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Event Management How To: Spend Less Money On The Same Conference & Event Management Result!

November 2017

When a long standing financial sector client came to us with a request to organise their annual Retail Division Update Conference, we were delighted to help as we always are. This year though, we were asked to provide the conference along with our event management expertise on a smaller budget.

We’re not an Events Company who turn down a challenge so with Networking and business content high on this year’s agenda, we aimed to meet the reduced budget target by achieving savings in 4 key areas:

  • AV requirements.
  • Room hire and Set up costs the night prior to the conference.
  • Delegate travel overnight accommodation the night prior to the conference.
  • Private dinner format.

We kept it simple with the following recipe:

Take:
80 senior managers and Directors

Add:
1 unusual historic country event venue
1 dedicated meeting space with natural daylight, private bar and terrace
1 compact AV set and technicians
Mix together with:
1/2 day business presentations
1 BBQ dinner overlooking Capability Brown designed gardens
6 Seasoned live swing/jazz musicians
Glorious summer sunshine
80 Overnight stays and breakfast

Then allow to develop over 18 hours until risen!

Selecting the right event location for the conference was key. Previously our client has used business conference centre venues with a high end business look and feel to the conference. However, this year they wanted to encourage a more relaxed summer networking atmosphere whilst retaining the professional business presentation feel. We worked with the client to source an unusual Country House venue, having provided team building activities and conferences here in the past, we knew the exclusive meeting space was perfect for an intimate business atmosphere. A compact AV set to match the size and style of the room enhanced the personal feel to the business presentations and allowed for closer interactions during the afternoon.

The agenda for the day was also made more compact. Rather than an early start and full day of content, the group arrived for lunch followed by an afternoon of business presentations made shorter to allow for more contribution by the delegates.

Networking, sharing ideas and best practise was important so an informal outdoor BBQ dinner with drinks and live music provided the perfect informal setting for the team to share their thoughts from the day and catch up with the latest developments. Moving back indoors once the sun went down, the networking continued into the wee hours.

All in all, the combination of the revised compact agenda, altered travelling times, change in style of event venue with smaller AV requirements and relaxed evening dinner meant that the event cost came in circa £1,000 under the new target budget. Added to the positive feedback from the delegates who appreciated the style and content of the ‘new look’ conference, the client was very satisfied with the tasty recipe we created!


Bravura Party Performance at Stamford Bridge – Star Studded Conference Event Management

July 2017

Asked to produce an action-packed motivational staff party at a landmark London venue, KDM’s corporate event squad brought Hollywood to Chelsea FC for a star-studded experience.

About our client
Our client is part of a leading UK merchant banking group listed on the FTSE 250 index and one of the City’s most enterprising and respected banks. A pioneering provider of premium finance with a 35-year pedigree, the company helps over a million people across the UK and Ireland spread the cost of their insurance policy.

The brief
With a strong commitment to customer service and an industry-leading staff training programme, the company sees employee engagement as critical to its business success. KDM had been producing annual employee events, ranging from corporate team building activities & games through to full conference event management, for this client for the last three years, but its new Chief Executive was keen to kick-off 2015 with a fresh event format that would motivate and reward all 330 staff members for the year ahead.

We were tasked firstly with sourcing a venue exuding real wow-factor that would be sited within a 20-minute radius of our client’s Wimbledon office, and secondly with producing an action-packed evening event combining dinner, dancing and an awards ceremony.

KDM’s response
From a shortlist of six possible venues we proposed Stamford Bridge – the iconic home of Chelsea FC and ideally located with excellent transport links to neighbouring Wimbledon. Most importantly, the venue’s Great Hall provides a magnificent open space for large-scale company events. Rather than being a dedicated function suite, this versatile area gave us the perfect blank canvas on which to stamp the personality and style that would create an unforgettable corporate event.

‘A Night at the Movies’ was the chosen theme to tie in with their internal communications programme, and with the help of creative lighting, star cloth and giant props, the guests were transported to Hollywood for a night of glitz and glamour. Throughout dinner a series of themed team building games kept them on the edge of their seats. Contestants won prizes using specially-designed scratch-cards, and each movie-themed table competed to win a celebrity face mashup contest. In addition to a pre-arranged celebrity look-alike contest, guests took selfies, which could be immediately uploaded onto the main screen, offering just one of the evening’s many prize opportunities. Following the company’s award ceremony, an eight-piece band and DJ ensured there was no let-up in adrenalin-fuelled activity. Our Event Management team were delighted with the results and enjoyed the evening almost as much as our client’s guests.

Client feedback
Our seamless event management seems to have paid off! Here’s just a sample of the comments received from the guests:

“A great evening thoroughly enjoyed by all within my teams so thank you so much for putting this on for everyone!”
“Amazing night and a huge thank you to everyone involved in organising it!”
“Great location, fantastic effort with decoration of the main room.”
“It was a well organised evening and I enjoyed myself, it just went too quickly.”
“It was amazing, I felt as if I enjoyed myself too much! Was such a great atmosphere and the marketing team and everyone involved really did pull it out of the bag! Well done”
“The decorations were amazing and loved the Hollywood theme.”


The Show Must Go On!

October 2016

Nobody likes to hear “No!”, “It’s impossible!”, “It simply cannot be done!”, well, nobody at KDM does! So when we hear it, from a conference venue, an event transport provider or even a pre-dinner drinks entertainer, we get our thinking caps on and figure out how we’re going to work around their “No” to reach the ultimate “Yes” we need to get the job done.

We’re not spoiled! We just like our clients to get what they want, and if they want to arrive to readily prepared AV and staging set at 8am, then AV and staging they shall arrive to!

Only, on this occasion, when we spoke to the venue that had been chosen by the client, we were told that unfortunately, access to the room was restricted due to a function not ending until the early hours of that morning. This is not the point at which we give up, no Sir! Following some lengthy negotiations with suppliers, the event management & delivery teams along with the conference venue, we found ourselves a solution, we turned that no onto it’s head by altering the question. So there we were, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3am on day 1 setting up an AV rig.

8am arrival went smashingly, rehearsals took place and the show opened at 10:30am.

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Invitations to the gameshow themed event were extended to 300 delegates across the UK through online delegate registration and the conference, establishing the client’s newly launched vision and values, was supported by stage props and furniture, team building activities, a motivational speaker, evening entertainment and delegate gifts.

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Benjamin Mee, motivational speaker known for ‘We Bought a Zoo’ spoke to delegates about teamwork and bravery and 30 teams were tasked with the production of company adverts aimed at the client’s 2 market sectors, built on the foundation of their vision and values. Pulling together the multiple moving parts of this operation, the KDM team put on a show as precise as it was fluid, dropping in a little improv as and when it was required to keep the 300 strong cast shining brightly through their variety of starring roles in gameshows, TV adverts and their glitzy awards ceremony finale.

The offending “No” was only the beginning of the challenges set by this conference but we like a challenge, so this has been a fantastic event to be involved with and the organiser’s gratitude and praise along with the smile on the face of each attending delegate gave us a warm feeling that only a successful KDM event can. Get in touch if you’d like to transfer the burden of the management of your next company event to us – we’ll be as pleased to do it as you are not to!

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Sabre are shaken not stirred…

July 2014

Whilst it may be a cliché to state that no two events are the same, this was certainly proven to be the case when KDM were recently tasked by leading technology company Sabre with organising a bespoke event for 30 VIP clients of CEO level from across the world – with the brief involving The Shard, James Bond, creativity & technology.

Our initial thought was for a unique James Bond themed experience using classic cars in Central London; however upon considering the logistics of transporting guests around Central London at a pace quicker than a comatose snail we unfortunately had to shelve this idea.

However from this came the inspiration for a unique event – a James Bond themed GPS Treasure Hunt, but with a rather unique format!

Hence after a briefing south of the river, guests were met by a fleet of black cabs with all drivers suitably dressed for the occasion – to be ferried to an exclusive Private Member’s club in the heart of the City, for a martini-making masterclass.  After learning the history & basics behind 007’s favoured martini’s (and some equally important tastings), teams were put on the spot to design their own martini, with the outcome judged by our very own barman.

Part one of the challenge over, guests were then transported to a variety of locations including the National Portrait Gallery & Westminster Abbey to tackle a range of Bond themed questions & challenges, finishing up at the Shard before the results of the event were announced later that evening at the James Bond Exhibition in Covent Garden.

End result of the event was some very drinkable martinis, great photos, lasting memories for the guests & a satisfied client on the day!

Guests arrived at an exclusive Private Members Club in the Heart of the City, but didn’t have long to relax in the luxurious surroundings! Half of the group headed straight for a Martini-making master class..

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Whilst the other half of the group took in a Classic Bond film in the oh so cool Cinema room, whilst sampling a selection of Bond-inspired Martinis!

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9 knockout venue dressing tips

June 2014

Some venues are fabulous inside and out; others need a little help to create a setting that will truly  wow your guests.  Our in-house theming expert, Kathy Davies shares some valuable venue-dressing tips. 

Whether you are hosting a formal reception, a product launch or a party, choice of venue is the first and most important decision to be taken, and factors such as budget, size, location and timing will narrow your choice dramatically.  So once all of those boxes have been ticked you may still be left with the challenge of transforming the event space into a stunning environment.

kathy

How much should you spend?

Top-line expenditure will be on room hire, catering and possibly transport, but it’s important right from the outset to safeguard some budget for dressing the space.  We suggest that the absolute minimum sum required to dress a venue would be £1,000.

Venue assistance 

Don’t forget that the venue will almost certainly have some decor resource at its disposal, so a conversation while you are still at venue-selection stage will reveal what is available in-house.  With a little timely negotiation it will be possible to have such elements as table centrepieces and coloured chair covers and tie-backs included within your overall hire cost.

Working within the space

For a large scale project with a decor budget of over £1,000 you will have several spaces to work with and some traffic flow considerations.  Factor-in the importance of allowing room to position some large props to create a stunning first impression.  And be very careful not to end up with a lot of guests crammed in a tight space for the drinks reception.  Not only is the effect claustrophobic, but the wow factor of your gorgeous decor will be sadly missed in the crush.

Eye-catchers

Sometimes organisers have the opposite problem – a large space that won’t be filled by the expected number of guests.  The natural response would be to fill up every area of empty space, but in fact if you create just a few key focal points, your guests’ eyes will be drawn to these and they won’t notice the empty corners.  We find that putting a lot of focus on a dramatically themed doorway or walkway between reception and dining rooms confers more visual impact than a collection of smaller props strategically positioned around the room.

Themed settings

If you have the space and the budget to work with large set pieces, avoid the temptation to park them at equal distances around the room.  Instead group them in pockets.  By siting props together you automatically create a themed setting, which will have the affect of attracting guest to cluster together and form natural conversation groups.

Screen drama

Events that incorporate AV production provide an added opportunity to amplify and dramatise the decor or theme at little or no extra cost.  On-screen visuals add colour, movement and of course messaging to grab your guests’ attention, while supporting the overall theming. Plasma screens and projection are a great way of injecting a ‘live action’ feel to the event, while adding light and extra focal points.

Star-spangled venues

If your budget allows you to really go to town on decor, imagine silk drapes falling from a central spot on the ceiling, bathed in coloured LED lighting.  Corporate branding or event theme can be projected by lights which sweep around the room, spotlighting your giant props and set pieces of scenery as they go. Tables are the key areas of focus in a dining room, so invest in some fabulous LED-lit centrepieces.  Entrance doorways are also prime areas for dramatic treatment, and these can be framed with swathes of fabric, with spot lighting to guide your guests into the adjoining room, or special prop archways leading the eye to a glittering carpeted runway beyond.

The centre of attention

We can’t always have free rein when it comes to decor spend, but  it’s still possible to achieve a stunning effect on a modest budget. If you are decorating a room that will be largely populated by dinner tables, it’s probably a waste of money in any case to decorate the walls with props or other solid objects.  Far better to dress the tables themselves to create maximum visual impact.  Again, those  self-lit themed centrepieces will steal the show, supported by stylish linens and colour-themed chair covers. And shining colour washes of light up the walls will, in itself, transform a non-descript room into a magical space.

Creativity on a tight budget

Occasionally there’s no option but to theme your event on a shoestring, and for such occasions there’s still scope to inject some sparkle into the proceedings – via novelty elements such as colour-themed cocktails, or cupcakes that have been branded with corporate logos or messaging.

No matter what your budget, the secret to gaining maximum mileage in dressing the venue is to  make sure that styling and theming your event are included in the action plan from the earliest  planning stage. It’s amazing how far your money will stretch with some creative thinking and clever resourcing from the outset.

Kathy


Expanding plans for 2014

January 2014

 

We hope that you had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and that 2014 is looking as exciting for you as it is for us! With so many things coming up this year we thought that we would give you a glimpse of what we are up to.

New Event App

Following months of reviewing code and pulling out his (already sparse) hair, our MD Kevin has created a great interactive event app. Designed in-house the app is completely unique to KDM and will be a great addition to many of our events. It is slick, highly reliable and great fun! It will enable us to provide live Q&A and event feedback for your events, personalised quizzes and game show rounds both easily and cost effectively. We will be rolling the app out over the next month so ask for it on an event near you soon!

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Vans

We imagine that breaking down on the way to your event because we are travelling in a rusty old van would be really bad! Bad for us and bad for you! Cunningly, we have always avoided scenarios like this by continually investing in repairs and improvements to our equipment. Recently, this has seen us add two brand new vans to our fleet. The additional vans:

  • Enable us to respond to an increased demand for events on the same day.
  • Are also larger – enabling us to hold a greater capacity of equipment. So, we don’t have to send two vans on your event which is cheaper for you and better for the environment.

What’s more, our Event Staff are sure to enjoy the plush comfy seats whilst travelling the country delivering events from Inverness to Eastbourne!

And finally….New Staff

A survey by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), reported by the Telegraph, advises that 20% of workers will be on the lookout for a new job in 2014. This is great for us as we looking to recruit two new sales team members to continue the steady growth we achieved last year. We have been inundated with applications and first interviews will begin soon. But if you are one of the talented 20% looking for a new challenge in 2014, there’s still time and we’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy. Details can be found at TotalJobs KDM Events

 


KDM makes ‘Fresh Hair’ our 2013 charity

August 2013

‘Fresh Hair’ opened in 2011 at the Cancer Centre at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and gives a bespoke one-to-one wig fitting service for those that have lost their hair due to treatment or illness. Each year over 700 patients from North Staffordshire and beyond benefit from Fresh Hair’s services.

Fresh Hair operates in temporary premises but to secure its future needs a purpose-built facility. Plans are in place for a salon to include a beauty/holistic therapy suite and private consultation rooms with the aim of creating a salon where patients come to feel normal and leave looking fabulous. The cost of building this bespoke facility is in the region of £150,000.

KDM have nominated Fresh Hair as our chosen charity for 2013 and have made donations of £2,500 so far to this excellent cause. Check out their website for more information and ways that you can get involved – ‘Fresh Hair’ website

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Don’t miss your chance to win an IPod Shuffle!

November 2012

Have you entered our Christmas Carol Competition to win an IPod Shuffle?

All you have to do is take a tune from a Christmas Carol and rewrite the words. Please send your entries to competitions@kdmevents.com. There’s not long left!


Sarah Fitz gets her man

November 2012

After years of keeping him waiting our Venues and Agents Team Account Director Sarah Fitz finally said ‘I Do’ and just two weeks ago Lucky Jim finally got his girl. The happy couple went off on an eagerly awaited honeymoon in the USA and blew into New York just as Super Storm Sandy blew in from the other direction! Sandy soon realised that she’d met her match and moved on leaving Sarah and Jim to have a fabulous holiday and a truly amazing experience. Congratulations to you both from all your friends here at KDM.


KDM boys Motivated for ‘Movember’

November 2012

The KDM event crew need few excuses to party, play poker and pretend to be little boys again and so the forthcoming arrival of November once again gave them the ideal opportunity to let their hair down in an effort to outdo the girls’ efforts on ‘Wear it Pink’ day. Mind you as we are constantly reminded women get on with it whereas us blokes take forever which possibly explains why ‘Wear it Pink’ takes 24 hours whereas Movember takes 30 days!

Well here is the ‘before’ shot with the guys being shown just what’s expected of them!!



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