All those weeks of planning. All those efforts and details coming together to form an extra ordinary event. The event is over, yet there are several areas where improvement was needed.
As an event planner, your job is to lead a thought-provoking discussion by asking your event team, questions in a pre-planned sequence. This event debrief will allow all of you to describe what happened during the entire event, what was accomplished, what needs were met and what areas could be worked on, for better results.
The sooner this debrief is conducted, the better; as the event experience is still fresh in the minds of everyone who worked on it. This helps because the full-scale debrief that you had planned to do in office weeks later will become easier.
Let your team know in advance that a fast, crisp discussion will be held onsite as soon as the event wraps up. Have someone take notes of everything discussed and let them know that these points will be revisited later in greater detail for the main debrief session coming up.
At the end of this session, you should have some valuable inputs from your team which you can incorporate into your next event planning process.
This article is borrowed from Endless Entertainment, written by Matt Walker.
It is not uncommon for event planners to get into a routine – planning similar events at the same couple of venues while using the same vendors and the same staff. We can’t always plan events in our shell, in a location we know like the back of our hand, with people we’ve known for forever. Sometimes we have to break out of our shell and plan an event in a brand new location with different people, different vendors, and different conditions. The trick is knowing how to use this to your advantage. Let’s take a look at a few tips to help with planning an out of town event:
1. Research and Learn About Your Venue Options
Without a background of living or working in the area where the event will take place, there’s a good chance that you will know little to nothing about the venues available in the area. Since knowledge about your venue is integral in the planning process for an event, utilize all of the resources you have to get a good idea of what each venue can offer to your event. Research venue information online, find photos of the venue layout and setups for previous events, reach out to any contacts you know in the area to ask any questions you may have, call the venues with capacity, layout, and pricing questions, and more.
2. Choose a Venue
Your choice of venue will affect every aspect of planning and executing the event, so be sure that you are utilizing as much information when making the choice as possible. Another factor that may come into play is whether the venue is indoor, outdoor, or a combination of the two. Since the event will be out of town, you might have to deal with different weather conditions than you’re used to dealing with. Be sure to check out weather predictions if your venue is outside or has an outdoor portion (deck, yard, etc.). Once you solidify your choice and lock down the date for your venue, you can begin with the rest of the planning process.
3. Decide If You’ll Use Local or Out of Town Vendors
If you’ve been planning events in your local area, chances are that you have a set of local vendors that you usually use. A choice that you will have to make when planning an out of town event is whether to use your usual, trusted vendors and transport the rented equipment or to use a different vendor in the location of the event. There are variables with both options. If you use your usual vendors, you will likely have higher expenses to transport equipment and you will have to be sure to keep equipment from being broken or scratched during travel, but you know the type of service and equipment you will be receiving. If you use an out of town vendor, you will not have to worry about transportation issues, but will likely be working with people you have never worked with before. This is a decision that needs to be made on an individual event basis depending on budget and how you feel about using a new vendor after reaching out to them.
4. Coordinate Travel and Lodging for Employees
Chances are that you will be using at least some in-house personnel at the event even if it is out of town. Depending on how far away the event is and how long the event will take, you will need to coordinate their travel and lodging. If they need to fly to the destination, flights will need to be booked well in advance to keep expenses down. If they can travel by car, carpools need to be coordinated and the process of how gas will be reimbursed needs to be laid out beforehand. When booking hotel rooms, be sure that you are holding the correct number of rooms with plenty of time in advance. Since they are staying in a hotel for an event, chances are there will be other people doing the same, and you don’t want to end up in a situation where there are no hotel rooms left to book! Deciding whether or not employees will be sharing rooms beforehand and, if they are, choosing who each person will be rooming with can help prevent a headache later on.
5. Include Extra Travel Time
Since employees are traveling to a place they probably haven’t been before, be sure to include a little extra time for travel in your itinerary. Since they are going somewhere new, there is a better chance that a wrong turn may be made, that they will have to go out of their way to find a gas station, that they will need to search for a restaurant, etc. Giving yourselves a little extra cushion in a new place can help ensure that you won’t be late for anything event related.
6. Be Understanding and Be Creative
Since you and your staff will be in a new location, possibly using different vendors and different equipment, and sleeping in a hotel, be sure to keep an open mind and be understanding with your crew. People WILL have questions, and that’s not a bad thing. Use this new situation to work with your crew under different circumstances and use the new venue and location to exercise your creativity and try things that you’re unable to try under usual circumstances.
About Matt Walker
Matt has been involved in marketing and event management for the better part of the last decade, planning concerts and comedy shows of national and local scale, tour managing various brands on national tours, coordinating VIP experiential marketing, and developing marketing plans for entertainment and technology companies.
No company has ever, or will ever operate without a business logo to represent it. Whether it’s branding or marketing, the company logo is essentially the first thing that catches the attention of people – the presence of a logo enables all forms of communication that your brand wants to project to its target audience.
The logo can either be textual, symbolic or illustrated – or even a combination of these three things. There’s obviously no better venue than an event to promote a company’s branding elements; and the logo depicts the values and services of the business visually. Most event planners agree that their clients specifically emphasize on the correct placement and expression of their company’s logo, at their events.
Keeping this in mind, today’s blog post defines how polystyrene and acrylic logos are being adopted vastly into exhibitions, in-store displays and all other types of corporate events.
Polystyrene logos are lightweight and simple to install – they can be hung, mounted or allowed to stand freely. Since they are available in a variety of finishes – painted, glittered, vinyl or MDF (medium density fibre-board), they give a three dimensional feel to the branding.
Acrylic signages are extremely durable, clear and have the ability to take on a wide spectrum of colors. They are eye catching, which contributes to higher brand recognition. The company logo can be custom fabricated with multi-colored letterings or with different layers of colored acrylic strips. The greatest advantages derived from acrylic logos are price and versatility.
Successfully branded events motivate your target audience to future action. How do you want your target audience to view your company? What emotions and feelings should the event logo evoke? How do you want your audience to interact with your brand before, during and after your event? These factors are not accomplished by simply putting your company name on invitations anymore.
As an event planner, you might have used your best resources and ideas to execute a smooth event for your client. But did it live up to your client’s expectations? Were the sound and lights favorable? Was the catering decent?
Learn about the needs and expectations of your target market to improve your future business and marketing strategies through curated post-event surveys. Post-event surveys often provide the most meaningful feedback in knowing if your efforts were successful from the attendees’ perspective.
To ensure the highest participation rate, send your post-event survey to attendees as soon as the event has ended, while their experience is fresh in their minds. The most important information collected from post-event surveys is whether attendees found value in the event, whether it was worth their investment of time and resources, and whether they would participate in the event again.
Online surveys are the most useful – you can get the responses faster than collecting them manually and collate data to help further your research. When creating the survey, keep it short — under 10 questions is best — and only use one or two open response answers. People will be more likely to answer the survey if it contains choices instead of requiring them to write answers to everything.
Below are samples of questions to ask in your next post-event survey:
How would you rate the overall outcome of this event?
How would you rate the competence of the event staff?
Do such events help in increasing visibility for the company?
Was there a networking opportunity for attendees?
What could the event organizers have done differently?
Compared to other similar events you have attended, how does this event compare?
Can the information you gathered from this session be applied to your business?
Collecting feedback from your attendees is the best way to make your events better and better each time. You want to keep your current audience and make it grow. Use the feedback to see what works and what doesn’t work and plan accordingly. You can go from being a good event planner to a great one simply by listening to the people who experience your events first-hand.
The seating arrangement at your event is a deciding factor in making or breaking the event. The venue for any event is chosen after examining the layout and the space available. However, venue seating charts are often deceiving and are not good measures of how many people can be placed or seated comfortably. Before event planners can pack in as many attendees as the venue can allow, it must be determined what kind of seating will be used and in what configuration.
The dynamics, networking and participation at the event depends on seating. Depending on the objectives of the meeting or the event, assigned seats or tables can be beneficial.
Deciding the type of seating at events depends on some factors like – where the food will be served, if the attendees will be taking notes or using laptops during the sessions, if there will be an award ceremony that requires people to walk up to the stage, the shape and size of the stage and the size of the audience.
The different types of seating generally used are:
Theater style seating
Classroom style seating
Round table/cluster seating
To ensure that you are selecting the best seating solution for your event, ask yourself what is needed and what is available. What you need will be determined by the size of the audience and the itinerary of the sessions held during the event. Whether you are planning an award show or a training seminar, specific furniture and configurations will be more functional than others.
With people being inseparable from social media, it’s safe to say that technology has taken over our lives. When it comes to events, the more shares/photos/tweets you get, the better right? Wrong. Although event planners find it extremely important to promote their work through all platforms available, they must give a thought about the actual focus and attention that their event gets from their attendees.
Phones, Ipads, tablets and all other devices pose as interruptions during an event – with people feeling the constant need to update photos or tweet about their event experience. There is a fine line between your guests advocating your seminar or conference; and being digital zombies in front of their screens without having a definite understanding of what exactly is going on. When you discourage devices from your event, you encourage your guests to look up and drink in their surroundings.
When you want hundred percent attention from the crowd to a particular time in the entire event – a product launch for instance, ask them in advance to keep their gadgets aside for that moment. Setting aside a special booth like a charging station, might actually help. Asking people to tune out emails or messages from their contacts is a huge factor; respect their need to catch up with their updates throughout the event. They might have to check in with an employee or make some personal calls, and you wouldn’t want to hinder that. This in turn allows them to understand why you need their undivided attention.
The first thing that people resort to when they get bored is turn to their phones. Try making your unplugged event fun by rewarding your attendees – make the overall experience more engaging and lively so they genuinely feel the need to concentrate and remain disconnected from all that tech!
The event management industry is a complex & dynamic environment, and comprises of a wide variety of events.
In this post today, we intend to focus on the kinds of corporate/business events that event planning agencies often organize.
Conferences and Seminars:
Seminars and conferences can focus on internal operations and be limited only to your organization; or they can be used as vehicles for company promotion.
A conference is a participatory meeting or a gathering of members of organizations, designed for discussion, fact finding and problem-solving. It facilitates the exchange of information and gives an opportunity to discuss matters of common interest. Conferences generally have keynote speakers and breakout sessions by topic. They can be held over one or two days or sometimes longer.
Seminars on the other hand are usually smaller in terms of targeted audience size, lasting over a couple of hours with single or multiple speakers.
The debut of a product into the market defines a product launch. It signifies the point at which consumers first have access to a new product. Product launch events are important and require attention from the media and the public.
These launches give the public and the media a chance to hear everything about the product before any negative reviews are given. The task of putting together these product launch events could fall to a company employee who organizes meetings or an outside company.
Trade missions and Road Shows:
Trade missions are international trips by government officials and business people, organized for the purpose of exploring international business opportunities. A trade mission is a way in which countries or organisations can seek out potential buyers and sellers.
Roadshows can be small training sessions tailored for your colleague’s needs or much larger scale events in public spaces to reach out to potential customers.
Every company reaches a point in their annual operations or project milestones that calls for a celebration. Awards ceremonies can be held to honor team members who have gone beyond the call of duty, or to compliment the achievements of people within your industry.
Executive Retreats and Team Building Programs:
The primary or only occasion during the year – when an organization and it’s employees meet at a site away from their primary edifice. The objective is to generally offer a creative environment from which they can focus on clear, specific goals and objectives for the coming year.
Executive retreats have a more casual ambiance while team building events define team roles, and are useful tools for improving communication withing the organization and improving productivity.
Exhibitions and Trade Shows:
Event planning for trade shows involves negotiating sponsorship rates for trade show booth space, advertising and promotion at the event, and also sometimes design and execution of the trade show booth. They are important lead-generating activities.
Themed Office Celebrations:
Corporate office celebrations provide great opportunities to socialize with colleagues and co-workers. Celebrated in almost all organizations, they encourage the employees to generally bond over drinks and dinner.
Theme corporate parties also provide great opportunities to instigate guest interactions. The scope for paying attention to detail is huge, with the costumes and decor elements creating a fantasy environment.
Some corporate event agencies also manage lifestyle events like high profile luncheons, fashion shows and press events.
These are a few common business events that event managers generally execute, under the corporate event umbrella.
In an industry like event management, relationships with clients vary tremendously from hugely formal/businesslike to far out casual or anything in-between.
Though, from an outsider’s perspective, event planning agencies put out a casual image, a formal attire is best suited for most of the corporate events – which comprise of an official business environment.
Here comes the need for the on-site event team to be dressed appropriately for the event – a small but important detail that often gets overlooked.
Your event team can follow a particular dress code, which looks sharp yet advertises your own brand in a tasteful way. However, professional does not always mean monotonous or stodgy; it’s fine to allow a bit of personal interests to mix with professionalism.
The members in your event team should be dressed in a monochrome, so they have the right mix of being visible to the client or guests when required; and to avoid standing out too much in the crowd. Generally, black is an industry standard – feminine tailored cuts for women are preferred and they can have the company’s logo on them.
You can get as creative as you like with the style of these staff dresses – as long as your event team finds them comfortable, and they look presentable. These details go a long way in establishing a brand recall with your clients and attendees.
Food is one of the best marketing efforts that engages all the five senses. Good catering and excellent service often stand out to companies as much as the corporate event’s message itself.
There are many items to consider when planning your menu and venue for your corporate event. A few ideas to keep in mind are:
- The size of the crowd
- How long they’ll be attending your corporate event
- What your venue is capable of handling as far as serving and seating
- Your budget
Make sure the food you serve at your corporate event is easy to eat and not too messy, as not to distract guests from conferences and team meetings.
Keeping in mind the preferences of guests or the mood of the event, a novel idea to engage your clients at your corporate events is to experiment with the cuisine – people generally remember having a new experience when it comes to food.
You can be as creative or as traditional as you like, but incorporating special dishes by breaking out of the typical mold will surprise and interest your attendees.
One of the main intentions of corporate cocktails is to initiate guest interactions and enable networking. Finger food works very well for this purpose – and a platter of canapes which are bite sized and creatively presented, are the best pick.
Food that is flavorful and beautiful to behold is essential at corporate events, but when it compliments the theme of the event, it’s even better.
Another fun idea is to match the theme or style of the food to the theme of the corporate event. How much fun you have with this idea depends on your company’s guidelines, so make sure to check them.
Dessert is a must have at any corporate event, it acts as the perfect finish to the culinary experience and the event itself.
Businesses and associations invest in events to communicate their message, motivate the audience and strengthen the bond they have towards the organization. The entertainment at these events brings people into the moment and unites them in a tangible way.
To get the most out of your corporate entertainment you must make sure that:
• Your entertainment idea will impress guests and ensure that the event is talked about.
• You use entertainment that can incorporate your logo or corporate message.
• You are aware of the latest entertainment trends
Here’s a look at some corporate entertainment ideas that we used at our past events:
Flair bartending is an unconventional type of entertainment which captures everybody’s attention.
The tricky and dazzling ways in which the professional flair bartenders manipulated the bar tools, helped in bringing the dispersed crowd together and held their interest, while also falling in sync with the party’s Arabian theme.
An Italian hair care and beauty product label launched in India. Their objective was to tap big chain salons through workshops and seminars. The launch had a regular workshop and a fashion show attended by celebrity hair dressers, but the Golden Wing Dancers’ graceful performance cranked the entertainment up by a notch.
A Channel Partners Meet which was a commonplace launch event, was turned into an interactive experience by us. For the launch sequence,the conventional DJ was replaced by a corporate percussion group, who made every person present, feel like a part of the launch with their fast paced and high energy performance.
Sand artists have taken the corporate entertainment scene by storm – these talented artists perform custom made sand animations. For a product launch, this sand artist depicted the history of the company beautifully through sand art.
Live performances at corporate events establish a visceral connection between the artist and the viewer. The viewers focus on different nuances and moments of the performers, which lasts long in their minds.
Cultural performances enhance the ambience of a corporate event and make it more engaging for the people present, by helping them relax and enjoy. A seasoned, professional and classical performer can create that, with his powerful and expressive live performance.
Entertainment for corporate events needs to be targeted specifically towards key target audiences, ensuring that it is suitable for guests and attendees.