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Brighton Festival Anyone?

November 2014

The chance to work on a truly bespoke event is always an exciting prospect, and a recent event delivered for a leading Housing Association & Developer was certainly no exception!

The brief from the client was very simple – they wanted to create an indoor festival atmosphere for their annual staff away-day for 250 guests, to be held in a unique & quirky venue.

Hence the 1st task was to source a suitable location & venue for the event, step forward Brighton Dome which is a renowned multi-arts venue located in the heart of Brighton – its origins date back over 200 years, and the character & enormity of the Corn Exchange room provided just the right environment to allow for lots of varied entertainment, food and drink to keep the group engaged over the 4 hour event.

Of course food is supremely important and as the venue is ‘dry-hire’  we worked with independent caterers to find the best solution to keep within the catering budget. Fish & Chips was the perfect menu for the day to deliver the fun informal festival theme and tie in with the venue being by the seaside!

A mix of music, live comedy, games, green screen photo studio and simulators gave the vibrant festival feel the client was looking for and we chose to book Dan Mitchell to act as both compere & comedian. Dan is a veteran of the comedy circuit appearing on a number of TV shows & didn’t disappoint on the day!

Following the serving of lunch & Dan’s stand-up set, the DJ kicked-in for the remainder of the event whilst guests enjoyed a variety of games & activities ranging from Crazy Golf & Test Your Strength, to a Rodeo Bull & Surf Simulator amongst many others. Our green screen photo studio was popular with guests enjoying posing on the Brighton Pier…whilst remaining warm and dry inside!

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On the day itself our team of 7 Event Managers were on-site from 7.30am to transform the room, set up the various games & activities along with managing the delivery of tables, caterers, comedians and DJs. As a lasting memento for the client, our staff were also able to film the event to produce a 3 minute video recap of the day – ensuring that the event will live on in the client’s memory!

Most importantly the client’s feedback was that “The event & venue were fantastic – we have had very good feedback from everyone, who all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event”.

Now enough words! See the video of the day here

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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Animation Explosion!

January 2014

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Here at KDM we pride ourselves on looking at something, even if it’s working, and asking whether it could be done better. Consequently, our Animation Innovation event was great, but now it’s new and improved!

Previously guests were provided with cameras and laptops to create their Wallace and Gromit style animations, meaning saving , transferring and uploading all the images between the 2 pieces of kit. Now, following heavy investment, teams are provided with touchscreen tablets and tripods. This clever use of one piece of equipment means production of the animations is slicker, less techie and far more accessible for all your delegates. The images, taken using the tablet’s camera, can be immediately edited using the film software..and your animations come to life!

Now teams can focus on their creative animations rather than the different pieces of technology involved, making the event even more enjoyable. And as they say, the proof is in the pudding – we provided three Animation Innovation events with the new amendments in the same week just before Christmas. (and 2 on the same day!)

CLICK HERE  to see the teams’ very entertaining results and contact us if you’d like to know more for your next team event.

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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Warmed up by Ice

November 2013

Finding an event to suit everyone – male and female, old and young, physically active to couch potatoes –  is not always an easy brief to fulfill but we managed just that when we provided an Ice Sculpting Workshop for Costa Coffee’s staff event in October.

Sixty five guests, in 18 teams, took part in the challenge, which saw them turn blocks of ice into works of art! There were a few raised eyebrows when the team first saw the huge pieces of ice but they soon got into the spirit of the event and the competition was fierce!

The client said that “the event was great fun and enjoyed by all!” No mean feat apparently and a great result.

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