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10 Ways to Make Your Event More Sustainable

Events bring people together. They boost motivation, forge lasting connections and can even benefit the local economy but – there’s no getting away from it – in-person events inevitably have an environmental impact in terms of energy consumption, waste and emissions. As UK businesses become more eco-conscious, the majority are increasingly prioritising sustainability when planning events.  We know that responsibility and accountability should be at the heart of our organisational decision-making but when events have so many complicated moving parts (and inevitably tight deadlines), how can we make them more sustainable? A good way to start is by looking at the overall potential environmental impact of your event.  Factor in every different aspect from the venue and catering to the decoration, equipment hire, production and transportation, and consider how to make each element greener.  You could use an online carbon calculation tool to work out how much CO2 your event is likely to produce and work on ways to reduce this. Make sure the responsibility is shared across the whole team from any in-house event planners to department heads and external agencies so that it’s not down to one person to wave the flag for sustainability. Stay inspired by keeping up-to-date with developments in the industry and seeking out fresh case studies. You might not be organising a global music festival but it’s still heartening to know that all of Glastonbury’s power needs were met by renewable energy and renewable fuels in 2023. Generators were run on fuel made from waste cooking oil and the organisers provided reusable 100% stainless steel water bottles for visitors, along with multiple water refill points.  At the Coachella festival in the US they have an “Energy Playground” complete with “Energy SeeSaws” that allow attendees to power energy sources like phone charging stations, while they

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Top 5 Tips for Unforgettable Corporate Summer Parties

A corporate summer party is the perfect way to entertain clients and reward staff. As we usher in long, light evenings, people feel relaxed and ready to celebrate outdoors with a glass of something sparkling.  Whether it’s a drinks party, summer ball, BBQ, posh picnic, cocktail evening or mini festival, make sure you dial up the feel-good factor and add a few memorable flourishes to your event. Your guests will always remember the first five, and last five, minutes of any event so welcome them in and see them out in spectacular style to leave a lasting impression. In between, think of the mood you want to create – style, theme, lighting and sound all add up to an overall impression that makes your guests feel a certain way – ideally excited, delighted and part of something special.   At Octopus Events we plan and deliver corporate summer parties in Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds, London and beyond.  The beautiful southern English countryside where we are based is home to an abundance of stunning venues with gorgeous grounds, so we’ve got plenty of ideas and suggestions up our sleeves.    If you’ve left your planning a little late this year, we can work with a short lead time. Sarah once pulled off a mini Olympics and summer BBQ for around 200 people in a matter of weeks! When it comes to guest (and venue) availability at short notice, holding your party on a Monday or Tuesday evening can work well. This often avoids clashes with people’s prior social engagements or with highlights of the summer sporting calendar, like Henley, Wimbledon, Goodwood or Cowes.  Here are our tried and tested top 5 tips for creating an unforgettable corporate summer party. 1. Planning and Brainstorming Resist the urge to dive in feet first and take the

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How to Boost Employee Engagement at Your Summer Conference

As the bluebells and alliums start to flower, organisations also turn their attention to growth and new beginnings.  A summer conference is a major event in the company calendar, bringing employees together to share key messages and updates, show them how valued they are, and motivate them.  In these challenging post-pandemic times, with hybrid working and squeezed household finances, employee engagement is more important than ever.   At Octopus Events, we organise creative conferences for clients here in Oxfordshire, the UK and around the world so we see the impact that well-executed events can have on staff morale. “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” Richard Branson What are the benefits of boosting employee engagement at your conference? A positive company culture creates a ripple event. Employees who feel appreciated are more productive and more likely to perform at a higher standard at work. That means happier clients, satisfied customers, and, according to a recent Gallup survey, increased profitability. When people feel connected and loyal to the organisation they work for, businesses experience decreased employee turnover saving themselves time and money. So how can events help to boost morale and employee engagement?   Put simply, they’re a memorable way of showing staff how much you value them.  There are innumerable possibilities when it comes to creating positive experiences for staff at company events, whether it’s teambuilding activities at a conference, family fun days, small monthly events celebrating teams or reward and recognition programmes with luxury trips to be won. Just remember to listen to your teams to find out what they would appreciate the most. People love to recount positive experiences to their friends, family, peers and via social media, so not only do employees feel more engaged as a result, events are

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Top 10 Most Exciting Conference Venues in the South East

You don’t have to travel far to trip over a fabulous conference venue in the south-east of England.  The capital has some spectacular spaces but a hop, skip and a jump away in the home counties, and beyond, you’ll find barns, luxury hotels, palaces and private islands to choose from.  Most of these venues are easily accessed from London but they offer the space, fresh air and tranquillity that comes from escaping the city. When researching venues, remember to keep the objectives and target audience for your event in mind.  If you plan to include team-building activities within the event schedule, making sure your shortlisted venues have spacious grounds should be high on the list of priorities. Don’t forget to check if there are any restrictions (in terms of what activities are allowed) with the venue too.  For upcoming summer drinks parties, think about rooftop locations with spectacular views and for conferences with jam-packed agendas, it’s advisable to have accommodation and meeting space all under one roof.  Always check accessibility and consider the eco-credentials of venues too if you want to ensure that they reflect your organisation’s own environmental ethos.    At Octopus, we’ve got great relationships with venues across the south-east, London and nationwide.  If you’d like us to organise your conference, we can negotiate excellent rates on your behalf while taking into account all of the finer details that will make your event memorable for all the right reasons.   Without further ado (and in no particular order!), here are our Top 10 most exciting conference venues in the south east. 10. Chewton Glen  5-star Chewton Glen hotel and spa needs no introduction.  Set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside on the edge of the New Forest, minutes from the sea, it’s somewhere to treat guests to quintessential luxury and exceptional service.

Awards Ceremony

Secrets of a Successful Awards Ceremony

The excitement and hype of an awards ceremony can result in some infamous moments, whether it’s Kanye storming the stage, Gwyneth’s tears, Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with Hollywood A-listers or Will Smith…well, let’s just leave it there.  While you should expect a little less drama from your corporate awards ceremony, it still needs to be memorable for all the right reasons.  A well-executed awards ceremony can be a key highlight of the company calendar.  A chance to put your glad rags on and celebrate individual success, team wins, and hard work.    But before you start googling venues and canapés, spend a little time thinking about the overall goals and objectives for your event. “Sarah, without a shadow of a doubt is what any client needs when staging an awards ceremony regardless of guest numbers, objective or location. Knowing Sarah is on board and an extension to your team is invaluable.”  Odell Dair, JLT, London Planning your awards ceremony Start by asking yourself why you’re holding the event and what outcomes you want to achieve. Is it an internal awards’ do for employees, or a wider industry event?  Reward and recognition are usually at the heart of most internal awards ceremonies so consider how it will play a role in your wider employee engagement strategy for the year. If the event has been held in the past, what has worked well, what traditions should continue and what elements could do with a refresh to reflect the direction the company is going in?  If there is one key message you need to convey, think how this can be incorporated into the fabric of the awards ceremony, from the strapline to the smaller details. Put together a brief and a budget to refer back to at every stage of planning and consider bringing in an experienced event

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Create a Winning 2023 Events Strategy – it’s Not Too Late!

As we snowball towards the big C, the distractions of year-end and festive celebrations can make it hard to focus on 2023 priorities.   In the back of our minds, we know that – along with resolutions and detoxes – January will bring with it the need to pin down objectives, hone marketing strategies and plan for a successful year ahead.    A robust 2023 events strategy can go a long way to support your business’s strategic goals for the year.   In-person is back on the table and there’s a renewed appetite for meaningful face-to-face interactions with colleagues, clients, and peers.    But don’t panic if you’ve not yet planned your 2023 events.  At Octopus Events we’re here to guide you by sharing a few key considerations and top tips drawn from over 20 years of event management experience. Why do events in 2023? The logistics of planning and running an event can feel incredibly daunting but the rewards are powerful, and you can always use an experienced events agency like Octopus to arrange and deliver events for you. In a world of video conferencing, inbox overwhelm, and remote working, bringing people together in the same room – with a sprinkle of the WOW factor – can have a hugely positive impact.  A considered 2023 events strategy can support your key objectives, particularly when it comes to employee engagement.   As well as an effective way of sharing company messages, events are fantastic for motivating, rewarding, and thanking employees and teams, helping to minimise staff turnover and boost productivity. Valued and appreciated staff always work harder. Events are also a great way to build fantastic relationships with top clients, suppliers, and prospects, and to celebrate company successes – internally, externally and to the media.  Your 2023 events could bring PR

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8 Ways to Host Safe and Successful Outdoor Corporate Events

Like everything else during the past year, it has been a pretty challenging time for event planners! With no social gatherings taking place for most of the year and limited numbers when we have been allowed, it hasn’t been much fun for companies who are used to hosting spectacular corporate events. Yes, the virtual event became the norm and its a great way to stay in touch with colleauges and friends, but we’re all feeling a bit jaded and looking forward to the return of in-person events. With a Government update scheduled for early next week and as the 21st of June creeps ever closer, the date we can hopefully return to a normal life or ‘normal life of sorts’, you may be thinking about hosting a summer party for your team to thank them for all their hard work, or something glam for your customers and clients to say thanks for sticking with you in very uncertain times.  With exciting times ahead,  how do you make your corporate event fabulous, fun, and safe?  Here are my 8 top tips for hosting a safe outdoor event this summer:  1. Plan, plan, plan! It’s crucial all events start with a plan of the what, the who and the how, and never more so than now. Things have changed since covid came on the scene, there are new procedures to be followed and risk assessments to be written and understandably anxieties are still high around holding an event. It is safe and there’s lots of fun to be had, even with the new measures in place.  A few things to consider:  ⦁ If you are planning on holding the event at a venue, it’s advisable to arrange a site visit to meet the team and view the space. It is also a

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