Tag Archives: event planning

How To Work With New Event Vendors

Successful event planners work with a large network of vendors and suppliers in the industry. These vendors can make or break your event, no matter how great your event concepts are.

As event managers, we majorly allocate our work to vendors with whom we have established good ties, over the years. Sometimes, however, the need arises to look for a new vendor – which is not an easy task.  The vendors you choose to work with must necessarily have a good reputation as you cannot afford to damage your own in the process. Your vendor network is not just a group of people you subcontract your work to – they are your team.

Here are a few thoughts from our side, on how to pick an efficient vendor in code red situations:

  •  A good way to find new vendors is to gather referrals from one of your existing vendors, clients or other planners. Do your research and talk to people who have an experience of working with them. It’s easier to trust a new person by getting assurance from someone you already know.
  • Start small – give the new vendors a small portion of the work that you need to get done and judge their capabilities according to their response time and the quality of the work. Check if they can cope with your deadlines and standards of working.
  • Compare costs with your other vendors – you might find that vendor rates differ with different factors. Some of them might provide the same services at reduced costs, but make sure that you do not compromise on the quality.
  • Visit the vendors’ work station to get a first hand understanding by seeing samples of their previous work, before you hire them.
  • Clarify payment terms with vendors and let them know about your company’s terms and conditions – whether they are rigid or flexible. Imagine promising something to your client and not being able to deliver because your vendor was a no-show.
  • You know you have found a worthy vendor when he/she has a better knowledge than you, of what you require. Make a list of all your specifics and put it together with the suggestions that they have to offer.

There are a few times you have to blindly trust new suppliers, and it does take time to add them to your existing database. But event management, being an ever-changing, dynamic industry, thrives on trials & errors every now and then, and it’ll definitely be worth it in the end.

 

 

Why You Need to Treat Your Staff as Well as Your Attendees

This post has been written by Kristi Sanders from Event Planning, a blog by Cvent.

There’s a triple bottomline to sustainability: people, planet, profits. The last two are pretty clear, but how are you supposed to treat people sustainably?

The answer is simple: Like human beings.

How often have you served a three-course banquet to your event attendees while serving your staff sandwiches? For that matter, how often do you enjoy a full meal while you’re onsite? That’s not sustainable.

People have limits beyond which they burn out and cease to be productive. If you want your employees to give you 100 percent, you can’t demand they always be “on.” You need to give them sufficient breaks to recharge, adequate nutrition on-site and enough hours “off the clock” that they can sleep more than 5 hours a night.

In order to do that, you need to stop yourself from:

  • Sending emails after hours and on weekends. What’s work-related needs to be limited to work hours.
  • Skimping on paying your staff the same courtesies you pay your clients and attendees. Do they have special dietary requirements? Do they have physical restrictions? Be as considerate in planning your staff meals and outings as you are when organizing your conferences.
  • Requiring employees to work while on vacation.
  • Denying yourself full meals, vacation time, and hours “off the clock.” Otherwise you risk falling into the “superman/superwoman” trap. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. And it’s no one else’s fault if you’re a workaholic. People need to have a life outside, too.

At the conclusion of every program, you and your staff need to take a break. Otherwise, your creative energy and enthusiasm will start to dry up.

Don’t limit consideration only to your staff, either. Speakers, exhibitors, vendors, and sponsors aren’t just commodities, they’re people, too. Avoid creating a conference “class system” where people who are paying money to be onsite with you are excluded from all the perks and basic human necessities (like food and water on an expo trade floor) that other classes of attendees get. If you do, you can be certain that they eventually will fail to see the ROI of investing in your future events.

5 Annoying Things People Do At Events

Some arrive late. Some RSVP after the event is almost over. Some do not follow the pre-event info circulated by you and ask questions that are already answered.

It’s safe to say that, as event planners, we’ve seen our share of pet peeves that attendees indulge in, at events. Here’s a list of what really grinds our gears:

1. Not Adhering to Timelines:

It’s just plain rude and inconsiderate for an event guest to show up late. These are the people you see making their way in through the crowd awkwardly and excusing themselves. There are also a few who decide selectively to attend only one segment of the entire event and rush to the eating area as soon as their ‘favorite part’ is done. The worst of this kind are the no-shows who RSVP ‘yes’ but decide against it at the last minute.

2. Constant Phone Calls:

Not only do they keep their phones on loud, but also find it extremely okay to attend each and every call that they receive. It’s a blessing if they move out of the scene to chat, or you will be privy to some personal conversations on loud mode.

3. Coming to the Console for Requests:

The console is NOT a cellphone charging station. Some clients also get on the wrong side of the console (pun intended) by changing the agenda or order of presentations, leaving event planners baffled.

4. Leaving  Belongings at Registration:

Just because lanyards with your names are handed out at registration when you enter, it’s not okay to leave behind your belongings and ask event staff to keep an eye on them while you network/eat/take a washroom break and so on.

5. Irresponsible Drinking:

Everybody loves an open bar, but it’s great if event guests can keep themselves at an average pace and save some embarrassing moments for themselves and the others around.

These are a few less than impressive experiences that make event planners pull their hair out. Avoid these and you’ll be a regular invitee who’ll be remembered for the right reasons.

 

Event Venues – Small or Big?

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.

Courtesy: Bizbash
Courtesy: Bizbash

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.

Courtesy: Bizbash

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.

Courtesy: Bizbash

From small to large, every request is an opportunity for a venue to improve its operations and expand its business.

 

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 Marketing – Do it with Selfies

In addition to becoming the word of the year in 2013, the selfie is now being embraced by brands and marketers as a free, effective tool. After Ellen Degeneres’ selfie at the Oscars received around 3.5 million re-tweets, people have started removing the stigma from this phenomenon and trying to use it to leverage marketing and promotion campaigns.

What exactly is a selfie?

Hold your smartphone, stretch your arm out and take a picture of yourself.  It’s as simple as that.

How does it help an event planner?

Having smart technology at their fingertips and wanting to capture almost everything happening around them shows that event attendees are looking for an experience. Give it to them. Making people take selfies at your event indicates that in some way, your event is being shared; because 99 out of 100 selfies automatically go up on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Make sure that your company’s logo/name and all other branding at the event venue is clearly visible and presented in a fun, innovative way – maybe through frames or props or colored lettering. Drive your attendees to the ‘selfie station’ so your event experience is being promoted effortlessly.

You can also use selfies as event decor or have a live feed of these pictures –  which creates excitement around the area.

Give them incentives and encourage the sharing of these selfies – reward them with a freebie of some sort or publicize their image on your brand’s social media pages.

Love them or hate them,  selfies are everywhere – and it’s wiser to make good use of them effectively while the trend is still hot!