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.

Getting to know: Tinique Hay

Tinique has been at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace for three years now and works as a Venue Sales and Marketing Coordinator. As the first point of contact for all sales enquiries, she plays an important role in engaging prospective clients.

We spoke with Tinique this month to find out how her role has changed over the past year.

How has your role had to adapt over the past 12 months?
Working in events, it’s obviously been a big change adapting to working remotely and conducting virtual show rounds which took quite a few months to adjust to. I am so used to showing wonderful wedding couples and corporate clients around our stunning venue in-person that it’s become a new skill trying to show it off virtually!

What have you found most rewarding about working during the pandemic?
Seeing pure happiness and gratitude from wedding couples and corporate clients after safely delivering their micro-wedding or Hybrid AGM during the pandemic, as our team worked extremely hard to ensure our venue was ready to safely host events as soon as we could.

What have you found most challenging about working during the pandemic?
Having to adapt to constantly changing restrictions in relation to events and not being able to see my amazing team all in the office together!

What type of enquiry gets you instantly excited and why?
I would have to say fashion and exclusive hire enquiries get me most excited, as I love all things fashion, and exclusive hire enables me to tap into my creative and logistical skills!

What’s your favourite thing about Westminster as a destination?
The array of historic landmarks dotted around the borough make it a special place to be and a nice part of London to travel to and from work.

To tap into Tinique’s expertise or enquire about holding your next event at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, get in touch at [email protected].

Behind the Lens: Filming at Westminster’s Finest

Westminster is home to some of London’s most versatile and eclectic venues, offering blank canvases or ready-made stage productions for all manner of filming locations. From beautifully adorned backdrops to set the scene for period dramas, to vast private outdoor spaces to host mock festivals, consider our collection of venues for your next filming project.

Lincoln’s Inn

Dating back to 1422, the 11-acre estate of Lincoln’s Inn, located in the heart of Holborn, offers a wonderful array of historic halls, traditional rooms, beautiful gardens and spacious squares. The diversity of the exterior and interior listed buildings provide a range of choice for your upcoming filming project. The estate is the ideal backdrop for blockbuster films, TV productions and documentaries in need of period surroundings and the Halls and Library are particularly suited to a traditional themed setting. By contrast, the brand-new conference centre offers an interior space for a crowd base or ancillary services as well as a modern day set. Previous productions filmed at Lincoln’s Inn include DC Universe’s 2015 blockbuster ‘Wonder Woman’, the highly acclaimed ‘The Theory of Everything’ and Guy Ritchie’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

If you are interested in filming at Lincoln’s Inn, contact the team at [email protected].

One Great George Street

One Great George Street recently scooped the coveted title of ‘Best Film Location Venue’ at the Prestigious Star Awards. The venue provides an ideal internal setting for feature filming, period dramas and television series. Film and drama-makers love its many features when looking for an impressive historic setting. A variety of spectacular backdrops are ideal for stately film locations and historic television filming areas available. A dedicated event co-ordinator will collaborate with location managers, film production crews, film directors and photographers to suggest the most suitable space in line with the theme and budget. Previous films have included Fast and Furious 6, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason and many BBC television productions.

For more information or to make an enquiry call 020 7665 2323 (option 1), or email  [email protected].

The QEII Centre

Based in the heart of Westminster, The QEII Centre is the largest dedicated conference and events space in Central London. Large spaces include The Churchill and Mountbatten suites, holding up to 1,300 people, while the centre also boasts medium and small spaces to host smaller meetings and events. The venue’s sixth floor has floor to ceiling windows offering stunning views of Westminster and Big Ben and is often used for drinks receptions. QEII is regularly used by film crews looking for flexible space. It featured as one location for the BBC series The Capture in 2019 and has more recently served as one location for political thriller Roadkill starring Hugh Laurie.

For more information, contact the team at +44 20 8078 5752.

IET London: Savoy Place

IET London: Savoy Place carries a timeless grandeur and commanding presence, visible from London’s South Bank as you cross Waterloo Bridge and offers panoramic views over the River Thames from its roof terrace. Extensive space for filming spans four floors with additional outside space in a location easily accessible by rail, tube and river. From Made in Chelsea’s rooftop parties, to the Prime Minister’s political briefings, the venue and its experienced team are well versed in delivering excellence for your filming needs. Its flagship spaces include a dominating lecture theatre hosting up to 450 people and the Riverside Room for 330 people, with vast natural light, London views and optional use of the roof terrace. For more intimate scenes, Savoy Place boasts a characterful Library and a series of smaller meeting rooms.

For more information, get in touch on +44 20 7344 5479.

RIBA

RIBA at 66 Portland Place represents the best of British architecture and is, in places, almost untouched since 1934. The versatile grade II listed building I set across six floors and complemented by unique features, such as its double height entrance hall, showstopping marble staircase, Art Deco detailing and triple height atrium. Florence Hall is an expansive space with etched glass doors, carved stone and patterned flooring, while the RIBA gallery is a modern, blank canvas. RIBA’s stunning Art Deco building has featured in many high-profile films, including Goodbye Christopher Robin, Guerilla, Woman in Gold and The Man from Uncle, as well as TV drama Silent Witness and an advert for luxury vehicle brand Jaguar. The unique architectural detailing is perfect for mid-century modern and contemporary film and photoshoots with ample space to accommodate cast and crew, and as the building is not currently open to the public or staff, it can be very flexible with bookings.

If you’d like to know more, email [email protected].

Regent’s Conferences & Events

Presenting an outdoor space unlike any other in London, Regent’s‘ grounds are encased in landscaped tranquillity, offering four acres of private space where the countryside meets the city. Comprising of pristine lawns and lush foliage, Regent’s creates a magical setting for filming festival scenes, weddings, summer garden parties and period dramas. Inside, Herringham Hall offers high ceilings and tall, arched windows – an impressive space which lends itself brilliantly to dynamic events including launches and parties. The Tuke Common Room is another signature space with original art deco features, wood panelling and views over the lawns. Well-equipped on-site kitchens could also be made available for cooking shows. The campus benefits from the rare advantage of on-site parking in central London, offering plenty of space for filming crew and their vehicles to access.

For more information, get in touch with [email protected] or call +44 20 7487 7540.

116 Pall Mall

116 Pall Mall is a spectacular film and TV location with magnificent Georgian architecture. A Grade I building just moments from iconic London locations, such as Downing Street, Mayfair and Covent Garden, 116 has featured in a wide range of historic moments, TV programmes and films, including Downton Abbey,  Gandhi,  The Dark Knight, Foyle’s War, Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy for President Reagan, Made in Chelsea,  Parks and Recreation and Strike. The building’s luxurious interiors include handsome period features and a wide range of versatile and flexible spaces across five floors.

To make an enquiry, get in touch here.

Church House Westminster

Church House Westminster is located within leafy Dean’s Yard and offers a peaceful setting for filming along with stunning views of Westminster Abbey. The venue offers stylish backdrops which include both intimate rooms as well as large airy spaces. Polished English oak panelling, Art Deco chandeliers, and classically inspired architectural details can be seen throughout the building. Curved corridors and modern staircases accommodate both live-action shoots and still photography. The extensive and versatile film location venue provides 19 event spaces that can easily accommodate wardrobe changes and catering areas. Stunning 360-degree rooftop views across central London from the 7th floor of the film location venue is ideal for news reporting, shooting pieces to camera for interviews and documentaries or photography shoots with iconic London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye as a backdrop.

For more information, call the team on +44 20 7390 1590.

 

 

 

#WestminsterWonderland

While our venue collection may not be celebrating Christmas in true office party style this year, we wanted to bring some festive cheer to our colleagues and clients and ask you to join us for walking in a #WestminsterWonderland.

In a year where things have been far from normal, many of us have taken to the great outdoors for leisure and the benefits of such has been a regular feature of the news since the first lockdown in March. Taking care of one’s physical and mental health is so important, now more so than ever, and we think it’s the perfect excuse to don some winter wear and explore London with a takeaway hot beverage and to revel in the festive lights of the West End.

Along the way, you will pass many venues in our collection and we encourage you to share your pictures by using #WestminsterWonderland.

There is no right or wrong journey to take, that is the beauty of it! So, if you find yourself in one of the below areas in the City of Westminster, take note of the venues you’ll be passing as you take in the magical light displays!

Venues in Marylebone:
Cavendish Conference Centre – Cavendish Venues
Royal Institute of British Architects
Regents Conference & Events

Lights to see near Marylebone:
Marylebone Village
Oxford Street
New Bond Street
Carnaby Street

Venues in Mayfair:
BAFTA Piccadilly
The Lansdowne Club

Lights to see near Mayfair:
Claridge’s
Burlington Arcade
Fortnum & Mason
Regent’s Street

Venues in Covent Garden:
The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn
London Transport Museum
IET: Savoy Place
RSA House
Vue Cinema London – West End (Leicester Square)

Lights to see near Covent Garden:
Trafalgar Square
Seven Dials
The Strand
Embankment towards Southbank

St James’s:
London Library
116 Pall Mall
The Royal Society
{10-11} Carlton House Terrace

Lights to see near St James’s:
Jermyn Street
Waterloo Place
St James’s Market Pavilion

Westminster:
One Great George Street
QEII Centre
Central Hall Westminster
Broadway House
Church House Westminster
Houses of Parliament
110 Rochester Row
Doubletree by Hilton London Westminster

Lights to see near Westminster:
Parliament Square

We’ll be sharing our #WestminsterWonderland on Instagram Stories, so visit our profile to see the latest!

Church House Westminster hosts recent hybrid event to highlight the power of face-to-face conversation

Church House Westminster recently ran a hybrid event to highlight the power of face-to-face conversations.

The keynote speech was delivered by Mark Herring, Founder of Urbano Network, who took to the stage of the Assembly Hall of the Westminster venue. An online audience tuned in to the event which was live streamed utilising the venue’s in-situ audio-visual and event technology, managed by the in-house Audio-Visual team. The talk was followed by an interactive question and answer session. Post event, the AV team edited and produced a professional event video which was made available on-demand online.

Mark Herring commented: “When the initial idea for the event was conceived, I knew it was paramount for me, as the speaker, to attend the venue in-person, as the theme centred on the value of a conversation. We all recognise the possibilities that flow from physically being in an event space, it is after all where we meet new people and explore future collaborations, discuss supply chain and project delivery, sound out new ideas and socialise.

Elana Kruger, Marketing Manager of Church House Westminster, added: “Following the challenges posed by Covid-19, event formats are evolving rapidly to provide more interactive alternatives as the industry prepares itself for larger in-person events. This comes with a huge sigh of relief as we wave goodbye to what has been a strange and awkward overreliance on virtual-only platforms – hence the elephant in the room. Collaborating with Mark on this event, underscores the fact that we are actively planning for an exciting new future of events where we look forward to welcoming back face to face events, safely”.

For more information about hosting an event with Church House Westminster, contact the team on 020 7390 1590.

RSA House delivers its first COVID-secure intimate wedding following latest regulations

Award-winning central London wedding venue RSA House, catering specialists CH&CO and renowned florist Mary Jane Vaughan joined forces to host their first physically distanced wedding.

RSA House practise stringent measures and procedures to prove that an intimate wedding can be carried out safely in-line with all new Covid-19 safety measures, without losing the magic of the day.

The wedding day was held in accordance with safety guidelines established in the ‘Safer events – A Framework for Action’ white paper and Visit Britain accreditations, Westminster council risk assessments and in accordance with public health and government guidance. All guests were sent a personalised RSA House pre-wedding guide and floor plans adhering to household bubbles prior to the wedding day, to help guests feel comfortable and at ease before stepping through the door.

Thorough signage was placed around the venue, including two-metre physical distancing floor markers outside in order to manage queues. Additionally, floor markings and signage in the event spaces and public areas were in place to manage a one-way flow of traffic around the venue. Capacities of the event spaces have been reduced to two metres or one metre where mitigation is in place and all guests were required to wear masks when moving around the venue. During the wedding ceremony, a two-metre distance between the couple and registrars was adhered to. All RSA House event staff have completed COVID-secure training and wore masks, aprons and gloves throughout the day.

The arrival of guests was staggered and digital contactless temperature checks were taken by a member of the RSA reception team and guests sanitised their hands on entry.

After the ceremony, guests were guided outside the beautifully historic exterior of RSA House, for picture-perfect wedding snaps, followed by a canape reception. A call for dinner was announced and guests made their way to the Great Room, steeped in history and providing a spacious and memorable setting for the wedding dining experience.

RSA House has gained the Hire Space ‘Safer Events’ accreditation and Visit England ‘Good to Go’ accreditation. The venue is open to host wedding ceremonies and receptions for up to 15 guests.

RIBA shares why virtual showrounds are more than just a temporary fix

Showrounds and venue visits are a vital part of the decision-making process when it comes to choosing a venue for an event.

Pre Covid-19, RIBA were hosting on average 25 face-to-face showrounds per month, with a conversion rate of 62%. However, when when the venue had to close its doors in March, the team worked hard (and quickly) to create a virtual tour to ensure potential clients could still have access to RIBA at 66 Portland Place so they could see for themselves exactly what the venue has to offer.

For many clients and agents, still images or brochures are just not enough to give a feel for the space or to imagine what could be achieved. Virtual tours and showrounds provide the perfect alternative to navigate event bookings during Covid-19, enabling clients to see the spaces first-hand and understand how they could work for their next event. But, as with a physical showround, it’s important you get the most out of your hour in the venue with the event manager, so RIBA have put together some top tips on what to consider:

  • Send over your brief for the event prior to the showround. If the event manager knows the type of set up, you require, they can send supplementary images of similar event setups or even ‘mock’ up the seating arrangement for you to see during the virtual tour
  • Highlight any of the specific spaces you’ve seen online or in the brochure that you think might work for your event and ask the event manager to walk you around the entire space so you can get a feel for the size of the room, as well as seeing any of its unique features up close as you consider theming and décor options.
  • Ask if you can be taken through the delegate journey as they would experience on the day so you can see how guests will be greeted on the day, as well as the route they will take as they head to the event space
  • Ask lots of questions! Use the opportunity to ask the event manager about previous events that have been hosted there and how the space was transformed, as well as any quirky facts about the venue and of course, the Covid compliant procedures that will be in place
  • See if it is possible to speak to the catering team or any specific suppliers on the same virtual tour so you can understand the options available if you were to go ahead and host your event at the venue
  • Ask about additional collateral that you can view post-tour such as brochures, videos, images of previous event setups etc. to help you make a final decision
  • Don’t be shy about asking for another virtual showround or tour if you have more questions or want to see the space again!

Virtual showounds may have been an enforced strategy for many, but they’ve become a mainstay and there are so many benefits of being able to view a venue virtually from your desk as we navigate the new ‘normal’ of events.

Well-read: Westminster Venue Collection highlights literary connections in celebration of World Book Day

Westminster Venue Collection reveals it’s a hotbed of literary interest in celebration of World Book Day.

To coincide with the international celebration on 5 March, some of the marketing consortium’s 33 venues tell their own stories of these special connections, which include The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S Lewis, James Bond creator Ian Fleming and poets Sylvia Plath and Andrew Motion.

Regent’s Conferences & Events at Regent’s University London and poet Sylvia Plath

American poet Sylvia Plath was a frequent visitor to Regent’s Park when she lived in Primrose Hill following her marriage to British poet Ted Hughes in 1956. Her visits to Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, situated immediately opposite Regent’s Conference and Events, inspired the creation of a poem with the same name, which appears in the notes section of her Collected Poems.

Regent’s University London offers a range of meeting and function rooms alongside multiple outdoor spaces in 11 acres of private grounds within Regent’s Park. Rooms include the Tuke Theatre with room for 370 delegates; The Refectory with dining facilities for 200 and Herringham Hall for meetings of 120.

St Martin in the Fields and poet Andrew Motion

Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion wrote a poem to mark the completion of St Martin’s renewal project, which took place between 2006 and 2008. The verse is inscribed on the railings of The Lightwell and says:

Your stepping inwards from the air to earth

Winds round itself to meet the open sky

So vanishing becomes a second birth.

Fare well. Return. Fare well. Return again.

Here home and elsewhere share one mystery.

Here love and conscience sing the same refrain.

Here time leaps up. And strikes eternity

St Martin’s in the Fields, on the north east corner of Trafalgar Square, has two conference spaces:  The Crypt and the Gallery and three meeting rooms.

10-11 Carlton House Terrace and C.S Lewis

10-11 Carlton House Terrace, once the former residence of Prime Minister William Gladstone, is home to The British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences. The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S Lewis was made a Fellow of The British Academy in 1955 (although The British Academy was not headquartered at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace at this point).

10-11 Carlton House Terrace can hold conferences, board meetings, training events seminars, lectures, private dining events and weddings for between 10 and 500 people.

116 Pall Mall and Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was a regular visitor to this prestigious address during World War II when it was known as the United Service Club. Fleming, who wrote 12 novels and two collections of short stories, served in the Naval Intelligence Division as Lieutenant Commander RNVR and is said to have had lunch in the dining room every week.

116 Pall Mall, designed by renowned architect John Nash, offers five floors of entertaining space and can accommodate 10-1,000 guests. The space available to hire includes subterranean brick vaulted wine bar, the grand dining room with views over Pall Mall, and two floors of modern conference/meeting suites, boasting state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

Church House Westminster unveils Justice for Lai Dai Han statue

Church House Westminster welcomed Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Nadia Murad, among other distinguished guests at a reception for ‘Justice for Lai Dai Han’, organised by Dods Events.

The event took place in the venue’s Harvey Goodwin Suite on 11 June 2019 and culminated in the unveiling of a statue to honour all victims of sexual violence.

The “Mother and Child” statue, designed by Rebecca Hawkins, will serve as a beacon of hope to all victims of sexual violence around the world. It depicts a mother and child with different roots trapped by a Strangler Fig tree, a plant native to Vietnam, with branches wrapping around them.

The event, which was to raise awareness of the widespread nature of sexual violence in global conflicts, was attended by the chair of the Vietnam All Party Parliamentary Group, Wayne David MP and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.

The evening included personal speeches from victims of sexual violence in conflict, as well as campaigners, bringing together all those concerned into a discussion about the fight to end sexual violence in conflict.

Sculpture artist Rebecca Hawkins said: “I hope that this statue helps raise awareness for this important campaign and gives the women and children the justice and closure that they need. Being part of this campaign and meeting these brave and courageous women has been the honour of a lifetime and I urge everyone to hear their story.”

During her speech, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Nadia Murad, said: “Today’s event helps to bring awareness to the plight of the Vietnamese victims of sexual violence as they seek recognition and justice. I am proud to stand up for all victims of sexual violence around the world.”

Find out more about the types of events that are held at Church House Westminster, here.

116 Pall Mall plays host to series of yoga classes

116 Pall Mall is stepping away from its historic roots and living up to its versatile reputation by hosting a series of yoga classes throughout July.

Taking place in The Waterloo Room and The Burton Room, yoga company And Happenings Yoga has hired 116 Pall Mall to launch a series of classes, with the next class on Monday 8 July.

Nicola Easom, head of business development, said: “We love taking on events like this. You would never associate a historic building like ours with running yoga classes, but our spectacular rooms and features provide an unusual backdrop that companies like these are looking for, to set their events apart from the competition.

“We’re also big advocates of supporting small businesses and start-ups like this and we’re expecting these classes to extend into September and October.”

Book a revitalising yoga class at 116 Pall Mall here.