As the event host, you’ll play a major role in planning and managing the event, and you’ll have your hands in every aspect of operations from beginning to end. That said, no one is an island, and you can’t expect to pull off a truly spectacular meeting or convention without a bit of assistance.
You’re going to need a reliable team of experts to manage the various facets of transforming your vision into a successful event. You need coverage for areas where you have no expertise. Even if you’re organized and you have a big-picture mentality, you might not know a lot about logistics, technology, décor, customer service, or other integral aspects of making your event a success.
This is where an amazing events team comes into play. With the right staff on hand to pick up the slack, you can delegate essential tasks to professionals who can handle them, leaving you free to focus on the aspects of planning and managing an event that fall in your wheelhouse. Here are just a few of the key positions you’ll want to populate with qualified individuals.
Even though you have the ultimate say in how planning progresses as the host of the event, a professional convention planner can help you to get all of your ducks in a row. Those who specialize in meeting and event services can help you nail down the details for every aspect of event planning, from branding and promotion, to attendee recruitment and registration, to presentations and technologies, to vendor discovery and contract negotiation, to overall management and follow-up.
Says Tessa Cameron VP of Strategic Sourcing at AMI, “Think of your convention planner as the foundation for a successful event, the base that all the other pieces of your team are built on top of. This is the first person you’ll want to bring on board when you’re planning an event. This is the person who can help you put together all the pieces.”
You’ll also need administrators to head up different areas of the event planning and management process. These professionals will report to you and your event organizer and take some duties off your plate.
Your convention planning team will consist not only of people who handle logistics, but also those who come up with innovative design ideas suitable for your brand and your event. The creative team will be involved with marketing and promotions for your event, brand imaging at every level (website and social media, as well as print materials at the event), media for presentations, and design and décor for your event.
Everything from event maps, to logos, to banners and kiosks could fall to the creative coordinator and his/her team to create. Although you’re likely to have some ideas about the design process and your event organizer will probably have suggestions, as well, you really need a creative team in place to bring your vision to life.
There’s no denying the importance of technology in modern day events. Event the simplest meetings and presentations will benefit from audio/visual elements, and you can use technology in ever-increasing ways to improve logistics, engage your audience, and add convenience to every facet of your event.
Your technical director can help you not only determine which technologies are suitable for your event, but also how to implement upgrades and even find partners in creating custom software or apps for your events. Whether you want to set up kiosks with tablets featuring interactive displays or you plan to provide all event info and an easy means of event registration via app, you’re going to need a professional that understands the benefits and challenges of working technology into your events.
Head of Security
You might not necessarily have to hire this important team member – many venues that host big events already have their own security staff in place or they outsource to a local provider for security details. If you happen to have an experienced security professional on staff that you trust, he/she can act as a liaison with on-site security personnel to create a plan than ensures safety for event attendees. Your convention planner can also help you to find security experts as needed.
Event Organizer Recommendations
If you’re relatively new to event planning or you’re hosting an event overseas (where laws and expectations are different), you might not even know what types of people you’re going to need to pull off your event. The good news is that an expert event organizer has the knowledge to guide you through and a network of contacts to tap into for assistance or advice.
You might think the hardest part of planning any event is choosing the location, but as it turns out, location isn’t everything – it’s only the beginning. Once you’ve nailed down the venue, it’s time to get to work filling the space with exhibits, signage, décor, and more to wow attendees and create an engaging and memorable experience. Before you stack your itineraries at the registration desk and welcome event attendees, you and your event organizer need to outfit your space with appropriate design elements.
Says Chelsea Litos, VP Account Management at AMI, “The design elements you choose will need to compliment your space, support your branding, create a mood, and provide a visually appealing atmosphere that creates a lasting impression for guests. With the right elements, you can deliver an immersive experience that begs to be shared.”
The last thing you want is for event attendees to be bored by your décor. Part of getting it right is staying true to your brand, while another factor revolves around understanding your audience. However, when you consider the elements of design, you have the opportunity to build a cohesive and compelling look from the ground up. Here are the essential design elements you and your convention planner should focus on when crafting your event.
Nail Down the Color Scheme with Your Convention Planner
Your color scheme may be drawn from an existing palette that coincides with your company branding, but you may also want to brand your event, and choosing the right color scheme can set an immediate and enduring tone for attendees. If, for example, you want to create a feeling of ethereal other-worldliness with a clean, bright palette, you might go with a tone-on-tone motif featuring shades of white, ecru, and eggshell. Or you might add touches of pastel hues to compliment the space.
If a more modern aesthetic is the order of the day, adding bright pops of candy-colored hues could create a feast for the eyes. Perhaps you want an edgy, futuristic vibe with dark, metallic tones or you’d rather create exotic appeal with rich, saturated jewel tones. The colors you and your convention planner choose will inform the mood of attendees from the moment they enter the space, so choose colors that elicit the right emotions.
Don’t Neglect Texture
Texture is an often-underused design element when it comes to events, but you should know that mixing textures can help to bolster your aesthetic and create a more attractive presentation overall. Appealing to tactile sensation with visual elements can enhance the experience for event attendees.
Layer on hard, soft, shiny, rough, rustic, and other textures to provide a landscape that is both visually stunning and that begs to be touched, catching the eye and the imagination. Adding a variety of textures can only help to make your event space more immersive. Don’t forget, you can also fake texture with pattern.
Visualize a Marriage of Lines
Your event space itself will have built-in lines that are horizontal and vertical, at the very least, although you might also find yourself dealing with diagonal lines, as well as those that are dynamic (curved, for example). Whether you and your event organizer decide to mimic existing lines in your design or work against them, it’s important to be aware of the lines in your space so you can make a conscious decision about how you install the lines of your design, from backdrops and rugs to furniture and other décor.
See How Shapes Fit into Your Space
The shapes you choose and the way you arrange them can have an impact on how people approach your space. For example, if you add a lounge space with groupings of plush couches and chairs, you’ll invite attendees to sit and socialize, perhaps having extensive conversations. If you only add cocktail tables near a bar, you may still spur conversation, but guests won’t necessarily be inclined to relax or stay long – they may be more likely to drift through and meet more people briefly.
Adjust the Size of Elements
You and your convention planner can create focal points or emphasize elements of design by simply adjusting the size. Take a page from famed sculpture artist Claes Oldenburg by blowing up object to enormous size – see popular pieces like Lipstick (Ascending), Clothespin, and Binoculars Building for examples.
Add Lighting with the Help of Your Event Organizer
Lighting may not technically be an element of design, but how you and your event organizer use it to highlight your space can contribute to or detract from your overall design, so it bears consideration. It can influence mood, draw attention, and add unexpected flair to your design, helping to boost visual appeal and make your event a success.
People are creatures of habit, even if they don’t always understand the instinctual nature of their habits. If you are a student of human behavior, though, you can gain some insight into how people are likely to react to certain settings and situations.
If you’ve ever been on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, you know what happens when the doors of the elevator first open and people crowd inside. The first ones in head for the walls and line them, then subsequent rows fill in until people finally fill the room. Nobody goes to the center of the room until forced there. This has something to do with survival instinct. Nobody wants to feel exposed when surrounded by strangers.
What does this have to do with planning meetings and events with event management services professionals? It can help you to plan a layout and design your space with specific goals in mind, such as putting attendees at ease and creating opportunities for interaction.
Plan Your Layout for Your Purpose
Your event is sure to have a slate of planned activities, from speakers and panels, to workshops and networking opportunities, to exhibit halls and interactive game stations, just for example. For each activity you present to attendees, you should turn to experienced professionals at corporate event planning companies to create an appropriate layout.
For example, an event featuring a speaker will require everyone to face toward the main attraction, and this could be best accomplished by orienting rows of chairs to face a stage. This isn’t the only option, though. You could also create a theater-in-the-round type setting to increase engagement and a feeling of intimacy.
Says Tessa Cameron, VP of Strategic Sourcing at AMI, “With careful planning, you can meet multiple goals with your layout. Do you want people to focus on a speaker? Do you want them to interact with each other? Do you want to support group participation? Your layout can contribute in a big way to accomplishing your goals if you take the time to consider what different layouts are likely to yield in terms of audience reaction.”
Consult with Corporate Event Planning Companies on How to Create a Mood
There are so many logistical concerns to consider when planning an event, not to mention the burden of creating relevant, timely, and engaging content. As a result, creating a mood and ambience for your event could fall low on your list of priorities. However, working with experts from corporate event planning companies to develop a suitable atmosphere for your event is important.
It can not only create a more immersive and engaging experience, but it can help to put attendees at ease, add cohesion to disparate activities, and set expectations for the event as a whole. Your event management services partners can lend their expertise to the process.
Work on Branding and Theme with Your Event Management Services Pro
Your event space design includes more than furniture and mood lighting – it also entails décor, and corporate event planning companies can help you to come up with ways to add cohesive messaging and design elements to every facet of your event. With the right décor, you and your event management services partners can unify the entire event while embracing a theme and reinforcing branded messaging throughout.
When it comes to cities designed to cater to corporate events, you and your corporate meeting planner might focus on well-known locales like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Atlanta, and New York City, just for example, which offer international airports, ample lodgings and entertainment opportunities, and massive convention centers. Of course, your global meeting planner can probably tell you that these accommodating locations are also going to cost you a pretty penny.
Downtown Miami skyline, Florida, USA.
You’ll be happy to learn that there are many beautiful cities that can not only meet your needs at less expense, but that are actively seeking corporate business and that will vie to host your meetings and events. If you and your corporate meeting planner have yet to consider the allure of Miami, now is a great time to learn more about what this amazing city has to offer.
A New Convention Center for You and Your Global Meeting Planner to Consider
Perhaps one of the best reasons to consider Miami now is the brand-new, state-of-the-art Miami Beach Convention Center that just went up. It features over 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, a multi-use ballroom that offers 60,000 square feet of space, a glass rooftop ballroom with 20,000 square feet of space, and 81 meeting rooms totaling over 190,000 square feet of space, and it can accommodate up to 5,000 people, with a variety of options for configuration.
Located in the heart of South Beach, this sparkling, new facility is in close proximity to hotels and eateries galore, not to mention all the services you and your global meeting planner will require to host an outstanding meeting or event. There are also endless entertainment options for attendees to explore on their own time, and you simply can’t beat the beautiful Miami weather.
Ample Hotels for You and Your Corporate Meeting Planner to Explore
According to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), this bustling city by the sea offers abundant lodgings and other amenities for those hosting meetings and events. With 427 hotels and just shy of 56,000 rooms, you and your global meeting planner should have no trouble finding accommodations for event attendees.
Even better, the average room rate is $189.00 per night, which is significantly less than you might expect to pay in, say, New York or Las Vegas for high-end accommodations. The tax rate is 6%, which is also less than some other major cities. There are over 3,600 restaurants to explore, offering ample dining options.
A Beautiful Setting with So Much to Love
Says Tessa Cameron, VP of Strategic Sourcing at AMI, “It’s hard to deny the appeal of Miami. Warm, sunny weather is pretty much a given, as long as you avoid the late summer storm season, and average temperatures range from about 75 to 85 degrees year-round. Then there are the gorgeous beach views. You won’t get that in Vegas or New York.”
With temperate climes, affordable amenities, and tons of entertainment options, Miami might just be the best event destination you and your corporate meeting planner never considered. With a new convention center awaiting your arrival, now is the perfect time to take a look.
Corporate meetings and events are focused largely on content delivery. Whether you’re hosting a meeting or event, you’re a keynote speaker, or you’ve got a booth in the exhibit hall, there’s a message you want attendees to take away. You might naturally assume that the message is the top priority, the delivery method is secondary, and the venue comes in at a distant third.
In truth, content is the most important part of any meeting or event. However, that doesn’t mean the location won’t play a crucial role in setting expectations and creating a platform from which to successfully deliver your message. Selecting the right destination is not a throw-away decision – it’s one you must treat with careful consideration.
Says Tessa Cameron, VP Strategic Sourcing at AMI, “Any number of destinations could suit your needs when planning an event, but some are going to offer more. You need to comparison shop to find the greatest benefits at the lowest prices. Don’t forget to make sure your destination makes sense for your event and that it suits the sensibilities of attendees.”
What steps can you take to make sure you and your event organizer select the destination that’s best for your upcoming meeting or event? Here are a few guidelines to help you find your way.
Align Your Destination with Your Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish with your meeting? You may have many goals, from imparting a specific message, to raising brand awareness, to garnering patronage, to eliciting social behaviors from attendees (sharing via social media, writing positive online reviews, etc.). The destination you and your convention planner select should contribute in some way to reaching your goals.
For example, a beautiful location that has plenty of opportunities for selfies could invite social media sharing and raise the awareness and prestige of your event. If your message and your company are Eco-friendly in nature, you’re going to want to support your ideals with venues committed to Eco-tourism. The destination you choose should never be at odds with your goals for an event.
Ask Your Convention Planner to Work Out All Costs
The bottom line is not only an issue for you and your convention planner, but also for any guests that have to pay to attend. While you might be able to work out deals with local vendors for lodgings, food, transportation, and activities, just for example, don’t forget that there are going to be hidden costs like taxes and fees, and you need to make sure to factor these in with overall cost.
Don’t forget about the potential cost for attendees to reach your destination, as well. Getting a great deal on lodgings won’t help if the vast majority of your attendees have to book pricey international flights to get there.
Carefully Consider the Infrastructure
A scenic destination that is off the beaten path may seem perfect for a retreat that requires total immersion. However, you have to consider the hassles of getting there and the potential inconvenience to attendees when you go off the grid, so to speak.
An experienced and creative event planner can do a lot to keep guests comfortable and engaged, but if event attendees have to spend hours on an airplane only to hop on a bus or in a car for several more hours of travel to reach a remote destination, they’re not going to be too happy about the inconvenience. Morale will get even worse if the location doesn’t offer absolutely stellar amenities and diversions.
Understand the Draws of Different Locations
What makes one location preferable to another? You and your event organizer may be focused on the basics, like infrastructure, amenities, and logistics, but you also have to consider what added value a particular destination has to offer, such as culture, cuisine, and entertainment opportunities. This can help to elevate your event, engage attendees, and create an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Plan for the Weather
While there’s no telling what the weather will be like at a certain destination during specific dates, you and your convention planner can do some research into common weather patterns to find out if the climate is likely to be accommodating during your event.
Work with Your Event Organizer to Avoid Undue Safety Concerns
There are always going to be safety concerns when hosting an event, from a bad buffet that makes everyone sick, to uninvited guests gaining entry and causing disruptions, to natural disasters. If you plan accordingly, you can avoid most security concerns, but when choosing your destination, make sure to learn all you can about potential threats particular to the region or specific venues.
Consider unique, non-traditional venue options to wow your attendees.
Any meeting or event leaves the corporate host and the event organizer with a lot of balls to juggle, including attendees, guest speakers, activities, transitions, catering, entertainment, lodgings, and of course, the venue where the event will actually take place. Between strategic planning, logistical concerns, and finding the latest technologies for your event, it’s only natural that certain features of an event might take a lower priority.
There’s no denying the ease of simply booking a hotel ballroom, a convention center, or other traditional venues for your event. In truth, there’s nothing technically wrong with instructing your convention planner to do just that. However, if you want your event to wow, you cannot overlook the smallest detail, and the venue can either add a memorable element to your event or fade into the background.
When you stay up-to-date with the latest trends in finding suitable venues for your meetings and events, you have the best opportunity to impress your guests on every level, starting with the setting. While you might not have the time to research this topic on your own, the experienced professionals at a global meeting services organization like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI) can keep you informed of current trends and help you track down the perfect venue for your event. Here are just a few things you should know about the top event venue trends for 2018.
Consider Non-Traditional Event Spaces
Corporate meeting rooms, hotel ballrooms, and convention centers are designed to provide ample space for meetings and events, as well as a neutral canvas on which a convention planner can build the foundations for a particular event. Unfortunately, these traditional venues can also come across as bland and forgettable if the corporate host and event organizer go minimal where the décor is concerned. For this reason, many planners are turning to non-traditional event spaces.
According to Tessa Cameron, VP – Strategic Sourcing “The venue sets the scene for your meeting or event, and if you choose a boring venue, you’re setting the tone right off the bat. When you think outside the box and transform a non-traditional space like a craft brewery or an industrial warehouse for your purposes, you’re going to catch the interest of attendees immediately and create a lasting impression.”
Even better is the fact that these non-traditional spaces can save you money in a variety of ways. In some cases, they cost less than traditional event spaces to rent, and they might offer built-in decor and catering opportunities, as well.
Go Local and Green as an Event Organizer
Whether you’re planning a one-off event or hosting an annual shindig, one of the first things you’ll have to decide is if your event will require travel to an off-site venue or if it will take place locally. Many consumers are getting on board with the idea of local, sustainable practices, and you should consider working these ideas into your choice for an event venue.
This could mean choosing business establishments that are owned and operated locally. You can also choose venues that tout sustainability with eco-friendly, low- or no-emission spaces, energy-conscious planning, or organic products, just for example. Supporting local businesses that are sustainably built and operated is not only good for your community (and your standing in the community), but it also gives you an added selling point when inviting attendees, guest speakers, and so on.
Use a Virtual Convention Planner
Is there anything in the real world that can’t take place in virtual space these days? If you’re looking for an innovative means of hosting an event, consider that you could allow guests to attend your event from the comfort of their own home or corporate office.
With the rise of new communications and virtual reality technologies, a hosting company can team up with a talented convention planner to create an event that takes place entirely in a virtual space. It’s just a hop, skip, and jump from webinars to interactive, virtual events, and forward-thinking companies can find ways to make virtual meetings and events just are enticing as real-world soirees (if not more so).
Pay Attention to Branding
Any event organizer is tasked not only with pulling off an impressive event, but also creating the perfect event for each client. This means getting a handle on an event host’s branding and particular corporate culture. A massive, medical industry conference, for example, may require a very different venue than an event for those working in retail startups. With a reliable and experienced partner in meeting and event planning like AMI to help out, your business can find the perfect venue for any event, especially if you’re willing to try out new trends.