Food and beverage is usually one the larger expense categories involved with an event, and one of the challenges involved with comparing vendors is that different vendor have different standards of service. On the one hand you may a catering supplier whose entrée prices are 25% cheaper than there competitor, but when you read through their contract you realize they don't provide linens or wait staff in the entrée cost. These "extras" can easily raise their prices above the competition.
Unfortunately it does take a watchful eye and a couple years of experience to see through the holes in a catering price list. Like so many other shopping deals, the real value is measured in what you get for the money. Use this guide to catering service standards to help you identify price and service concerns before you sign a catering contract.
If you're in the event business then you have likely produced or attended an event at a professional sports stadium. The trend for business sports outings continues to grow, with stadiums scrambling to expand their hospitality suites and meeting rooms to keep up with the demand. It seems that everyone is planning offsite functions that incorporate the excitement of professional sports.
But beyond the major leagues of football, basketball and baseball, there are several alternatives for hosting a sports themed event. With the high prices associated with suite rental and gameday catering, some planners are reopening their playbooks to find other ways to capture the spirit of sports. Click here for some fresh ideas on planning an athletic-related event.
There are very few events that are planned and executed by a single person. Most of the time there are several departments working together on the occasion. This is definitely the case on the venue side of event production. Typically you have a coordinator who oversees the production of the three major departments: catering, operations and audio/visual.
This wide range of personnel can be confusing for clients who aren't sure where to turn when they have a request, especially for the little things. And while technically the coordinator is there to route your requests to the right person, it also makes sense to learn the names and roles of the other parties involved. That is why I created this reference sheet of the people you should know on event day.
Your banquet room or meeting space should be completely set by the time your first guest arrives. This sounds like an obvious statement but I've seen plenty of instances where servers and event organizers were still putting the final touches on the room. Not only does this make the event look disorganized, but the quality of work being done while "scrambling around" is often sub-par.
There are two setup times to consider in event planning. The first is the room setup, which includes placement of all the tables and chairs. The second is what I call the client setup. This is the time allowed for planners to add centerpieces, stage banners, etc.
At the bare minimum, I would negotiate a two-hour setup window for your event. This means the room components should all be in place at least two hours before the event. You'll also need the catering department to have all table linens and skirting down so that you can set centerpieces and table cards. Read more: Room Setup Plans
Many newcomers to our industry are unaware of how many career paths exist within event production. Of course the event planning roles are often highlighted, but these positions are only the tip of the iceberg. And while planners are perched near the top of the leadership hierarchy, much of the essential tasks are performed by those in the catering, operations and audio/visual departments.
This is important to remember when you are searching for an event planning job. Not everyone has the experience to jump right into a planning role, but that doesn't mean the event industry doesn't offer other opportunities. The key is to match your experience and goals to a position that will fuel your career growth. Follow these 5 Steps to a Successful Event Planning Job Search to help you identify which positions hold the most upside for you.
There are plenty of obvious ways to control food expenses (chicken instead of steak for example) but there is a point where the guest experience will begin to diminish. Food is always a big topic of conversation at events, so planners need to be cautious with what they cut from the menu.
One way to balance presentation and budget is to adjust portion sizes. The concept here is to order more of the things you want to serve, but cut back on the amount you present to each guest. It is a strategy that can add perceived value to your menu without breaking the bank. Use the catering portion tips here to reap the benefits.
It is funny to think about having a plan for your event planning tasks, but it is ultimately a good practice. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and forget about the most basic elements required for a successful event. Even the most experienced planners will overlook the obvious, which is why it makes sense to use spreadsheets and checklists to keep everything organized.
A lot of mistakes you suffer through as a planner aren't really mistakes at all. We rely on so many outside groups to execute our events that the odds are good for one of them to "drop the ball" eventually. All you can do is stay organized and keep a close watch for potential conflicts. This list of 6 Event Planning Mistakes covers the big ones you can prevent on your own.
Offering exhibit and booth space at events is a great way to generate revenue and add to your attendee's offerings. What sometimes gets overlooked though is that the vendor expects a return on their advertising investment. Forgetting this simple concept can destroy your relationship with sponsors, so it is critical to listen to exhibitors and make changes as needed.
I invited Susan Friedmann, The Tradeshow Coach, to talk more about the potential void between planners and vendors because it is an important topic that doesn't get discussed enough. At the end of the day, planners have a responsibility to provide vendors with everything they need to be successful. Susan breaks down exactly what this means with these 6 strategies.
Anytime you have demand for person, product, or experience there is potential for someone to make money. Entrepreneurial planners use this simple formula all the time to turn their experience into a profitable business model. The core concept is to bring talent to a venue where attendees will pay for access.
Concerts are probably the most prominent example of this theory in practice, but there are several other angles that play off of it. The key is to determine what type of event has the best chance to succeed in your market. You can start with these great ideas for making big money by coordinating events.
Generating a steady stream of client prospects is critical to running a successful event planning business. The thing is, most of us know this already, yet we still struggle to market our services effectively. Managing events by itself is a full time job, so when it comes to marketing many planners run out of energy, ideas, or both.
The best way to run your marketing efforts is create a strategic plan. Take inventory of the resources you have to allocate towards marketing and set a schedule to consistently drive your message. It is more efficient to run a "slow and steady" campaign that works instead of "spraying and praying" when the marketing bug hits you. Use this list of marketing strategies to design a consistent and impacting marketing plan.