Tag Archives: corporate event

Coordinating Guest Travel To Your Event

Coordinating Guest Travel To Your Event

Whether you’re planning a wedding or you’re a corporate event planner, you know that the logistics can make or break an event. If the guests’ memories of the event are more about driving around in circles, lost, searching for the venue than they are about the fun they had there, that’s not a good thing. One of the best things you can do as you plan either a social or corporate event is to coordinate your guests’ transportation. Even if the attendees are largely local, coordinating charter bus transportation can eliminate the anxiety of finding the venue, the potential for drinking and driving, and avoid having to ensure space for lots of cars to be parked.

 As well, if you’re expecting attendees from out of town, a shuttle bus rental to transport them back and forth to airports and hotels can not only alleviate their stress, but your own, too, because you can ensure that they will arrive safely and on time. However, not all bus charter companies are created equal; here are some tips for choosing a charter bus company that will be reliable and suit your needs:

 1.     Safety first: Certainly, the first priority for choosing a charter bus rental company is finding one with a reputation for taking safety seriously. The website allows you check safety ratings of motor carrier companies; if you’re evaluating a motor carrier, look it up by name  and number on the site to discover its safety rating.

 2.     Check insurance: Bus charter companies have different regulations to follow based on whether they travel within states or over state lines. While you might think that’s their problem and not yours, it could be a problem for you if the bus charter company doesn’t have the proper insurance; it could get fined or impounded, which would leave you high and dry at the time of your event.

 3.     Get references or read testimonials: Some charter bus companies list testimonials on their websites, but it’s hard to know whether they are legitimate. When contracting with a charter bus company, it’s a good idea to ask the representative if s/he can provide three references, i.e. customers who can attest to good service that the company provided. Sometimes, companies are hesitant to do this, and it may not be because they’re afraid of what the customer would say;  it could be that they have confidentiality agreements or other reasons why they’re not comfortable approaching former clients. However, if that’s the case, you can simply Google the name of the company with the search term “reviews” and you’ll likely find a host of reviews that will give you an idea as to whether the company is reputable. Every business is sure to have a few negative reviews, so don’t just read one or two. Check them out and look for a pattern of overall satisfaction or dissatisfaction before you make a decision.

 4.     Contingency plans: Ask the bus rental company how it handles unforeseen circumstances, like a bus breaking down en route to an event or a driver getting sick. What is their backup plan? You don’t necessarily need to know every detail about how they handle a Plan A and Plan B for each event because it’s their business to coordinate the logistics, but you should feel confident that the company has systems in place in order to accommodate a situation that could be out of the ordinary. Whatever the procedure is, you want to be assured that if they need to substitute a bus or driver, it won’t impact your guests’ safety or comfort, or their arrival at their destinations on time. Inquire as to whether the charter bus rental company has a 24-hour number staffed by real people (i.e. not voice mail) that you can call in case of emergency.

 5.     Driver screening: Ask what qualifications the driver must have. Again, safety is important, and this is part of that. Find out if the company’s drivers undergo drug screens, criminal background checks, driving record checks and other rigorous application processes. Especially if your event involves transporting children, you need to know that drivers have been screened appropriately. The driver must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement printed on the document. CDLs can be issued once a driver has demonstrated ability based on on-road and knowledge examinations. If necessary, inquire as to whether the company has bilingual drivers.

 6.     Cost! Of course you’re going to compare pricing of various bus charter companies before you make a decision. But, cheapest is not necessarily best. Many charter bus rental companies offer a variety of bus rental options so that you can choose specific vehicle amenities that are ideal for your group. Some shuttle vans, charter buses or minibuses have features like on-board restrooms, DVD players and wifi, so you should discuss with your representative specifically what would best meet your guests’ needs and what the involved fees would be.

These are all just starting points; the main aspect to scheduling a shuttle van or charter bus for your event is making sure that you have enough capacity to accommodate the number of guests you’re expecting and that the bus rental company is able to provide service to the venues where your event is being hosted. Providing transportation might be the single biggest perk you can give your event guests; we’ve all been in situations where we’ve had to be somewhere on time, but we’ve struggled with maps and parking, or we’re simply too tired to drive home afterwards. Eliminate all of that hassle — it will be worth it!

Source: metropolitanshuttle.com

Event Debriefs - The sooner, the better

Event Debriefs – The Sooner, the Better

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.

 

 

6 Steps for Planning an Outdoor Event

6 Steps for Planning an Out of Town Event

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.

Post-Event Feedback

Post Event Feedback

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.

 

Event Seating

Event Seating

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.

 

 

Unplug Your Event

Unplug Your Event

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!