swindon Archives | ZiaBia

2018: Year In Review

Wow… what an amazing year 2018 has been for Team ZiaBia. We have delivered many amazing and memorable events with existing and new clients! From Barcelona to Tower Bridge in London. We can’t say which was our favourite, there are too many to choose from! We feel very lucky to work with such great clients from a variety of industries and charities.

Our team has grown this year which is fantastic and we are starting 2019 with the team growing again and moving into a second office location too. We have also created some trusted partnerships and have had the opportunity to meet and work alongside these teams to help us grow.

What we are saying is that we love what we do and this year has been a celebration of that. So here is onto our next year and all it will bring.

Wishing everyone a very happy and successful 2019!

Site Inspection Tips For Your Next Event

When you are designing an event, the venue is a make or break component. From the most basic requirements of capacity and facilities, to the more specific needs relating to the flow and feel of the space.

You may only get the opportunity to visit your shortlisted venues once. If that is the case, it is imperative that you get all the information you need at that site inspection to make an informed decision about which venue to contract.

Here are some of the top tips we have selected for you to remember for your next site inspections.

WiFi

Always check the WiFi and phone signal at the venue as you walk around to make sure it is sufficient for the event. Check if it is complimentary for delegates and if there are any access codes required. More often than not your attendees will need access to emails during breaks, not to mention your own needs as the co-ordinator. If you are using any technology for your event that relies on internet access checking WiFi is an absolute must and you should be sure to have a hard line back up or have an additional router.

Photographs

Take photos of the rooms and spaces you have on hold, so you can refer to them after you have left and are comparing your venue options. They will be different to the photos on the hotel websites as those are for sales purposes. You will often find that questions crop up after your visit that your photos will help answer. Plasma screen locations, windows, blinds etc.

Directions

Check sat-nav directions using the postcode to ensure it is accurate. Unfortunately, although its not common, some postcodes direct you to the wrong location. Always check.

Floor plans

Make sure you have floor plans to check flow of space for the event. This will help you to ensure the event runs to time. For example, if you have high numbers of attendees moving from one space to another you need to understand if the connecting areas are large enough to move through freely. How close are the areas to each other? How long will it take people to get from one place to another? The floor plans will allow you to sense check all of that when you are arranging your timings and comparing venues.

Checklist! 

Finally, always prepare a checklist to log the things you need to see and the questions you would like to ask about the venue and space you are holding. Document all the answers and make note of any further information that you gain at the site inspection. Some information you will be able to confirm by phone or email after your visit, but the look and feel of the space and how your event will work there can only be done in person.

Good luck! 

 

Top 5 Things I Learnt Being Onsite In Barcelona

I had my first big event to be onsite for just two months into my apprenticeship. I witnessed the event being tied together and my hopes of delivering an incredible conference for over 150 people did not slightly prepare me for what it would actually be like whilst being on site.

The facts of the event

1. The importance of having Events Managers onsite

Prior to being onsite, I was not fully aware of how crucial it is to have events managers onsite, and essentially, how important we are in ensuring an event of this size is delivered in the best possible way. From my first day onsite I had people asking me questions, checking in with me that everything was going correctly and that we were on track. For my first on site experience this was terrifying. Whilst shadowing Vicky and Debbie across the  three days of the conference, I witnessed them find solutions to problems that no one else could’ve without having the in depth knowledge that comes with being totally involved in the pre-event planning, raising the question- why wouldn’t you have your events team onsite?

2. Make a to-do list

Sitting down and writing a to-do list is a day to day essential on my job. A list of what needs to get done whilst onsite simplifies and condenses the buzz of everything going on. I focussed on certain tasks, ticking them off before moving onto the next. This increased the efficiency at which I was working and I stayed on track without getting lost or overwhelmed by everything going on.

3. At which point a DMC is necessary

I was initially introduced to the concept of a DMC in the first week of my apprenticeship. However it was not until I was onsite in Barcelona that I really understood their cruciality when delivering an event overseas. Tasked with the language barrier, communicating with the suppliers based in Barcelona was more difficult. Luckily Vicky and Debbie used a previous DMC contact, which made communicating with the offsite dinner venues easier. However, the presence of a DMC would have definitely sped up some processes of communication, which would have reduced the extra work we had to do as a company to contact all of the suppliers individually that were based in Barcelona.

4. Asking questions is ok!

This seems like a simple concept, however, being new to an event of this size, asking questions was intimidating. I was concerned that my questions wouldn’t necessarily be relevant or that there were a million other things everyone could be doing instead; I was quickly reassured that every question is relevant. Without asking all of my questions, I wouldn’t have been able to carry out my tasks effectively and efficiently. I also wouldn’t have learnt from the experience.

5. A logistics agenda is essential

I have never been as reliant upon a pack of paper as I was upon our logistics agenda! Every aspect of the event was captured in great detail. This allowed me to confidently answer the majority of delegates' questions plus questions from the senior team. Furthermore, having the agenda simply meant I was prepared: if I had a spare 5 minutes I would read it through and check where we were up too. This meant that I could be two steps ahead of the actual event.

Part Time Event Consultant – Full Time Mum

How does that work?

I had made the decision not to return to work after having children even before I got pregnant with my first child. It was a personal choice because I couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on anything as my children grew up. As it turned out this was easier said than done. I had my first child in 2014 and my partner and I moved out of London in order to afford me not going back to work. That was hard for both of us as we had family, friends and a life there. None the less it was the practical option. My next challenge as a new mum was one I never saw coming. I was bored.

I had my first job at 14 waitressing in a local pub at the weekends and I worked part time from that point on throughout my education, including University. Since being a ‘grown-up’ I’ve worked abroad, I’ve worked in small offices, global head offices and even on Super Yachts. I had always worked! When I discovered I was pregnant I thought not working and cuddling a baby all day would be the dream. I had no idea that I would miss working.

So my bundle of joy arrived and I set about my new job, which was the hardest job I have EVER had. I loved my son (still do most days!), marvelled at his cuteness and all the milestones he reached, but I missed my independence and the stimulation of working. I felt pretty down about it. So, I started back to work when my son was 9 months old. I found the perfect job role working evenings at the nearby hospital on a reception desk. It was ideal - my partner came home from work at 4.30pm and I went to work for 3 hours every week night. At the end of the shift everything was complete, no handovers, no work sharing and no stress. More importantly no childcare bills!

After my daughter arrived two years later, I was already starting to think about where I might go next. I wanted more of a challenge and to start making a plan for eventually working full time again. However, as I had originally not planned to work, I had no clue how to do that and look after my children. Childcare is expensive and we couldn’t afford it. Enter ZiaBia!

I first worked with Vicky back in 2007. Vicky worked at the agency managing the first Global Sales conference of the FMCG where I was a PA. It was a fantastic experience and we kept in touch over the years. Just before I left to have my son, I met Vicky and Debbie and heard all about their new business. In 2016 I decided to see if they used freelance staff and to my delight they said yes. A few months later I started doing ad hoc freelance work for them. As a PA, I had organised many conferences and meetings in the corporate world and enjoyed that part of my role the most.

My new ‘side hustle’ worked out so well. I worked from home and they accommodated my situation to allow me to set out on my next journey. In March 2018 I joined ZiaBia as a permanent employee working 15 hours a week. Throughout the whole process Vicky and Debbie kept my family priorities in mind. They are always flexible and considerate about finding a way to work that benefits all of us. I started working one full day a week and spread my other hours out over the evenings and weekends.

Since starting at ZiaBia I have always felt supported, even when I have needed to change my working hours or days. Vicky and Debbie fully appreciate my priorities and that makes balancing my job as a parent with working much easier. I feel valued and in turn I work hard. Being present for my children means I can be dedicated to my working hours without feeling distracted. This makes me a loyal employee, fully invested in ZiaBia, which is a win win situation. I feel very lucky to have found myself in this position.

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