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CONTENTS 5 FOREWORD Stepping out of the shadows. 6 EVENTIT Show focus. 9 INDUSTRY SUPPORT (NATIONAL) EventScotland. VisitScotland Business Events. Paul Bush OBE. VisitBritain. Scottish Government.

19 INDUSTRY SUPPORT (REGIONAL) Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. Convention Edinburgh. Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau. The Fairmont St Andrews. VisitAberdeenshire. VisitInvernessLochNess. 33 DELIVERY Safety Advisory Groups. Policing events. First Aid. E Awards. Sustainability. Data Protection. Transport. Host Cities. National Outdoor Event Association (NOEA). 59 COVER STORY We need to talk about business events. VisitScotland’s Neil Brownlee.

Corporate events, team building and destination management company Amazing Days is among the many exhibitors at EventIt 2017

63 BUSINESS TOURISM Jason Megson on selling Scotland. Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO). Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE). UKInbound. International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Event Marketing Association (EMA). 77 DEVELOPMENT The forging of the events industry. Ahead of the curve - the rebranding of the SECC. Navigating complex geopolitics in an events world. Be creative, not an admin.

85 TECHNOLOGY James Morgan on event start-ups. Cvent on how technology will touch ‘every phase’ of the event. Joe Goldblatt on future tech trends. mclcreate takes production to a new level. 92 EDUCATION Mastering business events. Events education: time to change the story. Just the job (or five). Course listings. 5 Minutes with. 111 EVENTIT SHOW GUIDE Glasgow focus. Get the knowledge...down at the Exchange. EventIt speakers. Exhibitor listings. Floor plan.




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Acta by Dino Dos Santos DSType Foundry Flama by Mario Feliciano Cover photograph by Mary Turner




Time to step out of the shadows

usiness events are what an accountant might describe as a dream job. They happen with great frequency, money changes hands often months or years in advance of them happening, and they help fill up hotels and venues across the country even in the down times, when the leisure market is relatively quiet. But despite their enormous - and growing - economic footprint, the men and women who diligently go about their work, bidding for and hosting national and international meetings and conferences - as well as planning and executing rewards trips for executives who have performed well in their companies (a multi-billion-pound worldwide industry in its own right), there is very little public recognition of their endeavours. As Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, says in these pages, business events are just not “sexy”. That may well be true but there is a growing appreciation both within the industry itself and now at government level of the huge contribution, and enormous potential for growth, that the hosting of more business events can make to the national economy. There are visible signs that this message is getting through to senior Ministers both within the Scottish and UK Governments. An important guest at the annual Business Tourism Conference in Glasgow in November was Chris Foy, who heads up VisitBritain’s recently reconvened Business Events team; whilst VisitScotland never lost its Business Events function, VisitBritain’s had disappeared from view over the course of the last few years. Fortunately,

that situation has been rectified, and there is now a team headed by Foy, which works directly out of Number 10 Downing Street. In short, business events have the Prime Minister’s ear, and that marketing capital, the ability to call upon the leader of the country to help bring business events into the country, is of great symbolic importance to the events industry, and should be viewed favourably by everyone who works in events, regardless of their politics. The business events industry across the UK is also benefiting from healthy competition among its regions and cities. Outside London, Edinburgh and Glasgow rank highest in terms of the number of events and delegates they bring into the country as a whole. The work of Marketing Edinburgh and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau is to be congratulated in that regard; but there are emerging event cities, the likes of Liverpool and Leeds, which - fuelled by the appetite to rebalance Britain’s economy - will make that job harder in the years to come. Scotland has a great international reputation as a place to do business, fantastic academic and industrial pedigree, a seductive landscape and rich cultural heritage. It has all the right ingredients to appear high on the list of events planners, yet business events still sit in the shadow of the big sporting events and cultural festivals that are recognised around the world. 2017 might just be the year when business events step out of the shadows.

Kevin O’Sullivan, Editor EVENTSBASE | SPRING 2017 | 5


‘Trying to look like a graceful swan...while peddling like crazy underneath’ Show Director Judith Wilson on putting on EventIt


utting on a trade show the size, scope and ambition of EventIt - with just a handful of core staff to keep the literally thousands of moving parts all from crashing into one another - is enough to the push even the most hardened events professional close to the edge. Judith Wilson, Show Director, has not quite reached that point, fortunately, but as the show approaches she is understandably in touch with the very visceral hopes and fears of pulling off an industry showcase event, at Glasgow’s SEC Centre, on March 9th. “Let’s just say I feel a bit like I’m doing my best swan impersonation,” she says, laughing. “I’m trying to look graceful as I glide effortlessly across the water, but underneath I’m peddling like cray to keep the whole thing moving along.” She adds: “In truth I am very much looking forward to seeing all the exhibitors doing their thing on the day - we’ve got so many things going on, that I do think there will be something for everyone.” I speak to Judith just a week before the event is due to go ahead, and on the day EventsBase goes to print [full disclosure: EventsBase is the publishing arm of EventIt]. It has been a busy time for everyone, but it’s a tribute to Judith and the team that the show has virtually doubled in size from its first year at the EICC in Edinburgh. Located for 2017 in Glasgow, the exhibitor numbers are now approaching a hundred, up from 65 in the first year, the Learning Zone has


Wowgrass, which provides indoor grass for theming events, will be among exhibitors at EventIt 2017

doubled in size - with new speakers such as Rob Davidson and William Thomson who are active in the international events market. The focus on education, especially, is a reflection of the increasing professionalisation of the industry, a theme that recurs throughout this

special show edition. There are dedicated zones at this year’s shows for the different types of suppliers who make up a very diverse industry. The technology zone features Cvent, Eventbrite and etouches, as well as eventpowwow, Simpli-Fi and Tapfuse. Abellio’s

Event Connect, ScotRail (who will be putting on complimentary buses for delegates from the north of Scotland) and Rabbie’s Small Group Tours make up a transport zone of the show. There is also a dedicated outdoor zone featuring EventScotland, Tuck Truck (a converted horsebox serving food), Titanium and the National Outdoor Event Association (NOEA), whilst team-building companies, hotels, theming and catering companies all feature. “It’s a much broader cross section of people this year,” Judith adds. “We wanted to try and represent all the different parts of the events industry because for event planners their job is so diverse. Even for corporate event planners - who you might expect would be used to organising just board meetings and such like - they are increasingly being tasked with putting on a conference, a garden party or even an incentive trip. And for agencies they

are putting on different kinds of event every day. So I think the aim for EventIt is really to create a onestop-shop for all events planners to come to. I don’t think many of the trade shows I have been to really do that, or they do but they keep them separate. I don’t think that pigeonholing really works.” Internationalisation is also a growing focus of the market, especially for the large association conference planners. Judith adds that she is grateful to VisitScotland, Convention Edinburgh, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and VisitAberdeenshire for their support for the show - and for bringing in ‘hosted buyers’ from overseas who will engage directly with Scottish venues and suppliers in the hope of bringing more business into the country. “Without their help, EventIt would not be nearly as good, and relevant, a show as I think it will be. I think hosted buyer initiatives are now absolutely crucial to the market, and it’s one of the things we are keen to develop.” Venue finding service and event

Judith Wilson, Show Director, EventIt 2017, pictured with Maisie, the resident ‘EventIt show pup’

management company Conference Care is also bringing in buyers to this year’s show. “I’m really grateful to all of the organisations who are helping in that regard,” Judith adds. “Overall, the whole platform for

EventIt has got a lot bigger since the first year. We have a dedicated Glasgow zone with a good number of exhibitors, fittingly seeing as we are in Glasgow. We have a smaller Edinburgh zone and one for Inverness, and we have representa-

tion from Aberdeen as well, but our ambition moving forward is definitely to try and engage much more with all of the regions of Scotland, to ensure each area is fully represented.” She adds: “We have also launched the E Awards to recognise the achievements of the people who work in Scottish events and festivals. It’s going to be quite an informal awards ceremony, more of a networking event, but we have got proper trophies! But the networking element of the awards is something I was keen to do as I think events professionals quite like that. Networking is also good for business; it’s not just the hosted buyers who will be the focus of that. I think quite a lot of people in the events industry in Scotland, even competitors, are used to collaborating and working together these days. That’s the way the industry is going.”

Dundee Design Festival





Marie Christie, Development Events Industry

Stuart Turner, EventScotland

Supporting Scotland’s events industry


ed by Paul Bush OBE, the Events Directorate in VisitScotland plays a crucial role in supporting and developing Scotland’s events industry and its wide and diverse events portfolio. It focuses on three main areas: 1. Building on its previous work and the legacy of 2014 to attract, sustain and develop major events, festivals and business events and maximise their impact. 2. Lead and advise the events industry, providing information and training, sharing best practice and working with the industry to focus on quality delivery. 3. Using events to maintain and enhance Scotland’s international reputation, influencing partners to develop Scotland’s infrastructure. The Events Directorate plays a key role in the implementation of the national events strategy ‘Scotland: The Perfect Stage’ by continuing to generate, bid for, attract and sustain sporting and cultural events which helps drive tourism and create international profile for Scotland. It also drives business events such as corporate meetings, incentive

groups, conventions and exhibitions into Scotland from around the world. Importantly, it is committed to ensuring Scotland maintains its international reputation for delivering high quality events by working to develop capacity, knowledge and partnerships to strengthen the Scottish events industry. The directorate is made up of three distinct departments, EventScotland, Development – Events Industry, and Business Events.

n International Events Programme n National Events Programme n Beacon Events Programme n Scottish Clan Fund n Scotland Winter Festivals n Themed Years To find out more about each funding programme, criteria for applying and funding round deadlines, visit


The Development Team is led by Marie Christie and incorporates Themed Years, Events and Exhibitions, Growth Fund and Events Industry Development. It manages VisitScotland’s collaboration and support of the events industry and wider events economy with a focus on: n Partnerships and Collaboration n Education and Knowledge Sharing n Quality Organisation and Delivery All activity is aligned in support of the national events strategy, Scotland the Perfect Stage. Development Team responsibilities include providing a lead on event industry engagement and development; delivery of Scotland’s themed years; development and delivery

EventScotland, led by Stuart Turner, is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events it is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. EventScotland leads on all aspects of bidding, investment and support for major sporting and cultural events as well as evaluating their impact. They ensure Scotland’s events portfolio has core events each year which are unique to Scotland and are embedded in Scottish culture covering sport, the arts and heritage. EventScotland delivers the following funding programmes:


of initiatives and activity that help develop the events sector; delivery of flagship industry events including VisitScotland Expo and Scottish Thistle Awards, the National Events Conference and a year-round seminar programme and the VisitScotland Growth Fund. For further information have a look online at the following pages: n Themed Years: n VisitScotland Expo: n Scottish Thistle Awards: www. n VisitScotland Growth Fund: support/marketing_opportunities/ growth_fund n National Events Conference & Seminar Programme: n To contact the Development or EventScotland teams, please call 0131 472 2313 or email

èMore...Interview with Paul Bush, page 16. EVENTSBASE | SPRING 2017 | 9


The global meetings industry... on the march to Scotland The national agency tasked with bringing business events to the country BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


he global meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market is of huge and growing importance to Scotland’s event sector. Whilst difficult to quantify exactly, all the available data indicates that people who visit Scotland as part of their business activities - whether it be to attend

a conference or a rewards trip for performing well in their company - spend around one-and-a-half to two times more than the typical tourist. VisitScotland Business Events is the national agency which has special responsibility for promoting Scotland as a destination for the large and lucrative international MICE market. It is an inherently international job, as Scotland must compete with the big global players in the conventions market whether that be North America or Europe, or the emerging economies - to play host to some of regular and one-off business events. That could be a national association conference for 5,000 delegates within the life sciences sector, or a product launch for a global car manufacturer. By nature, business


events are highly professionalised, organised and resemble something of a ‘circuit’ for those who travel the globe looking for new places to locate their events. Increasingly, business events entrepreneurs also look to replicate or ‘clone’ an existing event to create a local version which can harness the potential of a big branded event and spread its footprint internationally. Neil Brownlee, who heads the Business Events team, says Scotland is ideally placed to take advantage of the opportunities. “There are all kinds of different ways of creating business events now,” he says. “Whilst the core day-to-day association business certainly drives much of what we do, we also very much support any initiative which can bring a new or fledgling business event to Scot-

VisitScotland’s Business Events team works with industry, academia, city convention bureaux and venues in a bid to secure business events for Scotland

land.” See Cover Story, page 59. The Business Events team drives business events to Scotland from the UK and key global markets by providing the direct connections with Scotland’s world-class hotels, venues, universities and event organisers. The team also works closely with Scotland’s four City Convention Bureaux in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, and economic development agencies such as Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise. The team promotes the country as a ‘flexible and exciting’ destination for business events through a variety of marketing platforms and industry knowledge: l Marketing activities and support. Scottish partners can take part in a

variety of marketing opportunities including international trade shows, regional showcases, workshops, sales missions and familiarisation trips, enabling suppliers to connect with conference and meeting planners from a range of markets. l An international team. The Business Events team is located across Scotland as well as London and Toronto. To enhance its reach, there are also sales and PR agencies based in key markets (US, Germany, France and Spain) developing close relationships with event organisers and promoting Scotland as a top event destination. l A national ambassador programme to grow business from Associations. INNOVATETHENATION is a themat-


ically diverse talk series to represent the many areas of excellence and innovation in Scotland within the Scottish Government’s growth sectors. This programme aims to talk with and motivate potential ambassadors to bring business events and conferences to Scotland’s cities and regions. l A dedicated website for business events. Partners can list their business on free of charge to target the business events and incentive travel markets. Contact the Business Events team to discuss further opportunities that may be available. businesstourism 0131 472 2355

In 2015 an estimated £1.9bn was spent in business tourism in Scotland. Approximately 118,000 business events happened at Scottish venues, equating to an estimated 7 million delegates.


Neil Brownlee

64% of delegates attended day meetings and 25% stayed at their meeting venue. 11% stayed elsewhere. Figures collated from an industry report commissioned by Business Tourism for Scotland




The old, the young and the inclusive...the three pillars of events development Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, outlines his vision for the events industry BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


cotland must continue to deliver “hallmark” events to drive domestic and international profile, but there are some emerging trends that will dictate how the market is set to evolve in the course of the next few years, according to VisitScotland’s Director of Events. Engaging with young people, making events more inclusive to previously alienated audiences and seizing the opportunities of an ageing population with a greater disposable income than other demographics is likely to become increasingly important to the work of event professionals, says Paul Bush OBE. Bush - whose career includes managing the Team GB swimming team and Chef de Mission for the Scottish Commonwealth Games team - is in good heart when we speak over the phone. The fact that he compliments EventsBase as being part of the growing professionalisation of the events industry also, for me at least, sets off the conversation in the right spirit. But Bush is quick to re turn to his three key themes. He sees 2018 - The Year of Young People, one of Scotland’s themed years - as an opportunity to engage with young people with events like never before. “I think that [the themed year] presents some significant opportunities in terms of how we engage with young people, which links to engagement in digital and social and how people engage with events, which is changing,” he says. He references the X Games, which is a world series for action sports (think surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding), and although it may be a product that is too expen-

Paul Bush OBE outlines the emerging trends that will, he believes, shape the events market market in years to come

sive for Scotland to host (the event is owned by sports broadcaster ESPN), he is interested in how derivatives of that market could be taken to cities in Scotland. At the opposite end of the scale, Bush sees the ‘grey pound’ (the author’s words, not his) as having the potential to drive both new audiences to events, but also, crucially, new participants. So-called ‘Masters’ events, which provides a platform for older people could be a catalyst for new events hosted in Scotland. “OAPs now have more disposable income so it’s how do we target them to get involved in events, like masters’ series. You could have a senior Commonwealth Games involving five or six Scottish cities, showcasing Scotland and linking to diaspora market abroad. The first World Masters Golf was in Ayrshire;

it’s targeted at that group of people.” Thirdly, Bush sees inclusivity as a key strand of future events planning. He praises the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow for getting homeless people involved not only as participants, but also as volunteers at the event. The Glasgow Film Festival also made available free tickets to the unemployed, to address the issue of social exclusion. But the inclusion debate also extends to women and families, he adds, and that will be a key marketing driver for the Solheim Cup in two years’ time’, the biennial golf tournament for professional women golfers contested by teams representing Europe and the United States, which takes place at Gleneagles in 2019. “If you wound the clock back even 10 years, events were seen to

be elitist but you’ve got to look at the benefits [of reaching new audiences],” he adds. “Events arguably do more for society in a 360-degree round than most things that we do. So if you think of most events that we do, we’ve got a supply chain - and that has benefits to the economy by creating jobs but it’s the goodwill social factors of people getting involved, the cultural developments, the inclusive debate. Nobody has really looked at in the round like that before.” But Bush is clear that Scotland must continue to deliver on its legacy from the Commonwealth Games and bring in the major events that keep the public enthused and engaged. “We have got some hallmark events coming in,” he says. “The European championships next year



INDUSTRY SUPPORT NATIONAL è and the Solheim Cup in 2019, the

European indoor athletics championships and Euro 2020 - that will continue in my view in that we’ll have a combination and rich diversity of a core balanced portfolio in terms of things that are a one-off, things that take place in the same venue every year and the national programme sitting underneath it, but you still need your hallmark stuff that drives your profile and international image.” BUSH IS ALSO looking forward to the potential of the UK and European Cities of Culture. Paisley and Perth are both potential candidates for UK City of Culture in 2021, and there has been talk of Dundee being slated as a candidate for the European City of Culture for 2023. “We’ve got three cities in Scot-

land now looking at two different competitions,” adds Bush. “A city of culture has not been to Scotland, whether it be the European or UK one, so they’re quite important moments. If you look at it in a wider events portfolio, it raises in the political environment of those cities the importance of events and culture, so that would be healthy.” He added: “If you look at Liverpool, and you think about Glasgow in terms of 2014, Liverpool now is a much more robust, much more confident city in terms of the events landscape and if you were to say 10 years ago about Liverpool being an events city, I would say probably not, it’s a football city. But they’ve now got the ambition to potentially bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and that confidence will

have come on the back of the city of culture in 2009.” Brexit will be an important discussion point at this year’s EventIt show. I can’t not ask what Bush thinks about the impact of exiting the EU on the Scottish events industry. Most people we have spoken to up to this point have highlighted the short term advantages - bookings are up, especially from the north American market because of the weaker pound - but they are more cautious about the road ahead. Bush, ever the optimist, points to the upsides. “I don’t think Brexit per se, apart from currency and legislation will have huge implications for events,” he says. “I think for currency the current situation is favourable for Scotland because it’s much cheaper for people to come in, which is why

tourism stats are pretty positive at present. “Legislation will have pros and cons, and we don’t know yet what that will look like, but in a Brexit world we might not have state aid, theoretically, which might make things easier to do and make us more competitive. We will have different ways of doing things, and we might not have OJEU [Official Journal of the European Union ] procurement, which is hugely bureaucratic. It takes you six, nine, 12, 15 months to get a contract in place. “I’m quite certain we will still need to have good governance and transparency for procurement because we have to have that but it might not be as debilitating as an OJEU process is.” But he adds: “I’m not sure in my lifetime if I’ll see the end of Brexit.”

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Chris Foy at the Business Tourism conference in Glasgow Photograph Sandy Young

Events are Great (Britain)...putting some national heft behind the bid process VisitBritain’s refreshed business events campaign aims to support the regions and nations BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


fter a long period of absence VisitBritain’s Business Events unit was relaunched towards the end of last year with a £1.6m-a-year budget (over four years) and a pledge to help bring more international business events to the UK. With an office situated in Number

10 Downing Street the team, led by Chris Foy, had a ‘soft launch’ last summer and started out initially providing support to business events which had already been secured by various cities across the UK; that focus is expected to evolve into providing direct support on bids and also to work across government departments to bring some coordination to national efforts to bring business events to the country. Foy, who spoke at the Business Tourism industry conference in Glasgow in November, said he is keen that the team does not add a layer of bureaucracy to the pro-

cess of securing events but to find new dimensions to how Britain is marketed. “It’s important that we don’t just add another layer to the way that these cities and Scotland is marketed to the world,” he said. “Really our brief from the UK government is to find a new dimension to market the aspirations of the cities of the UK, partly through the network that we have at VisitBritain. We have staff in 21 countries mainly based in embassies and through our work with the Foreign Office, through Number 10, we will try to leverage other support - not necessarily financial support - to get behind bids.” Foy said whilst association congresses represented one of the principal strategic aims of VisitBritain’s focus, there would also be support for other corporate meetings and events and incentive travel. “We want to ensure that we are targeting influential buyers and getting them over to our wonderful cities and the venues that we have, and to give them good reasons to bring their business here,” he added. Foy said VisitBritain’s marketing campaign will aim to support the work of the regions and nations of the UK, and will not seek to favour one city over another in what is a

very competitive market between destinations in the UK. He said that VB will attempt to support areas of the country which have recognised specialisms in different industry sectors and that any business events secured in those realms can help generate additional foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. “Business events is the latest strand of the VisitBritain campaign and it really came about when the UK Government went through its Spending Review last year and there was a recognition within Government that business events was a very effective way of knitting together our tourism agenda, our trade agenda and our events agenda,” he added. He said: “Our brief from government is to make our business events work even more effectively across the UK and specifically to identify events that are within Britain’s strategic interests to host and to use our resources to try and attract those to the UK.” He said the fact that the team is based in the Prime Minister’s office gives it great leverage and when the occasion demands the Prime Minister herself may even be brought in to support a bid.



Business events can ‘showcase Scotland’ as a place to invest Cabinet Secretary pledges to leverage international support for events BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


he government minister charged with overseeing the Scottish events industry has pledged to do all she can internationally to help bring more business events into the country. Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said she will use her portfolio to leverage support for raising the profile of Scotland as an international destination for meetings and conferences. She said: “Our international reach and reputation and promotion has been and will continue to be part of my support and I want to continue to ensure the synergies work with tourism as well as we go forward. Working within and outwith the UK, we need to attract business, investment and tourism to further Scotland’s interests further on that global stage - and business events align directly with that.” She added: “They help create jobs, reinforce Scotland’s credentials on the world stage and showcase what Scotland has to offer. That’s because as well as delivering direct economic impact through delegate expenditure where VisitScotland estimates an average of £407-perday, business events showcase Scotland as the place to invest in trade

Fiona Hyslop speaking at the annual Business Tourism Conference in Glasgow Photograph by Sandy Young

with, study in and visit again, and again. And the number of people I meet at a senior business level, who first came to Scotland as something to do with a business event but return again and say I must come back with my family, is something I hear again and again.” Hyslop praised the role of Scotland’s emerging sectors such as

renewables and life sciences, and said they play a vital role in helping to secure more business events for the country. “We need to convert the position and exposure Scotland gets on the global stage into revenue across all Scotland, our businesses and sectors,” she said. “ We continue to do all we can to

invest in the sector; in particular we recognise that increased connectivity for domestic and international visitors will continue to enhance the attractiveness of Scotland. “Whether it’s renewable energy or life sciences attracting a major conference, it enhances Scotland’s profile and credentials, and encourages inward investment.”

‘Events MP’ to fly in to EventIt 2017 An MP who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on UK Events at Westminster will discuss the importance of the sector in a post-Brexit world at this year’s EventIt show in Glasgow. James Heappey, a former army officer and MP for Wells, is due to take part in a panel discussion at

the trade show at the SEC Centre today (March 9). A spokesman for Heappey said: “Under James’ chairmanship the APPG seeks to represent the industry in Parliament and is currently seeking to understand industry views on Brexit in order to communicate those to Government, as well


as encouraging the industry to speak with one voice so that Government can hear it more loudly and clearly. She said: “Recent APPG discussions have touched upon the development of the Event Industry as an industrial opportunity – particularly in regions where there is an opportunity for regional growth in events and

hospitality and also the use of the Events Industry as a ‘shop window’ for a global Britain – the idea that Ministers can play a part in bidding for and hosting globally significant events which is one way that Britain can exercise her soft power as well as allowing the UK to develop and be seen as a centre for those industries.”





The 3,000-seat auditorium in the SEC Armadillo offers maximum versatility and style for delegates

Partnership working embeds itself at the heart of Glasgow’s business events offer The city has a well-honed strategy when it comes to winning conferences – and it involves just about everyone


ou’ll be in safe hands”. That’s the reassuring message for anyone considering choosing Glasgow as a destination for their conference. It comes from Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, which in UK terms punches well above its weight. Last year, GCMB was awarded Best Convention Bureau in the UK, for the tenth year running. The accolade,

voted for in an influential industry poll by Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT), was earned by the city despite strong competition from London & Partners, Liverpool Convention Bureau, Newcastle-Gateshead Convention Bureau, Staffordshire Stoke-on-Trent Convention Bureau and Marketing Edinburgh. “There’s never been a better time to bring an international or European conference to Glasgow,” adds Aileen. “As well as offering great value, investment into access and

infrastructure means that we are easier to get to, with more professional venue options than ever before.” Key to Glasgow’s offer is its partnership approach; as well as having its own in-house teams, tasked with bringing in both international and UK association conferences, GCMB works very closely, often jointly when bidding for events, with key public and private sector bodies across the city. The SECC - now the Scottish Event Campus





The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) – recently rebranded from the SECC – is Glasgow’s flagship exhibition, conference and live entertainment offering, incorporating the SEC Centre, SEC Armadillo and The SSE Hydro, combining exhibitions, conferences and live entertainment events. Strathclyde University’s Technology & Innovation Centre is a state-of-the-art conference centre with a 450seat main auditorium, 150-seat auditorium and 10 breakout rooms. The Glasgow Science Centre has a versatile mix of conference and meeting spaces including an IMAX cinema and Science Show Theatre

The Scottish Event Campus is the premier exhibition and conference centre in Glasgow


(SEC) - is one of those partners along with the NHS, universities and business. A supporting tier to that activity is GCMB’s ‘Ambassador Programme’, drawn from the city’s academic, scientific, medical and business communities, a group of over 1,700 people whose principal aim is to persuade their respective professional associations to host their conferences, congresses and meetings in Glasgow. In terms of success, peer-to-peer lobbying is paying off, with ambassadors accounting for half of all conference business booked in 2015/16 compared to just 30% two years ago. Among them are Dr Minna Torma, lecturer in Chinese Art at the University of Glasgow’s School of Culture and Creative Arts, who helped secure the European Association for Chinese Studies’s conference in Glasgow in 2018. The annual meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology will also take place in the city in 2019 after a successful bid led by Dr Richard Russell and Dr Richard Hansen, both consultant paediatric gastroenterologists at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children.


n GLASGOW AT A GLANCE have a focus on UK association business. Beverley McLean and Campbell Arnott, Senior Managers, International In Beverley and Campbell’s team are, Shona, Wendy and Evie. The International team work with city partners to host European and International conferences in Glasgow.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions Aileen is responsible for the successful positioning of Glasgow as a Business Tourism Destination of choice for National and International Associations. Paul Cuthbert, Senior Manager UK Paul’s team includes Helen, Laura, Karla and Lynn Ann. The UK team work with venues across the city to promote Glasgow as the city of choice for UK meeting planners. They

Gill Naismith, Ambassador Programme Manager Gill is supported by Lauren Pascu, Ambassador Programme Executive. Fran Mullin, Senior Manager, Accommodation. Fran and Lisa manage the delegate accommodation booking service. General enquiries T: +44 (0) 141 566 0800 conventions@ glasgowcitymarketingbureau. com http://conventions. contact-us/

GCMB’s best ever annual return came in 2015/2016 with conferences revenues averaging £2.7m-a-week, with a yearend figure of £141m. Nearly 37,000 overseas delegates visited Glasgow last year, placing the city 28th overall in ICCA’s (International Congress and Convention Association) index of 400 cities globally for numbers of delegates. In the last financial year the city confirmed 513 new international and UK meetings through to 2022, which equates to some 420,000 delegate days. In Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023, the city made a key commitment to build on its existing conferencing credentials and calendar of events over the next seven years. The conventions team works on around 100 new bids annually and is bidding on new business as far out as 2026. In August 2016 it became the first city in the UK to join the new Global Destination Sustainability Index, a ranking of leading international conference destinations – alongside the likes of Houston, Sydney, Kyoto, Barcelona, Geneva, Helsinki, Stockholm and Frankfurt.




Selling Edinburgh as a conference destination Leveraging the power of data, delegate discounts and peer networks to bring meetings to the capital like never before

n PEOPLE Lesley Williams

Lesley Williams - Head of Business Tourism Direct Line: 0131 473 3662 Email: lesley.williams@



hen it comes to organising conferences, Convention Edinburgh prides itself on getting into the “nitty gritty” of what business events clients want. The bureau, run by Head of Business Tourism Lesley Williams, also goes to great lengths to make it easy for delegates to get around the capital. Whether that’s discounted offers they can use in restaurants, bars and shops, or simply a map of the city that organisers can pop into delegate tote bags, the onus is on providing added value to conference-goers during their stays in the city. “We’re just focusing on the reasons to come to Edinburgh and to Scotland,” says Williams. “There’s huge collaboration between venues, hotels and suppliers, under the Edinburgh Rewards scheme, and a recognition that working together in a holistic manner is of huge benefit to conference organisers.” Edinburgh is also slowly climbing the international ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association) rankings. In 2015, the most recent available data, the city was ranked 35 among global cities for the number of association conferences hosted. Williams herself is also Chair of ICCA’s UK chapter and makes ready use of the organisation’s data to draw down lists of potential international conferences that can be targeted by her team. In pursuit of that goal, the bureau deploys a 600-plus network of ‘Ambassadors’, a vital peer network of principally academics and business figures whose contacts within their own professional associations allow them to leverage support at

Elaine Miller Ambassador and Association Bid Manager Direct Line: 0131 473 3661 Email: elaine.miller@ Hillary Bett - Head of Partnership and Business Development Direct Line: 0131 473 3871 Email: hillary.bett@ Kirstie Fraser - Events Manager Direct Line: 0131 473 3872 Email: kirstie.fraser@ the appropriate level during a conference bid process. The conference bidding process itself has also been enhanced in the last two years, with a new video showcasing the city, which according to Williams focuses more on the practical reasons for choosing Edinburgh as a conference destination than on its lure as a Unesco World Heritage site. The Ambassador Programme

itself is in its 20th year and has contributed over £900m in economic impact to the city, bringing in 528,605 delegates to 1,348 events in the city. Meeting space remains an issue, however, for the city and despite the recent extension to the EICC, which has breathed new life into the venue and Edinburgh as a business event destination, Williams says

new conference facilities would be “welcome”. Recent conference wins for the city include the Congress of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, which has 1,000 delegates scheduled to come for May 2020, and the British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy Annual Scientific Meeting, with 400 delegates due in May 2018.

and complimentary conference, exhibition and meetings space.

the Scottish Parliament, a versatile venue that can cater for mediumsized conferences, banquet dinners or boardroom meetings.

n KEY VENUES The EICC - by far Edinburgh’s largest conference, exhibition and entertainment space, which boasts an incredible moving floor in its state-of-the-art Lennox Suite. The Old Town Collection - A joint venture by the Royal College of Surgeons, The Festival Theatre and National Museums offers diverse

Assembly Rooms - The light and airy ballroom is the selling point as a well-sprung exhibition space but the famed festival venue also has a large auditorium, ideally suited to conferences. Our Dynamic Earth - Located next to

Royal Highland Centre - located next to Edinburgh Airport, it provides both indoor and outdoor exhibition and conference space, most notably the annual Royal Highland Show.



INDUSTRY SUPPORT REGIONS Dundee is set for a dramatic overhaul as part of the Waterfront Development, which includes a brand new rail station

Why business events are set to be at the heart of Dundee’s £1bn transformation The city stands poised to capitalise on an historic redevelopment - which could lure business tourists like never before


magine a city where computer games and biomedical sciences collide; a city where innovation, design and experimentation are at the core of business, attracting hundreds of thousands of delegates every year to high profile

conferences, exhibitions and events. Dundee is that city. Worth over £61 million to the region, business tourism is booming in Dundee and Angus. And with excellent event facilities, worldleading research, and a passion for creativity, it’s no surprise. But Dundee and Angus is not an area to rest on its laurels: the Waterfront development, a £1 billion project to regenerate the banks of the River Tay, is set to transform Dundee, offering many new opportunities to conference and event organisers.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, recently said that the Waterfont development has led to “an economic rebirth” in Dundee, meaning that the city “is wellplaced to exploit opportunities to attract business tourists.” As well as creating easier access to existing venues like Caird Hall, Dundee’s Concert and Conference Venue, the development includes a complete overhaul of the city’s railway station. While the original Victorian building will remain, the

1960s concourse will be demolished making way for state-of-the-art facilities which include the first Sleeperz hotel in Scotland. Perhaps the highest profile element of the redevelopment, though, is the V&A Museum of Design Dundee – the UK’s first ever museum of design built outside of London. As UNESCO’s only City of Design in the UK, the opening of the museum reflects the innovation inherent in business in Dundee and Angus. Conference organisers have è



The V&A looks set to become an iconic building and will be the centrepiece of the waterfront development


recognised this innovation, incorporating elements of art and design into their events in an effort to stimulate discussion and inspire their delegates. The isamDUNDEE2015 Congress, for example, organised by the International Society for Addiction Medicine, included as part of its programme and art and design exhibition inspired by the academic work presented at the conference. Outside of the Waterfront development, work continues across the region to develop and enhance facilities on offer to event organisers. The Hampton by Hilton hotel will open in March, opening up additional rooms and conferencing space for up to 50 delegates. And work is just beginning on the development of former mills into Hotel Indigo, a boutique hotel due to open in early 2018. KAREN TOCHER, business tourism manager at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, says, “Delegate numbers continue to rise every year in Dundee and Angus, and in recent years we have worked with event organisers from an increasingly diverse spectrum of industries. The research carried out at the University of Dundee, Abertay University and the James Hutton Institute is the basis of a great number of academic events attracting delegates from all corners of the globe. Event organisers feel confident in

the knowledge that there is a great wealth of local talent to draw upon. “Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau’s ambassadors have also worked incredibly hard to bring events to the region, liaising with associations and professionals organisations to bring over 200 events to Dundee and Angus. “Dundee and Angus is well connected to the rest of the world. Daily flights from key international hubs like London Stansted allow delegates a great flexibility when travelling to the region, and shuttle bus services from other key airports also make it easy to reach the city.” These international connections are undoubtedly a real draw for event organisers looking for suitable venues. Dr Si-qi An, one of the organisers of the 2016 Young Microbiologists Symposium on Microbe Signalling, Organisation and Pathogenesis, says, “The attendees come from so many different countries and so had little personal knowledge of Dundee but were very pleasantly surprised with the quality of facilities on offer. The team at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau were so helpful in making suggestions to improve the event but also helping in the organisation. And as far as getting here is concerned, everyone I spoke to was very impressed by the free shuttle coach service from Edinburgh Airport to the city as


part of the support for our meeting.” Those looking to organise events in Dundee and Angus are welcome to draw upon Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau’s years of collective experience. The team has delivered hundreds of conferences and events, and knows the region inside and out – ensuring they are always able to give the best advice. The Bureau knows that no two conferences are the same, so from the initial bid to budgetary planning – the booking of speakers to the promotion of the event – support is available. Professor Nikolai Zhelev of Abertay University maintains that the team at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau “really are experts”. He says that without their help organising the 2nd International Conference on Clinical Sciences and Drug Discovery would have been “like organising a wedding – but one with six brides and six bridegrooms. In other words – impossible.” No matter the industry or specialisation, Dundee and Angus is well equipped to host events, conferences and meetings of all shapes and sizes. Karen adds, “With so many new developments across the region, opportunities for event organisers are opening up every day. This really is an exciting time for business tourism in Dundee and Angus.”

To find out more about meetings, conferences and events in Dundee and Angus, visit www.conventiondundeeandangus.

Key Contacts Karen Tocher, Business Tourism Manager 01382 434318 karen.tocher@



Designed from a blueprint for a top conference hotel in the US, it’s little wonder Fairmont St Andrews has plenty of space for the modern delegate The resort hotel, spa and golf course is also a great place to kick back and enjoy the breaks between seminars BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


f you’ve visited St Andrews before the chances are you’ve paid a visit to its seemingly never-ending West Sands beach. Whether for a stroll, a horse ride or something more energetic,

like ‘land yachting’ [insert latest white knuckle craze here], the point is that it’s one of Scotland’s most iconic shorelines and most people will recognise it even if they haven’t been, thanks in no small part to the opening scene of the Oscar-winning movie Chariots of Fire. But with a new day, comes (literally) a new perspective, for me at least. And a welcome one it is, too. I’m sitting in the clubhouse restaurant of Fairmont St Andrews resort, which has what can only be described as one of the most commanding views to be found anywhere in the country. As I look north across a barrelling sea and leaden sky, towards the ancient university town, the only thing about to trump my


glass-fronted vantage point from our cliff-top perch is lunch itself. As a surf-and-turf-inspired langoustines and grilled steak smorgasbord hones into view, the chef even pops his head out from the kitchen to tell us proudly that the ingredients are locally sourced. Although I’m here primarily to witness a £10m revamp of the resort hotel’s facilities, the view, combined with the tender morsels on my chopping board (what else!?) and the company - in the form of Jane McGee, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Stephanie Reith, Senior Digital Communications Executive are more than a welcome distraction from a day in the office. As we tuck into the shellfish, with obligatory claw-shattering

pincer equipment, Jane gives a potted history of the hotel, which explains neatly why she is trying to grow the share of its occupancy from 30% business conference delegates to around 60%. The Fairmont was built in 2001 by US nicotine patch pioneer Don Panoz - who had a desire to create hotels which doubled up as international meeting spaces, so it’s a natural objective for Jane and her team. “Dr Panoz had become very rich overnight; he’d built a hotel called Chateau Élan just outside Atlanta [in the US] and it had become a conference venue with a large main plenary room,” she explains. “When looking to build in Scotland he basically did a blueprint of the Chateau Élan and built it here.

TALKING POINTS n It would be remiss not to mention golf in its spiritual home. Fairmont St Andrews boasts two fantastic 18-hole championship courses and a ‘director of golf’ to help beginners get into the swing of things. n The miniature library/ reading area overlooking the central atrium is a great place to unwind with a good book, or watch the world go by. n St Andrews Bar & Grill surely has one of the finest views of any clubhouse restaurant anywhere. n Location: The hotel is ideally placed to take advantage of the likely upswing in conference business when the V&A arrives in nearby Dundee.

The Fairmont St Andrews has undergone a £10m transformation which includes individually styled guest rooms and meeting spaces

That’s why, being American-built, the hotel has much larger spaces.” After a sticky toffee pudding, I’m rather glad to be able to walk off lunch around the large hotel, which has 15,000sq ft. of conference space and whose vast lobby has been artfully redecorated and reupholstered to five-star, indulgent quality. And it’s only when walking around the complex do I get a proper feel for the venue’s potential as a meeting place: its corridors are almost motorway-lane wide (ideal for popup stands) and the conference room is as big as any pharmaceutical company could wish for - its main plenary room can cater for up to 400 people and there are numerous smaller syndicate break-out spaces and an auditorium for around a

hundred. In fact, a Segway would not look out of place travelling up one of its main thoroughfares, which is a good thing if you’re an event planner looking to maximise exhibitor opportunities. “We really want to drive the corporate business,” adds Jane. “We have the facilities, and we’re happy to give buyout to the hotel as well, so conferences can take over the whole hotel, if they wish. Not all hotels can do that. We’ve got the conference space.” BUT WITHOUT doubt the number one selling point of the refurbishment is the iridescent hand-crafted ‘Zephyr’ art installation, whose thousands of hanging discs were individually inserted into place by

the enterprising, not to mention very patient artist George Singer, who was commissioned to come up with something lovely to jazz up the central atrium of the building. The result is spectacular; Singer may have spent a disorienting amount of time on a cherry picker getting the look right, but it was certainly worth it. My only disappointment is that I’m not there at night to capture the shimmering glow of the discs - a few of which are solid gold - as it is bathed in light. As a functional area, the atrium is ideal, providing a conference with perfect exhibition space for rows of shellscheme stands, but I imagine as an awards and gala dinner space at night that it is utterly transformed. As I come to the end of the tour,

I get the chance to have a look at some of the refurbished guest rooms. They have all been done to an exceptionally high standard and feature, as you might expect, on-trend wet room-style showers and rich colour contrasts. But it’s the personalised feel of each room with art works reflecting local geology and interest points across Fife that makes it feel like a well thought-through update and not one which you might associate with a hotel. The Fairmont at St Andrews has managed to eschew the tendency for the rather staid, uniform approach to hotel design and offer business delegates more than just a room to lay their weary heads after a busy conference. They’ve managed to make it feel quite like home.



INDUSTRY SUPPORT REGIONAL An artist’s impression of the impressive new AECC which will feature subterranean events space

Aberdeen paves the way for a bright events future with the new AECC The 12,500-capacity venue, opening in 2019, is set to add some commercial steel to its sales operation next month BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


bit like the housing market, the trend for selling conference and exhibition spaces ‘offplan’ is fuelling huge demand in the number of inbound inquiries for the new AECC – which is due to open its doors in Aberdeen in 2019. The £333m project, which looks set to transform the Granite City into an international events hub, is preparing to add some commercial steel to its operations when the yetto-be-constructed 12,500-capacity venue is taken under the wing of SMG Europe next month. SMG has a portfolio of 220 venues worldwide – including the Manchester Arena and First Direct Arena in Leeds. “There’s no question, we have

had a large number of inquiries, nationally and internationally,” says Sarah Coutts, the venue’s PR & Marketing manager. “It’s a very exciting time for the AECC; SMG Europe is a management company and we’re looking forward to working with them in April after a tender process was completed.” Up till now the project has been stewarded by an arms-length organisation created by Aberdeen City Council, and the appointment of SMG will strengthen the venue’s capacity to boost its order books; the venue is already being actively sold for conferences and exhibitions and there are a number of them currently in the bidding process. “With the expansion of Aberdeen Airport and the new AECC this is an exciting time for the city,” adds Coutts. The new venue will boast 47,000 sqm of internal events space, made up of 32,000 sqm of subterranean space and a 9,000 sqm arena space capable of seating 10,000 people, four suites divisible into 11 event spaces, plus a 10,000 sqm outdoor event area and 12 meeting rooms. The AECC also works closely

with VisitAberdeenshire, the newly formed destination management organisation (DMO) for the city and region; its business tourism focus has led to the capture of around 15-20 business events per year, plus an additional 3-5 leisure/sports events, and its team, led by Business Development Director Jenni Fraser, attend all the major events and travel fairs to directly promote the region. The team is complemented by the Aberdeen Ambassador Network, a group of local professionals, academics, business leaders and individuals who want to bring a national, international event or association conference to Aberdeen. Among the large conferences coming on stream this year are Alzheimer’s Research UK(400 delegates) and the IEEE OCEANS event in June with 650 delegates expected. There is also a £20m investment programme underway at Aberdeen Airport to build additional capacity, with a number of new routes opening up this year, and 2,000 extra hotel rooms being added to Aberdeen in the next two years.


Jenni Fraser, Business Development Director T: 01224 900496 E: Jenni Fraser leads VisitAberdeenshire’s Business Development team. Jenni oversees the strategic direction of all activity directly relating to both business and leisure tourism. She organises and attends conferences, events and travel fairs to directly promote the region to a range of relevant parties. Gemma Cruickshank, Tourism Executive T: 01224 900494 E: Gemma is part of the DMO’s newly created Business Development team. She works with business events and conferences, attracting them to the region and supporting event organisers from initial research to event completion. Gemma initially organises familiarisation trips for interested parties; if successful she supports with venue and accommodation booking as well as social programmes.



‘We were trending on Twitter only the Brangelina split knocked us off the top spot’ How a small conference bureau in Inverness reached out to a global audience BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN

VisitInvernessLochNess conference bureau helped bring 115 international travel bloggers to Inverness. Photograph: Charne Hawkes


hen Inverness hosted iambassador’s annual summit for the world’s most influential travel bloggers the last thing organisers expected was for the event to become the number one trending item on Twitter - until they were knocked off the top spot by the ‘Brangelina’ split. The Social Travel Summit attracted 115 delegates including travel influencers, bloggers and travel writers into the Highland city for their annual gathering in September last year - an event supported by VisitBritain in conjunction with VisitInvernessLochNess. The three-day summit took place at the Kingsmills Hotel in the city and due to the huge online audiences commanded by the bloggers the event started to trend on the social media site. And it was only the announcement of the impending divorce by Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on September 21 that overtook the event for worldwide impact “The fact it was trending for two days was fabulous,” said Alan Rawlinson, Business Tourism & Leisure Manager. “It was hugely beneficial for the region and the pre and post fam trips that the bloggers were invited on highlighted the area on their individual channels as well.” The event featured a cocktail cruise on Loch Ness, a welcome evening at award-winning pub and live music venue Hootananny’s and a gala dinner at nearby Achnagairn Castle Sponsored by VisitScotland, as well as the bloggers themselves, destination management organisations

(DMOs) and travel professionals from around the world. Inverness was chosen as the destination of choice for the event after the it was held in previous years in Germany.

Contact details: Alan Rawlinson Business & Leisure Tourism T: 01463 219219 M: 07584 257797


n BUREAU DETAILS VisitInvernessLochNess VisitBUSIness is the conference bureau for the Inverness Loch Ness area. Inverness Loch Ness offers one unique destination blending the vibrancy and warmth of the thriving Capital city of the Highlands and the great outdoors and area of discovery on and around Loch Ness. Its remit is to: l To promote the destination to the Business Tourism industry l To support event organisers who may be considering the destination for an event l To assist event organisers and their delegates for confirmed events in the area l To help local businesses be prepared for the demands of Business Tourism

The bureau works in partnership with local venues, hotels, attractions and all service suppliers to ensure events will be a success and give all delegates memorable experiences so that they want to come back ‘again and again’. Services it offers include: l Venue finding l Familiarisation (‘fam’) trip support l Accommodation booking l Social programmes l Supplier contacts l BID creation l Financial support – help with funding applications l Local knowledge and information Currently the bureau is working on a new delegate pack that will be available to all organisers and will include destination information and offers for all delegates.



EventScotland is backing a new national standard for the safety vetting of outdoor events. Photograph: Craig Stephen

Licking outdoor events into shape - the SAG way How one retired cop is making it his mission to role out a new safety process for events



or a man who spent nearly 30 years at the coalface of Scottish policing - rising to the rank of chief inspector - you might have expected him to rest on his laurels when he took a job as an ‘emergency planning officer’ at a local council. Not a bit of it for Kevin Sewell, who I meet for coffee overlooking

the Water of Leith. Even though he’s no longer with the force - his was Lothian & Borders, before the national service was created - he exudes the kind of steely authority and directness (some might say bluntness), that career police officers so often seem to possess. The purpose of our meeting is to discuss something called the ‘SAG process’ (before any conclusions are reached I have to point out that

this is no way related to ageing). Far from it, in this context. Instead, the SAG process stands for ‘Safety Advisory Group’, which Kevin chairs in his role at Borders Council. Essentially, it is a ‘onestop-shop’ for events planners and organisers who are seeking the necessary permissions, guidance and expertise to ensure their outdoor events have all the required signoffs deeming them safe and sanitary




DELIVERY SAFETY è for the event-going public.

Dealing separately with police, fire and ambulance services - not to mention the myriad of internal departments within a council who might have some responsibility for such as roads, licensing and environmental health - can be a bureaucratic quagmire from which even the hardened event professional might not emerge. So, spotting a gap, Kevin has made it his personal mission to try and assist them with a formal group structure which gets all of the relevant services around a single table, hence the SAG was born. But Kevin explains the actual structure had its genesis in the old Lothian & Borders force, where a ‘near disaster’ at Edinburgh’s inaugural Hogmanay street party in 1995 forced a radical overhaul of how events were policed. “If you ever watch the videos there were between an estimated 200-300,000 people on Princes Street and the surrounds. Barriers collapsed, policemen were trapped under them - and the magnitude of the crowds going down the Mound and Hanover Street to Princes Street, you watched them swirling, they couldn’t actually go anywhere because of the pressure - the crowds just went round and round. It was a near disaster, so we said ‘we need to do this better’.” AS A RESULT of that experience the force formed the EPOG (Event Planning and Operations Group), which became a standard model for policing large events at first in Edinburgh but then across the UK as a whole after Kevin and his boss took the idea to the emergency planning college in England. His take on SAG is basically that it follows the same principles as EPOG, which takes six or seven key criteria into consideration, including who the event organiser is (if it’s a radical protest group, the event will be SAG’d, for example); the location of an event also can determine whether it needs to be SAG’d as well as its scale and ‘by request’, meaning one of the agencies involved has concerns and therefore wants to make sure the event meets the necessary safety requirements. SAG meetings take place in the Borders on a Tuesday afternoon and all the events needing to go through the process are required to send someone to vouch for them (it’s not unusual to process seven in one sitting). The week we meet, Kevin says he has hosted the Borders Vintage


Kevin Sewell

Automobile Club, the Mighty Deerstalker (a running event), Borders Counties Rally, Melrose 7s, and a new re-enactment taking place at the Hawick Reivers festival. He says there are currently around 50 events per year in the Borders (out of 1,800 overall) going through the SAG process, and the vast majority go through; any deficiencies in an event’s planning are usually politely dealt with and the person attending is asked back again. This might have been because they didn’t have the requisite materials for putting on the event, including adequate maps, a risk assessment, insurance, medi-

cal provision or stewarding. It’s as this point that Kevin also asks for a name - and it’s that name that is recorded as the person responsible for the event. Whilst not designed to be ‘scary’, he says ultimately there needs to be clear legal liability for an event - and people organising should be made aware of that. ONE OFTEN contentious issue for events planners is police charging; since the new national force was created, Police Scotland has had the ability recover their costs on policing events, particularly commercial ones that make a profit. Whilst that may seem fair enough, many large events have complained, including in these pages, but Kevin advises cool heads. Rather than jumping up and down, he says it is far better and more productive to spend time with the local officer concerned and scrutinise the policing plan. “Part of my job as the chair is to challenge the police how many cops you’ve got there, and I ask the question, ‘Why?’ and ‘Do they need police powers?’ If they don’t need police powers, why are they there? At some events the police are there by default and then they charge for it. They’re doing that because the councils are not challenging them.”

To that end, Kevin recommends that the SAG process is always chaired by a local authority; they have responsibility for the roads, not the police, so are in the best position to oversee Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs). “The council always chairs the SAG, never the event organiser, this is the key point,” he insists. “Because how can they scrutinise their own event?” The end goal for the SAG process, Kevin hopes, is that it’s adopted by all 32 local councils in Scotland. He was due to hold a meeting with them as we went to press, at which point there will be some more progress towards a national, standardised process. “We have a national police force, a national fire service and a national ambulance service, so it would help them if everyone did the same thing. It would help EventScotland if everyone did the same thing and it would most certainly help event organisers if everyone did the same thing. “From an event organisers’ point of view we are focusing on a onestop-shop; the beauty of coming to a SAG process in the Borders is that every person you need to talk to is at the table. You don’t need to make two dozen phone calls.”




Policing of events need not be a headache for organisers Police Scotland advises early engagement in the process


olice Scotland has a role to support and assist event organisers in delivering safe events. Most events can be run safely without much input, if any, from police, but some, particularly the larger events; may need a policing capability to be put in place. Prior to making initial contact with police it is helpful if the organiser has: l Made contact with the local authority and sought advice about any licensing requirements or traffic management issues, such as a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO). It is the event organisers’ responsibility to ensure the safe traffic management plan and implemetation of TTROs. l Read the Purple and/or Green Guides which exemplify current best practice and are a crucial first step for anyone planning on running an event. l Obtained the requisite permission from the land/venue owner. l An idea of what policing assistance/support will be requested from Police Scotland. POLICE SCOTLAND has a charging process to recover costs for the deployment of police officers and will work with organisers to discuss whether any abatement may be applied to policing costs. Organisers should consider this along with all other costs when setting entry fees for their event. Where a police resource is dedicated to the event the organiser will be required to sign a Minute of Agreement (MOA) which is legally binding. The MOA must be agreed and signed by the organiser in advance of the event. Planning for events works best when organisers engage fully with the process. The local authority will coordinate any multi-agency meet-

Police Scotland has a charging scheme to recover costs for the deployment of police officers at events

ings required such as the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and getting the right people round the table at the same time is vital. Organisers must be capable of giving full updates with as much information as possible and will be required to present documentation to all relevant parties for scrutiny such as stewarding plans, risk assessments, event management plans etc. DURING THE event, Police Scotland expects that the organiser has: l Appropriate staff in place and all have been fully briefed on their roles and responsibilities. l A suitable representative with tactical decision making capability working within the Multi Agency Control Room (MACC) should a MACC be required. This is usually

the case with the bigger or higher risk events. l Good communication throughout the venue and with all partners involved. Common challenges for Police Scotland include: l Late notification received of event l Timescales – are they achievable? l Lack of experience by organiser – unrealistic vision l Information gaps l What are the public expectations of the event? l Will the event have any wider community impact? l Is there likely to be any negative public interest surrounding the event? l What is/ if any the likely interest of the media? l Social media reporting

l Other competing demands on the same day POLICE SCOTLAND has experienced planning staff situated throughout Scotland working from local offices. There are also three regional offices where staff can help signpost event organisers to the relevant office where early assistance, guidance and advice can be provided. Glasgow: Edinburgh: Dundee: Early engagement from you is encouraged and welcomed – please get in touch at the earliest opportunity.


DELIVERY FIRST AID St Andrews First Aid will undertake a risk assessment based upon your overarching event management plan

St Andrews First Aid...a volunteer network providing cover at 2,000 events every year The charity can provide cycle teams, mobile first aid posts and radio communications


ith a network of fully qualified first aiders across the country, we provide experienced support at 2,000 events in Scotland throughout the year. St

Andrews First Aid provides cover for some of Scotland’s most exciting events, whether hill climbing, dancing the night away at large music events, supporting your sport team or historic battle reenactments we have the resources and people to provide first aid at them all, indoor or outdoor. We can offer a variety of resources including cycle teams, mobile first aid post (MFAP’S) and radio communications, which enable us to consistently deliver the high-


est standards of first aid cover and training. We offer advice and guidance tailored towards your event with regards to first aid provision and a local contact, to guide you from initial planning to the successful and safe completion of your event. Our first aid team will undertake a risk assessment based upon your overarching event management plan. Whatever size event or location, you can be sure that we will endeavour to meet your first aid resource requirements. Please remember however that our services are provided by volunteers, who willingly give up their time to keep your patrons safe and in the process raise money for our educational programmes (the cost of a first aider per hour is set at ÂŁ15 - with the money going back into the charity). Demand usually exceeds supply, especially in the summer months, so the more notice you can give us, the more likely we can help. We usually need to have contracts in place at least one month prior to your event so that we can sign up volunteers to attend, so keep that in mind when booking.

n CASE NOTES In December 2014, five of our volunteers were fast on the scene to help save the lives and attend to the injuries of those caught up in the bin lorry incident, which took place in a packed George Square, right before Christmas. Due to their efforts, skills and ability to remain calm in the face of adversity, their actions and support made a significant difference to those affected by the tragic event. In October this year, a bus carrying Rangers supporters crashed on the way to a game. Four of our volunteers were first on the scene. They provided first aid to a number of passengers and kept them calm until the emergency services arrived. Our volunteers make us proud and are the reason we are able to continue doing what we do and build a nation of lifesavers. First aid is an essential part of the health and safety provision that all event organisers have to have in place.




Welcome to the E Awards - celebrating the Scottish events industry New awards ceremony will bring a touch of glitz and glamour to EventIt 2017


ventIt 2017 is delighted to announce its inaugural ‘E Awards’ ceremony to celebrate the achievements of events industry professionals in Scotland. The ‘E Awards’ will be unveiled today, March 9th, at the SEC Centre in Glasgow following the show. There are 11 separate categories and 31 finalists for the awards and the principal aim of Show Director Judith Wilson is to recognise the hard work of those who engaged in the industry. Judith says: “After working on EventIt and EventsBase, we have come to realise that there is an enormous amount of not just hard work and effort that goes into putting on events in Scotland, but also a great deal of creativity, flair and imagination. The E Awards, which we are launching this year at EventIt, seeks to recognise and reward all the people who are involved with and engaged in this growing and increasingly professionalised sector. She said: “We drew up a list of 11 separate categories after careful consideration of all the different types of event but also the hugely varied elements of what goes into producing them. “We have also appointed a board of senior people in the Scottish events industry who helped with the difficult judging process.” She added: “I’m also pleased to say that when we launched the Awards, there was clearly an appetite for them, and we had an overwhelming response, which for a brand new awards ceremony is very encouraging indeed. I just want to wish everyone the very best of luck on the evening.”

The E Awards will recognise the achievements of events professionals in Scotland






British Academy of Audiology 13th Annual Conference, Fitwise Management Ltd. Ideal Homeshow Scotlan, Charity Partner, Erskine. Venturefest Scotland, Speakeasy Productions Ltd. EVENT SUPPLIER EXCELLENCE 2017 Appetite Direct, Edinburgh International Festival Launch. Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, The Kilt Walk. Portakabin, DF Concerts. STUDENT EVENT/FESTIVAL EXCELLENCE 2017 Aberdeen Student Festival, Robert Gordon University. Edinburgh Students Music Movement. Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt, Edinburgh. Stella’s Masquerade Ball, Edinburgh Napier University.




Findhorn Bay Arts, Findhorn Bay Festival

Food Standards Scotland, Royal Highland Show, Speakeasy Productions Ltd.

Big Nature Festival, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scotland’s.

Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light, Scottish Maritime Museum.

Edinburgh International Film Festival.

International Society for Music Education Conference, MCL Create.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Unique Events.

Glasgow Film Festival Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light, Scottish Maritime Museum Twilight Illuminations with Sprits of Scone, Scone Palace OUTDOOR EVENT/FESTIVAL EXCELLENCE 2017 Cowal Highland Gathering. Homeless World Cup, Glasgow 2016. The Erskine Motorbike Meet, Erskine. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, Edinburgh, Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

MARKETING & DIGITAL EVENT/FESTIVAL EXCELLENCE 2017 Aberdeen Festivals/Visit Aberdeenshire. Back in Time Day, New Lanark Trust, Venturefest Scotland, Speakeasy Productions Ltd. SCOTTISH EVENT SPACE OR VENUE EXCELLENCE 2017

AWARD FOR SCOTTISH EVENT OR FESTIVAL EXCELLENCE 2017 This Award will be presented to the outstanding event or festival experience in 2017. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD This Award will be presented to the individual for their outstanding contribution to the industry.

Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Merchant Square, Glasgow. The Royal Yacht Britannia. Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde EVENTSBASE | SPRING 2017 | 43



Zero Waste Scotland publishes a guide to help event organisers plan and deliver sustainable events

Competing on the world stage Sustainable events help organisers to boost Scotland’s reputation as a global centre of excellence


iven the value of the events industry to the Scottish economy there is a strong argument for improving sustainability at all levels of the delivery process. Primary reasons for organisations to consider sustainable development are: reducing operating costs, securing funding, compliance and meeting industry standards. By taking steps to improve sustainability, for example putting in place plans to divert waste from landfill or re-using materials where possible post-event, organising committees can boost their reputation and gain a competitive advantage, while helping to create a truly sustainable Scottish events industry that competes on the world stage. Zero Waste Scotland published a guide, ‘How to plan and deliver environmentally sustainable events’, to help guide event organisers looking to create sustainable events. The

guide, which builds on learnings from high-profile events hosted by Scotland during 2014, including Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup 2014, Homecoming Scotland and Festival 2014, has been developed to showcase best practice and act as a quick reference guide for key topics including energy, water, waste management, venue, catering and transportation. Working with trade associations and selected organisations, Zero

Waste Scotland looks to identify and implement optimum resource efficiency measures and share learnings with the wider industry, including tourism and hospitality. We collaborate with organisations such as the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Hospitality Industry Trust and EventScotland to embed resource efficiency messages throughout their respective sectors via our Resource Efficiency Pledge Ambassador initiative. Specialist support is available for

SMEs in the hospitality and tourism sector. Call free on 0808 808 2268 visit or Email enquiries@ Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme has worked with event organising committees including Glasgow 2014 and Ryder Cup Green Drive to ensure events made efficient use of energy, water and raw materials, and recycled where possible.

n CASE STUDY The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be remembered as one of the most successful Games ever. 71 nations and territories competed in 17 sports over 11 days. It placed sustainability high on its agenda and achieved great results: 86% of waste was diverted from landfill, exceeding the target of 80% (games time) To maximise re-use, furniture and fittings from the London 2012 Olympics Athletes’ Village were sent to Scotland. These items were then re-used for international sporting stars. In addition, follow-

ing the Glasgow 2014 games, the local community benefited with over 60,000 items of furniture (including beds, wardrobes, sofas, beanbags and lamps) donated to families in need via the Glasgow Housing Association. A substantial programme for reusable assets was implemented, with items including food and uniforms distributed within the local community and across The Commonwealth. l All organising and volunteer staff were issued with re-usable water bottles along with their uniform.

l Auction Site for Glasgow 2014 memorabilia proved popular with the public and allowed many props from ceremonies and memorabilia from venues to be re-used. l The Glasgow 2014 organising committee re-used 260,000 items of furniture, fittings and equipment from the London 2012 Olympics. The items were transported to Scotland by sea for use in the Athletes’ Village with a carbon footprint of 41.77 tonnes of CO2. For more information visit www.



DELIVERY DATA PROTECTION Event planners need to be aware of new data protection regulations

Do you know how to stay within the law? Strict new penalties mean event planners should pay heed to changes to data protection legislation



ata is the key to the success of events. Every event you help to create generates a mountain of data ranging from contact details to dietary requirements to sponsor leads. As the event approaches, that data is typically shared across a variety of roles from exhibitors to advertisers to hotels. This data can also move across interna-

tional borders. Put simply, a lot of information moves around a lot of different people in a lot of different countries. In our privacy-conscious times, it is important for members of the events industry to understand their legal obligations to this data and to the people behind it. European law requires careful stewardship of personal data regardless of industry, content, or nationality. The legal framework governing those stan-

dards is set to be extensively modernised and strengthened over the next two years and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May next year. The UK’s Information Commissioner has confirmed that the UK will go ahead with implementing GDPR into our own national regulations regardless of the Brexit vote. While we will all face increased obligations for data protection, we




must view this time as an opportunity to better serve the profession, and the people who attend our events, through stronger data protection standards. Apart from the damage to reputations when data is stolen, the penalties for failing to protect personal data are likely to increase dramatically soon. Strict new legislation that will become law in 2018 will increase fines for data breaches to a maximum of €20M or 4 per cent of global turnover – whichever is higher. Additionally, on the 1st August a new security policy came into effect. ‘Privacy Shield’ replaces the defunct ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement that was in place to cover the transference of personal data between the EU and the USA. This new agreement will affect you if you hold or transfer data about European attendees to the US. That means if your registration or database company stores data in the US, data is sent to a US company – or even if you happen to log in and check some attendee details in a web browser whilst on holiday in the States. THE EIGHT principles of data protection law in Europe require personal data to be: 1: Stored fairly and lawfully; following the rules set out in the data protection act. 2: Stored only for a specific purpose; it must only be stored to do the job it was collected for. It is reasonable to store contact data of past registrants in order to market future events to them, but only data that is relevant. 3: Relevant, adequate, and not excessive for that purpose; you can store enough detail to be able to do the job, but not too much. Think twice before you add another question to the registration form. 4: Accurate; there is a duty to keep data up to date, for example to change an address when someone moves house. 5: Kept for no longer than it is necessary; it may be tempting to hold on to data ‘just in case’ but consider how long you need it for. It is alright to keep information for a while, but not indefinitely. 6: Kept in accordance with the individual’s rights; again, following the rules set out in the data protection act. 7: Protected by technical and organisational security measures; this includes keeping the information backed up and away from any



unauthorised access. It would be wrong to leave personal data open to be viewed by just anyone. 8: Not transferred outside the EU, unless the recipient country ensures an adequate standard of data protection; this has led to some countries passing similar laws to allow computer data centres to be located in their area. Check where your registration company stores their data. It can seem daunting but, as with health and safety regulations, every organiser of every event needs to understand it. It is a subject that I feel passionately about which is why we have published a white paper detailing data protection within the events industry, and what all companies need to know to stay within the law. Event industry professionals face daily data protection dilemmas ranging from USB stick usage to passwords to web hosts. The white paper goes through these dilemmas and examines the lessons learnt by organisations who failed to take

data protection seriously. We delve into the imminent future of our data protection obligations, and give you a greater understanding of the questions you need to ask to ensure robust data protection standards across all levels of your business. Our objective is to answer many of the questions you may already have about data security in the events industry. If you don’t have any questions, we hope that the white paper will convince you that you need to think about whether you are taking the proper steps to protect the personal information that you gather about your registrants. The white paper is available free to event organisers, without the need for you to even give us your email address: promo-www/datasafety/download. php Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer, RefTech


DELIVERY TRANSPORT An extensive programme of rail electrification works across Scotland’s central belt will slash train journey times by up to a quarter

Reducing journey times (and stress) for delegates Events planners set to benefit from major transport infrastructure works across Scotland


£6bn programme of national transport infrastructure works is set to speed up journey times for events delegates on both road and rail networks. The Scotland-wide series of improvement programmes is ushering in a new era of dieselfree, electrified rail and ‘intelligent’ motorways. The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) is a comprehensive programme of

improvements to Scotland’s railway infrastructure, rolling stock and services. EGIP will deliver 42 minute fastest journey time between Edinburgh and Glasgow and the introduction of 8 car electric trains. The project has already delivered the £25 million new-look Haymarket Station in Edinburgh on 19 December 2013 and will also see a complete transformation of Glasgow’s Queen Street station by March 2019. The Edinburgh Gateway Interchange opened as planned in December 2016. In addition, across Scotland 13 new stations have been added to the rail network - from Laurencekirk in the northeast, Conon Bridge in the highlands, to Eskbank and Stow in the south – with more new stations in the pipeline, including


Robroyston, East Linton, Reston and Kintore. A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Infrastructure projects play an enormous role in our economic prosperity, protecting and creating jobs and safeguarding our public services. Projects worth nearly £6 billion are currently under construction across the country, with £100 million more injected during 2016 to accelerate planned projects. “Transport plays a crucial role in our economy and we have carefully targeted our investment in transport projects to make a positive difference to our economy and the lives of the people those schemes will serve - improving journey times and increasing the reliability of travel across Scotland. “All of this seeks to offer more travel options for our communities and to better connect people and goods to the marketplace.” The spokesman added: “Our commitment to rail in Scotland is investing twice as much per head in the rail network than the UK government, and looking ahead we have allocated £5 billion of investment in track upgrades, new carriages, seats, services and fair fares, to truly transform our railway.” On the roads, the £1.3 to £1.35

billion Forth Replacement Crossing project will improve the reliability of cross Forth travel on the main route between Edinburgh and the north. The project includes construction of the Queensferry Crossing, a new three-tower, cablestayed bridge. The scheme has a 13.7 mile (22 kilometre) footprint which includes major improvements to the surrounding road networks. The new bridge deck will carry two general lanes of motorway traffic in each direction and hard shoulders to ensure that breakdowns, incidents and any maintenance works do not cause the severe congestion which has been experienced on the existing Forth Road Bridge. In addition, ‘windshielding’ on the new bridge will protect the crossing from the effects of wind and provide a more reliable corridor, particularly for heavy goods vehicles. In a first for Scotland the project will create a 13.7-mile ‘managed motorway’ system using an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to help regulate the flow of traffic approaching and crossing the Forth. Transport Scotland say these combined factors will help improve the reliability of journey times across the Forth.


DELIVERY MAJOR EVENTS Tokyo, host city for the 2020 Olympic Games

Striving to be the perfect host Cities have struggled to deliver multi-sport events but Glasgow, and now Tokyo, show how it can be done BY WILLIAM PEAKIN


eading figures from the world of sport governance and major event ownership convened in Glasgow for the Host City Exhibition and Conference last November to discuss how to attract and host, secure and engaging sports, business and cultural events. In his opening keynote address Sir Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, used Glasgow as the backdrop to a discussion on the ebb and flow in fortune for major events. The city has a relatively small population, he said, but in the eight years from 2012 to 2020 it has hosted, or will host, major events in football, cycling, netball, swimming, athletics, tennis, gymnastics, judo, curling, badminton, golf, rugby, rowing and triathlon.

The result is a contribution to the economy of the city of £370m; an investment in sports facilities since 2009 which totals around £200m; attendance figures in 2015 at sports facilities in Glasgow of 6.4m people, with 800,000 at the World Gymnastics Championships in the new Hydro Arena, “an event which produced the best presentation of indoor sports that I have ever seen,” said Sir Craig. And outside the events themselves, there was, he said, a list of plusses could be described as the softer legacies: 20,900 junior members of sports clubs, an increase of 367 since 2009; 4,580 coaches engaged with sports clubs, up 95 per cent since 2009; and 4490 volunteers engaged with sports clubs, up 110 per cent since 2009. “Now the reason for this boom in sports activities is not too difficult to find. The 2014 Commonwealth Games were a triumph for the city. Following the success of the 2012 London Olympic Games they showed just what can be achieved with some good planning of facilities, their legacy, then promotion, enthusiasm and organisation – to say nothing of the overall benefits to


the city to be garnered from worldwide television coverage and exposure, and a huge growth in digital media conversation and interest. “But not all cities are lucky enough to have the opportunity organise one of the big multi-sport events and use this as a catalyst for facility development and public interest. Hosting events – and in particular sports events – is an ever more competitive business, although there is clearly a mismatch between enthusiasm for individual events as opposed to major multisport events. “The IOC have struggled to attract anything like the number of cities for Olympic Games compared to years ago. The Commonwealth Games Federation are not exactly awash with applicants for future Commonwealth Games, and the Olympic Winter Games bidding process was reduced to two final candidates.” But, he said, for individual sporting events, the world is a “very, very active place”. Auckland in New Zealand has rugby, cricket, hockey and sailing. Smaller countries – Danish cities, united, by the Sport Event Denmark organisation – are hosts

for handball, sailing, ice hockey, swimming, badminton, cycling and equestrian events. Sydney and Melbourne offer attractive options for sailing, for surfing, for rugby, tennis, Formula 1 and others. Sir Craig said sport has gone through a difficult period regarding doping: “These have brought extreme challenges to sport, to its major events, its federations. Issues of governance of sport and criticism of how it selects its host cities have added fuel to the fire. However, I was recently in Tokyo, host city for the 2020 Olympic Games and I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and excitement in both city and country at the prospect of hosting the Games in 2020. “The Japanese ability to seek long term legacies that are relevant to their society and provide opportunities to showcase their own innovative technologies offers the Olympic movement a real opportunity to change the scepticism which appears to exist and which elicits much comment. And this I find to be really exciting and may well be a force for greatly increased enthusiasm for Olympic and other multi-sport events.”



DELIVERY OUTDOOR EVENTS NOEA Scotland has lobbied hard with government to put outdoor events on the map

Outdoor events from the man who helped shape the rulebook Tom Clements is chair of NOEA Scotland and has spent 27 years nurturing the industry



om Clements is a man who’s been involved in events longer than he cares to mention. What he doesn’t know about planning for an outdoor gig or festival - be it traffic management, crowd control, chemical loos or (possibly) even the weather - is probably not worth knowing. His company is Specialized Security but it’s for his role as the Chairman of NOEA (National Outdoor Events

Association) Scotland that he’s most well-known among event professionals in Scotland. NOEA Scotland has been in existence for around seven-and-a-half years, and started with just a handful of members who wanted to bring some professionalism, experience, influence and reach to the business of outdoor events - which it is fair to say had not been valued as a sector up to that point. It was an imbalance and NOEA Scotland was an attempt to correct it; several years down

the line and the organisation has expanded massively from the six or seven forerunners to a membership of approaching a hundred. For an association that has around 700 across the UK, Scotland has a very healthy proportion of those members. But there were also clear legal and political reasons for setting up NOEA Scotland; with different legislation in Scotland, different systems governing local authorities, fire, police and ambulance services (increasingly so since the regional




forces merged into national bodies four years ago), it made sense for NOEA to have its own distinct representation north of the Border. I MEET TOM in his office at a trading estate in Livingston; it’s pouring down outside, perhaps fittingly, when I’m here to talk about the state of outdoor events in Scotland, which are in a very healthy condition, according to Tom, have increasingly become recognised for the economic benefit they create, are attracting more big sponsors and are more creative than ever before. “Events have changed hugely over the last decade or so,” he says. “You could say there used to be a certain element of giving something a go, and an event might only last for a year before closing; some didn’t even get off the ground at all. It was not exactly amateur but there was an element of that. Now there is much more of a professional focus; after all, people want to succeed in life. Whatever they do, they want to be good at it, make money and be a success. Events are no different. But where in the past you might have someone wanting to make a fast buck, now they’re much more in it for the long haul. I think that’s been the big change.” There’s no getting away from the fact that Tom has himself helped shape many of the rules and regulations that have shaped outdoor events over the years, and has been involved on steering committees that determine the elements and ongoing amendments of what goes into the rulebook. Again he has witnessed a marked shift. He swears by something called the ‘Purple Guide’, which is, as far as he is concerned, the outdoor events bible. It is designed to be a stepby-step guide covering every single conceivable part of putting on an event: from crowd control, to environmental considerations, to licensing, policing, health and safety and much, much more. Now, more than ever, the sheer weight of guidance greatly reduces the chances of an incident causing a massive rethink in how events are planned. That’s not to say all bases have been covered, it’s just a testament to the fact that planning guidelines are now so extensive. “Incidents don’t cause things now,” Tom explains. “The days where we react to things are probably behind us now; that’s not to say we’re immune to everything


that might happen, it’s more that we now look at these things and plan and interpret everything that could happen and build plans around it.” PERHAPS ONE area that has caused most disquiet in outdoor events planning in the last couple of years has been the cost of policing them, an issue that will be a hot topic of discussion this year at EventIt’s Knowledge Exchange. Tom doesn’t mince his words and says the police have done some “silly things” around the way they charge


for events. Not only are the costs for the time of individual officers high, some events have seen their bills increase substantially from one year to the next. For events planners setting their prices, to face a bill increase after they have put on sale the following year’s tickets is clearly difficult to manage. “You can’t go back out there and charge an extra 25% on tickets already sold, so the police aren’t helping themselves,” Tom insists. But he is also quick to put the onus on event organisers, who must have the confidence and

wherewithal to negotiate with local police commanders; he gives an example of a recent festival where police were concerned about people exiting onto a main road at night and therefore wanted to station two officers on the road all day. “They didn’t need them all day; all they needed was a TTRO (Temporary Traffic Regulation Order) for an hour and a traffic management company to oversee it. It’s all down to negotiation and planning. If I get a client ask me to justify why I need 20 crowd management staff, I’ll have to do that; we’ll go through it line by line, to work out why they are needed. It should be the same with the police. Quite often the police don’t want to be there - they just want to be reassured that the product you’re running is safe and secure.” To that end, Tom is a strong advocate of involving police at an early stage in planning an event. He would like to see the model of the Borders Council - where Safety Advisory Groups (SAG) puts event planners in front of a committee chaired by the Local Authority become the norm. “If you can sit down at first SAG meeting and plan the traffic flows, and how the stages can be angled to such a degree that audible noise is minimised, or whatever it is, all of a sudden they don’t have much to argue about or complain about,” adds Tom. “All of a sudden those hurdles you thought were going to get in the way are no longer a problem.”





They might not be as sexy as the big sporting or cultural showpieces, but business events contribute almost £2bn of the £3.5bn generated annually by the events and festivals sector. We meet the man for whom a haematologists’ conference is as important as the Commonwealth Games.



he term ‘business events’ may not mean an awful lot to people on the outside looking in. But to those inside the tent - the thousands of men and women in Scotland engaged in the process of putting on meetings and conferences, or hosting rewards trips for corporate high-achievers - the term is shorthand for a large and highly productive industry that has seen Scotland become an increasingly active player in the market over the course of the last several years. As I look back on some admittedly sparse statistics, some produced by independent research, some by national agencies, business events are clearly responsible for generating a growing share of revenue: according to the industry group Business Tourism for

Scotland, the contribution to the national economy was estimated to be around £1.9bn in 2015, a figure that has more or less doubled since 2010, with corporate events accounting for 25% of all visitors to Scotland. When you compare that to the events and festivals sector as a whole - where the figure £3.5bn has been relied upon for some time - it might be time to start talking about business events as the ‘senior service’ (it might also be heresy, but at least it starts a debate). The man charged with ensuring Scotland climbs to even greater heights, securing an ever-increasing share of business events is Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland. Brownlee is an immaculately attired former hotel executive whose natural comfort with the hospitality business - and understanding of how business events can complement, and sometimes even supplant, the leisure market - gives him an insight into the opportunities and sometimes the tensions of hosting meetings and conferences that arguably gives

him a real-world edge over many public servants who try to translate government policy into effective support for the private sector. But his immediate thoughts, for today at least, are concerned with how VisitScotland positions itself, after recently recasting itself from a business tourism unit to, simply, ‘business events’. As I meet Brownlee in the lobby of the well-presented Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh, he comes armed with a welter of paperwork, which looks as though it’s been taken from a Powerpoint presentation. It helps to shape his thoughts as he describes why Scotland’s national tourism agency wants to remove the word ‘tourism’ from its business purpose. “In a very curious way I felt the need to ‘de-tourism’ business events because they are so different,” he says. “Business events have that level of interaction with the community, business and academic leaders in a way that other elements of tourism perhaps don’t. They actually relate to our top economic priorities as a nation, which are

newsworthy. When you look at the huge contribution of life sciences, energy, finance, or technology, there’s not a single sector which is currently at the top of the world’s concerns where Scotland is not strong; it’s important that we can host these meetings, it’s having the confidence that Scotland has the expertise and the facilities required.” PARITY WITH sporting and cultural events may never be achieved by professionals who work in the ‘MICE’ (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) market. You only have to look at the rich marketing collateral of major events and festivals: images of athletes celebrating as they cross the line, the reaction of crowds to a hole-in-one or the smiles of ‘games-makers’ at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 welcoming international guests to their home city. These are memorable, iconic images that photographs of even the liveliest of conferences in the best-lit auditoria could never come close to. But there



Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, at his office in Ocean Point, Edinburgh. Photograph by Mary Turner


COVER STORY BUSINESS EVENTS è are, according to Brownlee, what he

calls ‘trophy’ business events that if captured by Scotland could start to cut through to the public realm in a way that a conference for the world’s foremost haematologists clearly would not. “That’s one of the things we want to overcome,” says Brownlee. “Business events are not public-facing, they’re probably not as sexy as a lot of the events and festivals, there’s no two ways about it. But we want to get people to understand it’s not just the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Six Nations or Edinburgh Festivals. There’s an underground, dayto-day bread and butter business that touches lots of areas of Scottish life - all the way from healthcare to finance to the education of our own children. Business events are doing this in a way that, to be honest, consumer tourism, events and festivals are not.”


AT THE TOP of business events tree stands association conferences; these are the representative trade, academic and professional bodies both within the UK and overseas who host meetings, often annually, for their members. They range in size from just a handful of delegates to sometimes over 10,000 and they happen all the time, all over the world. The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has 20,000 regularly occurring meetings on its database and this activity drives the business events market (although Brownlee does stress that the sector is much more than meetings and conferences); it’s from that incredibly lucrative top tier that a ‘trophy’ event might come from, although he suggests it is more likely that a big technology brand which everyone recognises will cut through in awareness terms. I ask whether Brownlee or his team have drawn up a wish list for such events. “We do, and it goes out about 10 to 15 years. I wouldn’t say they are actually live, hot bids. These are just aspirational and where we have to be careful is that we put so much effort into those, that we take our eye off the bread and butter which is the day-to-day associations business.” He says: “A lot of our job working with government and public sector stakeholders is that we know that the people who organise conferences for LinkedIn globally, or

Facebook or Google, none of them work for those companies. They work for big event companies based in Marin County [California]. If we at VisitScotland keep approaching the wrong person at Google, they will say ‘Jesus, Scotland don’t know what they’re doing.” He adds: “The key thing is to work out at what stage we can get involved. With the sporting and cultural events a lot of that is now about rights fees, or hosting fees; there isn’t quite that mind-set in Scotland at the moment, that we can pay a hosting fee or a rights fee for a business event. It’s usually very small compared to some of the other events but my idea is to find some kind of pledge mechanism or funding mechanism within private sector, possibly within public sector, whereby these sexier business events when they come along we can help produce them in Scotland.” Brownlee points out that there isn’t a specific bid fund for business events, and that his budget is spent on core activity, like deploying his team to international MICE trade events like IMEX or ibtm. He is careful not to put the onus on additional (and scarce) public money being spent on a bid fund, but he insists the return on investment is undeniable: for the last bid fund, which is now closed, £3m of spend accounted for a £300m return on investment. He adds: “That’s why in the next three months I will be speaking to government, private sector, lobbying, and saying this is not an investment in tourism, this is arguably nothing to do with tourism or events. This is about the marketing of your sector.” CREATING HUBS is another idea Brownlee is keen to progress. Scotland has successfully established a series of regional conference bureaux who work tirelessly to promote their cities and regions as conference destinations. At the top of the tree sits Marketing Edinburgh and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau - whose convention arms are by far the biggest in the country, driving meetings and conferences in an international market into their two big venues respectively, the EICC and recently rebranded Scottish Event Campus (SEC). Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau and VisitAberdeenshire sit beneath that top tier (although both have significant growth plans with a £1bn regeneration of Dundee and the arrival of a new £333m confer-

ence and exhibition centre in Aberdeen.) In terms of visibility these key cities are very much players in the market, but Brownlee’s idea of hubs is one that slightly eschews the cultural norm of always toeing the regional line. He believes there is actually an obsession with regions, to the detriment of obvious synergies between areas that might collaborate but because of age-old boundaries they don’t. His point reminds me of a story I covered in this magazine in 2015; an academic who helped bring an international conference to Dundee appeared genuinely staggered that the city seemed incapable with working with St Andrews because the famous golfing destination - despite being half an hour away - sat territorially in Fife. Brownlee says: “I think business events around the world don’t really pick or book by region; they book by what’s there, whether it’s a university, the hotel or what the services are. So, for that reason I don’t like using the word regional. If I’m with an incentive group or an association and I’m sitting in Gleneagles and I go to a gala dinner at Stirling Castle, as a delegate or a decision maker it’s not really occurring to me that I’m leaving Perthshire to go to Stirlingshire - I think we can get too hung up on regions and we need to be slightly more focused on getting the key drivers of business events into that area.” It is for that reason - among others - that VisitScotland is in the early stages of establishing a national ambassador network made up of the likes of leading business and academic figures who can help bring in a big ticket business event by exercising their influence with their respective professional organisations. The agency no doubt will tread carefully as there are already well-established ambassador networks which represent the interests of the regional convention bureaux. But Brownlee’s point is that an academic based in Glasgow might actually have some positive effect on a conference coming to Inverness, where it might be better suited. His interest, after all, is not in favouring one region over the other, it is to drive business coming into Scotland. “Our job is not to move conferences around within Scotland that’s fair competition. We can give pointers but me moving something from Edinburgh to Glasgow is just pointless; our job is to make sure Scotland is on the table.”



BUSINESS TOURISM INTERVIEW George P Johnson is one of the biggest events agencies in the world and helps put on events for a host of international clients including Cisco

A forward-looking vision and some business events to match our sporting success Event guru (and exiled Scot) Jason Megson’s recipe for putting Scotland on the conference map



eorge P Johnson is a behemoth in the events agency world. It has 30 offices around the world, and serves clients including IBM and Cisco, helping them put on events for the Olympics and Wimbledon. It also has a Scot at the helm of its UK and Nordic operation, who is keen to do what he can to help his mother country bang the drum as

a destination for hosting business events. “It’s something that I’m passionate about, as an exile,” says Jason Megson, the firm’s MD, who I first bump into at a Business Tourism conference in Glasgow. Megson is an impressive figurehead for the business; he is confident and engaging in a panelbased discussion about business events and a keen supporter of his home nation. He is also refreshingly honest about both its strengths and

weaknesses as a destination for business events. Scotland has a great history and heritage and strong brand internationally, of that there is no doubt. But, and here is the rub, the business events world is more forwardlooking than consumer tourism and if Scotland is to successfully position itself as the natural destination for international conferences and meetings, it must do more than constantly remind its target




audience of past glories. It’s quite a difficult sentiment to pin down, and Megson is delicate in the way he handles the argument. “There’s always the challenge around perception, and perception is everything with some of the clients that we work with,” he says. “Much as they try and make their event decisions through a quantitative lens with scientific methodology, it becomes an emotional decision in the end and especially when a lot of these bigger events are sponsored within the organisation by very, very senior members of the board. They will in essence tend to have a casting vote; say if a big tech company is going to spend ‘x’ million dollars on their annual European event and their event leads are suggesting moving it to Scotland. “In some ways that puts Scotland in a very strong position because we have fantastic heritage and profile globally in terms of what we stand for as a culture, but what it does also raise is how we can make sure from a client perspective that this event doesn’t become retrospective or backward-looking in terms of being focused on history or heritage.” He adds: “Most of our clients are forward-looking in terms of what their products can do and their organisations can do. There is also a celebration of what a business has done in the past and of where it’s got to, but in essence you are at least going to get a 70-80 per cent skew towards being forwardlooking, and that’s where you have to walk that fine line for Scotland in terms of being able to absolutely deliver against heritage and history, but also be seen as a very progressive, forward-looking nation.” MEGSON IS complimentary of the recent change of tack of VisitScotland’s business tourism unit, which has repositioned itself more towards ‘business events’; he thinks that is the right approach and would like now to see a focus on winning some of the trophy business events that might afford some parity with the work of EventScotland, which has worked hard to bring events like the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, MTV Music Awards and MOBO Awards to Scotland. He says: “You see some successes in terms of sporting events and also on the entertainment side but I think being able to link up business tourism to that forwardlooking story would be something that would really help to land some

n CV

Jason Megson Age: 39 School: George Watson’s College, Edinburgh University: Edinburgh Experience: Crew Chief, Gallowglass; Consultant, Denvir Marketing, Head of Experiential, Ogilvy Group; We Few London, Founder & Managing Partner; George P Johnson, Managing Director



of these big contracts with our clients.” He adds: “I think they [VisitScotland] are doing a lot of the right things, but perhaps we are playing catch-up; I think making that distinction between business tourism and business events is important - this shouldn’t be seen as something which is navel-gazing from a VisitScotland perspective; we know historically - and this is an area we’ve moved away from - that there was significant spend on incentives. And that is still part of the global MICE world, but for us we felt that that was not the future in terms of the wider industry. When you’re looking at how do you fill the EICC and SECC on a monthly or weekly basis then you absolutely have to focus on the business events side versus using that tourism label.” OUTSIDE LONDON, Megson believes Scotland’s ‘unified message’ does give it many advantages over competitor cities across the UK, including the likes of Liverpool which has managed to carve a considerable niche for itself in business events in recent years. He cites the infrastructure investment going into emerging events destinations like

Aberdeen and Dundee, and the benefits of a consolidated strategy being delivered by regional convention bureaux; the rate of expansion of new air routes coming into Scotland is also dispelling some of the myths around connectivity that have perhaps been a barrier in the past. But he is also cautious about white elephant syndrome. When it comes to building any kind of super arena or exhibition hall that might be able to accommodate a conference the size of Dreamforce (George P Johnson put on a 110,000-delegate conference in San Francisco for Salesforce, the worldwide sales software organisation, bringing in two cruise liners after hotel space ran out), Megson is clear: make sure you can fill it. “I don’t think from my experience that doing things much above 15,000 really drives a lot of value for our clients; we obviously do the mega event for Salesforce but that’s extreme. I don’t think mega venues for 20,000 people plus is generally sustainable. I think having one or two venues that can do 10-15,000 is a good strategy, as long as you have the hotel space to accommodate them. I think it’s very much about trying to find that sweet spot.”



BUSINESS TOURISM PCOs Thinking outside the box: one conference saw 850 delegates take over Merchant Square in Glasgow Right: Celia Lloyd

Making the case - for hiring a PCO How bringing on board a professional can ease your conference woes BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


f you’re going to build a grand designs-style extension onto your home you wouldn’t do it yourself, would you?” It may be a well-travelled analogy, but for Celia Lloyd, Communications Director at Happening Conferences and Events, the question is as relevant, and to the point as ever. She is talking about the role of the Professional Conference Organiser (PCO), whose place in the world of conference organisation is often undervalued. The situation is not as bad as 20 years ago, she insists, when company bosses

would charge their secretaries with organising the annual conference (despite it being an all-consuming project), but PCOs could still be doing more to promote their credentials to an associations market which still, sometimes troublingly, decides to embark on putting on a conference themselves. “I keep using that analogy, because it’s true,” says Celia. “If it was your house you’d put it out to tender, you’d want to know the contractor has done it before and has all the right qualifications and skills. We’re talking about huge sums of money here, hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds that might be spent on a conference. Don’t take any risks, it’s a huge amount of money.” Celia works for her company from a base in Dunblane, and sits on the board of the Association of British Professional Conference

Organisers (ABPCO); the organisation - which celebrates its 30th year this year - has members across UK, including 15 in Scotland. She will be speaking at EventIt at the SEC today (March 9) with Professor Sandro Carnicelli of the University of the West of Scotland, on the importance of industry connections. Celia says she has increasingly been working with universities to try and campaign for a greater role for association conference organising in core curricula in order to drive home the message to students that there is a lot more to the events business than festivals and celebrities. “It was basically to look at the curriculum to see what they’re


teaching students to make sure there is a module about associations because they’re not taught that at the moment. It tends to be more about festivals and associations do get forgotten about, people just don’t consider it.” Another theme we discuss is added value and how PCOs can actually save money for the likes of associations. Celia says the fact that a single purpose vehicle (SPV) can be set up in the form of a limited company to financially administer a conference is something many clients are simply not aware of. It also has the benefit of being able to bring greater clarity to the process, sets boundaries, helps with contract management and, crucially, it takes away personal liability from individuals who might not be aware of what they are signing up to. She highlights also how PCOs can save money through their relationships with suppliers and ability to find discounts for delegates. One conference she worked on saw the normal per head catering rate reduced from £35 to £25, with 850 delegates taking over all the restaurants on Merchant Square in Glasgow. “It was absolutely fantastic, we took over the whole place and held a ceilidh. Not only was it a great way to save money it ticked the box for organisers who don’t want a stuffy sit-down dinner anymore. They want to get to know the person sitting next to them.”


BUSINESS TOURISM INCENTIVE TRAVEL SITE members gathered at Gleneagles in January

Joining a trade body... what’s the incentive? Winning business is one reason why lapsed Scottish members are returning to SITE BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


fter growing its membership from a standing start to over 30 last year, the Scottish chapter of the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), looks set to double that number in 2017. The organisation, which had been mothballed for a number of years in Scotland, was reborn last year in an attempt to bring together all those suppliers who work in the incentive travel market - to foster collaboration, thought leadership and coordination in the sector. With the overarching aim of

bringing more business tourists into Scotland, the trade body has focused its efforts on bringing its members together via a series of networking events, the latest of which was held at Gleneagles in January. James Aitken, who helped reconstitute the Scottish chapter and was its president last year (he has now handed those responsibilities to Graeme Dowie), said there is enthusiasm among the members to maximise the opportunities in the sector. “The Gleneagles event was very well subscribed. We had 40-odd people in the end and we were taking bookings up to the day. We’ve focused on getting good speakers as well. At Gleneagles we had Barbara Jamison from London & Partners who gave a presentation on the London is Open campaign. It was very interesting and well received by everyone.”


He added: “My policy was to try and have good quality and relevant speakers - rather than to meet in a pub I thought it was better to formalise it with a focus on education and networking. By all means the events can still be fun, it just means there’s a professional theme to it.” Aitken says he has been pleased to see lapsed members come back on board with SITE as well as interest from venues, and suppliers to the incentives market, a sector which according to industry reports is expecting to grow in 2017, despite the geopolitical climate. He said: “One of the benefits of joining SITE is that you can get access to all this knowledge. There is a database of several thousand of the main players, and if you go to big events like IMEX in the States SITE will have an event off the back of it. My own company Cashel

Travel has got business on the back of it.” Next year, SITE’s annual world convention will be held in Rome. It is an opportunity for Scottish incentive travel businesses to meet with their European peers and to secure new opportunities. Adds Aitken: “We get a lot of business through SITE and there are quite a few people already in Scotland talking about signing up. In Scotland it was much needed actually, because there’s a slight Scottish problem in terms of working together; first let’s get them to Scotland and then let’s worry about who’s dealing with which company and so on. It’s very hard to get people to all work together. I think if you can do that, and you can pick up the phone to the GM of another company, then word gets out that joining is actually a very good thing to do.”




UKinbound - flying the flag for tour operators in Scotland But the trade association remains concerned over the terms of Brexit BY ANDREW MACNAIR


Kinbound is a trade association whose remit is to promote the interests of the inbound tourism industry to the UK as a whole, including Scotland. We currently have over 350 members across the UK, comprising tour operators, DMCS, accommodation providers, attractions, destinations, transport companies and other suppliers involved either wholly or party in the inbound tourism industry. We have had a permanent presence in Scotland since 2014 when our membership here has grown more than threefold. Scottish members are also strongly represented at Board level within the association through three Board members, including that of the association’s Treasurer. We support our members through advocacy work, lobbying Government both in Holyrood and Westminster on matters pertaining to tourism, and also by providing business development opportunities for members. In 2016 we held our annual convention for the first time in some years in Scotland, in Aviemore, in partnership with Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, and undertook a highly effective workshop for tour operator and destination management company (DMC) members in Glasgow, resulting in increased awareness amongst operators and, most importantly, increased business into the city. Undoubtedly the biggest issue concerning our members currently is the implication of Brexit. Prior to the referendum, when polled more than 80% of our members stated that they wished the UK as a whole to remain within the EU. Currently we are monitoring closely what Brexit will mean for members and consequently for the inbound tourism industry. In a survey conducted late in 2016, over two thirds of members stated that in the short term they were

UKinbound is expanding its Scottish membership after trebling in size since 2014

confident about business. The main reason cited was the depreciation of Sterling since the Brexit referendum in June. However, the survey also highlighted concerns for the longer term regarding the impact of Brexit. Over 70 % of respondents said a key priority for them in any Brexit negotiations will be to ensure the freedom of movement for visitors from the EU. Almost half also have concerns about any impact on restriction of movement of labour, given that our industry is so dependent on the resources and skills of workers from other EU nations.

We recognise the ongoing initiatives by the Scottish Government to try to minimise the impact of Brexit and therefore are pleased to be part of a recent consultation undertaken for key stakeholders within the tourism, cultural and arts sectors to elicit views on the impact of Brexit on our sectors. We are also highly supportive of the Scottish Government’s intentions to reduce Air Departure Tax for flights into and from Scotland as, given the challenging circumstances we currently face, any positive moves to support our industry must be welcome. Despite the challenges we face,

our industry has always proven itself to be resilient and shown itself capable of adapting to circumstances flexibly and positively. And one definite advantage that Scotland does have in its favour in uncertain times is that we are seen to be a safe, friendly and welcoming destination.


Andrew Macnair Business Development Manager Scotland UKinbound T +44 (0) 7866 315882 E



BUSINESS TOURISM ICCA There are plans to export the learning from ICCA’s world congress to the regional forums for the organisation

A global resource for the meetings industry ICCA gives access to a vast database of international associations BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


ith a database of 20,000 regularly occurring meetings across the globe and 11,000 associations, it’s little wonder why many involved in business events

decide to join ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association. The organisation, whose UK & Ireland chapter is chaired by Lesley Williams, Head of Business Tourism at Marketing Edinburgh, is a rich source of information and leads for suppliers, conference bureaux and all those involved in bidding for conferences to come to their patch. But more than that, the organisation, which held its own annual congress in Kuching, Malaysia, in November, also has a growing focus

on education, trends and addressing industry challenges such as technological, economic and political disruption. Williams, who attended the congress in Malaysia, explains: “It was a very long way to go, but it was a good networking congress. When you are there you are mixing with peers, and also clients attend, too, so it’s an opportunity to meet people with shared interests across the industry.” ICCA’s annual chapter meeting for the UK & Ireland is due to be held on March 8-9 in Manchester, and Williams said much of the content from the global convention will be distilled at the event; she said also there would be a big focus on education. “We want to utilise the chapter meetings more effectively by turning them into more educational and networking events. We have around 80 delegates registered for March; it’s being held in Manchester so we will be able to bring in clients, industry peers and motivational speakers. We have also been talking about how we can make the organisation future-proof and how do we engage young starters into the industry - to encourage more to

join ICCA. That’s the challenge for this year.” “A lot of it is around trends in the industry and challenges and how to solve them She said much of the at the two-day event in March around disruption and how it can lead to innovation; one example is how the so-called sharing economy through the likes of Airbnb - can have an effect on room blocks, and how transport platforms like Uber can assist event organisers. The association expects 80 delegates to attend the two-day event and venues to be used include Manchester Central and the Town Hall Manchester. ICCA also provides international rankings which shows which destinations are playing host to the most events and delegates. ICCA data shows that in Scotland Edinburgh leads for the number of business events hosted but Glasgow has a greater number of delegates in attendance. Williams adds: “The rankings are quite important to us because we’ve been second to London for a number of years now [in terms of the number of events]. So we’re doing well and we punch above our weight.”





The Scottish chapter of the EMA aims to provide an education and learning platform for corporate event planners in Scotland

A new trade body for corporate event planners launches in Scotland EMA (Scotland) aims to cater for events professionals working ‘in-house’ BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


orporate event planners often sit in isolation, without a peer network and, critically, lack a collective voice among the wider events industry. That is the view of Richard Waddington, founder of the Event Marketing Association (EMA), a not-for-profit whose sole aim is to create a trade body representing the interests of in-house event planners. After a soft launch at EventIt 2016, the organisation is now formalising a structure for a

Scottish chapter, which will fold members of the now defunct Event Network into its membership. The purpose of the EMA (Scotland) will be to encourage Scottish members to meet, share insights and drive up education and standards in the sector. “With the Event Network folding into EMA, it will give us more stability and the capacity to host regular events,” says Waddington, who has attracted support for the venture from the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow and VisitScotland. “My long-term vision for EMA is that it becomes a national association exclusively for in-house corporate event planners, to support them, to network, to share insights,” he adds. EMA was founded in London and now has over 300 members; the orgasnisation hosts regular

networking evenings, seminars, breakfast meetings, and supports young event professionals. Waddington says: “We’re looking to grow it into a nationwide association. The first step is Scotland with EMA Scotland; it will be a mini chapter with its own sub council, and will be supported by the overarching organisation in order to make things happen.” EMA Scotland will host its own meeting as part of EventIt 2017 on Thursday, March 9, at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), to kickstart its Scottish plans. “It will be a closed meeting for all the corporates that are attending,” says Waddington. “We can use that hopefully to encourage them to come along, if they know it’s something for them.” “The key from my point of view is raising awareness and also the importance and value of being a

member of such an association. Inside your corporate box you sit in isolation and you sit inside your business, but if you were able to meet and network with other people in similar roles without being sold to that’s a much better reason for being part of a group. It’s key that suppliers are not there so you’re not sold to - then we can talk openly about issues and challenges and how we resolve them.” EMA events are also held under Chatham House rules meaning information may be reported from meetings, but the source is not disclosed. “That’s to ensure we get a sense of what the industry is thinking without anything coming back to our members.” For information email Rachel Osborne:





The forging of the events industry This is the decade we’ll look back as ‘our era’

in uncertainty. But I don’t believe that uncertainty always leads to negativity. Something I’m really passionate about in the events industry is how definite it is. I think the best brands and businesses will be the ones that understand this market, and will be investing in their event agencies. Because in an unstable environment, it will be the company that is definite, dynamic and agile that grasps the nettle and will suc-ceed.

Ali Turner, Events PR & marketing expert



t the start of this new year, I think we find ourselves right in the midst of a coming-ofage era for our industry. If you look back to the 1960s, it’s a period that is now synonymous with Mad Men, Don Draper and Madison Avenue. This was a significant time and represents, for me, the era of the creation of the advertising industry. Fast forward toward the 70s and 80s, and it was people like Bob Leaf who did the same for the PR industry in the streets of Covent Garden in London. Of course, people were doing PR long before then, but it was the ‘industry’ that was forged in that period. Then in the 90’s, and edging toward the millennium, it was the digital revolution and the turn of social and digital media. Today, what I think we’ll look back on, between 2010 and 2020, is the forging of the events industry. Again, that’s not to say it wasn’t in existence beforehand, because events have been taking place for hundreds of years. But I believe it is this period of time that we’re in the midst of now, that is critical for us in really establishing our industry. THE ONE contributing factor in all of these examples, is the emergence and sophistication of event management agencies and professionals. And one of the things we’re seeing now is amazing strength of event agencies who are selling us better, communicating about us better, and being involved in events right across the board. It’s these agencies that we’ll look


back on as the Don Drapers, the Madison Avenues, the PRs of Covent Garden, and the social media teams of Shoreditch. We’re seeing our giants, our GPJs and Jack Mortons, doing the same great work. But we’re also seeing lots of little dynamic agencies, like Seen and The Urban Nerds Collective, growing quickly and adding further impetus to our industry. Overall, the biggest certainty we face in 2017, is instability. Everything from Brexit and fluctuating currencies to the Trump Presidency shrouds corporate business

THERE WILL be some businesses that are going to hesitate and some businesses that are going to dive right in, and I think if the event industry can be a conduit for action in a hesitating world, then that is one of our greatest opportunities. The other thing I’d say about 2017, is that every time there’s an economic downturn, it seems to be our industry that suffers. We get our corporate events cancelled and we get people thinking events are a luxury. However, it’s those agencies that have been selling hard the virtues and val-ues of what we do, that have actually put us into a much more stable position. I’m personally really interested to see whether we can better the economic climate, that could challenge us in 2017. We’re quickly garnering more respect as an integral part of the marketing mix and the next step is to better represent who we are at a corporate and industry level. We need to be the people who say ‘Yes, we can make that happen.’ ‘Yes, we can invest here.’ ‘If I think there’s a great idea I’ll put my money where my mouth is.’ So perhaps a New Year’s Resolu-tion for the events industry in 2017 should be to talk ourselves up more. Al Turner, Managing Director, EIGHT PR & Marketing



Ahead of the curve The rebranded Scottish Event Campus (SEC) lays down a marker to the industry BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


ebranding is never an easy process to go through. There are almost always sound commercial reasons for doing so, but if it bombs with the target audience, the damage is often very difficult to undo. Remember when Jif changed to Cif, or when Marathon became Snickers? The decisions - in this case by international brands seeking to standardise their products - were met by bemused groans from a public who didn’t understand why the change was necessary. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, as the saying goes. The SECC in Glasgow is another

very well-known Scottish institution which has just rebranded. Now known as the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), its marketers had a very different reason for making the change. They understandably sought some wording to illustrate the fact that live entertainment was missing from the existing equation, in the form of concert venue The SSE Hydro, which sits alongside the SEC Armadillo and the original building, SEC Centre. When I speak to Kathleen Warden, Director of Conferences Sales at SEC Centre, she confirms the refresh, announced in January, has already been met with warmth and enthusiasm from the market and that, if anything, it was a move that has provided greater clarity, not less. “It’s not a complete departure from the original brand and actually that was intentional because people previously had been a wee bit confused; they would say ‘SEC’ and then ‘How many Cs are there?,’” she explains. She added: “One of the issues


Three become one: the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) proudly shown off by CEO Peter Duthie

we had with our previous name was that it didn’t incorporate live entertainment, which is actually a huge part of our business now, yet it didn’t have its rightful place within our brand; whilst live entertainment has a very strong brand in its own right it didn’t have the badge to go with it, so now Scottish Event Campus allows every aspect of the business to be represented. Not only that but it also reflects the fact that some events now are utilising all parts of the campus, like the Ignition Festival did last year with its motoring event.” It’s fair to say that the rebrand is

ahead of the curve. As the lines are increasingly blurred between live experiential events and conferences, the move towards a looser events campus which gives venues greater flexibility as to how they can be used by event planners, is one that fits with the time. A number of ‘collections’ are starting to spring up around the country, with venues increasingly working with one another to deliver different aspects of an event. With the Scottish Event Campus, though, the focus can be on its principal venues and surrounds as it becomes a recognisable campus destination of its own.

“We are all SEC venues but a lot of people locally though the Hydro was a competitor to us, and it’s our venue,” adds Kathleen. “So for that reason we needed to define the geographical locations and the buildings as all being part of the campus. But the great thing about the campus is that it’s not just the venues, because it includes the hotel and more widely we have the BBC and Glasgow Science Centre within a seven-minute walk, the riverside and all the cool bars and boutique shops in Finnieston.” Kathleen explains also the word ‘campus’ was deliberately intended


Kathleen Warden

to echo what a university can offer its students. It’s a safe place of learning, experience, a meeting place and somewhere you can work, study and eat. “I’m seeing the way people respond to it when they come onto the campus and come into the venues and there’s a sense of life about the place, and energy, and I think that marries well with the words we’ve chosen,” she adds. Peter Duthie, Chief Executive, explains the rationale behind the rebrand and new logo: He said: “The decision and announcement comes at a time

when the company has seen changes in the nature of the business it now operates. The name Scottish Event Campus (SEC) better describes the site, is more representative of what we do and reflects a vision for the future.” The SEC worked with local Glasgow design agency Freytag Anderson on the rebrand. The agency was appointed following a competitive pitch and delivered a contemporary logo and identity system. The concept draws on the campus’ iconic architecture to communicate a sense of ‘unity and containment’.


80 | Eventsbase | spring 2017


Complex geopolitics may be causing uncertainty in the events industry but there is also cause for optimism Rob Davidson says Scotland has a valuable opportunity to build on its success as a location for conferences and incentive trips

Scotland is ideally placed to prosper despite fastmoving markets and security concerns, says a leading events academic BY ROB DAVIDSON


very year for the past 12 years, I have published my annual TrendsWatch report at ibtm world, the leading global event for the business events industry, held in Barcelona. It’s a detailed review of the past year’s trends in this industry and an analysis of the outlook for the year ahead. Without a shadow of a doubt, I can say that compiling the latest TrendsWatch report was the most demanding task ever, for this researcher. The widespread uncertainty in the geopolitical situation and in global markets, unleashed by last year’s Brexit vote and the election of the new American president, meant that predicting what lies down the road for the international business events industry was challenging, to say the least. But 2016 was not all doom and gloom for our industry, by any means. In terms of demand for corporate meetings, performance within the key market segments of automotive, pharmaceutical, and construction were generally favourable last year, reflecting growth in these three sectors.


ASSOCIATION conferences continued to represent a more stable and consistent segment of the meetings market, with growth in the number of new associations – in particular international associations – continuing, year-on-year. European cities dominated in terms of the destinations chosen for the conferences of international associations. Last year’s figures show that 15 of the 20 top-ranked conference cities were in Europe, the same number

as the previous year. And 13 of the 20 top-ranked countries were European, one more than the previous year. Even the incentive travel market has seen a continuing rally in demand, and in the all-important US market, budgets for incentive travel are expanding and incentive programmes are growing, building on the turnaround in the market seen in 2015. The three main uses to which incentive planners put their

increased budgets are: 1. Adding more WOW elements; 2. Choosing a more deluxe property; 3. Increasing the food and beverage budget. But several formidable challenges lie ahead. Security in European cities has become a major concern of meeting planners. The terror incidents over the last year in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, Munich and Nice have pushed security to the top of meeting planners’ agendas. BREXIT IS ALSO seen as a key risk factor for the year ahead. Uncertainties abound as the UK formulates its withdrawal strategy and its future relationship with the EU and this is already feeding through to changes in demand in the business events sector. It is widely expected, for example, that due to the current weakness of the pound against many other currencies, UK companies will be more inclined to hold their meetings in the UK, rather than abroad.

At the same time, currency weakness is making the UK a more attractive option for meeting planners based in other countries. For example, during the two calendar months following Brexit, the London & Partners convention bureau fielded 66 percent more inquiries from US conference organisers than the same time last year. Overall, among all international source markets, there was a 41 percent rise in inquiries from business event planners from June through to September. However, there are growing indications that UK inflation is set to rise, and a direct result of that will be that the higher costs of all the inputs that are required for meetings, from transport to food and beverage, will inevitably lead to price rises for those holding such events. Today’s most formidable challenge for the meetings and events sector is to learn how to adapt to this uncertainty and how to operate effectively within the fast-moving changes in the market environment. As a destination practically untouched by terrorist violence and with an image of openness towards Europe and beyond, Scotland now has a valuable opportunity to build on its success as a location for conferences and incentive trips. But political recognition of, and support for, our industry is now more vital than ever, in the ongoing task of bringing these high-value, highspending, all-year-round business tourists to this country. Rob Davidson is Managing Director of and a leading events industry researcher and academic The TrendsWatch report is free to download at: http://www.ibtmworld. com/trends



DEVELOPMENT CREATIVE Creativity is not just staging; delegate badges can be styled to give an event an edge, such as these oldfashioned floppy discs

From admin to creative - the events industry renaissance How #eventsprofs must innovate, not just ‘get the job done’ BY WILLIAM THOMSON


n everyday life being different is difficult, but in the world of events being different is exceptionally challenging. It is not enough to have innovative and creative ideas; event organisers must have an understanding and appreciation of behavioural change. This will be the underlying message of my presentation at EventIt 2017 in Glasgow this week. This central message will come as no surprise to regular readers of the Gallus Events blog. However, it is

likely to be a challenging message for the event attendees. Being creative is not commonly how an ‘eventprof’ would describe themselves. The main reason this idea of a “creative” event organiser sits uncomfortably is that others in our organisations do not view us as the “creative” or the “innovative types”, however, if you want something done...then speak to the events person. There is a common internal organisational view that we are all about admin, delivery and logistics. Times have changed. And event organisers must change too. More worrying than how others view us, is how we view ourselves. Honestly, would you describe yourself as “creative and innovative”? Or do you echo the

identify and prepare to overcome their most challenging barriers. Once we have helped attendees identify their barriers, the fun really starts, as we will look at the seven things that creative events do and how easy it is to be creative with events. We hope to stimulate creative ideas. We hope that attendees arrive as logistical wizards and leave as creative geniuses.

“get the job done” mantra? To be creative we have to understand how we as individual event planners have to change (and the difficulty of that change). We also have to consider how our organisations and our supervisory support need to change. And finally we have to understand and appreciate how we take our stakeholders, our attendees, exhibitors, guests and sponsors along for the exciting and ultimately worthwhile ride! Identifying and breaking down barriers to change Over the past several years we have identified the main internal and external barriers which stymie innovation, creativity and change. My hope during my short session is that we can help attendees to

Speaking at EVENTIT, Glasgow, 2017 It’s been a full year since I’ve presented to a Scottish audience and I am looking forward to the event. And coming home for a few days. It’s not too late to book to attend. See you on the day! William Thomson, Head Honcho, Gallus Events





IBM’s Watson supercomputer is the kind of artificial intelligence technology that could improve the networking experience at events

Who needs humans anyway? Event tech guru on the march of the bots BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


arketing automation and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms will increasingly play a part as event industry technology solutions, according to a leading event tech expert. James Morgan, founder of the Event Tech Lab, an international network of event technology companies, says 2017 will see a proliferation of front-end management software solutions designed to make marketing tasks a lot easier for event professionals. AI solutions - such as networking apps which allow complex algorithms to pair people with similar interests together with frightening accuracy - will also play a part in the ongoing evolution of event technology design. Morgan, who is also a senior lec-

turer in events management at the University of Westminster, and who will be speaking at EventIt 2017, said: “ You are going to see more AI stuff coming in, things like Grip, which uses IBM Watson’s supercomputer to analyse your social media profiles, matches them and then ends with a ‘handshake’ so you can meet the person most likely to be of interest to you at a conference. It’s incredibly sophisticated and the market is moving very quickly into a new space. Another development related to AI is the development of chatbot apps which can build you a website in five minutes. You just answer a series of questions and the website is done. “I’m also expecting a lot more marketing automation, which takes away a lot of the laborious task management associated with the marketing of events, or trudging through platforms like Hootsuite. There are marketing automation platforms like Marketo or Infusionsoft but they are very expensive so if you’re doing a small event it doesn’t make much financial sense, but

there will be smaller players who come into the market.” Morgan said he also expects to see tech being used increasingly to facilitate more pre-event engagement, with crowdsourcing platforms allowing audiences to help shape the content of an event; whether that’s through being able to allow people to vote for or nominate speakers or open source events allowing contributors to suggest new topics for discussion. “That will really help organisers amplify their events before they happen,” says Morgan. “Event planners are also specialists at orchestrating events and are not necessarily subject specialists. By using more pre-event engagement that actually takes quite a lot of the research into the audiences’ hands. Getting people involved at an early stage through technology is a great way to ensure the content is relevant to the audience.” Event Tech Lab is an international partnership of 37 event tech start-ups, who Morgan advises and promotes at international trade

shows, including IMEX and ibtm. He represents the interests from companies engaged in networking apps to those who have created wi-fi local area network boxes that would allow a conference to take place ‘down a mineshaft’. Other apps such as Fly Another Day allows event planners to avoid diary clashes and Accrue is a sophisticated lead capture tool that can interface with sales platforms like Salesforce. Morgan believes events professionals will continue to use bespoke tools for their own particular events, and not that big companies will swallow up the smaller minnows as part of a homogenisation of event technology. “There isn’t one piece of technology that yet goes from A to Z and I don’t think that’s likely to fit into what events planners want anyway. They like choices and options; the whole idea about events is meaningful experiences. If a piece of technology can create a meaningful experience then it’s more likely an event professional will use it.”



Technology will touch ‘every phase’ of the event 86 | EVENTSBASE | SPRING 2017

Cvent’s platform includes e-mail marketing, online registration, venue selection, event management, onsite check-in and badging. (Far left) David Chalmers, Marketing Director, Europe at Cvent

Software giant Cvent is driving industry change BY DAVID CHALMERS


vent was set up in 1999 and is now one of the largest event management technology companies in the world, with offices in the UK, US, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India. As a company, we offer

software solutions to event planners for e-mail marketing, online registration, venue selection, event management, onsite check-in and badging, lead retrieval, mobile apps for events, and web surveys. Today, there are nearly 200,000 active users of Cvent products across the globe. Our products allow event organisers to handle the whole of the event life cycle from capturing data and attendee preferences before the event, creating a quick and seamless registration process, facilitating attendee engagement and networking at events, through to the integration with sales and marketing systems after the event. Our recent merger with Lanyon will open up even greater possibilities with regards to the services that we can offer in the technology and event space. Together we will draw on our combined experience to push the boundaries of event technology innovation even further, whilst remaining focused on delivering outstanding technology, capabilities and service to the events industry. With regards to the future of the events industry, if we step back and take a view on the evolution of technology within the events space over the past few years, it’s clear to see that it now plays an integral role and we expect this trend to only accelerate over the next 5 to 10 years, touching every phase of the event experience including before,

during and after the event. We’ve started to see more and more event organisers and planners integrating with sophisticated CRM Systems and Marketing Automation Solutions. This is because the industry is starting to realise the true benefits of integrating these technologies with event management systems to automatically connect event data with the rest of the customer lifecycle. CAREFUL STRUCTURING of data captured at events ensures that sales teams using the software have direct access to far more valuable and timely information, allowing them to prioritise leads based on which companies were most engaged at the event. They are then able to follow up these leads with a far more personalised and targeted approach, rather than a generic pitch, which more-often-than-not fails to convert. We’ve also witnessed a huge leap forward in the use of mobile technology. What started out as a nice to have feature used by only a few, is now finally making its way from the mainstream world into events and exhibitions and has become a musthave solution for many events. Mobile apps for events these days offers far more than just replacing the printed show guide or brochure with sessions, speakers, exhibitors and floor plans that they used to have. Now these apps have rich features for audience engagement,

from polling and messaging, to personalised schedules and booking one-to-one appointments with each other, as well as seamless integration with social media channels. Add to that the ability for event organisers to send push notifications for real-time updates for their attendees during the event which can be used to engage them after the event too, and the event app has become a critical engagement tool for any event. Navigation assistance is also going to have a notable impact on events and large-scale conferences in the future. Event mobile apps lay out detailed floor plans and iBeacons or RFID now allow for indoor geo-location awareness. The two together can allow an organiser to serve up a “door to door” path from where the attendee is standing to where he or she would like to be next. Lastly, the increasing use of Crowdsourced and Real Time Content is a notable trend majorly influencing the future of the events industry from a technological perspective. Interactive presentation apps and live video sharing are becoming much more popular in the event space, as they have the capabilities of instantly capturing speaker and presentation content and broadcasting it to the wider world in real time. David Chalmers, Marketing Director, Europe at Cvent




Technological disruption is creating ‘events without end’ in a marketplace of ideas “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels and the trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.” Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple™ (1955-2011)



rs Seungwon Lee, Dessislava Boshnakova and myself have coauthored the world’s first text book in the field of meeting and event technology in order to explore the current and future technological tools and resources you will need to thrive in the global meetings and events marketplace. Traditionally, meetings, events and universities have been referred to as marketplaces of ideas. The marketplace was historically a geographically fixed place. This is no longer true. These marketplaces do not manufacture traditional goods and products in one place; through technology they now create information, provide education and transform thinking through collaboration in many different places, resulting in events without end. In little more than half of a century, just about the length of Steve Jobs’s life, the meetings and events industry has experienced dramatic change, illustrated by the schematic as follows:

The Paradigmatic Changes in Meetings and Events Between 1950 and 2014 FROM Analogue Collision Content Event Live Local Hardware Human Staff Staff

TO Digital Collaboration Context Events without end Blended Cloud Softw are Technological

Source: Goldblatt, 2014

What is next? According to the leading journalists reporting on trends in the meetings and events industry, we are only just beginning to experience the tip of a very deep iceberg in terms of future developments in this rapidlyevolving industry. We need to develop the ability to collect implicit data about our attendees. People read and share differently. The further use of (Radio Frequency Identification) RFID badges to create a heat map with the

facility to observe human behaviour during meetings and events looks set to become increasingly important, as will the ability to instantly conduct and act upon data through polls and surveys, both providing real-time feedback for organisers. There is a sign over the door of the United States Archives that states “Where Past is Prologue”. If the past is our prologue to the future, then one common function regarding all meeting and event technological innovations appears to be the role of communications. Following the development of the printing press, the most profound development in human communications history has been the internet and mobile personal device technology, which has resulted in ‘anywhere, anytime’ learning and communications. Advancements in social media Within the space of barely a decade Facebook has managed to connect over a billion people worldwide (300% growth in five years), LinkedIn has over 225 million and Twitter is tracking over 340 million tweets per day; add to that YouTube’s one billion users watching over six bil-

lon hours of video each month and it’s plain to see how peer-to-peer communication will promote future growth, and demand, in events. And in the last five years, meeting and event technology has rapidly developed and is now moving towards standardisation through the influence of Convention Industry Council’s Applied Practices Exchange (APEX) and other platforms. Meetings and events are essential in a social context and for direct learning, so advancements in technology must enhance rather than replace the face-to-face experience of delegates. These developments will help the ever-growing technology pie to rise and enable future meeting and event technologists to more quickly reach more people with higher quality experiences at lower costs. Professor Joe Goldblatt, FRSA, Development Officer and Executive Director International Centre for the Study of Planned Events, School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management, Tourism, Hospitality and Events, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh




Three dancers performed live on stage in front of a giant presentation screen which provided the canvas for the projection mapping

How to impress with your staging - when the audience is the world’s leading AV professionals The pressure on mclcreate to deliver the highest quality visuals was “immense” BY MATILDA BORGSTROM


hen you create an event for Epson - a printer company whose raison d’étre is to produce stunning visuals - there comes an expectation for a bit of colour. Event staging and production mclcreate, which has offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, fortunately did not disappoint and took to the brief with gusto for the global electronics giant’s presence at the world’s largest trade exhibition for audio-visual (AV) professionals held recently in Amsterdam. The event featured a ‘projection mapping show’, deploying Epson’s own flagship projectors on two

dramatic stages during the event – and the company’s award-winning booth at the heart of ISE and its European Partner event, hosted this year at the National Maritime Museum. mclcreate also devised a 10-minute production which brought the function to a vibrant, high-energy finale themed around vivid brightness and fluid natural imagery using the precise, dynamic colour palette of Epson’s projectors. Three dancers performed live on stage in front of a giant presentation screen which provided the canvas for the projection mapping as it seamlessly ebbed, flowed and played around the historic courtyard walls. Ahead of the event, mclcreate rehearsed and filmed the dancers in a green screen studio, so that they could fully blend the choreography with the creative narrative of the mapping piece to produce a unique and spectacular experience for all Epson guests attending the event. “At our European Partner event, we wanted to provide customers

with a truly memorable experience by creating a visually stunning show to demonstrate precisely what our new laser projectors are capable of,” says Neil Colquhoun, Executive Director of Professional Displays, Epson Europe. “The magnificent architecture of The Maritime Museum created the perfect backdrop to project the sharpest, brightest and most colourful images possible. The installation itself, together with the customer feedback we have had, is testament to our partnership with mclcreate and shows that they understood what it is we wanted to deliver – an unforgettable experience and a positive reminder of this year’s ISE.” On its booth at ISE, mclcreate told a different story. Here, the creative vision for their mapping piece mirrored the geometric shapes of the Epson stand design. Patterned projection windows encircled a Mercedes–AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula One™ car, suspended horizontally onto a 9m x 7m wall. Connected narratives filled each

geometric window whilst the car itself also formed part of this canvas, as it moved from the grid onto an F1 circuit. The three-minute mapping story, repeated on a loop throughout the four-day show, then transformed into an explosion of rich, organic colours, shapes and effects to reveal the powerful capabilities of the Epson EB-L25000U projector. “With a huge audience of the world’s leading AV professionals to impress at both venues, the pressure for mclcreate to deliver technical as well as creative excellence was immense,” adds Jamie McAffer, mclcreate’s Creative Director. “The results are bold and imaginative statements that clearly demanded attention and instantly communicated the technological innovation, premium performance and forward-thinking expertise underpinning the Epson brand. We’re enjoying our partnership with Epson and can’t wait for them to talk with us about their next challenge.”




Mastering business events Dr Jane Ali-Knight says plans for Master’s in business events are being finalised by Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier plans to launch a new course to tap into ‘most lucrative’ part of the industry BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


of industry. So I think the undergraduate programme has really consolidated itself - there is much more of a practical focus to what is being taught, and students are now normally required to actually work on an event as part of the course - but also there we have seen huge growth in the numbers of post-grads looking to come into the industry. These are the people who are mid-career but are really motivated to work in events, and that has been a big change for us.”

ne of Scotland’s leading events educators has revealed plans to launch a new master’s degree course in busi-

ness events. Edinburgh Napier University is undertaking a scoping project to launch the course in September owing to what it sees as a ‘gap’ in the market. Business events covers a large section of the events industry aimed at meetings, conferences, incentives and exhibitions. Known in the sector as the ‘MICE’ market, the value of business events to the Scottish economy is estimated to be around £1.9bn-a-year. One of the main focuses of the market in Scotland is to encourage international associations - private, public and academic - to host their annual conventions or one-off business events here. Dr Jane Ali-Knight, Associate Professor in Festival and Event Management at the university, says: “There are only two other places in the UK that do a Master’s at the moment and they’re both very popular, but there’s nothing in Scotland. “A lot of degrees don’t really focus on the business side and we see that as a gap; we’ve put together a programme which is going through validation now and hopefully we will be able to launch by September.” She added: “We’re constantly looking at trying to evolve our programmes - we’ve done lots of

“THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHER PLACES IN THE UK THAT DO A MASTER’S AT THE MOMENT AND THEY’RE BOTH VERY POPULAR, BUT THERE’S NOTHING IN SCOTLAND” short courses to try and develop specialist skills and business events is certainly something we see as having real value to the industry. And to be honest I think that has been neglected and it’s also perhaps not the sexy part that people want to work in, but it’s the most stable


and lucrative part of the industry.” Dr Ali-Knight said the university is working in collaboration with a leading business events provider on the course content. She added that over the course of the last decade (Edinburgh Napier launched its events degree courses in 2004) the programmes have been substantially modified and updated to take in the latest developments in the sector. “I think at first the courses relied on the leisure and tourism industry but events education has really developed its own body of research now, which is much more relevant to what events practitioners want and need in their day-to-day jobs. “ Also, in terms of what we’re teaching, it’s a lot more about experience, design, management and production. We didn’t see that 10 years ago, so I think it reflects the maturity and profile

THE UNIVERSITY has also carved out an international focus for itself in recent years; Edinburgh Napier runs its event degree programme from Hong Kong University and in Singapore, with a roll-call of 400 students. “We’ve got as many students overseas as we do in Edinburgh,” adds Ali-Knight. “Overseas development has become a really big thing for us. It’s quite labour intensive as we have a fly-in faculty to deliver the course framework, supported by local tutors. So members of our team will go and spend a week teaching there - it’s a model they want and it works really well.” However, Dr Ali-Knight signalled a note of caution around Brexit, highlighting the potential disruption to EU students. “We used to get a hundred students a year onto our hospitality programme from India and literally overnight when they changed the VISA regulations that was it. I don’t think it will be that drastic for Brexit but I do think it will have an impact.”



Events education: time to change the story


hen asked to contribute something to this edition of EventsBase I asked other events lecturers for ideas for a topic. The response was clear: “please no industry vs academia stories”. For most academics, headlines such as “do you need a degree in events?” or “how can students and industry work together?” make our hearts sink. Yet, almost monthly, another conference comes around with a panel on the subject, or another article is published asking the same questions. So, at the risk of annoying my colleagues in the academic world, I’m going to write one (hopefully) last piece on it and ask politely - can we, please, change the story? Events education has now existed in the UK for over twenty years. From a few universities in the mid 1990s, we now have dozens of universities producing hundreds of graduates each year across the country. From my own experience of ten years working in Higher Education across three institutions, I’ve seen graduates in every corner of the industry, from business events to the Olympic Games, from major festivals to charity fundraisers and all points in between. Events graduates are, more than ever before, securing excellent jobs, working with a range of great employers and making a massive contribution to the sector. In addition, all of those graduates studied degrees which embedded industry experience at their core. At UWS we’re building on years of employer engagement


to launch our new Festival Curriculum this year, adding yet more experience into our curriculum, and up and down the country our colleagues elsewhere have unique partnerships and projects connecting students to their industry at every stage of their studies. The days of students graduating with a degree but no experience, if they ever existed in the first place, are long gone. SO WHY do these debates still take place? The first challenge is that many events organisations have not really had meaningful dialogue with universities. They may hire graduates from time to time, but do not really know what happens and how students are educated. So, whilst all universities work with industry, not all industry works with universities. In addition, for me, it is telling that many discussion panels often don’t have academic input or include practitioners who have had a meaningful relationship with a university sharing their experience. Where graduates are involved they are typically early career rather than experienced and so less able to reflect on the value of their education. Such panels discuss how to work with academia - but crucially without that voice at the table it means the excellent practices that happen up and down the country are missed. As such, an echo chamber is created. If an individual hasn’t engaged with a university, and only hears it is problematic, then they are less likely to want to connect with universities themselves. And so the cycle continues and more panels are spawned. SO, HOW can we fix this? Firstly, if we must have such panels, and

I would hope we do not, then we should ensure they are representative. Involve academics, involve students who have undertaken great projects, involve graduates who are able to show the very best of events education. Let’s make sure all voices are heard. But, personally, I would argue it is time to stop having these panels, time to stop talking in generalisations and time to focus not on ‘universities’ or ‘industry’ as an entirety. The world of events is complex and multifaceted, no two businesses are the same and the interactions between universities and businesses must be bespoke as a result if they are to succeed. So instead, let’s talk locally and specifically. Let’s encourage local businesses to contact their local institution and ask how they can make events education work for their events and how to get the type of graduates they need for their organisation. For those who don’t know who to speak to, let’s promote the Association for Events Management Education (, the national organisation which acts as a voice for events higher education in the UK, who will be happy to help any practitioner, organisation or event connect to students and academics near to them. But ultimately, let’s change the story. Let’s stop talking about how to get events and industry working together, let’s get on with doing it and let’s celebrate the many places where it already happens successfully. Dr Daniel Turner is the Programme Cluster for Marketing, Events and Tourism at the University of the West of Scotland.




Just the job (or five) Student Timothy Carlsen took on multiple roles to pay his way to PCMA BY MATILDA BORGSTROM


s enterprising students go, you’d be hardpressed to find any more motivated than Edinburgh Queen Margaret University (QMU) student Timothy Carlsen. So determined was the second-year events management undergraduate that he undertook five different summer jobs in order to pay his way to the PCMA Convening Leaders conference, which was held in the US in January. Timothy, from Oslo in Norway, took two retail warehouse positions, worked as a gym receptionist, a bar tender and, finally, actually got some work at an events management company in his home city - helping to organise an event for 260 delegates from Microsoft. To coordinate his busy schedule you might expect Timothy to have assiduously created a series of reminder alerts on his smartphone, pinging him from one destination to the next, as required. But no doubt to the horror of his peers, the 27-year-old instead chose to use a family-sized calendar to put on his wall, whereby the multiple entry lines enabled him to track his every move, including meeting friends and going to the gym (for his own recreation). “I had to plot it all out on the wall; it got a bit complicated but it worked out ok,” he laughs. “I managed to save up what I needed for the flight so that was the main thing.” The PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) Convening Leaders conference in Austin, Texas, is one of the largest gatherings of business events professionals in the world. Playing host to more than 4,000 delegates over four days, the show features 40 speakers’ sessions covering topics from negotiations, meeting design, to the latest tech trends;

The PCMA Conevning Leaders event attracts more than 4,000 business events professionals from around the world

Timothy Carlsen, pictured fourth from right, self-funded his trip to PCMA in the US there was also a PCMA Youth event the day before the conference officially started, where Timothy and his seven student colleagues from QMU had the opportunity to meet fellow students and events professionals. “That was one of the most useful sessions actually; meeting some of the professionals and finding out how they got into the industry was really interesting

and helps us build the foundations of our own careers. As a student listening to people in the industry is something we don’t normally get to do, so that’s why we also decided to set up a PCMA Society at QMU to try and share what we learned with others. We’ve already got around 20 who joined and perhaps we could organise trips to IMEX and ibtm as well. We’re hoping we

“MEETING SOME OF THE PROFESSIONALS AND FINDING OUT HOW THEY GOT INTO THE INDUSTRY WAS REALLY INTERESTING AND HELPS US BUILD THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR OWN CAREERS” could eventually invite some of the professionals, via a Skype call or even maybe to come over, to share their learning with a wider audience. That would be really great. “We also want to create a Scottish chapter of PCMA and that way PCMA might fund us like they do the schools in the US, who don’t pay to go. That’s hopefully our plan.”




Gary Anderson, Edinburgh Napier University Events and Festival Management student at Edinburgh’s Christmas Market


HNC (Higher National Certificate) Events Management. This course will prepare students for a range of careers within the events industry. The course has a high practical content and includes work experience, venue visits, planning and implementing events and input from industry experts. Subjects studied include Using Software Applications, Events Budgeting and Funding, Events Legislation, Graded Unit 1 and Marketing. Successful completion of the programme and a satisfactory reference can lead to progression to HND Events Management, university or employment. Check www.dundeeandangus. for full details and entry requirements.


The two-year HND (Higher National Diploma) Events Management course is designed to give students knowledge and experience in the organisation of events. The course will help them to develop the range of skills they need in this dynamic industry. They’ll cover an exciting selection of areas including sporting, cultural, music and business events. There’s a strong emphasis on teamwork and students will be expected to plan and organise an event as part of the course for practical experience. The course is ideal for students planning to pursue a career in the events industry, either working as a member of an events team, or even running their own business, for example as a wedding planner or events manager. The course will also make sure they are well prepared for a range of degree courses in events management.

There will be opportunities for them to participate in a programme of visits to hotels and other businesses operating within the events industry, for example Our Dynamic Earth, to give them further insight into the industry. Check www.edinburghcollege. for full details and entry requirements.


Edinburgh Napier offers event courses at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. At the heart of the course students will learn how to plan, design, market, operate and develop events, as well as how these events can be used to help local economies

and communities. At undergraduate level, students have the option to study for a BA (Hons) International Festival & Event Management. They may also choose to pair that degree with the following: Marketing; Tourism; Entrepreneurship or Language. Students will develop practical event management skills as well as a broad range of management techniques that can be applied to other industries. They’ll gain transferable skills in research, academic writing, communication and interpersonal relations, presentation and time management. The course is studied fulltime over four years. Students learn by a variety of teaching

methods including lectures, tutorials and independent study. There is an optional work placement option in Y3. At post-graduate level, students have the option to study for a oneyear or 18-month MSc in International Event & Festival Management. Students will learn broad skills, such as formulating policy and planning for the future, as well as developing abilities in research, time management and presentation methods. They’ll also develop business and marketing skills that relate specifically to the management of large and smallscale events and festivals with an international focus. Check for full details and entry requirements.


EDUCATION FE/HE COURSES Queen Margaret University (QMU) offers a 3-4-year BA (Hons) Events Management degree programme


Preparing and presenting a business plan; Event legislation: contracts and licensing; Food and beverage events; Conferences and exhibitions. Check for full details and course requirements.



HND (Higher National Diploma) Events Management. This twoyear course is aimed at students who are ‘excited by the prospect of managing, coordinating and creating a wide range of events and conferences’. Opportunities for employment will be diverse, challenging and rewarding and students will have the opportunity to participate in many college and external events. The course is delivered in the ‘realistic’ work environment of the Carnegie Conference Centre and units covered include: Units studied include: Event management; Event industry: an introduction; Marketing and sales; Business planning; Public relations and advertisingl Managing an event;

Queen Margaret University (QMU) offers a 3-4-year BA (Hons) Events Management degree programme. This course provides state-of-the-art learning, unique hands-on experiences and extensive global professional networking opportunities with luminaries throughout the world. On completion, students will be prepared to lead events and other sporting and cultural organisations. Studies focus on the nature and characteristics of events and their design and management. Years One and Two have a strong emphasis on events management, marketing, design and human resource management. Students will have the opportunity to go on a work placement in Year Two to gain valuable real world experience. They will also plan and run a live event in Year Two. Past events

have included fashion shows, music nights, charity dinners and sports days. Years Three and Four have a strong emphasis on exploring how events relate to national and international strategic issues, such as how cities use events for image and investment purposes, such as London 2012 and Glasgow 2014. Students will opt from a range of elective modules which will allow them to explore and further develop their particular interest. If they continue to Honours, they will also complete a dissertation in an area of your choice. Students have often used their dissertations as vehicles to increase their skills and gain employment. QMU also offers events components as part of a variety of post-graduate qualifications. Check for full details and entry requirements.


HNC (Higher National Certificate) Events. This one-year course will help students develop a wide range of skills and prepare them for work in the exciting and vibrant Events Industry. They will cover a broad range of subjects relating to event management,

designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills required to organise and manage a number of events at different levels. Scotland has a huge amount to offer in terms of events on both a local and international scale, consequently the employment opportunities in this area are really growing, for example, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Christmas, and the most recent mega event, The Commonwealth Games. Students will gain knowledge and expertise in topics such as event planning and organisation, events legislation, event budgeting and finance, event management and communication skills. They will have the opportunity to plan and carry out a number of events during the course. Internships are available with SCVO and attendance at The Gathering at the SECC in Glasgow for three days is mandatory work experience. Students who meet the entry criteria will have the opportunity to become associate students in conjunction with Queen Margaret University (QMU). Check www.west-lothian. for full details and entry requirements.


EDUCATION FE/HE COURSES In their Honours year students will complete an events-based dissertation at the University of the West of Scotland


The HND (Higher National Diploma) in Events Management is a one or two-year course covering food, events, hospitality and tourism. The course is for those who want a career in the management of events like conferences, exhibitions and special events. On the course students cover a wide range of subjects to ensure a good knowledge base, as well as relevant skills. In Year One students will cover: Organising an Event; Introduction to

Marketing; Communications; Using Software Applications; Digital Culture: Online Communications; Budgeting and Funding. In Year Two they will study: Managing an Event; Event Legislation: Contracts and Protection; Public Relations 2l; Preparing and Presenting a Business Plan; Principles and Practice of Selling; Exhibitions - an Introduction. The course prepares students for a career in the organisation and management of conferences, exhibitions, festivals and special events, and successful candidates can Successful students can progress to: Year three of BA Events Management at the University of the West of Scotland or; Year three of BA Events & Festival Management at Edinburgh Napier University. Check www.cityofglasgowcollege. for full details and entry requirements.



Management is a four-year degree course combining practical and academic skills to ensure graduates have the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to succeed in events. The international events sector has witnessed phenomenal growth and significant change in recent years. With global opportunities and a range of career choices there has never been a more exciting time to pursue a career in international events management. The programme offers both a theoretical and practical approach to event management; from planning, marketing and staffing through to risk assessment and securing funding. Students will gain the skills and knowledge to create, manage and deliver successful events and benefit from interactive and hands-on learning experiences, collaborating with business using social media, wikis and blogs, providing them with practical skills that they can can carry forward into their

careers. They’ll also benefit from industry speakers, field trips and real life simulations that will provide you with networking opportunities, key insights and a competitive edge on entering the industry. Throughout the degree students will be encouraged to undertake relevant, practical experience of working in the events industry. The teaching team has excellent industry links with events providers throughout Scotland which open a wide range of work experience opportunities for students. Glasgow Caledonian University also offers a one-year MSc International Events Management postgraduate degree designed for students aiming to develop and enhance their knowledge, critical capabilities and strategic skills essential for managing complex international events, from bidding and project management through to evaluation. Check for full details and entry requirements.


EDUCATION FE/HE COURSES Glasgow Caledonian University offers a four-year BA (Hons) International Events Management degree course combining practical and academic skills


HND (Higher National Diploma) Events Management is a twoyear course designed to prepare students who are wishing to pursue a career in the events industry and to provide means of access to higher levels of education in this area. In Year One students will gain insights into: An Introduction to the Events Industry; Organising an Event; Conferences: An Introduction; Marketing: An Introduction; Live Performance Events; Food and Beverage Events; Work Experience; Culture of Customer Care; Event Legislation: Safety

and Licensing; Event Budgeting and Funding; Events: Graded Unit; Using Software Application Packages; Communication Skills. In Year Two students will cover: Managing an Event; Music Industry Promotions; Managing a Sporting or Fitness event; Public Relations; Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries; Human resources in Event Industry; Event Legislation: Contracts and Protection; Managing Financial Resources in Hospitality; Marketing Planning; Sustainable Development of Events; Issues and Influences in Event Management; Events Management: Graded Unit 2. Check www.glasgowclyde. for full details and entry requirements.


HND (Higher National Diploma) Events Management is a oneyear course. Core course content includes: Organising an event; Events budgeting and funding; Events industry: an introduction; Event legislation safety and licensing; Communication; Mar-

keting; Using software application packages; Graded unit 1 & 2; Conferences: an introduction; Managing an event; Behavioural skills for business; Food and beverage events; Preparing and presenting a business plan; Work experience; Events contracts & protection; Marketing planning in travel & tourism; Sustainable development; Contemporary issues; Public Relations Check for full details and entry requirements.


The three-year BA Events Management degree (fourth year for Honours) is designed to give students the essential knowledge and practical experience to build a career in an exciting, fast-growing industry. The programme includes elements relating to the development of operational skills across a range of sectors, as well as project management, legislation and risk management – all essential skills for the profes-

sional events manager. A special feature of this course is the close liaison with industry leaders and professional bodies/trade associations in the events industry such as ABPCO and Eventia. Guest speakers also present to students. Recent examples include Cheryl Galbraith, a freelance event professional who was involved in London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and Toronto 2015; and Gerry Reynolds, Inverness Events Manager at The Highland Council. Many of the modules offered have an international focus, giving students the opportunity to apply their skills overseas. In the Honours year students will complete an events-based dissertation. Further specialised study includes the comparison of international events issues and analysis of event impacts. This year looks to global aspects, the future and advances in the events industry. Volunteering and workrelated opportunities are offered to students at all stages of the programme. Check for full details and entry requirements.


EDUCATION FE/HE COURSES The BA (Hons) Event Management degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen offers experience in planning, organising, marketing and delivering events


a range of other relevant HNCs. This course offers the flexibility to exit at each level with a valuable qualification. Check www.inverness.uhi. for full details and entry requirements.



This four-year BA (Hons) Events Management degree balances a range of business and event subjects to ensure graduates have the skills to find employment in the event management industry. On successful completion of the degree, students will graduate with a broad understanding and experience in organising and supporting events; and a qualification respected by employers in a range of industry sectors. The course provides a range of theoretical and practical skills required to become an events professional. The degree builds on the industry-focussed HNC Events in the first year, providing students with a good grounding for degree level study. There are also opportunities to enter the degree in year two for those with

This two-year HND (Higher National Diploma) Events Management course is aimed at those who wish to work at a managerial level in the fast-paced and dynamic events industry; a rapidly expanding area of professional opportunities in areas such as festivals, hospitality, exhibitions, music, sport and the arts. In this industry students will be expected to possess a range of key skills and for this reason, course content focuses on team-work, problem solving, evaluation and analysis, as well as factors like budgeting and marketing. Students will study the industry as a whole, but also delve into specific areas of the industry such as legislation, safety and licensing, creating a culture of customer care and project management skills that they will put to the test when planning and organising their own, real-life events. They will also focus on specific kinds of events, such as food and beverage, and live performances. Check for full details and entry requirements.


This four-year BA (Hons) Events Management degree offers experience in planning, organising, marketing and delivering events with essential management skills. Countries all over the world are recognising the importance of events, resulting in international opportunities for graduates in this field. Consider the importance of the following events in terms of economic value and job creation – the Commonwealth Games, T in the Park, London Olympics, the Ryder Cup and the London Marathon. Many learning

opportunities will be made available to students throughout their degree, including the opportunity to organise live events, participate in courserelated study trips and compete for industry-sponsored prizes. Where equivalent courses are available, they will also have the exciting opportunity to study abroad for one semester with one of our partner International institutions. The perfect blend of specialist event management modules will allow students to develop the skills required by employers in this industry. Check for full details and entry requirements.


For over 40 years, GTG has been helping clients maximise their potential with expert training. Now we also offer specialised equipment and advanced, industry-leading conference facilities. Locations throughout the UK

On-site catering

With sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the West Midlands, GTG Training provides business services to some of the largest companies in the UK, including major banks, local authorities, the NHS and public utilities. Our venues can host events of varying sizes and have the flexibility to deal with a large range of presentation requirements.

If you would like to cater your event, all of our venues feature café and restaurant facilities to help satisfy every appetite, serving tea and coffee, breakfast rolls and hot and cold lunches. There are also several breakout spaces should you wish to gather as a team to enjoy your refreshments. Event management

GTG Training’s facilities feature a number of adaptable spaces to meet the needs of any business event, with training suites, workshop areas and meeting rooms available on site. Classrooms are fully air-conditioned and include all the equipment you’ll need to deliver inspiring presentations and productive meetings, including projectors and a built-in sound system. We also have laptops available on site for hire. Our Glasgow conference facility has a 220-seat theatre-style conference room, perfect for large-scale events, and comes equipped with the latest presentation technology, with an additional nine breakout rooms, two IT suites and three small one-to-one meeting rooms. In Edinburgh, our 220seat, theatre-style conference suite can accommodate larger events, while an additional six breakout rooms and two small boardrooms offer space for smaller groups.

Glasgow 1330 South Street G14 0BJ  Edinburgh 1A Queen Anne Drive, Lochend Ind. Est. EH28 8PL  West Midlands Bearing Drive, Wolverhampton WV11 3SZ 

A GTG team member is assigned to each event, and can tailor a hospitality package to meet your specific requirements. They will be available throughout the day to liaise with organisers and provide support if there are any changes to the itinerary or queries about the facilities. Our expert IT team will also be on hand at all times to ensure that all technical specifications are met and your event runs smoothly.

To find out how we can help make your next event excel, visit us at stand G11.


World-class conference facilities

0141 950 5600 0131 333 6833 01902 308090 Keep in touch with us: /GTGTraining



EventScotland’s Stuart Turner has been at the centre of delivering some of the biggest sporting and cultural events in living memory in Scotland. Tasked also with producing the national strategy - Scotland the Perfect Stage - meet the man who literally carries the nation’s major event hopes on his shoulders. Recent past: In the nine years I have been at EventScotland I have been privileged to be involved in a wide variety of events. Initially my role covered sports events and I was involved in bids for events such as the Heineken Cup in 2009, Magic Weekend Rugby League in 2010 and 2011 and UCI Track Cycling World Cup in 2012. I was also very fortunate to be closely involved in both the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 Ryder Cup as well as playing a significant role in Homecoming 2014 as chair of the Strategic Group. It was a busy year! In the period since 2014 there have been many highlights including working as part of the Steering Group for the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, European Curling Championships 2016, Mobo Awards and the Dazzle Ship as part of 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival. Scotland is also privileged to be the home of some of the world’s very best events and working with the R & A on the Open as well as the organisers of the various Edinburgh Festivals gives a clear insight into how the very best in the business run events. Before that: Before joining

EventScotland, I was Performance Manager with Scottish Golf, and before that I was the Acting Director of the Achieving Excellence team at sportscotland.

Now: I lead the EventScotland

team and am responsible for EventScotland’s events portfolio. I took the lead in producing Scotland’s National Events Strategy, Scotland the Perfect Stage and working with organisations to deliver the strategy. I lead EventScotland’s overall strategic approach to events in line with the strategy. I am also respon-

social media. Almost any event can be broadcast now through live streaming, opening up niche audiences on a global scale. Significantly, events which can offer complete packages are increasingly popular, particularly to long haul visitors. A great example is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo where many attendees buy their ticket as part of an overall travel package including ground transport, accommodation and visits to tourist attractions. Future developments will have to address an increasingly ageing population, the desire for extended families to attend events together and an increasing trend towards participating in or engaging with events rather than just watching them. sible for our approach to event impact measurement as well as the overall management of a team that has responsibilities across the sport and cultural events portfolio including large projects such as Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Solheim Cup 2019 and 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships. Base: EventScotland is part of VisitScotland’s Event Directorate and I’m located in their headquarters at Ocean Point on The Shore in Edinburgh, although the job demands a great deal of travel in Scotland, across the UK and internationally. Evolution: Since I started working

with EventScotland I think there have been a few significant developments in the events industry both nationally and globally. Firstly, the way consumers act has changed. People have more choice now, not only because there are more things happening but also because there is greater

awareness of what is happening. This leads to people making later decisions and people expecting events to deliver a great all round experience. It is not enough to have a great central product, in order for an event to be excellent the transport, food and drink, ticketing, pre-information and any other social or entertainment around the event all have to be well thought out and delivered to the highest quality. Consumers are seeking authentic experiences which say something about the place in which they are held. Social media has revolutionised event marketing for smaller events, allowing them to reach new audiences which their budgets may have precluded them from reaching before. It also supports ongoing ticket sales or awareness campaigns for larger events at low cost. The other side of social media is that usergenerated content now proliferates, meaning that delivering a quality event is even more vital to ensure a positive response on

Best moment: For me the best mo-

ment is too hard to pick out as events are so varied. It might be Islay Whisky Festival as part of Homecoming 2014, the opening shot of the Ryder Cup, Deep Time at the EIF in 2016, but I think the opening few days of Glasgow 2014 will live the longest in my memory.

Is Scotland the Perfect Stage?

In a simple word, Yes! With our stunning natural environment, our wonderful facilities, our culture and heritage, and our passionate people, Scotland without a doubt is the perfect stage. The robust strategy we have put in place is working to build and grow a sustainable events portfolio that benefits our economy. Going forward we can’t be complacent. We must continue to identify and bid for the events that will have the greatest impact both financially and socially, and that will continue to develop Scotland’s reputation as worldclass in events delivery.




GLASGOW FOCUS Amazing Days are among exhibitors in the Glasgow Zone

EventIt exhibitors up by 47 per cent from 2016 Special focus on Glasgow as show moves to SEC Centre



ventIt is now in its second year and aims to be the number one trade show for the events and festivals sector in Scotland. Covering all aspects of the business - from AV companies to hotels and venues, caterers, agencies, DMCs, support services and

convention bureaux - the show moves this year to Glasgow’s newly re-branded SEC Centre (part of the Scottish Event Campus). Compared to its inaugural year in Edinburgh in 2016, EventIt has grown almost two-fold in 2017, up from 65 to 96 exhibitors - a rise of 47%. As part of the switch to Glasgow, EventIt is delighted to announce

that 14 exhibitors from across the city and its surrounds will be housed within their own zone. To thank them for being part of the show we have created profiles of the companies on the following pages - which hopefully will benefit visitors seeking their services, and also to thank the city of Glasgow for warmly embracing EventIt 2017.




EVENTIT GLASGOW FOCUS The Emirates Arena provides a unique space to host your event



Amazing Days Scotland is an award-winning corporate events, team building and destination management company. Based in Finnieston in the heart of Glasgow, we work across Scotland with a diverse range of treasured clients from all sectors; from family businesses to global corporations, every client receives the same exceptional level of service and attention to detail. Repeat business constantly pushes us to become ever more creative with our events, always raising the bar, always exceeding expectations. Over the last decade we’ve developed a superb range of themed team building events: from ‘Taggart – there’s been a murder’ to ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and ‘Formula Fun GP’, we offer over 20 themed challenges that are thrilling, energetic, creative and most of all, fun! Our challenges get colleagues out of their comfort zones – they get to know each other in different environments, strengthen bonds, improve communications and create lasting memories.

n BLAIR ESTATE The historic Blair Estate in Ayrshire sits in 250 acres of ancient woodland, parkland and private landscaped gardens. It is 25 minutes from both of Glasgow International Airports and close to the Ayrshire’s World Championship Golf Courses. In 2012, Blair changed hands for the first time in 900 years and has been beautifully refurnished. Blair has 18 luxurious bedrooms and can accommodate up to 36 guests. l Private Dining: Panelled Dining Room - 40 guests l 1668 Drawing Room - 80 guests. l House Parties, Corporate meetings, Residential Conferences, nearby Golf Blair is available for Exclusive Use only and is fully staffed and catered. 5* VisitScotland ‘Taste Our Best’ Award 2016/17 ‘Ayrshire Golf Scotland’ ‘Ayrshire Country Sports Scotland’. 01294 833100


Cameron House is a magnificent baronial mansion situated on the banks of Loch Lomond, surrounded by 100 acres of woodland, with

mountain views towards majestic Ben Lomond. This stunning 5-star resort boasts 7 stunning meeting and event spaces, with capacity from 5–300, a 71-par championship course with nine holes in the lowlands and nine in the highlands, a luxury resort spa with rooftop infinity pool, and a range of four suite types available. The stylish interior combines contemporary design with classic touches from Scotland’s baronial past, using colours found on the shores of the Loch side. Cameron also offers some of the most supreme dining imaginable offering everything from Scottish classics to Michelin Star fine-dining, with four restaurants and four bars located across the resort, providing huge variety, and delivered with the heartiest of Scottish hospitality. Cameron House on Loch Lomond is every part the five-star Scottish experience, the ultimate Scottish destination for anyone looking for meeting and event space, and conveniently located just 25 minutes from Glasgow International Airport. james.mcgillen@cameronhouse. 01389 713219

n EMIRATES ARENA As the city’s epicentre of sporting prowess and one of the host venues during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Emirates Arena provides a unique space to host your event with 10 available meetings spaces. Not only is the Emirates Arena an International sporting venue, but it also has first class conference facilities with various sized meeting rooms. The jewel in the crown is the Function Suite, which overlooks both the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the Sports Arena. The venue offers free car parking and complementary Wi-Fi. Our inhouse caterers can provide mouthwatering bespoke packages for every occasion. For a truly unique dining experience we can host corporate hospitality in the function spaces overlooking the Velodrome and the Arena. For a unique experience why not impress your clients, customers or employees by booking a corporate taster session on the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Follow in the wheel tracks of our Olympic Champion and afterwards entertain your guests in the Function Suite. To find out more about venue hire at the Emirates Arena call 0141 287 9805.




Barrowlands is a must-visit on the Glasgow Music City Tours circuit


MARKETING BUREAU Voted Best UK Convention Bureau for the last 10 years, Glasgow’s experienced conference team continuously develops its city-wide strategic partnerships, worldleading conference ambassador programme and bespoke public engagement activities to support UK, European and International clients host a successful and memorable meeting in Glasgow. Glasgow is Scotland’s cultural powerhouse, ranked by the Mercer Cost of Living Survey as one of Europe’s most cost-effective cities and the first in the UK to be included in the Global Destination Sustainability Index. In the U.K. Glasgow has the largest academic community outside London, with world-leading research in life sciences, engineering, science and technology. With Europe’s largest hospital, Glasgow also offers an ideal location for meetings in the field of medical research. conventions.peoplemakeglasgow. com


Glasgow Music City Tours offer guided walking tours of the city’s vibrant music scene. In 2008, Glasgow was the first UK city to be awarded the title of UNESCO City of Music. Using an entertaining mix of anecdotes and stories, the tours


explain why Glasgow has such a unique musical heritage and why it remains a great place for live music. By visiting Glasgow’s most iconic venues - both past and present our tours tell the tales of the stars who have stayed, played and made music in the city. Created and led by enthusiastic music journalists and musicians,

the tours bring alive the legends, lies and wicked rumours about the great bands that have rocked Glasgow. With tales ranging from music hall to modern day, the tours offer something for every music fan, from folkie to punk. 01413372103





Glasgow Science Centre’s iconic buildings of glass, titanium and steel are located on the Clyde waterfront, a vibrant place where historic Glasgow meets the modern city, and provide an unforgettable backdrop for events. Whether you are organising a conference for up to 370, a dinner for 500 or a drinks reception for 3,000 guests, the five star venue offers a variety of flexible spaces including theatres, suites and private rooms. The heart of the Centre is the Science Mall, home to nearly 400 interactive exhibits to explore. Guests can perform a virtual autopsy, move objects with the power of their mind, see 3D brain and be blown away in the hurricane chamber. In addition to three floors full of exhibits, the Centre also houses an IMAX cinema with the biggest cinema screen in Scotland and a full dome digital planetarium. Louise MacQueen, Corporate Sales & Marketing Manager 0141 420 5008


Often described as Scotland’s most beautiful distillery, Glengoyne is open all year for guided distillery tours, whisky tastings, meetings, private dining and bespoke events. Situated 14 miles north of Glasgow, Glengoyne is just a short drive from Loch Lomond and Stirling. With our range of unique whisky tours we are proud to offer the most comprehensive whisky experience ever. Take in the processes, meet the experts, sample a dram or even create your own. Whatever your area of interest, we can tailor a visit exactly to your requirements. Open 7 days. Groups welcome. 01360 550254


Established in 1979 in Glasgow, award winning MacGregor and MacDuff is renowned for creating new and modern designs using traditional kilt-making skills and techniques passed down and refined through generations of kilt-makers. Offering a wide range of corporate and event services we look forward to working alongside you to provide your company with a unique and tailored business solution. From the creation of a bespoke

Glengoyne Distillery, above, is open all year for guided distillery tours. MacGregor and MacDuff, right, provides kilt-making services to the events sector company tartan, developed and designed in partnership with you and using only the finest of materials and quality craftsmanship, we’ll create a tartan which can be used for company gifts, staff uniforms or even interiors. No matter what your taste or style - we’ll create the perfect tartan, exclusively for you. We also offer an extensive range of corporate gifts and highlandwear accessories including clan crests, kilt pins, sporrans and quaichs and much more, which we can personalise with your corporate logo using our specialist Corporate Insignia service.


Since 1993, Rabbie’s have specialised in guided small group tours of 16 people or less. On all their tours departing from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, London, and Dublin you: Learn from the best storytellers in the world. Their driver-guides are world famous for their knowledge, facts, quirky stories, history, and fairy-tales. They truly take you

è EVENTSBASE | SPRING 2017 | 117


EVENTIT GLASGOW FOCUS beyond the guide books and into your adventure. Explore in top of the range 16 seat mini-coaches. This means you never get lost, you always take the scenic route, you have great views through large windows, and you’re free to sample the local tipple without worrying about driving. Support the local communities. You do this because they take you to the lesser known attractions and recommend locally owned accommodation. What’s more, for every ton of carbon they use, they donate £10 to environmental and community projects.


200 St Vincent Street is a dynamic concept in conference and business facilities located in the heart of Glasgow’s bustling commercial Centre. 200 SVS deliver an unprecedented level of flexibility, efficiency and comfort, providing a

200 St Vincent Street offers everything from superbly appointed meeting rooms and boardrooms to conference facilities


home to your every business need. Spread across six floors of stunning design, 200 St Vincent Street offers everything from superbly appointed meeting rooms and boardrooms to state-of-the-art conference facilities. Featuring a series of impressive boardrooms, luxury conference suites and event spaces which can host a wealth of events from 3 to 300 people. Cutting-edge technologies coupled with the luxuri-

ous surroundings and a first class service provide the perfect space for every meeting or event. With fully integrated IT and Audio Visual systems as well as video conferencing facilities, 200 SVS is sure to exceed all of your expectations. The private meeting and dining rooms offer modern sophistication for intimate gatherings to large presentations and receptions.

With a blank canvas possibilities are endless… No matter what event you’re organising, whether it’s a training session, meeting, party or wedding reception, we’re certain Glasgow’s newest event venue will impress your guests. Located just a 50-second stroll from Glasgow Central Station and accommodating from 2-260 guests, the Studio Glasgow presents light, bright and innovative spaces, perfect places for your bright ideas. Complimentary Wi-Fi, flipchart, projector and screen all included in the most basic of our packages… With Apple TV throughout, what’s not to love? 0121 6342821




Get the knowledge... down at the Exchange The EventIt 2017 Knowledge Exchange features some of the leading event experts from the UK and overseas

EventIt 2017 will be a key learning opportunity for events professionals Our Knowledge Exchange will be a key feature of EventIt 2017. Event professionals are hungry for knowledge, eager for the chance to discuss current topics with their peers and to gain inspiration from leading global industry gurus. Building on the success of 2016, EventIt 2017 will feature both national and international speakers, offering practical advice, inspiration and debate.


10.00: Branding and Marketing a Successful Event Sean Murray, SEC 11.00: Using the Five Senses in Events Rob Davidson, MICE Knowledge 12.00: Promoting Excellence in Association Conferences and Events Heather Lishman, ABPCO Dr Sandro Carnicelli, UWS Celia Lloyd, Happening Conferences and Events Ltd 13.00: So You Think You Are Creative William Thomson, Gallus Events 14.00: Policy Forum: Brexit and Beyond James Heappey, The APPG for Events in Westminster Neil Brownlee, VisitScotland Susan Deighan, Glasgow Life 15.00: Why Business Events Matter Kathleen Warden, SEC Neil Brownlee, VisitScotland Ali Turner, Eight PR Kevin Jackson, ILEA 16.00: TBA


10.00: The Future of Meetings Matthew Howarth, Cvent 11.00: Valuable Content: How video and animation enhance your event Sarah-Jane Friedman and Paul Mann, Metro Ecosse 12.00: Virtual Reality and Events Bianca Barker, Steadipix Productions 13.00: 21st Century Meeting and Event Technologies Prof Joe Goldblatt, Queen Margaret University 14.00: Event Start-Ups James Morgan, Event Tech Lab 15.00: Future of Technology in the Events Industry Panel Discussion hosted by Adam Parry, Events Industry News 16.00: TBA


10.00: Understanding the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) Martin Dare, Rural Projects Ltd Tom Clements, Specialized Security Derry Morrice, SRU Kevin Sewell, Scottish Borders Council 11.00: TTROs and Traffic Management at Events Kevin Sewell, Scottish Borders Council 12.00: How to Attract Sponsorship Ali Turner, Eight PR 13.00: Policing at Events Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, Chairman, EFIG & Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo David Jackson, RHASS Kevin Sewell, Scottish Borders Council Tom Clements, Specialized Security 15.00: EventScotland Surgery


10.00: TBA Graeme Dowie, SITE UK 11.00: Management to Marketing, the evolution of events Richard Waddington, EMA 12.00: How professional training and qualifications benefit your career Dr Jane Ali-Knight, Edinburgh Napier University Dr Caroline Jackson, Bournemouth University, Chair AEME Dr Daniel Turner, University of the West of Scotland 13.00: Events for Generation Y Rob Davidson, MICE Knowledge 14.00: Where we are and where we’re all heading… Kevin Jackson, ILEA Ali Turner, Eight PR 15.00: How you can run a standout meeting Nicky Christmas, Practically Perfect PA 16.00: PA Panel Debate MacKay Hannah Also... 09.00 – 16.00: 20 minute guided tours around the new SEC Campus.



EVENTIT SPEAKERS EventIt 2017 features some of the leading lights in the events industry covering topics in our Knowledge Exchange from event technology and connectivity to educating for the future and outdoor. We would like to thank them all for participating in this year’s show at the Glasgow SEC - let’s get #eventprofs trending on Twitter on the day. DR JANE ALI-KNIGHT



n Dr. Jane Ali-Knight is a founding member and Director of the Edinburgh Institute: Festivals, Events and Tourism (EIFET) at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland and is Course Director of the ‘Executive Certificate in Event Management’. She is currently leading and developing EIFET operations in Scotland as well as lecturing at Universities internationally and facilitating training and development in the field. A recognised academic she has presented at major international and national conferences and has published widely in the areas of wine tourism, tourism, festival and event marketing and management.


n Dr. Sandro Carnicelli is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for the MSc International Events Management at the University of the West of Scotland. Sandro has a PhD from the University of Otago in New Zealand and has published his research in international journal in Tourism and Events. Sandro also worked with educational, corporate and conferences both in Brazil and New Zealand and he is also a member of the Executive Board of ABPCO, a member of ABRATUR (International Academy for the Development of Tourism Research in Brazil), and the Treasurer of the Leisure Studies Association.

n Biança Barker is Company Director at Steadipix Productions a TV broadcast and corporate production company which also specializes in aerial drone work and narrative driven 360° and VR films. Steadipix provides expertise and content for everyone from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 here in the UK, to RTE in Ireland and CBS, NBC and The Smithsonian Channel in America. Corporate clients have included Avis, Seriously Strong Cheese and Mercedes. They do not just understand storytelling, they love storytelling.


n Nicky Christmas is the founder of Practically Perfect PA, a website dedicated to the support and development of assistants throughout the world. Practically Perfect PA is Europe’s most popular blog for PAs, EAs, Office Managers and Administrators with over 9,000 subscribers and 90,000 page views per month. Prior to starting Practically Perfect PA, Nicky spent the last decade working her way up from a Junior Administrator through to an Executive Assistant and Marketing Manager at a global events company. She worked in a variety of industries including accountancy, banking, insurance and in the public sector for several high-profile organisations and Executives in both London and Barcelona.

n Neil is Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, the national tourism body for Scotland. He leads a team of dedicated business event specialists in the VisitScotland Events Directorate, and is responsible for the development, implementation and delivery of the marketing strategy for business events (MICE) at a national level for Scotland. With 28 years’ experience in the international tourism and hospitality industry, Neil joined VisitScotland in 2008 as Meetings & Incentives Manager. His career prior to that included business development with leading global event caterer Sodexo; Director of Sales & Marketing at Rocco Forte’s Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, and revenue development with Le Meridien Hotels in the USA.


n Tom has been a director of Specialized Security for 27 years and is the current Chairman of NOEA Scotland. He holds a degree in event safety management. As part of the Health and Safety Executive’s working party Tom was responsible for the revision and implementation of the Industry essential ‘Purple Guide’, ‘Green Guide’ and other Event Safety Guides widely used today. Tom is a lecturer on Event Safety and Crowd Management at a number of universities and colleges as well as collaborating with the Scottish Police College and Home Office College of Emergency Planning. He currently sits on several advice groups dealing with safety at events.





n Joined Rural Projects (event organisers) in 2000 becoming Managing Director in 2007. In that time Martin has delivered over 80 events attracting more than 10,000 exhibitors and over 1 million visitors.


n Professor Joe Goldblatt holds the world’s only professorial chair in planned event studies and is the executive director of the International Centre for the Study of Planned Events at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the author of the first text book in the field of events management which has been continuously published for 25 years. The seventh edition of this book will be published in October 2013. He was the founding president of the International Special Events Society and the developer of the original Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) program.


n As Business Development Manager in Scotland, Graeme’s passion is introducing SPECTRA’s clients (new & old!) to the unique experiences that his homeland has to offer. Having worked for a small DMC in Ireland for 14 years he’s used to a hands-on approach from researching new products & creating proposals right through to programme delivery. Since joining SPECTRA in July 2010, the excitement of re-discovering Scotland’s variety of properties, venues, attractions and experiences continues to rub off on clients & colleagues alike. A SITE member, he serves on the local chapter board & the International membership committee.


n James Heappey is the Member of Parliament for the Wells Constituency in South West England and chairs the cross-party group on the UK’s Events Industry. He is a vice-president of the Association for Decentralised Energy and sits on the advisory boards of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit and the Bright Blue think tank’s Green Conservatism project. Before entering politics in 2015, James served as an officer in The Rifles regiment of the British Army including three combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.


n Rob Davidson is the Managing Director of MICE Knowledge, a consultancy specialising in research, education and training services for the meetings and events industry. He is the author of seven books, including his latest publications, “Marketing Destinations and Venues for Conferences” and “Winning Meetings and Events for your Venue. He also writes for the professional meetings industry press, including Conference News.


n Matthew joined the London Cvent team in September 2014, bringing with him over 12 years’ experience in the technology arena. Oxford graduate Matthew is passionate about technology innovation and relishes in introducing new technology to the events industry. Cvent is the world’s largest event technology company, over 157,000 users leverage their integrated software globally. As a senior member of the UK Cvent team, Matthew is responsible for growth in the UK and Europe.


n Susan Deighan is Director Of City Marketing And External Relations and leads Glasgow Life for the city’s tourism strategy and in promoting the work that we do, including strategic partnerships, destination marketing, fundraising, communications and major events. This includes responsibility for placing Glasgow as an exciting and vibrant tourist and visitor destination and ensuring that the people of Glasgow are engaged with all of the benefits that Glasgow Life offers.


n With over 20 years working within the events industry in varied sales and event management roles, Sarah-Jane understands what it takes to create memorable events. Having worked with large and small organisations and corporate planners, Sarah-Jane has amassed a wealth of knowledge; from selling venues to event management and fundraising. She has worked for Knockhill Karting Centre, University of Edinburgh-Edinburgh First, Team Challenge Company, Scottish SPCA and Cameron Presentations - and now at Metro Ecosse.





n Caroline has over 30 years of experience designing, delivering, teaching and researching events. She Chairs the Association for Events Management Education whose aim is to advance events education and research in the UK (http://www. She is also currently Vice Chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP). BVEP is the umbrella organisation that represents the UK leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies and other significant influencers in the business visits and events sector (https://www. businessvisitsandeventspartnership. com/).


n Celia has over 20 years’ experience in the association conference sector. Initially working for a scientific association Celia was responsible for conferences throughout the UK, Europe and North America. Following this Celia set up her own agency managing conferences for clients including the Royal Society of Biology and the Association for Science Education. Following a merger with Happening Conferences in early 2016 Celia heads the Scottish office as Communications Director and is responsible for on-line systems and communication.


n David Jackson is Manager of the Royal Highland Show. In 2015, he brought in the biggest Royal Highland Show audience in its 175-year history. Under his management, there has been an 11% rise in visitors over two years, taking the Show income over £4 million for the first time. Additionally, customer satisfaction is higher than ever. His background in events management, the arts and tourism has been equally successful, and hugely beneficial to the Scottish economy


n Paul Mann has worked in the industry for over 30 years primarily in the USA, editing, directing and producing film and video projects. He has worked on two award-winning films, one of which he directed and edited, and he has also won an outstanding achievement award for Special Effects in Los Angeles. His credits include 2 years with Warner Brothers, editing, directing and producing two seasons of television shows (which featured mainly nonactors) and three full length features for American cable television. Other clients include Universal, Miramax, Sci-Fi Channel, BBC1, and ITV1.


n A long-standing disruptor and thought-leader, Kevin has been an influential player with some of the world’s most respected marketing services groups, including Interpublic, Grey and Saatchi. Working with a vast range of brands, from Adidas to Zumba, he has explored every discipline within the marketing mix. Kevin is acting President of ILEA UK and as Director of Ideas and Innovation at his own growth agency, The Experience Is The Marketing.


n James Morgan has been marketing and producing events since 1989. He is a Senior Lecturer in Events at the University of Westminster, London and the Founder of Event Tech Lab, a partnership community for event technology start-ups, developers, event professionals and investors. He is also on the International Live Event Association’s Chicago based international education council and Founder of event crowd sourcing platform SharedXP. As a respected speaker, writer and industry commentator, James has judged industry awards internationally and is passionate about educating the event professionals of the future.


n Heather is Association Director of the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO). She has worked with a quality ratings organisation, promoted the National Hotel Marketing Conference and the International Film Tourism Conference, trained a conference centre team on account management and B&B revenue generation, worked with a children’s nursery on quality and marketing challenges, assessed on behalf of the Institute of Hospitality to their Hospitality Assured programme, and set up an international sales project for a quintessential British venue.


n Derry Morrice is the Health and Safety Manager for Scottish Rugby. He is responsible for the Scottish Rugby staff based at the various locations throughout the country and also over 67,000 people at International Matches at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh Gunners and Glasgow Warriors spectators. Derry previously worked for the City of Edinburgh Council from 1989 until February 2016 when he left to join Scottish Rugby. He worked in the CEC Public Safety section, is highly experienced in event safety and was directly involved in the delivery of Edinburgh’s major events.






n Sean Murray is Head of Marketing at the newly rebranded Scottish Event Campus, SEC which includes the SSE Hydro. A native of Glasgow, Sean has managed the branding and marketing for major festivals, events and bids, destination and venue marketing for various high profile projects. In the position for over 8 years, Sean looks after B2C ticketing and B2B marketing across the business for Live Entertainment, Conferences and Exhibitions in addition to delivering the new brand for SEC and SSE Hydro, since opening in 2013. Prior to this, Sean delivered the Back the Bid campaign for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Bid. n Adam Parry is the editor of and the co-founder of Event Tech Live, The Event Technology Awards and Event Tech Talks.




n Kevin has 13 years’ experience of events planning. For eight years he had management responsibility for events planning in Lothian and Borders Police. During that period he was involved in planning major events such as the visit of Pope Benedict and 8 Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Parties. On retiring from the police he went to Scottish Borders Council where he introduced a structured events process, now referred to as SAG (Safety Advisory Group). He chairs this group and in 2017 there are already 53 events scheduled to attend SAG.



n Alistair Turner is Managing Director of EIGHT PR & Marketing, a specialist creative agency servicing the events industry. Alistair has over 20 years experience in the PR and events industries, working closely with the key trade associations as well as the UK government. He is currently President Elect of the International Live Event Society (ILEA UK Chapter) and a special advisor to the National Outdoor Events Association. He is a regular speaker on events and PR both within the events industry and at Universities where events management is studied.


n Daniel is the Cluster Leader for Marketing, Events and Tourism and Senior Lecturer in Events Management at the University of the West of Scotland. Daniel’s research and teaching interests lie in fields of event policy, event bidding and the sociocultural aspects of contemporary events. He has an ongoing interest in embedding live projects and employability skills in the events curriculum and bridging the gap between practice and the classroom. He also retains an active interest in the fields of sport studies and sport management.

n William Thomson has almost twenty years’ experience in dealing with every aspect of an event. William has been carrying out event consultancy for almost ten years. A published author of “Successful Events For Not For Profit Organisations” William has been a leading voice in the event industry for many years.

n Former Founder and CEO First Protocol, Chair EMA, Mentor, Entrepreneur and Investor. With over 35 years in the Hospitality & Events Industry Richard has a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience he’s happy to share. Having travelled the world delivering events for major global organisations, whilst building one of the most successful and respected agencies out there. Richard will share his thoughts and insights on how to build success and what it looks like! Are you an Event Manager or an Event Marketer?

n As Director of Conference Sales at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, Kathleen is responsible for strategically leading the venues’ conference sales effort, ensuring a strong return for the company whilst delivering outstanding events, and meeting and exceeding the expectations of clients.


Organisation name

We would like to thank all of our exhibitors and sponsors without whom we would not be able to host EventIt 2017. A full listing, right, corresponds to our show floorplan on the pages opposite. Please do visit them on their stands!

Location name

(C) Systems Global 2/F41 200 SVS 2/J51 Actavo Events 2/C20 All Event Hire 2/D11 Amazing Days Scotland 2/J51 Arrow Corporate Promotions 1/F93 AV Department Limited 2/F31 Blair Estate 2/J51 Blue Parrot Company 1/F95 Cameron House on Loch Lomond 2/J51 citizenM 2/E61 City of Glasgow College 2/J51 Conference Care 2/E03 Crowne Plaza Glasgow 1/F90 Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter 2/E51 Cvent 1/D90 DoubleTree By Hilton Scotland 2/G21 Dovecote Studios 2/D30 Duns Castle 2/E21 Dynamic Earth 2/D30 Edinburgh Napier University 1/G71 EICC 1/G93 Emirates Arena 2/J51 Event Connect 1/F91 Eventbrite 2/D12 eventpowwow (Works Digital) 1/D104 EventScotland 2/B10 EventsTag 2/G31 Event-Trees 2/C40 Evolution Dome 2/G31 FabuLUSS Loch Lomond 2/H61 Fairmont St Andrews 2/F40 Fireworx Scotland 2/G65 Freeman 1/E80 GES 2/H41 Glasgow Caledonian University 2/F11 Glasgow City Marketing Bureau 2/J51 Glasgow Music City Tours 2/J51 Glasgow Science Centre 2/J51 Glengoyne Distillery 2/J51 GMP Print Solutions 2/E20 Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel 2/H31 GTG Training and Conference Centre 2/G11 Hampden Park Stadium 2/J51 Hard Rock Café Glasgow 2/J51 Heritage Portfolio 2/E41 Hilton Edinburgh Carlton 2/F21 Hilton Glasgow 2/C60 Holiday Inn Edinburgh 1/D101


Organisation name

Location name

Hopetoun House 2/E41 IET Glasgow: Teacher Building 2/G30 Kingsmills Hotel 1/C71 Macdonald Hotels & Resorts 1/F102 MacGregor and MacDuff Kiltmakers 2/J51 Marriott Hotels 1/D102 Maximillion 2/J31 MCL Create 2/G02A Merchant Square, Glasgow 2/H40 Mercure Peebles Barony Castle Hotel 2/D30 Metro Ecosse 2/B60 Millennium Hotels & Resorts 2/D31 Musselburgh Race Course 2/E41 Narcissus Flowers 2/C68 NOEA 2/B506 Norton House Hotel & Spa 2/E12 1/C101 Principal Hotel Company 2/H30 QHotels: The Westerwood Hotel and Slaley Hall Resort 2/F12 Quality Rental Ltd 2/B50 Rabbie’s Small Group Tours 2/J51 Rockliffe Hall 2/E51 Ross Promotional 2/F30 Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh 2/E41 Royal Society of Edinburgh 1/D100 Saltire Hospitality 1/D100 ScotRail Halls 1 & 2 SEC 2/G51 Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh 2/E40 Showcase Cinemas 2/G41 SHSC Events I Meetings I Venue 2/C50 Simpli-Fi and TapFuse 1/D91 Skylarks 2/B51 Steadipix Productions 1/E70 Stirling Highland Hotel 2/E64 Target Response 1/F106 The Aberdeen Altens Hotel 1/G91 The Entertainment Company 2/E65 The PA Exchange 1/F92 The Pantry Street Food Events 2/B07 The Studio Glasgow 2/J51 Titanium Fireworks 2/B05 University of St Andrews 2/C30 University of Strathclyde 2/J41 University of the West of Scotland 2/G63 Village Hotels 2/E31 Visit Inverness Loch Ness 1/C74 Welcome to Fife 2/E11 WowGrass 1/C102


Profile for Canongate Communications


For people delivering events and festivals in Scotland Issue 6/Spring 2017


For people delivering events and festivals in Scotland Issue 6/Spring 2017