Destination Report - Sitges
April 9th, 2012 12:12 pm
  1. The location works; at the foot of the Garraf Massif, which help create something of a microclimate, blocking the sometimes chill North winds. Add in almost 300 days of sunshine (Mrs J and I had a delicious lunch outside in the middle of December) and glorious views for a perfect package.
  2. With 18km of coast, including 17 beaches, the seafront stretches 3km from the small square in front of the church. Transport links are great; it's just 35km south of Barcelona (so just 15km from El Prat airport) with great motorway and rail links.
  3. It's not just about the just the beaches: there is the Garraf National Park which also includes the Sakya Tashi Ling monastery, the Novella Palace and museum. Sitges has been referred to as the St. Tropez of Spain, with property prices approaching those of the most expensive European cities, the main reason for this being the beautiful setting by the sea and the surrounding Parc Natural del Garraf
  4. There's a long history of attracting painter...
Conference News column, April 2012
April 7th, 2012 11:29 am

It came as a shock to realise that the lovely photo that adorned this page was taken some 7 years ago, outside Excel, when I'd just lost the motion "we don't want the Olympics in the UK because it will cost us a fortune" by a close 87 to nil. Since then the hair has thinned, two grand of veneers have been shoved in that gobby mouth, and I'm a stone lighter. Oh, and as bad-tempered and always right as ever. But it seemed time to get a new photo; and that got me thinking about the importance of pictures of speakers. I mean, do we decide to attend an event or read an article based on the apparent degree of intelligence or pulchritude oozing from the picture? Probably not, although it's interesting to see publishers emphasising the fruitiness of an author like Zadie Smith compared with, say, Jeffrey Archer. And the apparent £400 k advance for the younger Middleton's forthcoming book on "party planning" had absolutely nothing to do with the gravity-defying nature of her buttocks....

Conference News supplement, March 2012
April 7th, 2012 11:25 am

As well as providing a host of meeting options for conference organisers, for just over a decade, UK universities have been providing a variety of events qualifications allowing thousands of young people to enter the profession with en events degree or even a Masters. Whilst many old hands argued about whether such skills could be taught, the result is that the status of events has risen inexorably, and the industry is awash with bright young things. The sector even has its own body, the Association for Events Management Education, created by Glenn Bowdin, Subject Group Leader, at Leeds Metropolitan University. AEME's objective is to 'support and raise the profile of the events management discipline through the sharing of education and best practice.' Founder members include universities, colleges and institutes across the UK. The creation of such degrees was not without controversy; the first universities were, in effect, simply adding on the occasional event management module t...

Conference News column, March 2012
March 12th, 2012 11:15 am

We've now had just over a decade of young people studying and graduating with events qualifications of various shapes and sizes from universities across the UK. Whilst many old hands argued about whether such skills could be taught, the result is that the status of events has risen inexorably, and our industry is awash with bright young things. But for anyone over 30, what opportunity is there for professional development and recognition within the events sector? There are a variety of courses available, but no real structure of progression. Some trade associations – MPI and IAPCO are the best examples – have embraced the idea of systematic development and recognition of both learning and experience, but for the main part the lack of industry cooperation from the dozens of trade associations means there is no obvious route to a structured CPD model. However, there's a new opportunity to fill the gap. Launched at The Event Production Show this year is...

Conference News column, February 2012
February 4th, 2012 3:36 pm

If you're putting on a conference, there's a good chance that you'll have thought that some of your line up of speakers could do with some help. But have you ever wondered why 'presentation skills' training may not make a difference? My mate Richard Tierney, is an industry veteran who has recently launched a consultancy called the 'introverted presenter', and reckons he has the answer. His credentials are impressive. He started as a theatre techie, rose to become an event producer, then retrained at the Royal College of Art in television production, worked as a video and TV producer for a decade and then studied at the London Business School, which led to the development of his creative coaching company. It equates to a staggering 30 years coaching presenters from over 60 of the Fortune 100 companies. He has worked in more than 30 countries, and has coached everywhere from an Indonesian deserted Island to Buckingham Palace. The 'Introverted Presenter' is also the title of his for...

Destination Report - Jersey
January 9th, 2012 12:06 pm
  1. You'll be surprised at the choice of hotels. Traditional properties such as the Hotel de France, The Grand and Pomme d'Or which have been joined by the new Radisson Blu with a prime waterfront position, which means groups from 50 to 500 and premium groups can be easily accommodated. Four star room stock has almost doubled in 2 years
  2. Travel and access are strong points, with the island receiving flights from over 40 departure points across the UK and mainland Europe. Main and cheap airlines offer direct flights. The airport benefitted from a major upgrade in 2009 which include improve check in, shopping and eating facilities. Ferry and hydrofoil access is also an option, with routes from Weymouth, Poole, St Malo and Carteret
  3. Business remains strong albeit competitive - with around 300 major events in 2009. Oh, and they use pounds, but print their own version, too. And Jersey claims to be the sunniest spot in the UK.
  4. At just 9 miles by 5 miles, Jersey is easily navigable. Tra...
Conference News column, January 2012
January 1st, 2012 10:55 am

So, here we are in the new year, and I'm betting your resolutions to get fit, give up chocolate and learn a new language have disappeared like the first snow. Never mind; how about an extra resolution to save a bit of dosh? You see, I'm a generous chap at heart, although I don't like to squander money. I prefer to give my money to charity – which I do, a lot – rather than entrust it to the government who will squander it on schemed designed solely to appeal to the masses and assist with re-election. But this isn't a political or ranty comment this month, just a bit of advice to readers who organise events outside the UK (and that can include subscribers who spend much of their time at our industry conferences and exhibitions which dot the globe). Simple question; did you know you're probably wasting money? I make that assertion after spending just ten delightful minutes in the company of Siobhan Kelly of Dublin-based Taxback. Now normally a conver...

Conference News column, December 2011
December 27th, 2011 4:50 pm

Be prepared to be stunned; by the time you read this I will have turned fifty. Yes, all of me. Oh, and I'm still accepting cards and presents. Now, I was convinced that, despite the advancing years I was in reasonably good shape, thanks to a reasonably healthy diet and regular sessions on the rowing machine. Sadly this self-delusion came to a crashing end when I met Cain Leatham at the recent European Cities Marketing conference In Krakow. He's been a fixture for 5 years, sponsored by IMEX Exhibitions. Cain's job is to ensure the delegates – the majority in their mid twenties, and therefore prone to enjoying the evening activities – are both physically and mentally alert and can actually enjoy what is a pretty packed 3 days. His background is impressive. Joining the RAF as a slim 10 stone he rebuilt himself into an 18 stone ironman. But with a background that includes a Masters in nutrition and an NLP qualification, his conference presentations are g...

Conference News column, November 2011
November 5th, 2011 10:36 am

Bond looked around the foyer of the St Ermin's hotel. The old building had seen some changes since his last visit; stepping in from the new tree-lined courtyard he saw what had been a tired and dark foyer had become a classy, bright reception, oozing quality but without the snobbery; 'urban elegance', as the young agents would say. Was it really that long since the old dog Churchill had created the Special Operation Executive on the top floors – their mission 'to set Europe ablaze;' - and then the boys of MI6 had moved in after the War, to deal with the Commies? The bright carpet and tasteful fittings hid a host of stories. You must be from ‘Conference News';the woman was tall beautiful and elegant. 'Moneypenny?' purred Bond. 'No, I'm Caroline, in charge of PR for the hotel. Let me show you around.' Bond watched as she moved, and his pulse quickened. Over her shoulder she said, 'How is Mr Colston?' Bond wondered who else knew C's real identity but was abl...

Conference News column, October 2011
October 6th, 2011 9:53 am

While live events seem to be maintaining their share of marketing budgets despite these bleak times, it seems like more and more organisations are keen to organise conferences. However, in this crowded market, it's vital to know that good content is the king to getting the all-important "bums on seats". You disagree? Has the TED phenomena taught you nothing? So, here are 5 things to remember when you're putting together conference programmes. 1. Are you offering a unique - even controversial - perspective on a topic? Are you challenging perceived conventions and demonstrating a willingness to slaughter a few sacred cows? Are you talking about the next big think when most people are still wrapped up in this one? If so, make sure you spread the word; this is not the time to 'play safe'. And controversy is great for PR. 2. How much new, original and cutting edge content do you have? Controversy is fine but should be backed up with solid research. And that's not hard to get; most...