Cotton Court Business Centre

Events

5 Things to Consider When Planning a Conference

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Planning and organising a conference requires a great amount of forethought and consideration. It can become very easy to become focused on the minute details, whilst missing important overall factors essential to the smooth running of your event.

Whilst I started my marketing journey in the world of music events, I’ve had to cut my teeth in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions world (or MICE as it’s known in the industry!) most notably when conducting my undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

It’s a high pressure industry, and one which is thriving in the UK. In fact, Venuefinder reports that a recent meeting industry association report notes a 14.4% increase in domestic bookings since the result of the Brexit referendum was announced.

Danny Bee, Managing Director of UK Media & Events, based at Cotton Court adds:

“The meetings and conference industry is booming at the moment. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of enquiries we’ve received over the last 12 months. They can be difficult to plan and manage, but incredibly rewarding. The key is to not overthink your plan, stick to what you know works and think of creative ways to engage with your delegates ”.

To help you plan your next conference and pick the most suitable venue, we’ve put together a few key considerations that you’ll want to factor in.

Location

If your delegates are coming from across the country, you’ll want to pick an easy to reach and known location. Ensuring good motorway, train and bus links are in reach of your venue are a must; and you might want to avoid major cities where there is likely to be congestion.

If your guests are mostly local based and you’re holding your event closer to home, you’ll still want to consider road and public transport links when deciding on your venue. An easily identifiable location is important to ensure your guests can find it, or at the very least make sure it’s findable on a sat nav!

If you can find a venue with free on-site parking then you’re onto a winner, or at the very least a low cost car park that has sufficient capacity and is in short range of the venue.

Cost

Let’s not beat around the bush. Cost is a consideration for most businesses and organisations. You’ll want to ensure that the venue you choose is value for money and most importantly within budget.

Most conference space providers will operate on a pricing scale, adjusting the cost based on factors such as number of delegates, room size, date, length of hire and any specific requirements you may have.

Technology

One of the most overlooked factors when planning business events are technology requirements. Check to see what facilities are available at your venue, and whether you will need to hire in any additional equipment.

There are a lot of venues out there that have diversified to add additional revenue streams to their business. From church halls to schools and community centres. Whilst these often provide a cost effective solution, they may not have the technology in-house that you require and the cost of your event can soon mount when you start hiring equipment.

Factor in whether you need a full tech suite with equipment such as conference call facilities, touch screen tv’s, projectors, audio equipment etc. Don’t forget the free wifi!

 

A conference utilising the first floor tech suite at Cotton Court

Size & Capacity

It goes without saying that you’ll need to find a venue that can hold all of your delegates, but people often get this wrong. It might be that you underestimate the number of attendees or your event is more of a success than you could have imagined. Play it on the safe side and find a venue that can not only scale up their capacity offering, accommodating for more guests, but can also provide smaller space if the event doesn’t attract as much attendance as hoped.

Food & Refreshments

Most venues geared towards conferences and business events will offer food and refreshments as an additional service on top of your hire fee. They’ll either be able to make it onsite or will use a third party caterer. Make sure you identify any specific dietary requirements of your delegates, and communicate them at the earliest stage to your venue.

It’s also worthwhile thinking about local alternatives. Some people will want to get away from the business environment for their dinner break, whilst others may want to eat something different than is on offer. Ideally if possible, pick a venue that has nearby shops, restaurants and food vendors to give your delegates the most choice and convenience possible.

A final word…

Whilst the specific requirements of your event and industry will dictate how you plan your conference and the factors you need to consider, the five factors we’ve discussed here are a good place to start. Don’t get stressed about your event, follow a clear process and don’t be afraid to lean on your venue for support or advice.

We pride ourselves on the level of customer service we provide here at Cotton Court, and regularly help our customers and prospective customers in the planning phase of their event. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need some friendly advice or you have burning issues around planning your event!

Call us on 01772 507 767 or email conferences@cottoncourt.co.uk

Jack Barron

Marketing Director

Cotton Court Business Centre

Cotton Court Team Support Progression Day in Rochdale

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Last week a delegation from Cotton Court Business Centre attended Rochdale Sixth Form College to support a progression and employability day for Year 12 students.

Managing Director Robert Binns and Marketing Director Jack Barron travelled to the Rochdale town centre campus, to help deliver a series of events alongside employers from across the Northwest.

Jack conducted mock interviews with 20 students, grading them on criteria ranging from appearance & turnout, to confidence and preparation.

He said of his experience…

“It was a really enjoyable experience and I was happy to support it. The mock interviews were great and I got to meet a diverse group of young adults, each one of them impressing me in some way. I recall one particular student who I had an extremely lengthy conversation with and was amazed by the level of knowledge and maturity they showed. I would have hired them in an instant if in a real interview. All of them were credits to their college and I wish them luck on their path to employment”.

Meanwhile Managing Director Robert formed part of an expert panel, giving students the opportunity to hear his journey though the world of work and business, with the opportunity for a questions and answers session at the end.

Robert said of the day…

“We’re really passionate about supporting events such as this one, wherever they may be. The people that we’ve spoken to today are the future of business and enterprise, and I like to think that we’re helping them on their journey into the world of work by sharing our experiences and giving them the opportunity to ask any burning questions. It was an enjoyable experience for me and by all accounts for them also”.

The event was largely organised by employability and career placement coordinator for Rochdale Sixth Form College, Sarah Pollard. She comments:

“The students were  a real credit to the college and tackled the interviews fantastically well.  The two days are so beneficial for the students as for some it will have been the first interview they’ve ever had. The mock interview process helps the students have more confidence in themselves and their abilities. We can’t thank the businesses enough for their ongoing support, many of whom have been giving up their time on an annual basis to help make the day such a success”.

 

Cotton Court has a history of supporting young adults and those looking to progress their journey through the world of work and enterprise. In recent weeks we’ve supported several events such as the progression day at Rochdale Sixth Form, including a series of workshops for the National Careers Service and the creation of a new company, Cotton Court Futures. With more information being revealed on that project in the near future. If you have any questions or want to enquire how Cotton Court Business Centre could support you and young adults then please email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Cotton Court Apprentice Turns Dragon

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Last week Cotton Court Business Centre apprentice Grace attended a Dragons’ Den style competition at Ashton Community Science College in Preston.

 

At the event, Year 7 & 8 pupils were set the task of designing their own healthy alternative to fizzy drinks, before then presenting their ideas back to the panel of dragons. The panel consisted of previous Ashton Community Science College students currently on apprenticeships in the local area.

 

Grace Bennett, Business Administration Apprentice at Cotton Court says:

 

“It was a pleasure to watch the students present back their ideas and see how confident they were. It was an enjoyable day and helped towards my own personal development. It was a good opportunity for me to showcase apprenticeships and talk about the positive experience I have had from learning whilst in the workplace”.

 

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court added:

 

“We’re really proud of what Grace has achieved in the time she has been with us and continue to support the apprenticeship scheme. She’s a credit to the company and we think it’s important for her to go out and fly the flag for those considering an apprenticeship in the future. By all accounts it was an excellent day and both her and the students took a lot from it”.

 

Cotton Court Business Centre has a solid history of supporting the apprenticeship programme, and in addition to providing apprentice placements within the centre, it proactively engages with providers, employers and students.

Strategic Transport Plan Consultation Event

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On Wednesday 24th January we’re looking forward to hosting Transport for the North as they start the public consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan.

This is your chance to find out more about the recommendations and what it means for you and your area and give your feedback which will help shape the Plan in its development.

These consultation events are open to everyone and are your chance to hear from Transport for the North representatives and ask any questions you might have.

First stop is in Preston, at Cotton Court!

They’d like to invite you to a special pre-briefing at 3pm, where you can hear from their Strategy Director and discuss their proposals.

 

The outline for the session is as follows:

4pm – 5pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

5pm – 6pm: Drop-in Q+A

6pm – 7pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

7pm: Event close

If you are able to attend, please register your interest here

 

 

UK Media and Events have got the X-Factor!!

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UK Media & Events produced Grace Davies (X Factor finalist) homecoming show at Cathedral Square, Blackburn last Wednesday (29th November). This is what they had to say about the event:

“We were contacted by ITV 48 hours prior to the event happening and in that time organised every production element, arranged all infrastructure and delivered a seamless and successful event.

In the 48 hours, we coordinated and implemented all arrangements for the staging, sound, lighting, LED screen, full crew, live cameras and operators, security barriers and fencing, medical and full ground

protection (covering all grassed areas).

Thousands of people attended (4-5k) and the support for Grace was outstanding.

We pride ourselves on our adaptability and flexibility, and this successful event is the proof in the pudding!”

Great achievement by our clients…..keep up the good work!

September News

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This is what some of our customers are up to during the past month…

Firstly, Tienda Digital have rebranded their website. Here is an overview of why they thought a change would be good…  “As experts in digital solutions we need a brand that would not only look digital but up to date with current trends and this is exactly what the new logo does. Our old one was more focused on the software side and was professional and corporate but we wanted something more creative.” Also, Well done to Tienda Digital for becoming a finalist in the Sub 36 awards!

Get Staffed

Secondly, Tom Craig and Tom Havlin from Get Staffed UK organised an event at Baluga to celebrate all there staffs hard work and to thank them for being on hand to help out at an array of events. A huge well done is in order for Tom Craig being nominated as employee of the year, and also Tom Havlin for entrepreneur of the year. Both are in the finals of the Sub 36 award! These awards allow small companies to be acknowledged by the public and boost their overall audience.

UK Media & Events

UK Media and Events helped organise the Lancashire Encounters Brief Encounter experience last weekend in Preston town center. This ‘brief encounter’ involved a giant walked through the streets, illuminated with other parts of the procession, starting at Winckley Square, Heading up Cannon Street, Fishergate and down Cheapside into the Flag Market. Danny from UK Media and Events LTD added: “ We’re extremely happy with the way Brief Encounter 2017 ran. So proud of all the exhibitors, suppliers and volunteers and really pleased so many attendees got to enjoy the wide variety of cultural entertainment all in one evening! Lancashire Encounter 2018 will be truly amazing as the full weekend festival returns next year!! We can’t wait!”

Vibe Tickets

We would like to say congrats to Luke Massie from Vibe Tickets for being nominated for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the year’ at the 2017 Nat-West awards. This year the Young Entrepreneurs category contains people who are aged 30 or under, their stories should be “rich in anecdotes of seized opportunity and dynamic response to the many pitfalls that lie in wait for those who are passionate for progress.” The winning entrepreneur will be a beacon of inspiration to business people irrespective of age and industry.

Downtown In Business

Finally, we are sad to see Roger Jonas leaving Downtown. Roger joined downtown in 2008 to support the development of our ambitious events programmed throughout the North. He is passionate about working for a business that makes a difference and is recognized for that. After 9 years working with Downtown he has met many people all of which will miss him dearly.

The BIBAs 2017

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Around 1,000 business people including our clients, UK Media and Events who were nominated for Lesuire Business of the Year, packed the Blackpool Tower Ballroom for the Be Inspired Business Awards.

Nigel Havers hosted the evening, which saw Fylde-based businessman and Preston Guild Hall owner Simon Rigby given a lifetime achievement award, and Preston-based Sunshine Events take two trophies.

BIBAs organisers The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce handed out a crop of awards after a rigorous judging process.


All the winners will now enter the BIBAs Academy, a package of workshops, masterclasses, and networking run by the awards and the University of Central Lancashire, aimed at further boosting the growth of some of the county’s leading lights.


The other winners on the night include Chelsey-Marie Baldwin, the Blackpool-based former gymnast who was forced to retire from the sport aged just 17, and has gone on to set up her own academy teaching young people in South Shore.


She was supported in getting her business underway by a grant from the BIBAs Foundation, a charity set up by the awards which provides grants in support of enterprising initiatives by young people in the county.


Ashley Hackett, CEO of the Blackpool FC Community Trust, was the other individual winner picking up the Business Person of the Year award.


Chorley-based Scorpion Automotive was named Exporter of the Year, Lancaster’s Hotfoot Design picked up the Creative Business of the Year prize and Chorley lightning firm Fourth Wall Solutions was the winner of the New Business of the Year category.


Winners


Most Inspiring Young Person of the Year: Chelsey Marie Baldwin
Creative Business of the Year: Hotfoot Design
Employer of the Year: Sunshine Events
Best Use of IT: Connect Childcare
Business Person of the Year: Ashley Hackett, Blackpool FC Community Trust
Exporter of the Year: Scorpion Automotive
Family Business of the Year: The Wayfarer
Professional Service Business of the Year: Thomas Consulting
Manufacturer of the Year: CoolKit
Excellence in CSR: Sunshine Events
Construction Business of the Year: Fox Brothers
Leisure Business of the Year: Winter Gardens Blackpool
Third Sector Business of the Year: CB Partners
Service Business of the Year: Fairbanks Environmental
New Business of the Year: Fourth Wall Solutions
Micro Business of the Year: 8th Sign
Small Business of the Year: Bespoke Healthcare
Medium Business of the Year: Hippo Motor Group
Business of the Year: CoolKit
Lancastrian of the Year: Simon Rigby

Clients UK Media and Events Host Summer Events

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Hundreds of children experienced a giant robot and dinosaurs in the centre of Preston.

St George’s Shopping Centre played host to Titan’s latest visit to the city.

The eight foot robot is able to sing, dance and can shoot water from his eyes, the dinosaurs are even better with two babies and a giant t-rex to entertain you! According to UKME’s director Danny Bee “Everyone was facinated by both the robot and the dinosaurs, it’s great to see so many kids entertained by something so small!”

  

UKME have another jam packed weekend ahead with Movies on Moor Park, three free showings of different films and also Euxton Cricket Club’s beer festival!

Hope the rain stays away for you guys!

Get Staffed UK Smash Lytham Festival!

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Cotton Court Clients Get Staffed UK have just finished a jam packed 5 days at supplying nearly 100 hospitality and bar staff daily to Lytham Festival. Over the week their staff worked tirelessly in the V.I.P, Champagne Terrace and public bars. Even though the weather wasn’t on their side the team successfully smashed targets every single night!

Lytham Festival 2017 has proven the biggest yet as music fans provided a major boost to the town’s economy. Around 60,000 people attended the five-day festival, with around a quarter of those coming for the full programme of headline shows.

The arena on Lytham Green was packed for concerts by Olly Murs, Hacienda Classical, 80s Vs 90s, Madness and the West End Proms. Before the festival, director Peter Taylor said that ‘by a mile’ they’d had the biggest weekend bookings ever seen – quadrupled from 2016 – with 25 per cent of the crowd having weekend passes, while 20 per cent of tickets sold before acts were announced. “People have trust in us now, and that’s proven by how much we can sell before we event announce the acts,” he said. In a statement on Sunday he hailed the 2017 event as ‘tremendous’, adding: “We are already well into the planning of Lytham Festival 2018 and look forward to revealing the full line-up.”

Tom Craig from Get Staffed UK said “I’m incredibly proud of our staff that worked so hard this week, it’s been such a good event of an already great first season for Get Staffed!”

Latest Downtown in Business Events

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Downtown in Business Lancashire have got some great events in the next few weeks! Have a look below and click the links to sign up!

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Beyond the Breach: A Cyber Security Business Forum

 Date Tuesday 18th July 2017
 Time 16:00 – 17:30
 Location   Cotton Court Preston

No matter the size of your business, if you have devices connected to the web, you are vulnerable and can be exploited, even held to Ransom!Following the second global attack, we will look at the probability of an attack on smaller businesses. What are the implications, and can you defend your digital asset in the event of a cyber invasion?

Virtually every Internet-facing entity will have exploitable vulnerabilities by either a deliberate or opportunistic attack, without specific measures in place.

Our specialist experts include Jeremy Coates, CEO of Magma Digital, Ian Hudson MD of Hudson Hill, and Mark Pegram of Sanitas Data Security. They will outline the numerous issues that can affect your business, and guide you through effective initiatives in safeguarding your digital assets.

Sign up here!

 

Schools OUT: End of term drinks

 Date Thursday 20th July 2017
 Time 17:30 – 20:00
 Location   Review Bar Guild Hall Preston

Downtown celebrates the summer with Schools OUT at the fabulous Review Bar located in Preston Guild Hall.Schools OUT is a great way to connect with new prospects and catch up with old. Enjoy a welcome drink and some munchies, compliments of the Review Bar.

Please feel free to invite your colleagues and client.

Sign up here!