Who doesn’t love flowers? I mean we work in a very creative industry and when styling our events, the florals can either make or break your event. I would say it’s one of my favourite parts of our roles, being able to work with an amazing florist to bring your vision to life!
On Monday morning we had the pleasure of having one of this months networking events at Pinstripes and Peonies whom are based in the New Covent Garden Flower Market. I’ve always wanted to go to the market and have worked with Rouri before at Pinstripes & Peonies so I knew our members would love them and the morning Rouri had prepared for them.
Despite the rain we all arrived to their warehouse (which is in the flower market) to meet the team and over coffee with some pretty amazing pastries (please send me the name of that bakery Rouri) before being taken on a tour of the market. I like to think we all know our craft well but I fear not nearly as well as Rouri knows flowers. Creative Director Ruari leads the team which has over 40 years combined experience. Having studied law at university and then training as a chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche, we are delighted that Ruari found his natural talent in floristry and his passion and talent for his craft is evident. We learnt all about the best flowers for the seasons, what to look for when buying flowers for ourselves and the most important thing we learnt is that a long lead time means better flowers! Seriously and I am so guilty of this, giving them a weeks’ notice is not doing my event any favours in sourcing and sometimes growing the best flowers for my event so if I take only one thing away from our event, it's this.
One of the reasons I love Pinstripes & Peonies is their approach to philanthropy and sustainability. They have been supporting Floral Angels since 2003. If you have yet to hear about Floral Angles they are amazing. They work to donate all the flowers us event managers do not have use for after our events to worthy beneficiaries like homeless shelters and care homes. It really does make you happy to know all those beautiful flowers aren’t being wasted and they are also in the same warehouse as Pinstripes & Peonies which makes it even easier to suppor them.
After the tour it was back to the workshop for a flower making masterclass which was up there with one of the best things I’ve done. Given expert instruction by the in-house florist, we then had the opportunity to build our arrangements step by step! I loved it, you really switch off and am seriously so proud of what we created. They have pride of place on my dining table at home and I had some lovely compliments carrying them on the tube on the way home.
We said our thankyous (wish I’d nicked more pastries) and made our way to the office by 10.30, arrangements in tow ready to proudly show off our creative flair.
Pinstripes & Peonies are accredited at some pretty fabulous venues and can also work outside of London, you can contact the team here!
The date for the introduction of the new GDPR legislation from 25 May is becoming quite imminent. When it first came to light last year we are pretty sure we were not the only ones didn’t fully appreciate the gravity of the new laws or think about how they would affect our roles. How wrong were we and evidently a lot of other fellow event mangers too as in the last few months, the introduction of the GDPR Legislation is a hot topic at any of the networking events we attend not just buyer side but supplier side too. Now, we are clued up and ready to go but you can always learn more right?
If you have been living under a rock and still think I am talking about Gross Domestic Product (but not sure what the R stands for), let me give you a brief overview. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is specific to the 28 EU member states centring around the way members have their data handled and more importantly, the way it is used and stored.
For us Event Managers, we are privy to a whole range of personal data and share this data with third parties almost daily. The more data we have on our guests and attendees the better, more tailored and personalised event experience, right? We share everything from passport details with travel agencies to sharing dietary reports with restaurants, hotels and venues and we share personal information on those all important rooming lists. All of this is part of our role so, it will affect us and quite a lot. If all of that isn’t scary, what about the actual way all that data is stored and what do you do if you feel you have a breech?
Eventogy are hosting a seminar on 3 May with a panel of speakers whom, we hope, will help answer some of these questions followed by a drinks and canapé reception to be able to share what we have learned with each other. You can register for the seminar via the link below.
From feeling like a Princess for the night by staying in Leeds Castle for our March FAM to being in the Royal Suite at the Savoy – our group gets to experience so many amazing things!
The Savoy is one of those iconic hotels in London but surprisingly many of our guests had not been before which gave our hosts, Julia and Alex, the perfect opportunity to showcase the beautiful event spaces.
We started off the evening our favourite way – with a glass of bubbles in the Knight's Bar at Simpson's in the Strand which is one of the oldest restaurants in London and is very much part of the Savoy family. The restaurant opened in 1828 originally as a chess club for men only – much to our surprise (and shock) women were only allowed in the restaurant in the 1950s! As well as being a restaurant, Simpson's has two event spaces on the first floor, capacities can be found here.
It was then off to the Savoy….after walking up the glamourous driveway we were whisked into the stunning lobby and introduced to the most famous cat in London – Kaspar! Kaspar is sadly not a real cat but a sculpture who, for the past 90 years, has joined dining parties to make up groups of thirteen to avoid the unlucky number of 13 – he joins with a napkin round his neck and a full place setting ready to enjoy dinner! The hotel has lots of great stories to tell, if you have delegates who love history you can actually arrange for a tour of the hotel with an historian who will tell all the wonderful stories of the hotel.
We didn't let Kaspar steal the show though – talking of shows did you know the Savoy has its own theatre??! There are 11 event spaces at the hotel with capacities ranging from 10 – 800 delegates, each room is beautifully decorated and has a unique feel, our favourite rooms are the Lancaster Ballroom and the River Rooms. Full information on each meeting/private dining space can be found here. A great feature is that there is a private entrance on the river side of the hotel which is ideal when you are holding a large event at the hotel. For those looking for unique experiences for your delegates, the hotel has an in-house florist who is able to offer flower arrangement classes, the pastry chefs are able to offer chocolate making classes and the mixologists from the world's best bar – the American bar – can also offer cocktail making classes! The hotel is super flexible with respect to whether you would prefer a room hire rate, a day delegate rate etc.
After exploring the hotel, we had worked up quite an appetite so off we went to eat, drink and chat – before doing so we checked out the first electric lift to have been placed in a British hotel (which has a seat in for ladies in case they found the experience scary – we, of course, had to take a picture of us all in the lift!). We were all laughing from the photo that we did not quite realise where Julia and Alex were taking us until we stepped into the grand double doors and realised we were in the ROYAL SUITE!!! After exploring the suite (i.e. running around with lots "wow, have you seen this!?" comments – the Instagram stories were on fire!), we all enjoyed a private cocktail masterclass from one of the lovely mixologists from the American Bar and tucked into some delicious canapes – the tuna tartare was amazing!!!
We finished off the evening with our very own Eventprofslive cake – we were in heaven in the Royal Suite and certainly didn't want to leave, we were made to feel so welcome by our hosts and all the staff members who looked after us.
Our group had a fabulous evening at the Savoy, we can't wait to return! Any events related queries reach out to Julia Mastrogiannaki who will look after you wonderfully – let her know we sent you J
Who doesn't want to stay in "the loveliest castle in the world", I mean seriously, if you received an invitation to attend an event there could you say no? We certainly couldn't and last Friday our March FAM was held at Leeds Castle which really is, the loveliest castle in the world.
Leeds Castle is not in Leeds (as most of us originally thought) , it is in Maidstone Kent and just 50 minutes from London Victoria. Our FAM started with a fabulous afternoon tea in the Maidens Tower Long Gallery where we caught up with the Leeds Castle team, Meet Beyond London and Conference Maidstone. After a brief intro it was off outside for a bit of falconry and to meet the stars of Leeds Castle, the birds! There are five different experiences that you can incorporate into your event, we loved it (especially the Owls) and you can read more about it here.
After meeting the birds it was time to check-in and have a bit of leisure time to enjoy our stunning rooms. Each of The Castle State Rooms have their own stories. As you can imagine the Castle is steeped in history and it was so fascinating to read about what our room had been in the past two hundred years and more importantly... who had slept there. Apart from being stunning in decoration, the beds where out of this world comfortable. I don't know if I am getting old but I literally sat on mine, sunk into it and nodded off. They are the most comfortable beds ever.
Our group then met in the Library for a welcome drink before a full tour of the castle to learn all about its history. The castle's most famous owner was of course King Henry VIII and you can read more about all the fascinating history here.
After the tour it was off for a fabulous dinner in the Dining Room where we got to know our hosts and dined on asparagus tart, duck and cake for pudding. It really was a lovely evening! A few of us had a nightcap and then it was off to those comfy beds. Up early for breakfast and a morning to explore the grounds before heading back to London!
When holding your corporate event at Leeds Castle, there are three types of accommodation available. The Castle State Rooms (eight in total) which consists of eight charming rooms, many of which offering breath-taking views over the moat. The castle bedrooms (seven in total) are styled around members of the housekeeping staff during the 1920s and a further 17 bedrooms are available in Stable Courtyard, just a few minutes walk away from the Castle Island. The Maiden's Tower, on the Castle Island, has five en-suite bedrooms offering complete luxury for the hosts and their guests. Currently the 24 hour rate is only £245 plus vat which is amazing when you consider the experience you are giving your delegates.
In terms of activity options, you are spoilt for choice. Just a short drive away you have Go Ape which is one of the best team building activities around. You have golf, falconry and Segways as well and can bring anything in (within reason).
We loved our FAM to Leeds Castle and feel so privleged to be able to showcase all these amaging hotels, venues and spaces that would work so well for corporates both in and around London.
If you would like any more information on Leeds Castle or to host one of our corporate FAM tips or events, drop us a line.
As an event manager, making sure your content is seen on Instagram to me, is so much more important than letting my friends see my #fitspo or #getinmybelly posts. Posts used to be seen chronologically however with the 2018 Instagram Algorithm change some reports suggest that only 10% of your audience is seeing your posts. The new algorithm works on post engagement so how many likes, comments and general interaction your post is getting. By lots of interaction, Instagram determines that this post is engaging and thus more people will want to see it. Basically if those initial 10% engage, then the other 90% may see it. So, although my post is probably now two months old for those that stay on top of #eventtech changes for those that still need help, here are my top two tips to try and beat that algorithm.
Hashtags – I always thought loads of hashtags gave you more chance of being noticed by anyone searching for any of the 30 hashtags that Instagram allowed… This is wrong. Apparently less is more and a couple of hashtags specific to the niche you are targeting will suffice. Instagram will see you less like a spammer and this may get more of your stuff seen. Lots of hashtags also makes you look like you are just posting to get likes when instead, you should be sharing your posts with people who are genuinely interested in your content.
In events we are lucky we have #eventprofs, #eventplanner and #eventtech which are of most interest to me. In theory, using these three with one of two in addition (#sitevisit #comeflywithme #production) depending on what I want people to engage on may be enough.
I have all my hashtags saved in my notepad and then copy and paste them into a post depending on the content. I keep them specific to travel posts and site visit posts, catering and food posts and general event planning posts.
Comments – try and comment and respond to your comments as quick as possible. I know this is not always ideal but to keep the momentum going it is suggested you shouldn’t really be leaving it more than an hour to respond to a comment.
Another way to boost engagement on your posts via comments is to use comments that provide a call to action. Ask a questions to start an engaging conversation but make sure they are relevant to the post. In events we could ask questions on catering, perhaps comparing two dishes, side by side at a tasting and asking for user preference to production/set design!
There is a great read here from Hootsuite that will give you more tips on how to write fabulous, engaging comments.
That’s my top two tips – let me know how you get on!
Michelle Rees is a Events Advisor for a London Law Firm
Kate is a Events Manager for a London Law Firm