Every event planner should stay current with trendy venues, such as hotels, resorts, restaurants. And they should establish friendly relationships with the sales and catering management at each. Both will help make or break an event.
Every event planner - whether independent or hired as a meeting planner at an organization - should have a personal network of event planning services that they hire for any given event. Therefore, include the following individuals in your network:
1. DMCA destination management company (DMC) on the surface may seem like a competitor to an event planner, given their focus to maintain relationships with all local venues and hospitality services. However, they really are your partner, and extremely helpful.
When planning events out of town, a DMC will become your best friend: their relationships and extensive local knowledge often cover all aspects of event planning. DMCs are usually hired to help plan and execute all offsite and evening activities.
2. Communications ConsultantA tremendous amount of information must be communicated to clients and guests, but many event planners do not prepare invitations, agendas, conference materials, etc.
A communications consultant will help create template materials that follow appropriate etiquette and formats for each type of communications tool. Working with writers and graphic designers (or performing these responsibilities directly), this person will make sure that the materials incorporate the event theme, messaging and client brand standards.
3. Stationery DesignerThe more intimate an event, the more flexibility with the style of materials to use. Stationery shops have incredible options, and most papers today man be printed using an inkjet printers; that saves money.
Work with the shop owner, and he or she should inventory hundreds of styles directly in the shop (and order custom materials when needed). A stationery designer will make suggestions and help to wordsmith and print your materials as well. Tip: In addition to classic stationery and invitations similar to Royal Imprints, make sure the inventory includes products similar to Odd Balls Invitations.
4. Photographer[This is a budget item that many clients like to avoid, but a great photographer will capture the essence of an event or multiple day program and give guests a keepsake that will help them always remember the event.
Your photographer should maintain a network of resources such as video production, A/V technicians and other photographers. The photographer who embodies technical expertise with marketing savvy is the one who you want in your network. He or she will understand the art and business rationale of any event.
5. Private CatererNot every event takes place at a hotel or restaurant where catering services are automatically provided. Internal meetings and events are planned at organizations and catering is ordered and delivered, or sometimes private are created at unique venues (e.g., art galleries, landmark building, park).
A caterer may have his or her own restaurant, banquet facility or shop. In addition to offering a range of menu items that will appeal to general or ethnic dining experiences, he or she should offer incredible options for breakfast, lunch, breaks and/or dinner.
6. Promotional Products DistributorOne of the rules of any event is to never let a guest go home empty handed. Regardless if you are planning a client meeting, seminar, conference, trade show, incentive trip, etc., one thing remains common: your guests should receive and take home a relevant gift item.
Your promotional products contact should provide you with access to name badges, notepads, pens, pencils, apparel, awards and any other item you want to give to those who attend your program. Tip: Choose gifts that reflect the image/brand of the hosting organization.
7. Party Rental SupplierAlthough most venues will maintain relationships directly with a party rental supply firm, it is helpful for event planners to have a relationship directly with a party rental supplier.
A great event may incorporate any number of items for decorations, linens, flooring, lighting, audio/visual equipment, dinnerware, glassware, props, tents, etc. A good party rental company will offer all this and more. Your party rental supplier will be a great source to brainstorm the best ways to support the theme of your event.
8. Wine Shop Owner/SommelierYour caterer will take care of the bar needs for your event, but an event planner will have his or her own reasons for including a wine expert in the network.
A good wine shop owner can provide inventory (for consumption or appreciation gifts) as a direct resource for private parties, but more importantly this sommelier can help educate the planner about wine. Tip: work out a direct relationship with the wine shop owner to ship inventory directly to your clients and include a personal note from you.
9. ChocolatierSimilar to a wine shop, a great chocolatier can really make an event planner look good. Everyone loves hand-made chocolate gnaches and truffles.
If you can, work with a local chocolatier who uses all fresh ingredients, but there are many gourmet chocolate makers that will ship directly to your event. MarieBelle New York creates beautifully displayed chocolates.
Tips: Include a custom image on top of the chocolates and/or ask your chocolatier to create a chocolate sculpture. Also, keep your personal business cards with the shop for personalized shipping to clients.
10. FloristGreat floral arrangements will add color, sophistication and fragrance to a room. Most events will incorporate florals as part of the decorations, such as centerpieces.
But a good florist will offer various ideas that address the theme, colors and budget for your event. He or she will also advise which flowers will hold up best for the duration and temperature of your event (e.g., outdoor events).
11. CVBA convention and visitors bureau (CVB) will provide valuable information about the destination, its services and facilities. A CVB will save time and energy for any meeting planner when needing to research local services. And some CVBs even offer online tools for planners to request information from participating hotels and other services and venues.
The CVB is responsible for promoting the local destination, and promotes information about the history and unique qualities of a destination. Event planners should reach out to the CVB and its staff for detailed information about local travel and tourism. Still, the event planner should dig deeper before making any business decisions.