Planning events takes time, thought and effort—and for a really successful event, hiring an event planner to help is a must!—but the pay-off is worth it, simply because at events you have the opportunity to meet with your customers and a have a real, human face to face interaction. Writing in Forbes, Dave Lavinsky points out some of the advantages of events that nothing else can provide:
Read the entire article here.
When we talk about social media and building our personal brands, we usually refer to Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter. But the majority of the people in our network are the people we email on a regular basis, and sadly we forget that our email signature is at least as important in building our personal brands as our Tweets.
Having the right amount of information in your email signature is important. After your name and contact information, you can add your social media handles. The general rule of thumb is no more than 4-6 lines of information. If you are using icons or logos for social media, make sure that your email signature is not cluttered with too many colors and images. Embed artwork so that your emails don’t appear to have attachments.
If you are promoting an event, alter your signature to include a link to the event site. Your email signature is not etched in stone and can be changed as your circumstances change. Of course, if your company has an email signature policy, you will need to follow it for your work email but there is nothing to stop you from enhancing your personal email signature.
Look at your email signature: could it use a make-over? It’s the one thing everyone in your network sees, even the people who don’t check Facebook on a regular basis!
In mostly non-US countries, MICE is an acronym for "Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions." In this directory, Plan Ahead Events gets worldwide exposure and kudos.
Plan Ahead Events is a full-service event management company serving clients worldwide, offering creative solutions for meetings, conventions, trade shows, special events, and incentive travel.
Reported in 2011 by the Convention Industry Council as a $650 billion industry worldwide, a career in event planning and owning an event planning franchise is one of the most exciting business opportunities available. Plan Ahead Events is one of the meeting and event industry's first franchise opportunities and very easy to start up as a home-based, low cost business.
No experience is necessary as they offer a turn-key franchise, a three-week training program, and all the technology hardware and software needed to run a successful event planning business.
Franchising puts you on the road to success without the risk experienced by independent business owners. Plan Ahead Events already has more than 65 franchisees in 5 countries.
Learn more about the industry’s first international event planning franchise at discover.planaheadevents.com.
According to the International Spa Association’s (ISPA) 2011 U.S. Spa Industry Study,
spas increasingly are making efforts to connect with their local communities — 69 percent of them by holding events at their facility,
The report, conducted by Pricewaterhouse Cooper shows that:
In addition to hosting events, many spas are raising their profile by donating products and services (85 percent) and by participating in charity benefits (62 percent).
Day spas comprise a significant majority of establishments (79 percent); resort/hotel spas comprise the second largest segment (9 percent), with medical spas a close third (8.7 percent). Other spa types include club, mineral springs, and destination spas.
The Northeast maintains the largest portion of spas with 25 percent while the Southwest region holds 23 percent of spas. The vast majority of spas (74 percent) are single location operations (i.e., not affiliated with a franchise or corporate headquarters).
The study indicates Americans are going to the spa more often and this fact has led to revenue growth. The increase in revenue is in line with the moderate pace of growth in the economy. Measures taken by spas to increase business included offerings through websites, special values and promotions, social media efforts, and connecting within their local communities. The economic recovery pace could not maintain the number of spa locations, resulting in a three percent decrease in the number of spas. Employment in the industry grew, but the lack of qualified therapists in the market is an underlying issue the spa community has been facing for several years.
For more information, visit: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news//4053213.html
Are you having trouble convincing companies that there is real value and a significant return on investment when they exhibit at trade shows? Then show them these findings from the Center for Exhibition Research (CEIR):
The cost of an initial face-to-face encounter with a prospect is $96 for a lead taken in an exhibit, while the figure is $1,029 for a lead from the field (this includes $443 to identify the prospect before the initial meeting plus $596 for the actual sales call). Do the math! meeting a prospect at a trade show as opposed to generating a sales lead in the field saves $943 prospecting dollars.
Moreover, CEIR found that 54% of sales initiated by an exhibit sales lead requires three or fewer sales calls to close the sale, while 61% of leads from other sources require more than three calls to close the sale.
Closing a sale from an exhibit lead saves $914 over closing a lead from another source. CEIR noted that it costs $2,288 to close a sale from an exhibit lead, including an average of $96 to qualify an exhibit lead plus 3.5 sales calls. Closing a lead from another source, without a lead from an exhibit, costs on average $3,102. This includes $43 to qualify a prospect and 4.5 sale calls totaling $2,659.
Incentive travel isn't exclusive to rewarding sales people.According to a new whitepaper from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) incentive travel is great for recognizing the contributions of employees across the organization.
The whitepaper, titled "Critical Findings for Recognition Travel Programs," features a case study from a company with an established recognition travel program for employees who are not salespeople responsible for meeting quotas. Based on stakeholder interviews and survey responses, it presents findings in the areas of employee alignment, nominations, executive support, evaluations and measurement. "One of the most interesting discoveries was the power of the nomination process itself," said IRF Board of Trustees Chairman Jeff Broudy. "Even though the program was designed to reward only 2-3 percent of the employees, nearly half of the potential winners indicated that they were motivated by it."
According to Broudy, incentive travel success also is closely related to the degree of executive buy-in, demonstrated by executives' involvement in establishing award categories, reviewing nominations, selecting winners and viewing the activity as more than just another HR process. Based on its findings, IRF concluded that the best incentive travel programs are open to all employees, are aligned with the organization's mission and culture, and are only one piece in a larger employee recognition strategy.
Click this link to read "Critical Findings for Recognition Travel Programs" in its entirety http://theirf.org/.6068364.html
Trade shows are rife with opportunities for gathering competitive intelligence. To gather the most CI, adopt a military mindset.
• Eavesdrop at the breakfast buffet; nurse a cup of coffee and listen!
• Pay attention on the elevator: you just might overhear sensitive discussions that begin on the show's floor and continue into the elevator. (Or the lobby or restroom, for that matter.)
• Listen closely in the bar: an educated eavesdropper can pick up useful tidbits when conventioneers let loose at the bar during the evening. Hone your people skills and initiate conversations while you sip on a single beverage.
• Volunteer to join the conference organizing committee: your volunteer work will not only bolster your own reputation in the industry but will give you access to all sorts of information.
• Work the break area: although professional on the show floor, exhibitor personnel love to vent while on break. Many shows have an exhibitors’ lounge where you’ll find competitors’ staff looking for someone to commiserate with them.
Protect your command center: guard your own intelligence. Caution your booth staff about mobile phone conversations, so easily overheard, as well as talking about the company in all the places listed above. Splurge on a suite or other private meeting place so that you can meet with clients and colleagues in a location that's off limit to competitors. Have your debrief sessions there, too, and shred the trash on your way out.
According to James Houran, a psychologist and partner at HVS Executive Search, measuring the financial return on investment (ROI) from meetings and events is only the tip of the ice berg, the ‘tangible ROI.’ He advises paying attention to ‘intangible ROI.’ This concept involves asking:
• What did the attendees get as far as personal value from a meeting?
• Did they feel that attendance at a face-to-face meeting gave them more than they would have gotten by participating in a webinar?
• Did they feel that they were provided a long-term benefit – either toward professional development or building their own business?
Houran says, “Companies and associations are looking to planners to help them develop and deliver branded experiences when putting together events. They are seeking experiences that are high-value and are different from other options for spending money on employees. What is going to motivate them to want to participate in meetings? How do we turn a meeting into a real value episode, where people want to come to the meeting and to contribute, and know they’re going to walk away with something? More than being functional, planners will be strategic on the individual and organizational level.
He sees agreement on several trends outcomes:
• face-to-face meetings still offer things that can’t yet be replicated by electronic formats.
• people feed off each other’s energy and that can only happen in person.
• people can get energized at a meeting to the point of acting on what they learned when they get back to their offices.
• the outcome of the meeting is not just on the business at hand, but at the attendee level.
• the best events transform attendees in a fundamental way.
When WPPI announced last week that it broke all previous attendance records with 16,000 attendees for its recently concluded WPPI 2011 Convention and Trade Show, this was great news for event planners for two important reasons.
First of all, WPPI is a global trade show, hosting attendees and speakers from throughout the United States as well as from 46 foreign countries as far away as Australia, with more than 160 classes and workshops and Spanish language classes for attendees. The upward turn in attendance is consistent with all the surveys that show 2011 is going to see a significant increase in event attendance.
But more than that, WPPI represents an important vendor population in the event industry. The fact that, according to George Varanakis, WPPI's Group Publisher and Executive Vice President, “exciting new programs and energizing events provided attendees with a high level of education, business support and networking opportunities" is significant. The team work that event planners coordinate for successful events is finding new levels of professionalism as all parties raise the bar.
The copy you write for your event promotion has never been more important, whether that copy appears on the web, in a social media vehicle, or in old-fashioned direct mail. People are bombarded with opportunities and competing for their time has become more challenging. If you examine your competitors’ promotional copy, you’ll probably notice that more and more, they are missing a critical component of well-crafted event promotion copy: the call to action. What do you want your prospects to do?
Too often the copy forgets to provide an answer to that time tested question: What’s in it for me? And don’t forget, after you tell your readers (1) what you want them to do and (2) what’s in it for them, tell them one more thing: (3) this is how you do it, whether that means a link (that actually works!), a phone number, a sign-up Facebook page—you get the idea.
Don’t leave anything to chance. Give specific directions and develop an incentive for prompt action: a discount, a premium item that is valuable to your prospect. Make sure that your event tops your prospects’ lists of priorities.