introsPECtives


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Events category.

Experiential Events

I recently was talking with someone about what makes an event a great event. I think there are several factors like hitting your core objectives, staying in budget, and how easy the planning process is for your clients but if you really want to know what makes an event a great event for your guests then here is my opinion:

  • Touch – Guests need to be able to touch aspects of the event. Hands on, if you will. They need to be able to physically feel components of the event. That can be everything from hands on activities to the texture of linens. Finding ways your guests can engage in the event through touch is rarely thought about but it matters. It really does.
  • See – The eyes are the first sense that must be engaged. Lights, color, activity all of it engages the guest first through visual anticipation. How many times have you taken more food than you can eat because your eyes found all the food appealing? Events are the same. Engage people’s eyes with things to look and experience visually and you will have made a huge impact right from the beginning.
  • Taste – Well, of course. Taste is a major sensory function and a party is not a party without food and beverages. Not all food and beverage is created equal though. Make sure that the things you are offering match with the vibe and feel of the event. You wouldn’t want to go to a BBQ and have them serve 5 star cuisine on paper plates. It just doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid to experiment with taste through textures and spices. Be creative it can pay off in a big way and great food and beverages will be remembered long after other things are forgotten.
  • Feel – This concept is a little more esoteric. Guests need to feel the core objectives without you stating them. For example: We appreciate you, thank you, we’ve reached our goal, we need to work harder, etcetera. If all the components of your event work together cohesively guest will walk away with an overall feeling, a concept of enjoyment, that they can’t exactly express but feel nonetheless. You want guests to believe that how they feel is of their own making and not something you designed into the creation of the event.

It’s important to think about these things when planning an event. If you have a hard time figuring out how to encompass these things in your event effectively – I would recommend working with a seasoned event planning professional. Nothing surpasses experience and event planners know when to go lavish and when to be subtle to get the point across.


Preparation & Planning

When you are in the event industry preparation and planning are your bylaws. You have to think of things that others don’t and you have to be ready for anything. We jokingly call it Plan C, D, E & F. Meaning that you plan and prepare beyond a Plan B.

No matter what part of the event industry you are in, you will have your own particular set of preparation steps that are required. For us, as corporate event and project managers we carry around an event kit. It’s basically our Mary Poppins magical bag. We can pull out just about anything for any situation as long as we keep the bag stocked.

It’s a great idea to create one that is specific to what you do. (Even working in an office, you can have a magical drawer where you keep those crazy items that you surprisingly need now and again). Here is what we keep in our event kits:

  • Nail polish remover/cotton balls
  • Ear plugs
  • Pills for ill guests: Advil, tylenol, tums, immodium
  • Hand lotion or body spray
  • Scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Unscented bug spray (for outdoor events)
  • Baby wipes
  • Spray deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Granola bars and water
  • Travel sewing kit
  • Hair Goods: hairspray, bobby pins, hair ties, brush or comb
  • Safety Pins, double-sided tape
  • Charger with different charging tips
  • Lint Roller
  • Tide Sticks or Clorox bleach pen
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mints or gum
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and mouth wash
  • Small first aid kit
  • Screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters
  • Blades or pocket knife
  • Different types of tape: scotch, electrical, masking, gaffers tape and double sided tape
  • Paper clips, binder clips
  • Power strip, extension cords, converters
  • Twist ties, fishing line, zip ties
  • Sharpies in all colors
  • Pens
  • Measuring tape
  • Adhesive hooks and tape
  • Floral tape
  • Windex
  • Paper Towels
  • Flash drive
  • Flash light
  • Velcro
  • Batteries
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Notepad
  • Thumbtacks, Push pins, Rubber bands

Believe me….no matter what event it is, I always need something from this kit. It is a necessity of event life. As a side tip: we use a rolling hard shell toolbox to carry everything in. One with lots of little compartments helps you keep things organized too.


Fall Fundraising

Fall is when there is a lot of fundraising taking place. Its a time to gather in stores and prepare for the upcoming winter. Its a time when many focus on taking care of those in need. Those that are most likely to suffer the most from the long winter. This also happens to be one of the busiest times of year for our company. Well, at least, now to New Years but even in that our thoughts turn to how we can support our communities through fundraising. As an event company, our skill set is of course, planning events.

So many people think that they must hire us to gain our expertise or our skills but in truth, we are a fabulous resource for associations and businesses that want to fundraise or do events to support non-profits. We are connected to hundreds of resources, vendors and venues. We are willing to advise and even donate hours to non-profits we support but sometimes all a person needs is an idea of how to fundraise so we have a few starting ideas for you:
• Super Event – find lots of event hosts to hold a small fundraising event on behalf of your charity on the same night, and all around the same theme.
• Theme Nights – Pick a theme that works with your charity’s goals and build your event around that.
• Social Media Events – host an event through social media and request donations through PayPal links.
• Combined Events – find another non-profit or organization that matches yours and host a combined event to raise funds for you both.
• Eat for a Cause – work together with local restaurants to donate 10% of their profits on a designated night for your cause in exchange for encouraging supporters to eat there.

And of course….we can’t forget ways to spread good cheer throughout the upcoming holidays and our favorite is Paying It Forward. Do something nice for others, not because anything is expected of you but because it feels good to give. If you need some ideas for how to Pay It Forward:
• Help someone with the groceries
• Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line
• Donate items to halfway houses or abused women’s shelters
• Spend some time writing positive reviews for businesses
• Donate blood
• Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc.
• Drop extra change into parking meters
• Donate food to the hungry
• Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
• Donate time at an animal shelter
• Buy a coffee card and give it to a police officer

Everyone has the ability to reach out and help another – if we think we ourselves need assistance. Find the way which is yours and embrace it. You will be happier for it.


In the Spirit of Spring Break

Anyone who has kids or is a young adult themselves knows that from late March to mid April is spring break season. For parents of young kids, that means it’s grandparent week! For everyone else it usually means vacation time or party time. If your teenager or young adult is at home for the entire week, maybe suggest that they go try something new. Groupon is always full of great deals on restaurants (ever tried Ethiopian food?) fitness classes (boxing, piyo, booty bootcamp, all fun) and discounts on places like the zoo or aquarium. If you don’t have any kids but still want a taste of that carefree spring break spirit, why not throw a spring break party? Invite your friends over, make some pina coladas and put on some Margaritaville. Or take a look at these fun spring break themed parties!
http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/easy-decorating/luau-party
http://www.fun-theme-party-ideas.com/mexican-theme-party-ideas.html
http://www.toppartyideas.com/mardi-gras-party/
No matter your age, or your family size, we hope you manage to find at least a few moments of the Spring Break fun this month, happy partying!


Season of Love?

Whether your single and ready to mingle, single and loving it or in a committed relationship (and all those relationship points in between) we all know February is the month of “love”. Usually all February gives us to look forward to is Valentine’s Day but since this year is a Leap Year we have a whole extra day at the end of the month! Now while that may not be exciting here, in Ireland Leap Day is a very romantic day. It’s the day that a woman can propose to a man without it being considered odd. Now I know gender roles are archaic but it’s a very old tradition dating back to the 5th century! Since this year’s February is so special we decided to come up with a few fun party ideas for your Valentine’s Day or possibly your Leap Year engagement party?

Try the DIY craze by making these crazy cute decorations! http://thehappyhousie.porch.com/adorably-elegant-diy-valentines-day-decor-ideas/

Making truffles at home means customizable flavors! Bailey’s anyone? http://vikalinka.com/2013/12/15/baileys-truffles/

Crafty type? Make something cute for that special someone. http://www.bombshellbling.com/75-amazing-valentines-day-ideas/

With all these do it yourself gifts and decorations, your February can be a lot more cost effective and a little more heartfelt. Handmade objects really add some love into whatever you’ve created and honestly, you don’t even have to be good at arts and crafts! These are especially good if you have a few kiddos around that need something to put their energy into. Half the fun of parties is the planning and set up! Between Valentine’s Day and Leap Day, may your February be packed with parties and fun!


Rock Those Summer Beats

We believe that music is a major component to every event but it’s never more so than when summer hits and it’s time to get out and play in the sun. In order to help you create a summer playlist for all your fun summer activities we have searched the web and found some great playlists for you to start with, tweak and then make your own:

NME, Billboard, 8 Tracks, Playlists, Coldwell Banker, and H&M Ultimate Summer on Spotify

And just because we want to add a few suggestions of our own:
• Lovely Day – Bill Withers
• Summertime – Will Smith
• Summer Girls – LFO
• Cruel Summer – Bananarama
• Hot in here – Nelly
• Blurred line – Robin Thicke
• Summer – Calvin Harris
• Happy – Pharrell
• California Soul – Marlena Shaw
• California Girl – Katy Perry
• Live Your Life – Yuna
• Icarus – Madeon
• Summer Time – DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince
• Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett
• Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest
• Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
• Cruel Summer – Bananarama
• Hindou – El Guincho
• The Wave – Miike Snow
• Let’s Go – Calvin Harris
• The Night Out – Martin Solveig
• Regulate – Warren G
• Hot In Herre – Nelly


Budget? Budget? Who knows the Budget?

One of the most challenging aspects of being an event planner is getting the budget from your clients. Over the years we have come to realize that our clients fall into two distinct categories: One who tells us their bottom line budget and really means it. Not a penny more and hopefully you can work a miracle and it will be less. Then there are those that will tell you a budget but actually give you a budget that is 10-15% less than what they really have to spend.

At Premier Event Connection we work really hard to stick within whatever budget our clients give us. So much so that we will spend hours trying to get things into budget, figuring out ways to cut things but keep the integrity of the event concept. We have almost made ourselves sick over budget numbers because we take it so seriously. Some of our long time clients, have learned this about us and trust us implicitly with their budgets and still there are some that play what we call the budget game.

You cannot even imagine what it is like to spend hours stressing over a budget, unable to lower it any more, present it to your client and have them say, “That’s great – and can we add (whatever they have thought of in the moment). Not even batting an eyelash at the numbers you have been agonizing over. You get this influx of relief that you have not disappointed them and they are happy with your proposal of costs but it’s mixed with this frustration that they couldn’t just tell you what they really have to spend and trust you aren’t going to gouge them.

Regardless, sticking within the budget that your clients’ give you is one of the most important aspects to being a project manager and you need to become a Budget Nazi, not matter which type of client you are dealing with.


Will the real Expert please stand up?

Working in the event industry we have noticed over the last few years how many people we know who have added event planning to their list of skills. It seems like every vendor we have worked with for years has decided to offer event planning as well. Now, we absolutely don’t think we are the only ones who can plan an event and if you have been to enough events you pretty much know how to pull one together. Do we think that a company that specializes in one particular thing can add event planning to what they do and be successful? Sure, it’s already being done. However, there is something to be said for not trying to be all things to all people.

Just because a DJ sees enough weddings to be able to bring all the components of an event together doesn’t mean they should. It pays to have that wedding
coordinator there, planning all the pieces and overseeing the flow of the day. Our motto regarding this has become: <strong>“Be an expert at what you do and let other people be experts at what they do so that your clients have a phenomenal experience rather than a mediocre one.”

We realize we may be the minority but we feel that if you develop relationships with people and support them in what they are experts in and they support you in what you are an expert in, then there is enough business for everyone. There is no need to be greedy and try to “get the whole piece of the pie” when in fact working together creates a better experience for everyone. And yes, we believe that sharing the “whole pie” actually ends up being more pie for everyone even if it doesn’t seem like that at first. Call us crazy but we would rather be known as an expert in our field than mediocre in many things.


Do you know your style?

There are people who absolutely know what their style is. They are drawn to it. Everything that could even remotely fall under their style (for example: Vintage Country) catches their eye. When they know what their style is it makes it pretty easy to relate that into décor and even fashion but what about those of us who like a whole bunch of different styles? What if you just can’t pick one that is your favorite? What if you don’t even know enough about what you really like to call it by a brand of style? What do you do then?

I read an article once that said the best way to discover your style was to get a scrapbook and start ripping pages out of magazines (or in this modern day – create a Pinterest board) and start collecting pictures of things you like. After a while you will start to see a pattern emerge, a clear style showing up again and again. Even if you can’t figure out what to call it, the style is there and once you recognize it, it becomes easy to work with.

Another thing to consider when trying to figure out how to pick décor that works for you is trying to figure out how to blend styles. Perhaps your spouse likes things very modern but you like things with a western feel. No way to blend the two so someone is always unhappy? Not necessary. Rule of thumb to remember for this scenario – Find a signature piece, a statement piece that you want to design the room around and then find elements from both styles to blend with the piece. It sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is.

Last but not least, when in doubt, play! Don’t be afraid to try something unusual. Mix things up, get creative and see if it works. If you don’t like it you can always change things back to what they were.


The Low Down on a Destination Management Firm

The Low Down on a DMC

Many of our clients have managers that travel frequently for business, or they are required to travel themselves as well. Often times they need to suddenly become a resource for all things relating to where their manager is travelling too, on top of the job they already do. That is when it is a great idea to work with a destination management firm.

Admittedly, with all the technological advances, researching an area and finding things relative to a need is pretty easy but nothing replaces the value of local knowledge and expertise about a city. Not to mention that a destination management firm often knows what is currently trending as “hot and happening” and what is “yesterday’s news”.

They also have many pre-established relationships with the best vendors in the city and can quickly connect you. They also know who, when, and how to ask for special requests resulting in top notch service and experiences for their clients.

Of course, what a destination management firm saves you the most, is your time. Instead of you spending hours researching and weeding through data to “hopefully” make a good decision, you get presented with the best options right up front.

Last, but not least, when you are trying to plan things from afar, you simply need a smiling, friendly face on the ground to verify the details with vendors, confirm that arrangements go smoothly, and to be the calm voice of reason in case a crisis should happen.

Believe us, the peace of mind a destination management firm can provide is well worth the cost of their services.