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Fiona Pelham of CAT Publications 21/11/2007 [0]

We must seize the opportunity of BS8901

BS8901 is a great opportunity for the UK event industry; we now have a clear framework on how to implement a sustainable event management system. In other words, we have a step-by-step process to help companies within the industry - of any size - put sustainability into practice.

It is not just a checklist of ‘to do’s’ or a list of targets to reach (although there are helpful guidelines within the standard), it is about changing our way of working to increase levels of sustainability.

Is BS8901 easy to implement? No - it will take education, effort and energy. Is it worthwhile? Definitely. This framework gives our industry a common language which will allow us to demonstrate genuine sustainability credentials.
Fiona Pelham
Organise This



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Nigel Cooper of CAT Publications 21/11/2007 [1]

The BS8901 standard for the industry cannot be sustained

I welcome BS8901 as the concept of an industry standard.

The industry desperately needs regulation through specific, relevant standards which provide corporate and public consumers with comfort and measurable quality standards.

However, the industry is so diverse that one standard and one set of rules and measurement cannot encompass this multiplicity. Events from concerts, auctions, conferences, incentive travel, global conventions, and hospitality events to firework displays, Boy Scout barbeques, village fetes, and fund raisers, are so dissimilar in their audience and the concomitant risk.

We surely cannot expect the village fete to adhere to the procurement, corporate social responsibility, and human resources, etc guidelines laid down for the equivalent of Live Aid or the Olympic Games. The objective, the audience, the cost, the risk and the return, are just not comparable.

No one could agree more that a BSI standard is of paramount importance to the events industry. But there must be a definition and separate standards for 14 people going to South Africa, 100 parents attending the school open day, 50,000 people flying to Las Vegas for a convention and 500,000 attending a Robbie Williams tour. While these are all events, they are as similar as an Eventia board meeting and the G8 summit (the egos may be as large, but the logistical challenges are not!).

Will Motivcom adopt and embrace BS8901? No, not in its current format. But, like all lemmings we may eventually follow those who do…

Nigel Cooper
Motivcom plc

Mike Bell of Mike Bell 22/01/2008

And then lemmings die on the rocks below. Try being different Mr Cooper and embrace this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle: contribute to its development before it becomes an obligation (morally, competitively, or legally).



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Martin Wheeler of CAT Publications 20/11/2007 [0]

Stress, booze, and long hours - all in a day's work

I agree with your findings and personally I wouldn’t want to work in any other industry, its fun, exciting, exasperating, annoying, and stressful but the most wonderful satisfaction at the end of most days and the delight when speaking with thrilled clients.

We are proud of the professional work we do. To make it even better for us as an agent the venues should ensure that staff who meet the guests and answer the phone are a) English speaking b) Trained to sound happy on the phone c) Know the product they are selling d) At least smile to show that they are enjoying their work.

All venues need to train staff in all departments to correspond with each other, understand that clients will make return business if they are looked after, dressed appropriately at work, smile, say ‘hello’ to guests (more then just a grunt), be proud of their work.

A happy atmosphere goes from the staff to the guests, a bad atmosphere creates untold problems throughout. I could go on
Martin Wheeler, Venue & Hotel Finders



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Jane Evans of CAT Publications 16/11/2007 [0]

AIM will boost buyer confidence

The star rating system has always been lacking when it comes to selecting meetings venues. It is for that reason the MIA launched AIM in April of this year. AIM is a professional accreditation scheme which examines facilities and service and even checks for the basics such as DDA compliance and transparency of contracts.

Currently there are over 120 MIA member venues and suppliers that have qualified at Entry level of AIM and with hundreds of others in process the scheme will very soon offer buyers of meeting space choice and confidence where the traditional star rating scheme cannot.

AIM examines facilities and ensures that the venue or supplier is operating legally so it immediately ticks many of those procurement boxes. The really clever part is that it also grades service levels. We have all heard the story of the 5-star venue with 0-star service; well AIM effectively enables venues who cannot achieve a high star-rating to compete instead on their level of service. In other words where a venue can’t achieve a star rating, perhaps they don’t offer accommodation or perhaps they are academic venues or perhaps as an hotel they simply don’t achieve the facilities criteria demanded of a star rating scheme, AIM measures and reports on their levels of service and gives them an opportunity to stand out as either a Silver or Gold AIM Accredited venue.

The Silver and Gold measures are high and the scheme has already received applications that have failed, a fact which in itself should give the assurance to buyers that where they see the Gold and Silver AIM brand the service will be exceptional.
So there is already an effective alternative to the traditional star-rating scheme and one that I am confident will grow in importance.
For a list of AIM accredited venues go to www.mia-uk.org

Jane Evans, Chief Executive, MIA



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Lynne Snow of CAT Publications 12/11/2007 [1]

Academic events fund education research

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is without doubt key to business and critical to the future for us all. A little known fact is that money made by academic venues in selling their space for conferences, business meetings and events goes straight back into funding the teaching and research of students which in turn ensures the future growth of our industries. Therefore businesses that opt to use educational venues for their events over commercial venues and hotels, are helping to sustain our future and their own. Business’ that choose an educational venue for conferencing and training have made this an integral part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme and their procurement policy. Here at Aston University in Birmingham there is modern stylish, urban chic four star facilities as standard in both the Aston Business School Conference Centre (the residential venue) and the Lakeside Centre (the day centre). Nowhere dispels the myth that universities sell second class facilities these days better than conference venues within the top universities in the UK. The only purpose in doing this is to generate external income streams for teaching and research, so why is it that hotels are still the most popular choice. Why is it that conference and event buyers and procurement teams are still reluctant to grasp the concept that this is not a second class option, but a win - win for everyone? Add to that the fact that it is probably better value too and a dedicated learning environment with on site, in house professional support and award winning teams of staff and all round you get more for your money anyway. Come and see for yourself, it’s probably much, much better than you ever imagined. Lynne Snow Aston University

Martin Lewis of CAT Publications Ltd 12/11/2007

Lynne's point is well made. The theme of National Meetings Week 2007 was "Sustaining our Cultural Legacy" and, without doubt, education fits that brief. Her suggestion that corporate buyers need look no further than academic venues in order to fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibilities also has substance and is an interesting angle for academic venues to pursue in the corporate sector. I visited Aston Business School recently and was astonished at the quality of bedrooms and meeting space and the value for money offered. Let the procurement departments loose in the academic venues and see what happens!



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James Adam of Adam Baker Event Logistics 30/10/2007 [1]

Green Stars?

Is it not time to scrap hotel star ratings or review this outdated system that no longer offers a proper benchmark? The current scope appears too narrow with 4 and 5 star properties calling themselves four star deluxe, five star business, palace and now some purporting to be 7 stars! Would you stay in a one star? Do you know what it is? The individual tourist boards add to the confusion and lack of clarity with their criteria, which varies from country to country.

This brings me on to service, which has completely lost out as so much emphasis is placed on the physical amenities.

The first and simplest solution is to scrap the whole scheme and turn to the professionals for recommendations after all this confusion provides many of us with a living. Or look to the web for hotel reviews. But as we know most people only write to complain and the system is reliant on honesty from all parties.

There is another area that as yet has no global benchmark and which in our age should be considered; that being the green credentials. As the much discussed CSR debate rages on this is an area which should be considered in discussions.

Considering how much is spent within the industry there must be a way to fund an independent body that issues clear guidelines, criteria and sets out to reward each field, the infrastructure, service and green credentials; One that is clearly understood by the prospective customer.

Jane Evans of MIA 20/11/2007

The star rating system has always been lacking when it comes to selecting meetings venues. It is for that reason the MIA launched AIM in April of this year. AIM is a professional accreditation scheme which examines facilities and service and even checks for the basics such as DDA compliance and transparency of contracts. Currently there are over 120 MIA member venues and suppliers that have qualified at Entry level of AIM and with hundreds of others in process the scheme will very soon offer buyers of meeting space choice and confidence where the traditional star rating scheme cannot.
AIM examines facilities and ensures that the venue or supplier is operating legally so it immediately ticks many of those procurement boxes. The really clever part is that it also grades service levels . We have all heard the story of the 5-star venue with 0-star service, well AIM effectively enables venues who cannot achieve a high star-rating to compete instead on their level of service. In other words where a venue can’t achieve a star rating, perhaps they don’t offer accommodation or perhaps they are academic venues or perhaps as an hotel they simply don’t achieve the facilities criteria demanded of a star rating scheme, AIM measures and reports on their levels of service and gives them an opportunity to stand out as either a Silver or Gold AIM Accredited venue.
The Silver and Gold measures are high and the scheme has already received applications that have failed a fact which in itself should give assurance to buyers that where they see the Gold and Silver AIM brand the service will be exceptional.
So there is already an effective alternative to the traditional star-rating scheme and one that I am confident will grow in importance.
For a list of AIM accredited venues go to www.mia-uk.org



Please note that your comment is restricted to a maximum of 3500 characters

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