Having worked in the Kahuku 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 Kahuku, 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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A useful event planning guide needs a large section on what exact equipment you will need. Have you ever been an event planner at an event and had the spine chilling moment when you realised that a vital bit of equipment had totally been forgotten about? Yep me to. That is one of the reasons I put this article together. The amount of technical equipment you will need will depend on what kind and size of event you are organising. A good Event Production Company will be able to advise you. A good place to start is to think about what media you want to use to get across your messages? Meanwhile, here are a few things to get you started.
Ask yourself and your speakers/presenters:
- What visual mediums will be used in presentations? PowerPoint slides, video, DVD?
- What type of screen is needed, a simple screen, projector and lap top, or a more complex stage set with lighting and graphics? All of these may depend on the size of your audience generally the larger the audience the more equipment you will need.
- Plus, do you want, front, back or fly projection?
- Will you need a Public Performance License? i.e. for Videos or DVD's or music you plan to play?
Now for some practical stuff..
- What size PA System and how many microphones do you need?
- What type of microphones do you need: Lapel, Hand Held or Lectern?
It's handy to have backups too. I was at an event recently where there was a shortage of roving mikes available for a question and answer session. The audience was about 300. The client gave the organiser a significant grilling after the event. Remember that errors like this can often lose you and your company a significant contract. That is why planning ahead is so vital to run a successful event. Something that is necessary is a supply of mike runners, or mike stands. With many companies recording events to leverage afterwards having all questions on tape is vital. A few agile mike runners will ensure that everyone has a mike at the correct time.
How will the organising team communicate, can you use Walkie Talkies?
How many technicians will you need and can the Event Production Company provide the right amount of people resource as and when you need it?
Finally a really good event production company can tell your more about systems such as:
- Electronic badges,
- Data readers to collect bar code information,
- Credit card payments for offers made at events
All are increasingly being used at larger events. When you know exactly what it is used need, create your own mini event planning guide that is bespoke to your event. Sometimes the simplest
ideas are the best. Mine becomes my 'event bible'!