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Play the teambuilding game

Gerard Crowley, co-director of one of the UK's leading corporate team building businesses, Team Challenge Company, reflects on the growing trend of digital gamification in the corporate and events market.

Many of us have been to a conference, company away day or training session and left feeling uninspired, unmotivated,… and, frankly, bored. Games used for team building have always been popular and now digital gamification is crossing the pond with the aim of engaging delegates, increasing learning and boosting teamwork.

Already seen at TEDx events around the world and at the international internet society forum InterCommunity 2015, interactive challenges and team building activities have been bringing colleagues closer while turning corporate events into adult playgrounds.

Gamification is the art of applying elements of a game to routine tasks, to encourage and motivate people to increased productivity, teamwork and engagement. Since 2010, 350 companies have launched gamification projects and Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, predicted that 70 per cent of Forbes Global 2000 companies would introduce gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues by the end of last year.

This trend is now making its way into the team building and conferencing industry in the UK; with groups of corporate professionals seen juggling, singing, contorting and ultimately working together to complete fun challenges, encouraged and lead by gamification software.

The days of flipcharts and awkward conversations with the stranger next to you appear to be numbered. The industry is increasingly moving towards advanced digital technology which encompasses the best team building activities of the past, such as role play and tug of war, and brings it into the digital age.

We have found that by introducing mobile and tablet-based team building apps at conferences, corporate events or company away days, not only provides a welcome respite from heavy content, it puts the delegates first and adds purpose.

Team Challenge Company has recently introduced the most advanced treasure hunt app, Go Team, to the Scottish market and it has proved a hit in the corporate market. The app allows us to create bespoke real-time team building activities which can be developed to foster role allocation, co-ordination and planning between colleagues.

Our purpose is what drives us, and when you present teams of people with a common goal, it promotes camaraderie, competition, and a sense of accomplishment. The perfect outcome for both organiser and delegate.

To find out more about Team Challenge Company's Go Team events, visit

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The power of Meetings & Events in the North shines at Venue Expo 2015.

The power of Meetings & Events in the North shines at Venue Expo 2015.

The Venue Expo, the premier exhibition in the North for the UK events industry, has reported strong statistics for its 2015 show. Organisers, UKFE confirm that the event is tantamount to the absolute need for this leading event in the North and are pleased to have shown growth year on… year with visitor attendance and are excited to grow and develop the proposition furthermore.

The 2015 edition held at the brand new Exhibition Centre Liverpool, on 8-9th September had over 3400 visitors across the two show days and had over 800 qualified hosted buyer meetings which was a new element for the event.

The focus this year for the event surrounded increasing the quality of the buyer for the Venue Expo participants.

Joseph Davies Show Manager said "The introduction of Hosted Buyer meetings this year underpinned our intentions to target a high quality qualified buyer for the show. Our partnership with procurement agency Helms Briscoe proved to be a great success bringing both UK based and international buyers to the event."

One of the Hosted Buyers, Rob Harrison - Associate Regional Vice President from HelmsBriscoe was quoted as saying:

"Being a hosted buyer is a great way to visit a show like this. The travel and accommodation at Jurys Inn were fantastically organised and the whole process was extremely smooth. The exhibitors were high quality and a great representation from the UK and specifically the North West. The venue is great and I look forward to seeing the show grow and thrive'.

Also, one of our exhibitors and sponsors Colm Graham from Eikon Exhibition Centre had the following to say:
'The Venue Expo surpassed our expectations, allowing us to interact on a personal level to well over 200 Hosted Buyer's and VIP's from all aspects of the events industry. We have numerous quality leads which we are progressing and ultimately we aim to bring a large number of new exhibitions and events to our venue. We would highly recommend The Venue Expo as a market leading event in the MICE industry and we look forward to sponsoring again in the same capacity in 2016.'

The show floor doubled year on year to over 5000sq metres and the number of exhibiting brands exceeded 150.

New features area; PA Hub sponsored by The PA Hub was a highlight of the event. Over 500 PAs attended the event and seminars in this respect were very well received. This element of the show has provided a great platform for opportunity to develop this element further. Jon Lawrence, Director at The PA Hub had this to say:

'It was great to be part of this year's Venue Expo in Liverpool giving us the opportunity to bring PAs to the exhibition, join our networking events to learn and develop at The PA Hub Stage. With a variety of relevant topics, The PA Hub were responsible for running the PA seminar programme where top speakers could deliver high quality related sessions within the show. With a fantastic variety of exhibitors, The PA Hub were delighted to bring top PAs to the event from various regions. We are all about collaboration, networking and bringing PAs together to share good practice and develop. The show gave further opportunity to introduce the assistants to some of the best venues and suppliers that are relevant to help them in their roles and the quality of the exhibitors was second to none.'
The hard work for the 2016 show has already commenced and our focus is to constantly develop and improve the proposition in all regards. The Venue Team are introducing focus and steering groups with influential experts across the different streams of the event to underpin the strategy and have some fantastic news on the precipice of being announced which will add great strength, positioning the show's improvements to ensure that the visitor experience is strong and exhibitors maximise their investment.

Brett Bienias Head of Events and Marketing at UKFE commented; "We have learned a number of critical lessons this year on what aspects of the show worked and which not so well and we are very enthusiastic to working with the industry to further evolve the Venue Expo for next year and beyond. The new plans due to be announced later on this week will be an indication of the great things to come for our industry in the North."

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Echo Arena Liverpool Appoints Concert Sales Co-Ordinator

Echo Arena Liverpool Appoints Concert Sales Co-Ordinator

Echo Arena Liverpool has appointed a concert sales co-ordinator.

Robbie Owen has been recruited to the newly created role from his previous position as a client account manager in the venue's ticketing department. He will be responsible for liaising with concert promoters as well as booking and managing the programme of… events.

He joined The ACC Liverpool Group, also home to BT Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre Liverpool, prior to opening in 2008.

Owen said: 'I have worked for The ACC Liverpool Group since the venue opened more than seven years ago and have built up a strong network of contacts in that time.

'I am looking forward to working with promoters to ensure we maintain a diverse range of events - not just in the arena but across all our venues including EchoTwo and The Auditorium Liverpool.

'Exhibition Centre Liverpool, opening in September, has capacity for 6,000 for standing concerts and we are currently developing an exciting entertainment programme in our new facility which we hope to announce soon.'

Echo Arena Liverpool has hosted artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Beyonce and Katy Perry. Forthcoming highlights include Michael McIntyre, Duran Duran and Dynamo.

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UKFE announce new Irish venue as sponsor for Hosted Buyer and V.I.P Lounge at the Venue Expo

UKFE announce new Irish venue as sponsor for Hosted Buyer and V.I.P Lounge at the Venue Expo

UKFE are delighted to announce that the new multi-million pound Northern Irish venue, Eikon Exhibition Centre, as sponsor for the Hosted Buyer Programme and VIP Lounge at the Venue Expo 2015. A key element in securing this overseas investment was the vision of UKFE for this unique concept. The support… from UKFE specialists to provide the opportunity to develop face to face business relationships with exhibitors was an integral part of Eikon Exhibition Centre coming on board.

As Theresa Morrissey, Commercial and Financial Director for Eikon Exhibition Centre explains;

'The passion from UKFE to develop this scheme shows the forward thinking elements in place to grow the Venue Expo to European and International proportions. The location in Liverpool is fantastic and we feel that buyers will have a unique and fulfilling experience visiting the city. We are also delighted to be attending one of the first events at the new Liverpool Exhibition Centre in such a capacity, just a few weeks before we open the doors to our own multi-million pound exhibition and events venue in Ireland.

We have created a buzz back on the island of Ireland as Eikon will be the largest bespoke venue in the country. Our team from the King's Hall Complex will be relocating to form the backbone of our venue, providing a world-class service to event organisers. Sponsoring at the Venue Expo has given us a dynamic opportunity not only to showcase our innovative team to event organisers but to provide a personal connection to exhibitors and hosted buyers at the Expo from all over the U.K and abroad. We feel this will be a fulfilling experience and already hope to attend the Expo in 2016 as event sponsors and exhibitors.'

The night before an event is always a vibe of activity and anticipation. Exhibitors scramble to complete stands, venue managers and operations teams work to the small hours detailing the final touches. However, the night before the Venue Expo will have a different vibe as Hilton Liverpool will host the inaugural 'Exhibitors & Hosted Buyers Drinks Reception', again sponsored by Eikon Exhibition Centre.

Theresa continues;

'Providing such a great platform, enabling hosted buyers and exhibitors the opportunity to meet at close quarters the night before the Expo begins is a real highlight. Our team from Eikon will be present and look forward to meeting these representatives from different event professions from around the country.'

Bringing Eikon Exhibition Centre on board is testament to The Venue Expo's broader reach this year. The event has secured exhibitors from all around the UK and abroad including Wembley Stadium - the UK's largest sporting stadium, ticketea - Spain's leading ticketing platform and Zephyr Solutions - an event supplier from the United States.

Registration to attend The Venue Expo is FREE, go to to register now

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Gorgeous Contemporary Christmas Craft Fair Enginuity, near Ironbridge 21st and 22nd November

Gorgeous Contemporary Christmas Craft Fair Enginuity, near Ironbridge 21st and 22nd November

Experience the first taste of Christmas at Gorgeous, a contemporary designer craft fair held in Enginuity at Coalbrookdale, one of Shropshire's Ironbridge Gorge Museums on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November.

Hosted in conjunction with the Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft, the event will see skilled craftspeople and artisans from… across the West Midlands showcasing a huge variety of handmade designs and individual artworks. There will be a wealth of Christmas gift ideas with items to suit all pockets from magnificent one-off designer pieces to affordable goods.

Designer-makers will be selling their exquisite and unusual pieces of jewellery, glassware, ceramics, textiles, fine furniture, prints and metal work in the festively decked main hall, while talking to visitors about their trade. In addition, tasty delights from a few of the region's renowned food producers will also be on offer.

Throughout the weekend visitors can enjoy watching a range of expert craft demonstrations delivered by master craftspeople.

This year exhibitors include Emily Richard who makes jewellery in precious metals and is influenced by geometric patterns and shapes,Paul Jaques, a sculptor whose work is functional, sensual and often contains amusing conceptual 'traps' and Jen Colquitt who creates decorative wall panels in fine quality porcelain clay often featuring trees, leaves and flowers.

Now in its 11th year, Gorgeous is a celebration of creative skills, promoting the work of designers and craftsmen in the region, many of whom enjoy status as internationally recognised artists. It also builds on The Gorge's rich heritage of creativity; the place where early industrialists mined for raw materials to make iron, tiles and porcelain goods, many of which are still produced and displayed at the museum sites today.

Entry is 2.50 per person (all ages), under 5s free, including admission into the Enginuity hands-on interactive design and technology centre; admission is also free for Ironbridge Annual Passport ticket holders. The fair will be open from 10am - 5pm on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November.

For further information, contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).

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Upcoming Events

The Great British Alternative Music Festival 2015

Fri 9th October 2015-Mon 12th October 2015
Butlins, Skegness

Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon

Sun 11th October 2015
York, North Yorkshire

Disney on Ice - Worlds of Enchantment

Wed 14th October 2015
Phones 4U Arena, Manchester

Holmfirth Music Festival - The 70th Annual Competition

Thu 15th October 2015-Sat 17th October 2015
Civic Hall, Holmfirth

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