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Event Operations Should Emphasize the Importance of Service

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Sometimes the best way for an event planner to become an event better planner is by attending another function as a guest. This allows an opportunity to observe an event operations staff in action, and it's often easier to notice what behaviors tend to be perceived by guests as service oriented, and which ones do not.

As an example, I attended a holiday party which was held in a meeting room at a hotel with a highly recognizable name. The event was for the staff within an individual hospital department, and I attended as a personal guest to a friend of mine who works for one of the physicians. Several items could have gone more smoothly.

But, more importantly, three obvious planning mistakes occurred there which could have been avoided if detailed conversations happened when the organizer were evaluating the venue:

  1. Disregarded at the registration table. When guests walk up to a registration table, event staff should be welcoming and ready to help guests -- even if they think they are in the wrong place. before we had a chance to say hello, those working the table immediately said we weren't at the right registration table and that this was a physician's event.

    It isn't service-oriented to assume someone who walks up to the registration table does not belong at the event. Yet, this is exactly what can happen if the staff isn't properly prepared.

    Remind the event staff at a registration table represents the image of the host and the organization behind the event.

  2. Banquet staff should perform a final inspection of event space. A sure sign of poor quality venue operations staff is when they work too quickly to setup an area, but end up dropping glass and other items during the process.

    An important piece of advice: banquet operations staff setup a room; however, housekeeping (a different department) is often responsible for vacuuming a room and they complete their task prior to room setup. That means that when the banquet staff drop glass, shards of glass will be left in the room for whatever event follows.

    Shards of broken glass and other debris creates a terrible image, but it can also create a safety hazard. Therefore, arrive 1-2 hours prior to the start time to observe the setup. In addition to this, perform a walk through the area and look for glass and other items 30 minutes and again 15 minutes before the event. Educate the banquet staff that if anything breaks, they should effectively clean the area.

  3. Venue operations staff should not clean up during presentations. With any event, there will be two schedules: the agenda of the organizers and the work schedule of the venue operations staff. It is the planner's responsibility to make sure that both are appropriately in synch.

    The presentation of an event or meeting will typically occur right after some sort of arrival reception. Timing of clean up and tear down activities must be carefully planned. Otherwise, a planner will find that tables and other items may be removed directly in front of hosts or guest speakers, distracting everyone in the room.

    Should event planners need to remind banquet managers when to have their staff working and when they should be quiet? The answer is, yes.

Related Video
Assembling an Event Guest List
Managing an Event on the Day
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