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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.

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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

App, App and Away!

April 2014

Making for a more interactive and user friendly personalised experience, the first outing of our brand new KDM event app for game shows was a great success in March.

10 teams worked hard to outwit one another in their branded company Mega Quiz held at Ettington Chase, Stratford. Using the pre-installed app on hand-held tablets, the teams were able to interact with the on screen visuals, video and questions to send in their team answers. Guests racked their collective brains to summon up the answers to a list of crazy questions such as:

  • True or False? Duelling is legal in Japan as long as both parties are registered organ donors.
  • Sport: In Greyhound racing what colour vest do dogs running from trap two always wear?
  • Rogues Gallery: Which 2 celebrities are mashed together in this picture? (see below)

Working on a secure & fast Wi-Fi network (installed by us!) the app worked smoothly allowing the guests to submit their answers and clock up their team scores! By the end of the night though, as usual only one team was celebrating and enjoying the winner’s prize of champagne!

With further developments in the pipeline we are upgrading all of our evening and team events throughout 2014 to enable use of the apps in conjunction with hand-held tablets. Get in touch to find out more about how these new apps will work on your events!

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KDM Super Heroes Conference Management

March 2014

One of the world’s largest chocolate snacks companies again asked us to organise and event manage their Field Sales Super Heroes themed Conference for 2014…but with a few new twists and challenges!

1)      Their budget was reduced by 40%!
Of course the client still needed to re-create a similar atmosphere to the same high standard following the great feedback from our 2013 event. We quickly got creative with the AV, theming and entertainment for the 2 day conference to meet the client’s new budget with the elements below:

  • We calculated the amount of KDM pre-event assistance needed for PowerPoint presentation re-formatting and on-site management the day before the event. With our assistance, the client was then able to allocate to their internal resources responsibility for handling these areas.
  • The AV specification was re-worked dramatically to give a completely different feel, allowing for a more intimate setting by reducing the amount of equipment and technicians.
  • By using a multi skilled team of event staff we were able to provide the additional games for the evening entertainment at a very small nominal fee.
  • And branded personalisation of two digital Photo Studio backgrounds was completed by our KDM graphics team at no extra charge.

2)      The venue space was much smaller

But the number of guests and itinerary were still the same! We arranged a bespoke AV set to suit the room layout; including a main stage simply with the printed company logo as the backdrop and two 50” plasmas either side. Two large projector screens were also placed on either side to ensure good visibility for all delegates which overcame the room being long, thin and a tight squeeze for the numbers.

3)      The itinerary timings were a challenge, with no breathing room for enthusiastic speakers running over…However, the first presenter over ran by one hour! So with some quick amendments to breaks and other presenters’ times we managed to get the times back to the original itinerary by lunch time.  KDM Events managed the full conference providing on-site support throughout registration, syndicate rotations & main room presentations.

By preparing all the centre pieces beforehand, we managed to transform the room into a Super Hero themed dinner space in only 90 minutes. We incorporated the corporate colours of red & purple along with a bespoke ‘exploding’ centre piece featuring a comic strip themed graphic in a tall lily vase. Back by popular demand we also provided our Photo Studio with themed company backgrounds including T-Rex, Space Invasions and an Action Movie Explosion partnered by giant games including Test your Strength to complement the theme.

Day Two was full of presentations, rotations and a filming activity – leaving no time for editing or handovers. KDM provided a Camera Technician and cameras for each group during their 45 minute Hollywood taster. We then premiered the top 5 films after lunch through the AV set and PA system before handing all the videos to the client on the day.

The conclusion? The feedback received was great, with the organiser commenting that it was seamless once again, especially taking into account the entire budget, time and space challenges. Both our client and KDM were Super Heroes on this event!

Get in touch with us if you’d more information on how we can help you with your next event.

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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 the 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

 

Breaking Records?

December 2013

We needed new ideas for 2013! This was the third year our client had chosen us to provide the team event at their annual staff convention for 165 delegates at Best Western Rockingham Forest.

Having provided brilliant pub games and simulator competitions for the last 2 years, KDM was tasked with suggesting new ideas for 2013’s event. It had to be a fun activity which would have a wide appeal and be accessible – enjoyed and understood by guests whose first language is not English. With 165 guests participating in 2 hours the challenges also had to be easy to understand and quick to take part in.

So our creative team took inspiration from the challenges in our range of existing events to deliver a bespoke ‘Worlds Records’ event involving 12 all-new activities designed to allow the company to set their own world records! Paper planes, chopsticks, superman pants and beer mats have never been so much fun!

The activities were mixed to ensure there was a wide appeal to guests with different skill sets and so the event on Monday saw the teams taking part in memorable challenges such as:

FLIPPIN HECK – How many beer mats can you flip using one hand without spilling them everywhere?

HIGH FLYER – How far can you fly a paper aeroplane you have made yourself?

THIS SUCKS – Move ping pong balls from one container to another using a straw in the fastest time possible!

PEA IN A BOTTLE – Drop a pea from a height into a Champagne bottle in 5 or fewer attempts!

CHOP CHOP – How many jelly beans can you pick up with chopsticks?

THAT’S PANTS – How many pairs of pants you can put on (over your clothes)?

Points were racked up by each member of the team attempting to set a new ‘World Record’, noted and assisted by our enthusiastic event staff. Coloured lanyards helped the teams to coordinate their efforts and attempt to break as many records as possible to accumulate the highest score.

12 individuals went proudly home with specially designed  “KDM World Record Holder”  certificates whilst the overall winning team celebrated with medals.

But most importantly our client said that “this year’s event was the best yet!” So having raised the bar again this year we just need to make sure 2014’s event is better still! I’m sure our creative team will come up with something…

Sarah McGregor, Account Manager

Taxi for Caroline!

November 2013

When a client tells us they have a short lead in booking, it usually means we have a few weeks or at the very least a week…

It was a rainy day last Tuesday when an email enquiry for a team building activity suitable for an international group in London landed in my inbox. I immediately thought that our new GPS Black Cab Challenge would be perfect. We’d just set up a great deal with a family run cab company and we were excited to be able to begin working with them so I called the client to share my thoughts about how this would be an excellent activity for the group – the combination of the iconic Black Cabs and historical points of interest within the capital city makes for an exciting and unique tour of London. Guests have the opportunity to visit a number of key locations such as Westminster & Whitehall, the Square Mile of the City, St Pauls, Soho, Southbank, Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park in a short amount of time. Plus you get chauffeured around the city door to door and don’t get too rained on!

The client was delighted with the idea, but then dropped the bombshell – “and so we’d like this event on Thursday” I gulped and replied “This Thursday? In 2 days?”

Fortunately, I was able to quickly speak to Garry one of our Event Managers here on site to check the availability of staff and GPS tablets. Next, our cab company sprang into action (thank you Helen!) to check the drivers for us and so within 90 minutes the entire event was confirmed and organised with time to spare!

Feedback from the client was that it was a ‘Great teambuilding event, and run really professionally at very short notice.’

A happy end to the rainy week! So if anyone else has any last minute bookings – bring ’em on!

Caroline
Account Manager (and speed booker extraordinaire)

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Back to School… Again!?

October 2013

September Back to School … again?

When given the brief “we would like an afternoon activity for 350 people that lasts 2½ hours in September for under £30 per head” the KDM team got to work creating a tailored event to meet the client’s requirements. Given the limited space available at the venue we knew the only style of event that would work would be an indoor/outdoor event. The indoor space would hold 175 cabarets and the outdoor space would comfortably hold the other 175 guests so the thinking caps went on and our bespoke ‘Back to School’ event transpired.

The indoor lesson would consist of 45 minutes of high energy, fast and furious challenges including maths and social media as well as a compulsory science module where teams designed and built their own rocket to be launched as the finale. Within the 45 minutes, teams had to choose their challenges wisely and allocate their resources skilfully to score as many points as possible.

Then we proposed to take guests back to the good old days of PE and the traditional School Sports Day with the outdoor lesson, but with the two main differences being that the parents were absent and no-one was picked last! Guests would participate in a number of track events all with a slight twist including ‘Funny Feet’, Hop-A-Long and of course the Egg & Spoon race.

Finishing touches of the event included our event staff wearing ‘Victorian’ style teacher clothing, and teams being given their own individual school ties. The winners would be awarded a Trophy and medals with the losers the compulsory wooden spoon!

And following a site visit to the venue with the client by Caroline (Account Manager) and Garry (Senior Event Manager) to pitch our concept to the client…we were delighted to get the phone call that they had chosen KDM Events to organise, manage and run the event!

Feedback from the client: ‘The event staff on the day were really helpful, polite & professional. Garry made me feel relaxed about the activity as he had everything under control. An Excellent very well managed and fun, I really enjoyed working with you all.

What now? Give Caroline a call on 01782 647032 if you’d like her to solve your next challenging team build briefly!

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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A Star is Born!

August 2013

We recently had the privilege of having a charming work experience high school student with us for a week this summer.

When 15-year-old Hope phoned in and asked to speak with Kevin our MD, he was so impressed that she had called in person to inquire about a placement that he agreed immediately!   So, we organised a week full of event, website and marketing administration for Hope, then asked her to write a short blog about it:

“My experience at KDM was amazing! I’ve always wanted to be an event manager so this just made me even surer that is what I want to do.

When KDM agreed to let me do a week of work experience with them I was overjoyed. On my first day everyone introduced themselves and made me feel like I was an actual part of the work team. They gave me my own desk and made sure I felt comfortable to ask them if I needed help with anything.

One of the best parts of the week was when I got asked to order some fancy dress products which meant that I got to browse the web to choose the products as well as ringing up the supplier to see if the products were available.

There was never a dull day, all week I was occupied with something to do from looking at venues to taking photos of some of the table theming props”

If she is anything to go by, it’s very encouraging to know that there are young people as motivated, capable and personable as Hope that will be entering the workplace in the near future.

In fact, she was so great that we asked her to come in to help us finish a stock control catalogue project for a second week. We hope (!) to see more of Hope if she decides to pursue a career in events as she was a delight to work with.


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