Vendor Relationships and Responsiveness

Spring is upon us! Well, almost. With 2016 well underway, people have returned from the long mental checkout of the holidays and are fully back in the swing of things. That means events, events, and more events. The routine of once-again refreshing the vendor list and inserting photographer tab A into event slot B is back up and running. What makes a trusted planner is the track record of great events they’ve put on, but dig deeper, and it’s the vendors who are the parts who create the sum. People remember specifics from events…the decor, the food, the music, the knick-knacks, the gaudy outfits, the great speeches. All of these components have someone behind the curtain, and chances are, you’ve used them in a repeat capacity since they’ve been reliable, well-received and on-point. While most people focus on the vendor’s duty to keep the planner happy so they stay on the vendor list, the responsibility of the planner to keep the vendor happy is very much underestimated. Dig deeper into the vendor-planner relationship and a specific trouble point crops up over and over again – responsiveness. Too often, a planner doesn’t get up to date feedback from a client, and therefore leaves the vendor hanging out to dry. This lack of communication and real-time feedback puts the vendor in a bad place, and makes it difficult for them to commit to an event. In worst cases, this state of limbo forces them to lose out on other jobs as they wait for answers that never show up on time. Therefore, in order to keep vendors happy and keep your...

The Importance of Memorable Events

Event planners from all walks of life are often given a straightforward task: “Make this event great!” As if you were planning on making it a catastrophe. This directive is issued from the top, either from internal leadership or the head of client organizations, and is the one and only thing that you’ll be judged by when it’s all said and done. But what does it really mean? Greatness in the event space is defined by many as a smooth, crisp operation where everything goes according to plan. The shuttle busses don’t break down. A hurricane doesn’t force a last minute site relocation. The tuna tartar doesn’t cause a salmonella outbreak amongst the Australian delegation. But what event planners define as success, attendees and clients define as minimum expectations. Of course the food will be great. Of course everything will run smoothly. These are their baselines. And they will not wow them, nor help them define the event as great. So, what will? Great memories based on unique moments. This is the time to break out the goodie bag of unique vendors, unique venues, creative applications and user-friendly systems that will make each attendee feel like a king and queen. Who do you know in the area that can make these people sing, dance and laugh in a way they never have before? What app developers can put something together that will make each person feel like Steve Jobs – with the ability to change everything with the click of a button? You have these folks in your rolodex – now it’s time to use them. Don’t be afraid...

Great Storytelling to Grow Your Business

A steady stream of clients is the lifeblood of any event planner’s business. Most event professionals go to great pains to ensure they have a crisp website, strong SEO presence and a robust network of referrals that keep things flowing. But that’s only one part of the equation, and it often overlooks a critical component – clients buy you as much as your business. When you’re in front of people at a networking event, or during a face to face prospect meeting, one key above all others will ensure they’re hooked on the story of you and become personally invested in you as their event planner. Here are the best ways to ensure your origin story becomes a hit with your prospects: 1) Begin with the relatable story of your past life. No, not the past life when you were the 14th century Queen of England. The life you had before you started your event planning business. Most of your prospects have a similar job to this one and would love to follow their dreams as you have. Hook them on your journey. 2) Talk about the “A-Ha” Moment. That inspiration moment in time when you decided it was time to take the plunge – what inspired you to do it, how you knew it was the moment. People become attached to pure emotion, especially when it comes from a place of inspiration. 3) Reinforce your Decision. Talk about how it was the best decision of your life, and how you wouldn’t change a thing if given the opportunity. When people know you love what you do, they know...

4 More Creative Ways to Jazz up Your Next Meeting

Meetings that are fun, unique, and memorable are sure to draw rave reviews from your attendees and will reflect positively on your sense of style. In the first installment of this two part series, we outlined three creative ways to take your events to the next level. As promised, here are a few more ideas about how you can help ensure your next meeting leaves a lasting impression. 1. Schedule Your Event Around a Small, Local Festival Planning a conference in New Orleans during the Super Bowl would, to put it delicately, be a catastrophe regarding pricing, flights, and hotel capacity. But many locales have smaller events and festivals that don’t tie up hotel rooms or raise prices and which can be fun diversions for your attendees. A local ethnic parade or food festival would be a great touch to show your folks a great time. 2. Invest in a Great App Most large meetings these days have an app that shows the schedule and floor space, but very few truly engage the users to create a hands-on experience. An app that opens a chat room for attendees to discuss the sessions, upload pictures, plan outings, and provide continuous feedback would be a tremendous value-add for everyone. 3. Rent a Unique Venue for the Large Celebration A lot of planners rent out nightclubs or other similar spaces for “the party,” but ballparks, museums, and kitschy restaurants can also offer the same amount of fun with a unique angle. Focus on food and entertainment that fits the backdrop of the venue to create an all-encompassing experience. 4. Have Continuous Prize...

3 Creative Ways to Jazz up Your Next Meeting

The reviews from your last several events have been good. The food is acceptable. Decent enough speakers. No major problems. And, thankfully, everyone had a good enough experience that they plan on returning. So, the question becomes … Where Do We Go from Here? Complacency is a common issue in most professions. You find a routine, a groove, a pattern, and you stick with it until something goes wrong and forces you to change the way you do business. But what if, instead of waiting for the formula to go awry, you took the bull by the horns and proactively made things better? This is the first in a two part series that outlines some ways you can take your meetings from good to great to truly memorable. What are you waiting for? Jazz up your next meeting, get people raving, and carve out your niche as a go-to event planner: 1. Kick Things Off with Interactive Entertainment. Most large meetings will start with a fairly entertaining opening speaker, but a presenter that can engage the audience with activities will set a fun and lively tone for the entire event. 2. Have a Tasting During the Opening Reception. The standard wine, cheese, crackers, and fruit display just doesn’t light up the room like it used to. Find a local vineyard and cheese/jam manufacturer and invite them to have a tasting at your event. Local is de rigueur these days, and it will allow your attendees to have a true taste of the area where the meeting is being held. It’s also a great way to build lasting relationships with...