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Technology in events is all talk and no action

Simon Clayton is still waiting for it to have an effect

Technology evolves at an ever increasing speed but when it comes to the implementation of the latest gadgets and gizmos in the events industry, I’m still yet to see the promised ‘massive impact’ or signs that it is a ‘game changer’.
Every year we’re told of the major tech trends to watch, as each is certain to revolutionise the way we set-up, hold and report on our events. In this article I’m going to go through five of the trends which were predicted for 2015 to see if they really did change the industry.


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Istanbul is the place for events

Sam Robson Group Events Director at The Appointment Group, gives her view of the Turkish capital as a MICE destination

Known as the city where Europe meets Asia across the Bosphorus, Istanbul is also the meeting of ancient history and super cool – and an ideal location for both conference and reward events. A huge, bustling city with a population over 15m, it is just a three-and-a-half hour flight from London with British Airways, Turkish Airlines and low cost carriers flying several times each day.

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Why did BVEP publicly discourage UK Events Week?

Isn’t it supposed to encourage MICE initiatives?

ITCM was surprised to receive a release from Michael Hirst, Chair of The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) distancing that body from UK Events Week, an initiative announced by Mash Media to coincide with their show, Confex 2016, 29th February to 4th March. .

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Don’t distract with technology

It only helps the good presenters

Over the years I’ve been to countless conferences and witnessed every conceivable level of presentation – from the amazing right through to the depressingly awful and that goes for both speakers and topics.
I vividly remember one session where the speaker was interminably dull and spent the whole session with his back to the audience. On that occasion I felt compelled to stay - in the hope that he would turn around and I’d see his face when he discovered that most of his initially sizable audience had silently crept out!


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Event management is a team game

Low-cost procurement might be dangerous

When we ask for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice. In other words, if we are putting together a complex event we often have a number of go-to suppliers who we know can do the job and also deliver it the way we want it. They may not be the cheapest or the most fashionable or have beautiful offices but we have been working together for a long time and we understand each other…mostly.

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Should we be using virtual reality in the events industry?

Or is it still at the gimmick stage?

Last month the Marriott hotel chain introduced its new ‘VRoom Service’, offering guests room-service delivery of a virtual reality kit comprising a Samsung Gear VR headset, smartphone and a pair of headphones.
The devices are preloaded with three different 360-degree 3D ‘virtual visits’ and take guests to an ice cream shop in Rwanda, the Andes Mountains in Chile and the streets of Beijing. The two-minute ‘VR Postcards’ videos feature real travellers who share their stories about how much they value exploring other countries, cultures and experiences.


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Don’t spend incentive funds on the wrong people

Apply these basic rules

By definition, incentive travel means going somewhere as a result of an incentive campaign. Otherwise it’s just group travel.
But how many organisers are aware of what participants have had to do to qualify for such events and does it make any difference to the delivery of the travel experience on the ground, even if some have not actually qualified?


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Be responsible for event registration security

What to check with your technical team

More major companies have recently fallen foul to security breaches. Some have seen the direst of consequences, with the Ashley Madison hack even leading to suicides. Every sector must look at how it protects the data of its customers – and this certainly applies to the events industry.
An increasing number of conferences have websites where the delegates sign in, pay to attend, and book sessions – but is their information securely protected?
Some of the onus is on the people registering for these websites to choose secure passwords and this is one place where size DOES matter.


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Keeping track of delegates

John Fisher chips in with a suggestion

Pet owners may well be familiar with microchips that carry information in a small, plastic RFID, usually inserted into the back of an animal’s neck. In the UK some 7m pets are ‘chipped’ in this way, so that, if lost, they can easily be returned to their anxious owners.
It was Dr Mark Gasson who first pioneered the idea of data-carrying chips for humans in 2009 in the UK. The chip would carry vital health information in the event of accident or an incapacitating illness, so that medical professionals could diagnose problems more quickly and restore the patient to health again.


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Bells and whistles can’t mask poor material

Content is the most important factor for delegates

I’ve attended a lot of presentations at events over the years and it seems to me that the definition of a presentation is increasingly getting lost somewhere along the way.
The dictionary says a presentation is a ‘speech or talk in which a new product, idea or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience’, but I’m seeing an increasing number of presentations that have a brief introduction followed by the speaker telling the audience to get into groups to discuss the topic.


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State your budget and save time

.. and events will benefit, says John Fisher, Director, FMI Group

When you walk into a shop, with the intention of buying something, you generally have a pretty good idea of how much cash you have in your pocket or what you might expect to pay for the item you are seeking. The only decision then is whether to pay slightly more for slightly better quality. It’s called consumer choice.
So, why is it that when you buy corporate services such as events and travel the buyer almost always says the budget is secret?


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Are the questions essential?

Simon Clayton offers a brief guide to registration

There have been many articles written about successful registration strategies. The majority tend to have a hidden agenda relating to the author’s own services or products, whilst the rest follow whichever trend is on topic that particular week.
This article falls into neither of those camps. When it comes to registration, success is relatively easy to achieve if you apply common sense and stick to the obvious necessities.


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Are hosted buyers the answer?

Do compulsory appointments spoil the show?

So, you’ve got your hosted buyer status sorted, flights organised, dinner with a prestigious hotel group and promises of champagne receptions for several hours on the trot. Then comes the tricky bit…what to do about those troublesome timed appointments?
If you’ve ever been speed-dating, you will soon get the idea. The deal is that you have to see everyone, even the ones you think you would never in a million years be interested in.


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Make event apps a necessity not a novelty

Apps will only be used if they bring obvious benefits

Google recently confirmed that in ten countries, including the US and Japan, more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers.
Couple that with research from Nielsen’s latest Smartphone App Report, which explained that adult smartphone users were spending an average of more than 43 hours each month accessing content via applications, and it’s easy to see why the events industry is trying to utilise the power of the mobile and, with it, apps.


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Is hospitality worth the trouble?

John Fisher, Director, FMI Group, asks incisive questions

After a recent seminar I conducted for event organisers about the UK Bribery Act…emphasising the point that hospitality was not illegal and that the Ministry of Justice was really not interested in who you may take to Wimbledon this year… one delegate from the pharmaceutical industry asked if it was okay, then, to still put chocolates on the pillows of cardiac specialists as a gift from the organisers. My reply was that if a heart surgeon was really going to be ‘unduly influenced’ by chocolates on his pillow, it’s probably time to look for another medic.

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When no show is a good show

Expensive extras can dilute the message

Once the venue is sorted, many conference organisers plunge headlong into ‘The Show’. But we know that deciding what to say can be problematic.
If the delegates are employees, there are sensitivities regarding who is delivering the message, how it should be said and what baggage they carry as internal speakers.
Add in that most finance or IT directors are not specifically employed for their sparkling charisma or ability to project a message and you begin to appreciate the complexities of mass human communication.


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Aerial drones are seen at more events

Make sure you know the rules, advises Simon Clayton

Radio-controlled aircraft aren’t a new thing by any means, but, lately, drones seem to have captured the public interest like nothing we’ve seen before in this field. Such is the explosion of interest that the UK’s first consumer drone event, UK Drone Show 2015, is being held at the NEC in Birmingham in December 2015.
Some of this interest in the latest selection of drones stems from their advanced electronics. They are gyro-stabilised, which means they aren’t as hard to fly – but don’t get me wrong; that doesn’t mean they are easy to fly either.


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Low-cost spherical photography is a benefit

Meeting room at the Brooklands Hotel - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

See this example of a hotel meeting room

There is nothing new about panoramic imagery to capture 360-deg images, but before digital photography it was difficult to view the images. Now, with the technology is more practical and easier to use.
Thanks to digital photography, a panorama can be created using nearly every digital camera and smartphone and the results can be shared easily online and on most smart devices. The technology is now so readily available that it has moved into the mainstream, with even small businesses adopting the trend.


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What makes a destination attractive?

image

The award-winning 3D film of Jerusalem helps to provide an answer

Everyone engaged in the global travel sector is asked by acquaintances ‘Which is the best trip you have ever made?’
That is an impossible question to answer, of course, without defining the word ‘best’. Was it a canoe trip on the Zambezi close to the edge of the Victoria Falls? Was it a day with a group in Disney’s Magic Kingdom? Was it attending a ball in Vienna?
If the question relates to a choice of destination for an incentive group, then there are entirely different criteria. What is the age range of the award winners? Does the host company prefer some kind of connection with its core business? How important is the overall cost? What about flight connections? And so on . .


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5 essentials for 2015

Concentrate on the basics and not the fluff

There have been numerous predictions over the past couple of months announcing the trends that should be adopted in 2015. They are, of course, as usual, ‘going to transform the industry’ and ‘not paying attention to them will be costly’. But, these dramatics aside, what I would actually like to see this year, is everyone, instead, getting the basics right.

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