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Posts Tagged ‘events’

MPs meet key event industry figures

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Key people from Britain’s event industry met with members of parliament at a private dinner on 2 February. Part of the Britain for Events campaign, the dinner was co-chaired by Nick de Bois MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events, and Michael Hirst, Chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership. The objective of the dinner was to create closer partnership between government and industry in order to increase the international competitiveness of the UK event industry – upon which, of course, the buoyancy of the promotional merchandise industry depends.

In all, 25 industry representatives were invited to the dinner and discussion, along with 5 MPs and also Lady Cobham (of VisitEngland) and Lord Triesman from the upper house. Key names invited from the events sector included Fay Sharpe of Zibrant, Leigh Jagger of Banks Sadler, Kevin Murphy of ExCeL London, Jonny Sullens of Confex Group, Ben Goedegebuure of SECC and Jane Longhurst of the Meetings Industry Association.

Said Michael Hirst, speaking before the event, “Britain for Events gives us the perfect opportunity to provide a coherent voice to local and national government. In Nick we’re fortunate to have an MP that both understands the industry and is willing to listen to senior personalities about the key measures the government could take to ensure the industry’s growth.”

Latest report shows event budgets suffering

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The latest Bellwether report from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) shows that event budgets suffered in the last quarter of 2011, despite an increase in marketing budgets. The sector analysis of marketing budgets revealed that ‘other spend’ – which includes events and PR – saw a drop of 7% in the final three months of 2011. The report also showed that traditional media spend fell, while marketers favoured spending on digital campaigns, price discounting and more direct marketing strategies.

This trend is worrying to carrier bag suppliers and other companies in the promotional products industry, as promotional merchandise sales are traditionally closely linked with event activities.

Commented Chris Williamson, Chief Economist for Markit and author of the latest Bellwether, “Companies held their marketing budget broadly unchanged in the final quarter of last year, a flat picture which probably reflects a similar stagnation of the overall economy. However, it is encouraging to see that companies are planning to raise their marketing spend in 2012 despite seeing their financial prospects for the next three months falling to the worst since the height of the financial crisis in early 2009. It seems that many companies are looking to fight the prospects of a challenging year ahead with increased promotional activity.”

Meanwhile, the latest corporate hospitality report from Market and Consumer Insight predicts an 8% increase in this sector of the event industry during 2012. This report reckons that 2011 saw the sector grow by 2% to a total value of £950 million and it follows hot on the heels of another survey that revealed that the corporate hospitality sector employs a staggering 7% of the UK population.

London set to lose corporate events in busy 2012 summer

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Recent research has indicated that London may lose some of its lucrative corporate events business next summer, as events managers avoid the capital in what will undoubtedly be a busy period. With both the Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, London is set to be overrun with British as well as foreign tourists.

In research carried out by the corporate venue, Center Parcs, among 110 of its corporate events clients – which include Innocent, Sainsbury’s, Gap, Vodafone, HSBC and the NHS – 85% of respondents who have in the past hosted summer events in the capital said they will be moving their events outside of London. Of the survey respondents, 42% regularly host events in the capital, with 40% of these London events taking place during the summer months. Some 15% of those who plan meetings, conferences and events in the capital said they plan to postpone any activity to later in 2012. The reasons for their decision to host events outside of London included cost (58%) and likely transport issues (17%).

The research from Center Parcs is supported by the findings of the European Tour Operators’ Association, which predicts an average 90% downturn in bookings in London during next summer.

Outlook for the events industry in 2012

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

With rising fears concerning the state of the economy and the Euro zone crisis, alongside high hopes surrounding the Olympics, the outlook for 2012 in the UK exhibitions and events sector really is a mixed bag.

What is not in doubt is the fact that there is a lot at stake here. In a recent article in support of the Britain for Events campaign, Kevin Murphy, CEO of ExCel London, outlined the impact that the events industry has on the UK economy: “Every organisation that chooses to bring its event to the UK delivers an average economic impact of £15 million for its local economy, meaning just 10 more events held in this country would generate £150 million. That would pay for 7,000 nurses in our hospitals, 6,000 more teachers in our schools or 5,000 more police officers on our streets.”

Ocean Media, organisers of the UK Venue Show and Event Production Show, recently provided an optimistic report following research conducted amongst some 3,000 visitors. This indicated that budgets would increase by 10% year on year. Meanwhile, the Britain for Events campaign gained momentum during 2011, with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, officially endorsing the campaign. In addition, the identification of business tourism as one of the areas to benefit from VisitEngland’s successful bid for £19.8 million of Regional Growth Fund will bring a welcome boost. The cash will fund the three-year ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ project and help the UK events industry to capitalise on key events in 2012 including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Diamond Jubilee, the Torch Relay and the Cultural Olympiad.

Although the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement painted a gloomy picture, with the UK growth forecast for 2012 revised down from 2.5% to 0.7%, hard-hit consumers may continue to shun foreign holidays in favour of domestic vacations and day trips, which would be a welcome shot in the arm for cultural, music and festival events in the UK.

The Autumn Statement also made provision for support for SMEs through a credit-easing programme, a £1 billion business finance partnership to raise money for medium-sized firms and a regional growth regeneration fund. The many SMEs that are service providers to the events industry may well benefit. On balance, then, things are not looking so bad for 2012.

Redeveloped West Hall opens at Olympia

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Venue owner Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) has opened Olympia’s redeveloped West Hall as planned. Part of a 20 million investment in Olympia by EC&O’s parent company – Capital & Counties (Capco) – the improvements include the addition of a floor to transform the West Hall into a two-storey, 90,000-square-foot exhibition facility. Links have also been created to the Grand Hall and Olympia Two behind the restored façade.

Nigel Nathan, EC&O Venues Managing Director, said, “Our vision for Olympia respects the fabric of this historic building whilst also making the internal space easier to access and more flexible for organisers to use. These enhancements protect our heritage and position the Olympia complex for the future.”

Karim Halwagi, Chief Executive of the Association of Event Organisers, believes the enhancements will help stimulate the London event market.

“The expansion of space at Olympia is a positive step for the exhibition industry as it will help both large and small shows grow,” he said. “Large shows will be able to get better utilisation and visitor flows while small shows will have more flexibility to expand.”

EC&O dismisses TfL’s special tube service

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

In the latest chapter in the long-running saga of tube services from Olympia to Olympia exhibition centre, venue owner Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) has played down a special underground service to be provided for 20 shows at the venue during the next six months.

Following negotiations with Transport for London (TfL), the special services have been implemented now that the full weekday service has ended. Between January and June 2012, two trains an hour will run off-peak to the venue on weekdays, with the full District line service continuing to operate at weekends and on Bank Holidays. Shows to get the special tube service include the London International Horse Show, the Doctor Who Experience and the National Wedding Show.

EC&O, however, has been rather dismissive, urging visitors to use the overground train service instead. Said EC&O Head of Marketing, Tom Lambregts, “The best way to get to Olympia is on the excellent overground service. It is a far more frequent service, with up to seven trains an hour.”

The full list of the shows set to receive the special District Line service is as follows:

London International Horse Show,13-19 Dec

BETT 2012, 11-13 Jan

Doctor Who Experience, 12-13 Jan & Feb 13-14

Toy Fair, 25-26 Jan

Learning Tech Exhibition, 25-26 Jan

Cloud Expo Europe, 25 Jan

Pure Womenswear Spring, 13-14 Feb

London Investor, Feb 24

Who do you think you are! Feb 24

The National Wedding Show, 24 Feb

Stitch & Craft, 16 Mar

Landscape, 16 Mar

Boden Sale, 16 Mar

British & International Franchise, 16 Mar

Social Media World Forum, 28 Mar

UCAS London, 28-30 Mar

Counter Terror Expo, 25-26 Apr

HRD, 25-26 Apr

Spirit of Summer,16-18 May

Café Culture, 16-17 May

Allergy Show, 18 May

Medical Commissioning, 27-28 Jun

Marketing Week Live, 27-28 Jun

Royal wedding boosts London visitor figures

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

According to provisional stats from the International Passenger Survey (IPS), London welcomed more than 4 million visitors in the period April to June this year, representing an increase of 12.6% over the same period in 2010. The IPS interviews more than a quarter of a million travellers each year at major air, sea and rail terminals.

The 450,000 extra visitors in the three-month period are being attributed to major events in the capital, including the Royal Wedding in April and May’s UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley.

The IPS survey shows that leisure visits accounted for most of the rise (2.2 million visits) whereas business visitors accounted for some 770,000 visits.

The IPS figures also show that visits from North America – London’s biggest in-bound market – were up by 8.6% and visitors from Europe were up by 10.4%.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, commented that the buzz surrounding the forthcoming Olympic Games meant that it was “little wonder that London continues to dominate as one of the most desirable destinations in the world”.

Mr Johnson added, “2012 is set to be a huge year for the capital and we stand ready to welcome the world.”

Event bigwigs grapple with WiFi issue

Monday, October 31st, 2011

At a meeting held at Reed Exhibitions‘ Richmond head office recently, no less than 28 senior executives from members of the AEO (Association of Exhibition Organisers), ESSA (Event Supplier and Services Association) and AEV (Association of Event Venues) began to debate the WiFi needs of exhibitions.

This was a meeting of the Technical Committee established following discussions on the business networking site LinkedIn and an exploratory meeting at the Event & Exhibiting Show 2011. The importance of the topic was demonstrated by the fact that the chairs of the AEV, ESSA and the EIA (Events Industry Alliance) all attended, as well as senior executives from all member companies involved.

Commented Piers Kelly, Operations Director for Reed Exhibitions, “This began as a discussion on Reeds Ops LinkedIn Group and seems to have struck a chord with all parties within the industry. Technology will become an increasingly important part of exhibitions and we need to have reliable, available and cost-effective solutions to providing WiFi irrespective of size of event or location.”

The meeting explored the experiences of the various parties and their customers, as well as an overview of the current WiFi provision and ideas for the future. It was agreed that there is a need to define the requirements of key users of event WiFi services – visitors, exhibitors and organisers – and consequently a number of research projects have been set up to investigate these and report back. Watch this space!

Event industry may grow by 12 billion by 2020

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

A report presented to members of parliament earlier this week states that, with the right support in place, the UK events industry could grow from its current value of 36 billion to over 48 billion by 2020.

Commissioned by Britain for Events, the annual marketing campaign promoting the value of event tourism to the British economy, the report shows that the UK events industry could provide a much-needed boost to Britain’s economy over the next decade. As well as the industry’s economic value, the report highlights the benefits of positioning the UK at the centre of international business and the role that events play in bringing together world leaders. The report also outlines ways in which the events industry can work with national and local government to make Britain more competitive internationally.

Phil Mist of the Event Industry Forum commented, “With the countdown to the London 2012 Games and the Queen’s Jubilee well underway, the UK events industry will undoubtedly again show the world that organising major outdoor and sporting events is one of our specialities, and because of our expertise, the UK economy as a whole will benefit.”

According to Michael Hirst, Chairman of the Business Visits & Events Partnership, the report comes at a crucial time for the British economy: “The UK events sector is well set to play a pivotal role in facilitating economic growth and added employment by showcasing Britain as a world class destination for international conferences and trade shows, as well as staging its great sporting and cultural events and festivals.”

UK at disadvantage in bidding for international events

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

According to a report from the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), Britain needs more government support when bidding to host international business events.

The report investigated ’subvention’ – the grants and financial subsidies offered by a country’s government – around the world and found that, when bidding for events, UK cities are losing out to destinations such as Cape Town, Barcelona and Copenhagen. Many of these foreign cities provide free transport, co-ordinated hotel rates and civic receptions.

The report says, “It is clear from our research that the UK and UK destinations are at a competitive disadvantage when bidding for major international conferences and related events. Competition from new and emerging destinations, as well as from existing key competitors, will only increase in the years ahead.”

The report found that 83% of overseas destinations offered receptions for delegates hosted by officials, whereas only 35% of UK destinations did the same. An impressive 50% of overseas destinations make available a contribution to event marketing, whereas this was possible in only 17% of UK destinations. In addition, 50% of overseas destinations would provide a direct subsidy for an international event or conference, compared to just 23% at home.

The BVEP report calls for a “more effective, joined-up approach” in recognition of the long-term importance of conferences and events to the UK economy. As well as providing a boost to the business events sector, it is worth noting that up to 40% of business visitors to the UK can be expected to return with their families for leisure.