Directors Blog: The Business of Events

I have been working in the events industry now for almost 15 years. I have delivered complex events in the North East of England (where I am based), UK wide, and Qatar in the Middle East.

From small workshops and dinners to enormous international petroleum congresses in Qatar and complex national Government events in the UK, I have delivered most types of B2B event in my career.

When people ask me what I love most about events, it often surprises them. It’s not actually the event itself – although that does gives me an enormous sense of achievement – it’s the business behind an event.

Strategy is key to any business, and the same goes for an event. An event without thought, planning or direction, will more than likely fail to deliver impact. Strategy is crucial. I absolutely love turning profits and surpluses for clients. A carefully planned and well thought through event, taking the aims and objectives from the client, creating something that delivers and exceeds expectations, is a must.

Anyone (sensible!) can take a budget, spend it on food, drinks and a room and get people there to listen to someone speaking. The key is finding how that event will deliver results for the client – whether that be buy in from staff, customer acquisition, income generation or something else entirely. How will the event be sustainable and become an annual fixture? How do you make sure your content is relevant? How do you make sure people want to attend? How do you make sure there is sponsor engagement? The answer is always – through being strategic and respecting your audience.

An engaged audience is surely what we are all aiming for. Otherwise what’s the point?

At BeaconHouse Events we have worked on many seed event ideas with our clients. Some literally start at zero. Nada. Nothing. No budget, no speakers, no location and no audience. Just an idea. I love the challenge of creating something from nothing. And making the event cover its costs and generate a surplus. It’s all in the strength of the idea, the contacts, the network and the knowledge of what the audience will want to hear – why will they come, what do they want to learn, do, see, hear and feel at an event?

All too often, the value of the audience’s time is underestimated; “it’s free to attend so people will come along, right?” Not right, not always. In fact, not charging people to attend an event often results in the audience not putting as high a value on the experience. With a price tag attached, your audience has to make a conscious decision to invest not only their time, but their money. People value their time perhaps even more than the money it costs them. If they won’t achieve what they personally want to from attending – learning, making new connections, sharing knowledge – they won’t come. Even if they have paid, even if you do put on a glass or two of wine. No-show rates for the events industry can be up to 40% for free of charge events, but still up to 25% for paid for ones. The more reason you give your audience to attend, the more likely they are to show up so the journey shouldn’t stop with them booking their ticket.

Money is of course critical to many businesses, events and clients. Events don’t necessarily need to make money, in fact for many of our clients it’s not about that. However, often, events do need to cover their own costs. Working out how an event can be monetised, and in turn deliver value to the sponsor, partner, attendee is really what makes me tick and in fact what keeps us in business! Here at BeaconHouse HQ, I proudly sport the ‘finance queen’ badge. I love number crunching, but without strategy, without understanding the business of your event you may as well give up before you’ve started.

Women Who Inspire Us


It is 100 years since women (over 30 and ‘of property’) were given the right to vote in the UK, and a little more since suffragette Emily Wilding Davison threw herself in front of the King’s horse to fight for this right, we celebrate the current trailblazers making a difference in our world.

Sherry Coutu CBE
Sherry has been instrumental in the exceptional growth of the digital economy in the North of England and Scotland.  A serial investor, entrepreneur and non-executive director, she also chairs Founders4Schools, a project which brings female founders into schools, an initiative we are very passionate about, and thrilled to be involved with.

Irene Dorner & Jayne Anne Gadhia
Virgin Money has become the only FTSE 350-listed company with women in top two positions, making waves for gender equality in leading roles, with Jayne passionate about harnessing the talents of women in finance. Two women at the helm…we might be bias, but we’d say it’s a winning combination.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
As a Paralympic athlete she won medals at five successive Paralympic Games but currently her work as a patron for numerous charities lands her on our list.

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne is a multi-award winning broadcaster. Alongside her work on BBC Radio Laverne is also co-founder of women’s online magazine The Pool, producing ‘interesting, inspiring and original content for busy women.’ Currently curating Great Northern Soundtrack gigs at Sage Gateshead for #getnorth2018, we can’t wait to see what she is working on next.

Rose McGowan
As one of the first women to speak out about Harvey Weinstein, she has helped to ignite a revolution in Hollywood, which is being felt across the globe with the #MeToo campaign.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is an Oscar winning actress and Harvard graduate who tirelessly campaigns for women’s and girl’s rights to education, along with being an Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International. It’s not hard to see why she is an inspiration.

Giselle Stewart OBE
Giselle is blazing a trail in a traditionally male dominated industry, with her role at Ubisoft. Passionate about the links between education and industry, she is a trustee of North East Futures, the UTC college, dedicated to the creative, digital, IT, and health sciences sectors, opening this September in the Stephenson Quarter.

Serena Williams
At just 35 years old, Serena Williams has achieved phenomenal success winning 39 grand slam titles during her career. A remarkable athlete who has spoke out about the gender pay gap. In Porter Magazine she wrote ‘I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you’.

Celebrate women in style, at the Ladies Who Mean Business Lunch on the 28th March at the Assembly Rooms as Newcastle International Film Festival host a lunch celebrating the incredible women who have helped shape history and inspire millions over the past century. The luncheon will host a panel discussion with influential women from all industries discussing a series of topics. The event will feature a Wonder Woman Wall, highlighting 100 inspiring women, 100 years on, for information on sponsoring a woman on the wall or tickets for the event please contact There are limited women left to sponsor and we’ve just nabbed Natalie Portman and Serena Williams!