Event Industry News Podcast
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.”

Too big to succeed

Too big to succeed

April 18, 2019

We invited Paul Woodward, chairman of Paul Woodward Advisory, to discuss his article: Too Big to Succeed. Within the podcast, our host, James Dickson, asked Paul on his professional background, the opinions expressed in his article and the history of trade shows.

Having been in the exhibition industry for over 35 years, Paul is justified in having perhaps the controversial opinion that trade shows are suffering a profound blow, drawing examples from Cebit, Baselworld and Interbike.

If exhibitions aren’t closing their doors for good, they’re making drastic cuts in order to preserve their presence in the trade show world: Cebit is gone and Baselworld has suffered a 50% reduction in exhibitors.

Though Paul commented that trade shows are still useful for smaller companies, he stated that a lot of bigger brands are asking questions regarding the effectiveness of these exhibitions. The development of technology has allowed businesses to invest money in digital marketing and their own events, but trade shows may no longer be a priority in the marketing budget.

Describing exhibitions he used to visit as a child, Paul suggested trade shows are still very similar today as they were back then. He agreed with James that, in times gone by, a trade show was a “key moment of the year” for businesses to promote their brand, whereas businesses nowadays have a plethora of marketing options at their fingertips.

Paul commented that, despite his article, he is “upbeat” about the future of corporate events but states that some may simply not be around forever. One of the reasons for this may be the effort put in by the businesses themselves, despite pumping their marketing fund into their exhibitions.

For example, a company may splash out on a stand, posters, banners and freebies at a trade show, but if the employee manning the stand doesn’t make the effort to engage with the audience and other businesses, the company will have little to show for its time there.

How to climb the Google ladder with your event website

How to climb the Google ladder with your event website

April 11, 2019

Joining our host, James Dickson, on this week’s podcast was Fleek Marketing founder, Jonny Ross. James enquired about the SEO (search engine optimisation) side of things in terms of building and developing a website for an event.

Primarily, SEO is the optimisation of online content for it to appear higher in search engines such as Google. This can make the difference between your website sitting on page seven or page one of Google search results. 

Jonny explained that there are a variety of different techniques and opinions in the industry regarding SEO but there are fundamental aspects to it that all websites should follow, such as keywords and target audiences.

Not only must you understand your target audience, you must take into consideration when they may be searching, the device they may be using and even their dialect. All these details can affect where your website sits in the search results.

James probed into the “grey area” that is Facebook and asked if Google can pick up data coming from ‘events’ created on the social media platform. Referring to it as primarily a B2C platform, James enquired whether B2B companies should dismiss Facebook quite so readily as they do.

Following this, Jonny commented on the “missed opportunities” he so often sees when organisers are creating/developing a website for their event and touched base on the website traffic generated before, during and after the event. He followed this with some comments on Google Analytics. 

Rounding the podcast to a close, Jonny finished with a brief explanation on why having an understanding of SEO is important for generating traffic to your website and interest in your event.

Practical uses of technology at Bournemouth 7s Festival

Practical uses of technology at Bournemouth 7s Festival

April 4, 2019

On this week’s podcast, our host, James Dickson is joined by two guests from separate companies working collaboratively to organise Bournemouth 7s Festival. Craig Mathie, from Bournemouth 7s and Steve Jones, from FesTech, describe the practical uses of technology at events.

Launched in 2008, Bournemouth 7s is an annual sport and music festival that welcomes 30,000 guests and hosts five different sports – rugby, netball, dodgeball, hockey and volleyball. The 400 sports teams, combined with live music and camping, creates one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the UK.

Describing the journey of planning the event to the clean-up afterwards, Craig and Steve depict how they implement technology that ensures a smooth, safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved, from the guests to the sports teams to the organisers themselves.

Introducing himself as the MD of the “technical side”, Steve explains that FesTech is brought on each year to run the design and implementation of the technology used at the event. From the health and safety aspect to the delivery of the actual event, technology is relied upon to ensure every facet of the event runs without glitches. This technology includes CCTV, till systems for the bars, contactless pay and visitor tracking.

“We take these practical uses of technology as ways to improve the event” Craig explains. Using the scoring system as an example of this, he describes how the festival evolved from using whiteboards to introducing an app that not only saves the scores from the games, but also allows for audience engagement and updates on the teams.

Craig also delves into the pros and cons of the festival being independently-owned, relating that they consciously try to use cost-effective solutions that are practical. Going further with this, Steve describes how he implements technology that is relevant: “If I don’t think something is going to work, I don’t use it, or I adapt it until it does.”

Podcast: CEO and co-founder of Tito, Paul Campbell describes the fickle relationship between integrity and success

Podcast: CEO and co-founder of Tito, Paul Campbell describes the fickle relationship between integrity and success

March 28, 2019

Join us as we talk to Tito co-founder and CEO, Paul Campbell, and delve into what makes the company tick, the importance of maintaining its core values and why creating a community helps success.

Essentially, Tito is event ticketing software that was created to offer the best check-out experience for buying tickets online. Speaking from the head office in Dublin, Paul comments on how taxing buying tickets used to be: “Buying tickets felt more stressful than it [should have been] or you were landed with a tonne of forms to fill in before getting your ticket and I felt there should be a better way.” Initially starting out as a simple bit of code, Paul used his software background to create an app to connect PayPal to the Tito website.

Describing the evolution of Tito, Paul explains that he and his colleagues avoided the “start-up mania” that other companies fall into as they didn’t want to fall victim to ‘hyper-growth’: “focusing on growth at all costs to get investors’ money back can compromise one’s morals and values.”

Drawing more on the company’s values, Paul explains that they wanted to build a company of which they would want to be customers. “Avoid spammy email tactics, trickery and dark patterns” he advises. “[To maintain our values] we built a community. We put effort into getting to know our customers really well.”

Relating the nature of being a small company, Paul goes on to explain the pros and cons of building his company slowly and organically, drawing comparisons to larger companies. To keep our guest from being too modest, our host, James, makes reference to Tito’s accomplishments and questions Paul on the method behind these achievements: “We try to achieve growth without compromising on our values… we want people to use Tito and their jaws drop.”

Tito is a small company comprising nine people but has already got a number of accomplishments under its belt. Throughout the podcast, Paul stresses the importance of remaining true to your beliefs and not sacrificing your integrity for success.

ExecSpace CEO, Emma Little talks ‘Behind The Business’

ExecSpace CEO, Emma Little talks ‘Behind The Business’

March 21, 2019

Joining James on the Event Industry News podcast this week is Emma Little, CEO and founder of the free, venue-finding service, ExecSpace.

Delving into the early days of the company, Emma reveals the reasons behind the business, the struggles of “starting her own company from scratch” and how to maintain the momentum a decade down the line. 

In what can be described as a well-populated world of venue-finding, Emma describes how she entered the scene with no experience in the industry having come from a telephone sales background: “it’s about being humble and honest enough to admit what you do know and admit what you don’t”.

She reveals the main reason to set up a company was produced by essentially being a career-driven home-bird. Following other companies would likely have taken her away from Edinburgh, so, to combat the push to move to places such as London, she decided to take her career in her own hands and set up a company.

This, Emma agrees, is probably a backwards way of going about it: most people come up with an idea and go on to make a business out of it; she wanted to create a business so needed an idea to follow! 

She goes onto explain the difficulties surrounding the geographical implications faced by the company and how the customers “forced [her] hand” to expand to companies and venues further afield than Edinburgh. Now, Emma strives to make a global brand from a Scottish-based business.

The self-made CEO describes the process as “no mean feat” but since launching, she has developed a range of clients and created new jobs. She still has aspirations for the company and aims to meet each goal through hard work, technology and expansion.