RHS Chelsea Flower Show Celebrates 100th Anniversary

This week marks the return of the annual world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, it looks set to be one of the best so far with a fantastic line-up of show gardens and displays.

From the 21st – 25th May, visitors can marvel over a combination of exciting new plants alongside some old favourites from when the show first started back in 1913. Taking on an historical theme, the show has also put together a display of 100 years in pictures – a look at how Chelsea style has evolved through the decades.

Additionally to this, a number of other intriguing exhibitions will be available to spectators including:

Marc Quinn Sculpture

The UK’s leading contemporary artist, Marc Quinn has created an art installation in support of the RHS Chelsea Centenary Appeal that is helping to raise £1m for the next generation of horticulturists.

This is the first time in the show’s 100 year history that it has teamed up with an artist and the installation, titled ‘The Rush of Nature’ will be auctioned by Sotheby’s to raise money for the fund. The installation has been kept under wraps until the show opens but promises to be an exciting and iconic piece of artwork that will act as the image for this year’s show.

Chelsea Memories

Exhibiting in the Great Pavilion, Chelsea Memories will evoke fond recollections of past shows for many attendees. Eight nurseries, including David Austin Roses, Hillier Nurseries and Raymond Evison Clematis will all be sharing their favourite memories of shows gone by. Regular visitors to RHS Chelsea Flower Show certainly won’t be disappointed as they can reminisce with exhibitors who have been attending the show since it first started.

Plant of the Year 2013

It has been a tough year to get on the shortlist for this prestigious competition as unusually low temperatures and a lack of sunshine has meant that several entries failed to flower in time. However, the judges are still going to have a tough decision to make as this year’s entries include everything from a chive right up to a beautiful new mahonia.

Celebrity Gnome Painting

Among the fundraising activities for the year-long appeal for the RHS Chelsea Centenary Appeal, a whole host of celebrities including Sir Elton John and Dame Maggie Smith will be painting garden gnomes. The gnomes will then be auctioned on eBay during the flower show to raise money to create apprenticeships, an RHS Learning Centre and to support the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

More information about this year’s very special RHS Chelsea Flower Show can be found on the event’s website. If you find yourself inspired by all the wonderful creations that can be seen this year, why not check out some of the gardening/horticultural groups that are using Eventility, or set up your own free group and the share the enjoyment.

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4 Incredibly Easy Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Events Infographic

Here at Eventility we have first-hand experience of helping thousands of event organisers to manage and promote their concerts, sporting events, seminars, conferences, fundraisers, clubs and groups. You name it – we’ve helped someone to run it!

As you probably already know, events and social media are a match made in heaven. Online platforms are ready-made for event management, whether it’s organising or promoting an event, encouraging engagement on the day itself or extending the lifetime value of the event for days, weeks and even months afterwards.

To highlight the many creative ways we’ve seen our members use social media to boost the success of their events we’ve put together this stunning infographic (below). Here are some of the key points in black and white.

1. Organising an Event

It’s crucially important not to think of social media just in terms of promotion. That would be a big mistake. Social media can also play an important role in the organisation of events by, for example, providing an easy way to invite people and collect RSVPs. This has the added bonus that once your invitees register, it’s easy to keep them updated and send reminders via email or SMS.

Social media also enables you to involve attendees in the actual organisation process. By asking your audience to vote for their favourite talks, speakers, bands or activities, you can build up an event programme that you know people will enjoy. By being so open and democratic, you’re also likely to increase the affinity your audience feels for the event.

2. Promoting an Event

Every month millions of people search online to discover new and upcoming events. It’s critically important to make sure that your event has a strong presence and is easy to find on Google. Getting listed is the first step – Eventility has over 37,000 search-engine friendly events listed online – but this is only part of the picture.

Social media needs to be tied in to the registration process, so that attendees are encouraged to share the event with their networks on Twitter and Facebook. As 71% of us are more likely to buy a product when it has been referred via a social network, recommendations can be extremely valuable.

3. Encouraging Engagement During an Event

So, let’s assume you’ve done a great job of getting people to your event. The work doesn’t stop there. Generating online buzz on the day itself will ensure your attendees get the most out of the event and, most importantly, help you to reach a much wider audience. People love sharing photos, videos and news from live events, using Twitter, Facebook and other tools, and each time they do they will be tacitly recommending your event to their friends and family.

Promoting the event Twitter hashtag (e.g. #eventname) and displaying tweets on a big screen or TV will encourage attendees to interact with one another on Twitter. In effect they will be creating a live, public conversation about your event. To take it a step further, you could also offer prizes to the most active (or amusing!) Twitter users present.

Social media can also be used to get persuade attendees to visit certain specific locations or take part in particular activities. For example, you could offer rewards for attendees that check-in at different locations within the venue using Foursquare or Facebook, or even run a social media scavenger hunt where attendees need to check in to a series of locations.

4. Extending the Lifetime Value of an Event

Even after the event has finished the buzz doesn’t need to stop. Uploading videos, photos and presentations to social networks will keep the event fresh in the mind of attendees and may entice others to come to future events. People tend to stay engaged for 1-2 days after an event, so that’s your window of opportunity to encourage them to talk about it online, or share your content.

What’s more, social media can be a valuable source of feedback. Take time to ask attendees what they thought about the venue, the refreshments, speakers and entertainment. You’re bound to learn something that will help you improve things next time around – and, most likely, you’ll get lots of positive feedback which you can share, or possibly even use on your marketing materials.

To make organising and promoting any event, club, group or association easy, Eventility.com has all the free tools you’ll ever need.

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Events Infographic

Simple Ways to Save Money When Planning an Event

When planning an event you may find that costs soon start to rack up. This can get quite stressful and difficult to manage when faced with the strict budget that many people have to work with. So, is it possible to organise a great event on limited funds? Below are a few top tips to help you do just that.

Know your budget

Before you start planning anything, make sure you know exactly how much you have to spend. Also, write out a list of absolutely everything you are going to need so you can break down your costs and allocate a set amount for each requirement. Being organised with your budget is imperative because if you over spend in the beginning you are going to have to scrimp later on down the line.

Find sponsors

It’s not just you struggling to cope with limited budgets – many companies are looking to get their name out there without having to pay high advertising or PR costs. Take advantage of this and approach businesses that are likely to benefit from your event. For example, if you are running a charity sports day, your local gym might just jump at the opportunity to sponsor you and have a presence at the event.

Negotiate venue prices

Unsurprisingly, venues are seeing fewer bookings than they did when the economy was booming. As they’re unlikely to be turning away business and will no doubt want to under cut the competition, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Find out what they normally charge and present a realistic offer – you may be surprised how many places are willing to consider this.

Alternatively, when booking your venue, research places that stand to benefit from your presence. For example, if a new hotel has opened in town, they will no doubt be grateful for the publicity and guests you will be bringing so are much more likely to offer you a significantly discounted rate.

Find a free venue

Depending on the nature of the event you are holding, there is every possibility that you don’t have to pay for a venue at all. Sports clubs can be held in the local park, book club meetings in a coffee shop and business meetings in a quiet pub or restaurant.

Think about your guest speakers

Guest speakers can be expensive – especially if you are seeking someone who is very well-known in your industry. However, there are a number of ways to reduce these costs if you think smartly. First, try and book as far in advance as possible because as people’s diaries fill up they are likely to charge more. Also, consider where your guest speaker will be coming from. If they live in Scotland and your event is in London, you are going to be hit with expensive travel costs as well. Opting for someone more local eliminates these costs and you are likely to get a better deal.

Again, try to consider speakers who can gain from being at your event. Someone who has just launched a new business, product, service or book is going to be grateful for the publicity and may even give you a discounted rate.

Utilise Eventility

When it comes to organising and promoting your event, using Eventility is a very cost effective method. In fact, it’s free so you have nothing to lose. Users can set up events, clubs, groups or communities, manage members, send out emails, upload photos, link to social networks, sell tickets, send out reminders and much more. Make your life simpler by doing it all through Eventility.

How Social Media and Online Platforms Can Be Used Effectively in Event Organisation and Promotion – Part 2 – Part Two

International Confex 2013Following on from part 1 of Robin Brattel’s talk at the 30th anniversary International Confex show, here we conclude how social media and online platforms can be used effectively in event organisation and promotion.

Our first installment finished off by discussing the six stages of online community development and how you can identify them. Now, it’s important to understand the impact that guiding someone from being a ‘lurker’ to a ‘brand advocate’ can have when trying to organise and promote your event.

There are three stages of any event – the before, during and after. When used correctly, social media is an excellent tool that can be used for promotion, engagement and even extending the life of an event.

BeforeThis is the time when you are no doubt going to want to promote and raise awareness of your event. Social media can help you to:

  • Engage your audience and create chatter
  • Encourage social introductions through likes and shares
  • Target influencers you wouldn’t normally have access to
  • Increase success – people are 71% more likely to buy from a company if they have been referred to via social media

DuringWhilst your event is taking place you want to engage with your attendees as much as possible. There are a number of ways you can use social media during this time to actively encourage participation from everyone there:

  • Create a Twitter hashtag and encourage anyone tweeting about the event to use it
  • Maintain interest – good quality and interesting content is quick and easy to post and keeps you at the forefront of people’s minds
  • Go viral – competitions are a great way to encourage people to like and retweet content that will then be seen by their connections
  • Live streaming of the event can be watched by those who couldn’t attend and uploading highlights onto a YouTube video can be used for future promotions

AfterJust because your event is over it doesn’t mean that the hype has to die down. Social media is a great way of extending the life of your event and there are a number of ways you can ensure that people carry on talking about it:

  • Videos – with 800 million users on YouTube you potential audience is massive
  • Blogging – posting a write-up of your event is a great way to remind people about it, inform those who couldn’t attend and even create excitement about the next one
  • Photos – people love seeing photos and they are easy to notice and share on social media platforms
  • Ask for feedback – as well as finding out what people thought of your recent event, asking what they would like to see next time is a sure fire way to guarantee getting people through the door

By now, most people are familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. However, there are also a number of other platforms available that are well suited to a number of different uses:

Flickr – this is a great place to upload photos before, during and after your event

Presdo.com – a good networking tool prior to your event

Corkboard.me – can be used for collaboration and sharing content

Sentiment140.com – one of the many sentiment tools you can use during your event

Coveritlive.com – a good way to curate content during your event

Eventility.coma great way to organise or promote your club, group, community or event. For more information about Eventility, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Benefits of Exercise

It might seem unlikely at the moment but believe it or not, summer is just around the corner. Needless to say, chances are that now is the time that a lot of us are starting to think about getting fit, toning up and losing a few of those winter pounds.

As well as helping you to look good, the benefits of exercise are plentiful and can have more of an impact on your life that you could ever imagine. So whether you’re a gym bunny, football fanatic or prefer throwing a frisbee around the park, here are some very good reasons why you should get started sooner rather than later.

Reduce Illnesses

Whatever your age, there is strong scientific research that being physically active can help you to lead a healthier and even happier life.  According to the NHS, regular exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. Incredibly, it can also lower the risk of early death by up to 30%.

General Wellbeing

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy levels. It also reduces the risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease so what are you waiting for? Whether it’s a session at the gym, taking the dog for a walk or ditching the car for a bicycle, the benefits of exercise can be felt immediately.

Weight Control

We all know that when you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn which makes exercise a fantastic way to prevent weight gain and maintain weight loss. Even if you can’t find the time to do an actual workout, becoming more active throughout the day can have a massive impact. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the tube a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, cleaning the house and doing squats during television advert breaks are all great ways to incorporate exercise into your everyday life.

Meet New People

Taking up exercise can be a great way to meet new people. Whether you join an aerobics class at the gym, a football team, tennis club or bowling group, chances are that you are going to meet other like-minded people. With everyone feeling great from the physical activity, moods are going to be uplifted and chances are, new friendships will be formed.

Have Fun

Believe it or not, exercise can be a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Whilst going home from work and sitting in front of the television all night might seem like the more tempting option, it’s not going to send you to sleep with a smile on your face. However, going to a class or club will release those endorphins, enable you to socialise with others and best of all, leave you feeling ready for what tomorrow may bring.

If you are looking for different ways to exercise, Eventility has thousands of sports clubs, groups and communities using the website. Feel free to search for inspiration and get ready to start feeling great about yourself today.

How Social Media and Online Platforms Can Be Used Effectively in Event Organisation and Promotion

Our Founder, Robin Brattel recently gave a talk at the 30th anniversary International Confex show at ExCel. As an expert in his field, Robin spoke about how social media and online platforms can be used effectively in event organisation and promotion. He discussed how these platforms are currently being used in the industry, compared the different options available and vitally, measured the effectiveness of each.

It is becoming more and more evident that social media is here to stay and can be an incredibly powerful tool when organising an event. In fact, 72% of event organisers now see social media as a very important part of their job and 78% are planning to use it even more than they already do.

Exactly which platforms are those in the industry using however?

  • 84% are using Facebook
  • 61% Twitter
  • 42% YouTube
  • 42% LinkedIn
  • 36% Google+
  • 31% Blogs

If you’re not familiar with the world of social networking you may question why so many people are now using it. The most obvious answer is that with millions of people actively using these sites every day, what better way is there to reach out to people instantly, so easily and often for free?

If you are organising an event for example, social media can help you to collaborate with partners, colleagues, attendees and other people who may be interested but you wouldn’t normally have access to. Having the ability to post information and updates on these sites eliminates the need for so many emails which can be costly, it’s not intrusive because people have chosen to log-in and importantly, it enables them to share your news with others in their network.

With so many companies now realising the benefits of social media, you would struggle to find one that doesn’t have at least one online profile set up. This provides you with many great opportunities to discover suppliers, venues, caterers and any other service you may need. 61% of people now read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. This is hardly surprising when you consider that buyers can now see how companies interact with their customers and what people who have used them thought about the service.

Although social media can become a fundamental tool for event organisers, you have to work at it before you start to reap the benefits. In order to be successful, you need to become part of a community that knows and trusts you before you can activate it. There are generally six stages of online community development that as a brand, if you understand and work at, can help you to guide people from someone who simply follows you to a brand advocate.

Stage One – The Lurker – A lurker is someone who liked or followed your page  – they have taken the first step but that’s it. Chances are that at this stage they’re barely paying attention to what you’re saying and are highly unlikely to join in any conversations.

Stage Two – The Eavesdropper – Once you have said something that has captured the attention of an individual, they are likely to become an eavesdropper. This means that they’re beginning to develop an interest in what you’re saying but they are still unlikely to interact with your content.

Stage Three – The Acquaintance – Now you have said or posted enough things to catch someone’s attention, they are mildly interested in what you have to say. Just like an acquaintance in your neighbourhood, you will start to have some surface level interactions.

Stage Four – The Active Participant – As interactions become deeper and more meaningful, followers will start to comment, ask questions and even initiate conversations rather than simply just ‘liking’ things.

Stage Five – The Brand Loyalist – At this stage, loyalists will have an affinity for you over the competition, even if they are cheaper or more convenient. This is because they are buying more than a product or service – they’re buying into your mission and believe in what you’re doing.

Stage Six – Brand Advocate – Brand advocates are such strong members of your community that they will even start recruiting other members to join. They will encourage others to buy from you, share good customer service stories and willingly answer questions from people.  This is a great stage to be at because people trust recommendations and are more likely to buy from you as a result.

Stay tuned for the second instalment of Robin’s talk which focuses on getting your audience to engage with you. If you can’t wait until next week though, you can view his presentation on Slideshare.

Top Tips for Planning the Perfect Event

With so many different things to take into account, planning an event can be difficult. The key to success is careful preparation so below are a few top tips to help you organise the perfect event from start to finish.

Decide on the key objective of your event

What do you want to achieve and how do you want to achieve it? Decide on the key message for your event and ensure that the topics flow and fit well with each other. If you are planning to use guest speakers think about the benefits that they are going to offer your guests. For example, if you are organising a band night, a speaker from the music industry would fit in well with the theme whereas a sporting figure may seem a bit out of place.

Decide on a budget and stick to it

If you don’t implement a set budget, costs can quickly spiral out of control. Don’t forget to consider marketing, staff wages, collateral, venue hire, speaker fees, equipment, travel and food and drink.

The cost of running an event can seem daunting at first but if planned smartly, there are a number of ways you can reduce your outgoings. For example, a local pub may be more than happy to host your event for free during their quiet times because they know they will make money from the food and drink that people will be ordering. Additionally, a guest speaker who has something to promote may be happy to attend at a reduced rate or for free because they will be grateful for the publicity.

It’s important to keep your budget up to date and review it regularly. Allow provisions for emergencies (normally 10%-20%) because you never know when hidden costs may pop up.

Who is managing your event?

Is it just you organising the event or do you have the support of a whole team? If working in a team, make sure there are regular meetings so that the whole group is aware of any updates. Provide clear action points with names assigned to each and realistic timelines so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. This will help to manage things in small chunks and the whole process is likely to run a lot smoother.

Decide on a venue

When deciding on a venue there are a number of things to consider. Location, availability, cost, accessibility, seating, facilities and parking. Before deciding where to host your event, it’s a good idea to know what type of people might be attending. There is no point hosting an event in a small suburban town if most of your guests will be coming from London – because it is unlikely that they will make the effort to attend if it’s too far out of their way! Make sure that you don’t formally announce your venue until contracts have been signed because people may have already made travel plans and changing locations can come across as disorganised.

Promote

Nobody is going to know about your event unless you tell them. There are so many different way to promote events nowadays from emailing, social media, adding a banner to your website, sending out text messages and even setting up online message boards to keep in regular contact with potential attendees.

Catering

You’re going to keep your guests happy and entertained for far longer if there are refreshments available. Even if it’s not a proper sit down meal, buffet style snacks can go a long way. Most venues will offer in-house catering but be sure to check the dietary requirements of your guests because you are likely to have a few meat, dairy or gluten free requests.

Rehearse

Try to have a run through of how you expect your event to pan out. From what time guests will arrive and how long speakers will be talking for to when food will be served and vitally, how long will be left for networking. Whilst it’s impossible to plan everything to the exact second, having a run through will allow you to ensure that you don’t go overboard or run out of things to keep your guests entertained.

Get feedback

The best way to assess whether or not your event was a success is to get feedback from your audience. What did they enjoy the most? Was there anything they thought was unnecessary? Did they like the venue? Was the location OK for them? Obtaining this information is crucial to the success of future events and also provides you with a great opportunity to catch up with your attendees and remind them of your product or service.

Eventility at International Confex 2013

International ConfexLast week, our CEO Robin Brattel was very excited about attending and speaking at the 30th anniversary International Confex show at ExCel. The exhibition was a massive success and it comes as no surprise that it has been recognised as the UK’s leader for the events industry.

As well as being a great place to do business and seek out inspirational ideas for events, with the aim of bringing like-minded professionals closer together,  International Confex also provides a great opportunity to get that all important face time that can be so difficult to achieve today.

A big focus at this year’s event was modern technology and the impact that it has had on the industry. From mobile phones and online videos to gamification and of course, the rise of the ever-popular social media, there certainly was something for everyone.

Our very own CEO, Robin Brattel was even there to give a speech himself. Robin proudly discussed how social media and online platforms can be used effectively in event organisation and promotion. His eager audience listened on as he discussed how these platforms are currently used in the industry, compared the various methods that can be used and vitally, looked at the effectiveness of each.

Talking to a jam-packed audience, Robin also shared all the new trends occurring in social media and explained how to implement and measure these effectively. For those of you who are interested in learning more about what Robin had to discuss at International Confex, stay tuned because very shortly we will be posting a write-up of the day’s events.

The Benefits of Learning Something New

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Chances are it was weeks, months or even years ago. Whilst some of us love to experiment and engage with new ideas, for the vast majority, we tend to go through everyday life with the same rituals and routines.

While being creatures of habit may be comforting, we often forget how much fun it can be to develop a new skill. As well as igniting your life with a bit of fun, passion and excitement, here are some other important benefits of learning something new.

Sense of Accomplishment

Do you remember how good it felt the first time you rode a bike without the training wheels? Forced yourself to go the gym and complete a good workout? Painted and decorated a room just the way you wanted to? Achieving something for the very first time gives us a massive sense of achievement, boosts our pride and can keep us smiling for days on end. This amazing feeling is what you are missing out on when you get stuck in the same old habits so why not take up boxing, join a bowling club or give that activity you have been talking about for years a go?

Better Time Management Skills

Do you think you’re too busy to add a new hobby into your already hectic life? Think again. Adding something new to your daily or weekly schedule is proven to sharpen your perception of time and time management. In fact, many time management gurus recommend this technique because in order to do the thing you want to do, you will value your time more and use it better. For those of you who use the excuse that you don’t have enough time in your schedule, chances are that you do, but there is nothing new to push you to organise yourself better.

Meet New People

Joining a club, organisation or taking up a new hobby ensures that you are bound to meet new people. Even better, chances are that you are likely to have similar taste in things which paves the way to great new friendships. Meeting new people also gives you access to new views and ideas and best of all, you are sure to meet some interesting characters along the way.

Personal Growth

Learning something new gives you the opportunity to grow and improve yourself. When you push yourself, you will find that you will grow in many other aspects of your life, and you never know, you may even discover a hidden talent you never knew you had. Whether it’s joining a sports club, art class or helping to raise money for charity, the possibilities are endless when it comes to trying something new so what are you waiting for?

At Eventility, we have thousands of registered clubs, groups and events using the website so why not search for inspiration and get ready to learn something new today!

Updates to Eventility.com – New Live Feed, Scan App and Extras

We’ve released a new version of Eventility.com with some fantastic new additions to our service to help you organise and promote your clubs, groups and events with ease.
Live Feed   
Not only can you post messages and reach social networks with one click, but now the ‘live feed’ (formerly known as the message board) on your club and event pages means you can share more.
We’ve added support from embed.ly and Dropbox which means we turn almost any link you share into embedded images, videos, audio and rich media previews. So if you use Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Instragram, Slideshare, dropbox plus many more, you can share them on your feed.
It’s a great way to get people involved before, during and after your event.
 
 Scan App   
 
Our latest mobile app, Eventility Scan, has been developed specially for organisers to simplify the process of validating event tickets at the door and vouchers at point of sale – It only takes seconds to check-in your customers with Eventility Scan.
The scan app lets you scan the barcode on Eventility tickets and vouchers. It confirms validity, records the check-in against your account and prevents the same ticket/voucher being used twice. The app supports multiple devices and managers so you can have more than one person working the doors.
Eventility Extras 
 
We’ve simplified purchasing SMS and email bundles and extended the feature so that you can send SMS and tracked email directly to your contacts from your club/group/event/offer.
Texts are a brilliant way to drive footfall and to celebrate this release we’re giving away Bronze pack bundles of 100 SMS credits*
So login and head over to MyAccount/Extras to get up and running with SMS.
We hope you enjoy the new changes, so why not have a look around on Eventility and try out the new features.
We’d really love to hear what you think of the new changes or if you have any site requests, so contact us.
 
*To claim your free SMS bundle use the Promo Code: MemberList to receive a 100% Discount when you purchase a bronze pack of 100 SMS credits (RRP £10).