Oct 21st 2015

How to invest wisely in new technology for corporate events

Digital technology has revolutionised the options open to corporate event planners. So, it’s not surprising that many feel a little bamboozled by the latest trends on offer. When you are investing in new technology you want to make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. And, when I’m advising clients, there is only one reason that counts: it adds value to your event.

When making a choice whether or not to use technology, always keep the purpose of your meeting or event in mind. Choose technology that is easy to use and encourages the highest level of engagement. Here are some examples:

Free wifi

Most delegates expect this as standard now. Whatever else you are planning, enabling people to get connected online quickly and at no cost is a MUST.

Wireless charging points

This means exactly what it says, that clients can charge mobile devices without the need for plugs or wires. Installing this technology on bars and tables is likely to be welcomed by guests, but at the moment it is a bonus rather than an essential but that will change soon – so get ahead.

Social networking

Think about social media not simply as a means to get your message out there but about building relationships with clients and prospective clients. Setting up familiar social networking tools such as a Facebook page and Twitter hashtag is not simply about you posting headlines from your event, it is about getting delegates involved in the discussion, so that even if they can’t be on the platform their opinion can be heard all the same. These simple technologies are also easy ways to extend the reach of your event beyond those present on the day.

Mobile event apps

These are more costly and the size of your event will help you to decide if this is the right investment for you. For large conferences and events, it is an investment that can save a lot of time and in many cases money too. Creating a bespoke app allows you to make the most of guests’ smart phone and tablet technologies, creating a central source for any information about the event, which can be easily updated. Apps can provide a safe and central online space to share information and connect with other delegates. It can be a place to access relevant materials after the event, such as video playback of key speeches or product launches, and can also be used as an additional platform for sponsors to advertise relevant products and services.   There are also some fabulous survey apps that allow clients to survey delegates regarding workshop topics ahead of a conference.  And for charity events, new apps that allow online bidding in your charity auction to take place before the dinner is served.

 

 

Great advances.

Live streaming

At one time the audience for conference presentations was limited to whoever could get a ticket to be in the room. Many events now reach a global audience through live video or audio streaming. You may get back the money you invest in this technology from delegates who pay to sign up for this virtual access. Recording your presentations in this way also provides a way for the content to live on after the event, enabling you to get your message out to the widest possible audience.

Audience Response Systems

These are a great option for large conferences when speakers want to get an immediate response from audience members or perhaps want to challenge audience perceptions by asking a question that most people would answer in a different way to that which research suggests. It is a good choice for those wanting to more fully engage an audience and can be used effectively for remote attendees too – think the BBC red button which allows viewers to join in with programmes.

Captured on camera

Drones are commonly used now for getting the up-close photographs at sporting events that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. If you are hosting a large outdoor event and want to get some creative aerial shots this technology is a good choice. However, for most events I would also recommend you have a photographer on the ground as well.

Lighting

When there are so many high-tech choices on offer it can be easy to overlook the developments in essential technology like lighting, which can completely change the atmosphere of a room. When booking your event ask about controllable LED mood-lighting. As well as using colour and brightness to create the right ambience for your event, you can also use mood-lighting to colour-wash a wall in any shade you choose. Lighting is a production – an essential ingredient to any successful event and, if done well, can be a show-stopping performance.

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 Oct 14th 2015

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

In recent years Britain has followed America in getting the most out of Halloween celebrations. It’s no longer simply a fun night for the kids, now everyone wants to make sure they have a wickedly good time. Our 5 freakishly good Halloween party tips are sure to bring any guests under your spell!

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

1.      Scream of a theme

If you thought that Halloween was the only party theme at this time of year – think again. When it comes to organising the perfect fright night, from arachnids to zombies, there are more themes to choose from than there are letters of the alphabet. The Twilight books and movies have seen vampires become an increasingly popular choice, but there are plenty of other movies, songs and books to take inspiration from. A masquerade ball is stylish; the 80s horror genre adds a retro spin, or asking guests to come as their favourite dead film or rock star adds an element of surprise. Getting dressed up is part of the fun, but remember, if you are planning a family party make this clear on the invitation so that costumes aren’t too scary for young children.

2.      Devilish décor
Any Halloween party needs to set the scene from the off with a haunted house entrance. Depending on your theme, make sure your guests are welcomed by something or someone suitably ghoulish when they arrive. The shops are full of creepy characters – skeletons, mummies, ghosts, werewolves and wicked witches. Place at the entrance help to set the scene. Inside create a ghostly glow with low lighting, and add to the eerie atmosphere with strategically placed spider’s webs, bats and skulls.

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

3.      Spooky snacks
Halloween is the time of year for food colouring overload – the more garish the better. What you call your party food is also important and the most stomach churning is the winner. Bloody fingers, eye-ball soup and spider’s web cakes are suddenly top of the menu. For young children I like the BBC GOOD FOOD recipes for frozen banana ghosts and chocolate bat biscuits. For more grown up cauldron cuisine JAMIE OLIVER has some easy to serve warming autumn choices.  Or, get the caterers in!

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

RELATED TOPIC: Halloween Parties With A Difference..Day of the Dead anyone?

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

4.      Witches’ brew

It is hard to think of a time when you can have more fun with drinks than at Halloween. The trick is to serve up something that is both tasty and tasteless. What you call your concoctions are all important, for example, eye-ball punch, boiling blood or liquefied ghost. The drinks need to look equally gruesome too. For adults, hardened red syrup around the rims of glasses makes a dripping blood effect, while stuffed olives on a cocktail stick make for an ogling pair of eyes. For extra shock value add plastic doll part stirrers and severed hand ice cubes. For children, try adding candy eye-balls and jelly worms in a bowl of fruity punch, or wrap individual drinks cartons in white paper and stick on wobbly eyes on for a drink of juicy, fresh mummy blood.

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

5.      Ghoulish games
Halloween is about having fun and, whether you are a youngster playing boo or an adult unleashing your hidden child, there are plenty of games to keep you entertained. For adults there is something to match every budget, from hiring in a murder mystery company to playing horror film charades. For children the classic games and activities like bobbing apples and pumpkin carving are still firm favourites. You’ll be surprised how many adults, given half a chance, enjoy joining in too.

5 freakishly good Halloween party tips

Hope our 5 freakishly good Halloween party tips have helped you to plan your own Halloween celebrations…enjoy ghoulish friends!

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 Oct 12th 2015

New Wedding Images…

Check out the website galleries for wonderful shots from a wedding at the fabulous Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire:

wedding entertainment ideas wedding decor ideas wedding decor ideas wedding cake ideas wedding decor ideas wedding decor ideas

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 Oct 12th 2015

Princess Diana by her friend Julia Samuel

‘There was something about Diana and something about me that just worked’: Julia Samuel on her friendship with the late princess and their shared compassion for charitable causes’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-3261701/Princess-Diana-friend-Julia-Samuel-Diana-just-worked-Julia-Samuel-friendship-late-princess-shared-compassion-charitable-causes.html#ixzz3oLanLuXU

TLC is thrilled to be involved in the charity’s amazing work.

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 Oct 9th 2015

Bond is back – 007 ways to make your party go with a bang!

Bond Party Theme

Bond is back – 007 ways to make your party go with a bang.

The new James Bond film, Spectre, has its world premiere in London on Monday October 26. So, if you’re looking for a popular party theme that is both timeless and topical, for the next couple of months you can’t beat a 007 night. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.Spies R Us

If you’re going for a Bond theme you can’t do it half-heartedly – everyone needs to get involved. Start with an invitation to inspire – maybe a ‘secretly recorded’ message on a CD, a black tie or miniature silver Aston Martin in silk lined box….just be creative and get people in the mood for a great Bond inspired night.  A dress code is compulsory. In many ways a Bond theme is the easiest form of fancy dress. It’s also stylish and great for a date night. What better excuse for women to buy a cocktail dress and for men to dust off their tuxedos and play secret agent for a night.

2. Check out the back catalogue

Most Bond styled nights share similar standards, like using the opening credit colours red, white and black to decorate the room. However, with 24 movies to take inspiration from there are always different twists to make your 007 night stand out from the rest. For real Bond buffs you may want to theme a room from one particular scene of your favourite Bond movie. Before you head straight for the familiar, get comfortable in front of the TV and see where your imagination takes you.

3. The car

When I say ‘the’ car, I don’t mean any old car. If you want to get guests excited park an Aston Martin out front. The real thing is always best, but if you’re on a lower budget there are companies that will install a prop car for you. Either way, this iconic vehicle is a real eye-catching topic of conversation and makes a fantastic photo opportunity for guests.

4. The girls

James Bond is nothing without his Bond girls. Many model and event agencies can provide staff who will dress along with the theme to create a seamless event. There are agencies who will arrange personal appearances from former Bond girls and Bond Villains, as well as many tribute act agencies for the whole range of Bond characters.

5. Shaken not stirred

The new film, Spectre, marks a return to classic Bond after Sony Pictures signed a multi-million pound deal with Belvedere Vodka to make martini 007’s first choice drink again. The Belvedere SPECTRE 007 martini is a twist on the classic dirty martini. To follow the official Bond recipe you will need 60 ml (2 oz) Belvedere; 10 ml (1/4 oz) dry vermouth; 1 Sicilian green olive (washed); 5 ml (dash) Sicilian green olive brine.

Gently muddle olives in base of mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake hard with ice. Double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a single Sicilian green olive.

6. Spin the wheel

Casino Royale made roulette and black jack tables popular at James Bond parties, but there are lots of options for entertainment within the theme. Arcade games with WOW factor -think Aston Martin car racing for those scenic car chases, or target shooting against a sun drenched virtual reality backdrop – all go down well in large event spaces.

7. Enter the studio

Photo studios are becoming increasingly popular at parties and are a fantastic way to keep guests talking about your party well after the event. Find a mobile studio that will bring a Bond film set backdrop and gadget props, or have something hand-painted for the event.  Great way to create bespoke party images and get’s people talking.

 

Oh, and not forgetting the ultimate entertainment. Only one artist to have on stage, Sam Smith – chart topping singer of the theme to Spectre- Writing’s On the Wall.  Nothing else will do!

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 Oct 5th 2015

How to Choose A Christmas Party Venue

 

IMG_00000738 Christmas Party Decor Subtle event lighting Winter Whites Gala 2013 christmas party venues

When it comes to booking a Christmas party it can often feel like there is so much to choose from and so little time. Finding the right venue for your festive event can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Of course using a professional planner, such as myself, can save you time and money in the long run.  TLC can negotiate the very best deals for clients, but also allow you access to exclusive venues across the UK and Europe.  Finding those hidden gems and venues not normally available to the public – which adds both kudos and WOW factor to the celebrations.

But, if you decide to ‘go it alone’ with a bit of pre-planning you can quickly narrow down your options.

Once you know your budget and the number of guests you’d like to invite, the next step is to decide on a location that is going to be easily accessible (with good public transport links and car parking) or else somewhere you can plan group transport to and from at a set time. With all this information to hand you are ready to start looking for a venue. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Bars: good for parties with a younger crowd, or if you want to keep costs reasonable for larger numbers compared with organising a sit-down meal. It is also great for enabling guests to mingle with no added worry of getting stuck sitting next to someone with whom you have nothing in common to talk about. You will need to think about some form of catering, for example a finger-buffet and perhaps hiring a DJ for entertainment. But, with most bars decorated for Christmas it is unlikely that you will need to think about styling the room. Another big plus is that you don’t need to think about moving on to another room or venue after food.

Restaurants: a good choice for small groups who want to celebrate with as little pre-planning as possible. Many restaurants will be pre-decorated and have Christmas packages that include food and some drink. This is important particularly at such a busy time of year when many people are left with the task of organising a Christmas do without much experience in events. You have the options of soaking up the atmosphere of the other guests or choosing a restaurant with a private dining room. The only downside is that often restaurants don’t have any entertainment other than piped music, and if the restaurant doesn’t have a bar, you may need to find another venue nearby for those who want to carry on the party later.

Hotels: great for companies who want to celebrate with the whole workforce or for large extended families who want to come together at Christmas. Many hotels run party packages at this time of year but you need to check what is included so that there are no surprises on the day. Some venues pricing will simply include the use of the space while others will include tables, chairs, decorations and entertainment.

Event spaces: if you’ve got more time and a budget to organise all aspects of your party, then an event space can give you more scope to be original, and I don’t just mean in the décor.  Stately homes, museums and art galleries can all be hired and transformed into a winter wonderland. Sometimes at this time of year very large event spaces and conference halls will have done the hard work for you and transformed a space for entire the festive season. You can book tables or hire the whole space for the evening – this way you get to enjoy all the extravagance of a large themed party without needing the budget to support it.

Home: unless you happen to live in a stately home, this is a venue only to be considered for a small gathering of family or close friends. The upside is that you don’t need to worry about getting your reservation in on time or any hidden costs you’d not accounted for.

Oh, don’t forget the unusual options.  Roof top gardens, industrial warehouses,dungeons, castles, theme parks, zoos, railway arches and yachts….we’ve planned amazing festive events in the all.  Be creative!!

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