Majority of office workers use social media during meetings

Office workers are busy checking social media sites during meetings, according to officebroker.com. A new study has found the majority of workers are online rather than focused in meetings. 

While 97 per cent of people said they take their mobile phones with them to meetings regularly, the research also showed 71 per cent of staff check Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook while they are in meetings. While some of them claim it’s for business reasons, the majority said it was just to see what their friends were doing.

Checking into Foursquare or keeping up with breaking business news was cited as a valid reason for using smartphones during meetings but eight per cent of respondents said their smartphone is simply a distraction for dull moments.

Having meetings at conference centres or meeting venues outside of the office may combat the use of social media being a distraction. A new environment could encourage staff to give the meeting their full attention, rather than checking their mobile phone.

I-l-m.com reports that checking social media was vital for some staff with 47 per cent saying they look to Facebook and Twitter to find out information about the meeting they are due to attend before it has taken place.

Johnson wants London to become a "smart city"

London Mayor Boris Johnson has reiterated his desire for London to become a “smart city” with technology boosting its transport, administration and infrastructure.

Reported by londonlovesbusiness.com, deputy mayor for business, Kit Malthouse – on Johnson’s behalf – lifted the lid on the “Smart London” board, which will examine how technology can help London become a better place.

For instance, the board is considering introducing a ring of delivery hubs around London so businesses can deliver goods to the ‘outer ring’ without the need to venture into the city centre.

It also plans to make a range of public data available in order to stimulate innovation. Event venues can use this information to monitor service interruptions so they can inform those who have booked events to rearrange their transport routes in the event of a Tube closure, for instance.

London already uses a number of “smart” technologies including the Oystercard, a contactless payment system, and its congestion charging system. reports ft.com.

Johnson commented on the drive: “London has been at the forefront of technological wizardry for generations, but in a rapidly changing world we will need to work harder than ever to stay ahead of the game.

“We must harness the huge potential that new technology offers us, and by drawing on the expertise of some of the brightest minds around we can make our great city an even smarter one too.”

Event organiser keener to utilise technology

Event organisers are becoming keener to utilise technology to gain feedback from their customers. 

In a recent poll conducted by IML Worldwide, 90 per cent of organisers admitted that they could make better use of the technology available when gaining insight from attendees.

What’s more, 95 per cent of respondents agreed that this technology improved their decision making when it came to their strategic direction. Sixty per cent said that it had made a “major” difference to their business.

In an interview with freshbusinessthinking.com, IML Worldwide chief executive Richard Fisher agreed that feedback from visitors to event venues was more crucial than ever.

“Our industry is rapidly evolving as technology advancements occur and philosophies on shared intelligence develop. With this evolution comes the opportunity to engage with audiences more fully and rewardingly than ever before,” he said.

Barclays Bank has also completed research indicating the benefits of social media websites in gaining feedback from customers in the events and hospitality industries.

According to citmagazine.com, more than two thirds of leaders in these industries claimed to have enjoyed a “positive” experience attracting customers through these channels. Just over ten per cent claimed that they couldn’t see a return on investment with social media marketing.

Roadmap to zero waste for events industry unveiled

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has mapped out how the events industry can reach its goal of no waste being sent to landfill from UK exhibitions by the end of the decade.

According to citmagazine.com, today (March 5th) marks the launch of the group’s ‘Zero waste events: a 2020 vision’ roadmap which forms part of a major new initiative designed to slash waste levels in the sector.

The guide learns from lessons at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to present a number of steps that planners, event spaces and businesses can use to achieve a zero waste status.

Specifically, WRAP’s guide details the clear vision for how the £36 billion industry can achieve zero waste by 2020 whilst outlining considerations for preparing and hosting an eco-friendly event.

Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive at WRAP, believes that by the industry individually and collectively taking on the challenge, targets can be met and companies can start to see the economic benefits of going green.

“Making waste prevention part of an event’s plan can deliver significant savings for businesses large and small,” she went onto tell businessgreen.com. “It will benefit all, from local community activities right up to large-scale UK events like the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow.”   

The sector only achieves a recycling rate of 15 per cent at present, with thousands of tons of waste entering landfill each year.  

Event venues leading the way in waste recycling, claims WRAP

Event venues have little to improve on when it comes to waste recycling – it’s the events themselves that are letting the side down.

This is according to Mervyn Jones, head of products and materials at waste agency WRAP, who believes event organisers must clean up their act if the sector is to realise its target of sending no waste to landfill by the end of the decade.   

The government-supported organisation helps businesses reduce their waste and recently launched its ‘Zero waste events: a 2020 vision’ roadmap – a step-by-step guide to help events venues, planners and organisations create sustainable events. 

Cited by meetpie.com whilst talking yesterday (March 5) at the launch of the roadmap, Mr Jones claimed that the cost of removing waste in April 2013 stood at £72 per tonne. WRAP predicts this to rise by another £8 each year unless companies attempt to combat the problem, although venues might have less to do than other parties.

“Venues mostly are already good in terms of waste management, but the events themselves we need to target,” highlighted Mr Jones.

It was also claimed that some events are leading by example, achieving as much as a 50 per cent recycling rate, although most are managing around 15 per cent.

The events industry is currently worth £36 million and, according to WRAP, will rise to a value of £48 million by 2020. However, as reported by resource.com, the organisation still believes companies could be making significant savings by tackling waste and reducing the impact waste-related overheads have on their finances. 

London finishes top for European city tourism

The most popular city in Europe for international tourism is London, according to new figures.

London finished top out of 58 cities in Europe by the number of bednights spent there by international tourists. The British capital saw more than 35 million of these in 2012 – a 1.2 per cent increase compared with 2011, reports traveldailynews.com.

The figures were produced by international tourism organisation European Cities Marketing (ECM), which included the statistics in its ‘ECM Benchmarking Report’. People do not always come to London for leisure though – often they will be in town for one of the corporate events London regularly hosts.

Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, ECM president, said: “Bednight numbers representing tourists from BRIC markets such as Russia and China grew tremendously over the previous year, proving once again the importance and potential of these countries as strong source markets for the European tourism industry.”

The research showed that the number of bednights recorded for Russian and Chinese tourists rose by 20.4 per cent and 28.5 per cent respectively. Behind London in the rankings were Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Prague.

ECM’s study was also cited by conference-news.co.uk, which picked out the upturn in Japanese tourists in 2012 after a dip in 2011. The number of bednights attributed to Japanese travellers increased by 13.4 per cent.

Event management students aching to learn more about UK events and venues

London’s successful hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games has inspired events management students to request more tuition based on UK exhibitions and event venues.

International training company Event Business Academy (EBA) claims to have witnessed an increase in students wishing to learn more about the UK events industry, while the Academy also contributes a rise in applicants for its Scholarship Programme to the UK’s sporting summer.

Oxford-based EBA says the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have provided a new source of demand for its courses, with 400  applicants from over 30 countries looking to secure one of just ten scholarships on offer.

Jeff Hunter, managing director of EBA, told eventindustrynews.co.uk: “Students often specifically mention their desire to learn about well known UK events and venues, so we believe we’re seeing something of an Olympic learning legacy developing for the UK event industry.”

The EBA’s Scholarship Programme is supported by ex-industry pro Nick de Bois, currently the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group, who described the rise in interest for the UK’s event expertise as “fantastic”.

Cited by conference-news.co.uk, Mr de Bois went onto state that tuition in events can provide a solid foundation for success in the industry, while boosting the number of skilled workers entering an already highly competitive job market.     

New cycling network could help commuters

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced nearly £1 billion worth of investment into a new project which intends to create a Dutch-style cycling route through the capital.

The route, which will run for more than 15 miles, has been dubbed ‘Crossrail for the bike’ and could help those constantly travelling to and from event venues in London, especially when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, for instance.

It is thought the new route will run for more than 15 miles from the western suburbs ‘through the heart of London to Canary Wharf and Barking’.

Overall, it is believed to be the longest ‘substantially-segregated’ cycle route of any city in Europe and will become the ‘ultimate symbol’ of how Johnson is claiming central London as turf for the bike, reports london.gov.uk.

Johnson commented on the scheme: “The reason I am spending almost £1 billion on this is my belief that helping cycling will not just help cyclists. It will create better places for everyone. It means less traffic, more trees, more places to sit and eat a sandwich.

“It means more seats on the Tube, less competition for a park place and fewer cars in front of yours at the lights. Above all, it will fulfil my aim of making London’s air cleaner,” he added.

Personalised wedding rings set to be a key trend for 2013

Personalised jewellery is a huge trend for weddings in 2013, according to burtonmail.co.uk. Everything from wedding rings to bridal presents are being given a more personal touch.

While jewellery has often been personalised, 2013 may be the year that the trend becomes more mainstream, with couples actually choosing to make their own wedding rings. A wedding special of the television programme, ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home’ showed one couple being shown how to create their own rings.

According to professionaljeweller.com, jeweller Rachel Jeffrey who featured in the show said that the demand for personalised wedding rings has been growing quickly, particularly since the show aired last November.

Once the wedding reception venue has been booked, personalising the room is often possible as well. Chalkboards have been an option for couples to write place names and menus as both a greener option and to reflect the individuality of their taste.

Couples are increasingly looking to make their wedding unique so are choosing to break the traditional trends with everything from food to themes. Making wedding rings by hand is a personal experience that is proving to be popular.

Some jewellers are now offering a bespoke wedding ring making service for couples looking to personalise their day as much as possible.

London chosen as host city for Formula E

London has been chosen as one of the first host cities when the so-called ‘Formula E’ makes its debut next year, bbc.co.uk reports.

The new racing marque will see fully-electric vehicles race around ten of the world’s most celebrated cities, including Rome, Miami, Beijing and Rio de Janeiro. So far, eight hosts have been announced, with two set to follow in the coming months.

The inclusion provides positive news for London, with the decision affirming the capital’s role as a promoter of green technology. It could even see big players in the electric vehicle manufacturing industry descend on London’s function venues in future when it comes to looking for markets into which they can expand.

No circuits have been officially confirmed by the organisers, but it is thought that an initial plan to host the race outside Buckingham Palace could come to fruition. It has been said all the routes will take place centrally across the host cities, with all locations easily accessible via public transport in a bid to continue with the green-energy theme.

Speaking after the bid was declared a success, London mayor Boris Johnson told londonlovesbusiness.com: “Zero emission world class motor racing is a scintillating concept and I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E.

“It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable economic benefit to our city.”