Beyond the glitz and glamor of special events there is the more important metric of guest satisfaction that will ultimately determine how the occasion will be remembered. And even though all planners set out to impress their attendees, the pressure of coordinating so many details can lead to simple oversights that steal attention away from the positives. The aura of a good guest experience does not happen naturally. The best event planners work hard at it and take time to prevent guest problems before they arise.
Event venues always highlight square footage on their websites and marketing materials. They hope to impress prospects with the visualization of endless floor space and configuration options. And while it is good to know that a facility can host 500 people at round tables, is this really all a planner needs to know? The average event has a host of additional room components that could detract from the maximum capacity, which is why meeting planners need to think more in terms of layout when shopping venues. Keep these 7 event measurement basics in mind when evaluating open floor space.
When you think of a guest's first impression of an event you probably picture things like room décor, background music, or even lighting accents. These things are the obvious highlights of your event space, but the first thing a guest will associate with your event is parking accessibility. A bad experience in the parking lot can push even the most polite guest over the edge. This is why parking, even though it may seem disconnected from the actual event, should be a primary concern for event planners. Follow this guide to coordinating event parking to make sure you guests step out on the right foot.
Waiting in line is part of everyday life, and most attendees understand that a big event will require patience as organizers process the needs for hundreds of people. But that is not to say long lines are completely forgivable. There is the expectation that a public event will be well-organized and formatted to accommodate large crowds. For event planners that means having a strategy to manage the formation of lines, both in terms of how they are outlined and processed. Read through these line management tips to keep your event flowing smoothly.
Office party planners know that retirement parties can be a hit-or-miss event. A lot of the potential for fun has to do with how popular the retiree was within the organization. Even then, if you don't set the right mood, the party can turn into a solemn farewell service. This is why you want to plan engaging activities well in advance. Entertainment is essential, so be sure to look through this list of ideas for the office retirement party.
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.