Browsing Tag


The Meetings Show 2014: Impressions From the Exhibition Floor

This year was the second time The Meetings Show took place at the Olympia Conference Centre and the first one I attended. With discussions and predictions that shows are getting smaller, planned more short-term and becoming more regional, I questioned if a third major show in Europe, after EIBTM and IMEX Frankfurt is really necessary. When I arrived at the show I wasn’t surprised to find out that some of the major European destinations, such as Switzerland and Germany didn’t present this year. But anyway I wasn’t there for that and if I need information about a destination I have my contacts ready. My two aims at the show were networking and education seminars. I attended the show on the first two days and here are some of the impressions:

Seminars/ Panel Discussions

Some of the sessions were very good, in particular the panel discussing on the topic “How to Manage Agencies ‘Friend or Foe’?” and “Breaking Through – Women, Leadership and the Glass Ceiling”. At the first one, two corporate planners shared how they manage the relationship and communication with their agencies. If I can share with you one takeaway from the talk, that was mentioned by Elisabeth Kaufman De Tone from Institutional Investors, she said that she “won’t google her suppliers and relies on word of mouth”. Maybe SEO is not everything!

The second panel was around the topic of #womeninevents campaign. If you read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, you’ll be familiar with some of the topics we discussed such as family vs. career, finding a mentor and leadership. Another good panel was “Accreditation & Certification – A waste of time or a must have?” and Caitlin from I’m a Damn Student, What do I Know? wrote about it on her blog.

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© The MICE Blog


Above all I enjoyed the networking at the show. Not only I met old colleagues from the industry but was also introduced to new eventprofs, some of which I knew from twitter and finally met in person. On the first night, Caitlin and I also attended a Caribbean party organised by Sandals Resorts at the Jamaican High Commission in South Kensington. On the second day I finally met Becki from Events Northern Ltd and event blogger  after e-meeting her on twitter last year and we had lots to talk about.

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© The MICE Blog

Industry News

The industry newcomer is the online platform MICEBOOK which was introduced for the first time at the show. The platform provides events planners with an online destination, venue and supplier research and enquiry tool. The innovative aspect is that in comparison to other venue finders or search portals, this tool allows data and knowledge retention, in the way that planners can share notes on the website which other users can also see.  Some people have asked me if MICEBOOK is related to my blog, and the answer is no. We’re two independent organisations.

To conclude, the best part of the event was networking, both with colleagues and exhibitors. I wish The Meetings Show will have a stronger seminar program next year, maybe also with key note speakers, so I will decide to come on all three days.

Did you attend The Meetings Show? When you attend a trade show, what are your aims and objectives?

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Corporate Event Planners Discuss Evolution and Adoption of Event Technology

June meeting of Event Marketing Association (EMA) took place at the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane to discuss the topic “Event Technology – Evolution and Adoption”. Corporate event planners from finance, IT and charities took part in this month’s meeting.

After the welcome aperitif, canapés and networking we moved to the seminar room for the main part of the evening. Each table received a topic from Allan Norbury Editor from M&IT and EMA’s media partner for discussion and then had to share their findings with the group. There was one technology expert invited to join each table, these included Clemi Hardie from, Chetan Shah – founder and CEO of, Anita Howard – Director of,  and myself from The MICE Blog.

The topics covered were:

Technology spells the end of traditional meetings: The group agreed that NO. Technology can support events but does not replace them. Face-to-face communication is important and people buy people. Elements such as eye contact and tone of voice can’t be replaced by technology and the tone of voice over email can be easily misunderstood.

On the other hand, relationship building is important and technology is an enabler to communicate with more people, more often and for longer.

Is event technology now a pre-requisite and why? The group suggested that event planners have to start with objectives and what they want to achieve. Wi-Fi, for example, must be fast and accessible at venues and event. Secondly, consider engagement vs. withdraw, such as with google glass or voting pads. Google glass might be intimidating while voting pads can encourage learning and increase engagement.

How does event technology benefit your meeting? Organisers shared that tech will benefit meetings when it’s easily accessible, environmentally friendly and accurate, allows audience engagement and helps to track attendees’ preferences.

On the other hand negative aspects include privacy and security breaches (E.g. – when accepting terms and conditions before installing an app), which are especially important for corporates and can’t be compromised.

The participants added that when choosing a tech provider, brand perception is important to make purchase decision, followed by efficiency.

Best practice in social media: Organisers agreed that it’s hard to control social media and good practice of social media will be to use close groups to share knowledge and ideas. Social media can assist with targeting, and Facebook, for example, offers the opportunity to conduct targeted campaigns, based on gender, location, age etc. It was suggested to start communication offline and transfer online. To conclude, planners can align their aims and objectives with the technology of choice.

Where are the knowledge gaps, challenges and fears? Gaps include Wi-Fi which is not always for free at venues and events, connection speed and social media. The challenges discussed were risk management, the quantity of apps, registration systems and voting systems, how to merge them and have system updates considering the big data volume. Another challenge discussed was finding the time to manage all the accounts, keeping privacy and high technology costs. The biggest fear is not getting the desired ROI considering the time and money invested.

To conclude, questions event planners have to ask: are there too many systems with possible solutions? How about risk management and data security (especially with cloud, e.g. – sales force), what is the place for social media? What is the difference between corporate and personal social media accounts, how much time is required to manage the technology, what are the differences in attitudes towards event tech and lastly what is the price and cost of managing it?

After the session more time was given to further discussion and for networking as we enjoyed the delicious canapés and hospitality at the Four Seasons Hotel, Park Lane. Hotel representatives joined us for the evening and supported the discussion with their know-how from a venue perspective. They shared how they can support event planners and talked about all the resources available. The impeccable service and food were just a small teaser of the 5-star hospitality they provide.


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© The MICE Blog

© The MICE Blog

© The MICE Blog

© The MICE Blog

All photos © The MICE Blog

London Technology Week Media Breakfast

Along science and finance, London tech sector is fast growing with great support from the government. Its competitive advantage lies within the specific areas including fin-tech, data-tech, med-tech, bio-tech, science-tech and others.

Last week Thursday I was invited to the London Technology Week media breakfast to hear firsthand about the event taking place 16th – 20th June. The event will comprise 130 independently run events across the city in different formats such as conferences, workshops, face-to-face investor meetings, pitching competitions and hackathons (yes, I also had to check out what hackathons mean! Basically it’s a gathering where programmers code collaboratively over a short time period). Over 30,000 tech entrepreneurs, investors and developers from around the world are expected to attend this event and there will be free, ticketed and closed events across the week. Confirmed speakers include Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Eventbrite, to mention a few.

This event is for everyone as it will be covering a broad range of sectors, including education, music, sport, fashion, finance and science.

At the media breakfast I had the opportunity to meet some of the companies participating at the event. One of them was Ultimaker, 3D printer designers. After reading about the technology that was the first time I actually saw it, which was pretty cool. Another company was Squawka, a real time football company. Since the World Cup and technology week will take place in the same time, Squawka will host a “Second Screening” event on the 16th of June during Germany vs. Portugal match, showing live data analytics of the match.


The event has been organised by UBM Live in association with London & Partners, ExCeL London and Tech London Advocates.

Additional highlights of London Technology Week:

Monday 16th June

Samsung Future Technology Needs’ – 10 St Bride Street

TechUK and Samsung have teamed up to give tech practitioners the chance to meet and present ideas to their technology scouting team. Guests will hear directly from Samsung’s technology sourcing team, who will outline their future technology needs.

Tuesday 17th June

Internet World’ – ExCeL London

Incorporating both Interop London and Big Data Show, as well as Tech Transformation Forum, this event will introduce thousands of IT, technology and digital marketing professionals to some of the most cutting-edge technology innovations and strategies.

Wednesday 18th June

FashTech’ – Google Campus

Industry leaders from the world of fashion will come together with tech innovators to showcase the latest FashTech innovations and debate the future of the FashTech industry.

Thursday 19th June

Croydon Tech City: Women in Tech’ – 1 Matthews Yard

Networking event and debate focussing on female tech founders, with panellists including Alex Depledge from Hassle and Sweta Chattopadhyay from LocalFunded.

Friday 20th June

StartUp Europe Roadshow – Private and Public Business Support for ICT Entrepreneurs’ – Google Campus

What events are you going to attend during the London Technology Week?

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© The MICE Blog

© The MICE Blog

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Tour

Back in March I joined a fam trip to the south of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park organised by London & Partners. With a group of event planners and media we visited the Aquatics Centre, the Lee Valley VeloPark (what used to be the Velodrome) and concluded with an afternoon tea at Unity Kitchen with a presentation about events at the ArcelorMittal Orbit.

The tour took place one week before the official opening to public on 5th April. Within only 18 months after the Games the London Legacy Development Corporation led a complete transformation into a park with beautiful parklands, waterways and sport facilities to accommodate future events. South of Park was designed by James Corner Field Operations who also created the High Line in New York. Current development includes a new tree-lined promenade with 100 tees strung with unique globe lighting system, interactive water fountains and adventure playground, four themed walking trails featuring key highlights of the London 2012 Games, the Park’s biodiversity, family fun and arts and culture.

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London Aquatics Centre

The Aquatics Centre was the second to open on 1st March after the successful opening of The Copper Box back in July 2013. Since its opening is has already had over 55,000 visitors. Designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid it is not only a sporting venue but also offers a unique events space for private functions overlooking the competition and diving pools.

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Lee Valley VeloPark

Previously the Velodrome, the newly rebranded Lee Valley VeloPark opened for public use on 31st March. It’s the first place in the world for track cycling, road racing, BMX or mountain biking in one place. This offers opportunities to host team building or incentives, exhibitions and gala dinner events.

© The MICE Blog

© The MICE Blog

ArcelorMittal Orbit

The Orbit is still one of the most controversial buildings. Some people love its design while others don’t understand it. I visited it back in 2012 during the London Olympics and indeed it has beautiful views over the Park and London. As event planners we always look for interesting and unique venues and The Orbit perfectly falls into this category. It was created by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as an entry to a 2009 competition to design an iconic tower for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and when accepted it cost £22.3 million to build!

During the day The Orbit will be open to the public and when the last visitor leaves the building it will be transformed into a unique event space.

Visitors can experience breathtaking views of the Park as well as see over 20 miles across London from the two viewing platforms at 76 and 80 metres high, the highest offering 360 degree views across the city.

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Photos below are back from 2012 when I visited The Orbit during the Olympic Games. This tour didn’t include a visit of The Orbit. 

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© The MICE Blog

© The MICE Blog

Unity Kitchen

Unity Kitchen is a social enterprise caterer with one branch in the Olympic Park. It’s a great place for corporate or leisure events. For corporate functions, such as the one we were part of, they provide event space with beamer and seating (we had theatre style) and catering including variety of sandwiches and pastries.

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© The MICE Blog

Here’s a list of upcoming events at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

22 June 2014: Hackney Half Marathon

28-29 June 2014: Holi Festival of Colours

7 July 2014: Tour de France

10 August 2014: Ride London

September- October 2015: Rugby World Cup matches

01 July 2017: IPC World Championships

01 August 2017: IAAF World Athletics Championships

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Our City. Our Domain.

Last week I spotted this advert in the tube.

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This is very exciting news for Londoners because now all local businesses can sign up for this new domain name, as an alternative to .com or It was officially launched on 29th April and London & Partners are pioneering the way.

Not only the new domain name will give local businesses an opportunity to be identified as being located in London or having an association with it, this is also a great promotion and branding tool for the city.

What do you think? Will you change your domain name to .London?