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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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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

how an event professional can work with their team for pitching practise

Event pitching in the eyes of a young #eventprof

As #eventprofs we’re all familiar with the dreaded pitch day. The endless days working on the deck, sleepless nights, trying to get it absolutely perfect and pre-empt any and all questions your potential new client could ever dream of. Pitches are incredibly important – you need to be better than everyone else and, if you win, you could be bringing years of profitable business with a client relationship that could bring endless future opportunities. On top of all that, an exciting new project can invigorate your whole team. But not everyone is experience when it comes to pitching and, in the last month, we ran a mock pitching exercise for our team at Sleek Events. Here’s what our most junior team member got out of it as a young #eventprof and the advice she’d give to others.

My first event pitching experience

As a junior employee, who is fairly new to the events world, pitches can be scary and carry a lot of pressure. Being able to practise pitching with a trial run is really important and helps the team feel more prepared for when the big ones come in! So, recently at Sleek Events, to practise our pitching skills, we decided it would be a useful exercise to treat our own Summer Party for suppliers and industry friends as an event we needed to pitch to win – the ‘client’ being our MD & Founder. For budding #eventprofs out there, here’s how we did it…

  • Firstly, we all came together as a team and identified who would own each area, depending on each individual’s strengths and expertise. Next, we decided on a timeline of deadlines to set ourselves, so we had plenty of space to review each stage and refine our presentation in good time before pitch day.
  • After researching each component – such as venue, catering, marketing and comms, entertainment and fundraising – everyone came together for daily team meetings to review progress. We made sure we were all aligned in terms of group actions and helped each other to refine next steps. We kept a close eye on the budget and utilised all of our contacts to keep costs down – it was a charity event after all!
  • Once we had received sign off on big decisions such as venue and entertainment options from relevant directors, we worked on pulling together all the elements into one presentation deck. We spent a lot of time making it look interesting and aesthetically pleasing. Then we all gave it a sense check and our best proofreader ensured the flow, spelling, grammar and consistency of message were all on point. The little things are just as important as the big things – attention to detail never goes unnoticed!
  • With the deck finalised and costs confirmed, we spent some time rehearsing and decided who would deliver each section of the pitch. It’s important to strike the right balance between knowing your subject but not sounding too rehearsed – you don’t want to lose your personality as that can be one of the things that wins you a pitch.
  • Finally, it was pitch day! We’d all had a good night’s sleep and a healthy team breakfast to set ourselves up for the day, going over any last minute notes. The pitch was a great success and, luckily, we won it! Now the real planning (and all the fun!) could begin.

Our MD was extremely impressed with all our hard work and how serious we had taken the exercise. It had brought us all together as a team and helped us identify our strengths.Our party is next week – keep an eye out on our social media to see the fun you can have when you’re fundraising!

shaking hands to seal the deal after winning a pitch

Here’s our top tips for a successful pitch:

  • Build your story – create a pitch that flows. Showing a beginning, middle and end, like a story, will not only help the client see that this event would be a success but will also give them an insight into how you work. If the pitch is clear, well thought through and shows a clear progression plan, they will want to work with you. It’s all about making your client’s life easier!
  • Think long-term – consider what your long-term opportunities might be if you win this pitch. Opening this door may lead to plenty more projects, so be prepared and think beyond just this event.
  • Get creative – presenting unique ideas that will grab their attention is a sure-fire way to impress a potential client. Let them know you have really thought about a variety of options and solutions to bring about the most memorable event. Using client case studies to demonstrate your expertise helps solidify your position as event professionals and will add gravitas to your pitch. They want to know you can actually follow through with what you’re proposing.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work – not only is pitching to your boss a really worthwhile exercise for pitching experience, but it’s also a fun team-building experience. We now feel prepared for our next client pitch and feel like we can handle anything that is thrown at us. As they say, practice makes perfect!

If you’d like to be an #eventprof, keep an eye on our social media for job opportunities: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

 

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!

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!

Experiential Events – what’s all the hype about?

The events industry is an ever-changing, fast-growing and rapidly-developing industry, full of twists, complete 180° turns and, as we all know, no two days are ever the same. With this in mind, certain industry trends naturally come and go, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what’s ‘fashionable’ in the events world. One such trend is the coveted experiential events of which we are seeing more and more.

But wait, what actually is an experiential event?

According to Ecoconsultancy (2018),  an experiential event “creates a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience”. Basically, an experiential event bridges the gap between client and consumer, and enhances selling potential by creating a memorable experience that is actually going to last in people’s minds. The goal is to make people enjoy themselves and, in turn, reap the rewards this enjoyment brings your business or brand. There are two types of experiential events – B2B and B2C. In this blog, we’ll be focusing on B2C but, no fear – we’ll be covering B2B later on in our LIVE experiential events blog series!

Ok, but why choose an experiential event?

Well, experiential events are great for everyone. Humans, especially in this day and age, love to compete with each other. Now, as clever #eventprofs, we can tap into this integral part of our nature and harness it to our advantage. As an attendee, we want an engaging experience that is memorable and allows us to impress our family/friends/frenemies on Instagram and, in the long run, makes it more likely to encourage us to buy a product or experience that makes our lives easier in some way. Additionally, we are so busy in our day-to-day lives, that if we get the chance to attend an event which is just a little bit different and doesn’t necessarily feel like attending a work event, it will leave a longer-lasting impression on us than a boring event that is the same as every other event we attend on a regular basis.

One (slightly extreme) example that springs to mind is Redbull’s Stratos campaign which, as you all probably remember, saw skydiver Felix Baumgartner set a world record for the highest skydive…  from 128,000 feet. Now, we’re not saying if you drink Redbull you’ll be able to do this too, but doesn’t it tie in perfectly with their tagline of ‘Redbull Gives You Wings’? Not only this, but people felt like they had been part of something truly amazing as they intently watched the whole event. This is a prime example of ingenious experiential marketing that will be remembered for years to come and probably saw their sales, ahem, skyrocket.

Of course, as our clients will attest, the benefits of experiential events are obvious – spending more time and effort putting a little more creativity into the way products are marketed and events are created undoubtedly result in a higher ROI – and this isn’t just limited to the attendees themselves. I have touched upon Instagram but this goes far beyond putting a photo on your personal account and that being the end of the story. The social media phenomenon has drastically changed the face of brand development and ‘spreading the word’. For this reason, even if your amazing experiential event only has 50 attendees, if each of those share their experience on social media platforms, your event is actually reaching 10 times (if not more) the number of actual attendees. It also makes your event more elusive, in turn, increasing demand and, to some extent, also enhances trust in your brand. If a potential customer is there experiencing your product and can see it and try it for themselves, they will hopefully be more encouraged to carry on using it.

One great example is IKEA’s event back in 2011 – in response to a Facebook petition to have a sleepover in IKEA, they decided to allow 100 lucky people to spend the night at their Essex store, complete with manicures and massages. This created huge social media coverage, showed IKEA in a charitable and good-natured light and most likely increased their bed sales!

The way I look at it is twofold – we as humans A) love to have fun, and B) love a freebie. Therefore, the combination of an amazing, unique and fun event, coupled with a fun freebie or something a bit different than the usual swag of water bottles, tote bags and USBs we all seem to hoard after an event, is a winning one and one that is more likely to engage new customers. Ever heard of the saying ‘Happy Customer, Happy Client’? Probably not but, if you’re in professional services like us, you’ll understand what we mean!

To prove our point, take a look at these statistics:

  • 74% of attendees at an experiential event say they are left with a more positive view of a company and its products than before the event (Event Marketing Institute)
  • 70% of attendees become regular customers after a great experiential event (EventTrack).

I don’t know about you, but these stats seem good to me, and really demonstrate the power of an experiential event. For this reason, we think this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Hopefully, this blog has given you a little more insight into experiential events and why they could benefit your brand. I will leave you now with a tiny bit of food for thought – psychologically, we are more likely to remember something that has a semantic connection rather than acoustic or visual connections. To break this down, if something has more understanding and meaning behind it, we are more likely to remember it than if we have just seen or heard it, such as on an advertisement on TV.

So, next time you sit down with your boss or your marketing team, bear in mind that sometimes we need to break down the ‘corporate barrier’ and give people something a little more meaningful and a lot more fun.

If you have any questions or just want to chat more about experiential events and how we could help you, please get in touch!

Take another look: Dubai

We visited the UAE last year and shared our thoughts on the location for events of all kinds. This time, our marketing coordinator Izzie was invited on an incredible trip by Visit Dubai and Alpha DMC to take a look at Dubai in closer detail.

If you’re looking to take your team, clients or work pals on an amazing incentives trip, then look no further than the up and coming incentives hotspot of Dubai!

Where to stay

When considering a destination for an incentives trip, at the forefront of any #eventprofs mind is that it needs to be fun, educational and, most of all, easy. For this reason, the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Dubai could be the perfect place for your group to stay. Located just 15 minutes from the airport, it has luxurious rooms, 3 restaurants, a bar (this bar, called Vault, also gives out 3 free drinks on Mondays for Ladies Night!) on the 78th floor and a large pool area to relax in. They also have great meeting spaces should you wish to squeeze in some strategising!

The Palazzo Versace could also be a great option for high-end groups. With intricate Versace detailing from the shower tiling down to the tea cups and the chair stitching, this hotel is a bit of a novelty and really delivers the wow factor. It has 3 large pools, impressive common areas if individuals want a bit of me time! The food is delicious and you can even do some shopping at the onsite Versace shops.

Another beautiful hotel in the Jumeirah Beach Residences area of Dubai is the impressive Ritz-Carlton. We had a spectacular drinks reception and dinner on the beach here, complete with a warming fire-pit for when it got a little chilly and the most incredible views of the skyline. This would be a really impressive evening for groups who want the beach feel without compromising luxury and great facilities. Simply stunning!

If you are looking to take your groups to have a little evening fun – Wavehouse at Atlantis The Palm is a relaxed diner-style restaurant that serves great food and even has a bowling alley, old school arcade games and a wave machine! Another great excuse to have a little competitive fun!

What to do

If you have a couple of thrill seekers in your group, a trip to the Dubai Autodrome could be just what you need to let your hair down! When you arrive, everyone gets their own tracksuit and helmet before settling in to your go kart and letting loose on the track! An hour on the track is brilliant to unwind and introduce a bit of healthy competition between the group!

Dubai has a really interesting history and culture, and I personally had so many questions about life in this part of the world. If your group also wants to learn about the Emirati culture, taking a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a real eye-opening experience where you can freely ask any questions you may have without fear of judgement or causing offence. The staff there are really open and happy to answer anything, and you can even try your hand at dressing like an Emirati and sample a traditional Arabic breakfast. Following this, you can take a stroll through the Al Fahidi Historical District and the surrounding souks to stock up on some spices or even some gold! Afterwards, be sure to visit the fascinating Etihad Museum to learn about Dubai’s history and the UAE as a whole.

No visit to Dubai would be complete without a trip to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which is accessible through the largest shopping mall in the world! Take your group on the world’s fastest lift to the 125th floor to see a spectacular view of Dubai, including the Palm and the surrounding desert outside the city. There is also a hotel and several restaurants inside the Burj Khalifa, so if you really want to impress, a dinner followed by a trip to the top to see Dubai at night would be a really memorable experience for everyone.

Our final incentives activity (but by no means the end of the list) was the incredible Desert Safari by Platinum Heritage. We were picked up in 4x4s and driven just 45 minutes outside the city into the Arabian desert. We were given scarves to protect our heads and then jumped into some vintage open-top Land Rovers for a drive through the beautiful desert. We visited 3 camps Platinum Heritage have available for groups (ranging in price but all beautiful and even with accommodation so you can sleep under the stars!) before arriving at the camp where we spent our evening. Platinum Heritage can arrange an amazing falcon show (the falcon is the national symbol of the UAE) before letting you try some traditional Arabic activities such as camel riding, henna tattoos and shisha. Then, your group can sit down to a delicious traditional dinner of salad, breads and hummus, followed by rice with meats and vegetables with different accompaniments. We even tried some camel, but luckily not the same camel we rode earlier! After dinner, your group can be treated to a traditional Arabic dance with imitation guns, which you can even join in on! They then switch off all the lights in the camp and you can spend some time stargazing – seeing the stars in the Arabian Desert really is something else and can make for a truly memorable end to a jam-packed incentives trip.

This trip taught me so much about what is on offer in Dubai, as well as their culture, cuisine and way of life. As an incentives destination, I would recommend 4 days as the perfect amount of time and really you couldn’t ask for much more on offer – there are incredible activities, luxurious accommodation, delicious food and, of course, don’t forget about the stunning weather! During winter, Dubai enjoys temperatures of around 22 degrees, whereas in summer it can rise up to 45 degrees. If the summer temperatures put you off, be rest assured that there are also so many water-based activities that you will easily be able to cool off. Dubai is a beautiful and intriguing destination which should be on everybody’s bucket list whether it be for business, pleasure, or both!