Having worked in the Maalaea event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?
So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Maalaea, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.
The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?
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The art of setting up seminars or company gatherings has really taken off in recent years. Dallas event facilities are amongst the leading venues in the state, and possibly the country. Dallas ranches offer wide open spaces where the company delegates can relax and enjoy all that is on offer, and perhaps learn a thing or two along the way.
With any kind of seminar, or gathering to say thank you to the employees, it is important that the place where the meeting is held fulfills all the requirements of the company. Merely booking a hall or hotel doesn't seem to cut it these days and suppliers have caught on to that fact.
Nowadays it is far more likely that a retreat of some standing will be booked to make sure that the employees get the message that they are valued, or that they can achieve bigger and better results with the company should they strive harder to meet goals.
Take, for example, the theme inspired ranch style settings beloved of those who hail from Texas. Wide open venues, with space to see and feel nature, must be like paradise to those who are tied up in board rooms and offices most of the day. These venues often spread over about one hundred acres and offer superb facilities like trail riding, horse riding lessons, mechanical bull riding, armadillo racing and a host of other western themed events to keep the reveler happy.
Even country and western style music is on offer with lessons in line dancing or shows from some top of the line entertainers mean that there will never be a dull moment at this style of seminar. Imagine stumbling across a gunfight at the OK corral in the local area. This would be a highlight in the entertainment package for sure.
But of course, these seminars do not have to be all fun and games. Rather, they use the entertainment to make the minds of the attendees open to some teaching points which will be done throughout the stay. Meeting halls can seat up to one thousand people or more, but still in the 'down home' style that is Texas. Although these state of the art convention centers have all the modern equipment that one would expect, they still manage to make the visitor feel like part of the family for sure.
Indeed, these venues are not just for sales and marketing teams, or company picnics. They can be used for just about any kind of meeting that will have to house a large number of participants. By putting it into a country setting means that the whole experience will be that much more memorable and enjoyable.
Clever companies will reserve their meetings when the headline entertainers are booked to appear. This means that their delegates will get an even greater thrill out of meeting up with other company workers as well as seeing some top notch entertainment at the same time. This is surely a great way to show company representatives that they are valued and needed.
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You've been tasked with planning an event and don't know where to begin. Take a deep breath, anyone with any level of event expertise can take an event from good to great. Here is how:
For beginners, it is imperative that you do your homework. You must first generate an event plan and consider the building blocks of any event: target market, situational analysis, the 6 P's and planning.
Let's get started. Think very clearly about the people you are trying to attract. Ask yourself the question: Who is your target market?
Once you identify those that will be attending your event, allow yourself time to travel into the hearts and minds of your potential audience. Believe me; knowing what kinds of things they like to see, do, buy and eat will be helpful as your event plan begins to come to life.
Now that you have your target market in mind, let's take a look at your situational analysis. You will need to examine your internal strengths and weaknesses and your external opportunities and threats as they relate to whatever you are planning to do. You must be brutally honest with yourself when analyzing the various components of your event.
The next step in taking your event from good to great is to identify the 6 P's of event planning: Purpose, People, Product, Place, Price and Process. Outlined below you will find the questions related to each P that you should answer prior to diving into the planning phase.
- Why are you doing this event? (Purpose)
- Who will attend? (People)
- What are you going to do? (Product)
- When and where? (Place)
- How much is it going to cost you? (Price)
- How are you going to get the job done? (Process)
Now that you have identified your target market, have performed a situational analysis and have answered the building block questions of planning an event, you are ready to develop a formal event plan and begin execution shortly thereafter.
A formal event plan has several interrelated components: goal, objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, timetable and evaluation. Your written detailed plan of action will serve as the backbone to your master event plan. Keep it close at hand and refer back to it often.
Congratulations, at this point you have finished your homework and can now move into the imaginative, fun side of event planning! Take your events to the next level by identifying a theme and carrying that theme from start to finish.
Planning a successful event is no walk in the park. It is tedious work and requires an individual who always keeps their dancing shoes and party hat nearby. One who is forever excited about the adventure and who remembers that problems that will inevitably arise but the beat must go on.
You've got a plan, now the let the event begin. You are on your way from good to great!