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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!

Join our team: PA, Office Manager & Events Assistant role

Job Description: PA, Office Manager & Events Assistant

Company Overview:

Sleek Events is based in Richmond. We work with companies and agencies looking to outsource their event planning and organisation to an experienced partner. We also work with individuals needing support to organise something special for a loved one, anniversary or other celebration.

From exclusive private parties to globally-recognised exhibitions and conferences, we can handle the entire process for our clients, both in the UK and overseas.

Role Overview:

We are looking for a switched-on, proactive person to help us with the smooth running of our office, supporting our founding director and her team of event professionals. You will need to have a can-do attitude with no task being too big or small.

Responsibilities:

  • Office Manager duties – responsible for keeping the office running smoothly with regular admin tasks such as restocking of stationery, working with a creative agency on company collateral, holiday tracking, office diary, utilities. This role also includes supporting our PR agency with ad-hoc PR and social media tasks e.g. providing photos, team whereabouts, relevant hashtags
  • Personal Assistant duties – managing diaries, scheduling meetings, booking travel, ad-hoc errands
  • Event Support duties – chasing suppliers, researching venues, site visits, internal events

This list is for demonstration purposes and is by no means an exhaustive list!

Required Experience, Skills & Attitude:

  • At least 1 year of experience in PA, office management and event support
  • Demonstrable experience with organisation, prioritisation and time management
  • Hot on diary management
  • Outstanding communication skills on the phone, in person and in writing
  • Strong written and spoken English
  • Must be driven to learn, work hard and adapt to fast-paced start-up culture
  • Highly motivated and enthusiastic
  • Ability to excel in a self-driven role

Benefits:

  • Great office space in Richmond
  • Friendly, motivated co-workers in a fun office environment
  • Travel opportunities
  • Competitive salary

Job Type: Full-time – 9am-5:30pm Monday-Friday, with some flexibility required for events support – starting on a 6-month contract with 3 month probation

Salary: £18,000.00 to £20,000.00 per annum depending on experience

Job Location: Richmond, London

To apply: Please send your CV and covering letter to hello@sleekevents.co.uk by 5pm on Tuesday 21st November.

guest wellbeing

Chocolate brownie versus fruit salad – guest wellbeing

Healthy options versus event success OR Chocolate brownie versus fruit salad

Can you still put on a memorable event (memorable for the right reasons) and cater to the needs of the health conscious amongst your guests? With the fast-increasing importance of wellbeing, fitness and nutrition, we might instead ask the question, will your event be successful without catering for your health-conscious guests?

As the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) publishes its report on trends in nutrition and delegate wellbeing, we decided to share our experience and advice not only on how to satiate the needs of your corporate event delegates but also for your private party guests too. Here are some of the questions we most often receive from our clients during event planning stage.

Is healthy food more expensive?

Prepared healthy meals and organic produce are generally costly when purchasing from the supermarket but, when bulk bought and prepared from scratch by professional caterers, prices for healthy option menus come in at the same price as any other regular menu. Ask your event manager what menus are available from your shortlist of venues or caterers.

Can one menu cater for all guests?

Whether it’s for ease during a short lunchtime break or for budgeting purposes, some clients consider a single menu to cater for all guests. We recently catered an event with a totally vegetarian menu and even the most committed carnivores amongst the guests were raving about the lunch because of the thoughtful, tasty recipes including well-balanced spices. You don’t need to be afraid of single menus when you have talented chefs behind them.

What actually constitutes healthy food?

This completely depends on the nutritional plan your guests are following. We always recommend our clients ask well in advance. For instance, gluten-free food is necessary for people with intolerances but is rarely lower in sugar or calories that its gluten-packed alternative. So, keep an open mind, a record of dietary requirements and share them as soon as possible with your event manager.

What non-alcoholic drinks can we serve?

Many clients worry that the non-alcoholic drink options are boring for their guests. They are often choosing not to drink because they are the designated driver or have other responsibilities after the event, but that’s another reason why they deserve an imaginative beverage!

We like Time Out’s recent top of the mocks – mocktail that is – The Temperance from Behind This Wall in Hackney. Your gut will thank you for this one as it contains a sour kombucha base mixed with fennel seed, pomegranate molasses and cardamom tonic – great for digestion!

Interested in the nutrition and wellbeing of your guests? Contact our team at Sleek HQ where we have our fair share of vegetarians and meat eaters, tea-totallers and champagne coiffeurs!

Rooftop bars

Hot wine, cool venues

With Winter fast approaching, we asked the team at Sleek HQ what their favourite rooftop venues are. You might think we are mad – we should be snuggled next to a fire rather than sitting out at a rooftop bar but there is method to our madness!

Did you know that the best way to drink mulled wine, gluhwein, vin chaud, glogg or vin brule – delicious in any language as far as we’re concerned – is outside in the cold. That’s why it tastes so good when you buy it at Christmas markets.

So, if you fancy a tipple in some glamorous hotspots, here’s our top 5 rooftop venues from the team.

Skylight Rooftop Tobacco Dock, London 
Open all year round, Skylight dresses up for Winter from 2nd November this year featuring London’s first rooftop ice-skating surface. Yes, you can also get a glass of mulled wine as well as yummy fondue and seasonal cocktails.Richmond events agency rooftop bar recommendation

Once you’ve got a photo of you skating with the city skyline behind you, you can warm up underneath the patio heaters. Entry is free but they charge £10 for 45 minutes of skating which includes skate hire. They are open Thursday to Sunday and accept bookings for groups larger than 10 people. Corporate or large group bookings can hire the ice surface for their exclusive use for limited periods of time. It’s definitely on our Christmas party venue hotlist!

Queen of Hoxton Rooftop Cinema, London
Calling itself the youth club for adults on the East side, the Queen of Hoxton has gone for a Moroccan themed rooftop this Winter. A treasure trove of brightly-coloured Babush slippers, ceramic tiles, twinkling lanterns, cushions and drapes awaits inside their unique rooftop wigwam. Moroccan spices and traditional Shisha scents will permeate the night air as you sit around crackling Chiminea fireplaces.

Events organisers Surrey rooftop bar recommendation

The rooftop is usually open from 4pm until 10pm Monday to Thursdays and from 12pm until 10pm Friday to Saturdays. They’ll cater for private functions from 50 up to 500 people but only during the week.

Wimbledon events agency rooftop bar recommendation

You’ll still be able to catch a film at the Queen of Hoxton Rooftop Cinema throughout the Winter months. Settling into a director’s chairs with a blanket and warm drink – let’s hope they decide to sell mulled wine or cider!

Radio Rooftop Bar, London
Radio is a rooftop bar on the 10th floor of the ME London hotel with striking, panoramic views across the River Thames and London’s skyline. This is one of the start of the more high-end venues on our list. Its central location means you can enjoy the city’s most iconic landmarks – Tower Bridge, the Shard, London Bridge, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Somerset House, Southbank, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, and Covent Garden.

Event management Richmond rooftop bar recommendation

Whether you want a glass of champagne or a full dining experience, it will be accompanied by live music from the DJ. The rooftop is available for exclusive hire with capacity for 240 guests and is open seven days a week. It’s a fantastic location to take your private party to new heights!

Ceresio 7, Milan
This historical-building in Milan has a surprise on its rooftop – two swimming pools! Whilst we don’t expect visitors to be in their bikinis at this time of year, this rooftop bar provides an alternative experience to the hustle and bustle of the city’s Financial District below.

Richmond events agency rooftop bar recommendation

It’s perfect for intimate getaways or corporate events although we can’t promise they’ll be serving vin brule in this elegant venue, you can certainly enjoy a drink from their American Bar at a poolside table or cabana. The bar serves all the old-time classic drinks with an Italian twist including home-made bitters and herb infusions.

1-Altitude, Singapore
1-Altitude is said to be the world’s highest alfresco bar. The venue takes over the top three floors of One Raffles Place in Singapore and offers a spectacular 360-degree view over the city. The highest viewing gallery in Singapore at 282m above sea level, you get some awesome sunsets whilst sipping almost any drink you desire – but it might be a bit warm for a gluhwein!

Richmond events agency rooftop bar recommendation

If you’re looking for an A-list venue for your private party or corporate cocktail reception, this is the place to impress your guests. You can enjoy a gastronomic dining experience, dance the night away with a World-class DJ or chill out to the sounds of a local band. This is a stunning location that will take your breath away.

We think our events team in Richmond has come up with some great ideas even if you’re travelling outside the UK this Winter. Contact us if you’d like our opinion on venues for your private party or corporate event – Richmond, London, Europe or further afield.

How to re-gain your work-life balance and still stay on top at work

There are many articles out there about how you need to maintain a good work-life balance whether they be backed by mental health stats or advertising the latest yoga fad. Here’s the thing with those of us that work in events, we might want a healthy work-life balance but we can’t afford to drop the ball on our projects. So, here are a few things to step back, have a cuppa and consider…

 

  1. Set boundaries and stick to them

However you choose to do it, set timings in your diary for project work, client liaison and so on and stick to them. It might not be realistic to keep all weekend free for family time so allow yourself 20 minutes after you’ve fed the kids breakfast or before you walk the dog to check your email and respond to issues.

Some people call this a default diary. You define chunks of each day for specific tasks and, unless there’s a dramatic issue, you don’t divert your attention from what is planned. If a typical 9-5 isn’t possible for your workload, set timings that are. How about allowing yourself 15 minutes to assess the most important emails at 6.45am and then everything else can wait until 8.45am? Be regimental about it and I promise you’ll feel more in control.

 

  1. Don’t be a slave to traditional timings

Since when did a call have to be 30 minutes or a meeting be an hour? Our Outlook calendar loves to schedule things every 30 minutes but how about you aim to claw your time back and only give it 8 minutes for a team update?

If you are looking for a way to control stress levels across the team, I recommend 45 minutes of powering through work and then 15 minutes of total distraction to switch off, even if it’s looking at cute puppies on Facebook or listening to a meditation app!

If you’re craving a day off, how about getting ahead at 10pm the night before with an event schedule. Then you can hit the ground at a suitable pace the next morning and get work wrapped up by midday. Take the afternoon off at a spa – and you can always preschedule some tweets!

 

  1. Got wifi, can work

You’d be surprised how flexible bosses can be nowadays. As long as you can prove you are not in your PJs, working from home is perfectly acceptable for an admin catch-up day. If you don’t have a dog yapping at your back door, you can also take client calls from home! The pay-off? Your boss isn’t paying a tired you who has spent 2 hours commuting in when the trains are on strike again!

Talking about getting to work, I’ve started incorporating exercise into my morning routine as it sets the tone for an energetic and productive day. Recently, I’ve been parking in Richmond Park and walking the rest of the way to the office, spotting some deers at the same time!

 

 

  1. Leave work at work

I know it’s tempting, I do it all the time but if you work somewhere that requires someone on call 24/7 then share out the shifts and when it’s not your turn, leave work at work. You can have an on-call mobile and train your team to deal with out-of-hours enquiries. When you aren’t on call, there is no need to check your email, that app or corporate social media channels – just chill out.

 

 

  1. Learn to delegate

You might LOL at the last of my tips but I’m deadly serious, even if you are in an events team of one. If you can’t delegate something at work, choose something you hate at home – the ironing or cleaning the car. Free up some ‘me’ time wherever it might be. I’ve just hired a local PA and I can’t believe the impact she’s had – those things niggling me in the back of my mind that I should have sorted out weeks ago are done. Yes, of course there is a cost but does her hourly rate cost more than what I value my relaxation time? And my garden shed has space to store my bike again!

 

If you liked these few tips that come from real life and not a theoretical study (or five bods from Harvard) then keep an eye out for our next blog from a bonafide fitness expert.