From Knowing What You Want to Building a Relationship with Your Supplier!
There are many types of events that you might want – or be tasked – to organise. It’s one thing if it’s a birthday party, but it’s a completely different ball game if it’s a conference with speakers flying in from different locations. So how do you go about it?
Know What You Want
Make sure you understand what you wish to organise so that you will be able to communicate effectively with your suppliers. These are the people who will be doing the actual implementation of the event, so building a good understanding with them is crucial. Your role will ‘only’ be limited to being an administrator and getting your hands dirty is not necessarily a clever choice. Imagine the captain of a ship who suddenly starts rowing the boat as well…who will be looking out for the icebergs?
Start visualising the event by giving it a skeleton or a base on which you can start building further. Split up the actual event into a timed program from start to finish. This will help you tackle the implementation process in a systematic and organised manner rather than trying to do all at once. You will also be able to see the whole project holistically which will help bring out any odd items that don’t make sense for your event.
Choose Your Suppliers
Whenever I am asked to offer a proposal for an event, my first question to our customers would not be about the size or budget, but about the ultimate aim of their event and what they intend to get out of it. This puts both myself, as a supplier, and the client on the same wavelength with one common aim in mind. A professional Events Sales Manager should not be solely fixated on the ultimate revenue he can squeeze out of you.
He/she should also be your partner in ensuring that your invitees have been served well so that the meeting momentum is carried forward to stimulate future possibilities that might arise from a successful networking session or team building event. Remember that meetings – whichever type – are usually the start of a relationship or cooperation between a group of people who probably met for the first time during your meeting.
First the Location, then the Date
Fixing a date before actually finding the venue will limit you into settling down for a less desired location. There are decent venues and then there are awesome venues and it will be the latter that will have less availability. So be prepared with a set of optional dates or at least be open to suggestions. The outstanding venues that are proactive will suggest alternative dates in return for better value for money as an appreciation for filling their pockets of availability.
Size of the Event
It is not easy to estimate the number of invitees, but this is a crucial factor if you wish to keep your accounts in check. Food caterers, in particular, will issue their quotes on a specific number of persons and will usually allow a 5% -10% variance without changing their conditions. However, swaying too far below the originally quoted persons can prompt your caterer to charge in full, especially if their food stock has already been purchased, and their staff rosters already committed.
Avoid these unpleasant surprises and always be conservative in estimating your maximum amount of guests. Well-organised suppliers should be more than capable of reacting to last-minute increases in attendance rather than last minute decreases.
He Said, She Said….
It is very easy to get on the phone with your AV supplier to ask for that crucial extra lapel mic, but do you really know if he registered what you asked for? If he doesn’t turn up with your additional requirement, it is the organiser that has to find last-minute alternatives, if at all possible. Get every discussion backed-up in writing for every nitty gritty and create a simple task list.
It will help you summarise what details have already been communicated and will clear your mind to focus on the more important stuff. I am a huge fan of drawing up customised layout drawings as well as other details (depending on the event) and have it sent to the customer for approval. It saves time and last-minute issues.
As you can see, coordinating a large event mostly boils down to managing your service providers. If you would like further advice or would like to visit our AX Hotels Qawra Events venues, please do not hesitate to contact me.