QEII cartoon series injects humour into re-opening campaign

The QEII Centre has created a humorous cartoon series to help ease the business meetings and events sector back into live events and celebrate the joy of meeting face-to-face once again.

The leading conference and events venue commissioned cartoonist Will Kevans to create the exclusive comic strip, which takes a light-hearted view of re-integration to ‘normal life’ within the industry when all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

During the last 18 months, much of the conference, meetings and events industry has skilfully transitioned live events to the virtual space.

However, after several months of conducting life through screens, many of us are suffering with ‘virtual fatigue’ and are keen to see the return of in-person events.

Nevertheless, returning to live events after conducting meetings from our desks and living under restrictions such as social distancing for so long, could understandably be a challenge for many of us.

Diane Waldron, director of sales and marketing at The QEII Centre, said: “The business meetings and events industry has done a phenomenal job over the last 18 months despite most face-to-face events not being able to go ahead.

“Now, with restrictions set to lift I think we are all excited to be able to set plans in motion for in-person meetings and events, but after such a long time living under restrictions there will undoubtedly be some trepidation about re-integrating ourselves back into the normal world and meeting face-to-face again.

“As we began to discuss our re-opening plans for The QEII Centre, we started thinking about the questions event professionals might have about in-person meetings this side of the pandemic: How should we greet one-another, what should we wear, would we remember how to hold a conversation without having access to a mute button?

“Many of the answers to these questions threw up some scenarios with amusing consequences so we decided to translate them into cartoons for the industry to enjoy.

“The QEII team is excited to host meetings and events and is ready to welcome delegates back in a safe and secure way. We want to allay any concerns clients and delegates might be having about returning and will always take these seriously, but we hope these humorous cartoons will help us face them with a smile.”

The cartoon series will be posted on The QEII’s Twitter (@QEIICentre) LinkedIn (and Instagram (@qeiicentre) feeds over the next week.

IET shares insights on why high-tech venues are needed more than ever

Due to the unprecedented global pandemic, event professionals have had to drastically re-think the way they host events and speed up the way they use technology.

While we were all eagerly awaiting the return of physical events, hybrid events nevertheless became a staple in the event calendar throughout 2020 and 2021, and people have now had a chance to experience the convenience of dialling into an event from home. Therefore, this dual physical and virtual option will no doubt become an expectation that delegates will expect to see when receiving an event invite.

Whether an event is fully in-person or hybrid, no one wants their high-class event to be ruined by a buffering Zoom video or an unstable internet connection, so stand-out technology is key to ensure a smoothly run event. As a result, high-tech venues have become extremely important for event planners.

Here are our top three reasons why a high-tech venue is needed now more than ever.

Hybrid events are not going anywhere

Hybrid events are here to stay, but they rely heavily on technology and, as with anything new or unfamiliar, can be very daunting, especially when you want to positively represent your brand. Therefore, hosting your event at a venue that has amazing AV facilities will not only enhance your virtual element but will also add a sense of professionalism.

At Savoy Place, whether you are wanting to host a large conference or a small webinar, their inbuilt AV facilities in every space, from their lecture theatres to their board rooms, will position your event at the forefront of digital innovation, ensuring you have the tech and know-how on-site to help your event run smoothly.

To help take some of the stress out of planning your event, IET Venues have in-house AV and broadcasting teams, all of whom are experts in their fields, so you can rest assured knowing AV is one less area of your event to worry about.

With a full range of broadcast solutions, their dedicated teams have the ability to stream or record your event and distribute the content live or on-demand, all the while delivering expert solutions and fulfilling your technical needs. They also have 50MB Wi-Fi that guests can use for free and will ensure there is no buffering in sight!

High spec tech

Even though we can see a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, many event planners will still be cautious in hosting events at full capacity and will continue to expect some social distancing and reduced capacities.

As a result, tech in venues that allows you to communicate or sync to different parts of the venue will be hugely beneficial as this will allow more delegates to experience the same event while being spread out within the venue.

For example, the Kelvin Lecture Theatre and the Turing Lecture Theatre can be linked with both video and sound which allows event planners to increase capacity across both rooms without any attendees missing out! There is also the opportunity to set-up a two-way link to the Riverside Room.

Their Riverside Room not only boasts amazing views over Westminster but has state-of-the-art AV facilities including video walls, PTZ cameras and video mapping software. This means no matter where your delegates are, either in the room or tuning in from home, the PTZ cameras provide the perfect view of your speaker or presenter, as these cameras film from any angle and is then displayed on the video walls and screens across the length of the room.

Screens throughout the Riverside Room also allow for digital branding, ensuring less printed materials and therefore fewer touchpoints for guests.

Going the distance

This year has prompted more collaboration than ever – brands partnering up, businesses working together, even venues working across different campuses to account for reduced capacities.

For event planners with delegates across the country, it can be useful to have two venues that can link up and seamlessly talk to each other. At IET Venues, we can link your delegates from the Midlands at IET Birmingham: Austin Court with delegates based in London at Savoy Place.

This allows reduced capacities at each venue, while still enabling the standard high number of delegates to enjoy your event. Additionally, for delegates nervous about travelling, this negates the need to travel as far for an event.

IET Venues are the home of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and have an extensive technological history; they have always maintained the forefront of technical advances and are fortunate to have our top-of-the-range AV systems in place before the widespread necessity for virtual events. As a result, their high-tech venues will have an even bigger impact on your event than ever before.

The best of Westminster wedding venues

Venues and engaged couples alike are welcoming the latest news on the lifting of restrictions on weddings just in time to celebrate the glorious summer wedding spaces on offer.

As of the 21 June, the guest limit of 30 people has been relaxed, and wedding attendee numbers can now reflect the safe capacity of the venue. To celebrate this exciting change in the wedding sector, we have compiled a round-up of the very best summer wedding venues that Westminster has to offer.

 

Regent’s Conferences & Events

A summer wedding at Regent’s Conferences & Events is everything you’d expect and more. The ivy-covered Edwardian venue becomes embellished in an iconic wisteria in the early summer months with a spectacular splash of purple against the vibrant greenery. The longer, lighter days mean guests are able to make more use of the versatile grounds into early evening. From Aperitivo style dining to buffets, BBQs or more traditional fine dining, the summer catering options at Regent’s are endless. The requirements for social distancing are made much easier with the expansive outside space available on four acres of landscaped gardens. Optional marquee use for large outdoor weddings on the lawns mean the benefits of summer onsite are unaffected if the weather doesn’t entirely play ball.

“Honestly I am so overwhelmed with gratitude for all that you did for us. The venue was stunning, the food was amazing (everyone raved about it) and your staff were hands down the best. They were so friendly and helpful and everyone gave a special mention to Kieron behind the bar and how lovely he was. I was completely blown away with everything and couldn’t stop smiling all day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My mother-in-law said it was the best day of her life and that her wishes came true with it all and seeing as her time her with us is limited, that in itself is priceless so thank you for helping to make her dream come true. Everyone from young to old had a brilliant time and I honestly cannot thank you enough.” June 2021 wedding.
For more information on wedding packages, contact Regent’s here: https://regentsevents.co.uk/contact-us/

 

116 Pall Mall

116 Pall Mall is a popular wedding venue in the heart of St James’s and with the added bonus of the beautiful, secluded Waterloo Gardens and Terrace that leads directly from the Carlton Room, it makes the ideal summer wedding venue. 116 has hosted a number of micro weddings over the last year due to the restrictions, but this hasn’t made the day any less special. This was a testimonial from a recent couple:

‘The staff were absolutely brilliant and provided such calm to the whole planning process, especially during a pandemic & while living in a different country. It truly felt like we had a partner through the whole process who wanted us to have the most wonderful wedding. Our wedding was simply stunning & absolutely magical. The venue is breath-taking, so stunning (as is the surrounding London area!) and the staff were professional & extremely helpful.’ Jack & Erica Foley

 View the wedding packages here

 

Church House Westminster

The beautiful architecture of Church House Westminster creates the perfect setting for any dream wedding and guarantees an unforgettably captivating celebration.

For a unique twist, Church House suggests a 1920s themed wedding, incorporating stylish elements of the Roaring Twenties such as the stylish black, white and gold colour scheme of the Art Deco craze. There are so many sources of inspiration for dressing your venue when planning a 1920s themed wedding: why not have a cocktail bar for your pre-dinner drinks? Classic cocktails of the era include the sidecar, the Tom Collins, and of course, the gin fizz. When it comes to music, there’s simply nothing like a live jazz band if you’re looking to recreate the authentic style of those great New York parties. Church House works with happy couples to provide bespoke details including menu and decoration to create a beautiful, distinctive wedding.

Find out more about weddings at Church House here: https://churchhouseconf.co.uk/contact-us/

 

Lincoln’s Inn

Set within an eleven-acre estate; a tranquil enclave through the ages, Lincoln’s Inn provides a delightful backdrop for summer weddings, and it was with great anticipation we welcomed back our first intimate wedding in June.

“We honestly had the best day and can’t thank the staff enough for all the effort put into making it such a special occasion. We were saying recently that the wedding day we ended up having due to the restrictions was actually better than the one we had originally planned. To be able to have the blessing ceremony outside and make use of the Members Common Room was better than anything we could have imagined, so thank you again for making it possible.” Camilla, Bride.

With a variety of internal and external spaces now licensed for civil ceremonies, we look forward to turning those long-awaited dreams of the perfect celebration into reality.

Please contact the Events Team on [email protected] to discuss your 2021 or 2022 wedding.

 

For a full list of Westminster wedding venues: https://www.venues-london.co.uk/venue-collection/weddings/

Regent’s Conferences & Events opens for unique summer parties

The sweeping gardens at Regent’s Conferences & Events are an oasis of tranquillity in the bustling city, and offers four acres of landscaped lawns for summer events of up to 1,200 guests, with a stunning marquee available from May to September.

This magical outdoor event space nestled in beautiful Regent’s Park, filled with lush foliage, shrubs, flowers, and trees, is the perfect venue to hire for any kind of summer party.

Regent’s are flexible and accommodating for any and all requirements to create the perfect summer party from entertainment to catering. Innovative and modern menus include a range of street food stalls with choices ranging from a New York Dirty Mac Bar and a slider bun bar to a Traditional Hog Roast, and even an ice-cream trike.

Meanwhile, the sheer amount of outdoor space at York Lawns means event organisers can make the most of entertainment and games for their summer garden party when they hire the outdoor venue. From croquet and giant inflatables, to live music and archery, they have a huge range of options that will guarantee guests an event to remember for years to come.

For more information, contact Regent’s here: https://regentsevents.co.uk/contact-us/

Broadway House expands offering with new event space

Make Venues has announced the opening of a new 238 sqm floor of meeting, training and conference space at its Broadway House property in Westminster, London. The event space opening marks the latest round of investments in the business’s facilities, that has also included a portfolio-wide upgrade in hybrid meeting technology.

Make Venues has proactively invested in both its people and its product throughout the pandemic, ensuring that its venues return to market future fit from both a facilities and service perspective. The new event space in Broadway House means the property now offers five floors of professional, contemporary and brand new space for event organisers, available now, as the London market looks to continue its bounce back.

“We set out stall out really early in the pandemic that we needed to emerge from it a stronger, better business and that we would need to invest in our people and our product at a time when many others were cutting,” commented David Vaughton, Managing Director, Make Venues. “The new space in Broadway House marks a real return for our property, but also the London market, which is really motoring now and needs new options from established brands like ours.”

Meanwhile, the business has already seen commercial returns from its hybrid investment, with a growing amount of meetings taking place across the group, now including a hybrid option for delegates.

“We tried to keep as many of our people in place as possible throughout the pandemic so that we had an experienced team ready to go when the market returned,” concluded David. “Because of this, we’ve now got really sharp people offering great service at a time when our customers need us the most.”

10-11 Carlton House Terrace showcases idyllic summer party venue

Hidden away in the heart of Westminster is an unbeatable private summer party venue in London.

Enjoy one of 10-11 Carlton House Terrace’s fresh summer party packages in your own leafy oasis. Relax and unwind with garden games, refreshments and a delicious summer feast whilst enjoying the surrounding beauty of St James’s from your own private gated garden.

The venue identifies food and drink as key elements to the success of a client event and its catering partner Searcys have carefully crafted ideal seasonal menus to suit the garden space that celebrate local, fresh and seasonal British produce.

RIBA at 66 Portland Place extends summer party offerings to 2022

With the news that the easing of lockdown has been delayed by at least another four weeks, the team at RIBA at 66 Portland Place has made the decision to run its popular ‘Build your Own’ summer party package again next year.

If you’re still hoping for a last-minute summer party this year, there is some availability for August and September if Government restrictions allow, and the team are also now taking bookings for this package for 2022, giving you even more time to plan a summer party to end all summer parties!

To celebrate the summer, and hopefully restriction-free events on the horizon (fingers crossed!), the 66 Portland Place team have been back at the venue working on a special summer-themed drop. RIBA branded lolly moulds complete with specially created cocktail and mocktail recipes from catering partner CH&CO were delivered to the doorsteps of key clients this week – just in time for the return of some sunny weather!

If you’d like to enquire about a summer party at 66 Portland Place this year or next, please email [email protected]

Demand grows for summer parties on the Terrace at 116 Pall Mall

116 Pall Mall has seen a growing demand for summer parties and outdoor events this summer, with bookings for their Terrace on the rise even amid the pandemic.

With the Carlton Room at 116 Pall Mall opening out onto the secluded Waterloo Gardens and Terrace, this green space is a rarity in such a central location and is clearly proving popular with those wanting to host events once restrictions are lifted this summer.

Kate Dean, Marketing Manager at 116 Pall Mall said “It’s no surprise that event bookers are keen to get back out there and plan real life, in-person events. The pandemic has impacted events and meetings in both social and corporate settings which has changed the way we work and socialise.

“With the ‘freedom’ carrot being dangled before us by the government, planners have inevitably been preparing for face-to-face gatherings for months, and now this date has been moved back to the 19 July, there is of course going to be a further backlog of events.

 

Church House hosts the Count On Us maths tournament finals

Church House Westminster hosted the finals of the Count on Us Primary Challenge and the Jack Petchey Foundation Count on Us Secondary Challenge on the 29th of June and 1st of July 2021 respectively.

Count on Us is a Mayor’s Fund for London programme for primary and secondary schools. The Challenge is an exciting pan-London maths tournament that improves confidence and attitude by engaging young people in a range of maths activities designed to challenge, motivate, and inspire while developing curriculum-based maths skills.

The unique programme, with its focus on teamwork and collaboration, was run in classrooms and clubs across London’s schools, even during the period of school closures. The activities were developed in partnership with The Maths Zone, an education consultancy, and are in line with the new National Curriculum.

Good numeracy is an effective protective factor against unemployment, low wages and wider societal problems, including poor health. It is feared that the pandemic has pushed young people into a dark age of declining social mobility due to rising economic and educational inequalities. This ‘Covid generation’ faces significant learning losses as a result of prolonged school closures and must quickly fight against time to catch up, particularly in core subjects like maths.

Getting to know: Mark Green

Mark has been at The QEII Centre, one of London’s largest dedicated event venues, for almost six years and is working as the UK Business Development Manager. We spoke with Mark this month to find out how his role has changed over the past year.

While the last year or so has been extremely challenging particularly for the business meetings and events industry, what do you personally see as the positives to come out of the pandemic?
I’d say my skills in engaging with people via video calls as this has been one of the more significant changes to interacting with people. In the early phases it felt so awkward and unnatural to me, with me feeling overly self-conscious too. Now, I’ve learned to relax into it and make the most of the one-on-one direct way of meeting.

What lured you to work within the business meetings and events industry and what do you love about it most?
I’ve always loved doing business with people. Many, many moons ago I worked as a kitchen designer where I’d have meetings with clients to help bring their dream (kitchen) to life. Being a pivotal contributor to something like that and then seeing reactions was amazing, with the additional reward of winning a client for life, so to speak, as well as seeing the tangible results at the end. Being in the events industry shares a lot of parallels, but on a much larger scale and it’s a wonderful feeling to see an event brought to life and have a client delighted to have put their trust into me and my team.

What excites you most about the return to live physical events?
I’m truly a people person at heart and I love nothing better than meeting and interacting with people face-to-face, catching up, doing business, sharing stories, everything! I’m so looking forward to meeting new clients, existing clients, other venues and getting back to the pre-lockdown style of doing business.

Do you have a favourite type of event, and if so, why?
Good question. I’m a great fan of all types of events, but when The QEII Centre has hosted super high-profile types of events such as the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) which we had in 2018, we have royalty in attendance at the centre, ROYALTY – now that’s exciting. These types of events really make you feel part of something special.  I’m also a massive fan of technology events. I’m a closet nerd you’ll be surprised to learn and events where new and emerging technologies are launched and presented in detail are really interesting for me.

If you had one message to give to any hesitant event planners, what would it be?
Event Planners who are hesitating to confirm events can rest assured that the QEII Centre has invested in the very best hygiene and infection safety protocols and accreditations to ensure that our venue is fully Covid-Compliant and has systems in place to keep delegates, organisers, staff and indeed every person visiting the venue, safe. One of the many measures we are taking, for example, can be seen in our cloakroom facilities. We understand that delegates may need to travel with luggage, coats etc. so when checking those items in at the centre, we carefully and individually seal their items in biodegradable packaging so as to ensure zero contact with anyone or anything until the owner is ready to collect.

Why is Westminster the ultimate destination for events?
Westminster is the ultimate destination for events, as with the backdrop of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, event attendees are left in no doubt that they are somewhere historically special and that they are right in the heart of London. Even after a client’s event, the images taken with the stunning aforementioned landmarks make it a highly attractive destination for both UK and international event organisers. Keep an eye out for a video I will be releasing soon showing off these landmarks on my way to the QEII Centre.