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.
ESPA is celebrating event and convention services managers for being "superstars of service." It includes networking events in cities across the country where ESPA members can network with colleagues, recruit new association members, and showcase to meeting planners the role they play in producing successful events. The host who organizes the most creative or unique event will win a complimentary registration to ESPA's 2013 annual conference.
"Event and convention services is vital to the success of any event," said ESPA President David Dvorak. "It's important that we take the time to celebrate our profession and all that we do...and what better way than with our peers on Sept. 20."
Holding a golf event can be a terrific way to combine business and pleasure for your company’s own staff or for your clients and customers. Because 18 holes of golf takes about four hours, golf makes a great foundation for an all-day meeting format. Participants get to enjoy a round of their favorite game, while there’s still plenty of time to take care of business. Here are some tips on planning your golf event to get the most out of it.
Business or Pleasure?
Is your event going to be a substantial business meeting with some golf thrown in, or a golf game accompanied by some business? Most courses will accommodate a large event with either an 8:30 AM tee time, or a 1:00 PM start. Paradoxically, if your meeting is intended to be more business-oriented, you should get the golfing done first: golf in the morning, lunch and the meat of the day in the afternoon. That way, participants aren’t yearning to fast-forward through the business to get to the golf. For a lighter, more recreational event, have your business events in the morning and then let folks head to the links.
Know the Numbers, Know the Players
Beware the course sales executive who tells you that her facility can easily handle 144 golfers a day. It can, but at the cost of long delays and a lagging play experience that will leave golfers grumbling. To keep the pace smooth, a limit of 72 or 108 golfers (18 or 27 foursomes) should be observed. In addition, if your event is intended to foster a lot of company-to-client interaction, you will want a company representative in each foursome, so plan your guest count accordingly. In addition, realize that individual golf skill will vary widely, and highly-skilled players will not have much fun if paired up with duffers. Query your invitees about their skill level (“novice”, “intermediate” and “expert” should be sufficiently granular) and try to match foursomes accordingly.
Food and Drink: Fancy or Functional?
The catering budget for an all-day golf event can go up like a skyrocket if you let it. If your company is intending to present an affluent, lavish image this might not be a problem, but most organizers will want to keep the budget low where possible. Consult with the facilities staff at the club to find the most economical arrangements; breakfast buffets and boxed lunches are one good way to shave the food budget. Most courses will gladly provide water or soft drinks on a pay-for-consumption basis, so these items can be offered to guests without having to buy a fixed amount up front. Finally, it’s a good idea to check with your company’s executives to find out what clubs they already belong to. Many courses will give steep discounts (and not just on food) to events hosted by their own members, and you can leverage your people’s connections to keep the company’s costs down.
Why should you invest in face to face events when you can save time and money with virtual events and on-line seminars.? Here’s why!
1. Learning occurs through a variety of options: lectures, panel presentations, hands-on workshops, inspirational keynotes, and other unique opportunities, such as tweet-ups. You can pick a session in whatever style suits your learning needs. And don’t forget about the informal learning that happens in the in-between moments of an in-person event, during meals or waiting for a presentation to begin.
2. There are fewer distractions at face to face events. Have you ever attended an online event only to be interrupted by people stopping in your office, phone calls, emails or meetings? Even though almost everything is on demand these days, carving out time at your office to watch an hour presentation is difficult. When you book yourself a ticket out of town and turn on your “out of office” reply, you attend the event and focus on learning and networking.
3. You share in the energy and excitement of other fellow attendees. Nothing replaces a face-to-face conversation, not even Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Having the time to talk to your peers, both in your industry and in other industries, gives you insight into what other people are doing and lets you benchmark best practices. You find that you aren’t the only one facing a particular challenge, and you just might find a way to apply what someone else is doing to your own situation.
4. You get to connect with the presenters. At in-person events, you get access to speakers and experts. You often have opportunities to sit down with industry experts at lunch, round table discussions, or one-on-one consulting sessions. The input received from asking specific questions in person gives you an edge you can’t get from a virtual event or online seminar
Though online technologies and social networks are critical to the way we work and have opened up countless new opportunities, we’re still human. Whether we’re working out problems with a colleague, closing a sale, or networking, better rapport is established in person.
Managing events is our passion at Plan Ahead Events, but managing events we create is even better. So says Helen Denning of Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga, CA who is planing the first ever "Inland Empire Chocolate Festival on Saturday April 21, 2012, from 11 AM to 8 PM at the Hilton Ontario Airport Hotel, 700 North Haven Ave. Ontario, CA 91764.
Who doesn't love chocolate? The event will feature tastings from chocolatiers, bakeries, coffees, and wineries. There will also be cooking demonstrations, music, entertainment, and shopping.
But it's not just about the chocolate. The Inland Empire Chocolate Festival will benefit Back to School JAM, an annual event where backpacks filled with school supplies are distributed to children in the local communities. Purchase tickets online at www.iechocolatefestival.com. Do it now before the event sells out!
Thanks to Tim Brown, CEO of Meeting Sites Resource, for this amazing blog post.
He reminds us that "managing meeting stakeholder expectations" is a critical part of our job description. On the surface, this topic seems like a no-brainer, since most meeting planners' core skills are meeting planning, execution and logistics. But often, that is the problem: with a complete focus on being "efficient," many meetings today are not "effective."
Now don't get me wrong, meeting logistics and implementation excellence is a must in our rapidly expanding Strategic Meeting Management (SMM) environment, but equally important is a meeting needs assessment process that identifies all stakeholder goals, objectives, and results in a specific plan to deliver and measure success.
The need for measurable meeting ROI and expanded collaboration to achieve big picture meeting goals has increased the number of people with their hands, or fingerprints, on the overall meeting management process. The key is to identify each stakeholder, understand his role and specific contribution, and then become a resource to him to assure quality outcomes. Think of yourself as a general contractor working with many internal and external sub-contractors to build a magnificent house (in this case, a meeting).
In the SMM world, managing expectations is called Return on Objectives (ROO). Simply put, this is making meeting visions a reality. Here is my quick overview regarding Return on Objectives: “The ability to identify meeting stakeholder(s) objectives for each meeting and create meeting design, content and communications that address each objective. This includes post-meeting analysis that measures results and validates that meeting objectives are achieved.”
To assess the scope and complexity of stakeholder communications, an interesting exercise is to create a stakeholder communications chart, “connecting the dots” to the many internal and external people, services and support essential to assure a highly successful meeting.
• Human Resources
• Corporate Communications
Strategic meeting objectives go beyond meeting budgets and cost savings, and this requires both collaboration and value-based thinking to achieve maximum results. When you meet or have a phone interview with a key stakeholder and identify specific goals and objectives for a meeting, it is important to present your recommendations and plan to assure that you are on the right track. Your post-meeting analysis of each defined objective, as well as measurement of the actual outcome, validates your success -- just making it happen is not enough, so “keep score” and report results.
• Hotel Departments
• Conference Services
• Business Center
• Audio Visual
• Registration & Housing
• Exhibits / Trade Show
• Cruise Ship
With your meeting stakeholder goals and objectives in hand, it is critical to evaluate and select suppliers and partners who will understand and embrace these essential visions and be part of the team that will deliver predictable and high-impact outcomes. Keep in mind there may be multiple suppliers to deliver on one objective, so the planning, communications, and collaboration processes are critical.
Meetings are big investments and today meeting planners must get in to the heads -- and hearts -- of meeting stakeholders at all levels to orchestrate a total meeting experience that raises the bar on meeting value, attendee interaction, and ROI.
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.
During times when budgets are tight and return on investment is at the top of everyone's list of goals, meeting planners are urged to be more 'strategic' and not to focus so much on 'tactics.' The origin of this seeming dicotomy is "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, and when these ideas were codified more than 2,000 year ago, the focus wasn't on meetings and events. When these terms are used today in our industry, we all get the implication: strategy-good; tactics-whatever.
Strategy is important for the overall plan, for aligning goals, for creating meetings that meet organizational objectives. On the other hand, tactics in the meetings industry are often assumed to be mundane decisions about issues like rounds or squares. On the other hand, those of us in the industry know that tactics are critical to the success of any meeting and to driving the meeting strategy.
While a strategy is a carefully constructed plan to achieve corporate goals, tactics are necessary to execute strategy. Smart tactics. If tactics are not carefully implemented, the meeting can be a disaster and no amount of strategic thinking can save it. They are the tools that help build the strategy. There is no good vs. bad in the discussion of strategy vs. tactics, no matter what you might read in the business press. Tactics are too important to be described as a lesser endeavor. Strategy and tactics are interdependent to the success of any initiative, and especially meetings.
Elizabeth Zielinski says it well: "The best meetings probably lie somewhere between tactical and strategic, but with a strong command of both. The tactics have to be successfully designed and executed in order for the strategy to succeed, but the strategy is the guiding principle and common goal. In other words, there's no point announcing the next iPad to an audience of thousands if the giant screen behind the speaker isn't displaying the product, but there's also no point in having the screen without a product to show on it." To read more of her thoughts on this issue, click here:
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
Sometimes it seems that there are so many things that can be done without hiring professional event planners; the attraction is that you can do it cheaper on your own. But what is the real cost of doing it on your own?
One of the areas where you need professional planners is booking a speaker. While anyone can potentially go on the Internet and hire just about any speaker they want, what happens if there is a problem with that speaker? Problems such as illness, bad weather, or even scandal. If you book on your own and the speaker cancels at the last minute or even close to the last minute, you're stranded, so to speak. You don't have a life raft or a Plan B. Forging strong event planning partnerships means that you have someone taking the responsibility to work around the problem and find you a speaker. Good event planners want to keep your loyalty and their own reputations in tact, so they will do whatever it takes to correct the situation. In this case they will use their contacts with reliable speakers' bureaus to do not only damage control but to find a speaker who meets or exceeds the expectations you had of the original speaker. And you can't ask for more than that!