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How To Plan An Incentive Trip Part 3: Running the Trip

Manchester event agency incentive tripv2
Welcome, Eventurers, to the final part of planning an incentive trip!

The first part of the trip is getting everyone together. If you are going straight to a UK venue that could be reasonably straight forward. If you’re travelling beyond these shores, that’ll involve meeting at an airport or the Eurostar terminal. So, although carried out pre-departure, it’s vital that the first thing you need to think about is getting everyone prepared…

1. The Gathering

Everyone should have received joining instructions. These are the basics of where and when to meet and who to look out for. But included within these instructions should be reminders about passports (you’d be surprised!), taking their EHIC card if going to Europe, travel insurance (if not part of the prize) and a driving licence, even if they won’t be driving. With ever increasing numbers of illegal immigrants entering Europe, it’s not uncommon for visitors to be randomly stopped by authorities to check for ID (and you don’t want to be taking your passport on a night out!)

Included in the joining instructions should be an indication of appropriate clothing. It’s all too easy to assume that because you’re going to a warm place that you don’t need warm clothing for the evening, or if you’re going on a boat. Equally, boat shoes are inappropriate for Oslo in winter…

2. The Host with the Most?

If you are hosting a group, how involved in the trip should you be? If they are work colleagues and you know them, then you’ll probably be very involved. If you don’t know them and you’re really there more as a guide then that is a harder call. Our view is that we’re not there to be Club 18-30 Reps, leading the charge and in everyone’s faces; nor are we to be the serious teacher on the school trip, lurking in the shadows and equally, we’re not going to become servants for three days! Working out the level to which you should integrate into the group can be tricky but is usually led by the group. Never forget though, that as the responsible adult, you need to keep your wits about you for troubleshooting and remain very aware of any potential issues either caused by the group or that could possibly effect the group.

3. What to do?

It sounds obvious but try and arrange activities that are relevant to, or even better, unique to the area, perhaps even once in a lifetime activities… snowmobiling in Iceland, surfing down sand dunes in the Dubai desert, sea swimming with dolphins. Activities that winners wouldn’t usually spend their own money on or get away with spending the family money on! Even so, sometimes you just can’t predict how activities will be received. On a trip to New York, we took a group out in helicopters along the Hudson, around Liberty, and over the south side of Manhattan. Not cheap. But for the group, the most enjoyable memory they had of the whole trip was ice skating in Central Park (which cost $19) – because it snowed!

4. Group dynamics

Sometimes groups know each other sometimes just a few do but many don’t. Even if they don’t all know each other, experience has taught us to try and keep the group together as much as possible outside of scheduled activities. So, leisure time before dinner is fine but rather than having no plan, pre-booking space in a few bars gives the group the opportunity to mix, drink, relax without having to look for suitable bars, finding the space for a group of their size etc. If some want to wander for a bit, they’ll always have somewhere to regroup.

5. The Extra Touches

People will always remember the bigger activities they take part in on a trip but never underestimate the power of those little extra touches. At the beginning of the trip they can help set the tone and remind people that they are regarded as special: the welcome drinks on arrival, the in-room gift, perhaps special signage.

You’ll probably have to move people around from A to B at some point but it doesn’t have to be a coach, it could be a boat, SuperJeep, tuk-tuk, helicopter… how about drinks en route?

You could provide access to places that the public simply cannot get to. For a client group we took to Las Vegas, we sought out and got access to Hugh Heffner’s private club! For another group we arranged (after months of negotiations) a tour of the Taittinger estate, chaperoned by a family member!

Here’s a final top tip – always check passport details for birthdays. We’ve had quite a few on our trips and there is always a little surprise planned for them…

Until next time Eventurers!

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How to Plan an Incentive Trip: Part 2 - Launch and Communication

Manchester Event Management Agency Incentive Trip

So you’re back from your recce, the expenses receipts have been submitted and the thousands of images you’ve taken are uploaded – what’s next?

Again, there are four broad stages to really driving your incentive and motivating a change in behaviour – after all – that’s what it’s all about:

1. What’s the plan?
You’ve seen the places, met the suppliers and tasted the atmosphere – so what are you going to recommend? You’re going to have a debrief with the client but you can’t recommend everything. Your first task is to gather your thoughts on what activities to include, places to visit, restaurants to dine at. Nothing is being set in stone, but begin to get a feel for what could be achieved. What mix of places and activities would work well for the group? And whilst you’re doing this – never forget your likely audience. Don’t go on what you’d like to do or what you think the client would like to do. Or if you are the client then put the group first. They won’t thank you for taking them on your own personal joyride, which they hate. Think of the demographic of your group.

Top Tip – include plenty of downtime. People always appreciate breathing space on incentive trips. Sure - they want fun stuff to do but energy reserves soon begin to drain!

2.  Make some noise
If you haven’t already done so (and timing will dictate this) hold a launch event to acknowledge the start of the incentive. Whether a single office or over multiple sites, get the message and objectives out there, not to mention the rewards, with branded material, desk-drops… perhaps you could set up a microsite. Teaser desk-drops can work wonders. If they are on message, the item will stay around on a desk forever! Try and keep the theme relevant to the reward but you can also mark the occasion by breaking the routine – perhaps bringing in a special lunch or themed snacks.

3.  Communication
Psychologists tell us that we all love rewards, even if that just means finding out some new information – learning something interesting. So, why splurge the whole plan in one go?

By all means share the big picture but save the detail for later on. For our clients, we often create a teaser email campaign so every few weeks everyone gets a little more insight into what they’re competing for. It gives participants a boost, reminds them about the incentive and how much they want to win it! We sometimes have spot prizes too so that interest is kept high week-to-week and especially for those that may not be in the front running.

4.  Winner takes all!
If at all possible, gather the troops in to announce the winners in person – another mini event. But if your players are all over the place then it will have to be done via the email comms. That said, you could still send them something that will arrive at their desk. Something that has the double effect of celebrating their win and showing colleagues that they could have won. Our winners’ presentations focus on the destination in some way: themed clothing, local produce, destination guide – and importantly – the full itinerary and a link to an incentive App.

The planning has happened, the incentive places have been won – in part three we’ll take you through what to do when it all comes together.

Until next time Eventurers!

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How to Plan an Incentive Trip: Part 1 – The Recce

Managing an incentive trip

[What? The venue didn't tell you that the square they are on is where the local drunks take their siesta?]


Let’s not forget, fellow Eventurers
, winning an incentive trip, whether in the UK or overseas is a big thing for the winner. There might be a few bragging rights earned amongst colleagues; friends and family will be impressed but ultimately of course, the trip is a reward for all of the winner’s hard work and dedication.   There should be plenty to look forward to and if the planning has paid off, the real power of the incentive is when the winners return and share their stories with their work mates – what better motivation for everyone to work towards the next one?

Key to ensuring this sort of response is the recce.

A recce is basically a site visit – but on a whole different level. The amount of planning that goes into the recce can seem disproportionate to the duration of the visit, but this is where you find out whether your desk research has given you an accurate picture of what you are dealing with.

And let’s not forget, in order to even get to the stage of the recce, you’ve already carried out a whole lot of research into options for locations, venues, activities, transport etc. Your client has selected this option as their preferred choice and so between you, there is already quite an investment of planning, time and emotion into the recce option.

The information you’ll need to gather on the recce will vary slightly depending on whether the final incentive trip will be hosted or not. Either way, the four core elements should be as follows:

1.  Identify the Suppliers
The chances are, your group will be staying at least one night so start with the basics – identify some target hotels to visit. There’s a lot to consider: the location, price, quality of rooms, vibe and fit with the group, can coaches drop off nearby and crucially – the kind of service you’ve received so far. We would usually have one or two targets in mind but have another three visits scheduled as back ups.

All of the above applies equally to all of your other suppliers such as activity providers, restaurants or transfer companies. Have a preferred selection already in mind along with some back-ups. Plans can change at short notice for reasons not of your own making.

2.  Plan Your Meetings
It’s not enough to just stroll around looking at places and spaces – prior to arriving on your recce, you’ll need to have scheduled meetings. Not an easy task when you’re only there for a short while and you’ve got to work around their diaries too. Not only do you have to find the suppliers, you have to find where they are on the ground, relative to each other, so that you know how to get to and from them, the quickest way possible. You’re a stranger in a strange town, often with a language barrier. Google maps will get you so far but it might take longer than you think for your mind map to kick in!

Also, you need to check out the immediate environment. Being there, on the ground can tell you a lot that perhaps, you wouldn’t learn from the venue. They’re unlikely to share that scaffolding clads the building and dust is everywhere, or that the square outside is where the local drunks gather for an afternoon nap.

3.  Absorb the Bars & Restaurants
Tough job eh?
The chances are, bars and restaurants will be as important to the success of your incentive as the hotel and activities. You may not be able to sample all of the food options at every restaurant you visit but you can get an idea of menu, prices, spaces within the restaurant, atmosphere and how you think your group would be treated. Look for any potential enhancements such as welcome drinks, exclusive seating areas and critically, whether they accept card payments. Strange as it sounds, not all places do, especially in Europe. This could be critical if the group won’t be hosted by someone from the agency.

4.  Become the Font of all Knowledge
If you will be hosting the group (and the host should always have done the recce!) they will quickly come to rely on you for everything, that includes local knowledge. Keep an eye out for local ATMs, pharmacies, taxi ranks, local points of interest such as squares to visit, even doctors and dentists could be useful! Talk to everyone you have a meeting with to gain as much on-the-ground knowledge as possible. You’re on the lookout for hidden gems that can enhance the group experience and potholes that might cause it to lose a wheel. For example, your recce might be taking place at a different time of day/week/month/year to when the group will be visiting. You’ll need to overlay knowledge of this difference on top of the knowledge of your experience. For example – if the town is going to be a whole lot busier at the time of the trip, would you plan things differently?

At the start of the recce you’ll be like a sponge soaking up information and by the end, you should be able to start formulating a draft plan. It can be quite exhausting working on the recce but the information gathered is hugely rewarding. Hopefully, you’ll be overwhelmed by positive options, although the reality is that you may be separating some chaff from your wheat! Some of your draft plan may resemble your original desk-based plan, but by now you will have so much more information to fill in the gaps.

Our biggest two tips are to leave some downtime between meetings and visits – not only will timings fluctuate but you’ll be able to write up notes immediately after your meetings. You’ll be amazed how quickly they’ll begin to blur.

Secondly, take pictures of as much as the town/area as you can – not just the venues you visit. Not only will you have visual references of the places you end up using, you’ll have general imagery for marketing and comms.

That’s all for part one – part two will look at post-recce planning and creating the comms and marketing programme to really drive enthusiasm for your incentive!

Until next time, Eventurers!

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Looking For An Exclusive Venue For Your Event?

Garden Party Event in Regents Park guests

Have you ever thought of holding an event in a London Park? Your very own event, quite possibly involving hundreds of attendees, day or night, summer or winter. You may want to include alcohol licensing or live music. The approvals process is insane but very occasionally, achievable.

Now consider trying to do the same in a Royal Park – no chance. The Crown Estate would have rejected your request before you’d finished asking the question.

Unless you come to us.

We have access to a private section of Regents Park, completely fenced and gated off from the public. It is a prime London location with four tube stations and Euston mainline station just minutes away. With a boundary of the archetypal white-fronted, classically designed buildings to one side, this is an immediately recognisable location. And given the private access, you can be sure that none of your guests will have enjoyed this level of exclusivity before.

With this type of private hire, you could hold all manner of events there for your staff or customers. Imagine holding a launch event in a Royal Park, or creating your very own Garden Party. Perhaps a themed event such as festival or Ibizan beach party. We could even turn it into your very own winter wonderland, complete with genuine snow and ice bar. We can also project logos, images or animation onto a section of the white boundary buildings, to really own that area of London!

Your event doesn’t have to involve hundreds of attendees, but that’s the beauty of location – how you choose to use the space is entirely up to you.

If exclusivity and uniqueness are an important part of the message you want to deliver to staff and customers, then please get in touch with us.
We can work with you to create a jaw dropping event steeped in both.

Regents Park Event Location 30                                           Garden Party Event in Regents Park bar

Garden Party Event in Regents Park tipi

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We're Hiring!

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We’re looking for two energetic and enthusiastic people to join our experienced team as an Account Manager and an Event Co-ordinator. The ideal candidates will have a strong work ethic, a desire to take on responsibility and the ambition to help grow our business as well as their own career.

We work across conferences, exhibitions, gala dinners and incentives so be prepared to work on all kinds of projects with a complete range of budgets. On that – our ideal candidates must have a head for figures and a commercial edge to them. If managing budgets isn’t for you, please don’t apply.

We’re a small team delivering huge projects so your contribution will be plain to see from day one. We’re very easy to get on with but have very high standards.

We feel the Event Co-ordinator role will be of particular interest to someone who has venue event experience but even if you haven’t, tell us what you do have that means you should be considered for the role. For the Account Manager role, we’re looking for someone with solid experience of working in an event management agency. Please do not apply unless you can demonstrate this specific experience.

No agency responses please.

Please mail your CV and covering letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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5 Essentials to Creating a Brilliant Corporate Event

 corporate event organier in manchester pork pies2

Don't Blame the Pork Pies: 5 Essentials to Creating a Brilliant Corporate Event

We’ve all been to events where we’ve come out and thought ‘what was that all about’?
We’ve probably even been to a few where we can’t even remember why we were there or what was said. And by the same token, occasionally, rarely, we come out with a head full of ideas; feeling like we can fly; full of optimism, energy, positivity and chomping to get cracking.

So what’s happened differently at each event? How do you plan a brilliant corporate event?

1 Content is King
The content of your conference is your product. Get this right and you are half way there. What do we mean by content? At Assured Events we break it down into three parts:

Purpose: is there a genuine purpose for your event? Is there a perceived need? Are people attending because there is a tangible benefit to attend or because of the 3-line whip? Is the event in the calendar because it’s always in the calendar at that time of year or will it positively contribute to the lives or performance of attendees? What are the objectives of the event? This is particularly important to consider if you are planning a ‘pay to attend’ corporate event.

Theme: What message is being communicated by your event? Is it current? The ‘internet of everything’ is a fairly current topic (at the time of going to print!) but is that relevant to your audience? Make sure that your event has a theme which addresses your specific message - this is your hook. The specific areas of interest within the theme should then be sourced and will hang off this hook.

Presenters: once the areas of interest have been identified, who is best placed to deliver them? Senior corporate figures don’t always make the best presenters and facilitators. You might want to consider paying for speakers, but research them well via YouTube and other social media. Assess their experience. In our experience of organising corporate events, ‘out of sector’ presenters always go down well. Hearing from someone who has faced a familiar challenge but in a different industry can generate valuable shared learnings. If you are going to include case studies don’t just go for the out-and-out success stories. Try and include those with a few warts. Learning what didn’t work is often as useful as what did.
Finally – give direction to your presenters on the kind of delivery you want. Don’t let the tail wag the dog. As a delegate, would you rather hear a message using images, or graphs with 6-point text?
Thought so. If a speaker puts the room in a collective coma, that’s your fault, not the speaker’s.

All in all, the content alone will determine whether your target audience will consider the event as value for money... even if it’s a free to attend or compulsory corporate event. People will ask themselves ‘is it worth my time’? You know what it’s like. If you are out of the office, something isn’t getting done – so is your event worth sacrificing the time? Even if it’s compulsory – if your event is not considered to be VfM in terms of time, your audience will be disengaged.

2 Air Pockets
Build breathing space into your itinerary. You may have a lot to cram in but people need time to digest what they have heard and to share it with others. Delegates highly value the chance to chat with colleagues and discuss the information they have heard, or even just to hear about other people’s experiences.

We used to call this 'chatting’ but these days it is known as networking. Presumably because chatting is that fruitless thing that you used to do at the back of a maths class. Networking is more businessy...apparently. Whatever it is – people like doing it so whatever you call it - make sure there is plenty of it in there.

3 What’s On The Menu?
Recent research confirms what we have always known, that food and catering in general can make or break an event. Make sure there is plenty of it but also be sure to minimise food wastage. Have a plan to where possible: pass on unused food and drink. Keep it rolling and keep an eye on uptake. Make sure that you know any dietary requirements – and address them fully.

The quality and type of the food is so important to people attending a corporate event. Food provenance should be explained – that on its own adds value, especially if attendees can see that the food miles have been kept low. In recent years those stalwarts of conference buffets, sandwiches and pork pies have had something of a bad rep. Leave them alone.  There’s nothing wrong with either but the bread or pastry types, fillings, provenance of ingredients can all make a huge difference.  Don't blame the pies!
Great food can lift a mediocre corporate event but a great event will be seriously dragged down by mediocre food.

4 The Roof Over Your Head
Ok it has to be accessible (including parking nearby) and of an appropriate size but is it on message? Your options will inevitably narrow the higher your numbers and shorter your lead time, but it must work with your core message. Trying to deliver an inspirational and motivational message in a room with a 2.8m suspended ceiling with bland images screwed to the walls seems at cross purposes to us. But it happens. Regularly.

Is the venue type appropriate to your audience? Older audiences may feel uncomfortable in nightclub venues; Younger audiences are not uplifted by lecture theatres; core corporates spend their life under those suspended ceilings, so why put them under another one having taken them out of the office. The venue alone can add impact to your event. Research you chosen locale fully, you’ll be amazed what you can find and dress.

The final word on venues is – make sure the staff are well briefed and prepared to be flexible on timings during the day. Presenters finishing early is as much of a challenge as presenters finishing late. Having 400 delegates piling out of a room to no tea, coffee or the all important locally sourced choc chip cookie does not make for a happy atmosphere. And they will let you know.
Every. Single. Time.
And rightly so.

5. The Take-aways
No – we’re not back to food but it is the bread and butter of why you are even running the event.

Delegates will not remember or retain everything they hear at your event.

What? You have spent over 6 months planning your event and they won’t remember every second?!

You need to ensure that through a balance of the above they do retain some elements of what they have heard. Perhaps presenters could make reference to this during their delivery...”if there is one thing that you should take away from this session it’s this...”

Or maybe at the end of each session, presenters could ask delegates to take a few notes on 2-3 elements of what they have heard that stick in their mind. By the end of the day there should be quite an array of captured information, on message and of personal value.

If you like our thinking and the way that we plan a corporate event at Assured Events, you can download our FREE 9 step, 24-page guide to organising an event from our home page.

But whatever you do - don't blame a poor event on the pork pies.

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9 Steps to Planning a Corporate Event

Planning a corporate event in Manchester

9 Steps to Planning a Corporate Event

Have you been asked to plan a corporate event and don’t know where to start? Below is a peek into our FREE 24-page, 9-step guide “So You Want To Run An Event” which you can download from our homepage. It’s full of tips, tools and further free downloads!

So where do we start...

Step 1: Know Your Event Objectives
It goes without saying that you will want your event to go well, whatever that means. But to judge something as having gone well, you need to have a clear idea about what you want to achieve. That can be easier said than done.

Write yourself a ‘brief’ for the event and ask what it is that you need out of this event. Whatever answer you come back with, challenge yourself again. Keep going until you have a very clear set of answers. These will become your objectives (you might even come to the conclusion that an event isn’t the best way to achieve them)!

Step 2: Know your Budget
It seems that there are two schools of thought when it comes to approaching event budgeting:
1. Have a figure in mind or that has been made available - and make the project fit it.
2. Have no figure in mind, but price up the project as per your vision, and see what it comes to.

Neither way is absolutely right or wrong but in both cases, the real challenge is not so much about managing the budget, it’s about managing your own expectations (or perhaps someone else’s).

Step 3: Create an Action Plan
The trick is to use the objectives and brief that you created in step one to create the picture; the vision of what your event should look and feel like; and to then start taking small steps towards it.

Part 1 of the Action Plan is to break your event project down into each broad component part. Once you’ve done that, break down each subcomponent into more detailed parts.

Part 2 of the Action Plan is to create a timing plan so that you know what has to be done, by when. The benefit of this is two-fold: firstly it helps you prioritise and secondly, if you have a specific date for your event, it helps you work out if, realistically, you even have enough time to deliver the event!

Part 3 of the Action Plan is to create a team to help you deliver your event project. You may be the lead organiser or have been appointed to manage the project but whoever said ‘many hands make light work’ had probably just arranged a three-day conference!

Step 4: Select Your Venue Partner
You will need to create a venue brief and gather information relating to your requirements from a wide range of venues. Once you have a list of 4-5 possibilities, carry out a recce to see the places for yourself. You’ll be amazed how different things may be when seen on the ground. We only ever go with our 1st choice venue from desk research about 20% of the time following a recce.

Step 5: Create Your Programme
The content is your product. This is what your event is all about. Ask yourself what content is needed to achieve your objectives. Budget clearly has an impact on who you can approach to speak at a conference or dinner, or what level of entertainment you can have at say, an annual awards ceremony. But the content must be on brief.

Step 6: Select Your Suppliers
Although this is your project to design, develop and deliver, you know that you can’t do it on your own. Regardless of what your event is and what your objectives are, in addition to hosts, speakers and entertainment, it is highly likely that you will also need to draw on a whole host of other suppliers.
You and your suppliers are your team, and just as teams can win or lose depending on the abilities and attitudes of individual team members, your event will only ever be as good as your suppliers can make it - and you are responsible for picking your suppliers.

Step 7: Shout From the Rooftops
This is all about communication. You will need to create a brand identity to actually communicate; create a booking website; establish an email campaign; you might want to form a relationship with a 3rd party to help promote your event...You may even need to incentivise registrations. The message needs to be broadcast to the right audience in the right way. If your potential audience isn’t responding, the answer is most probably NOT to simply shout louder.

Step 8: Manage the Big Day
The event day is really all about delivery, which can be broken down into two components: operational and content.

Operational
In your action plan in step 3, you will have worked out who will be helping you deliver the event on the day. In the weeks running up to the event, you should allocate roles to specific people.
You will also need to create an event schedule - a chronological plan outlining what is happening at any given point in the whole event set up and delivery process.

Content
This is what the event is all about. As we mentioned before – this is your product! Allocate someone to time-keep and manage speakers. They will also be able to convey delays or advancements to venue staff outside of the event room. Encourage interaction between the audience and speakers both inside the event room and at refreshment breaks.

Step 9: Ask – How did We Do?
Let’s go back to the original question in step 1... how do you know the event went well and did it achieve its objectives? Now is the time to evaluate!

The nature of your event and its audience will determine what kind of evaluations you can carry out but there are a few routes that can help create a rounded picture of the event’s success and again it’s worth bearing in mind you should look at your project operationally and from a content point of view. You should consider using the following routes:

anecdotal feedback
monitoring social media
an electronic post event evaluation
a team debrief

Wherever it is that you want to get to - enjoy your event journey!

(And don’t forget to download our FREE 24-page 9 Step Guide to planning a corporate event from our home page.)

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Event Management in Manchester: a day in the life of an event co-ordinator

Event management in Manchester by Emma Bolam

Event Management in Manchester: a day in the life of an event co-ordinator

I enjoy being an Event Co-ordinator at Assured Events because it means that many different project types pass over my desk. Over the past month I have been planning a conference, organising incentive travel, arranging team building activity, arranging a gala dinner as well as meeting new suppliers and sourcing new venues. Venue finding is such an important process – and our clients demand and expect only the best!

We are based in Manchester, but the events I am working on may be anywhere in the country.  I currently have event  projects in Exeter, Bristol, Lincoln, London, as well as Italy, France... and Manchester!

My day usually starts at around 08:45. I begin by logging on and checking through my emails. I have received a CV. I reply straight away, as we always respond to everybody who expresses an interest in working at Assured Events.

I have quite a list to get through today. Firstly, I need to send out some enquiries to some suppliers. I am looking into room gifts for delegates and speaker gifts for one of the annual conferences that we organise. It’s a huge event and conference planning for an event of this size takes almost a year! Once I receive these back, the most suitable items will be added to a proposal for the client to choose from.

Next, I am currently working on an event pack for a client - this is for a Christmas party, very early in December. The event pack includes details such as, hotel locations, restaurant and bar information along with anything else the client ought to know about their event.

Morning over and I haven’t eaten any of the chocolate in the office today! However, there is still time!

This afternoon I am focusing on building a delegate registration website for another annual conference we are planning. This is something I haven’t done too many times before, so Sarah guides me through this ... she is very patient with me!

It is already 3:30p.m. - My next task is creating an event app for an annual conference taking place in February. This is something that I will be working on frequently from now until the event. I will need to regularly update details as they come through.

Before the end of the day, I flag any emails that need responding to the next day. I then write myself some reminders of jobs that need completing tomorrow.

We are all working across many different event types as well as business development. I ask Ella if she needs anything doing on the incentive travel brief she is working on. It’s a ‘no’ and the day is done. Where it has gone, I don’t know - time to go home!

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Incentive Trip to Copenhagen

Incentive Trip to Copenhagen - IN  THE PRESS

Our incentive trip to Copenhagen for PageGroup earlier in the year made the news in M&IT's November edition!

If you are considering running an incentive trip in the UK, Europe or beyond or are looking to motivate staff or customers with exciting well planned activity, then give us a call on 0161 428 1115.  We have a hugely experienced team to help you plan unique incentive travel or rewards programme.

 incentive trip to Copenhagen and incentive travel company Cheshire

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How to Plan a Corporate Event

Plan a corporate event in Manchester Cheshire the North West

How to Plan a Corporate Event: Plots, Powder, Parkin & Power Shortages

Today is the day that we remember one of the greatest non-events in English history: the attempt by (let’s face it) terrorists to blow up the Houses of Parliament - ‘The Gunpowder Plot’.  Over the years, the celebration has gone by many names: Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes Night , Fireworks Night, the worst night of the year if you are a an animal or have very small children...

Until 1959 it was illegal NOT to celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK but as events go, that November night back in 1605 was a bit of a damp squib: it wasn’t particularly well planned; security was poor; 36 barrels of gun powder sounds a lot but there is considerable evidence suggesting that the powder was too old and damp to properly explode and of course, ol’ Guido was caught.

However, if you want to understand how to plan a corporate event, you can actually take some direction from the whole ‘Bon-Fawkes-Works-Night’ thing.

Plots: if you are planning an event, make sure there is a reason for it. Why do you even need an event? What are the objectives? How will you know it has been a success? How will you communicate this need to potential attendees? Will they attend because they have to or will they actually engage in your event?  The plotters had a clear reason even if the execution (no pun) didn’t go as planned.

Powder: Fireworks and rockets are a stalwart addition to the bonfire on November 5th and in many cases have replaced it completely. But they are what makes Guy Fawkes Night unique. When planning an event, ask yourself, what is it about your event that is unique and will cause a desire for people to attend and take part? If you are organising a conference, will your speakers and content ignite the audience? If you are organising a dinner or planning a party, will the entertainment light up the evening for your guests?

Parkin: The 5th is the traditional night for Parkin - a sticky gingerbread cake, baked with syrup and black treacle. Sweet, stodgy and a mega-dose of calories in every mouthful – just what kids love – whatever their age! Don’t scrimp on your catering. Food quality and provenance is now scoring higher than ever as a factor in whether delegates rate an event as successful. When planning your corporate event, make sure the catering is appropriate to your audience; that there is plenty of it and that it is served at the correct temperature. Neither soup nor sandwiches should be luke warm. Great food can often help delegates forgive any difficulties they have witnessed throughout the day.  Whereas the smoothest event could be dragged down by poor food.

Power Shortages: Did you know that since yesterday and over the next few days, National Grid has instructed energy suppliers to make more capacity available? If they didn’t, the bonfire may actually be a useful form of heat and cooking! If you are planning a corporate event, make sure that you have the resources in place: the people (you might not want, or be able to deliver the event on your own); the budget (is it realistic for your objectives) and the biggest one of all... time. Take as much as possible and complete tasks as early as possible.

More advice, tips and free templates are available in our FREE 24-page, 9 step downloadable guide ‘So You Want To Run An Event?’ available on our home page.

Or if you‘re looking for a conference organiser, incentive travel company , dinner or party planner, to avoid your event plotting against you, give us a call on 0161 428 1115!

Assured Events organises events across Manchester, Cheshire, the North West and the rest of the UK

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The Ultimate Nightmare Event

conference organising company in Manchester and Cheshire

WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EASILY DISTURBED

As is becoming customary, we like to doff the Assured Events hat to Halloween by sharing an original short horror story.
Yes, we’re event organisers, not a reading club, but events are all about engagement and getting a reaction – and this story will make you shiver.
Once again it has been written by Stu Smith (known to some as Captain Graviton). Stu is one of our creative guys – he’s a visualiser, illustrator, designer, writer, dog-lover and all round good egg, but mad as a box of frogs and with a horror streak running through him like a runaway ghost train.

All too often the word ‘nightmare’ is used to describe something that has gone wrong, which, over time, has diluted its true meaning. With that in mind, sit back and consider our tale of Morton Skregley and.....Ooooooo... he’s a bad ‘un.

THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BAIL OUT IF YOUR IMAGINATION TENDS TO COME BACK AND HAUNT YOU AT 4AM...

The Unspeakable Deeds Of Morton Skregley
by Stu Smith

Groggy and semi-comatose, he smacked his dry tongue against the roof of his leathery mouth. A nagging feeling of unexplainable urgency prevented him from slipping back into his dreamless sleep. Damn, my mouth is dry, he thought. His body felt numb and immobile, he tried to wriggle but the effort was too great. This disconcerted him and he sobered slightly.

Upon doing so, he became aware of the sound of a church organ, dampened as if it were playing beyond a wall, softly playing an unconventional yet melancholy tune. Shuffling. He could hear the shuffling of many different types of feet. What's going on?
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said a man's voice, also muffled, but understandable,

“We are gathered here today...” he continued.

He tried harder to wake up but he felt hungover, or still drunk, or ill, or drugged?

A black rose of panic blossomed in his belly and fought to grow up through his throat; its sharp thorns scraping his insides and quickening his breath. Slowly, he opened his eyes. A child's toy lamp beside his head cast a crimson glow over loose red silk that cocooned him with only inches of breathing room to spare.

Where am I? Where am I? He thought.

The panic inside of him grew even more urgent and he tried to uncross his heavy hands that were resting against his chest to push the silk away from his face, but he was still too groggy. Instead, he sucked in a lung full of unusually hot air and tried to speak.

“Hhhheaaarrrr!” was all he could muster.

His own voice frightened him and he rapidly inhaled more air, suddenly struck with morbid claustrophobia. Adrenalin flooded the blood in his veins clearing the anaesthetic effect of whatever had disabled him. His heart quickened and he snapped into full consciousness. Immediately after, a sudden terrible pain in his back and all behind his legs inflamed his senses.

“...to remember Morton Vincent Skregley.” said the man.

“Hhhhhheeaaarrrgggg!” he hissed from inside his silk cocoon.

He thrashed around as best his still sluggish, drug-addled body would allow. With each movement more slicing pain into his back and legs. So surprising was the pain that he surged to arch his back and found that he could not move more than a few inches in any direction. He tried to kick his feet but they, like the rest of him, were boxed in.

“Mwoaahhh!” he screamed from a palsied mouth.

“Many of you remember Morton as the secretive man from our village who lived alone...”

“Mraaahh haaagh!”

“...never one to mingle with others, always keeping himself to himself, he was most definitely not one of us.”

He managed to get his hands up and pushed at the silk sheets in front of his face. They were met with searing pain that cut through his numbness like an icy wind. Something hot and sticky splashed his face. The palms of his hands were striped with deep crimson cuts. Through the loose silk lining shone several razor blades and glass shards that had been stuck to the wooden lid with epoxy resin and hidden behind the silk lining of what he knew now to be a coffin. A coffin! He realised, far too late. My coffin! No!

“Fffaaaarrrgh whaaaarrgh!” he cried and the panic and adrenalin mix began to quickly sharpen his mind, “Heeeey! Hey! Help!” he continued.

“No one knows if Morton Vincent Skregley was his real name, nor where he came from, or even if he had any family or friends to mourn for him...” said the man's voice.

“Aaaargh! I'm alive! Hey! Hey! HEY!” he screamed from within.

“...It is possible, that someone, somewhere, will shed a tear upon hearing his name and learning of his demise...”

“Hey! I'm not dead! I'm still alive! Oh God no! I'm still alive! Hey!”

“...but not us. No one so evil can commit such heinous atrocities in our community and be pitied or forgiven. Morton Skegley's name shall be forever cursed by one and all...”

“NOOOOOOO!!!” He screamed and began to thrash and kick his arms and legs. Pain lit up his whole body as the coffin's silk shredded from the broken glass and razor blades that were stuck to the inside walls. Blood sprayed from his mouth as he screamed to be heard.

“...forever and ever. Go to hell” spat the man's voice.

The church organ broke a chorus and slipped into a musical refrain. It seemed to taunt him, an unexpected tune on an unfamiliar instrument.

“Go to hell!” Spoke the voices of a hundred or so villagers in unison.

The coffin began to move, smoothly, on electric rails. It gently rocked for a few moments to the sound of the church organ. That song? It's Megadeth! He thought as the coffin stopped abruptly. Inside, he sucked in yet more hot air to scream once again, but suddenly, a sound froze him still, his eyes wide in horror like a rabbit caught in car headlights. It was a hiss, followed by several whumps. Instantly the already hot coffin, leaped forward in temperature. Fire.

“Aaaaaaeeeeeeeiiiiii!!!!!” he screamed.

Blood spatters flew in all directions inside the coffin as he threw whatever reservations he had left away. The pyjamas he was wearing were soaked in hot red blood and cut to ribbons. Deep slices in his hands and arms exposed neatly cut muscle fibre. He could feel shards of glass poking at the exposed bones of his ribs and the vertebrates of his spine as he lurched within his confines. He tried to scream again but no sound came out other than the urgent noises of rapid hyperventilation.

The sound of gas burners roared like angry lions beyond the thin coffin walls. What a time to notice that a choirboy had been singing.

Place all your trust here in me, rest assured these things I know.
And as Charon sails the sea, your journey too shall end below.
Ah yes you're all sitting ducks, It's true you reap what you sow...”

“...Go to HELL!” spoke the audience.

Dark grey wood smoke curled inside the coffin space like the ethereal hand of Death himself. Its wisps mixed around the sparse air with the blood droplets of the screaming man inside who was tearing himself to shreds to escape his horrific fate. Then a fierce yellow flame penetrated the coffin corner and lit the red silk at his feet. The flame crept around the lining and burned the exposed skin not dampened by his own blood. Sooner than expected, the fire proper broke through the weakened area and charred the feet of the still screaming occupant.

“...Go to HELL!” spoke the audience as they watched the burning coffin in the open crematorium.

“Go to Hell Morton Skregley!” shouted the speaker of the sermon.

Peace had been restored once again, thanks to the incriminating evidence and delivery of Skregley himself provided by the anonymous informant. The villagers at the funeral delighted in seeing the man being burned alive before them. It represented an end to Skregley's reign of horror and a return to idyllic village normality. Such an evil beast as this should not face justice by the book of the City folk; to be merely be caught by those that know not their village life; to be jailed and nourished towards a natural end – not after all those unspeakable things he had done.

Every eye in the room was wet with tears of happiness until they heard the tortured man in the coffin scream his last words...

“I'm not Morton Skregley!!!!”



Hope you enjoyed the Assured Events #Halloween 2015 Gruesome-Fest!!

Next time you think that something is a nightmare, just ask yourself, "where does this actually sit on a scale of one to ten, where one is not much at all and ten is Morton Skregley?"

If you like Stu's work, you'll be delighted to know that he has co-authored a book of short stories which will be coming out next year. As ever with Stu, there is a twist - the book is called 'Codependent' because each story uses the last line of the previous story for its first.

Happy Halloween Folks!

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This Month's Headscratcher

event management in Manchester and Cheshire without the puzzle

If you'd rather not be scratching your head over organising your next event - give one of our experienced team a call on
0161 428 1115.  Events are our favourite kind of puzzle! 

In the meantime - see how you get on with this...

In ancient days gone by a wealthy land owner challenges his two sons to a horse race.

The one whose horse is slowest will inherit the entire estate.

After a few days into the race, the brothers have made no progress and begin to wonder what to do.

Upon the advice of a wise old man they immediately jumped on the horses and raced as fast as they could to the finish line.

What did the wise old man suggest?

Think you've cracked it?  Find out here

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The Headscratcher

This Month's Headscratcher Solution:

In ancient days gone by a wealthy land owner challenges his two sons to a horse race.

The one whose horse is slowest will inherit the entire estate.

After a few days into the race, the brothers have made no progress and begin to wonder what to do.

Upon the advice of a wise old man they jumped on the horses and raced as fast as they could to the finish line.

What did the wise old man suggest?

 

Answer:

The wise man told them to switch horses as it was the owner of the slowest horse that would inherit the estate.  Personally, we think he was a mean old fella to play his sons off against each other and that, to be fair,  they should share the estate!

'If you'd rather not be scratching your head over organising your next event - give one of our experienced team a call on 0161 428 1115.  Events are our favourite kind of puzzle!

 


 

Previous Headscratchers

North west conference organiser Skinov Yerteeth Events, has put delegates up in Hotel O’dour.

Unfortunately no recce was carried out and the hotel is in the middle of a massive renovation. None of the rooms have got their numbers on the doors and the contractor has no number 9s.

How many 9's must the contractor buy in order to number all 1,000 rooms?

Answer:
300 9s are required.

Start with: 9, 19, 29, 39, 49, 59, 69, 79, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 - which is 20 9's.

We then repeat this for 100, 200, 300, up to 900 - which is 200 9's.

But from 900 to 999 we have an extra 100 9's as each starts with a 9.

So the total is 300.


 

If Teresa's daughter is my daughter's mother, what am I to Teresa?

a. Grandmother
b. Mother
c. Daughter
d. Granddaughter
e. I am Teresa

Answer: c. Daughter.

"My daughter's mother" is the person asking the puzzle, so they are Teresa's daughter.

 

 

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Burglars and the Art of Goal Setting

setting goals when planning your conference event in Manchester and Cheshire

Event Management in Manchester: Burglars and the Art of Goal Setting

“I really hope that this conference/incentive/awards dinner I’m organising comes across as mediocre and that people aren’t too bored” said no-one, ever.

It goes without saying, that whatever the event you want to organise, you will want it to go well (whatever that means to you). That’s a given.

The challenge is working out the “whatever that means to you” bit.

What we’re talking about here is setting objectives, identifying goals, and looking for outcomes from events. And ideally, with some sort of measurement, to be able to establish whether a goal has actually been met. Now I appreciate that this last part is not always possible, certainly immediately after the event, but perhaps it could be measured with the passage of time.

Too many times we have come across briefs or even been to events, where the objective of spending significant amounts of money almost seems to have been brushed over, or at least the focus has been lost. We recently went to an evening showcase at a new Manchester hotel. We wanted to see all the spaces and particularly its unique event space – a feature we knew our clients would love.

There were hundreds of people in a huge bar area, slurping free drinks and we were struggling to even find hosts to give us a show around. We couldn’t even get to see the unique space…because it was booked for a private function.

Really?

Hundreds of potential customers are on your doorstep to see your new space and you’ve taken a booking.

No clarified objective had been established. Or at least commitment to achieving the objective had not been managed or enforced.   Too much focus had been given to getting feet through the door rather than what to do with them once they were there.

Setting objectives is difficult – much, much harder than not setting them. But the rewards are self-evident and this is true in any aspect of life whether it’s a health programme you want to follow, your career, or running an event.

A few nights ago I saw Anthony Crolla on the news. He’s a boxer from Manchester. He was due to challenge for the WBA World Lightweight title in January this year. Unfortunately he spent last Christmas on the sofa with a fractured skull and broken ankle after burglars hit him with a paving slab. That could seriously damage your plans to become a World champion.

But Anthony used his experience with the burglars to channel his focus even more intensely on his goal. He recovered and had a crack at the title in July this year and was controversially beaten by spurious judging. He was immediately granted a rematch this November. I wonder how he’ll be feeling this Christmas, if he wins.

You don’t have to be a boxing fan to admire this man’s focus on goal setting and his commitment to achieving them. (The burglars, by the way were caught immediately – no team points for their goal setting.)

Goal setting is a habit forming. Try setting a goal today - something achievable. It can feel quite uplifting when you nail it. Then do another one tomorrow, and so on. After a while you’ll naturally be thinking of more challenging goals and objectives with timeframes further out.

If you’re organising an event, apply the same approach. Don’t allow burglars (or other problems) to distract you. Identify your objectives and be committed to achieving them.

You can read more about setting event objectives in our free 9-step guide “So you want to run an event?” available as a download from a number of pages on this website.

(And fingers crossed for Anthony.)

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Manchester Event Organiser Is Awards Finalist!

Manchester Conference and Incentive Specialist is Awards Finalist


Business of the Year Recognition for Manchester Event Organiser

Being shortlisted for the Business of the Year (£1-5M) at the Stockport Business Awards caps a busy few months for us!  It's brilliant to be judged as one of the top three in the most highly contested category.  We think it's partly a reflection of our journey in recent years.  

In 2012, following some major project cancellations due to the recession, turnover and staff numbers dropped.

However, since the end of 2012 to the end of 2014, Assured Events turnover has grown over 211% from £716k to £1.51M with net profit growing over 250%. This year we're forecasting approx. £1.8M t/o and a similar increase in net profit.  Our speciality of being a Manchester based conference and incentive organiser has really shone through.

We think that's only half the story that caught the judges eye, though.  We have high staff retention and offer Event Management Students paid, year-long placement opportunities, most of whom come back and work for us.  Three of the team came through this route and are now experienced Account Managers.

Our MD, Karl Perry was also a judge at the Stockport Young Entrepreneur Awards for primary schools at the Town Hall last month. Eighteen schools took part and the audience topped 300. Karl is the longest running judge & mentor having been there for all of the eight years that it has run.

That means that the first group of children he mentored will now just have finished their 1st year at University – that is scary!!

We've also just taken on two new Event Co-ordinators, Emma Bolam who managed golf days at Tytherington Golf Club and Roxana Mocanu, who has just graduated with a 1st in Event Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.  (You'll be hearing more from these two at a later date!)

The Awards with be taking place at Stockport Town Hall on October 15th – we'll be sending our hand-picked, elite, social-celebration squad... highly experienced at enjoying themselves in almost any scenario.

That'll be all of us then!

In the meantime, back to the day job of planning conferences, incentives and dinners in Manchester, Cheshire and the North West!

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Event Management in Manchester Looking at Bristol: Where to stay & where to dine

Planning an event with a difference try The Glassboat Bristol

Event management ideas for Bristol

We may be an event management company based in Manchester but our clients' projects take us all over the UK and beyond. Recently we have been researching Bristol for accommodation and dining for an event a client has asked us to organise and we thought we'd share some of our recommendations.

Set in the heart of South West England, Bristol is renowned for its great links to Cardiff and London, however, the city also holds many a gem worthy of considering. The city is home to a wealth of culture; world class art, drama and musical flare. Bristol is a diverse city and boasts something for everyone.  Here are our top recommendations for a visit to the city:

Accommodation:

Berwick Lodge
A beautifully renovated manor house, re-opened in 2009. With 10 boutique and bespoke designed bedrooms, this rural retreat is great for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, yet still be close enough to enjoy what the city has to offer. With converted mews now a Conference Centre and an onsite Cookery school, Berwick Lodge is great for corporate meets or incentives.

Number 38 Cliffton
Set in the sleepy village of Cliffton, minutes from the centre, Number 38 has recently been voted “Coolest Place to Stay in the UK” by The Times newspaper. Feeling like a home from home, each of the boutique, townhouse bedrooms are decorated with plush furnishings and comforts. Complete with an outdoor terrace overlooking the rooftops of Cliffton village, Number 38 is a highly recommended choice!

Food & Drink:

The Milk Thistle
Pitching itself as “the big brother” of Bristol’s secret cocktail bar “Hyde & Co”, The Milk Thistle is everything you image a private members club to be; dark mahogany decor, walls adorned with leather books and dim, candle lighting. The venue is open to us general riff raff, however, be sure to adhere to the “House Rules” – all rather tongue in cheek though darling!

Glassboat
Overlooking the iconic harbour, the Glassboat is set in the floating harbour at the heart of the city. (It’s name derives from the fact that the water level remains constant, the harbour is not affected by the tidal changes of the River Avon). As the name suggests, the Glassboat is simply that. Despite its contemporary decor, many of its fittings have a great history, for example the glass and walnut floors came from Courage Brewery on Temple Back. Occupying such a niche setting, Glassboat is an iconic backdrop for any event.

Cox and Baloney Tea Rooms
If you are looking for something a little different to your contemporary wine bars and cosmopolitan cocktail hangouts, why not try afternoon tea at Cox & Baloney Tea Rooms. Serving quintessentially English afternoon tea, complete with vintage china and the sweetest delights; let the team rooms take you back to simpler times! Cox & Baloney is also available for private hire and run various workshops; great for private parties or as a retro luncheon for meetings in the city!

Bristol looks an ideal location if you're looking for some unique event venues and don't be afraid to ask a Manchester event organiser to plan your project there!

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4 Great Foodie Places in Liverpool

event organiser in Manchester recommends Lucha Libre, Liverpool

Great Places to Eat in Liverpool

As an  event management company in Manchester, we often look west along the M62 to search out venues for clients across all budget sizes.  You may think that unusual but our corporate event projects take us all over Cheshire, the North West and the rest of the UK.

Famed for its musical heritage and former Capital of Culture 2008, Liverpool has historically enjoyed a wealth of international influence. The city is also home to many colourful culinary delights, inspired from across the globe, check out our top restaurant recommendations for the city;

Lucha Libre
Lucha Libre is a relatively new addition to the city, serving great Mexican Street food. Sitting around benches, your waiter will brief you on the menu via an iPad photo stream while you a drink out of recycled glass jam jars! In keeping with the authentic street food, dinner is served on red street trays and the bill won’t disappoint either. Lucha is a great place to visit with friends, creating a sociable eating experience without the high price tag! The venue is also home to a quirky underground bar – check out our Liverpool Bars Blog for more info!  It's not for your average formal corporate event - but then we don't do average.

The London Carriage Works
This is not your average hotel restaurant; the Carriage Works is one of Liverpool’s leading restaurants, establishing itself on Hope Street in late 2003. Its name descends from an original sign that was discovered during renovation works; once the home of a coach and carriage builders. Its sheek, contemporary décor is complimented by an equally fashionable menu; delights include scented meats and truffle oils!

Lark Lane
With so many gems housed along its cobbled streets it is difficult to pick out just one! Lark Lane is a chic, bohemian area of the city, home to countless bars, bistro’s, cafes, restaurants – the list goes on. Our real recommendation would be to take a walk down Lark Lane and pick what you fancy – wherever you choose, we guarantee you will not be disappointed! We will however leave you with some personal favourites; Que Casa Pantina (Mexican), Chilli Banana (Thai) & Keith’s Food & Wine Bar (European).

Panoramic 34
Enjoy the city skyline from 34 floors up in one of the UK’s highest restaurants, towering 100m above sea level. On a clear day you can view the Welsh roving hills and even as far as the Hilton in Manchester! Panoramic is an exclusive venue, this is further enhanced by the Private Dining Suite aptly named the “Penthouse”, located on the top of West Tower. Complete with private bar, lounge and plush decor thought, the Penthouse it the ultimate way to dine clients or an exclusive destination for your next event.

Know somewhere that should be on this list? Why not get in touch and let us know – we'd love to hear from you!

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Ideas for CSR teambuilding

manchester event organiser recommends CSR teambuilding

What is CSR Teambuilding?

Here at Assured Events we are continually helping clients with event planning which means exploring innovative ideas to engage employess and CSR teambuilding always scores highly amongst staff.

Of course, your staff work for you for a wage, but not far behind on their list of wants and needs is to take some level of enjoyment from their work.  Yes we all like to get something for nothing but the truth is, that it's also part of the human condition that we take a lot from being able to give to others.

CSR teambuilding looks to incorporate aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) into your teambuilding event, whether this is through involvement in community or charity projects or driving charitable donations. Whichever way you look at it, it's about giving something back.

Who should involve themselves in CSR Teambuilding?

Pretty much anyone! You don’t have to have a strict CSR policy, just the drive and imagination to explore alternatives to traditional teambuilding activities. CSR Teambuilding not only engages employees, but provides a whole new sense of achievement compared to that of traditional methods, while still allowing key business objectives to be met.

CSR Teambuild Examples:

Community Contribution Days

manchester event organiser csr community challenge

Activities can range from conservation such as rebuilding forest pathways, hedgerows and fences or perhaps clearing canal sides, to renovation or simply helping out a youth group in your local area. The idea of such days is to engage employees, whilst making a visible difference in their local community. 

Charity Challenge

manchester event organiser charity challenge

Run in the style of ever popular TV shows such as The Apprentice or Bargain Hunt, teams work in sub-groups to accumulate currency, while working collectively towards the common goal of trying to raise as much money for a chosen charity or cause. The currency can then be spent at the 'shop' to buy items for those supported by local good causes.  This is great for those wishing to take a more light hearted approach to CSR teambuilding.  It also allows for all sizes of budget as the currency can be set to whatever value you choose.

CSR Incentive

manchester event organiser csr incentive

If CSR is proving to be at the forefront of your business objectives then maybe you could consider testing the water with a CSR incentive programme.  Becoming ever popular in the current climate; collaboration with a needy cause can see notable benefits for all involved.  For example staff could be incentivised to earn a place on a team that could take over a charity shop to try and drive sales or perhaps become involved with helping a local homless shelter.  It needn't be a one-off either - a whole programme could be developed.

CSR teambuilds are fantastic at breaking down barriers created by hierarchy, silo mentality or gelling new teams or departments.  The results are very tangible and very rewarding.  We are an event organiser based in Manchester but plan events all over Cheshire, the north west and the UK.  If this blog has got you thinking about how CSR teambuilding could work for you, contact us for a fresh look on teambuilding. 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 0161 428 1115

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A Guide to the Best Venues in Chester

manchester conference organiser recommends the architectmanchester event organiser recommends upstairs at the grillmanchester event planner recommends oddfellows

Planning an event in Chester?  You need to read this

Laced with a colourful history and rich Roman heritage, Chester quite simply, is a beautiful medieval city. Complete with a Roman amphitheatre, main streets lined with picturesque shop rows and a riverside setting, the city’s historic roots are very much still alive today. Despite being almost 2,000 years old, this city hasn’t been left it in the dark ages; chic, boutique outlets decorate the cobbled streets. Whether you’re out for an afternoon of shopping, a day at the races or are planning an event in Chester, there are some key venues we would recommend that you check out for dining:


Bouchon
A petit restaurant, serving classic French cuisine. Formally known as “Franks”, despite the name change and an exterior facelift, the restaurant has still retained its “shabby chic” character. The food may appear of Parisian portion size, but appearances can be deceptive; the full bodied cuisine will not disappoint!

Upstairs at the Grill
Quite possibly THE best steak house I could name – it’s that good I have just booked a table for this weekend after writing this blog! Upstairs at the Grill can only be described as a boutique restaurant; decanter lamp shades, dimmed lighting and Moulin Rouge inspired restrooms! The food and service is simply impeccable - booking highly recommended.

Oddfellows
A colourful, eccentric, quirky hangout for the city savvy. The decedent Lounge Bar leads out to the Secret Garden, complete with fake grass, private cabins and bespoke al fresco decor. The Garden restaurant serves great “posh-nosh” and is also a favourite for the resident “Let Them Eat Cake” afternoon tea. The venue also offers 18 boutique bedrooms; think chic urban retreat. Oddfellows is a bit of a jack of all trades, yet masters them all!

The Architect
A fairly new addition to the city, The Architect is located just up from the racecourse. Owned by Brunning & Price, the decor is synonymous with their style. With roving lawns and its iconic location, this is sure to be the destination of many race goers. Not only attractive for its drinking appeal, The Architect also serves great, British food, sourcing seasonal, local produce for the menu.

The Weighing Room
Having changed names a couple of times over the years, previously Got Wine and The Pelican, this gem is tucked away down the alley leading to Commonhall Street. With a hidden terrace, The Weighing Room is a winner on those rare sunny days; a great place to drink/dine alfresco and enjoy a glass of Pimms (or two!)

Chester isn’t short of hotels, whether you are looking for a local B&B or exclusive hideaway, Chester can cater to all. Famed as the home of The Grosvenor Hotel, which is always an excellent choice, a more boutique hideaway worth a mention is Dragonfly. Set in a Grade II listed building, this exclusive, 5-star townhouse is sleek-chic, yet filled with home comforts.

We are a Manchester event organiser but create memorable events all over Cheshire, the north west and the UK.  If you are planning an event in Chester give us a call.  Our expert project management team are as creative as they are organised and know Chester as well as our own city!

0161 428 1115; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Advice for exhibitors – Getting the most out of an exhibition

event organiser in manchester top tips for conference exhibitors
Advice for Exhibitors: Tips for Exhibiting at a Conference

Exhibitions provide invaluable face to face opportunities to build on existing, and forge new, relationships with clients in an environment conducive to networking.  Exhibition attendance costs, so here are a few of our tips on how to increase the ROI of the events to your company.

PREPARATION

It might feel like a rehash of every bit of business advice you’ve ever been given, but the first step to getting the most from your exhibition is to ascertain your OBJECTIVES! What do you want to get from the experience? You can only decide how to tailor the rest of your exhibition activity once you know what you want to achieve. Make sales? Establish new leads? Build on relationships? Of course, you can have more than one objective; spending time clarifying and prioritising these means you have much more to rate the success of the endeavour against.

If your objectives involve meeting with and building relationships with existing clients then CONTACT them ahead of the event to see whether they’re going; it could be a great way to open a dialogue. See if you can arrange a meeting at the event (if the event permits), sometimes facilities are, or can be, provided for these private networking meetings.

Take the time to read through the exhibition literature and NOTE THE DEADLINES given. Being aware of the deadlines can be advantageous if you are able to choose your stand location as these are often offered on a first come first served basis. If you do get to choose your STAND LOCATION then decide whether one or two open sides works best for you, do you want a plot near a catering stand? Are there any other activities in the exhibition area that it may be advantageous to be near?

Are you thinking of running a COMPETITION for delegates or does the exhibition run one that you can get involved in? The organisers will be able to let you know if there are any restrictions regarding competitions and may be able to help you promote your activity.

Allowing time to read through the exhibition literature properly will also allow you to identify allocated SET UP TIMES and UNLOADING arrangements. With these in mind you could mark out the space of your stand on the floor and have a run through the set up and layout. This will help you take only the equipment necessary and know what is and isn’t achievable in the space and time provided.

Make sure that your staff at the event are BRIEFED; a unified message is stronger than a mismatch of information. Let them know what your objectives are and the approach you want them to take. If you have the resource, select those staff personalities that are best suited to the objectives you’ve identified. Sometimes this means a more senior person is not appropriate!

SUSTAINABLE THINKING: Before attending the exhibition think about what INFORMATION and MERCHANDISE you want to supply and how you’re going to supply them. Many delegates don’t want to carry around masses of paper and brochures, plus they aren’t great for the environment! How many ‘giveaways’ make it to a delegate’s desk rather than the bin? It may be just as cost effective to look at branded, pre-loaded USB sticks (which double up as useful merchandise) or to simply email information or utilise a file sharing website.

ATTENDANCE

Hopefully your preparation means that you have spent time considering your stand’s APPEARANCE. Try not to block any open sides – they could help invite delegates onto your stand. If you have lots of members of staff but a fairly quiet stand, ask some of them to check out the rest of the exhibition or visit catering points to network with delegates and other exhibitors – too many staff on an empty stand can be intimidating to delegates.

The exhibition may provide opportunities to ENGAGE with delegates via social network feeds or news updates. If the exhibition runs parallel to a conference, does your attendance package include conference sessions? If so try and attend these, as well as providing insight into the issues your potential customers may face, they could provide talking points for later conversations with delegates.

SUSTAINABLE THINKING: It seems that today everyone claims to have green credentials. Take the time to think about how you want to convey your company’s SUSTAINABLE ETHOS. Delegates may know an awful lot about the topic and can recognise a ‘Green Wash’ – ensure that you and your staff are up to speed with the message you are delivering.

POST CONFERENCE

Try to FOLLOW UP leads within a couple of working days of the conference, so long as delegates indicated they were happy for you to do so. Keep contact as personal as possible, not just adding new leads to a generic mailer database.

Take the time to fill out any EVALUATION surveys you are sent. Exhibition organisers value the feedback of their customers and strive to improve their experience in order to better the event – in the long run this could help you!

As well as event feedback, have a DEBRIEF session with your team. What did they think they got from the experience? As a company, how can you improve your exhibition presence? It is best to conduct this as soon after the event as possible, while it’s still on people’s minds.

SUSTAINABLE THINKING: Only send out catalogues and brochures if necessary and requested – try and keep as much information ELECTRONIC as possible. How can leads help you as a business to be sustainable? Could swapping sustainable practices continue a dialogue?

So, our advice for getting the most out of your exhibition experience; PREPARE - read the supplied information, ask any questions, know exactly what you can do, where and at what times and brief your staff. Actively ENGAGE with delegates, both virtually and face to face. Gather and communicate your FEEDBACK – it’s your chance to have your say about any recommendations and changes to your experience.  Always consider SUSTAINABILITY in every decision you make!

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Oak House
2 Gatley Road
Cheadle
Cheshire

SK8 1PY

 

T. 0161 428 1115

E. enquiries@assuredevents.com

 



 

 

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