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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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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!