14 Lessons Learned from 14 Years in the events Industry
Over the past 14 years, we’ve planned and executed a wide range of events around the world. From business travel and delegate management to large scale investigator meetings, we really have seen it all.
Here are just a few of the many lessons we’ve learned along the way:
1. It’s never too early to start planning
The biggest mistake a company can make is not sharing their big ideas with us until it’s too late. While a knowledgeable events company can pull an impressive experience out of the bag at the last minute when necessary, we are keen for your delegates to see you at your very best - and that takes planning!
Engaging your clients early will lead to higher attendance, better return on investment, and a clearer understanding of your message.
2. Time equals money
The earlier you can set out your rough ideas and come to us for assistance, the more wow factor we can get out of your budget! Hotels, flights, trains, catering and production costs all increase the nearer to the event you book them, so letting your event manager get key aspects out of the way early will help save money later.
3. It pays to give your colleagues a break
Event and travel plannings often falls to company PAs, receptionists and office managers. While these skillful team members may enjoy getting involved in these aspects of the business, we’ve dealt with a lot of frazzled and frustrated employees who don’t have time to complete their daily work around the demands of the event.
If this sounds familiar to you and your colleagues, consider where you can cut them a break. Offloading logistically-heavy tasks to an expert meeting planner allows your employees to focus on what they do best.
4. Details make all the difference
While the core content of a meeting is what delegates will hold onto, it’s the details that give an event that professional veneer. Aspects such as multi-lingual content, branded digital and print materials, and bespoke app technology really make your brand stand out.
Even if your event planning is beginning to come together, it’s always worth having an events professional cast their eye over your ideas and see where extra value can be added.
5. There’s always room for more technology
Over the years we’ve joined the paperless revolution in a big way, designing custom apps and interactive presentations to make a big impact and cut costs.
Whether it’s a streamlined booking and check-in system, and app to replace costly printed materials, or an entirely hybrid meeting, drawing in delegates from around the world, technology is pushing the boundaries of conventional meetings and ushering in a new era of learning and networking opportunities.
However, it’s important not to look like you’re including tech for tech’s sake in your meeting. Assess what aspects of your event could benefit from an app or online platform, and get in touch with an experienced events manager to discuss your requirements.
6. There’s no such thing as stating the obvious
It’s surprising how many companies start planning an event without a clear goal in mind.
The key is to establish realistic objectives at the beginning of the planning process, so that you can measure them against the event’s achievements at the end. While the aim of your meeting may seem obvious to you and your team, you can never be too formal with goal-setting.
Use measurable language such as ‘increasing attendance by 10%’, to ensure that everybody’s working toward the same result.
7. Know your audience
Why are you having this event? Who do you want to be there? What do you want them to take away?
Having a defined audience will help you to target the ‘right’ attendees for your events - those who you most want to hear your message and who are most likely to help you meet your objectives. Defining your target audience specifically for your event, rather than taking a one-size fits all approach, is a key factor to your success.
8. Your attendees have goals too
While your own deliverables are a key part of planning a meeting, it always pays to step back and consider what your delegates are expecting from the event. With 14 years of witnessing engaged and excited delegates under our belts, we’ve learned how to reconcile our clients’ requirements with their attendees’ demands, creating maximum effect and high ROI.
9. Networking is key
While most events have a significant networking aspect to them in their own right, the process of organising one is also highly dependent on leveraging relationships. Whether it’s knowing the right caterers in the right city or tapping into a network of fully compliant venues, we cannot stress how important it is to utilise a broad network of vendors and suppliers.
The good news is that it’s our job to make these connections! With international teams speaking over 13 languages between them, we’re certain that we can find the support you need, wherever you need it.
10. Social networking is more key than ever
Delegates are connecting before they’ve even attended the event, and debates are often carried over from an in-person roundtable to a Twitter discussion.
The truth of the matter is, companies without an understanding of the online social world will soon be left behind. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced event manager on hand, to increase the reach of your event and ensure that customers are engaging with it before, during and after.
11. A calm event host is a confident event host
One of the most important aspects of working in corporate events is taking a weight off events hosts’ and business owners’ shoulders so they can focus on doing what they do best - presenting their brand.
It’s impossible to shine if you’re fretting about flight times, shuttle buses and audiovisual equipment. That’s why we offer white glove event service on the day of the event itself, keeping everything running behind the scenes so that your brand can take center stage.
12. Contingency is king
While the majority of the logistical planning that goes into a meeting or event is to stop things from going wrong, it’s always dangerous to assume that nothing will! Considering any unexpected issues, from emergency situations to technical issues, is key to going into an event with confidence. This means having someone on your team who’s familiar with fire protocol, first aid and all necessary emergency contacts.
13. Feedback is the way forward
The work’s not over once the delegates go home. In fact, one of your most important jobs is still to be taken care of: gathering feedback from attendees and planning your next event accordingly.
Gathering feedback can be hectic, but with the right technology, you can get a true representation of your attendees’ experience with minimum effort. We can create customised feedback mechanisms and integrate them seamlessly into your event, as well as including audience tracking in our custom apps. The combination will give you a unique insight into how you can meet your delegates needs every time.
14. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Benjamin Franklin’s quote rings particularly true in the events industry, where a well-thought out event plan can be the difference between a high ROI and a humiliating flop. Planning a corporate event doesn’t just come down to picking a time and date - it requires market insights, logistical know-how, technical expertise and a knack for expecting the unexpected.
That’s why involving an expert in the planning process from the earliest possible point will ensure that your event is fast-tracked to success.
If you’re planning an event and want to put our 14 years of industry expertise to the test, contact us today. What’s the most important events lesson you’ve learned in your career? Let us know via our LinkedIn community.