Wet noses welcome

People are preparing to return to the office, albeit with a more flexible attitude. But what of all those pandemic pups? With all the time spent WFH many chose to finally get that furry companion to enjoy quality time with, walking during lunch and curled up at their feet during those Zoom meetings. How will our four-legged friends manage now their human ‘work mates’ are returning to the office?

It’s a ‘new normal’ in lots of different ways, considering dog care is something that many businesses wouldn’t have previously been set up to manage. Do we now expect ergonomic desk chairs alongside plush dog beds? Should the coffee machine sit next to the treat tins? What if you mix your hobnobs with the woofles? And surely it’s a rare breed indeed but there are those who perhaps don’t get wobbly at the knees at the sight of a wet nose and waggy tail.

Here at BeaconHouse HQ, we’re dog lovers – it’s not a prerequisite to get a job here…but it helps! 50% of our team own dogs and that plays a big part in our office planning and staff wellbeing. There’s a certain vibe that comes over the team on a ‘dog day’, a kind of gentle excitement and overall sense of companionship that the occasional tail whip brings. A tough day can easily be improved by the sound of a soft snore from the fur ball in the corner and of course the cameos on a virtual event are excellent ice breakers.

We’re currently preparing a more structured return to an office, and our four-legged friends will be welcomed. This is just one of the things that we’ll be considering in our new workspace to adapt to the many changes we’ve faced over the past two years. Our team is our top priority, making sure the workplace fits the needs of the whole team (paws or not) is key. It’s a bit of an ethos of ours and one we always plan to stick to.

Side note; our office pooches have requested to feature more regularly on our social platforms. They reckon they do much for our wellbeing and don’t get enough air time. So if you feel like following the antics of Luna, Raven and Harry you know where to find them. 

Go Smarter, Go Active Roadshow

Lots of events rely on enthusiastic volunteers to make the event run smoothly and be the positive presence on the front line, read on to find out more, and why you should volunteer.

What is it?

As part of a major Active Travel campaign, Transport North East are delivering a series of seven week-long roadshow events and interactive workshops this summer, to be held across the seven local authority areas of Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Northumberland, County Durham and Gateshead. The ease of lockdown restrictions provides us with a unique opportunity to deliver a major push to change travel habits for the better. These exciting events across the region will encourage the public to walk and cycle more – for leisure and to commute. The roadshows will help families who would benefit from support in teaching their children to ride a bike, it will also help adults who wish to boost their cycling confidence/ability or are unable to ride a bike and wish to learn.

The campaign will show people that it is enjoyable to travel around the region on foot or by bike, which could encourage a shift away from car travel, reducing carbon. The aim of the roadshow is to encourage individuals and families to learn how to cycle and provide new skills to encourage more people to travel sustainably for leisure or work. The roadshows will be held as follows:

Willowburn Leisure Centre Alnwick, NE66 2JH            19-21 July

Ponteland Leisure Centre NE20 9EG                               22-25 July

Exhibition Park Newcastle                                                  26 July-1 August

Chester le Street Riverside Park                                        2-4 August

Hardwick Country Park Sedgefield                                  5-8 August

Herrington Country Park Sunderland                             9-15 August

Richardson Dees Park Wallsend                                       16-22 August

Saltwell Park Gateshead                                                      23-29 August

South Marine Park South Shields                                     30 August-5 September

What do we need?

We are looking for 2 to 3 volunteers to help us check people’s booking details (sessions are free but can be booked online via Eventbrite and we will also take walk up bookings from park users), direct people to sessions and help with customer surveys using iPads. We’d like volunteers on site for 09.30 to receive a briefing from the event team. This will explain what to do, and what to do in the event of anything going wrong. We have a first aider with us every day during the sessions, specialist cycle instructors, and security. We value your time, and appreciate that you may not always be able to be there for the full period, so if you can’t make a full session just let us know and we will try to work around that.

What do you get?

You will get an event t-shirt, branded facemask, water bottle and we will pay £20 per person per day which can be paid to you or whichever organisation, community group or charity you represent.

Volunteering is a great way to enhance your CV, learn new skills, boost your confidence, meet people and have fun!

What will be happening?

We’ll have a mix of learn to ride and bike maintenance sessions for all ages, with everything from balance bikes to tandems so people can have a go on different bikes and see what might work best for them. A sample weekly programme is shown below. Each day the sessions will take place between 10.00 & 15.00 each day, with around 30 people per session so there will never be huge numbers on site to give enough room for social distancing. All activity will be in the open air, the bike team will wipe down all equipment between users, and the event will be Covid safe.

How do you sign up?

For more details please complete this online form. 

You can also contact the event team at info@beaconhouse-events.co.uk for more information.

2021 The Year of the Hybrid

Hybrid events combine both in-person and virtual experiences ensuring that both audiences are catered for and meet their objectives in attending. One event, two unique but comparable experiences. Sounds like it would take more resource I hear you cry! So why exactly should you be embracing the ‘Year of the Hybrid’?

Increased attendance

Ever had potential customers, employees or your audience feign travel or availability as their barrier to attending. Well, no more, you can bring the content to them, wherever they choose, and if timings don’t work, or the thrice rescheduled trip to a remote hut in Mongolia comes with zero Wi-Fi, you’ll be ready with ‘EventFlix’ replay so attendees can log in at their leisure (just one more episode, promise!). A potentially new online audience you have not reached before.

With reduced numbers IRL (in real life), you’ll be able to provide enhanced customer service, a more exclusive experience amongst other perks; your attendees that have taken a plane, train or automobile will feel rewarded. Similarly incentivising those online communities with exclusive content ensures these audiences feel valued and included. A healthy dose of FOMO from each of your audiences will help attendees decide which style of attendance serves them better with individual benefits.

Engagement

Previously, it would seem highly unlikely that you would dream of heckling commentary directly to the esteemed keynote on stage in front of hundreds if not thousands of peers, but when participating online, tagging the speaker in a comment and them deeming you worthy of a reply in real-time is commonplace. As you create synergy with live reaction content beamed to your in-person guests, you’ll probably encourage them to be a little bolder with their engagement right from their seat.

Brenda from accounts also learned how to use emoji’s in lockdown, so she will be able to use ‘clapping’ and the celebratory ‘two raised hands’ in the comments with wild abandon when she logs on from home. She is normally such a shrinking violet!

Sponsorship

Larger audiences of course provide opportunity in terms of sponsorship revenues; more seeing eyes for all that digital branding. That, along with the wealth of recorded content post-event, the legacy of the event creates notably higher impact for organisers and sponsors alike. Real, extensive and measurable data available at the touch of a button as the event draws to a close, real-time testimonials from delegates, more cost-effective and quantifiable generation leads for sponsors…Brenda would post the ‘Ka-ching!’ emoji here.

Lower Carbon Footprint

Yes, we have ‘saved’ a lot of airmiles in 2020, and beyond, but we can do MORE. If you choose to beam in via a live link, and you’d have missed the social engagements due to awkward flight times anyway, there are huge benefits to saving up those miles for another trip all whilst still retaining the same learning and networking benefits – without the jetlag. Also, your trusty little pooch won’t be faced with abandonment issues when you leave, although if you have a cat, let’s be clear they need you out of their space and would prefer it if you gave them a break for a couple of days. OK.

Whilst COVID-19 is being committed to the history books (along with the Zoom gaffes), our collective change in behaviours will not. So, make sure your events adapt, become greener hybrid versions that respect the work-life balance of your audience and cater to them both at home and away. Let’s face it, in-person will never go out of style, but hybrid will ensure your event survives the next apocalypse.

BeaconHouse Gift Guide: The Local Edition

For the Eco-Conscious…

Buy The Kilo

These days we’re all looking for ways to UP our sustainability game, so start your sustainable shopping habits, and fill up on your Christmas groceries at Buy The Kilo in Tynemouth. With local art, and reusable cups on sale you might even tick another gift off the list.

For the Stylish Homemaker…

The Biscuit Factory

Find a gift that supports independent artists and makers this season – we particularly like their Maker’s Parcels, carefully curated design pieces, books and other trinkets all wrapped up beautifully

For those who like to drink their presents…

Brinkburn St Brewery

For the person who’s hard to buy for, there is always beer.

For the one and all…

If you are planning to go visit Ratty, Badger and Toad, all holed up within the windows of Fenwick, not sure if ‘For the difficult one’ is a hangover from the previous gift idea? Why not head to another North East stalwart? Some ungrateful gift recipients have strange taste, are notoriously picky and will be quick to openly mock a ‘wrong’ gift but here’s how to win their approval: a Gregg’s Gift Voucher. Always a crowd-pleaser (and is unanimously well-received as a Secret Santa gift). I don’t wish to disclose the tally of Festive Bakes consumed by the BeaconHouse office in only the first week of December, but perhaps we might need to gift each other a fresh fruit and veg delivery box.

 

Shopping Online?

If you are not ready to brace the cold, queues, or bright lights of the high street, our friends at NewcastleGateshead Initiative have launched the Virtual Christmas Market to bring together all our quality regional gift options.

Our favourite picks are;

Sage Gateshead Vouchers – the gift for music lovers.
Sponsor a Bee at Ouseburn Farm – a bee-utiful gift for nature fans

 

Luxury Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House, need I say more.
Put their name centre stage with a named seat at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House for eternity.

Local Heroes Food Market, a box FULL of goodies.
One for the January diet perhaps – MEAT:STACK Gift Cards 
However your Christmas is shaping up this year, we wish you glad tidings, festive feelings and encourage you to shop local where you can. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What does OOO mean in 2020?

Out of offices have always been an opportunity to share a little personality alongside the essential dates and a forwarding address. As a company we were rather fond of geo-tagging our sentiments…

I’m out of office in Tokyo, sampling sushi and sipping sake. I’ll be back once the cherry blossom stops blooming.

We offer up our A-team’s contact details, and Mr. T will dutifully tap those gold encrusted digits and reply with speed. Furloughed staff brought the option to create something a little more artful for the longer duration, props to Astley…

Thank you for your email.
Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you, Never gonna make you cry, Never gonna say goodbye, Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.
I’m also never gonna reply to your message until hopefully sometime soon as I’m on furlough leave. However you can forward your email …

So, in the era of constant and instant communication where does the OOO now stand? And as holidays have not all gone as planned this year, are we ‘out-of-kitchen island come office’ instead? We propose it’s time to transition to OME (off my emails).

Colleagues,
I am on a short trip to Barnard Castle to frolic in the bluebells. I will not be checking my email during this time.
Looking forward to catching up on my return.

Reader, I will realistically still be checking my emails, just as soon as I can get an eye test.

 

*Too graphic to post here.

In praise of the Great British queue

In 2020, during the pandemic, we have taken our reputation for cool, calm, and collected queuing proficiency to the supermarket instead. Leading us to consider, what will it mean for events when we finally return to IRL? How do you enhance the Great British queue? Surely, it’s not possible?

Oh, but it is – with the right tools and technology…

  • Floor markings.

We have always been fans of floor markings for consistent branding, but now ours will not just have canny phrases, they will be used liberally to direct attendees and manage flow. Floor markings are the NEW pop-up banner. There, I’ve said it.

  • Registration overhaul.

We love a natter at registration, we are proud of our big ‘geordie welcome’. You’ll still get the same ‘warm’ welcome, just streamlined, with a reduction in the time spent at the desk – winner, winner.

  • Tech.

“There is an app for that.” There truly is. In some instances virtual queuing will be implemented, you will be notified when it is your turn to register whilst waiting in a socially distant area (probably in a socially distant, and very orderly queue).

  • What about lunch?

Registration isn’t the only time at events where Brits get to shine with queuing finesse. Certainly during ‘check in’ but what about breakout rooms? Lunch breaks? Comfort breaks? We’ve got you covered, our event risk assessments will plan to maintain a safe environment throughout the duration of the event, including schedule amendments to ensure regular breaks to reduce any congestion.

  • Outdoor.

Yes, outdoors is not always ideal, (*cue flashback to 500 delegates, sponsors and staff travelling to a 2-day conference during ‘The Beast From The East’*) but where possible we’ll be seeking out venues that boast suitable indoor and outdoor space as an option.

  • Control.

Control freaks, us? I don’t know where you’d get that impression…
Multiple entry points for different groups, timed entry, staggered lunches, splitting the day. There are so many options depending on the size of the event to make sure everyone is catered for and safe. It will be the exact opposite from boarding a flight with a budget airline with blue and yellow livery.

Queues 2.0 is a new discipline, another version of our ‘new normal, but let’s face it, we’ve been training for it our whole lives.

BeaconHouse Events earns Planet Mark certification

BeaconHouse Events has been taking positive action to reduce emissions since our inception in 2014, however working with The Planet Mark for their events we’ve been continuously improving across our portfolio of events with meaningful actions. Our increased focus on reducing our carbon footprint and adopting sustainable working practices has been hugely beneficial to our clients and delegates, and with the rise in virtual, online only events, we’re confident we’ll be reducing our emissions significantly this coming year.

The Planet Mark is also partnered with the Eden Project, the educational charity and award-winning international visitor destination, and centre for education in sustainability and innovation. Every business awarded the certification contributes 5 per cent of the fee to the Eden Project.

Last, but not least, with every new business certification, the Planet Mark protects an acre of rainforest through Cool Earth, the award-winning charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.

Find out more about Planet Mark here. 

New Gateshead Quays details announced

New CGI videos and imagery released today show that the UK’s newest international conference and exhibition centre will be capable of hosting up to 5,000 delegates with a high level of flexibility across a suite of dedicated spaces.

The centre will include a 6,300 sqm pillar free exhibition hall, which has the capability to be divided into three smaller halls. Alongside this, there will be a 1,620 sqm conference hall, 990 sqm of stunning meeting and events spaces with views of the spectacular NewcastleGateshead quayside and its iconic bridges, and a dedicated 1,350 sqm outdoor events space.

Hailed as one of the country’s most exciting developments, the £260m project on Gateshead Quays will also include a 12,500-capacity arena, two hotels with 290 bedrooms, bars, restaurants, and other public spaces.

Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said: “The Quays development confirms the region’s reputation for world-class events. Gateshead Quays will capitilise on a conferencing demand that the region has been unable to meet and showcase the North East’s strengths to a global audience. The new images show just how unique and special the waterfront site is. An events setting like no other in the UK.”

Kerrin MacPhie, Head of Business Events at VisitBritain, said: “The Gateshead Quays development will create a huge opportunity for NewcastleGateshead, increasing its global reach to attract large-scale events from all over the world. This development is great for the business events industry in the UK and shows confidence within the market.

“The new centre will provide event planners with an exciting option in an already well-established destination within the business events industry and will have a positive impact on bringing more international associations and incentive groups to the area.”

A full planning application has been submitted for the 80,000 sq ft development, positioned between the BALTIC and Sage Gateshead, with a decision expected in Autumn.

If agreed at planning, Gateshead Quays will create approximately 2,000 jobs and inject a much needed £60m into the regional economy each year, as well as attracting an extra 300,000 visitors to North East England. As well as the direct impact, the development will support local businesses throughout the region – from hospitality operators to those in the events industry.

Those within the industry have welcomed the news, Catherine Coulter, Director of Newcastle-based event agency BeaconHouse Events, said: “We deliver over 100 events annually, with 85 per cent of those in Newcastle and the surrounding area, and we relish the chance to show off our region to international visitors bringing their events to North East England.

“New venue space is an exciting new asset that helps us attract business to the region, opening opportunities for us and our clients to create events that didn’t previously have a place here. Enticing new work to the quayside always brings the question – will our attendees be able to see the bridges? – having this impressive set up directly overlooking the Tyne and the iconic views is a fantastic attraction.

“In light of recent restrictions to mass gatherings; large, flexible event space that can handle alternate delivery considerations for ever-changing guidance on social distancing is essential. As much as we enjoy a challenge and responding to the new needs of our clients – developments like this on the horizon give us, our sector and the region something to look forward to for a brighter future for the events and hospitality industry in NewcastleGateshead.”

Paul Szomoru, Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, added: “It’s fantastic to see these new details on what the International Conference and Exhibition Centre on Gateshead Quays will offer. To have 6,300 sqm of pillar free, flat floor space, along with other substantial spaces, with stunning views of the quayside is going to help us create iconic events. I am particularly excited by the outdoor events space, which I think in the current climate of social distancing will allow organisers to be very creative and original in their approach to networking, social events and even presentations.

“With it being set to open at the end of 2023, this is a bold confidence boost for Gateshead, Newcastle and North East England as we work towards economic recovery in a post-covid world. There’s no doubt that this is an impressive, world class investment, which will enable us to attract bigger national and international events in sectors that are strategically important for the region. Bringing such large-scale events allows us to showcase all North East England has to offer and gives us an opportunity to turn delegates into future leisure visitors, residents and investors.”

International venue and event management company ASM Global has already been confirmed as the operator.

Award-winning global architect, HOK, is designing the overall masterplan for the site, international conference and exhibition centre and the 12,500 capacity arena while AHR Architects are designing the state-of-the-art hotel which forms part of the masterplan. The project team also includes: Project Manager and Contract Administrator, Legends International; Lichfields, Planning Consultants; Gardiner and Theobald, QS; ARUP, structural engineers/ M&E and Vectos for transport planning.

For more information, full details on all the spaces and up to date news on Newcastle Gateshead Quays, visit www.meetNewcastleGateshead.com/gatesheadquays

Work from home like an Event Planner

Get your tech right

We’re always on the go, so it didn’t require any planning for us to unplug laptops, ipads and retreat to the home office (ahem, dining room). We operate from the infamous ‘cloud’ and use Basecamp so we’re always connected, we can heartily recommend Basecamp. ‘Zooming’ is now commonplace, although I’ve already written a strongly worded letter to Dell regarding the location of the camera on my model, it’s somehow angled to get all of my chin(s), and with the current proximity to my fridge I feel personally victimised.

Lists

Always a favourite for the clipboard wielding event planners. Ours are obviously digital now in Basecamp, but the odd post-it with the three most important things to achieve in a day doesn’t go amiss.

1) Don’t turn on Netflix
2) Don’t turn on Netflix or sit on the sofa
3) Don’t turn on Netflix or sit on the sofa and get the blankets

Capsule your workload

Hugely popular across the BHE office, we ‘batch’ our workload due to the number of projects we work on. So programme in the diary work on specific projects/tasks, and plan out your day. You’re more accountable when there is an Outlook reminder telling you you’ve really got to find out where to source that huge pineapple. With fewer interruptions and a focus, it’s easier to complete tasks one at a time.

Boundaries

We’re used to working onsite so can set up a workspace anywhere, from a tiny bird hide in Kielder Forest, to the House of Lords, we’ve remotely worked all across the country. Once you’ve set boundaries in terms of workspace, you must also stick to time boundaries. Yes, you are saving on the daily commute, but you can’t extend the day as this isn’t always good for our mental health. You’ll be more productive in your working hours, rather than experiencing burn out. For lunch (and always take a lunch), get out of your workspace, take a turn around the garden, get some fresh air or finally sort out that sock drawer you’ve been putting off (yes that is my plan for Thursday and what of it?).

Don’t Isolate

Digitally that is. We’re used to being around people, they are at the centre of the business, so we have made it a priority. We have regular team Zoom calls scheduled in, get regular pup-dates from team members on Whatsapp, and ping each other regularly to make sure nobody is feeling the negative effects of working at home. So Carol, what did you have for lunch today??

Just remember having Netflix on the background, NEVER works.

COVID-19 Public statement

With the ongoing risk of COVID-19 worldwide, we are committed to hosting a safe and secure environment at each of our events for all delegates and guests.

Our team is now working from home, but continuing to support our clients to find solutions so we can postpone or go virtual and avoid cancelling events.

We are paying close attention to advice from the UK health authorities to play our part in helping look after the people in our team and around us.

16th March 2020, BeaconHouse Events

BIM For Good, Bad and Ugly?

We’ve been working with Space Group to deliver a three-day event, kicking off with an education day for 200 local students, a celebratory awards evening sandwiched between two days of conference for 400 international delegates. Safe to say events provide so many positive outputs, collaboration, knowledge sharing and inspiration, but large-scale conferences have, and continue to cause a negative impact on the environment.

BIM Show Live, has been no different, but we’re committed to turning the ugly truth, and bad practice into good for all. It started with the theme set out back in 2019, the conference wanted to focus on ‘BIM for Good’, and the goodness should show through every inch of the event.

First stop our suppliers, we’ve worked with a handful of trusty suppliers who all make the magic that is BIM Show Live. Our sustainably sourced lanyards provided by a UK company have agreed to carbon offset their transport from China following our ‘ask to suppliers’ to offer a sustainable solution for the demands of our order. We’re using a sustainable badge solution we sourced for the 2019 conference, (here at BHE HQ sustainability has been a concern for quite some time). Meetings with PR and social teams are conducted remotely over Zoom. The award trophies have transformed from high shine metal to sustainable wood – they’ll still have that heavy aspirational look and feel! Perhaps the most controversial element to mess with is catering. We’ve chosen to cater the full event as vegetarian or vegan food and use locally sourced ingredients only. A bold move perhaps, but we’re confident in our caterer’s quality, and we’re sure the audience won’t miss the meat with the tasty treats on offer. Consideration has been made at every step, even the vegan sausage rolls (spoiler alert), are in recyclable packaging.

In the biggest shake up, we’re printing less, delegates will not be handed a printed programme. Delegates will peruse the schedule of the day on the event app, can message other delegates and set up alerts for sessions they don’t want to miss (i.e. all of them). Speakers have been sourced being mindful of travel requirements, and we’re lucky to have such talent coming from the region speaking; our day one keynote Nic Palmarini is located walking distance from the venue.  The delegate communications will encourage our delegates to bring their re-usable cups and bottles for their caffeine and hydration hits.

So why are we asking delegates how they are travelling to the event? We want to benchmark the carbon footprint of BIM Show Live 2020 as the first year in a new sustainability drive, so we’re not ignorant to the fact that our delegates travel from across the globe and we have to include this in our plans. BIM Show Live 2.0, aka BIM Show Live 2021 will be leaner, greener, and more as we work towards a better future. We’re ditching the bad and the ugly and we’re going good, one step at a time, as much as we can. Join us.

 

What I learned from a week placement at BeaconHouse Events

Work experience has the potential to be dull. Usually, the excitement of the real world of work is quickly diminished by the seemingly endless photocopying and tea-making experience most end up with. But luckily for me, my work experience week at BeaconHouse was far from that.

From the second I stepped into the office that Monday morning I felt welcomed. Instead of the tightly strung, high-pressure atmosphere I expected, I was greeting by a team of friendly yet hardworking individuals. The approachable staff meant I wasn’t hesitant to ask for help or guidance in my set tasks, allowing me to take much more enjoyment in what I was doing. Once I was settled, I was given the chance to listen in on a conference call about an upcoming event. It gave me a unique insight into the process of organising an event and the steps taken to create the perfect finished product. Now I’m even more appreciative when I’m scoffing down nibbles at a function!

The rest of the day included learning about how employees manage their workloads on a day-to-day basis and the software applications they use. Additionally, I was given the task of researching venue options for a future event. Being able to collaborate and assist on real life projects gave me a realistic, hands-on experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The next day I was given the chance to spectate a meeting on establishing company ideals, characteristics and values. This helped me to learn the importance of attitude and mindset in both a work and school environment and the skills needed to thrive and flourish in those environments. Needless to say, it fascinated me much more than the Pythagorean theorem in school.

One evening, I was even asked to attend a company event where I assisted with checking employees in using the ticketing software, among other jobs. This was very new to me, but that meant it was a new possibility for learning and growth. The event was interesting to spectate; I certainly learnt a lot onsite!

During my time at BeaconHouse I have partaken in and contributed to many different projects, helping me explore both the industry and the ways in which I tackle tasks. I’ll admit, I was nervous coming in and unsure of what to expect but I have been warmly welcomed and encouraged to work to the best of my ability; the week was everything I hoped it would be.

Overall, my time at BeaconHouse Events has shown me the resilience, responsibility and trust needed in order to thrive in a working environment. It was a very enjoyable yet realistic insight into the industry and I have definitely gained in confidence. Thank you to the whole Beacon House Team for a great week!