Escape to the Country: Sleek luxury incentives edition!

Are you looking for a luxury countryside escape from the city for your clients or employees? Look no further! We have found the perfect incentives location, just a stone’s throw away from London.

Sleek Events hit the road on Friday 1st November (along with some cheesy car songs and lots of sweets) for the 2.5 hour drive to the picturesque village of Frome, Somerset. The purpose of the weekend was both work and play. Packed with strategic sessions, question time, updates from each department but also with plenty of time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. We decided to treat the weekend as if we were on an incentive, gaining insight into the kind of activities we can offer to clients wanting a countryside getaway! Here’s what we got up to…

Day 1 

At around 4pm, we pulled up (after a few minor wrong turns!) to the aptly named Manor, buried deep in country lanes with huge iron gates to welcome us in. As we crunched across the gravel we could only look up in awe at the mansion we would be calling home for the weekend.

luxury incentive location; the manor, frome

We stepped inside and headed into the heart of the house: the kitchen! Our lovely Finance Manager revealed her secret talent of food art – we were welcomed to a glorious spread of meats, cheeses and various other nibbles, alongside several chilled bottles of prosecco.

We spent the afternoon relaxing, exploring the 8-bedroom house (it was a day for getting lost!), unpacking and chatting by the fire about the structure of the weekend to come. We then enjoyed some dinner and spent the evening gin tasting and playing games.

Day 2

Saturday morning was spent in our comfy clothes (including the lovely arrival welcome gift of a cashmere jumper that was laid out on each of our beds) nibbling on croissants, drinking tea and getting stuck into the rugby!

We quickly recovered from the pain of England losing and headed off for showers and to get ready for the morning session. We transformed the Manor’s grand dining room into a fully-equipped meeting room. We began with a company update from our MD & Founder, Jennifer, on new business developments and strategy as well as a reminder of 12-month goals. After a quick break for lunch and a walk around the grounds (another opportunity to get lost!), we began our afternoon session with some department updates including the news of our recent rebrand.

Next was some schedule downtime. It may have been a rest for our brains but not our bodies as the Sleek bootcamp in the Mansion’s gym kicked off! Luckily, this was followed by some time in the hottub before enjoying a three-course meal courtesy of our very own private chefs from The French Kitchen. The meal was to die for and added a taste of luxury to the experience.

The French Kitchen meal

Day 3

As Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, Day 3 took us on an excursion – no lie in for us! We headed to the local market which visits Frome once a month, spending an hour or so browsing the stalls and sampling some of the delicious food on offer.

Sleek team walk in the country

We then drove to the next village of Mells and set off on a gorgeous autumnal walk through the fields, before rewarding all our efforts with an indulgent roast dinner by the fireplace in The Talbot Inn, a local pub. Feeling full and chilled, we headed back to the Manor and had a little more downtime, enjoying an informal fireside chat about our personal goals and reflections.

After a day of indulgence, all we needed were a few nibbles to accompany a film and everyone was ready for an early night – the fresh country air had beaten us all!

Day 4

Waking up on Monday morning was more luxurious than your average start to the week! After a gym session to liven us up, we packed, made some breakfast and then cracked on with our final workshop. We left for London around 12.30pm, making it back in plenty of time time for the school run.

It’s amazing what you can pack into a luxury incentive weekend. Our agenda and mix of activities might have given you an idea for your own getaway or we can create a completely bespoke itinerary to suit you and your clients. Fancy incorporating more outdoor activities? Remember, we say “how?” not “no” at Sleek Events – so we really can arrange the perfect trip for you.

For more information about our incentive packages, drop us an email at hello@sleekevents.co.uk and make sure you follow us on social media to see all the other exciting destinations we visit – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!

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speech bubbles

How to improve communication for #eventprofs

Communication is everything – take that from the team that simply couldn’t deliver on our shared goals without slick communication methods. 

As humans, we are incredibly social beings. Back in our caveman (and woman!) days, communication within the group could literally mean life or death. Although, thankfully, it’s often not that extreme these days in our society, talking to each other and, equally, listening to each other, helps to develop strong and stable relationships, improves our mental health and ultimately makes our lives easier.

Of course, communication is important in our relationships with friends and family but absolutely essential in the workplace. Put it this way, if you’re producing a huge event and only speak to the venue maybe once or twice pre-event, then it’s extremely likely you will encounter large issues on live day, resulting in things going wrong and, ultimately, unhappy clients.

Poor communication is often the cause of arguments, misunderstandings and can exaggerate small issues into huge problems, making them much more complicated to fix. But effective communication can turn a good team into a great team – unstoppable and, in our industry, creating seamless and unforgettable experiences.

Sleek dream team

At Sleek HQ, we follow 5 rules of communication to ensure positive outcomes for our clients and an enjoyable working environment for our team.

Tip #1 – Open up

It’s an intrinsic human instinct to bottle things up. In this age of the social media phenomenon, we are taught to only show the best version of ourselves and not to admit weakness. But this is so unhealthy! We don’t mean you have to rant about every little thing that is annoying you but if you have an issue with how something has been done, think it could be done a better way, or even think you may have made a mistake, then say so! Speak your mind and get your point across in a professional manner – you never know where it could get you! Honesty is (nearly!) always the best policy.

trapped in a bottle

Tip #2 – Listen to each other

When we say listen, we mean really listen. Half listening while you’re still typing away means you’re not taking anything in and let’s be fair, it’s rude! No matter how busy you are, listening to someone for five minutes who needs a second opinion or advice on a problem, can make all the difference to morale. Effective communication requires all parties being fully invested in the conversation.

listening

Tip #3 – Pick up the phone

These days, we tend to find it easier to communicate with people via email or text rather than picking up the phone. Our MD, Jennifer Davidson – recent winner at the Best Business Women Awards – always tells us to pick up the phone to people as a first port of call. This not only gets answers faster but also builds relationships with people that could end up being extremely beneficial – for example, if you regularly speak to a supplier on the phone, building a relationship with them, they are more likely to help you out in times of need compared to someone who has only heard from you over email.

phone calls

Tip #4 – Be kind

One thing we always remind each other of at Sleek HQ is that you never know what someone is going through. Having a conversation with someone who is being a bit snappy, whether that’s in the office or over the phone, can put us in a bad mood and automatically causes us to think badly of that person. However, you never know if that person has something else on their plate. So, be kind, ask if someone would like to talk, be aware of other’s feelings and don’t let someone else’s bad mood affect your disposition. Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Tip #5 – Feedback 

If someone has done something well, tell them! If they could have done it in a better way, also tell them! Praise and constructive criticism can do wonders for a team. As humans, we don’t necessarily remember the things we’ve done well and tend to concentrate on the things we don’t feel went perfectly. When we’re praised for something, it makes us not only feel like we are a valued member of the team but also makes us more efficient in the future. Likewise, with constructive criticism, feedback on what we did wrong and how we can improve for next time is important for professional development.

feedback infographic

If you want to learn more about how we work as a team, then communicate with us! Whether you’re reaching out to us by email or via social media, we love to hear from you all with your thoughts, feedback and comments. Find us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

breathing in the fresh air - wellness

Sleek Events supports #EventWell19

If you’ve been following our Instagram posts this week (and if not, why not?!), you’ll have seen that we’ve been looking at wellbeing in honour of #EventWell19 – a week dedicated to raising awareness of wellbeing and ways to improve it. This year, Mind is the chosen charity for the #EventWell19 campaign, so we’ve been taking inspiration from their brilliant ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ initiative. 

EventWell, founded by Helen Moon, is the event industry’s ‘first and only’ charitable organisation dedicated to giving people advice, knowledge and support on topics surrounding wellbeing and health in general. We as #eventprofs are constantly told how stressful our industry is, so it’s great to know that there’s a resource available to us!

In order to celebrate #EventWell19 and raise awareness, we challenged our followers to do one small thing a day in line with Mind’s 5 initiatives, whether that be giving someone a hug, taking the stairs rather than the lift or spending the day volunteering or fundraising for charity.

It’s easy to get lost in the ambiguous term that is ‘wellbeing’, so we find that when you break it down into smaller activities then it’s easy to introduce improvements to your life and to those of others.

Sleek’s Top Tips 

Our top three tips to improve your wellbeing (there really is no excuse!)

1. Communication is key

Talking is SO important. Reachout.com describes how talking to someone can release tension, put things in perspective and make you feel safe. Even just offloading to a friend or family member can help you feel as though a weight has been lifted, making you realise you’re not alone. Ask for help!

2. Treat yourself 

There’s so much pressure in our society and all professional industries, it’s no wonder we’re all so hard on ourselves. It’s important to reward ourselves for all our hard work – praise is not often a huge part of our professional adult lives, so by giving yourself some hard-earned praise in the form of treating yourself to a delicious meal or buying the dress you’ve had your eye on for a while, it can really help to just give you a bit of reassurance that you’re doing great and should believe in yourself more!

3. Exercise 

One bit of exercise everyday can make a world of difference. We all know what it’s like – trying to psych yourself up to go to the gym when all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa. Well, even doing 10 minutes of yoga after work can help raise your mood, release endorphins and give you a sense of achievement – it’s all about little victories!

EventWell has recently launched Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses to educate people on mental health, signs and triggers of mental health issues, and the tools to be able to step in and support someone in need. Their first course was earlier this week, however they have more dates available in November and December, if this is something you feel could be valuable to you and your company.

We hope this gives you a little food for thought – take the time to stop and consider your wellbeing and mental health. It’s so easy to just brush it under the carpet and bottle everything up, so we’re strong supporters of the EventWell initiative. Remember – #ItsOKtonotbeOK!

If you’d like more of our wellbeing tips, follow us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

Sleek dream team

Fundraising events: how to raise a lot and still have masses of fun

It seems like just yesterday that summer finally came, as it got warmer and lighter, the planning for our summer party began. Now the nights are slowly drawing in and there is a slight chill in the air… Autumn has crept up on us. So, with a warming cup of tea in hand, we’re looking back to last Thursday when we had our spectacular Sleek summer party to mark the end of the summer! Not only were we fundraising but we were also celebrating our two recent award shortlistings for the Best Businesswoman Awards and it was our 4th birthday!

Our last blog was about how we practised our pitching skills to prepare for the party – how we pulled everything together as a team, pitched our ideas to our boss, and took this event as seriously as any client project. The event, held at Fulham Football Club, was a huge success and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone!

musical duo

As the event was a fundraiser, the main goal of the evening was to raise as much money as possible for our chosen charity, Buses 4 Homeless – that meant we had a pretty tight budget! In order to make this a hit, we needed to be smart about what we spent and what savings we could make. In a sports day themed party, we wanted to create something memorable but keep the focus on raising money rather than spending it! And it paid off – we raised a HUGE £1,595 for Buses 4 Homeless!

Sleek gets sporty hashtag with Jennifer Davidson

Top tips for fundraising events

Here’s our top tips on how to plan a successful fundraiser so you can plan your own.

 

1. Set a realistic target

 

There is no point setting a fundraising target that is simply unachievable – it can be so disheartening if you don’t quite reach a target. So to set a target that is realistic yet ambitious, do a bit of maths! We took the number of confirmed guests and worked out how much we would raise if everyone donated £10. Now, some people would donate less or more than this, so we just used this as an average to give us a ballpark figure… and then added a little more for luck! Our target was £1,000 – which we exceeded by 50%!

2. Plan how you are going to raise the money

 

 

It sounds silly but it’s easy to just call an event a fundraiser without really thinking it through.  We thought about charging entry or charging to enter each of the games we had dotted around the venue. In the end, we thought the easiest way was to simply hold a raffle and an auction for the biggest prizes. Thanks to our amazing suppliers, we had some really great prizes donated – if you are holding a raffle you need to have prizes that people actually want to spend their money on! It’s also a good idea to keep your guests updated – when people can see how much has been raised so far, this will act as an incentive to reaching the target. Never underestimate how competitive humans can be!

 

3. Utilise your contacts

 

When you work with suppliers so much, you develop great working relationships with them. In honour of a worthy cause, our supplier and partners are more than happy to help out with a favour here and there. We contacted a few who had already RSVPed and they willingly helped out with securing auction lots and donating raffle prizes.

Dan Curran giving a speech

As Founder of Buses 4 Homeless, Dan Atkins, said on the night, “In our industry, we are so used to being flown all over the world and staying in 5-star hotels, it is especially important to be aware that not everyone is so lucky. We never know what situation we could find ourselves in. Even donating £10 is enough to help make a difference to someone who really needs it.”

If you’d like see more from our summer party, keep an eye on our social media: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

Croatia incentive destination

Incentive Ideas: An Adriatic Adventure

We’re all familiar with Spain, Portugal and France as holiday destinations – but have you considered Croatia for your next adventure? Croatia has grown hugely in popularity over the last 10 years and is now one of the top destinations for holiday-goers, and we think it’s a great location for incentives too. The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, dramatic coastal backdrops, along with exhilarating waterfalls and beautiful architecture will be sure to impress any group whether you’re visiting with your family or work colleagues! We’ve created a handy little snapshot guide of some key Croatian hotspots to inspire you for your next incentive trip or mini break away with family.

Split

Split is the second largest city in Croatia (after Zagreb) and is a great place to start the trip, easily accessible links from all major European cities. Flights from London start from just £65 and take just over 2 hours – so you’ll be soaking up that Mediterannean sun in no time.

The Old Town is a magical maze full of little streets and squares to get lost in. With heavy Roman influences, the tall buildings and narrow walkways are enchanting and reminiscent of the white-washed streets of Italy. Split’s Old Town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 and it’s easy to see why – the streets and squares are religiously cleaned so they are beautifully preserved for all their visitors. The town is easily accessible by foot and just a stone’s throw away from the port, which backs onto The Riva – the main street packed with restaurants, bars and shops.

A view through the narrow streets of Split, Croatia for an incentive trip

What to see and do:
  • The Diocletian’s Palace
  • St Domnius Cathedral
  • Marjan Hill – for the best views in town!
  • Plitvice Lakes – a day trip a couple of hours outside Split, but you won’t be disappointed!
  • Bar crawls – Split has some great bars and clubs for those wanting to let their hair down.

Perfect for: Groups who love wandering around discovering tiny little shops and restaurants in a magical maze of historical streets. A true explorer’s paradise!

Hvar

Next on our list is the beautiful coastal port city of Hvar. Easily accessible from Split (a 45-minute catamaran trip costing around £10), the harbour is packed full of luxurious superyachts. This is certainly a place for the rich and famous to park up for a few nights!

The islands surrounding Hvar are equally as beautiful and well worth a visit – but don’t worry if a superyacht is slightly over budget; there are boat tour companies everywhere you turn, so you won’t struggle to find an amazing island tour for your group! A route we would recommend is taking a tour to the Blue Caves (an incredible illuminated cave), Vis, and the Pakleni Islands. These islands are awash with striking coves and hidden beaches with relaxing turquoise water to enjoy a cooling dip. Be careful – you’re not going to want to leave!

A view of some of the smaller boats in Hvar, Croatia for a luxury incentive

What to see and do:
  • The old fort – a leisurely uphill stroll to the top of the historic fort rewards you with the best views across the harbour and islands!
  • Hvar Cathedral
  • Hula Hula Beach – a relaxed beach bar is the perfect place to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun (and maybe a cocktail or two!)
  • Sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skiing and any type of water sport you can imagine! Perfect activities for those seeking a little adrenaline fix.
  • Carpe Diem – for the party animals among the group, this club is on its own island and is a rite of passage for any worthy Hvar traveller!

View of Hvar's port from the fort during a luxury incentive trip

Perfect for: Groups who want to get out on the water and spend a day sailing around some beautiful islands where you can swim and explore some of the most beautiful caves the Adriatic has to offer! Also great for groups who like to have a drink or two and hit the clubs.

Dubrovnik

Last but not least on our whistle-stop tour of Dalmatia, is the beautiful fairytale town of Dubrovnik. Calling all Game of Thrones fans – the old town of Dubrovnik was used as a filming location for many episodes. It’s not hard to see why – as soon as you step inside the city gates you’ll feel like you’ve dropped into a medieval illustration! Similar to Split, Dubrovnik has enchanting narrow streets to get lost in, as well as a square with a fountain, and a picturesque port where you can book tours and boat trips or sample some delicious seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants.

What to see and do:
  • Head to the Buza Bar for sunset – this bar is set dramatically on the side of a cliff and will be one of the best sunsets you’ve ever seen!
  • Hit the Game of Thrones fan pages and find out where it was filmed! There are lots of organised tours and merchandise shops, but if you’re on a budget you could find out where the scenes were filmed and head there on your own steam!
  • Walk around the city walls – for a small charge you can walk around the entire city on the old walls. The walk takes around 2 hours and offers some breathtaking views of the city. Great at to experience as the sun goes down!
  • Visit the beautiful Banje Beach – think sensational cliff scenes with white sand and turquoise water – dreamy!

Perfect for: Game of Thrones fans, city walkers, any group who enjoys wandering around the shops in the morning then relaxing on gorgeous beaches in the afternoon.

Key Croatian facts:

Currency: Kuna (1 GBP = 8.11 HRK)

Typical Cuisine: Grilled fish, meat and vegetables… plus wine!!! Croatia is famous for its delicious wines. There are lots of wine tasting tours – you might even want to take some home with you!

Accessibility: Direct flights available from all major airports to Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Zagreb and Pula

Visit their Tourism Board website by clicking here.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the amazing places to visit in Croatia – or all the beaches and activities the Dalmatian country has to offer. We think it’s the perfect place to explore, eat, drink and get a great tan – and it’s extremely instagrammable! Whether it’s for a luxury group incentive trip, a fun trip for your employees or simply a minibreak away with friends or family, Croatia has it all. We can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

If you need any help planning your next incentive trip, we can help! From venue sourcing to full trip management, we can take the pressure off so all you need to worry about is what you’re going to pack. And if this whistle-stop tour of Croatia whet your appetite, why not read some of our other incentives blogs – the English seaside or lively Berlin.

A day in the life of an #eventprof… onsite

According to the most recent survey by  CareerCast.com*, events management is the fifth most stressful profession, behind military jobs, police, firefighters and other life-death careers. Even though this is a poll of US employees, I’m sure as #eventprofs in the UK, we’ve all been able to relate to this stress at some point or other! The pressure of liaising with suppliers, clients and delivering to deadlines can definitely get on top of all of us but equally, that adrenaline rush is exactly why we love what we do! We were recently onsite for a corporate event in London, so we caught up with Project Manager, Erin, to hear all about a day in the life of an onsite event professional… 

It’s set-up day. What’s first on the to-do list?

I usually try and get up at around 5am, so I can shower and get ready for the long day ahead without feeling rushed. Once the team is all onsite, the first thing on the list is to set up our production office so we have an organised space to work from. The client is due onsite a couple of hours after us, so we ensure all the relevant suppliers have arrived and started to install, I meet with the venue representative to do a pre-client onsite run through and then hit the to-do list! Amongst the important tasks, someone always goes for a Pret run when we have a moment, to make sure we all have a good breakfast. It’s sometimes difficult to remember to eat when you’re onsite, so now’s the time for everyone to eat and get some water.

pouring water from a jug into a glass - a reminder to keep hydrated

By midday, the client has just arrived so we catch up, update them with the install process and get them some lunch! For the rest of the afternoon, I concentrate on the install. For this particular event, the AV was the largest part of the install, so most of our attention is on getting this ready for rehearsals to start in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon the CEO arrives onsite, so while the team has divided and conquered to ensure each area is on time – branding, registration, expo etc – my efforts are focused in the keynote room where the CEO has started rehearsing for tomorrow morning’s event opener.

Set-up day is coming to an end – what are your last minute checks to ensure live day goes smoothly?

Once the rehearsals are over, the client team heads offsite, so our evening is made up of snagging and fixing a few last-minute branding issues. We then grab a quick bite to eat whilst the last of the suppliers are finishing up before heading to a nearby hotel before midnight. We always try and stay as close as possible to the venue. Someone from the team checks us in during the afternoon – this way the team can head straight to bed once we’ve finished after a long day.

The view from the venue over London at the end of the day

What is your routine the night before live day?

Once back at the hotel, I usually do some stretching after being on my feet all day – I’ll have clocked up lots of steps! I then re-read all my documents and checklists to make sure I know what’s going on at every single second of the event. It’s so much easier to deal with any issues that inevitably will arise when you are fully prepared and know every detail inside and out. I’ll also take some time to write some notes of any little reminders or actions I need to do when I first get onsite in the morning. Following this, relaxation is key! You need to be able to switch off in our industry – before this event I had a relaxing bath and then got an early night.

So, how did it go? How do you unwind post event?

The event went well and the client is happy – this is the most important thing! Once it’s all wrapped up and all suppliers are offsite, myself and the team head to a nearby restaurant for a pizza and a drink. We’ll chat about how the day went, share any onsite pictures and then a summer favourite is to head home to catch up on Love Island!

What are your 3 top tips for long days onsite?

  • WATER – it’s so easy to get dehydrated onsite. It makes you feel so much more awake when drinking enough. We send reminders in the group chat or even over comms every now and again to make sure everyone is keeping hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep pre and post show – there is no way to avoid lack of sleep onsite but stocking up before definitely helps.
  • Enjoy it! The best way to get through a long day is to actually enjoy it. The lead up to an event can be so long and detailed that it’s worth taking it all in onsite and enjoying the day with the Sleek team and the client.

Events Coordinator is the 5th most stressful job in the CareerCast.com poll. How do you combat stress?

  • Lots of lists to make sure everything that can be done has been!
  • The team: having the right team and support around you is key.
  • A post-event stretch/yoga class and, of course, a glass of wine helps too!

a yoga studio - a reminder to de-stress

Working in events can mean times when the pressure is on but it’s also extremely rewarding and fun. If you’d like to work in events, keep an eye on our social media for job opportunities:

Instagram

LinkedIn

Twitter

*CareerCast.com 2019 survey can be viewed here: https://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/2019-jobs-rated-stress

48 hours in Berlin

We all know that Berlin is famous for its creative people, culinary delights, cultural landmarks and crazy parties, but what you might not know is that Berlin is a great location for corporate events too. We recently spent some time in sunny Berlin, having a look around for some unique waterside locations that would work for anything from a product launch to a corporate dinner event, with impressive views and excellent service. Here is a snapshot of our top three:

First up on the list is Spreespeicher. This trendy venue sits right on the river Spree and offers beautiful views of the Oberbaumbrücke – a bridge connecting two former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, and which has become a symbol of Berlin’s unity. The venue has natural daylight, multiple event spaces and a terrace perfect for a summer party or winter wonderland with outdoor heaters. Your guests can even arrive by boat for a truly impressive entrance!

The second venue on our list is Haus Ungarn. This edgy venue is located close to Alexanderplatz in the heart of the city, and also doubles up as a nightclub! Haus Ungarn, which translates to Hungary House, is extremely modern but with wooden touches and classic rustic Berlin charm the city is famed and adored for. This space, along with its outdoor terrace and spectacular views of the city, is a surefire way to impress your guests and leave them with long-lasting memories of your event.

Lastly, we leave you with Spindler & Klatt; a beautiful venue right on the river. This multi-floor riverside venue allows for plenty of flexibility within the space, meaning you can really pull out all the stops to impress your guests with whatever type of event you wish to put on. Like Haus Ungarn, Spindler & Klatt doubles as a club by night, and a laid-back restaurant and cocktail lounge by day. Whether you’re looking to host a relaxed dinner, a glamorous party, or a fashion show on the water, this venue has it all!

As well as checking out these impressive venues, we also spent some time sampling the local delicacies and exploring the city by scooter – we even got ourselves a bit of a tan! 48 hours in Berlin goes very fast due to the sheer number of activities and venues to keep you occupied, but we left Berlin convinced that this creative city is not just a haven for hipsters – it could be a really unique option for a corporate event or an incentives city break. With competitive prices and direct flights from nearly everywhere in the UK and Europe, the possibilities are endless in ‘the coolest city in Europe’!

We’re always on the lookout for new venues – if you’re interested in hearing more about our search, check out our latest blogs on incentives trips to the seaside, and our current favourite venues here in London.

outdoor event

Challenges of outdoor experiential events

As #eventprofs, we know there are all sorts of challenges when it comes to creating successful events. But what happens when you move your event to the great outdoors? The challenges that come with an outdoor experiential event can be endless, but not necessarily detrimental. We asked the team at Sleek HQ about the challenges they have faced and compiled a handy little list below of potential challenges, how to overcome them and things to consider next time you have to use the great outdoors.

1. Permits

Some outdoor areas, such as parks, gardens and other public areas, require you to obtain a permit before ‘setting up shop’ as it were. It’s really important to read up about the venue before booking suppliers, as this could really impact what you are and aren’t allowed to provide. Setting up a gin and tonic pop-up van in a park for a festival-style event sounds dreamy, until you rock up on the day and are met with an angry ranger telling you there is no alcohol permitted and your event is suddenly in jeopardy. Preparation is key!

Festival tents in the dusk

2. Weather

This is especially important when considering AV requirements. It’s all well and good planning a lit-up wonderland for a fashion show, product launch or Christmas event, but when the heavens open and all your open electrical equipment is at risk – the event could be at risk! Make sure everything is covered and the AV supplier has correctly assessed all potential weather risks and has backup plans for every occasion.

This is also crucial to bear in mind for the attendees too – imagine you’re outside at an event and the weather is unexpectedly hot, cold or rainy, and you suddenly find yourself in need of cover for 200 people. Keeping people happy, whether that be giving them shade, warmth or a dry place to sit/stand is a sure-fire way of making them remember your event – if you have thought about things before they happen, this ensures the event runs seamlessly no matter what Mother Nature throws at you! People like to feel looked after – if they feel like you have provided everything they could possibly need and considered how they experience your event, you are more likely to get good press/reviews, even if it was a washout!

Winter Wonderland light display

3. Coordination

Keeping people happy – have you thought about every eventuality and how you can look after people in all scenarios? How are you going to cook and bring out food? Are you going to provide cutlery? Have you thought about what is going to be the most user-friendly attendee experience? You may want to ‘wow’ them with some fine dining, but if you aren’t providing seating, then maybe you need to think of a more creative alternative to ensure their experience is easy and they don’t have a million things to hold.

Interference – if you are holding an experiential event in a public space, then you also need to consider other distractions/interference that may hinder your event. Traffic, wildlife, external noise etc, all need to be considered and a back up plan put in place. It is also worth mentioning security – if the event is ticketed, you may need to hire staff to ensure you have no unwanted visitors!

Special Requirements – you need to make sure there is suitable access for disabled guests, as well as any other considerations you would usually take for an indoor event.

Fashion show runway

4. Equipment

Things we take for granted in an indoor venue/exhibition hall/conference centre are not available outdoors! Make a comprehensive list of everything you could possibly need, even things you wouldn’t think twice about normally. One thing we find we always need onsite is scissors. You never think you’re going to need scissors until you do, and can’t find any! We recommend packing a fully-stocked stationery box, as well as a first-aid kit – not for your client’s guests as that will be supplied separately, but for your own team!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you some food for thought if you are looking to plan or are in the process of planning an experiential event outdoors. Outdoor events can be tricky and stressful to plan, but they can also be more fun and exciting and really deliver the ‘wow’ factor that is so important for an amazing experiential event.

One crucial thing to remember is an experiential event is an experience – an immersive adventure that aims to bridge the gap between a brand and its consumers, enhancing selling potential by creating a memorable experience. This being said – make sure people remember your event for all the right reasons! We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare for every eventuality. As the author Howard Huff once said, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” How topical with this week’s weather!

If you want to hear about how we can help you with any element of your event planning, be it experiential or corporate, outdoors or indoors, please get in touch today!

Coast in Cornwall

Switch off & reboot for staff wellbeing

According to Google, wellbeing is defined as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy’.

It’s fair to say we try to achieve this in every aspect of our lives; what we eat, what we sleep on, what we put on our skin, and everything else in between, but this is increasingly spreading to the workplace too. As this is such a huge topic of conversation in this day in age, employers are trying to find ways to ensure their workplace meets ‘wellbeing status’, such as free fruit in the office, massages, and maybe even the odd dog brought into the office. We as #eventprofs have seen trends in incentives trips too, rewarding employees and becoming increasingly more inventive as more and more companies pop up offering everything from hot yoga classes in Goa to whale watching in Sweden. Now, we are noticing that wellbeing and incentives go hand in hand and are fusing together to create a super-incentive which leaves staff not only feeling valued but feeling healthy and happy too.

What do you do for your staff to reward them for all their hard work? A nice afternoon of massages? A boozy night out? A week-long trip to the Bahamas? Clearly, it depends on the company, budget, occasion and group size however, these days, incentives cover every corner of the world and incorporate every activity imaginable. If time is pressing and a week-long international incentive isn’t an option, a long weekend is a good alternative and one that’s becoming more and more popular.

We did our research and found some incredible destinations for a wellness incentive, right here in the UK. This blog covers two long-weekend incentive options that are easily accessible, equally action-packed and great fun – the seaside and the countryside. Especially if you’re coming from a city like London, the seaside and countryside are the ideal getaway from the big smoke.

The Seaside

It’s no secret that the English seaside is a truly beautiful landscape, but this offsite would probably be better suited to the summer months! We found 3 beautiful hotels in Cornwall which give you everything you need – sun, spa, surfing and scrumptious seafood! Check these out if you are looking for luxury set against Cornwall’s dramatic coastline.

The Bedruthan

This hotel is well-known for its ‘contemporary, chic and cosy’ atmosphere, with scandinavian-inspired interior fused with Cornish design this hotel is a relaxing haven for a corporate retreat. Comfortable bedrooms come with all mod cons, spa facilities, surfing lessons and sea-view meeting rooms. With the beach and stunning coastline at your fingertips, this is a dazzling destination for a team outing.

Photo of the coastline by The Bedruthan hotel

The Headland Hotel

The Headland’s decadent interior and rustic charm will ensure that you relax, recharge and take in the strikingly beautiful Cornish views. Whisk your team away from the daily grind and treat them to a team weekend they won’t forget in a hurry. The Headland can help you with everything from team building to private spa packages and company meetings (complete with bottomless coffee!), making this an impressive destination with everything you could ever need.

A balcony at the Headland Hotel in Cornwall

Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa offers ‘jaw-dropping ocean views’ and relaxing activities, providing the ultimate setting for an impressive corporate weekend away with your colleagues. Their luxurious spa facilities, delicious restaurant and chic cocktail bar mean you can truly kick back, relax and enjoy the view and the company of your colleagues.

A bedroom at fistral beach with sea view

The Countryside

Dramatically different to the Cornish seaside – the English countryside is equally beautiful but very different! Countless team-building companies offering everything from treasure hunts to crystal maze afternoons with staff on hand to cater to your group’s every desire All of these amazing hotels also have meeting spaces and spa facilities so you can squeeze in some strategizing between massages and team-building!

Macdonald Berystede Hotel and Spa

This impressive hotel in Ascot has comfortable rooms with wifi, ensuite marble bathrooms as well as air conditioning, tv and a well-stocked mini bar. This hotel has an AA Rosette restaurant with a roof terrace, plus a luxury spa complete with an outdoor hydro pool.

Outside seating at the MacDonald Berystede hotel

The Grove

Located just 18 miles from London, this peaceful countryside estate is the perfect getaway for some downtime.The Grove offers an idyllic setting for your group to get back to nature and release your inner child! With endless team building options, three delicious restaurants, an award-winning spa, golf course, and luxury meeting spaces, this hotel is a great option for a relaxing incentive.

Beatiful garden landscape at The Grove

Alexander House

A beautiful hotel a stone’s throw away from London with plenty of exciting team building options (such as geese herding!), a relaxing spa, delicious dining and exceptional countryside views. Spacious rooms come complete with bathtubs, wifi and L’Occitane toiletries, and there are fully-equipped meeting spaces available for those company catchups!

View of Alexander House from the garden

Hopefully this little snapshot of some venues that could work for a relaxing few days away has inspired you and whet your appetite for some exciting wellness incentives for you and your team. Contact us today to discuss a tailor-made incentive package – go on, treat yourself!

Dinerama in daylight

May’s top 3 experiential venues

Hello everyone – us again! This week in our live experiential blog series, we are exploring our favourite unique venues for experiential events in London.

There are so many venues in and around London that are great for so many different reasons. Whether it’s an exhibition hall in the Docklands, a warehouse in Shoreditch or a hotel in Mayfair, for us, the venue is up there with the most important elements of a successful event. Of course, different events require different types of spaces. The beauty of experiential events is they can be as weird and wonderful as you like, so the more unique the better! Keep reading for our top 3 venues of the week.

  1. Dinerama

This East London gem is a former truck yard with two levels, rooftop areas (with retractable roof to help with our wonderful English weather!) and multiple different spaces to hire and transform into your own experiential activation!

Capacity: 1,000 pax

Location: Shoreditch

Close to: Shoreditch High Street and Liverpool Street stations (2 and 6 minutes respectively)

Good for: Brand launches, concept parties, brand installations, summer events, festival-type events, food-based events

Why we like it: We love the fact it’s a former truck yard – there’s something so cool about dressing up and attending an event in a space that was once used for something so completely different.

Shows the capacity of the venue with a crowd of people

  1. The Conservatory, Barbican

If you want to create your event in the jungle but don’t quite have the budget to get you there, then look no further than this tropical dream in the City. Located in the Barbican, this small but versatile venue sells itself – there’s no end to the amazing and unique events you could create here! It’s also a perfect place to come and sit if you’re at a loose end on a Sunday afternoon.

Capacity: 150 standing

Location: City of London

Close to: Barbican and Moorgate stations (6 and 7 minutes respectively)

Good for: Jungle-themed events, interactive events, product launches, intimate brand activations, unique dinner experiences

Why we like it: This jungle paradise is home to over 1,000 tropical plants and fish. The key to a great experiential event is the element of surprise – this beautiful venue will wow your attendees and is sure to leave them with a unique experience they won’t forget in a hurry!

The conservatory by night with coloured lights

  1. Garden Museum

This striking venue is a fully-functional event space while maintaining it’s artistic and historical influences within a converted church, making it an ideal location for a slightly more edgy or creative experiential event.

Capacity: 320 standing

Location: Bankside, opposite Westminster and the Houses of Parliament

Close to: Lambeth North and Vauxhall stations (11 minute and 14 minute walk respectively)

Good for: Fashion shows, car launches, product launches, interactive displays

Why we like it: This venue is really different because it’s a traditional church space mixed with beautiful gardens, giving you a sense of calm while being slap-bang in the middle of London.

Glass box view

We hope this blog has helped if you’re on the search for a unique London venue – we think these three have great potential to host some incredible experiential events!

We’re constantly on the lookout for up-and-coming venues to add to our little black book so, if you have a suggestion, please get in touch! Stay tuned for the next blog in our experiential series, which will be tackling some of the financial elements of creating an experiential event!