Event Industry News Podcast
Podcast: Mandy Mahil joins us from Mango Pie

Podcast: Mandy Mahil joins us from Mango Pie

June 25, 2019

Mandy Mahil, founding director of Mango Pie, an event planning company, joined James for this week’s podcast to discuss attitudes in the event management sector.

Having worked for event companies that peddle one event after another in a very “mechanical” fashion, Mandy stated she wanted to distance herself from that type of procedure when planning her events.

Reflecting on the “factory wheel” of creating events, Mandy said she prefers to take time nurturing relationships with her clients and building each and every event from the ground up. She believes spending more time on each event gives clients better value for money.

“Events are very expensive,” she said, stressing that clients who spend money on an event deserve something more than the bog-standard party.

Starting her company as a sole-trader, Mandy admitted that she had to learn the technical side very quickly, e.g. the logistics behind setting up the company, the website and the I.T technicalities.

However, clients were eager to follow Mandy in her new venture with some claiming: “We never worked with you because of the company you were in; we worked with you because of you.”

Taking on only 20 events per year on average and only one wedding, Mandy allows herself the time to give 100% to each event, ensuring each one becomes the event her clients want.

Leading onto event sizes, Mandy questioned whether larger events necessarily equalled larger value and stated that some of her clients appreciated the worth of decreasing the size of their events.

James and Mandy agreed that businesses that host events require “meaningful” time with their guests. Smaller, but more frequent, events allow businesses to be more attentive to each guest, increasing the likelihood of engagement and custom retention. 

If you would like to feature on one of our weekly podcasts, please get in touch at editor@eventindustrynews.com.

Podcast: GL events UK & EIGHT PR discuss ‘The Good Event Guide’

Podcast: GL events UK & EIGHT PR discuss ‘The Good Event Guide’

June 19, 2019

To record this week’s podcast, the Event Industry News team was invited down to the home of Origin, by Crucial FX, in London to talk to the founder of EIGHT PR, Alistair Turner, and the commercial director at GL events UK, David Tunnicliffe. Here, they chatted to us about their brainchild – The Good Event Guide.

Giving us a little overview of what this guide is, David described it as a document put together to offer advice and knowledge to others in the events industry on making sustainable decisions. He advised us that being sustainable goes further than making green choices in terms of waste and power, but also means creating a safe and healthy environment for employers.

The word ‘sustainable’ is an ever-growing umbrella to cover lots of topics from carbon footprints to mental health. David and Alistair created the guide to inform organisers and suppliers on how to become more sustainable and mentally healthier.

Using examples such as festivals becoming vegan and events scrapping plastic cups, David claimed that the events industry is a leader in ‘being green’, therefore giving us the opportunity to lead consumers down similar routes.

Talking more about the guide itself, Alistair explained that it is the product of a lot of time, energy and research. Realising the publicity advantages of ‘being green’, our host, James, enquired whether audiences may just perceive these changes as a PR stunt. 

To answer this, Alistair said: “Don’t tell them you’re funny, tell them a joke!” He advised us that sustainability needs to be in the culture and DNA of an event. Due to the freedom of information and journalists, audiences will be able to know who is taking it seriously and who is not.

Geoff Revill on KrowdSafe winning funding to improve event security after 2017 terror attacks

Geoff Revill on KrowdSafe winning funding to improve event security after 2017 terror attacks

June 12, 2019

For this week’s podcast, our host, James Dickson, invited Geoff Revill, co-founder and managing director at Krowdthink Ltd, to discuss his new app, KrowdSafe.

Based in Devon, Krowdthink Ltd is a safety firm that aims to alter the way in which social media platforms deliver value in a mobile age.

In response to the terror attacks that took place in 2017, the Home Office launched the Improving Crowd Resilience competition in order to find solutions to improving security across the private sector. 

The idea for KrowdSafe won the team at Krowdthink almost £250,000 of government funding to develop it to improve security at large events.

Transforming the crowd into a “participatory threat sensor”, Geoff explained that the app allows members of the public to draw security’s attention to possible threats, e.g., an abandoned backpack, a dropped knife, pick-pocketing, etc.

Creating a direct line of communication between the crowd and security, the app allows users to upload images and specific locations of anything they believe may pose a threat.

Stressing that the app is not a replacement for 999 calls, Geoff advised that users engage with the app if they have suspicions about people, activities or objects. This allows officials to intercede before anything dangerous happens, therefore preventing emergencies.

“What we are effectively doing is creating an environment that is much more hostile to the mischievous and the malicious,” Geoff said.

Podcast: Crucial FX’s Mark Rivkin discusses the Origin experience

Podcast: Crucial FX’s Mark Rivkin discusses the Origin experience

June 6, 2019

For the latest edition of the Event Industry News podcast, we welcomed Mark Rivkin, managing director at Crucial FX, to discuss his latest venture: Origin

Crucial FX is an experience company that utilises technology such as projection mapping, lasers and sound to create stunning live events. Product launches, dinner shows, and seasonal celebrations are just a few examples of where Crucial FX are commissioned with creating memorable experiences that later become a talking point.

Mark explained that describing to customers what Crucial FX can do proved difficult at times because of the range of services they can offer. Origin was therefore created as a means of demonstrating just what the company can achieve. It is described on the Crucial FX website as an “interactive playground”.

Describing Origin as a “bombardment” of the senses, Mark explained that Origin uses vibrations, smells, sounds and visuals to really showcase what Crucial FX deliver. Origin was also a reason to attain a London base and, therefore, become closer to key clients.

Because of social media and the Internet, people can experience projection mapping and experiential events without even leaving their homes. This creates challenges for companies such as Crucial FX and their clients to create original and fresh events that will leave a mark on the audience.

In terms of creating Origin itself, Mark stated that they came up with the idea first and then battled the implications. He explained: “We wanted to create a technical experience like no other, to showcase the creative capabilities and to start conversations with new potential partners.”

“We push innovation,” Mark commented, explaining that is what keeps their products exciting. Creativity also plays a major role in keeping the company (and therefore the brands with which it works) “fresh, challenging and engaging.”

If you would like to feature on one of our weekly podcasts, email us at editor@eventindustrynews.com

Ravi Chalaka from Jifflenow on ROI

Ravi Chalaka from Jifflenow on ROI

May 30, 2019

Joining James for this week’s podcast was Ravi Chalaka. Ravi is a marketing and business development expert and is currently the chief marketing officer for Jifflenow, a meeting automation platform.

Ravi has spent the last 25 years working in the events industry, 15 of which he spent as a vice president. This has allowed him to participate in events as a marketer, attendee and sponsor for more than two decades.

Drawing upon his vast experience, Ravi discussed ROI when exhibiting at live events and how it can possibly be measured and turned into value for companies.

Gone are the days where company bosses are satisfied with event feedback in the form of statistics on attendees. Exhibitors are now expected to produce information on how well an event panned out in relation to how much revenue it generated. 

However, meetings, business connections and new contacts that are generated as a result of exhibiting cannot be defined straight away in terms of pounds and pence: they may lead to revenue later down the line or otherwise result in new contacts that then lead to revenue. This makes the ROI difficult to monitor.

Meetings are a crucial element of creating these new business contacts – people are habitually more inclined to conduct business if they are within a formal meetings area. Appreciating this, more and more organisers now dedicate specific areas within their events for such meetings.

Traditionally, businesses would continue their meetings elsewhere after an event. However, this is time-consuming and costly and excludes businesses with smaller budgets. Dedicated areas within the actual event venue allow meetings to take place there and then and without businesses breaking their budgets.

“Customers who use a meeting automation platform at events are able to increase the number of face-to-face meetings by 40%-100%,” Ravi stated.

Founded 10 years ago, Jifflenow was created through a collaboration with event professionals to ensure major event concerns can be solved.

If you would like to partake in one of our weekly podcasts, get in touch at editor@eventindustrynews.com

GL events UK & Ryder Cup unite to create 42nd golf tournament

GL events UK & Ryder Cup unite to create 42nd golf tournament

May 24, 2019

For the latest edition of our weekly podcast, James Dickson, travelled down to the home of Crucial FX’s Origin experience. Here, he spoke to Edward Kitson, match director at the Ryder Cup and David Tunnicliffe, commercial director at GL events UK.

Throughout the podcast, David and Edward explained the working relationship between the two companies and described the process of planning and building the famous golf tournament.

In 2018, the 42nd Ryder Cup was held in France at Le Golf National. Edward described his role as managing the operation and delivery of the matches, whilst David and his team provided and built the temporary structures.

Edward began working with the French golf federation in 2012 to start plans on improving the golf course. This involved new drainage, new irrigation and small “tinkers” to improve the spectator experience.

David explained the long process involved in planning where to place the structures and how best to erect them. Sightlines, structure integrity, safety, camera angles and the players themselves all had to be considered in the design process.

He continued to describe the “spectacular” atmosphere surrounding the first hole and explained a lot of that was product of the horseshoe-style seating around it.

However, the practical side of the structures must be thought about first: can spectators get in and out safely and comfortably? Do disabled people have appropriate access? Will the guests remain warm/cool while in the structures? Only when the logistical challenges were overcome could the “dressings” be considered.

When questioned on how he decides which suppliers to choose, Edward stated that if he is happy with the work and commitment a supplier demonstrates, he will happily work with them again and will be glad to work with GL events UK for the next tournament.

The Ryder Cup will next be in Europe in 2022 for the 44th edition, with Italy hosting it for the first time.

If you would like to feature on one of our weekly podcasts, please get in touch at editor@eventindustrynews.com.

Lime Venue Portfolio & HBAA’s, Jenner Carter, talks mental health first aid #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Lime Venue Portfolio & HBAA’s, Jenner Carter, talks mental health first aid #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

May 16, 2019

During his recent trip down to the Crucial FX Origin experience, James took himself off to a quiet corner to speak to Jenner Carter, the head of marketing at Lime Venue Portfolio and the marketing chair for the industry association, HBAA.

 

Jenner described her passion for improving mental health within the industry and explained what mental health first aid is all about. Offering examples of her own experience with ill mental health, both in her personal and professional life, Jenner informed James that the HBAA first introduced the course to her. 

The mental health first aid course teaches participants how to offer help and support to people experiencing “a crisis”. Describing it as similar to a physical first aid course, Jenner revealed that mental health is different in regard to recognising symptoms: “It’s difficult to spot the signs of [poor mental health] but this course helps you spot the signs then signpost people off to the relevant places to get help.”

Having been on the course, Jenner is now a mental health first aider. Talking about this, Jenner informed James that one of the things she learnt was the ALGEE model:

Assess/Approach/Assist

Listen

Give

Encourage

Enquire

Touching on the stigma of mental health, Jenner stated there is a definite “misunderstanding’ surrounding the topic. However, thanks to recent media coverage, there is growing support for people who need help.

Relating mental health to the events industry, James asked about the relationship between stress and ill mental health: “People may think they are just suffering from stress and not recognise they are ill.” Agreeing with this, Jenner stated that those who suffer from prolonged symptoms of poor mental health need access to support. 

Everyone is different in terms of their ability to cope with, and release, stress. Making lists, eating chocolate or going for a run are all ways of winding down and releasing the day’s stresses. It is important for our overall mental health that we each find and practise ways to de-stress after each day.

If you are interested in featuring on one of our weekly podcasts, please get in touch at editor@eventindustrynews.com

Nils Braude discusses new Twickenham East Stand

Nils Braude discusses new Twickenham East Stand

May 9, 2019

Our podcast host, James Dickson, recently filmed at the home of Crucial FX and its Origin experience. Here, he was joined by Nils Braude, the director of catering, conferences and events at Twickenham Stadium where the brand-new East Stand opened in Autumn 2018.

Twickenham is the largest dedicated rugby union venue in the world and, due to the new “bolt-on”, now seats 8,500 people. Aside from hosting rugby matches, the stadium is also the venue for: music gigs, Christmas parties, corporate events, exhibitions, meetings and summer parties.

The new stand was a huge undertaking that covered five floors and took the capacity of the stadium from 4,500 to 8,500. The whole footprint and floor space of the building was extended with the addition of two new floors and the addition of 3,000 hospitality covers.

Describing the consultation process, Nils explained the stadium used a “collaborative approach” with its principal sales partners, Compass Group, RFU and Keith Prowse. They drew inspiration from similar-sized venues and researched the “rugby-goer” to create ideas that would fall in line with their budget.

Nils went on to describe the flexibility of the stadium: the majority of the days at Twickenham aren’t match-days so the new stand needed to be adaptable to ensure it can be used for other events, both professional and personal. For this reason, it was designed with “dividable” rooms – a room may be used for a seated conference for 1,000 people one day, and a food area for 100 people the next.

Progressing from the traditional round, covered tables with the usual three-course meal, Twickenham now boasts a variety of options from interactive street food to five-course Michelin star-styled taster meals. Again, this was to add to the stadium’s offering, ensuring events of all sizes and styles could be catered for.

Touching on the customer experience, Nils explained that the external areas were also developed to become much more “fan-friendly”, allow visitors’ experience to start sooner and bring people to the stadium earlier.

With the East Stand being essentially a huge extension, it was possible to shut it off from the rest of the stadium during its 18-month construction. This was “advantageous” to keeping the stadium open for business without negatively impacting other events.

Richard Belcher – should I be using live-streaming to increase exposure of my event?

Richard Belcher – should I be using live-streaming to increase exposure of my event?

May 2, 2019

Joining our host, James, for this week’s podcast is director of First Sight Media, Richard Belcher. Posing the question: ‘should I be using live-streaming to increase exposure of my event?’ James and Richard discussed the advantages of live-streaming and if there is ever a time to forget about it.

Websites and apps such as Zoom, LinkedIn, Facebook Live and YouTube, allow live-streaming to be accessible, cheap and easy. Though James predicted there is no reason why events shouldn’t live-stream, Richard advised there is no point doing it purely because “everyone else is”.

Live-streaming allows events to increase exposure and engage with more people. If people do not wish to attend an event because it doesn’t have a strong enough “hook” to entice them, they will have the option to view it via live-stream and, therefore, the organisers still receive their engagement.

Drawing examples of technological advancements, Richard stated that First Sight Media streamed everything in 4k for the first time in 2018. This prospect was unattainable four years ago due to bandwidth restrictions. Richard claimed that, due to the development of technology, live-streaming should now be accessible to everyone.

In short, companies can increase exposure and engagement of their events by live-streaming. This can be achieved with any smart device and the right app or through companies such as First Sight Media.

ExCeL London and its new ‘no plastic’ campaign

ExCeL London and its new ‘no plastic’ campaign

April 25, 2019

With over eight million tonnes of plastic being thrown away each year, single-use plastic is fast becoming one of the world’s most discussed topics. Countless organisations, businesses and events are turning to more sustainable methods and ExCeL London is no exception.

To add its weight to the global sustainability movement, ExCeL has taken certain steps to reduce its plastic waste. Our podcast host, James Dickson, invited ExCel London’s senior marketing manager, Julia Galbraith, to discuss the changes made throughout the venue.

By its nature, the events industry is very wasteful: supplies and products are brought in only to be discarded when the event is over. ExCeL posed the question, “what little steps can we take to significantly reduce the amount of waste that we generate?”

The answer initiated ExCeL’s campaign that publicly stated: “we are 100 per cent committed to reducing the amount of single-use plastic generated by [us].”

The campaign involved installing permanent water fountains to allow guests to fill their own reusable bottles. By doing so, the venue saved a staggering 40,000 plastic bottles in the first three months.

Though this has impacted revenue generated from drinks sales, Julia stated that there is now a moral obligation to “do the right thing”. It also gives credit to consumers who are taking sustainability into consideration and carry with them reusable cups and bottles.

ExCeL London welcomes four million visitors every year so the “little steps” taken by the venue have created a huge impact. Julia commended the customers and clients of ExCeL for having a positive reaction to the new measurements: “We have been met with absolutely no resistance.”