SPOTLIGHTFebruary 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 81 In the hot seatTo coincide with Accomplished Events' fi rst birthday, Vikki Carley met with its Directors, Jenny Pink and Nadia BrownAccomplished Events supplies event services worldwide, specialising in teambuilding. Here, its Directors share some of their ups and downs from their fi rst year in business.How is the fi rst year in business shaping up?We have had a fantastic fi rst year and built a loyal and diverse client base. We've had an amazing amount of support from our colleagues in the industry for which we're very grateful and are now looking forward to developing further in 2012. Our plans include the launch of a brand new website and expanding our team to include another member of staff. We also plan to diversify our revenue streams by looking at new opportunities in order to maximise our client base.What are some of the more unusual events you have hosted in the last year?We have 50 teambuilding products, which we continually review with our clients. We are also constantly looking at new ideas for events and take inspiration from topical themes such as our Olympic themed portfolio which has a range of events focused on summer 2012. Some of the unique events we have created bespoke for clients we have then added to our portfolio, such as our Oktoberfest event, which emulates the very best of the popular German festival. Also our alternative London tour, which educates guests in London's hidden secrets and is a novel twist on a treasure hunt. We had one event confi rm on a Friday and the client wanted it to run on the following MondayAccomplished Events' DirectorsJenny Pink and Nadia Brown
SPOTLIGHT82 . www.conference-news.co.uk . February 2012February How many conferences and meetings, on average, do you organise in a calendar year?Based on 2011, around 120 events per calendar year. We expect that number to rise in 2012.Which sector has been the most resilient in light of the economic climate, and which has suffered most?As we set up our business last year, we have not been affected by event cancellations due to the economic downturn. However, we occasionally see decisions being made later and lead times being shorter due to delays in budgets being agreed and signed off. One of our clients was due to attend a DJ Masterclass with us in December and postponed at 11pm the night before due to an urgent internal restructure! Teambuilding has almost found a firmer place within organisations as redundancies and merging of teams through restructuring often requires a morale boost or reward.What measures have you taken to adapt to the economic climate?We are competitively priced due to the fact that we directly supply our events and own all our equipment, therefore cutting out any third party costs. This is attractive to clients who are price driven and who require a personal, efficient service. We negotiate with venues and external suppliers on behalf of our clients and add value by requesting other benefits if a price is not negotiable.How do you compete in a busy marketplace? What makes you different?We make sure all our proposals are sent on the same day as an enquiry comes in and we build lasting relationships with our clients through service, event delivery and value for money. We also advise clients that they can call us at any time of day, whether in offi ce hours or not. Our USP is to always think outside the box for clients and look at ways to capture their imagination. We are results focused and we strongly believe that a product should fi t a brief and not the other way around.What frustrates you about the events industry?As an agency occasionally you can experience a negative service from venues who seem keener to work with corporates directly.What do you like about the events industry?The industry is sociable and we enjoy partnering up with venues, other agencies and generally working with different suppliers. We also enjoy the fact the industry is very relationship focused and take pleasure in attending events where we can network with a range of associates. What would be your key tips to someone coming to the meetings industry organising business for the fi rst time?It's important to love what you do as events are hard work but also very rewarding. The ability to multi-task and remain focused is essential as we typically have a huge number of projects running at any one time. A high level of attention to detail and the ability to be organised is also essential. An absolute must is to be able to build a rapport with clients.What are the most common challenges when organising a conference or event?Receiving a comprehensive brief from the client, short lead times - we had one event confi rm on a Friday and the client wanted it to run on the following Monday, waiting on information from third party suppliers - sometimes we feel like we're chasing endlessly, obtaining sign off for decisions for events - when the research and liaison is not being conducted by the decision maker.Wherein lies the value of using an outside PCO for an event, over say an in-house employee when putting on an event?When clients don't have the budget for teambuilding, they quite often organise activities in their local park or a meal out. The disadvantage of this is that the event can be viewed as a social gathering rather than fulfi lling the original criteria that the client has given. That could be the need to work on a number of core business skills, which our events measure.What are some of your predictions for the PCO business in 2012?We believe that the teambuilding side of events will continue to fl ourish. Due to the economic backdrop, corporate organisations will continue to invest in motivating staff and building morale to keep staff focused and appreciated.