Sustainability, why is it so hard?  

We’re doing our bit; we’re working as a team to develop solutions that make our events more sustainable. We’re working with suppliers to reduce the impact of our events. We explore how we can make transport to events carbon neutral, how the materials used in our badges can be sustainably sourced and responsibly recycled, we create sponsorship packages to offer digital branding to avoid single-use print and we work hard to repurpose event materials that could have another life following an event.

These are just a few examples of what we adopt as standard, but it’s tough. You just have to google ‘eco anything’ to be inundated with options on greener choices for anything you could ever need for an event, but hours and hours of research then have to go into finding out why it’s a greener choice, if it is in fact a more ecologically sound option and how the product can be recycled following its use. It’s no secret that words like eco, green, recycled, reduce, reuse are all buzzwords used to attract you and make you feel like you’re making the ‘right choice’ but where’s the resounding reassurance that it’s not just marketing and that there’s substance behind the wording?

‘Greenwashing’ is a term you might be familiar with; when information is provided about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound, but the information is an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that the products are environmentally friendly. It’s a minefield.

Sadly, if you’ve read this far hoping for some conclusion, I apologise – there isn’t one. This blog was fuelled by frustration and fatigue, why is it so hard to feel reassured that you’re actually making consciously sound decisions when it comes to purchasing and protecting the environment? We’re open to suggestions, we’re here to learn, we’re prepared to put in the time and effort to find the resolution and we pledge to make changes that don’t fall short – we just need the support from our network to help us on our quest.
It’s not all doom and gloom – there are many who are leading the way, there are free resources that exist to help you when you don’t want to contribute to landfill. Here’s a few that we use: is made up of more than 5,000 local town groups with over 9 million members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages.
Facebook marketplace – if you have a facebook account this is a great way to find, sell and repurpose items that have otherwise served their purpose.
OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.
Magic Hat rescue surplus food destined for landfill. Their mission is to show you that this food should never have been wasted, and with a little love it can instead be transformed into fresh, colourful and delicious meals and drinks through their kitchen and market in Newcastle upon Tyne, an online shop and catering for events.
Shout out to the events industry – what can we do across our networks to make real, sustainable choices that make us feel good?

Creative applications…

In my career I’ve had the joy of going through more than a few recruitment drives as an employer, some experiences have been better than others but I ALWAYS learn something.

As a small, growing and young company BeaconHouse Events want to employ people that fit our ethos, our personalities and our way of thinking. We want quality recruits that understand what we’re looking for.

We never write ambiguous job adverts, we always ask for exactly what we’re looking for. We try to inject some of our own company personality into our job adverts, in doing this we expect the responses to reflect the tone.

My advice for putting together a CV and covering letter would be as follows…


No more than two sides

Don’t waste space listing all your BTEC, NCQ, baccalaureate, GCSE, AS and A-level grades. It’s great that you have them, but that’s all we need to know, just mention them, condense as much as you can and move on. If you have further education qualifications, list your degree and grade but again don’t elaborate – we can ask detail in the interview.

Call a spade a spade. Look at the difference:

A spade.

A large or small metal tool with a wooden or plastic handle that I have used on occasion to turn over the dirt in my garden.

I know what you’re talking about. Keep it high level, I know what a spade is.


Keep it relevant

Only list the employment/responsibilities/experience that is relevant to the position you’re applying for – everything else is noise and can be talked about in the interview. Take heed of the intricacies of the job description/advert – if it’s written as light hearted and creative don’t write a super formal covering letter.


We know what we do

Don’t just reiterate everything you read on the website – I already know what events we organise. As an applicant to the position I would already expect that you would have looked at the website, so copying and pasting the words that I probably wrote for the website doesn’t tell me anything about you other than that you can use the copy and paste function.


Your interests – are they interesting?

I like reading about applicants’ interests. I tells me more about the person they are but try to make your interests stand out. A lot of people enjoy reading, going to the gym and traveling. I appreciate a CV that stands out, a keen interest in bungee jumping or extreme cake making would give me something to talk to you about. I’m not suggesting you rack up loads of debt trying new hobbies just think of your more alternate interests or creatively describe why you enjoy reading!


I care more about the covering letter than the CV

The covering letter shows me much more about your writing style (very important for gauging your copy writing skills as an employee). It also gives a snapshot into your personality and shows me whether or not you understand the job you’re applying for and if you’re applying for the right reasons.


List your references on your CV

I don’t know why but when people say ‘references available on request’ it makes me think they have something to hide. It also means I have to contact you to you to request the information and THEN call the person. I’m not lazy, you just haven’t made it easy for me to contact someone that’s going to tell me wonderful things about you and if it were me I’d make this VERY easy. Why do you think we put testimonials on our website?


Nice font – Nice layout

Don’t worry about a border or cramming the pages with information. Less really is more, after reading the tenth CV I scan read…I know it’s not fair but it’s true – I’m ruthless with a highlighter and if I get bored you get a red line.

Let it be noted; this advice lists my personal preferences as an employer. I have no formal training as a recruiter, but have recruited many excellent staff over the past ten years. Should you choose to follow the advice in this blog I hope it gives you food for thought, it does NOT guarantee recruitment at BeaconHouse Events.

It all starts with an idea…

That’s where all good events start – good ideas. After that obstacle, we help you apply the mathematics and logistics to make sure the idea works and that there is a ready market available.

So what do you do when you have an idea? Where do you start? Let’s use a conference as an example…

Is your idea unique?

Is there another conference out there that is successfully doing what you want to do? If so, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve stopped before you started. If anything it gives you a great research project – look at the website, the social media platforms, the programme, the marketing collateral – work out what makes that event successful. You may decide the market for your idea has already been exhausted – but hey, at least you found out before you spent time and money.

If you’re lucky and your idea is unique it’s time to move onto the next step…


Can the event afford to exist?

We nearly always follow up an original briefing discussion with a detailed budget. Your event budget will show you what you have to spend to manage the event successfully and what revenue you need to ensure you deliver the event ‘in budget’.

We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to be as detailed as possible when putting together the event budget. Use ‘worst case scenario’ figures in the expenditure and be under-generous in your revenues, allow for a 10% contingency of the total budget cost too. It’s very easy to think ‘I can get that for cheaper’ and lower the expected costs in your expenditure. It’s a much more difficult task to question how to achieve the revenue – be balanced, be realistic.

If you want to spend £100K to have an all singing all dancing conference that’s fine, but you need to balance the budget. Be realistic and answer the following questions:

  • Will delegates pay to attend? How much?
  • How many tickets will you sell? How will you sell them? Is there a service charge application on your sales platform?
  • How can you attract sponsorship? What will your sponsors want from their packages? Can you offer sponsor packages with good ROI for both parties?
  • What do I NEED to put this event on and what is a NICE TO HAVE? (You can always add ‘nice to have’ elements in later)
  • Have you spent enough on marketing? If no one knows about your event they won’t know to buy a ticket and you’re likely to have a quiet event with disappointed sponsors.

It’s not an exhaustive list but it will get you thinking along the right lines.


Can you deliver the event?

Having an idea is one thing. Having the time to realise the idea is another (of course this depends on your day job, your work/life balance and your life choices!). Create a production schedule; this will help you to plot out the busy times in the delivery of the event. Again, there’s no steadfast rule for this, different types of event have different types of preparatory periods.

Using a first time conference as an example, allow ample time to plan the event launch, create the brand and consistently adopt this throughout your marketing. The first few months should be focused on finding a venue, negotiating supplier costs, approaching speakers and attracting sponsorship. These factors will determine the viability of your event. If enough time and effort is put into this stage the other delivery factors should fall neatly into three further categories; production, customer service, and delivery. And always, always update your budget.

There is no precise recipe for ‘event delivery’ but to reiterate, planning is key. Seek advice, talk your idea through (get a confidentiality agreement signed if you’re worried), choose partners to work with that you feel understand your idea and that are as enthusiastic as you are about delivering it. Find your team; trying to deliver an event yourself can be time consuming and the amount of work involved often underestimated. Using the expertise of industry professionals such as designers, marketeers, AV teams, event dressing agencies etc can be the maker or breaker of your event. Getting support isn’t always as pricey as people might assume and the right support can result in your event making a much larger profit, making the impact you wanted to, and not result in news headlines for the wrong reasons.

This is just a taster; the hope is that the information here might inspire you to take any event idea to the next stage and prepare you for what those exciting next steps look like.

Myths about event managers

We’re not. But, we’re professionals so we appear to be! Truth have it it’s likely we’ll have been on our feet for 20 hours in uncomfortable shoes. The last time we slept properly was weeks ago. The last time we ate something ‘nutritious’ was the sultanas in a garibaldi biscuit we nabbed at the first tea break – before that a month ago…before the endless office take outs and the conference brown buffets began.

We love our jobs, we love the work involved, we love delivering and problem solving and everything that being onsite throws at us and hey if you can say all that then why wouldn’t you be smiling?


“Is your whole life just dresses and parties?”

Absolutely not. The ‘parties’ are a very small part of what we do and we manage them so that other people are having fun and ultimately that means we’re working. So yeah, we get to go to a lot of parties but that doesn’t mean we are partying. We’re always the last to leave the dance floor but usually it’s because we’re trying to prevent the conference director from pole dancing on the stage set.

We get to admire the finery our guests arrive in but often we wear black and comfortable to be ‘unseen’ event ready ninjas.

Even when we do get time off to go to parties you never really enjoy yourself, you’re constantly looking for things you’d have done differently and anticipating the next issue that might need your instant attention.

Lucky though that this attention to detail usually means you’re a popular guest – always ready to lend a hand and used to operating on very little sleep. We work hard and we play hard.


“So, do you basically just walk around with a clip board?”

Yes. Actually this one is true BUT contrary to popular belief the clip board is not there to make it look like we’re busy, we are in fact busy and very mobile, having a clip board just gives us a hard surface to write on. Experienced practicality.


“Can I borrow a formal dress? You must have loads.”

We don’t. We don’t have a clothes allowance and what we do have are ‘staples’ i.e. dresses that won’t be remembered that you can get away with wearing time and time again and that if needs be allow you to sprint lengthy distances at a moments notice.

Chances are there was previously a much bigger selection but after one got ripped lugging boxes to taxis, another fell fate to pen marks from the aforementioned clip board and one proved see-through at that crucial moment during the award presentation on stage…you now stick to black, plain and roomy.


“You look so calm, you’re never stressed.”

That’s because we’ve done our job well. But saying we’re never stressed is untrue, working hard to make sure everything is stress free onsite is what we do best and boy oh boy does it result in LOTS of hard work. We also get a lot of practice though and having that experience to make sure your event goes hitch free and we’re a calming presence onsite – we live for that.


“Event management – it’s a Mickey Mouse career.”

No. No it’s not. Still not entirely convinced as to what this means but usually it’s meant derogatively.

Mickey Mouse meaning it’s child’s play? Easy? True, it gets easier with experience but that’s just professional know how. In our company alone we’re multi-lingual masters students with advanced (acclaimed…thank you) degrees in project management and business, we work day to day with top achieving CEOs and company directors that in a ‘proper’ job we’ d have to pay to get in front of.

Mickey Mouse meaning the bright buttoned popular rodent who would become the mascot of The Walt Disney Company, experts in production, entrepreneurship and turning over billions year on year? Yeah, we’ll take that.

As an event manager it’s true, every day is different but it’s because we work with such a range of different people and that’s what makes our job so special. Being able to adapt to all these different situations and events keeps us fresh and constantly attentive. So forgive us, usually we’ll talk too much, have far too many stories and always be busy. But, when we’re there we’ll make sure you and everyone around us is having a damn good time…of course in a well organised manner.

And the winner is…

Last night (26 November 2015) the Newcastle Business Awards announced BeaconHouse Events as the New Business of the Year and quite frankly we were totally bowled over!

There was obviously a slight chance of us winning, we were shortlisted after all but the actual announcement saw us stumble our way to stage in a rather shell shocked state.

But why not? It’s been an incredible 18 months, we’ve been hugely overwhelmed by the support we’ve received regionally and nationally and we’ve exceeded all targets that we set for the company. We absolutely didn’t get here alone though and if we’d been invited to / been physically able to, we would have blubbed our thank yous out on stage. So, instead we’ll use this platform; our clients, all of them, the opportunities they give us and the referrals they make for us, our suppliers, our staff, our volunteers, our friends, our families (especially for all those initial facebook likes…), our landlords, our competitors and everyone in between.

Well done to all the nominees and winners from last night, the room was absolutely rammed and made us very proud to be a Newcastle business. Here’s to the next 6 months, bringing us to a round 2 years in business and hopefully many more opportunities to make fools of ourselves on stage at many more awards ceremonies.

New Business of the Year?

Already, 2015 has seen us expand our annual events calendar from two events to 45, develop our bronze partnership with NGI, work with regional universities and colleges to create work experience opportunities, double our staff numbers and cement new client partnerships across the technology, private and public sector nationally.

The New Business of the Year category shortlists companies which have brought a new energy and vigour to their sector, creating a dynamic organisation which looks set to thrive for many years to come. Modest as we are, we know we’re up against strong competition. Newcastle has a lot to celebrate in terms of innovation and key achievements of businesses in our city.

The Newcastle Business Awards focus on community and sustainability, and growing businesses in Newcastle in a positive, sustainable way that benefits the area and those living within it – in terms of skills development, opportunities, community projects and job prospects. We’re delighted to be in such good company and have our fingers crossed.