Key event trends to be highlighted in latest Eventia-IVCA survey

The latest trends in meetings and events are set to be revealed through the latest Eventia-IVCA survey, which has started to take submissions from venues.

As reported by meetpie.com, the UK Events Market Trends Survey (UKEMTS) will provide an in-depth review of the industry in 2013 whilst outlining a series of upcoming trends for venues to consider over the next 12 months.

Companies are being urged to take part in the study by answering a list of questions relating to their business last year.

These will focus on how many events they held, the size of these gatherings, the duration of their events and the type of clients that booked up.

Venues will also be asked questions on much-talked about topics like the environment and sustainability, the design of meeting spaces inside venues as well as secure environments.   

While eventia.org.uk claims the prime reason for the study is to hand event venues the information they need to prepare for their immediate future, Dale Parmenter, chairman of Eventia-IVCA, believes the survey will also highlight the sector’s value to the economy.

He commented: “The UKEMTS research is both well established and highly regarded as a very reliable source of information.

“It has a proven track record in making the case for the significance and value of this sector to the national economy, and in highlighting the latest and emerging trends.”

Mr Parmenter added that the survey is powered by response from UK venues, and urged businesses to answer the group’s new questionnaire.

Vegan weddings becoming big 2014 trend

The number of people who are opting for vegan weddings is on the increase, according to huffingtonpost.com.

The trend to break free from the use of any animal products is soaring in the industry, thanks to a number of celebrity endorsements. Stars such as Anne Hathaway, Paul McCartney and Natalie Portman have all had vegan weddings and the public is quickly following suit as the trend becomes more familiar.

Megastar Beyonce has also been in the press recently due to her new vegan diet. The star has been posting dishes of her new eating plan on to social networks, which has captured people’s attention and has said veganism helped her to shed her baby weight, with the star reportedly now a UK dress size 6.

Sarah Prager, author of the book ‘Borrowed, Blue & Vegan Too’, did say in her Huffington Post article that couples who are planning to have a vegan wedding should make sure they pick the right caterer.

She wrote: “Ask for example vegan menus and make sure they show an understanding of vegan cuisine. My wedding caterer (mandatorily assigned by the venue) did not understand vegan food and it showed. You don’t want to be their first experiment in meatless cuisine.”

Brides-to-be who are planning a vegan wedding should also make sure that they think about more than food if they are having a vegan wedding, according to Ms Prager. This includes wearing a non-silk wedding dress and making sure animals aren’t used in the ceremony (such as a horse-drawn carriage).

Women going up the aisle may also be inspired by French actress Olga Kurylenko who wore vegan shoes on the Oscars red carpet this week, according to fibre2fashion.com.

Business travel helps boost Eurostar growth

A significant increase in the amount of business travellers using Eurostar has helped to boost the service’s passenger figures.

Business travellers use the service to travel to and from London for corporate events and meetings as the British economy continues to improve and the European economy is showing early signs of stability.

According to incentivetravel.co.uk, business travel actually rose 6.2 per cent in 2013, helping the service to carry more than ten million passengers in twelve months, the first time in the service’s history since it was created in 1994.

This growth in business travel helped the European train operator to see profits rise seven per cent to £857 million last year, operating profits were also up by four per cent to £54 million.

The cross-channel service which has carried more than 140 million passengers since it was opened saw overall travel grow two per cent in 2013.

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive at Eurostar, told bbc.co.uk that after the economic down turn there was a dip in confidence from businesses across Europe. That confidence is finally beginning to return and companies are looking to travel more.

Mr Petrovic said: “In comparison with this time last year, when the overriding sentiment was still very cautious, there are more encouraging trends, and in some sectors, there is clearly a greater appetite to invest and look for business.”

British Museum named top UK attraction in 2013

Visitor numbers to London’s top tourists attractions saw an impressive rise last year, with the British Museum topping the list.

According to bbc.co.uk, data from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) reveals the British Museum observed its visitor numbers increase by 20 per cent last year in comparison to 2012, meaning 6.7 million people stepped through its doors in 2013.

Visits to the National Gallery soared too, rising by 14 per cent to 6.03 million visitors. Dinosaurs and ancient history proved to be almost as popular, as the National History Museum saw visitor numbers increase by 6.7 per cent – a total of 5.35 million customers.

Outdoor attractions also experienced a positive boost, as customer numbers rose by 26 per cent at London Zoo last year. Kew Gardens, which is located in west London, received a similar boost of 29 per cent, reports dailymail.co.uk. It is likely that 2013’s long, hot summer helped encourage more people to travel into the capital to see such attractions.

Overall, visitor numbers to London attractions surged by 12 per cent last year. It’s probable that many London businesses benefited from the rise in tourists too, as there were even more people looking to spend their holiday money in the capital.

Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA, notes that a certain playwright could bring even more tourists to the city this year.

“2014 is sure to be a momentous year, seeing the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare,” he says.

British hospitality industry makes "great strides"

The British hospitality industry has taken big steps in recent years and companies are now hugely positive about their prospects going into the future.

That’s according to Ufi Abrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, who reflected on the industry’s current situation whilst commenting on news of an eight per cent rise in jobs growth for UK hotels, pubs and restaurants over 2013.  

According to onrec.com, Mr Abrahim said the Olympic legacy has done wonders for the industry’s reputation and that its leaders are now more attuned to the benefits of collaborating in order to create something special.  

Cited by recruitment-international.co.uk, he commented: “The hospitality and tourism industry has made great strides over the past few years, both in generating jobs and economic growth and in terms of making political capital.

“The British Hospitality Association is extremely positive about the medium and longer term prospects for our industry and our resilience and buoyancy during the economic downturn bodes well for our continued success in more positive economic times.”

The employment figures come courtesy of Caterer.com, who says the last quarter alone saw the number of advertised careers in the industry rise by 16 per cent year on year.

Ian Burke, website director at Caterer.com, said news of economic growth should signal an “exciting time” for the industry.

Wedding cakes switch from white to peach as couples change their colour palettes

Couples in Britain are developing a reputation for ditching traditional wedding standards and going with their own ideas, but it seems even the celebratory cake is now being subject to change.

Tracey Mann, found of Tracey’s Cakes in Buckinghamshire, says this year’s wedding cakes will be all about “incredible flavours” and “colourful designs” as couples ditch some of the more common themes for some preferences of their own.

Talking at northampton-news-hp.co.uk, Mrs Mann says couples are selecting designs which stray from the traditional patterns, with this change starting with the background colour.

“Rather than traditional tiers of white and ivory, brides are increasingly opting for cakes in block colours – from soft shades of pink and peach, to bold hues of blue and grey,” she commented.

When advising brides on the steps to take when designing their cakes, Ms Mann said it pays to sort out the block colours before anything else.

Award-winning master patissier and foodnetwork.co.uk contributor Eric Lanlard says these can be inspired by any other part of the wedding, such as the dress, the bridesmaid outfits or even the flowers.  

“If you want your cake to make a colour statement, it’s good to have a clear idea of your colour scheme and venue before consulting your cake designer,” adds Ms Mann.  

She believes this will give whoever’s making the cake a better chance of finding the perfect fit.   

Experts unsure about high street wedding dress

High street fashion brand, H&M has unveiled a photograph of its first ever £59.99 wedding dress, but experts aren’t convinced it’s what brides want, theguardian.com reports.

Ask any bride-to-be about the most important aspect of their wedding and they’ll usually say “the dress”. According to Brides Magazine, this essential can cost on average £1,340 – creating a hefty dent in the wedding budget. Now, Swedish retailer H&M has announced it will sell a stylish and inexpensive gown in its stores.

Described as ‘a glamorous, 1930s Hollywood-inspired wedding dress’, the floor-length white gown features a pleated bodice and waistband, plus a sheer, beaded sleeveless top panel. The considerable savings made on this frock could go a long way towards a grand reception or honeymoon. 

However, wedding experts are questioning whether real women would go for a dress that’s already been splashed all over the Daily Mail website. Wedding planner Carrie Mitchell claims that most brides don’t want to be seen in something that everyone has seen and that H&M would have been better advised to launch a whole collection of dresses, not just one.

The sentiment is shared by The Wedding Editor, Pippa Vosper. Cited by dailymail.co.uk, she said she was in two minds about the budget dress: “It’s great to have the option for such an inexpensive dress, but a bride has to look like she’s in the most special dress she will ever wear”.

H&M meanwhile insists its intention was to allow all brides, no matter their financial situation, to have a ‘great and affordable wedding dress’. The gown will hit the shops later this month.

Could new payment rules for SMEs unlock growth for events industry?

Tightening payment rules on transactions between large companies and small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMEs) could be the key to unlocking growth in the events industry, reports conferencenews.co.uk.

This has been suggested by Marco Forgione, chief executive at creative communication association Eventia-IVCA, who believes larger businesses are being given far too much leeway with the current system.

At present, SMEs in the UK currently have to wait up to 90 days to receive money for services they have delivered. While large companies will typically come good with their promise and pay up before their deadline, Mr Forgione believes the unnecessary delay is slowing Britain’s economic recovery.

Speaking in light of what he described as a “frustrating” meeting at the Bank of England, Mr Forgione commented: “Many small businesses in Britain are having to wait up to 60-90 days to get paid. This creates a huge challenge for them, especially those companies in the creative industries.”

According to eventindustrynews.co.uk, the chief is now calling for chancellor George Osborne to implement “strict new rules” in order to speed up the way small companies have their invoices settled.

Mr Forgione accused the government of only using “warm words” to quell the concerns regarding how large companies treat their supply chain and called for the maximum payment window to be brought forward to 30 days.

“We want the chancellor to introduce strict new rules on payment terms, which will free up SMEs to invest and grow their businesses.”

Wedding cakes becoming a statement piece

A wedding blogger has claimed that many couples are now going all out when it comes to their wedding cake.   

Sarah Christopher, from blog Juno & Joy, was talking to hellomagazine.co.uk this week. She said: “Our readers are making bolder and very stylish choices. Wedding cakes have become real statement pieces.” 

The blogger continued: “The three emerging trends we’re seeing are simply-styled cakes either with a statement trim, textured façade or flower adorned, whether it’s inspired by the flower scheme or even the appliqué of the bride’s dress.” 

Other trends that couples are now leaning towards when it comes to their wedding cake are ombre, metallic shades, monochrome and beaded embellishments. 

Meanwhile, another article posted on cafemom.com claims that some couples are moving away from wedding cakes entirely and going for alternative desserts.  

This trend has been fuelled by a number of celebrities who have been ditching cakes from their receptions. Treats that some brides are grooms are opting for instead of cake include donuts, French macaroons, crepes, ice cream and even cheese. 

Many couples are also now becoming inspired to opt for alternative or more elaborate wedding food thanks social media sites such as Pinterest, which give them fresh ideas to try out on for their big day.  

Saudi airline looks to capitalise on London’s business appeal

Businesses in London could soon see a surge in the number of corporate visitors from the Middle East after budget Saudi airline Flynas chose the capital is its first European destination. 

Sulaiman Al Hamdan, the CEO of Flynas’ parent company, NAS Holding, says that Saudi Arabia’s historic relationship with London played a big part in the decision. He also spoke of London’s corporate appeal. 

According to businesstraveller.com, he said: “Selecting London was a logical choice given its position as one of the key commercial capitals of the world.

“London and Saudi Arabia inherently enjoy historic bilateral ties through education, tourism and business. Through the entry of Flynas to the UK capital we hope to reinforce these ties and capitalise on them.” 

Flynas, which is Saudi Arabia’s only privately funded airline, will operate its first flights from Jeddah to London Gatwick on April 8, routes-news.com reports. They will then continue three times a week as part of the company’s Global Flight Routes scheme, with some of the tickets costing around £170 during the initial promotional period. 
 
The carrier will then further increase its UK presence by adding Manchester to its list of destinations. The first flights from the Saudi capital to reach the North West will touch down at the beginning of May.