So, You Have the Where …
Now, it’s time to move onto the and how. Catering and equipment and, oh, does this place have ample parking? Once you’ve coordinated everything from the DJ to the AV to the Wi-Fi, there are still a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross.
CYE (Cover Your Event): Got insurance? You may need it. Ask your venue’s management about necessary permits and insurance requirements up front.
Mark Your Calendar: Timelines differ, of course, but generally speaking the smaller your event, the shorter the cycle. Guests (day and overnight) and space will be the determining factors. Are you planning a small board dinner? While the details are still important, it shouldn’t take you too long to nail it all down. Are we talking convention center-level tradeshow? That could be a years-long endeavor. Create a detailed schedule with milestones and related dates to keep you on track.
Last Looks: Unless you’re all-knowing, you’re not. Visit your venue, in person, and make sure it’s the right fit for your event. If it’s a hotel venue, book a stay overnight and see what the experience will be like for your attendees. Large parties may allow for a free stay, but if not, feel free to check out the property, its amenities and level of service unescorted beforehand.
Do you have them? Some planners like to keep a spoon in every boiling pot on the stove. Others are more comfortable with delegation. Choosing the right consultant means knowing what responsibilities you want them to undertake and allowing them to execute. But remember, you’re still the customer – so you should feel comfortable in monitoring the progress.
The right consultant makes you and your staff shine by paying attention to details and allowing you to handle the larger issues. This could be long or short term, all of which should be outlined in your agreement. Outsourcing can be vital to staying on budget while increasing the manpower on your event project.
Consider a consultant if you need a boost in:
- Defining your meeting objectives
- Defining your financial objectives
- Hiring speakers or entertainers
- Drafting and keeping track of a budget
What should you look for? First, go to your contacts list and ask trusted friends or colleagues for recommendations? Does this consultant have great communication skills, impressive experience and a level of professionalism your colleagues laud? Bring them in for a chat and find out what they did for their previous projects that they can bring to yours. No recommendations? Make a list of prospects, check their credentials, and then let your instincts take over. Does this person seem honest? Will they tell you what you need to hear? Do they know your industry? How has this person creatively solved problems on previous jobs – because we all know the unexpected is expected! Feel free to bring in a trusted staffer to help you make the final cut and watch this new and productive partnership take flight into a successful event.
Photo credit: iStock.com/gremlin