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The UK’s leading event for the inbound and outbound meetings industry, The Meetings Show, is calling for papers for its 2018 education programme.

While a large proportion of the show’s 70 hours of free educational sessions are curated by its experienced content producer, new for 2018 The Meetings Show is also inviting key leaders from the industry to submit proposals for the education sessions.

Centred around core themes including technology, marketing and branding, meeting and event design, leadership and more, the education programme is designed to keep attendees up-to-date with the latest trends and challenges as well as exploring what the future might hold. 

Erica Keogan has been appointed as conference producer for 2018, and brings more than 20 years’ experience in the meetings industry, managing the global education programmes for exhibitions in Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, China and North America.

David Chapple, group event director for The Meetings Show, said: “The meetings industry is continually evolving so there’s always something new to learn. To ensure that we continue to deliver the very highest calibre of speakers, it’s essential that we liaise directly with meetings professionals to access the fantastic pool of talent working within the sector. So, whether your specialty lies in predicting future trends, overcoming current challenges or developing innovations and best practice, we’d love to hear from you.”

Those looking to participate in the education programme when the show returns to Olympia London on 27-28 June for its sixth edition should provide a biography, a proposed title and, in no more than 250 words, a brief synopsis of what delegates will discover by attending their proposed talk.

To submit a proposal, please complete the application form online here by Friday 29 December 2017.

Successful applicants may also be offered the chance to speak on a panel debate, providing further opportunity to showcase their industry knowledge.

For more information about The Meetings Show, visit  

2018 will see the ‘real landing’ of ‘intelligent meeting design’, according to Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. The leading venue portfolio has long been a cheerleader for high quality meetings and events, and organisers looking to create more impactful experiences for their delegates, but expects this message to hit main stream organisers next year.

However, while both meeting design and the move towards experiential, continue to be trends that have infiltrated higher levels of the events industry, Lime Venue Portfolio believe that the concept of intelligent meeting design will reach a broader audience of event planners throughout 2018.

“It’s absolutely clear that experience design agencies and PCO’s understand the concept of meeting design, and have been practising it for years. However, not every event organiser sees themselves as professional meeting creators,” comments Jo Austin, Sales Director, Lime Venue Portfolio. “We are seeing increasing numbers of part time event professionals, CEOs, and executive PA’s, who really take experience design seriously, and are embracing intelligent meetings design.”

“This is brilliant news; for us it means the consideration of unique venues, and an investment in high production, service and F&B. But for the industry, it means better returns on investment, better outcomes for delegates and a better standard of meeting,” continues Jo Austin.

Intelligent Meeting Design has been discussed widely throughout the industry at IMEX and a number of forthcoming exhibitions and events including IBTM World, PCMA Convening Leaders, International Confex, The Meetings Show, and The Meeting Design Institute’s FRESH conference. Lime Venue Portfolio continues to be a supporter of designed meetings, that increase engagement and ROI.

“The subject of meeting design and event curation are both conversations that we had a number of times at IMEX last month, and a reason why our customers come to Twickenham,” commented Jade Humphrey, Interim Head of Sales & Marketing, Twickenham Experience Ltd.  “But we’re also seeing more of our ‘part time’ event organisers talking about their own ‘event design’ and shows that the message is getting through across our very wide customer base.”

A poll conducted by the Barbican amongst 120 event buyers has revealed that 48% are not considering options for attendees to take part in events remotely.

With the same poll revealing the 58% want domestic travel to events to be limited to an hour it puts increasing pressure on the need for high speed travel infrastructure and careful venue choice by organisers.

“Whilst some in the venue world will see such a lack of desire for virtual attendance as a positive due to increased revenues and footfall I am sitting on the fence,” comments the Barbican’s head of events, Jackie Boughton. “True it is good for business.  However, it is better for long term business if people continue to hold events no matter what format they take.  There will always be a need for people to gather in a face to face environment.  Adding virtual attendance is however a great way to engage those who cannot be there for one reason or another.  Ultimately, they will gain some benefits but there is a chance they will also perceive what they are missing through non-physical attendance and change that for the future.”

29% of organisers are however working to develop solutions and technology for virtual attendance, providing a wider range of ways in which people can attend and engage with fellow participants.  Jackie concludes by commenting that “technology is a great enabler, we should constantly seek new ways to use it throughout our events.  However, we mustn’t forget that the best way to build a relationship is face to face, which is why there will always be a need to get here, no matter how good the technology becomes.”

The research was conducted amongst more than 120 Barbican clients during Autumn 2017.  53% of respondents were corporate bookers, 21% association and 26% agency.

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa has challenged its bar team to design the ultimate festive cocktail for its inaugural Christmas Cocktail Competition. The mouth-watering winning recipe, created by Kelly Whitby, titled Rodney Robin, will feature as Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s Christmas cocktail for the month of December. 

With the opportunity to win a selection of Bottle Proof Cocktails, each member of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s bar team was asked to create their own unique Christmas-themed cocktail recipe, using the Hotel’s wide range of spirits including Cointreau, Amaretto, liqueur de pomme and vodka. The cocktails were taste tested on Thursday by seasoned judge Mark Thompson, owner of Bottle Proof. The winning recipe was selected based on its festive creativity, link to the Hotel and taste. Mark described Rodney Robin as a champagne shandy and that customers shouldn’t be afraid to try it this festive season.

Noel Byrne, Chief Executive of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, said: “We wanted to take our Christmas menus to the next level this festive season. As well as providing a competitive challenge for our staff, the Christmas Cocktail Competition has given us the opportunity to add some real personality and originality to our drinks offering. Our bar team submitted some truly interesting and delicious recipes. We had cocktails created with egg white, maple syrup and cinnamon, and even a jelly themed recipe.” 

Based in Cambridge, Bottle Proof produces premium bottled cocktails for the hospitality trade.  Mark Thompson commented: “I very much enjoyed taste-testing each cocktail and it was a tough decision choosing the winner! There was a fantastic variety of cocktails put forward for the competition – not one cocktail was the same. A good variety of glassware and garnishes were used as well as ingredients – the resulting flavours were very interesting. It was a close contest but ultimately the Rodney Robin, named after Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s owner Rodney Kean as he loves bitter but also champagne, is a nod to the Hotel as well as being a luxurious festive drink to enjoy at Christmas.”

The Rodney Robin is made using a splash of Adnams bitter, topped with the slightly sweeter Moët Ice and finished with two ice cubes and a sprig of red currants served in a champagne flute. The Rodney Robin will be available for a limited time only in the Hotel, alongside the two runner up cocktails – The Gingerbread Man and Winter Sours.


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