Marketing Strategies: Event Planning

Marketing Strategies: Event Planning

In many organizations, the largest line item in a Marketing budget is for events such as trade shows, conferences and launches. Forrester Research has found that approximately 30% of B2B Marketers prefer to decrease event spending, but 21% said they expected to increase spending on events.

 

So why the dichotomy?

 

Events are no different than most things in life, just like databases—you get out of them what you put into them. However, all too often companies do not plan events properly which is a recipe for failure. The result is an unsuccessful, reactive fire-drill which ends with little to no results.

 

On the other hand, when events are well-run they drive revenue, so sales people are vocal supporters.

 

For a successful event, it’s important to use a three tiered selection process to quantitatively and objectively select events that align and support an organization’s marketing strategy.  Objective, relevance and the ability to execute should be the key criteria to evaluate events and set sales and marketing teams up for success.

 

What is the Objective for Attending the Event?

 

Brand Objective

 

Is it an opportunity to brief press, analysts and/or influencers with news?

Is the organization making a product announcement?

Is a competitor planning a huge announcement that your organization is trying to disrupt?

Customer Acquisition Objective

 

Is the focus to increase awareness?

Or is the focus to increase the size of the target prospect database?

Is it to go from qualified leads to marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads (top of funnel)?

Or is it to advance a deal along a sales stage by leveraging subject matter experts and executives that will be in the same location for a period of time?

Customer & Market Intelligence Objective

 

Will key competitors be in attendance and will the right people be on-site who can learn about the messaging and positioning of the competitive product and inner workings of the solution?

Is there calendar availability or are the relationships strong enough to secure off- show meetings?

Is there meaningful, relevant information about technology, markets, customers, products or partners to share?

What is the Relevance for Attending the Event?

 

Brand Relevance

 

Will there be a critical mass of press, analyst and influencers at this particular event?

Will the organization be able to secure predetermined time slots with the key spokespeople and press, analysts and influencers at the event?

Does the organization have relevant and meaningful content around technology, markets, products, competitors, revenue, customers or partners to share?

Customer Acquisition Relevance

 

Does the profile of the attendee map directly to your organization’s Target Account Profile?

Is there a critical mass of attendees that are suspects, prospects, marketing qualified leads or in later stages in the sales pipeline?

Are relevant sponsorships available and can the organization execute against the needs of the sponsorship?

Are speaking opportunities on key topics available and does your organization have a speaker that is available to deliver?

Will the attendee list be available far enough in advance to help drive attendance? Is last years’ list? Or a targeted list with a 100 radius of the event?

Customer Retention Relevance

 

How many existing customers will be in attendance at the event?

Of the customers attending the event, how many are of strategic importance, how many contribute a significant amount to revenue, how many are reference able and how many are not happy?

Is there an opportunity for a customer to speak at the event or participate in a co-speaking opportunity?

Risk/Threat Relevance

 

How many key competitors will participate the event and in what capacity?

Are any key competitors anticipated to make a key announcement?

What is the probability that customers and prospects will interpret non-participation of your organization at the event as a de-commitment to the market?

What is the Organization’s Ability to Execute This Event?

 

Pre-Event – Ability to Execute

 

How well does the profile of the event attendees map to the organization’s target account profile?

How many sales and marketing people are confirmed to proactively work the event?

How many customer meetings can be scheduled with customers and prospects?

Is there an event planning team, an event plan and a weekly event planning meeting that begins at least ten weeks before the event?

Who approves the messaging, positioning and signage for the show and do those requirements map to the plan?

At Event- Ability to Execute

 

What are the quantitative goals for the show – i e. # of business cards, # of meetings, advancement of deals in the pipeline, closed deals, etc.?

Can the organization effectively communicate the key messages as quantitatively documented in positive press, evaluation forms and surveys?

Can the organization generate social media buzz such as tweets, retweets, likes, blog posts, comments, etc.?

Post-Event- Ability to Execute

 

Can leads be collected, processed, scored and routed in real-time?

Can nurture paths be set in motion at the event?

Will be organization be able to leverage event assets on the website, in follow-ups and lead nurture?

Can the organization follow-up on all social media channels to continue and promote engagement?

Is there an ability to track, monitor and manage metrics to document ROI?

 

For more visit: http://www.business2community.com/marketing/marketing-strategies-event-planning-01257589

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10-Step Guide for Your Company Summer Picnic

10-Step Guide for Your Company Summer Picnic

The annual company summer picnic or outing is a tradition for many organizations and a time to get creative to give your staff and their families a memorable experience. We’ve compiled a 10-step guide to creating a fun and unforgettable summer picnic for your employees which includes suggestions for possible local venues, entertainment, activities, food, and tips for managing the logistics.

1. Determine who to invite.

Choosing who to invite impacts many of your other decisions about the event. Will you invite just staff, their spouses/significant others, or their families? You’ll need to know how many people you need to accommodate and your prospective audience in order to plan a successful picnic. Keep in mind that, on average, 80-90% of employees attend.

2. Choose a time.

When choosing a time for your organization’s picnic, consider your organization’s work schedule, employees’ vacation schedules, and who you are inviting to the picnic. If the picnic involves other family members and children, after work or on a weekend may be best; whereas if you are only inviting staff, a weekday picnic may be more appropriate. Saturday around lunchtime and early-mid afternoon is usually the most common day/time to host a family picnic.

3. Pick an attractive local venue.

Selecting a new location for your summer picnic each year adds some excitement. Depending on your budget, local park pavilions, amusement or water parks, dinner cruises, outdoor festivals, or even the company premises (if conducive) are all good options for company summer picnic venues.

4. Plan fun, appealing activities that suit your audience.

Rides, inflatables, carnival games, sports, craft-making, paddle boats, pony rides, and karaoke are just a few of many activities that you could offer. Whatever activities you choose, make sure they fit your audience and the ages in attendance. Also, if your picnic involves activities, it’s best to provide an agenda for the day.

5. Hire an entertainer.

Caricature artists, clowns, balloon artists, event artists, trapeze artists, gymnasts, stunt men, magicians, DJs, acrobats, face painters, jugglers, ventriloquists, comedians, fortune tellers, puppeteers, bands, soloists, dancers, and impersonators are different types of entertainers you could hire for the event.

6. Add new prizes to your raffle.

A raffle or drawing is often an anticipated highlight of the company picnic for employees and their families – especially if you give away great prizes. Skip giving away the extra PTO day this year or company logo gear. Rather, include employees’ kids and offer exciting prizes like new technology, money, gift cards and certificates, and the latest toys – all things most people love to win.

7. Theme your event.

It helps change the atmosphere and adds a fun twist. Insert your theme into your activities, food, decorations (tablecloths, center-pieces, etc.), and even communications about the event (invitations, reminders, response cards, etc.). Possible themes could include a beach party, safari, wild-west, casino, circus, Olympics, luau, field day, etc.

8. Brand your event and make it special.

Communications about the company picnic should include more than just a company-wide email or inclusion in a newsletter. Send out personal invitations to each employee and their family. Brand the picnic and display posters and communications around the workplace. Consider creating a special website or intranet site for the picnic. This helps generate excitement about it and makes your employees feel special and valued.

9. Change up the menu.

Providing “picnic staples” (hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, etc.) is important, but consider trying something different this year (see “Picnic Menu FAQs”). Trying new food options can liven up a traditional summer picnic. Additionally, while choosing a good corporate caterer is important, when management gets involved in preparing the food, this can be quite meaningful to employees.

 

Picnic Menu FAQs

  1. What are some popular choices this summer that companies seem to be ordering?
    Items that can be grilled on site, such as marinated chicken accompanied by some unusual side dishes such as a grilled sweet potato salad or a quinoa salad.
  2. What’s good guidance on amount of food and beverage per person?
    If grilling and offering a choice of entrees, make sure to have at least 1 to 2 pieces per person (i.e. one piece of chicken and one hot dog). By offering beverages in dispensers you are sure to have a nice variety and plenty to go around. If it is hot you want to make sure your guests stay hydrated with plenty of cold water (try infusing it with basil and cucumber for something a bit different), iced tea or lemonade.
  3. Best advice you would give a corporate summer picnic planner?
    Make sure that you are setup to keep your cold food cold and your hot food hot on your buffet line. Depending on the size of your event the logistics can overwhelming consider having either a portion or the entire event catered so you can take care of the entertainment details. Give us a call we would love to be part of your corporate celebrations this year no matter how big or how small.

 

10. Don’t forget the classics.

Popcorn and cotton candy machines, ice cream and snow cone stands, or the annual company baseball game – the classics and traditions of company picnics – should also be included. Don’t get rid of the traditions and classic elements of a company picnic that your guests love and that are unique to your company culture.

Last but not least – don’t fail to consider the logistics – like contingency plans for rainy weather. These aren’t necessarily the most fun to plan for, but are important for a successful event.

The company summer picnic should make your guests have a great time, connect with one another, meet each other’s families, build relationships and camaraderie, and take pride in your organization. Using the tips in this guide, make your company summer picnic one that employees remember and look forward to all year.

 

Source: http://www.yourerc.com/blog/post/10-Step-Guide-for-Your-Company-Summer-Picnic.aspx

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Team Building Event Tips: 10 Innovative Ideas for Successful Team Building Events

Team Building Event Tips: 10 Innovative Ideas for Successful Team Building Events

Team building can give a powerful boost to the spirit and effectiveness of any group. Well designed and delivered teambuilding programs can lead to better understanding, clearer alignment and much stronger motivation.

 

Organizing a “team building event” is a big responsibility. Use these ideas to make your event a well-planned and memorable success.

 

1. Set the Tone With an Inspiring Theme:

 

Telegraph the tone and purpose of your event with a theme that hits the mark. “The Third Annual Team building Program” is not going to excite many participants. Here are examples of themes my recent clients have to motivate and communicate their teams: “Rocket to the Top, Together!” (for a software company seeking to achieve dominant market share), “The Winning Team” (for a financial services company seeking to overcome competitors and economic adversity), “Forging a New Alliance” (for a medical services group managing a reorganization of roles and departments).

 2. Prime the Pump for Full Participation:

Use internal communications to get everyone interested and ready for the event. Use memos, bulletin boards, posters and internal meetings to arouse people’s curiosity.

You might circulate a list of objectives and issues for the meeting. You might conduct a survey prior to the meeting, announcing actual results during the program. You might task certain individuals with preparing a business presentation, or selected teams with creating and rehearsing an entertainment item.

 

  1. Conduct the Program Off-Site:

 

Major team building programs are frequently conducted “off-site”. This allows participants to get away from the workplace physically (minimizing disruptions) and mentally (opening their thinking to new points of view).

 

  1. Use a Mix of Energy, Enterprise and Entertainment:

 

Stimulate interest and get involvement by using a full range of team building activities. You may have “hard work” sections with speeches about the future and workshops on current business problems. You may have “play hard” sections with team games and outdoor challenges. You may include social ingredients through mealtime activities, awards and entertainment.

 

Be sure your range of activities are well-sequenced throughout the day and evening. Be especially careful to follow lunches with activity, and to end your program on a note of confidence and commitment.

 

  1. Allow Enough Time to Process, Discuss and Apply

 

Allow enough time between each activity for discussion, learning and application back to the job. It’s better to have a full day with two team building games and enough time for discussion, than a “stuffed” day with three or four games with little time for reflection.

 

  1. Focus on New Actions with “More”, “Less”, “Start” and “Stop”:

 

During the program, have participants develop clear answers to the following questions:

 

“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to do more of?”

“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to do less of?”

“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to start doing?”

“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to stop doing?”

 

Towards the end of the program, participants can make another list of personal commitments:

 

“What am I committed to do more of?”

“What am I committed to do less of?”

“What am I committed to start doing?”

“What am I committed to stop doing?”

 

  1. Use Photographs and Video to Extend the Program’s Impact:

 

Engage a photographer and/or videographer to document your team building program. Give copies of photographs to participants after the event. Post the best photographs on your bulletin boards, in the cafeteria, or publish them in the company newsletter. If you put them up on your company’s World Wide Web site, then staff’s family members can log-in and view them from home.

 

Have the videotape edited with music and some snappy graphics. Show this short but entertaining vignette at another company meeting, social gathering, dinner and dance, etc.

 

  1. Harness the Power of Peripheral Players:

 

When selecting participants for your program, be willing to include those tangentially related to the core group. Internal customers, suppliers, neighboring departments, etc. can all yield a few participants who are “closely related” to your core group.

These “peripheral players” will often add significant value, perspective and insight to your program. They can also help with communication back into the organization after the event is over.

 

  1. Get Personal:

 

Make sure everyone sees the link between “group team building” and “individual actions” on the job. Have each person complete a commitment card, action planning list, personal promise statement or some other vehicle to ensure application of appropriate new behaviors. Closing a team building program by having everyone share their list is a good way to gain buy-in from individuals, and the entire group.

 

  1. Reward the Organizers:

 

Planning and preparing a team building program is a major undertaking. Be sure to give recognition to those who did the work “behind the scenes”. A small but thoughtful gift, given in front of everyone at the end of the program, will be appreciated and remembered.

 

Source: http://www.innovativeteambuilding.co.uk/team-building-event-tips/

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Team Building Event Tips: Dos and Dont’s

Team Building Event Tips: Dos and Dont’s

Team building exercises and excursions can increase overall employee performance, promote cooperation among team members and across teams, enhance employee job satisfaction and help to broaden the understanding of corporate goals and objectives.

They can also, if improperly designed or administered, do nothing.

The events you choose should serve as microcosms for the problems (and solutions) your employees face.

 

Consider the following Dos and Don’ts when planning your next team building session:

 

DO connect the challenges of the events to the struggles your employees confront daily.

The events you choose should serve as microcosms for the problems (and solutions) your employees face. It’s imperative then to define these obstacles first. If a primary team challenge is, for example, adapting to a new matrix-style organizational structure, then matching exercises involving small, specialized teams working together to achieve a common goal would be in order.

 

DON’T create events that are too physically demanding for any team members.

Chances are that physical endurance, strength or dexterity are not employee success factors on your team. Fitness and physical ability should, then, typically not play a major role in your team building events. Look carefully at the composition of your team and set the level of physical assertion necessary low enough so that each team member can participate satisfactorily. Physical activities, especially outdoors, can be memorable and successful; just make sure everyone can be included.

 

DO follow-up on lessons learned. Even perfect exercise design and facilitation doesn’t guarantee results. It’s vital that follow-up sessions are scheduled to reemphasize and measure your teams’ progress. Too often, team building exercises are administered as single dose cure-alls. Instead, they should serve as an opening ceremony for a continuing drive towards success. To help quantify this success (and in turn your ROI), choose objective performance statistics to compare against historical data.

 

DON’T create events that are too taxing or too mindless.

In an effort to ensure that employees have fun while completing team building exercises, some fascinators make them too light and sappy. Conversely some organizers create events that are unduly draining, emotionally or otherwise. Try to strike a balance so that your events aren’t overly comical or overly difficult, as either of these extremes will detract from the main messages of the events.

 

DO consider hiring professionals to draft and administer your exercises. Depending on your cost and time constraints, and the complexity of the exercises you’d like to carry out, outsourcing the process may be a wise choice for you. Professional consultants can help you identify what messages you’d like to push through your sessions, facilitate the event (or give you the tools necessary to do it yourself), and implement the feedback and measurement components afterward. It’s certainly worth considering.

 

 

Source: http://www.innovativeteambuilding.co.uk/team-building-event-tips/

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Business Dinners

Business Dinners

“Be our guest!” Thus, Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast’s iconic speaking candle, introduces his gigantic smorgasbord with gusto and fanfare. While mimicking Lumiere’s gargantuan feast is unnecessary, taking a leaf from his hospitality book guarantees an event manager one amazing business dinner.

 

Business dinners are a long-standing corporate tradition, used to conclude fiscal years, celebrate new milestones, introduce new management, or a host of other prestigious events. They integrate entertainment with professionalism and allow different corporate levels and branches to mix and mingle. A successful business dinner commemorates company achievements, recognizes successful employees, and entertains the guests.

 

Planning starts approximately 12-28 months before the event. Before anything else, ask the question, what should be the atmosphere? A business dinner may be formal or relaxed. A hint of caution: any company who is barely bobbing their head above the fiscal water should refrain from formal, expensive dinners. These may be construed as wasteful spending.

 

A posh, roomy venue is an appropriate choice for a business dinner. There should be plenty of space for guests to walk by tables. The location should be booked sometime in advance. Also, a contingency date should be selected.

 

How to contact attendees? Formal dinners require elegant letters, while less posh parties need little more than a well-written office memo or even e-mail. Regardless of method, the first invitation should be sent 2-3 months before the advent, with the last reminder one week beforehand. All solicitations should prominently include dates, times, basic agenda, and a well-placed marketing ploy to attract the wavering.

 

As for food choices, Lumiere may be on to something. Formal dinners require four- and five-star courses, while casual festivities need three-star (think Applebees) fare. This choice, however, leads to another quandary: self-serve buffet or maitre d’ service? Buffets promote community and congeniality but sacrifice sophistication; maitre d’ service reeks of elegance and French hospitality but leaves the palate wanting. Simply decide which set of attributes is most important.

 

When selecting entertainment, local burgeoning bands, DJs, rank-and-file comedians, puppeteers, etc. should be foregone. The event manager should carefully choose professional, engaging keynote speakers (motivational or informative) and classy musicians to set the mood.

 

When attendees enter, they should sign a master RVSP roster (yes, RSVP’s are essential) and be lead by ushers (solicited volunteers or paid staff) to their assigned seats – give VIPs subliminal preferential treatment.

 

Nobody is looking. Snatch a martini. You’ve earned it – and thank Lumiere.

 

For more visit: http://eventmanagement.com/events/business-dinners/

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Event Management of Team Building Events

Event Management of team building events that develop and motivate teams in companies and corporations. Team building events are perfect for companies and their divisions to motivate their employees and to develop real teams. In the United States, one of the most popular team building exercises is called the “Ropes” course.

 

These exercises can range from taking a walk on a rope several feet in the air to just trusting that your teammates will catch you when you fall. Many corporations have used these exercises to motivate employees to work better as a team and the ropes course is just one example.

 

Even what seems to be the most isolated job requires team work. Accountants who may spend most of their time in an office crunching numbers will eventually need to present those numbers to managers and human resource officials to determine budgeting needs. Computer programmers will need to work with their colleagues to make sure that their systems are operating properly.

 

Team Building Events

 

Corporations have been using team building exercises for employee motivation for many years. What are some of the advantages?

 

These exercises build trust

If you are scaling a wall and you are dependent on your team members to steady you, you learn quickly if they are trustworthy. In most team building exercises, you have to know that you can depend on others.

 

These exercises build relationships

Most days employees sit in an office or work in a manufacturing plant and may have little time to get to know each other. During these team building exercises, they can chat about their lives. Most of these events begin with the participants telling more about themselves.

 

The experience builds morale

Most employees enjoy the day out of the office and enjoy the activities. They return to work excited about their participation and share stories from the event with others.

 

Team building increases productivity

An energized, excited work force gets the job done. This is opposed to a work force that hates their job and has very little faith in the company or their colleagues.

 

Planning a successful team building exercise requires planning and consideration of the employees’ physical abilities and interests. Here are some guidelines:

 

While the Ropes course is one of the most popular team building exercises, it is not for everyone. A group of computer programmers may not have the physical ability to do some of the stringent climbing exercises that are a part of the course. The course can be adapted, however. There are team building exercises that do not involve physical activity that will build trust and camaraderie.

 

Team building exercises like the Ropes course require an outdoor venue. Many towns have areas that are especially set up for companies and other organizations who want to host this popular course. However if your area does not have a place, you may have to consider hosting a retreat in another city. If you do, you have to consider travel expenses and how you will compensate your employees for their time. If you are doing some simple indoor activities, you can host the team building exercise at a nearby convention hall or even in your office.

 

In this economic downturn, you do have to consider cost. If several employees are away from their jobs during the exercise, productivity decreases. If you have to take the employees to another location, you have to consider costs for food and renting the venue. No matter how desperately you feel you may need a team building exercise, you may reconsider if you can’t afford the costs.

 

Set goals. If you hope to see productivity increase after the team building exercises, determine how much of an increase you want. You can choose if you let your employees know the goals. Especially if you invested money in sponsoring the team building exercises, you will want to see are turn on your investment.

 

Employee motivation is a challenge in any business. That is why the Ropes course became so popular. Employees love the physical challenge and the fun of the event. They go back to work focused on their job and appreciative of the opportunity to spend a day with their colleagues.

 

See more at: http://eventmanagement.com/events/team-building/

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There are a lot of reasons to have a company picnic.

  • They build company morale.
  • They show appreciation for employees and their efforts.
  • They show commitment to employees and their families.
  • They strengthen teamwork.

But the Number 1 reason to have a company picnic is to have fun!

Of course, having all that fun requires hard work but if you follow a few simple suggestions your picnic will be worth the effort.

Get Organized

Start with a notebook divided into sections for Budget, Location, Raffle Items, Party Favors, Food and Beverages, Invitations, Activities, and Entertainment. For even the smallest picnic you’ll have to answer questions in each of these areas and the notebook helps you keep everything you need in one place.

Start with your budget. The company will give you limited dollars to spend and that budget will dictate most of your decisions. Next figure out how many people will attend. For company picnics we usually figure 80% of the people invited will show. Multiply that number by 2 and a half to account for spouses and kids and you should have a number to work with that makes sense.

Some companies augment their budget by charging employees a small fee for the event. Sounds gauche but if you have it at an amusement park or a water park it could be warranted and it will help prevent people inviting the extended families and all their friends.

Pick a location

Try to find a reserved spot for your group. Who wants to police other groups and compete over ball fields or horseshoe pits? Make sure you have enough room for your group. It’s a picnic so people will want room to move and kids will want to explore and run all over. Try to find a spot that offers alternatives for activities. You’ll probably want a ball field and pits for sure but you’ll also find places that have hiking trails or paddleboats. Of course you’ll need a pavilion just in case it rains.

Many companies pick amusement parks and they can be a blast. It is hard to get the group all together though and you won’t have much in the way of group activities. These parks are probably a better solution for larger companies that would be hard pressed to find a park setting large enough for thousands of people.

Invitations, Agendas, Raffles, and Food

Try to send your invitations out at least 30 days before the event. Summertime is busy for everyone so get on people’s calendar as soon as possible. Company picnics are fun, so use an invitation that screams celebration. Party411’s Creations for You will provide custom invitations with your company logo. Another great option is a personalized candy bar wrapper used as an invitation. Your employees will save the wrapper and eat the candy…and they certainly won’t forget the invite! Ask for an RSVP. It will help with your planning.

Prepare an agenda for the day so people know where to be. You don’t want to cook food all day so let people know you are serving from 3-5 and the softball game is at 2, and the raffle at 6, etc.

Raffles are a great way to spark interest in the picnic. Many of our clients ask for donations from other companies. It takes time to solicit raffle prizes and it should be the job of a committee not a single person! Try to have one great grand prize. It creates excitement and of course you can’t win if you’re not present at the picnic. Another great thing about raffles is they force everyone to get together for at least part of the day. Picnics tend to spread out and it’s nice to have everyone in a central place

Food is important!! Your picnic can be catered, potluck, or have your boss cook hotdogs and burgers on the grill. Remember your budget will dictate what you can or can’t do. Whatever the final decision let your employees know what to expect. You’ll find people can be very accommodating as long as they know what’s up in advance. Don’t forget to make the alcohol policy known.

Decorations and Party Favors

You really want to create a festive atmosphere. Picnic grounds can cover a large area so have some signage to direct your happy picnickers.  You may want to have a central location to hand out favors, food or drink tickets, or even name tags.  Imprinted balloons always liven up a place and they’re great fun for the kids. For party favors try water bottles with personalized labels.  They’re useful.

Games, Activities and Entertainment

It’s a picnic, so everyone should have tons to do! Here are a few quick ideas

  • Carnival Game Booths
  • Horseshoes
  • Volleyball (bring a net from home)
  • Face painters
  • Paddle Boats
  • Clowns
  • Caricature Artists
  • Softball Games
  • Bocce games
  • Pony rides
  • Football Frisbee
  • Piñata bash
  • Sack races, egg toss, wheelbarrow races, etc for the kids.

It’s a big list. Pick what works for your group and remember all kids like to win something. You’ll probably want to designate someone as the games coordinator.

 

Read more at… https://www.party411.com/theme191.html

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Host a Company Picnic: 5 Reasons

Host a Company Picnic: 5 Reasons

The sluggish economy may have you tempted to cut employee perks. Think twice.

 

Understandably, with the recent recession and anemic economic growth, many employers are looking at ways to reduce costs.  Oftentimes, employee perks are the first cuts to improve margins. Don’t do it. Here’s why.

I just spent Saturday at the eighth annual Beryl Health Family Day.  We brought our employees and their families together to spend the day enjoying face painting, rock climbing, fishing, bingo, softball games, balloon hats, a “ranch Olympics,” and some delicious barbecue.  Close to 800 people attended, and we spent thousands of dollars to support it.

Could those dollars have been saved and applied directly to our bottom line? Sure. But dollars were invested wisely on the bounce house and lemonade because of the dynamic returns we’ll get.

Here are five ways I know the company picnic pays off:

  1. It shows commitment.

Employees are aware of the sluggish economy and notice other employers are cutting back.  By sticking with beloved events, even in tough times, our employees return that devotion right back to us each day they come through our doors.

  1. It breaks down walls. 

We work hard all year long and build up natural silos between departments.  But when the manager of a different department is in the batter’s box hitting for your assistant’s team, he can’t help but root for her. We’re building camaraderie, and connections.

  1. We support families.

Don’t underestimate the value of being loved by the little ones—not just because it’s a joy to see the smiles of hundreds of kids.  When those children leave our picnic, they can talk about the great place that mommy and daddy work.  Bridging the relationship between work and family means as a company we have hundreds of chicken-nugget eating, homework-doing champions waiting for our employees to come home.

 

  1. We inspire gratitude.

The appreciation I witness from all employees who attend these events is heartwarming and affirms our purpose.  They know we don’t have to do it, and are thankful.  And that encourages employee loyalty and continued hard work.

  1. I feel rewarded.

I admit, there’s one more personal payoff.  Family Day is one of only a couple of times each year that I can look around and see hundreds of smiling faces all at the same time and take pride that it wouldn’t have happened without our company.  Nothing beats 800 people enjoying something you poured your heart into.

I mean it. Think twice before you cut the company picnic, or events like it.  Invest in smiles (and lots of sunscreen), and you’ll get the financial and emotional reward.

 

Originally posted at: http://www.inc.com

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DON’T GET OVERWHELMED BY EVENT OVERLOAD

DON'T GET OVERWHELMED BY EVENT OVERLOAD

When planning an event, help the control freak in you learn to let go.  Plus: how to save your emails from the junk-mail abyss.

 

As you get ready for your association’s big annual convention and other major meetings, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But event planner Kelli White offers reassurance that you don’t have to shoulder all the responsibility for making your events successful. In a guest post for Event Manager Blog, White underscores the importance of sharing the workload.

 

“Event-planning professionals have an endless list of tasks that need to be accomplished on any given day, and the trouble for most of us is that we want to do it all,” she writes. “Delegation is a challenge for almost everyone with a planner mentality. We tend to have trouble letting go because we all enjoy being in control.”

 

But by letting go, you aid your team as well as yourself.

 

“Employees and volunteers in the event-planning industry love to feel important and responsible for the success of the event,” White points out. “When you delegate, you are not only lessening your workload, but also providing valuable experience and opportunities for your staff.”

 

Click here to see all six of her tips for managing your event-planning workload. http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/share-event-workload

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2015 Meeting and Event Trends for Event Planners

2015 Meeting and Event Trends for Event Planners

Each year the experts break out the crystal ball and predict what will be new and innovative event trends in the upcoming year. The meeting and event industry is especially exciting. The rate at which technology changes, and event trends develop is staggering. In general, some new developments will help planners plan better, be more creative and engage attendees more. Other developments will help venues and other stakeholders. In this post, I’m addressing a handful of predictions that stand out.

 

EVENTS AS COMMUNITIES

 

Events are no longer a two or three-day project, but create a community that starts before the event begins and continues indefinitely after. Planners must think about a much longer lifecycle of their events than ever before. More are using technology to extend that lifecycle. The biggest barrier to the emergence of these connected communities is that planners may not have time to manage these communities as they are moving on to planning the next event. As this event trend develops, planners will have to incorporate strategies to manage these communities.

 

LOCAL FARM TO TABLE & FOOD AS DECOR

 

A trend that started a few years ago keeps evolving and is now fully incorporated at most venues. Food that is locally sourced, the farm to table style trend has become a mainstay and is not going anywhere soon. Event décor too has become more sustainable in which consumable foods and beverage are cleverly incorporated as décor into the event. Same counts for food trucks. I have attended more events this year that featured food trucks for catering than ever before. The trucks not only serve delicious food, they become instant décor for the event.

 

EVENT MOBILE APPS

 

Mobile event apps are becoming more popular. There are countless vendors providing apps with more events implementing the apps. However, the challenge for planners is to ensure that attendees download the event app. Now, about 60% of attendees download the apps, and only about 10% of people who download use the app. There is still ways to go to ensure universal adoption at events and meetings. Planners must ensure that the event app meets the needs of the attendees, is easy to use and provides a measurable return on investment.

 

END-TO-END MEETINGS MANAGEMENT

 

We will see the emergence of end-to-end meeting planning tools that allow planners to manage all aspects of their event from one platform versus a fragmented set of tools. Eventinterface is a great example of a tool that allows planners to manage all aspects of the planning process, from the registration process to the management of the event community all while increasing efficiencies and mitigating overall technology spend.

 

GOING BEYOND THE VENUE

 

As budgets have turned around and hotels are back to charging premium rates, more planners will be seeking out alternative venues for events. Most communities have empty warehouses, hangars; blank canvasses with perhaps with fewer limitations than a traditional venue. There are zoos, parks, restaurants, rooftops, parking garage structures, all great locations for events, many with build in décor.

I believe there will also be more local and regional events vs. national and international events. As travel cost and headaches related to travel have risen, and venue cost has been rising also, I predict that more planners will opt to look a bit closer to home for their events and meeting.

 

BLE AND iBeacons

 

I predict that these will be implemented more often, especially since they can easily communicate with mobile devices already. They provide a wealth of opportunity for planner and participants. Planners can track where attendees go, where they spend time, sessions they attend. The technology can also open up access to content when entering a specific room at a venue. The uses are endless and the technology is relatively cost-effective.

 

WI-FI EVERYWHERE

 

With event apps, it is now expected that events and venues offer Wi-Fi throughout the event, in all meeting rooms. It will no longer be acceptable to not have Wi-Fi accessible at events. Hotels and venues are slowly catching up in providing Wi-Fi that can handle the needed bandwidth. Every coffee shop, restaurant, and many retail outlets offer free Wi-Fi to guests and shoppers, venues however have ways to go to fully implementing this.

 

BIG DATA AND ANALYTICS

 

Events collect an immense amount of date from registration data to surveys. In the past, survey data was collected post event and analyzed weeks later. Now, with mobile apps and SAAS event technology planners can evaluate data on the spot and pivot where needed immediately. Planners will be able to more easily evaluate attendee behaviors, patterns and feedback as they implement technologies.

 

See More at: http://helloendless.com/2015-meeting-event-trends-event-planning/

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