures from venue finder The Event Wall, the average rate charged by a venue per delegate per day for a full day meeting now costs £53, up from the £51 rate seen 15 months ago.

The statistics are based on the analysis of 1,400 proposals received between July 2010 – October 2012, reports meetpie.com and are limited to the data collected on The Event Wall’s own systems.

Matthew Oliver, director of The Event Wall, says that while the rate might be “slow and steady”, confidence is rising among venue proprietors.

“However the recovery is still not keeping up with the rate of inflation showing that published rates are being heavily discounted in order to win business and meet the demands of cost conscious buyers,” he added.

“With the country officially entering a second recession we are likely to see this steady increase maintain at best. 2012 rates have benefited from the Olympic effect, so it will be interesting to see if 2013 brings any increases at all.”

Other results recently gleaned by the team at theeventwall.com include research which suggests ‘unusual venues’ are the most likely venues to shift on price – offering average savings of 31 per cent.

London takes world's top visitor destination accolade

London is the world’s favourite visitor destination, according to the analysis of millions of travel reviews.

Thisislondon.co.uk reports that the English capital jumped an astonishing seven places up TripAdvisor’s worldwide league tables to the number one sport within the space of a year.

It achieved such a feat thanks to the spotlight being cast upon the city in light of several global events, namely the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic celebrations.

However, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest the city’s unique mix of culture, history and cool also helped reach this accolade. Even when considering party venues, London is known the world over, for example.

The city’s tourism agency, London & Partners, said London’s top position was “a testament to the wonderful array of attractions, dining and accommodation that set London apart from all these other destinations.”

Such worldwide favourites the city beat included New York, Rome, and San Francisco. It was all change for last year’s winner Cape Town, which dropped right down to 23rd place.

The island of Providenciales in the Caribbean took the top beach destination in the world; while Florence came out on top as the best food and wine city in Europe, tripadvisor.com reports. Its Tuscan wines in particular – Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the dessert wine Vin Santo – were noted as highlights.

Retro weddings are 'in', claims expert

Instead of opting for a traditional but plain wedding celebration, couples might consider turning back time and opting for a retro wedding instead.

That’s the advice of wedding expert Sonali Hindmarch, writing for yahoo.com, who suggested that retro weddings are becoming chic as they allow the bride and groom to ‘have fun with the fashions of the past and stand out from the crowd’.

For example, the expert suggests those looking to add a vintage feel to their wedding reception venue should look at purchasing some old, disposable Polaroid cameras for each table. Purchasing the cameras comes at a very low cost and guests can keep the photos as mementos, she suggests.

Furthermore, throwing some old-school hip flasks into the mix comes highly recommended by Hindmarch.

“If you’re having a 1950s-style wedding and have a big budget (or a small wedding),” she writes, “hip flasks can make a fantastic and unusual gift that people will definitely take away with them.

“You could even supply mini bottles of booze to match. There are some gorgeous retro hip flasks available online from websites such as Etsy or eBay, or you can scour your local car-boot sales or second-hand stores,” she adds.

Hindmarch’s comments come as fashion expert Mega Paul proudly claims that authentic vintage is ‘in vogue’ this season, cited by thestarphoenix.com.

US party craze hits the UK

The craze for having a party to celebrate the gender of parents’ new baby has apparently arrived in the UK, reports parentdish.co.uk.

It is a trend that started in the US, with parents either holding a party to tell others if they’re having a boy or girl, or hiring event venues to surprise the parents-to-be themselves.

To facilitate the latter option, the sonographer is asked to write down whether it’s a girl or a boy, before putting the paper in a sealed envelope. This is then placed inside a cake, which is cut at the ‘Gender Reveal Party’.

Writing for guardian.co.uk, Observer chief reporter Tracey McVeigh pointed out that the celebration follows “hot on the heels” of another US tradition that has been happily adopted by parents this side of the Atlantic: the baby shower.

She commented on the gender reveal party of 27-year-old mother-to-be Michelle Whitney, who recently gathered family and friends around her to find out which sex her baby would be.

Ms McVeigh remarked: “Rarely can a cake have played such a central role at a party. Wrapped in multi-coloured icing, the first slice was cut to reveal – in pink sponge – the sex of Michelle Whitney’s baby.”

'Ultimate' London guide app debuts

A new iPhone application proclaiming to be ‘the ultimate mobile city guide’ for Londoners has made its debut on london24.com.

Unlike many other smartphone applications, the MyCityWay London24 has included everything a local – or indeed tourist – could need to know about the bustling capital.

More than 30 specialist ‘location-based, real-time and really useful’ mini-apps make up the tool, supplying information such as what’s on at event venues, where to park or where the nearest café is. Archant, the publisher behind london24, has partnered with the app specialist mycitymyway.com to bring the application to life.

Paul Hood, digital director for Archant London, said: “We are very excited to be able to offer a free-of-charge urban discovery tool, enabling residents, tourists and business travellers to navigate, explore and enjoy London in unprecedented ways.

“It is a natural extension of our London24 digital brand and the Archant core mission to serve London residents, commuters and tourists with helpful and relevant information.”

According to mycitymyway.com, the application is not only easy for users to customise and plan, but also a good way for brands to grow their client base without the need for mass marketing.

This is because the built-in GPS features allow brands to specifically target people using the app whilst near their precise location; giving them the chance to promote their own events, parties, or offer discounts in-store.

Cinco de Mayo celebrated in London

Cinco de Mayo celebrations are not only held in the US and Mexico – London also has its share of revellers, it has been claimed.

According to londonist.com, there are plenty of places around the capital where people are going to congregate to mark the occasion, although some partygoers may prefer to put on their own event by hiring function venues.

Cinco de Mayo – which means May 5th – is, naturally, held on that date. It is a day to celebrate Mexican history and heritage, with the day having its roots in the Battle of Puebla won by the Mexicans against the – much stronger – invading French forces in 1862.

Mexican culture has all sorts of popular food and drinks to base a party around, making it a holiday that people around the world can easily enjoy, although some may choose to combine it with their love of watching boxing on television, as there is a big match taking place on the day, reported mirror.co.uk.

While top of the bill is a match between the American Floyd Mayweather and Puerto Rican fighter Miguel Cotto, many eyes will be on the Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who is the WBC light middleweight champion. He is due to take on Sugar Shane Mosley, from the US.

900,000 extra London 2012 tickets to go on sale

An additional 900,000 tickets for various London 2012 events will go on sale this Friday at 11am, guardian.co.uk reports.

This week’s sale will mark the last chance for sport enthusiasts to get their hands on passes for the games, with a large amount of the allocation granting holders access to viewing areas around London.

Due to this, those looking for tickets will be presumably be looking to experience the party atmosphere more than get close to the athletes on show. This attitude could significantly benefit clubs, pubs and event venues around the London area, as many businesses will be looking to attract the party crowd when the summer finally arrives.   

Those attending London primarily for the sports could be still in luck, though. The remaining 928,000 tickets will include much-sought after passes for the men’s 100 metre final, set to take centre stage on August 5. These will accompany tickets for events like cycling and swimming, where British athletes will look to repeat the success of previous teams.  

Talking in the wake of the announcement was organising committee chief for London 2012 Lord Coe, who told metro.co.uk that his team of organisers are looking to satisfy the public demand, which has seen tickets snapped up in rapid time.

“We know thousands of sports fans were disappointed when they missed out in the initial sales period because of the massive demand for tickets,” said Lord Coe. “We promised we would prioritise these fans when we released the contingency tickets, which is exactly what we’re doing.”


Managers need to eliminate wasted time at meetings

Repetition, a lack of focus and unstructured agendas are just some of the main bugbears listed by office workers in a new study into business meetings.

Reported by businessrevieweurope.eu, new research from Epson and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that 16 per cent of their respondents cite technology as one of the causes for ‘wasted time’ at meetings.

Furthermore, 68 per cent admitted that the use of tablets and smartphones during a meeting proved to be a distraction. However, 36 per cent claimed their personal devices improved their productivity during a meeting.

As a result, managers organising a business meeting at a conference space may want to double check all their technology is fully functioning before conducting a meeting.

Furthermore, one in five senior managers surveyed say they spend more than 10 hours a week in meetings, highlighting just important it is to have a clear structure and focus during a meeting.

Neil Colquhoun, business sales directors at Epson UK, commented on the survey: “Senior managers can use this feedback to identify appropriate practical steps such as introducing structured agendas, supplying more appropriate AV technology or even providing more refreshments to set their staff on course for a more productive use of their time in meetings.”

The research coincides with tips released by management-issues.com, which suggests that senior managers should start every meeting with an ‘explicit objective statement’ in order to highlight a focus for the meeting.

800-seater table included in the thousands of Jubilee parties planned

A table seating 800 people is just one of the many celebrations planned in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend. 

Set to take place in Greenwich, the effort is unique but has almost been matched by a similar party, which will see 500 sit down to eat at a stretch near Piccadilly Circus.

These two gatherings are expected to contribute to a figure of over 1000 for parties held over the bank holiday weekend, as many roads prepare to temporarily close. In fact, thisislondon.co.uk has reported that Richmond is an area in demand, with 170 applications for road closures currently being considered by government officials.

The bank holiday could provide UK residents with one of the biggest reasons to celebrate this year; however, many will have to consider a plan B should things take a turn for the worst.

With telegraph.co.uk reporting on the wettest April on record, optimism for clear skies over the weekend of June 2nd isn’t growing and many might contemplate looking at available venues for hire to host their celebrations. This would ensure their event could go off without a hitch, regardless of the weather.

Furthermore, insurance will also have to be taken care for any large-scale parties and those in attendance will always expect a high level of safety. This might seem a little too much for the organisers, with an event venue offering the ideal solution. 

Final day of the Premiership season looms

The final day of the Premier League football season looks set to be a nail-biter for many sets of fans this year.

All 18 sides in the league play their last game on Sunday (May 13th) at 15:00 and the number of key positions still up for grabs means there will be a lot of nervous supporters in pubs or function venues as the afternoon wears on.

John Ashdown wrote on guardian.co.uk that the most high profile battle will be for first place, with Manchester United and Manchester City both vying to win the top prize. The former need the latter to drop points against QPR, while making sure they beat Sunderland, if they are to overcome their neighbours.

Some other important issues are the settling of the final relegation place between QPR and Bolton Wanderers, while back towards the top of the league Arsenal, Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur seek to claim two possible Champions League positions – if Chelsea win this year’s final then just one of these spots will mean entry into the top European competition.

Writing for goal.com, news reporter Greg Stobart suggested there has never been so much at stake on the final day of a Premier League season, adding: “There have been some outrageous, magical days this season. And, without doubt, there is one more left.”