Is This the Best Event Thank You Gift Ever?

Event thank you giftOver the years we have been lucky enough to receive lots of lovely and unexpected thank you gifts from happy clients.  These have ranged from thank you notes, flowers, wines, chocolates, teddy bears and other token gifts.  

I always think that it is really lovely when people do take the time to send a formal thank you post event; after all we are just doing our job and it is our job to ensure that every project is a success!  It is however wonderful to be appreciated.

In this age of digital and electronic communication though I wonder if traditional/formal gifts are becoming less common?  And if so will that make them even more treasured when received?

Flowers as a business thank you gift Over the years myself and the team have even received gifts from delegates and attendees attending our events, little trinkets, foreign delicacies and good luck charms from other countries have been a wonderful surprise – for example see the wonderful wooden carved and painted horse keyring pictured below received from an international delegate at one of our conferences.

Horse trinket thank you from international delegate

When clients ask our advice or ask us to arrange thank you gifts for speakers/special guests we always try to be inventive.  We find the best gifts are not necessarily the most expensive gifts but rather the items that offer a reminder of the event itself or location and I think my own favourite thank you gift really proves this!

Favourite Event Thank you Gift

My favourite business thank you gift however will possibly never be surpassed (picture right).  To explain; in May 2013 we ran a conference in Bad Pyrmont, Germany, which is near the town of Hameln (Hamelin), which is famous for the legend of the Pied Piper.  On the last day the organising committee that I had been working on behalf of handed me this book depicting the tale, complete with a hand written note on the back page.  The note reads:

Dear Becki
Thank you so much for shaping this SOL2013 story with us. You were key to making this happen and soooo contributed to the flow of this experience.
It’s a pleasure to watch with what passion you do your work, your skilled effictivity, the respectful way you work with your team, the lightness and freshness you bring to the event. You’ve got brilliant leadership skills and if we organised SOL conferences professionally, we’d partner up with you each year.
It was easy, quick (amazingly quick) and very pleasant to work with you.
Thank You!
Penny, Annie, Christoph, Anton, John

Event thank you gift personal messageAlthough the book itself probably only cost a few Euros the sentimental value of the gift is un-measurable!  This is the perfect token in my eyes – it entwines the memory of the event and unique culture and folklore of the location with such a personal and heartfelt note of thanks which they have taken time to compose.  I will treasure this forever and pass it down through my family for them to feel proud too!

chocolate thank you gift received for speaking at an event

What is the thank you gift that means the most to you?  

How do you like to thank speakers and special guests at your events?  

I would love to hear your comments below….

Pinterest in the UK

Pinterest has quickly gained in popularity and has already amassed over 13 million followers worldwide according to some sources.

The site allows you to create ‘boards’ for different areas of interest and to ‘pin’ pictures onto these virtual pin boards.  Content can be ‘re-pinned’ from images shared by other people, you can upload your own images and can post interesting pictures and ideas from across the world wide web.  You can like and comment on images and can choose to follow specific boards or all content from the individuals and organisations that interest and inspire you.

Events Northern Ltd joined Pinterest in early 2012.  We love the opportunities for creativity and ideas sharing that the site offers.  By grouping together images and content you can create visual mood boards.  It really is a beautiful site!

Interestingly the demographics of UK Pinterest users differ widely from the community of users found in the USA.  We found this visual illustration from Compete really interesting.  It suggests that UK users (as at December 2011) are actually younger and wealthier than their American counterparts.  In the US users are overwhelmingly female (83%), however in the UK there is a much more equal split, with slightly more male members (56%).  We also use the site very differently.  In America the largest interest is in arts, crafts and events, however English users are more focused on business, marketing, SEO, design, blogging and the web.  This could of course simply reflect the early adopters that have learnt about and shown the most interest in the site so far and so it will be very interesting to see how these statistics change and develop over the coming months and years.

Pinterest screen shotSo – are you already using Pinterest?  We would love to connect with you if so!  Or if you haven’t yet signed up and would like an invite please email info@eventsnorthern.co.uk with your email address and we will send you an invitation to join.

We can be found via this link: Events Northern on Pinterest.  Becki Cross, MD of Events Northern, can also be found on Pinterest here: Becki Cross on Pinterest.

What do you like most about Pinterest?
Which individuals and organisations do you enjoy following the most?

In a forthcoming blog post we will also discuss how specifically to use Pinterest for events.

International Confex 2012

This week Events Northern Ltd had a whirlwind trip down to London for International Confex 2012.  Confex is an essential day out for anyone who organises events and this year took place between the 6th and 8th March, at ExCel, London.  We visited the show on Wednesday and had a very productive visit.  Although we stayed for the full day the exhibition passed by only too quickly for our liking – too many people to speak to in too little time!

As always it was useful to meet up with current clients, venues and suppliers.  It was great to catch up on recent and future planned developments at the Barbican.  We were also really pleased to see Visit Manchester and Liverpool Convention Bureau out in force with some of our favourite Northern venues represented.

In some cases I matched faces to contacts I had only ever spoken to previously via phone or email so it was great to say “hello” in person!  In particular it was great to finally meet Banks from the Active Network and Adam from Hospitality and Events North.

It is really important to us to be up to date with new developments, products and innovations in the event industry.  We feel that these are exciting times for this fast moving sector and we need to ensure we can advise our clients on the best value and most exciting technologies to suit their requirements.  Confex is always a great way to get up to speed with the latest products and to have live demonstrations and question companies about their newest offerings.  The use of social media, touch screen technology, ipads and mobile phones apps were all very apparent at the show to reflect the way conferences and events have developed even over the last few years.  We particularly enjoyed all of the interactive touch products on show from Smart AV which included single-touch to multi-touch, screens, walls, tables, PC’s and tablets.

Another product we loved was the newly launched Rollerwall.  This product can be used to create a marketing space or backdrop wherever you need it.  Unlike a traditional pop up exhibition stand it is ready to use instantly and will bend and adapt to fit the space available.  It can be used as a room divider or can be retracted and hidden away in one solid pillar.  The graphics zip-in and are easily changeable.  Visuals can be different on each side of the rollerwall giving two stands in one.  Alternatively one side can be kept free of graphics completely so that it can be used as a projection screen.

One of our forthcoming conferences requires translation services so it was great to discuss different options such as whisper translation systems and translation booths with the AV Department Ltd.

Sadly many of the exhibitors commented to me that the show was a lot quieter than in previous years, which could be a relection on the tough economic climate.  It will be very interesting therefore to find out the final total attendance figures over the three days of the exhibition.  For Events Northern Ltd though the trip to Confex was very worthwhile and productive.

25 Years of Event Innovations

The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and to mark the occasion they appealed to key industry spokespeople, event organisers and suppliers to tell them the innovations that have made the most impact on the events industry during the same time period.

There have been so many exciting advances in the event industry this really got us thinking what would appear in our top 5 list.  The landscape has developed drastically even in the last 10 years, never mind the last quarter century!  Events Northern Ltd were keen to support this Twitter promotion as the QEIICC is an excellent venue that we have really enjoyed working with.

A summary of some of the top tweets and suggestions put forward by other key industry figures are listed below:

‘Comfy shoes!’
Mike Fletcher @MikeyFletch

‘25 yrs ago we used glass slides – chaos. Then PowerPoint invented; most important change ever!’
Martin Lewis @meetpie

Internet changed events forever. All could access info, so organisers had 2 show added value’
Rochelle Long @meetpie

‘Internet, opened regional events 2 world: instant comms, bringing people 2gether virtually 2 improve face 2 face’
@harrisonrobert

 ‘The advent of social media & its ability to extend an event community, before, during & after’
@mexiaPR

 ‘Mobile phones, whatever you need there’s an app for it, or there will be soon’
Michelle Chenery @ITCMmagazine

 ‘The impact & importance of providing a sustainable catering service 2 clients’
Leiths @compassgroupuk @limevenues

Innovative minds creating successful conferences – confirming events will prosper & survive’
Ernest Vincent, CEO, QEIICC

 ‘The Event Safety Guide -where would #eventsprofs be without that purple bible’
Caroline Clift @StandOutMag

‘The single European market may still fail banks but it helped shape border-free event explosion’
@MikeBellDotEu

This campaign really got us thinking about the top innovations we wanted to put forward.  We finally settled on our final top 5 as follows:

5. The memory stick

Even the simple memory stick has made our life easier and has made saving and loading presentations so much faster!  Gone are the days of floppy discs with limited space capacity or CDs which take so much longer to transfer files and save data to them.  Memory sticks are an essential part of every event managers tool box – be it to load final presentations from speakers onto the laptop and save back the final version at the end of the event, to check electronic information quickly or reprint an extra copy of something onsite.

4. Laptops, netbooks and tablets

Technology is mobile – now wherever you are in the world your desk can come to you!

3. Communications

How did we survive before email?  Emails ensure we can be responsive and adaptable right to the last moment.

Mobile phones and radios are essential for communication between event staff and often save lengthy trips across large venues or event site.

The internet has revolutionised the way we research and has opened up conferences to an international market.

Social media has revolutionised the way events are marketed and how delegates communicate with each other before, during and after an event, especially now smartphones are so widely utilised.

2. Online event registration systems

Gone are the days of hard copy registration forms which had to be painstakingly typed into the database each day.  Now delegates have a fast, painless online form to complete and submit so they know immediately if their place is confirmed.  Importantly this gives us the details we need in real time, ensuring we have up to date registrations and information available 24 hours a day.

1. Barcode registration management

In our opinion this is the only effective way to check in 1,000 delegates in under an hour and we couldn’t operate without this technology on our largest events!

Which innovation do you think has made the most impact on the events industry in the last 25 years?  Do you agree that it is one of the advances listed in this blog or is there something we have overlooked?  To join in please comment via Twitter using the hashtag #25QEIICC on your tweet or comment on this blog post.  You can follow the QEIICC on Twitter @TheQEIICC.