There’s something about a colossal event space – that makes room for all the elements of an event set up AND holds maximum attendees, while allowing networking to happen. However, in the event management industry, change is the only constant. The new trend for event venues is to go small.
Hotels and convention centers are being encouraged to host conferences and gatherings in smaller meeting spaces – which makes them more personal, casual and engaging.
Even if the event itself demands a larger space to support its agenda, say a corporate launch for example, some methods can be incorporated in the seating plan to make spaces that help attendees feel comfortable to connect, network and brainstorm.
For this purpose, event planners can go ahead with lounge seating as alternatives to typical chairs. The ultimate networking space would be smaller tables with may be a few bean bags or comfortable chairs – with the perfect combination of secure, reliable Wi Fi and charging kiosks for all mobile devices. This is a good way to break free from traditional meeting areas.
From small to large, every request is an opportunity for a venue to improve its operations and expand its business.
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!
This article is borrowed from Endless Entertainment, written by Matt Walker.
There’s a good chance that you have attended some sort of conference, trade show, exhibition, or convention at some point in your career. So there you are, walking around, checking out some of the booths. Now think to yourself: what draws you in? What is the factor that makes you approach one booth over the other?
Chances are that there is no one particular factor, but that it is a combination of a few different factors. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways to make your booth design the best in the room!
1. Stand Out
The first suggestion is a pretty obvious one: STAND OUT! You are in a room with lots of other companies using their booths to try and win over the same business that you are trying to win. You need to figure out a way to make your booth catch their eye. Whether that means using unique lighting, sound, visuals, or a full on custom booth structure, make sure that you don’t get lost in the sea of booths. The ultimate goal of an eye-catching booth is to tie in your unique design with what your company offers.
2. Prominently Display Your Name and What You Do
This next one should be fairly obvious too, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to be. I have walked by a countless number of booths where the name and type of company represented by the booth were not readily displayed. Why would I come to your booth if I don’t know who you are and what you do? That makes absolutely no sense to me. If you are spending money, time, and resources on the design, setup, and footprint of a booth, make sure it is easy for attendees to see why you are there.
3. Give Them a Reason to Approach
Since you are surrounded by other booths, it is your job to give attendees a reason to come over to your booth. Whether it’s signage for giveaways, an area for interactive entertainment, or a different incentive program, you need to show attendees why your booth is a must-see while at the conference. Having a booth with a salesman or promotional representative is great, just be sure that they are not overwhelming attendees with pure sales. For example, think about a time when you walked into a clothing store and the employees are blatantly working on commission and are all over you when you walk in. This may work for some people, but others will get turned off by the intensity and will leave. Similarly, at your booth you want to entice people in without rushing right into your sales speech.
4. Make it Easily Accessible
Most large booths have an interactive area that allows attendees to enter the booth area to participate in an activity or learn more about the product or the company. Although different venues/conferences might allow for a bigger or smaller footprint and have extraneous differing details, you need to make sure that your booth layout allows for attendees to easily enter and exit your booth in a safe, orderly fashion.
5. Have Something for Attendees to Take Away
Ultimately, you want conference attendees to remember your booth, why it was important, and possibly bring business to your company in the future. There’s just one small problem: each attendee saw so many booths and talked to so many people that it can be hard to remember each one without a takeaway. Having a printed item themed like your booth (that isn’t just a business card) will give your attendees something to jog their memory and help retain the information that they learned about at your booth. Be sure to include contact information on this take away so that the attendees have a quick and easy way of getting in contact with you after the convention.
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.
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.
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.
While selecting an event manager to manage a particular event for you, it’s critical to define the type of event it is and accordingly choose the right person for the job. Many misconceive the term event manager to mean a person who can put together an event, irrespective of the scale or the type of the event. Seldom do people consider the small but significant differences which exist between a corporate event manager and a social event manager. These key differences can be highlighted very subtly yet identifying these differences while making a decision can be a make or break factor for an event.
A corporate event manager typically manages conferences, seminars, brand launches, activations and interactions with corporate houses and companies. They have a mission, vision and sales targets, so the direction to be worked in would be how you optimally capitalize your investment and accordingly get a return on the same through targeted activities which help deliver the company’s message to the end consumers.
A social event manager on the other hand manages weddings, anniversaries, birthdays etc. and would interact with individuals who have a vision of the perfect wedding, anniversary or birthday which they have been dreaming of for days, months or maybe even years.
And that is where the key difference lies, the emotional attachment which people have to a social event makes managing these kind of events a daunting yet exhilarating experience. A social event manager has an innate ability to connect with the individual more than the event, understand their client’s thoughts, perceptions and accordingly provide a service which exceeds expectations. The key to success for a social event manager is to have an ability to not only understand what has been said, but more importantly identify what has not been said. With a corporate event on the other hand, everything right from conceptualization to execution is centered around highlighting the needs of the audience attending the event and accordingly position ones product or service to maximize return on investment, so the direction that is worked towards is to make the company event a success and individual emotions rarely affect the course of the event as a whole.
Most social events are paid for by the individuals or families themselves, unlike corporate events that are funded by corporate budgets. This places constraints on how these costs are managed right upfront. Weddings, for example, can be funded by a collection of sources including personal funds, loans and gifts. This makes managing the budget a critical part of a successful event – sometime there is little or no room for tolerance for budget overruns or last minute expenses that were not accounted for in the planning, and can cause frustration for all parties involved.
The final and perhaps the most important difference is that most social events (weddings, birthdays and anniversaries in particular) are once-in-a-lifetime events. A corporate event provides opportunities for constant improvement and a platform to build a brand of events in itself which happen year after year.
From the differences highlighted above, social event management and corporate event management are two fundamentally different sections of the event management spectrum and the thought process which a corporate event manager follows is not possible to implement within a social event and vice versa.