A successful event starts with strategic planning and is dependent on the ability to anticipate obstacles. Because there are always obstacles.
If you are going to work with an event planning company, you need to interview them first. You want to know they’re going to be a good fit for your corporate culture or personality. And you want to ensure they can get the job done.
So how can you determine whether an event planning company is right for you?
Start with what they’ve done in the past. Ask them for case studies of successful events they have planned and executed. Give them as much information about your event as you can and ask them to identify strategies that they believe will make or break your party. Be up front about your budget and ask them to give you ideas that will work for the money you have. Look for the most innovative event you can get within your price range.
If your event needs advertising and promotion or media relations, ask the event planner if they can or if they have a supplier who can provide these services and what the cost is.
Successful Event Management
Once you’ve chosen your event or party planning company, you will need to determine the following:
Assess how many people are appropriate for your event and the venue you choose. Present your guest list to the event planning company and make sure to notify them with any changes as soon as possible. Your check-in staff should mark off all of the people that attend so you know who was there. If your event is in a public space, consider having someone with a hand counter at the entrance.
Corporate guest lists are one of the most difficult lists to produce. They need careful consideration and you don’t want to miss any suppliers, dealers, partners or affiliates. Ask your event planner if they can help you with the list – and budget a good amount of time. Inevitably, the guest list is worked and re-worked a number of times. Then make sure you have all the right approvals from anyone with a vested interest in the guest list.
Event Layout & Flow
Make certain that the layout for the venue is easy for guests to move around in. The plan should allow an unobstructed flow throughout the event and the easy move of people. If your event is leading up to something specific, make sure your floor plan supports it. Look for possible bottlenecks and blockages at every turn. You may need to redesign your space several times – but it’s better to do it in advance than in response to a crisis on the day.
Food & Drink
One of the most important aspects of any event is the food and drink. The menu and food quality are extremely important and should be appropriate for the time of day and type of event. Ask your planner to present you with two or three menu options to choose from — and be sure to ask them why they’ve chosen them. You want your event planner to have carefully considered the specific needs of your event — and not simply present you with one of the standard menus they present to all clients regardless of the event. A really good planner can make great suggestions you might never have considered. Let them.
Your event planner should be able to provide a taste test for food, wine and cocktails. That will allow you to ensure you are serving your guests exactly what you want. Speaking of cocktails, ask for bartenders who will monitor guests for those who drink too much. Be sure to offer taxi chits, hotel rooms or other types of assistance for those who overindulge. Ask your party planner to provide a menu of exotic non alcoholic drinks and coffees that can be served towards the end of the evening as well.
Be sure to talk about staffing requirements. Will you need security? Valet parking? Of course, adequate and appropriate catering staff is essential. If gift bags are a component of your event, who will distribute them? Is there an auction component to your event? If so, you’ll need an auctioneer. Greeting staff should be capable of collecting/distributing tickets and be provided with a seating plan to ensure all your guests know exactly where they’re going. You planner will help you determine your staffing needs. Nothing kills an event like under or inappropriate staffing.
Think about location and ambiance. Ask your event planner to recommend several venue options and visit them to assess for yourself if they will be suitable for your event. Assess the space for logistics but also see how pleasant the venue staff is to deal with. You want to ensure your guests will be well taken care of by everyone, and that includes those who work at the location of your event.
If your event is to highlight a product or brand, your guests need to be able to interact with the product and connect with the brand. In fact, this may be the most important thing you must think through when organizing a product launch. How and when your guests have a chance to interact with the product will determine if and how a lasting and positive impression is created. A great planner can be invaluable in helping you work this out.
When planning, be specific and stick to your budget– but do consider additional options based on your planner’s experience. You’re better to add every line item you can think of and then trim the based on thoughtful consideration rather than having to suddenly add budget items in at the last moment. After your event, take an accounting. Did you come under budget or go over budget — and what were the reasons for why you did or didn’t?
Consider production. Are you having speakers or entertainment? Events need a production plan so that all flows smoothly. The event planning company you are working with should have a preferred vendors list for any services and supplies they don’t handle in house. Their own production team should be clear on expectations and deliverables.
Are you looking for press coverage for your event? Your events company may well have a great pr firm that can help you achieve your objectives. Certainly we do. Media advisories, social media campaigns, and art (b-roll, video and photos) are just some of what a good PR firm can help you create or source. If getting media attention is important, you will want to involve the pr agency as quickly as possible. They may have insight into days and times of day that will be preferable for your event over others.
Photos & Video
You may wish to hire a photographer (and possibly a videographer) to document the event. Photographs are a useful tool enabling you to review the event and evaluate its success. Also, they are powerful storytelling tools on websites and in newsletters, etc. Great photographs or video sent from an event to a media outlet can get pick up even if the outlet has not sent a reporter.
Keep in mind
Nobody is perfect. Things happen. Your event planning company’s job is to control what they can – but sometimes, there are simply things beyond their control. Talk to your even planner about their contingency plans. Ask them the types of on the day emergencies they might expect to encounter and how they would handle them. Chances are they have seen it all before!
Ask to be provided with a timeline. This document creates a process for the planning of your event and will minimize the possibility of things going wrong. This will ensure that the event planner you are working with has systems in place to minimize errors.
There are thousands of details that will go into the planning of your event. Depending on what it is, it could take dozens, hundreds or even thousands of hours of event planning to bring it all together perfectly. The right event planning company will make all the difference in the world.
Benchmarks For Success
- Capacity of space versus projected attendance and flow.
- Targeted guest list of opinion leaders, tastemakers. Did you invite too many people or not enough? How was the turnout?
- Successful celebrity wrangling.
- Great post event press coverage.
- Were the proper permits obtained for rearranging the furniture if being held in a public space and was all in accordance with fire codes.
- Was the number of staff sufficient for your gathering? If security was planned, did they do their job?
- Was the catering planned for the perfect amount of food and drink?
- Did your guests compliment you on the choice of food and drinks?
- Were guests interacting with activations and displays for your branding event? If you had giveaways were guests excited about receiving these?
- Did the entrance work well with a well organized red carpet area if that was required and were VIPs escorted for photo opportunities?
- Check in area: was it well staffed and order maintained? No gate crashers?
- Did you need to extend the event and was your event planner able to do so and still work within your budget?
Ultimately with any event you want your guests to come away with an a great experience that leaves them feeling . Events should come together with the appearance of ease of process—in other words all the hard work should be invisible. Great events planning and planners will keep all the drama behind the scene.
4 MUST-haves of Successful Event Management
Events are theater. It’s as simple as that. Whether you are planning a wedding, a catered meeting or a special event for any occasion, you need to think like a stage manager. Although there are many creative people involved in each theatrical event, the stage manager is the one who answers the question, “How is that going to work?”.
Stage managers take responsibility for making the show work at a practical level, even though someone else usually gets all the credit. That’s okay, because a magnificent event is really the only reward that matters.
Business events and personal milestones don’t normally require professional stage managers. Fortunately, there are professionals who have been through it all before. Even a first-time event planner can organize an amazing presentation with a little help and a lot of advanced planning.
Four Stages of Stage Management
- Draw up your resource map – Know what you have to work with, not in a general way, but in detailed reports. You will need:
- A contact database with names, emails and numbers for your event planning and presentation team
- Comprehensive calendar of event dates, rehearsals, when you can access the event space, etc.
- A Gantt chart scheduling the order of things to be done, like “Confirmed presenters” before “Invitations”
- A list of any props, awards, centerpieces, critical items and who is responsible for them
- Assemble your crew – Delegate like a pro. Get the most talented people you can find on your side. We have won international awards for our décor, and Sharon Barwick is a CSEP (certified special event professional). Every member of our team brings the cool hand and artistic eye from many years in the field.
- Rehearse – Take a deep breath and relax. This is not the big show. This is your time to discover what works perfectly and where mistakes are likely to happen. If someone is going to forget their lines, or a prop won’t be ready in time, if the decorations clash with the rug, this is where all those questions should be answered.
- Run your final production meeting – This is your last chance before the event to go over what happened at rehearsal. Fix the bad but make sure you set aside time to cover what went right. Everyone gets the jitters, and they need encouragement to remind them that things are going to be great.
The Secret Ingredient
Without exception, there will be a great deal riding on this event, emotionally or financially, or both. The more you can take care of well ahead of schedule, the smoother will go the rehearsal and the fewer surprises there will be on the big day. We would love to be a part your next event and make sure it is flawless. In fact, we have been so successful that we’ve created a new division specializing in just décor and floral designs. We will work in close collaboration with you to make your dream events come off like clockwork.
Let’s now talk about some event management trends that you might want to keep in mind.
9 Event Management Trends
This year, there are more exciting and interesting trends to expect in event management. This will uplift a lively environment for your attendees as you bring new trends to them.
It’s getting very popular these days to have an photo booth at events. Photo booths allows guests to take picture and share those picture over a variety of channels and social media accounts. The benefit of a photo booth is that your guests will leave your event with a snapshot of great memories. It’s great If you’re planning sequential events. In this case these photos will be a great reminder of past events and might even help you bring in more people to your next occasion. Just Google “photobooth rentals + your site” and you’ll get a handful of companies to choose from.
It is the trend referring to slides sharing on the attendees via tablet and smartphone live. It is not actually a new technology, however, 2015 is the year for your mobile as the second slide screen.
During conferences, attendees can take a look at the smartphones or tablets. Pushing slides into their devices can help them keep focused on contents while enhancing their educational experience.
This refers to the practice of getting the needed ideas, content or services through solicitation of contributions that come from larger groups of people. It is usually requested from the online community than from the traditional suppliers or employees. Crowdsourcing makes use of open forums for people to recommend ideas in the open call format
Conference Event Guide Apps
Mobile applications are considered as must haves during 2015 events. They have been the most direct contact form with the event goer. These are delivering schedules, updated information and alerts to the smartphone attendees. It allows the guests to make better plans for their experience. Using push alerts and notifications are incredible ways of reminding users regarding the events they had tagged or share essential news and announcements.
It is known as the greatest tend of 2015 in which attendees at the event can expect big things. It extends past events that are seen in different theme parks like Magic Kingdom expansion of Disney. Here, guests may get into the castle of Bell and at its Be Our Guest Restaurant. This trend brings an experienced from this castle including the menu, lighting, and servers. Immersive Experiences has been creating ways for its guests to give a distinct experience of being into another world.
Video project mapping is capable of turning a particular surface to a screen. It is typically utilized on walls and buildings, however, you can even utilize it on different surface. Projection mapping takes the place of flat projection for this year and eve beyond. The best feature about this trend is that there are no necessary physical changes in structuring the display.
Hiring photographers can be a case for many events. However, leveraging media that has been created by the attendees is a different story. As people move to more visual internet, collecting videos and pictures by attendees gets paramount.
Real Time Analytics
Events occur quickly while pressure has been incredible. Happiness, safety and business success have been the pressing thoughts of each smart professional. The startups making live analytics like preferences, check-in based analytics and heat maps greatly impacts the year 2015.
Technological pieces that can speed up on-site registration become trendy this year. Attendees will start making their show floor very busy again right after economic global crisis. Event professionals should utilize all technology available in speeding the process of checking in.
These eight event management trends 2015 can inspire people to innovate for the next years. This is a way of bring freshness into the attendees.
Finally, for the dessert, there’s a compilation of some inspiring event perks that will have your guests remember the event for a very long time. Thanks to our event genius Sharon Barwick, CSEP who was kind enough to put it together. We hope these ideas will inspire some creativity!
11 Unexpected Event Perks
Make your next multi-day meeting and conference sing with your guests. Here are some wonderful event planning ideas that you can add to your event that pamper your guests and show them you care. It’s all in the details and doesn’t have to cost a bundle!
1. Relief From High-Heel Suffering
After a long Oscar night, host Seth MacFarlane’s official after-party included a station from Tkees, which encouraged guests to check their heels (similar to the way they would at a coat check) and pick up a pair of flip-flops—in gold, appropriate to the occasion.
2. Shelter From Rain
Guests arriving at USA Network’s event atop the High Line in New York last summer found a receiving line of umbrella-wielding staffers, who provided shelter all the way to the entrance of the covered bash.
3. Sun Protection at the Ready
At Lacoste’s Coachella pool party in the blazing desert sun, cigarette-style girls, clad in Lacoste gear, passed Kiel’s sun-protection products.
4. Wet Weather Accessories
When the weather unexpectedly turned sour at South by Southwest this year, ponchos from Warner Brothers served as protection from the rain as well as an opportunity to promote CW television series Arrow.
5. Relaxing Hammocks
Bonnaroo attendees could relax in hammocks and enter to win V.I.P. passes in the “Great State Lounge” hosted by State Farm. The insurance company also provided what it called “Bonnaroo Roadside Assistance”—free services such as help with flat tires and dead batteries.
6. Yoga Sessions
At the WWD Beauty C.E.O. Summit in Palm Beach, yoga on branded mats on the lawn allowed guests to relax and unwind.
7. Hair Services for Grubby Festival-Goers
More than 80,000 people traveled to a remote 700-acre farm in Tennessee June 7 to 10 for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Knowing the attendees would be outside day and night listening music on multiple stages, brands such as Garnier Fructis provided practical services such as free hair-washing and styling in a 40- by 40-foot air-conditioned tent.
8. Convenient Transportation
During Upfront Week in New York last year, Turner Broadcasting held back-to-back late-night events and, to help transport guests from the Adult Swim party to the shindig for TruTV, provided a fleet of pedicabs offering free rides.
9. Custom Fragrance Gifts
For a recent press event in Los Angeles, Paul Frank brought Starring Fragrances for a station
that gave guests the chance to take home custom fragrances, made on the spot according to
their individual tastes.
10. Easy, Stylish Phone-Charging Access
At the FN C.E.O. Summit in Miami, guests could charge their smartphones in a luxe lounge—a stylish, discreet solution to manage the task that everyone wants as a convenience at events. The centerpieces during the education sessions were framed instructions on how to reference the summit on social media and log on to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network.
11. Flip-Flop Takeaways
MSNBC also had a flip-flop station at its White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner after-party, providing relief for folks who had been on their feet all evening.
We hope this Event Management 101 guide helps you understand what goes into successful event management, what are some key rules to keep in mind and what is coming to the event management stage to better entertain your guests in the future. Leave a comment or two to let us know if this guide was helpful.