Updated: Aug 30, 2018
Every event planner aims to host a flawless, impactful and memorable event. Every non-event planner who is hosting an event also aims for the same outcome. For the non-event specialists, here are some small, but important special touches to keep your attendees impressed.
If you're going to do it, do it well. Don't be cheap! You need to spend the money to provide your guests with #eventswag they will benefit from in either a pragmatic and/or aesthetic way. Be creative and avoid overdone gifts. If you hand out mugs, notepads or mouse pads as gifts, what does that say about your company? You are cheap, unoriginal and boring. My most memorable swag gift that I created was a very nice grey and cozy, zip-up sweater with the company logo on the left front and the Canadian flag on the right arm. It started as a gift for 30 people and once it caught on, it was used at a few events for about 100 people and once on-stage in front of about 1000 people. Although it was just a sweater, people were so excited that it created a buzz. Good swag always creates a good buzz.
No VIP Left Behind
Every event has at least one. What are you going to do to make sure they feel special? Your #VIP becomes a VIP the minute they arrive to the event. Your team and vendors should know the name(s) of your VIP, their roles and how they should be taken care of. Their travel arrangements should be concise and double-checked in advance; any chauffeurs should be holding a sign with their name; their badge should have a ribbon stating their role or status; they should be checked-in to the hotel prior to arrival by someone on your team; their hotel room should have treats or wine and a gift if possible; they should be greeted upon arrival to the event; they should be offered a beverage immediately at the event; they should be escorted to their car at the end of the event; and they should be sent a follow-up/thank you for attending. Of course all of your guests will be VIP, so make sure everyone leaves your event feeling like a rock star.
Write Down the Details
Promote your event via an #eventregistration site - EventBrite will do, but there are other more advanced sites as well. Send event promo and reminders each week, 1 month prior to the event. Hype up your guests electronically, before you hype them up on-site. If you don't use an event registration site, be sure to brand your email with details. Making your event look well thought-out and structured improves turn-out. Also, write out all the details and a schedule of the event for you and your team. For an event to run seamlessly, there should be no confusion with the schedule or who is responsible for what tasks. Most importantly, ensure that all requirements are written down with your vendors and the venue and always have a contract. Over-communicate to ensure no detail is forgotten.
Up the Competition
Chances are, your customers/clients attend other industry events. Don't be shy, just ask them if they do and what they would like to see, should they attend an event with your company. If you're bold enough, ask if there are any competitors who are hosting events with missing gaps or even sensational events that left an impression. Whatever the competitor is doing, do more and be different. Promote your event so that your customers/prospective customers are enticed to attend, but under-sell and over-deliver. At the event, try to make every detail special or unique. A red carpet or swanky decorated entrance, company branding at the venue (directional signage, entrance/elevator branding), a server to hand them a glass of champagne upon entry, mood music to change with the event flow, menus with your company logo, decor to match the event theme and last, but most importantly, select the most delicious menu. An event can be a huge success, but there is one thing people will always remember the most - the food!
Congratulations! Your event was a success. I imagine you want your guests to attend a future event or you are hoping for at least something from them. Likely their business. If you would like their business, never miss the follow-through. Follow-up with a thank you within 3 days post event. This can be an email, a card or even a phone call. Firstly, it's regular event and customer appreciation etiquette. Secondly, you held this event for a purpose. Close the circle and get what you want out of it. It's an easy way to track leads and re-start the conversation. It's a good idea to also send a survey to find ways to improve your event for next time and let your attendees know that you are listening to what they would like to see next time.
- For event ideas or advice, feel free to email me! firstname.lastname@example.org -