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How to make events less stressful

John Fisher provides a checklist of 7 essentials

A recent survey by Q Hotels in the UK highlighted the fact that more than 70% of event organisers lose at least two hours sleep the night before organising an important event.
More than a quarter reported that they feel anxious before an event. 98% say that they need time for their body to recover after an event due to all the pressures exerted by the constant do-it-now demands of professional event management.
Being concerned that all the planning goes right on the big day is not exclusive to event organisers, of course.


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MICE business needs peace

Destinations can suffer overnight

We have to face the fact that in many countries of the world terrorism is not only disrupting tourism but is actually targeting the tourist industry. One serious incident can ruin tourism business overnight.
Naturally, MICE events are very sensitive to any prospect of danger. Organisers are not going to risk wasting investment in preparation for an event that may have to be cancelled. Companies, of course, are not going to choose a risky destination as a venue for hosting the cream of their workforce or clients. ‘Safety’ is now a box that has to be ticked whenever a destination is being considered.


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Allow enough time to prepare . .

. . to ensure a happy audience

It’s easy to criticise an event for spelling mistakes on the screen or for an inaccurate delegate badge, but when your event is under way no-one stops to think about all the trials and tribulations endured to avoid those errors.
Sometimes the professional organiser gets a bigger kick out of rescuing an event from disaster than from the perfect execution of a well-trodden, regular event with no surprises. But how long should you spend putting an event together and is there such a thing as having too much or too little event preparation time?


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Mobile phones at events

Should they really be banned?

According to IMEX research, 40% of organisers would like to ban mobile phones (and other portable devices) from conference sessions. They say they are too distracting for delegates.
The American comedian Kevin Hart recently tried to do that at one of his gigs. Before he came on stage, the audience was subjected to several aggressive Tannoy announcements that the use of mobile phones and cameras was banned and that they should be switched off and kept in pockets.


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Give your event a theme

John Fisher shows how to attract more delegates

Imagine a world where people have no names. It would be very confusing for everyone. It also suggests that individuals are not very important. But as we know, individuals do have their own personality with a unique contribution to make. Being different can change groups of people and even nations by the sheer force of that difference. Personal charisma can even change history.

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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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