Latest News

29 Jun

Townhouse Hotel Manchester Refurbishment

Townhouse

The Bespoke Hotels, with over 200 properties worldwide, has been appointed to oversee management of Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel. Set to feature within Bespoke Hotels’ portfolio alongside the award-winning Hotel Gotham, itself just a stone’s throw away in Central Manchester, The Townhouse Hotel forms part of a significantly expansion into the UK market by the Singaporean Fragrance Group. The acquisition of the property is seen as a central pillar of their strategy, particularly given Manchester’s robust trading performance in recent years. The Townhouse Hotel has since seen just under £1m investment and refurbishment scheduled to start in the coming months.

Set beside the city’s renowned Portland Street, the Townhouse Hotel is a Grade II listed building and a former cotton warehouse with a history dating back to the Industrial Revolution. The hotel boasts 85 boutique-style rooms for a luxurious stay in the city centre. The hotel is located within a short walking distance to major transportation links and city centre attractions and offers discounted parking nearby. On-site facilities also include 101 Brasserie & Bar and a self contained conference floor with 8 flexible meeting rooms. Meeting rooms can accommodate for up to 50 people with AV and other meeting essentials provided.

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8 Jun

7 Really Common Event Planning Mistakes.

When it comes to event planning, the devil is in the details. Attendees might not notice when things go right, but they certainly notice when they go wrong, and delivering a great experience means tending to every detail from start to finish.

That can be a recipe for job stress for meeting planners, but much of that stress can be mitigated by early preparation. When it comes to planning your next event, be sure to avoid these event mistakes.

Not Being Tech-Ready

Technology may seem like something you can sort out on event day, but this may be one of the biggest oversights that prevent an event from running smoothly. Well before the event kicks off, your technology team should carry out a full tech-check and ensure everything is working accordingly. This includes guest list software, TV screens, projectors, microphones, adapters, and any other technology related items you plan to use.

Keep in mind that the noise levels will be higher on the day with audience chatter, so you will do well to have a dedicated technician on hand to make any real-time adjustments. PC and Mac compatibility issues are also often overlooked. For your sanity and those of the guest speakers, pick one operating system and stick with it.

Failing to Communicate Pre-event

Your guest list is everything when it comes to a successful event. Yet for some reason, event organisers tend to communicate either too much or too little leading up to an event. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes and think about how much information you would like to receive from an event organiser. Provide all critical details (guest badges, full agenda, directions, and local resources) and any other ways in which to maximise their event experience.

A physical pack is ideal, but if you’re on a budget then a simple email will suffice. If there are significant changes to the agenda, communicate them as quickly and succinctly as possible. If it’s appropriate, be sure to circulate a list of attendees to all guests. This helps foster connections and can be a big benefit for many guests that come away with new opportunities.

Neglecting the Five Senses

First impressions matter and your guests will appreciate an environment that is warm, welcoming, and stimulating, and a large portion of that first impression comes from subconscious sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and touch.

To truly feel comfortable at your event, guests need their senses to be pleasantly piqued including the right temperature, memorable visuals, a pleasant aroma, delightful tastes, and a fitting soundtrack. Subtle items like the dress and friendliness of the welcoming crew, background music at an appropriate level for your event, ensuring trash cans have been recently emptied, and food that is fresh and healthy can make all the difference.

Forgetting to Fuel Properly

Speaking of taste, the most nourishing thing you can do for your guests is feeding and hydrating them well. Give special care to the catering. Not only do you want delicious food and snacks that provide energy, you also want to ensure they hit mouths at the right times. Give the catering team specific and clear instructions to guarantee that a schedule is adhered to and that freshness is not compromised.

Incorporating different dietary requirements and cultural preferences into your catering options is always a good bet. Having choice is essential when appealing to a large group of people.

Failing to Capture Your Event by Professionals

Planning on using a friend or just doing it yourself to capture video of your event? Think again. Conferences—particularly when it comes to video—look boring. It’s a lot easier to make a live concert or sporting event look great on camera than a business event. To capture the feel and energy of the event, get footage of guests arriving, mingling, learning, being entertained, and more.

Hiring a video or livestream professional with experience facilitating a great conference and allowing guests to feel comfortable will set up your event photography or videography for success. They can shoot and edit your event, and ideally make it look even better than you imagined.

Failing to Follow up

Just like pre-event communication, it’s prudent to follow up with attendees. Provide guests with a recap and access to any content available during the event. A nice way to surprise attendees is to send bonus content as part of the recap. If appropriate, solicit feedback to gather data so you can make changes and improve for the next time around.

You can also encourage attendees to connect with one another and fuel further conversation through platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. It’s also a great opportunity to plug your next event if there’s one in the pipeline.

Not Ending on a High Note

People always remember the ending, so make the conclusion to your event count. Plan your event program the way a band puts together a concert set list. They don’t play all their hits at the very beginning—they space them out through the set to keep the crowd always wanting more. Consider stacking your ‘wow factors’ at the right times throughout and save the best for last. This will carry the high energy from your main event into the post-event festivities.

A great event team makes all these tips much easier to implement. Your team must all be on the same page, handle logistics like pros, and be able to improvise on the fly. The guest experience should sit at the very top of your priorities list. These tips can help make all the difference—take them to heart and make your next event remarkable.

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8 Jun

17 Event Trends Poised to Shake Up Hospitality & Group Business in 2018

In the events world, you don’t have the luxury of living in yesteryear. You need to see into the future and stay ahead of the event trends that will inevitably make or break your business.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to rush out and buy a crystal ball to be on top of it. Using a combination of research and survey data, we’ve rounded up the 18 most important trends set to hit planners, hotels and venues in 2018.

Better buckle up!

1. The hospitality boom isn’t going anywhere.

THE SCOOP

Last year’s boom knows no bust. In fact, the CBRE is predicting a 2.4% increase in hotel RevPAR for the coming year. But that rise in demand will inevitably create a rise in cost. By how much you ask? According to CWT Meetings & Events, you can expect a spike in booking prices of about 3.7%.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

You know prices are the lowest right now, and that’s exactly what you need to convince your clients. Luckily, when higher numbers are on the horizon, it’s usually a powerful catalyst for closing deals.

On the other side of the puzzle, you can get a leg up by working with properties on longer lead cycles. That way, you lock in those lower prices and keep clients happy.

And remember, when clients and properties are looking for unique experiences, it’s always going to cost more. Seeking out those opportunities can mean more earnings for you.

In 2018, expect a spike in booking prices of about 3.7%.

2. Attendees expect things to get easier. That means you’ll work harder

THE SCOOP

Digital connectivity has created a world where everything is always at a consumer’s fingertips. It’s a big reason why Euromonitor has named consumer connectivity one of its eight megatrends to keep an eye on through 2030.

That speed and ease has led us to a state of modern ecommerce that has consumers growingly impatient with drawn out registration and booking processes.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

To keep clients and attendees happy, it’s more important than ever to speed things up this year. That means taking steps like making pre-loaded flight plans and other options readily available in registration material, or even adding a concierge for attendees. While it might be a tough cost to swallow resource-wise, the impact on consumer satisfaction makes it a no-brainer.

Growing consumer impatience also means you need to pay attention more to potential timesucks like check-in. To expedite the process, we recommend considering blockchain for easy registration & pre-event check-in. You can also distribute Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials for quick and seamless event-wide access that doesn’t slow things down.

3. The competition is stacking up for schedules AND eyeballs.

THE SCOOP

Every year, there’s a significant increase in events across every category, and this year is no different. Event competition is going to be fierce.

It’s not just the fact that there are more events, it’s also the reality that competition for consumer attention is coming from all angles angle. Add to that the fact that the average persons attention span is eight seconds, and you’ve got a situation where you need to make your mark quickly. (Hint: Making that mark is easier with pictures than words!)

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Pre-Event

More competing events means you have more to pay attention to. So when planning your date, keep a close eye on event calendars to avoid overlap in content or geography.

The competition also inevitably means more demand for primetime dates and top properties. The more you can prepare your clients for the higher prices on the horizon, the less friction you’ll encounter when it comes time to close the deal.

Day Of

On the day of the event, you need to be ready to make your mark and engage your audience if you expect them to come back. Luckily, there are plenty of audience interaction tools popping up that can help you captivate attendees and get them involved. Make sure you’re using those tools to incorporate more polls and Q&A during talks. You should also play with seating plans plans to boost engagement — theatre-style seating is “so 2017.”

Keep in mind that attendees have a screen in their pockets that’s competing for their attention with your screens. Instead of fighting it, take advantage! Use slide-sharing apps that bring the presentation to pockets and create custom filters that are event and location specific. Filters aren’t just a great way to take advantage of mobile devices, they’re also a fantastic way to increase your reach.

4. Diversity & inclusion aren’t just buzzwords.

THE SCOOP

Nor should they be. The rise in diversity & inclusivity isn’t just a long-time coming, it’s also making a huge splash in business initiatives and the events world as a whole. Consumers are voting with their pounds  and making purchases in accordance with their social values. That’s leading businesses to ask themselves, “What exactly do we stand for?”

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Does your event include a speaking panel? Make sure you’re working with your clients to host diverse panels that include a multitude of voices and perspectives at the speaker’s podium.

When planning events, weave in themes of inclusion and serve up lectures that put significant social issues at the forefront. Just make sure you’re keeping yourself out of controversy. All publicity isn’t good publicity — no matter what anyone says.

Remember: It’s more important than ever to pay attention to the language you’re using, all the way down to pronoun usage. Make sure to keep an eye on not only what’s being said during the event, but also what’s communicated on your surveys and event materials.

Remember: It’s more important than ever to pay attention to the language you’re using.

5. Warehouses are going to be big — and we’re not just talking space.

 THE SCOOP

It’s not just about what you’re saying, it’s also about where you’re saying it. Because in 2018, consumers will want to experience the venue as much as the event itself. So you can expect non-traditional venues to pick up in popularity. In fact, demand for non-traditional venues already rose 4% in 2017.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Keep one step ahead of the trend by pitching a warehouse concept to your clients. It’s an opportunity for them to break out of a more formal business setting for a one-of-a-kind experience.

When you’re looking for warehouse venues, keep in mind that it never hurts to have a helping hand in sourcing one. Make your life easier by partnering with a CVB who can find warehouse spaces that are appropriate for events of any size. You can also use a venue search engine to narrow down options and compare them.

6. CVBs: Local partners to global brands?

THE SCOOP

You better believe it. Event planners are emphasizing local elements more than ever and they’re local convention offices to make it happen. It’s all part of the push for “local” that’s taking industries, including event trends, by storm — from food to goods and even tourism.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Seek out a Convention Bureau and ask for their help doing any of the following:

Hosting events at notable city museums
Catering through local restaurants and microbreweries
Partnering with local food trucks
Bringing in local speakers or musicians
Hosting off-site excursions like agritours, snowshoeing or scenic 5k routes

7. Meet property branding’s new best friends: Niche & Neutral

THE SCOOP

Clients want to set the mood for their meeting or event, and they’re willing to pay more for the right experience. That all begins with branding.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Expand your search criteria to be sure you’re including properties whose brands are consistent with a client’s. In essence, if you’re planning for a prestigious law firm, you’ll want an equally prestigious and storied venue. If you’re planning for an edgy tech startup, you might want to work with hip emerging brands.

In every single case, companies have a perception of themselves and know the persona they want to convey. Keying in on that can go a long way in keeping them happy.

Bonus Tip: Cultivate relationships with niche properties whose branding brings a unique element to events. It gives you a wildcard option in your back pocket that not every local planner can provide.

8. Security is at the top of everybody’s minds.

THE SCOOP

It’s terrible we have to say it, but it’s true: The current climate has consumers looking for transparent event security solutions that bring them peace of mind. As a result, properties and planners are adding security measures to their planning and making logistics a big part of their budgets.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

For bigger events that have the budget, go the extra mile to implement registration biosecurity such as thumbprint and facial recognition technologies.

It’s also a good idea to consider more visible and reassuring security where you may not have before. That could be everything from ID checks to security guards.

9. Intelligent planners will make friends with machines.

THE SCOOP

In, 2017 most major mobile apps incorporated some form of AI. Even popular concierge apps now have a machine learning component. Of all event trends for 2018, this might take the most investment on the behalf of properties.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Keep your brand image on the cutting edge by searching for properties with AI-powered concierge apps. You’ll wow attendees with personalized experiences and chatbots, all the while elevating their perception of you as an innovative planner who has their finger on the pulse of new tech.

For post-event purposes, kiss the post-event survey goodbye. By opting for an AI-powered feedback collector like Facebook Messenger, you’ll be more likely to get feedback you can use to optimize future events.

10. Don’t take it personal — make it personal.

THE SCOOP

From Google search algorithms to Netflix homepages, the world is moving towards personalized experiences. In fact, users are coming to expect it. That’s why you need to make sure you’re bringing in an element of personalization at the attendee level. Luckily, AI and machine learning are making it easier for event organizers to offer custom experiences.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

You can get to personalizing events long before the big day. Start by sending out a digital survey for pre-event polling on the activities you plan on offering.

If you plan on sending out an explainer email, make sure you’re segmenting your marketing lists. That way, you’re not hitting repeat attendees with the same info you’re sending newbies. They’ll appreciate getting tailored content that acknowledges your appreciation for them as a repeat attendee.

Leading up to the big day, and even the day of, use chat AI to answer attendee questions in real time. Many large-scale events like Sound Fest use Facebook Messenger to make it happen.

Segment your email list so you don’t hit repeat attendees with the same info as newbies.

11. Bitmania: Cryptocurrency & blockchain will change the face of events

THE SCOOP

Believe it or not, the value of Bitcoin has risen 5x in 2017 alone! It’s also becoming increasingly accepted as valid currency in a variety of industries. And the same blockchain technology that’s behind bitcoin is poised to make a big push toward seamless attendee experiences.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

A growing number of hotels, venues, & travel booking sites are accepting Bitcoin — from Expedia and Holiday Inn Brooklyn to One Shot Hotels. You should be seeking out clients in the cryptocurrency industry and teaming up with these types of properties to make sure you can accommodate things like blockchain ticketing and ID. It’ll go a long way in wowing savvy attendees.

If you’re questioning whether it’s worth the effort, remember that cryptocurrency is a cash cow for event planners too. With demand being so high, ticket prices for these types of events can escalate up to $2,000 for a single seat!

12. Give your clients a voice (assistant).

THE SCOOP

Voice-activated assistants like Alexa or Google Home took 2017 by storm. In 2018, they’re poised to become the norm. That level of comfort with voice-activated technology means it’s only a matter of time before consumers come to expect it at events.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Be on the lookout for properties that already have these technologies built in. Then, work with your venue to program their available VA technologies to deliver on-site directions and accept attendee feedback. By Inputting key attendee data, you’ll allow exhibitors to ask relevant questions hands-free on the floor.

13. Live translation might change where you meet.

THE SCOOP

Event trends often follow suit with business trends, and international business is on the rise more than ever thanks to the advent of live voice, sign and text translation applications. As these tools improve, there’s potential for planners and venues to begin hosting language-neutral events.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Look into live translation applications like Interactio or Google Translate, and familiarize yourself with their potential. Then use that knowledge to pitch a unique experience to clients who conduct international business.

To make that experience come to life, you’ll need to partner with properties who have the necessary AV equipment for large-scale live translation.

14. Social media influencers are the new celebrity.

THE SCOOP

With a profound reach on the web, social media influencers make great partners for promoting events. Their credibility with followers gives any recommendation they make the feeling that it’s coming from a friend. People are more likely to take a friend’s advice than yours!

The best part? You can land social media influencers for far less money than you’d find yourself paying a traditional celebrity — and in many cases, you’ll get the same type of reach.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

The first step is finding the right influencer. Use an influencer search engine like Upfluence or Sprout Social to find accounts that are consistent with your client’s brand.

Once you’ve locked down the right influencer, it’s time to think outside of the podium. That means giving influencers an immersive experience that translates well to social media, so that they can then take it and spread it to the masses.

15. Rideables are on their way to (and from!) an event near you.

THE SCOOP

Rideable technologies like hoverboards are less expensive and more practical than traditional forms of transportation, plus they’re cutting-edge. Planners are poised to use them in two ways:
To get attendees from one end of a large property to another
To give attendees a cool experience that they won’t soon forget

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Partner with tech-savvy properties that own and deploy their own rideables, and you’ll make the lives of attendees easier — especially in large venues. You’ll cater to attendees of all ages because millennials love to ride them and older attendees have a need for them. They can also be a great way to enhance experiences like agritours or tours of other large spaces.

16. Drone video is on the up.

THE SCOOP

With drone and high quality video technologies getting cheaper, savvy properties and planners are adding drone video to the experiences. You might say it’s an event trend that’s really taking off.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Wow attendees by streaming live feeds of outdoor events on the screens they’re watching. Nothing excites a crowd more than seeing itself! Plus, after the event, you’ll have the perfect footage to create an amazing post-event video or sizzle reel you can use as an engaging marketing asset.

17. Some attendees want to turn off & tune out.

THE SCOOP

While the recent rise of virtual reality and augmented reality has been a hit with many consumers, there are many for whom it’s had the opposite effect. Thanks to that backlash, retro tech is in.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD

Even at tech-heavy events, installing technology-free zones can give attendees a breather to network, host face-to-face meetings, or just relax away from their devices. You can even top it off by building longer breaks into the schedule where attendees can mingle and chat in these shared spaces.

Bonus Tip: A few key inclusions can go a long way in creating a sense of nostalgia. Differentiate your event by adding “analog” media like cassette players or vinyl players, old video game consoles or arcade games, and retro design aesthetics.

Three Downward Event Trends for 2018

What goes up… well, you know the drill. Here’s what you can expect to lose steam in the coming year.

Virtual Reality

Sure, virtual reality is immersive, but it’s not genuine — and most importantly, it’s cost-prohibitive. Look for VR to fall victim to the trend this book’s eighteenth trend: the need to unplug.

Playing With Your food

Let’s face it — food decor has gone a little too far. Not only is it incredibly decadent, it’s not sustainable and leads to potentially dangerous prep and display conditions. www.mayfaircatering.com

Event Apps

Not all apps are on the up! Poor performance of event apps is creating a lot of friction. They’re largely unnecessary in many cases, only needed for a weekend, and take away from more engaging methods of engaging with attendees. Brands should instead focus on keeping consumers engaged through social media, interactive content, and experiential marketing.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

It’s not just the world we live in, it’s a product of the industry we call home. The events world is constantly changing to meet the climate around it, and that means we need to as well. By doing the same things that worked in the past, we make ourselves obsolete and give the competition the advantage. You have to keep adapting no matter what, even if you’re completely happy with your current results.

Hopefully, these 17 trends give you just the leg up you need in a year that’s bound to be BIG for events.

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2018 in the events industry
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7 Jun

4 Key Mistakes Meetings Planners Should Avoid

Time-wasting elements are common to many unsuccessful meetings. Save time and money by tracking down and eliminating these four time-wasters:

  1. No clear-cut objective

If you hold down an ambiguous route to get to an unclear goal, there’s a good chance the whole team will be lost before the meeting ends. Even a basic agenda, along with supporting documents, can go a long way toward keeping everyone focused.

But beyond the agenda, can the purpose of your meeting be clearly stated in one sentence? This article from Forbes claims that you can save 17 minutes whenever you state your objective at the outset. Then gently remind contributors of the objective if their comments go too far wide of the mark.

  1. Attendees with no reason to be there

Even effective meetings that accomplish their objective are time-wasters for people who didn’t need to be there. You can save one hour by declining an invitation to a one-hour meeting—if you know that your presence will not influence the outcome.

Are you the meeting organiser? The more people there are, the less productive most meetings will be. Cut the attendee list to absolute essentials. Business Insider reports that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has a “two pizza rule.” Never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group.

  1. Disregarding breaks

Schedule breaks in lengthy meetings and stick to that schedule. Nellie Akalp, writing for Mashable, points out that our brains simply do not cope well with extended focus for long periods without a break. An hour or two of concentration will reduce most people’s mental sharpness, and the effectiveness of the meeting.

Avoid the mental fatigue by taking a break which is completely unrelated to the meeting itself. If could be a call to a loved one or a walk outside. Don’t just continue the meeting informally with a colleague.

How long and how frequent should the breaks be? That will depend on the gravity and length of the meeting.

  1. Digital distractions

Career Builder reports on a survey where more than 2,000 hiring and HR managers blamed digital distractions as major productivity killers. 52% put most of the blame on mobile phones. So a meeting of, say, 12 people is likely to have in the room 12 phones, and likely one tablet or laptop per person.

Some organisations have gone so far as to ban electronic devices from meetings. People communicate better, and so the meeting doesn’t drag.

Perhaps the devices themselves are not the problem, but rather the urge to multitask. Fast Company’s Kathleen Owens writes that despite what workers say, they’re not getting real work done or taking notes during the meetings. The devices are often a means of escape from a meeting which they may deem unnecessary, or perhaps just uninteresting. When the meeting is concise, engaging, and collaborative, the devices will demand less attention.

Once you’ve identified and eliminated time-wasters in meetings that you convene, you will have prepared the ground for effective, engaging, and productive meetings. It just may be that you and your team will start looking forward to the next one.

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