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“EG Tips” – 10 Critical Tips to Stay on Track with Event Transportation

“EG Tips” – 10 Critical Tips to Stay on Track with Event Transportation

Planes, trains and automobiles… just some of the many travel options your groups or attendees have in traveling to, from and during your event. For some eventprofs, transportation plays a big role in the experience you provide to your guests. Building a flawless transportation plan can be a big undertaking, but with a few important reminders you can keep your event running smooth.
  1. Have a Plan
    Planning, it is what we do for a living, and it is also the best way to start out in your transportation process! Having a quality plan will give your guests a great experience and an opportunity to enjoy the event even more.
    Be very detailed and create a document that will show your entire team the in’s and out’s of your travel process. Be sure to include every detail that might need to be referenced during the event.
  2. Be Ready for Changes
    Inevitably changes will arise at some point during your event. As with every aspect of event planning you need to be ready for these speed bumps. Ensure you have a backup option for getting your guests from point A to point B.
    Perhaps a road is closed near your venue, or your driver becomes ill. The scenarios that can throw off your plans are endless, but being prepared for these challenges to arise is key. Do your best not to panic and utilize the backup options that are available to you.
  3. Always be a People Person
    When you are transporting large groups of busy attendees it can become stressful and at times, hard to keep your mind on customer service. Even in these challenging situations you must be able to keep your cool and interact with your guests in a positive manner.
    Make it a priority to provide each person with an incredible experience. When you go out of your way to make a guest feel welcomed and appreciated, they can often times forgive a small mishap in your transportation or overall event.
  4. Follow Up Constantly
    Follow up is the name of the game when you are working with vendors, but in transportation you cannot risk anyone forgetting where or when they are supposed to be providing service to your group.
    Following up with your transportation vendors right before the event begins is vital, along with giving them an hour or a 30 minute warning. If something goes wrong or changes in that last bit of time, it at least gives you, as the planner, an opportunity to implement your backup option.
  5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
    Communication is not just for the vendors and service providers. You must make sure that your staff is always in the loop on what is planned for transportation. If something changes, contact the entire team and have them adjust their schedule.
    This is very critical when it comes to multiple pickups, if for example you have a variety of guests flying in and out. Flights are always changing or delayed and making sure your guests aren’t stuck hanging around waiting at the airport will go a long way in their first, or last, impressions of your event.
  1. Be Firm, Yet Professional
    Sometimes you have to take a stand in order to get things accomplished in this industry and the transportation aspect of events is second to none. If you have paid for a transportation service, they should arrive on time and be attentive to the needs of your guests.
    Stay firm and don’t allow transportation companies to push you around. They often times have many clients that need a vehicle on a given night, and this can lead to delays in service, but they should never discount the value of your business. Many times if you follow up and communicate you can avoid any issues that might arise. Do your best to build a lasting relationship with vendors and they will make it a point to provide you with high-quality service.
  2. Evaluate Your Routes
    We all take the time to do a site visit and a walk through prior to our guest arriving, but we should also make it a point to evaluate the routes we are using to move our guests from venue to venue. Perhaps there is construction, flight delays or train lines down. Prior to the arrival of your guests take a look at all of your routes, along with the weather forecast, to plan ahead and predict any challenges you might face.
  3. Think Outside the Box
    Transportation doesn’t have to be traditional! Have you ever taken a boat to an event? Or perhaps ridden a bike between venues? Take a look at your location or host city with a critical eye and see what transportation options might be unique and special to your location. These creative methods of transportation will give your guests an interesting experience that they may not have had, and one that they can share with their friends and colleagues who could ultimately become your future clients.
  4. Say Goodbye to Boring
    If you have a lengthy journey from one location to the next, do you best to create an entertainment opportunity while your guests are traveling. You could bring in a guest speaker or tour guide to provide information on the event topic or the host city.
    This experience serves as a bonus to your guests and will take away from the otherwise boring trip. Your guests will enjoy the opportunity to learn and enjoy the travel they are embarking on. Your speakers will also take pride in having the full attention of your guests while they are on this excursion.
  5. Evaluate Areas for Improvement
    Each year you will learn and improve upon the event transportation you provide. You may find travel companies that are a joy to work with, while others may be a challenge. You should always be seeking out new and creative ways to move your guests between cities and venues, and never be afraid of changing up your transportation to bring a fresh aspect to the event. Ultimately you should be open to new ideas and seek to improve year after year!

In Conclusion

Many events have multiple components that involve travel from one venue to the next. Utilizing the steps above will set you apart as a prepared and innovative planner. Most eventprofs dread the transportation aspect of their event, because of the uncertainty. However, through proper communication, follow up and assertiveness you will be moving your event and your guests towards continued success.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 15 Ways Event Planners Can Brainstorm New Ideas

“EG Tips” – 15 Ways Event Planners Can Brainstorm New Ideas

Constantly coming up with new ideas is key to being innovative and standing out in the event industry. Here are 15 ways to get the creative juices gushing!

Part of planning events can be looking at things from a different perspective and either coming up with ideas or changing the narrative of something traditional into something attendees haven’t seen before. This can be tricky and we’ve all inevitably suffered from a creative block at one time or another. Here are a few ways to help you brainstorm new ideas, get everything you want down on paper and create the best events to make you an unstoppable eventprof.

  1. Free Writing/Doodling
    Free writing allows you to sit down for a set period of time and write without actually thinking about a set train of thought. For example, you write down literally whatever pops into your head, whether that is words, sounds or feelings and this can help to both free your mind from the clutter of thoughts that may be overshadowing your creativity but can also spark inspiration for your ideas later on, so don’t throw this paper away!

    Doodling works in the same way as it is seemingly mindless but can be your subconscious trying to break through which means you might find yourself leaving visual cues to yourself that inspire new ideas.

  2. Mind Maps
    Mind maps can be a useful tool for event planners when brainstorming because they can highlight linked processes and help with problem solving and joined up thinking. They can be particularly useful for those who are visual and it helps to share triggers to spark other ideas.
    You can also use mind maps to follow a thought process and make it easier to understand the areas that need to be worked on while highlighting how different ideas are related.
  3. Vision Boards
    Dealing entirely in images can be particularly beneficial when coming up with event ideas. Get inspired by placing images together. Vision boards can sit in the background while you work on other issues and will catch your eye across the room for momentary idea bursts without having to waste time re-reading what you have previously done and covering old ground.
  4. Speed Writing
    Set yourself a time limit and see what you can come up with because for some people they need the pressure and deadline to come up with their best work! For brainstorming in particular, 60 second bursts can be beneficial by setting a focus to your writing, for example; catering ideas for the event. In 60 seconds scribble down everything you have come up with within that time frame. While you will get a lot of obvious answers, you will be surprised where your mind goes and what you manage to come up with when you put yourself momentarily under pressure.
  5. Role-Playing
    It may sound silly, but act out what you are trying to achieve and put yourself in the position with others. We often find inspiration through interacting with others that prompts a new thought process so it makes sense that being specific and putting yourself directly into that situation would yield some results. Plus, if all else fails you can use the other person or people as a sounding board for the ideas you do come up with.
  6. Collaborative Boards
    Sometimes bounding ideas off each other and building on what someone else says can be all you need to brainstorm your ideas because after all, several heads are better than one. Other people see things from different perspectives so getting someone else’s eye can spark a new thought process you hadn’t even considered. Digital collaborative boards which allow you to share text, images, comments and mixed media formats can be beneficial for larger teams and to avoid wasting time in meetings as everyone can add things in their own time around their workload.
  7. Follow The Steps
    Usually you know the outcome that you want to achieve and where you are now but it is the path that is less clear. Coming up with new ideas can be very much the same so you should try to follow the steps you would naturally take in order to come up with ideas in the right process order. For example, if you have an event theme but need catering ideas look at it in order of courses, food type, event budget and supplier before trying to come up with fancy display or food station ideas.
  8. Voice To Text Software
    Some people get physical writer’s block meaning they can discuss their ideas easily but when it comes to getting them on paper they struggle or forget what they are trying to say. The free flow of speech can make thinking easier and therefore a dictation app that allows you to speak your ideas and convert them to note form that you can then share are ideal and also means you can brainstorm on the go!
  9. Make A Change
    Whether it is your environment, physical position or perspective, change can foster new ideas and get you out of a rut quickly. Going to the same room, desk or office can hinder creativity and leave you with stale ideas so instead go outside or for a walk while you are trying to brainstorm.
    Working at different times or in different positions can also help find your most productive side and help you come up with new ideas. Standing up or walking around can help you do two things at once and take some of the stress away from staring at the blank screen or piece of paper, while mixing up your timings could mean you are less tired and brimming with more ideas. Ultimately you can’t expect to constantly keep coming up with new ideas if you are doing the same old routine day in and out.
  1. Meditation
    You may find coming up with new ideas difficult because you have a lot of mental chatter that keeps coming to the forefront when trying to brainstorm. This can be the case with many event professionals as they are often have many jobs to do in a day and in a high powered environment you are used to multi-tasking and doing a lot of things at once. This doesn’t necessarily promote brainstorming and can not only hinder new ideas but also makes you struggle to keep focus.
    Regular meditation can help you to not only calm your mind but can also be a tool for organizing thoughts and becoming more creative. The mind is a muscle and meditation is a particularly useful way of exercising it so that it is conducive to calm and focus which are necessary for coming up with original, thought provoking ideas.
  2. SWOT Analysis
    This technique that stands for; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is often used in business practice and strategies to understand your current situation. This can also be effective when brainstorming as it can show you what ideas need to be focused on, for example knowing the threats and opportunities of the current market can help an event planner create an event accordingly which allows you to frame new ideas and know exactly what you are looking for.
  3. Round Robins
    In a group, create a game whereby everyone is only allowed to come up or contribute one element before passing on the idea to the next person. By the time it comes back to being your turn the idea or inspirations have changed and you are looking at it entirely differently, which can promote new thinking.
    Round robins also not only add a restriction that reduces the amount of bad ideas but also prompts people to put their best ideas forward and can also be a way to build on other’s perspectives in the same way collaborative boards do.
  4. Idea Categories
    It can be helpful to form themes or connections between thoughts and ideas because it becomes easier to build on them as you go, which tends to lead to a flow. If you are struggling with linking ideas together or trying to come up with something new, create categories for your projects and then get specific about them to bring more depth and tie things together more closely. For example, when brainstorming event catering, you would start with the category “catering” and when you have run out of ideas for that, narrow it down to “finger food ideas” or “food stations” and then you can continue with niche brainstorming without getting lost in all the possibilities and adding context to your ideas.
  5. Word Association
    Quick fire improv games such as word association can train your brain long-term to brainstorm and come up with new ideas quickly. For many eventprofs, it isn’t the creativity that is the issue, it is the time restrictions and deadlines for coming up with new and original ideas. Word association is best played with others and can help your event team when joint brainstorming as you don’t know what others are going to say and that surprise-triggers your own response. However, if this isn’t possible, you could create standardized cue cards that help to spark your creativity, face them down and mix them up and draw from them in the same way.

    Alternatively, you can play word association variations such as coming up with as many words as you can associated to a category and this helps get all of your ideas (good and bad) out and then you select the ones that are most suitable and build on them. Training your brain using improvisation games helps speed up its processes and makes you more reactive in the future too, so it helps now and later.

  6. Multitasking
    Have you ever thought really hard about an idea, come up with nothing and then out of nowhere when you are doing something else, inspiration strikes? While you shouldn’t always multitask, moving onto something else while still thinking about your brainstorming can be an interesting way of being productive and coming up with new ideas. Specifically, choosing monotonous or repetitive tasks alongside brainstorming can help create a meditative effect for some and the act of doing something physically can trigger creativity responses and allow you to brainstorm better subconsciously so that when you come back to it, your ideas just flow.
    One thing to remember with multitasking is to not try to overload the brain with too many difficult tasks at once because this can have the opposite effect and actually reduce overall productivity so select tasks that are on the opposite ends of the spectrum of difficulty.

Brainstorming Tips
Remove Censorship – Don’t discount any of your ideas at first by limiting and deciding that they are bad. You may find that you have had an idea that you can build on later so just focus on getting ideas out and then judge them later.

Ask Questions – Free thinking doesn’t always come naturally and if it’s a broad subject you can struggle with where to start or to move on from. Asking questions can help frame your thinking and lead you to explore specific avenues with a little more guidance.
Take Breaks – Even the best of us can’t keep churning new and original ideas out day and night so remember it is okay to take a break and come back to it later. Sometimes it can be more helpful to take a step back and give your brain a rest from focusing on one area that it can be the breakthrough that you need.

Carry A Notebook – You never know where inspiration may strike so carry a notebook with you or a note taking app on your phone so that you don’t lose any ideas and you can refer to them later on.
Avoid Negativity – Negativity can be a creativity killer and if you are constantly getting yourself down then you won’t consider all the possibilities and ideas that could be your next big thing! Not every idea is going to be a winner but put it to one side, move on and try not to be hard on yourself; positivity tends to help you be more productive in the end.

In Conclusion

Brainstorming can be hard but to remain current and competitive in the fast-paced event industry it is necessary to keep coming up with new and innovative ideas. I have given you some tips and tactics for brainstorming that should hopefully prevent a block and keep your creativity juices flowing!

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 9 Steps to Gaining Profitable Corporate Event Clients

“EG Tips” – 9 Steps to Gaining Profitable Corporate Event Clients

Working with corporate clients can be very different than working in the personal event space, but it can also lead to big rewards. Corporate business means larger events, expanded budgets and most of the time higher stakes. While working in corporate events can be a lucrative business for many planners, you need to work hard to maintain relationships with your clients in order to thrive in this industry over the long haul.

The importance of maintaining a relationship with corporate partners plays a big role in your continued success as a planner. Retaining a client and nurturing a connection is much easier and more cost-effective for your business than constantly scouting and attracting new clients. Most customers in this genre will bring you to repeat business, sometimes multiple events each year! Using the tips below will help you to maintain lasting corporate relationships which will be your key to obtaining their future business.

  1. Listen to their Needs
    Anytime you meet with a new client you spend time listening to their desires and needs for their event. After an initial meeting, we as event planners often times have an inherent ability to “know” what the client is looking for. We all have a knack for reading people and using this talent to predict the requests our clients will ask for, often times even before they have asked. While this characteristic is wonderful to have as a planner, it can get you in trouble with corporate clients.
    Unlike personal events, every corporate event is very different. You need to truly listen to what they say and take notes to ensure the purpose of the event is always the focus. Are they entertaining potential business partners at the event? Debuting a new service? Recruiting future employees? Dig into the main goals of the event and keep this purpose in the forefront throughout the planning process.
  2. Define the Event Objectives
    Although you may be listening, corporate clients don’t always come forward or even know the full purpose of the event that is being planned at the start of the planning process. Make sure you do some digging to get to the bottom of the true event objectives. Learn about the history of past events, who the big decision makers are (not always the person you are working with) and what buttons you need to push in order to make the event a success in their eyes. Without fully understanding and defining these objectives with your corporate client there is no chance for you to shine and exceed expectations.
  3. Understand Branding and Culture
    Branding and culture have become major buzzwords in the corporate landscape. Every company is looking to develop a strong, definitive brand and culture that can be reflected in everything they do.
    When you are planning an event for a corporate client, take some time to learn everything you can about their company. The way they do business and the things that are important to them should become important to you. This will show the client that you are a dedicated part of their team and that you respect the atmosphere that they have worked hard to create.
    Use the event to expand upon the mission or purpose they serve. Everything from the venue choice, to the color of the up lighting should properly identify with the company you are working with. Partnering with companies that align with your personal values and beliefs will make working incorporate events even more enjoyable and easy to integrate into your planning process.
  4. Meet Face to Face
    Meeting in person is something we often overlook in the hustle and bustle of the busy, technologically driven world we live in. However, you need to arrange for at least one or two face-to-face meetings with your new corporate clients. Try to plan the meeting in their office space, so you can get a feel for the vibe of their company, staff and culture.
    As a huge proponent of conference calls and video conferences, I know it can be hard to see this as a priority, but there is just something you gain from an in-person meeting that you cannot obtain from a digital or voice connection. This will also show the business that you are invested in making their event an accurate portrayal of everything their company represents.
  5. Be Careful of Competition
    When working with a corporate client you run the risk of having to turn down other business from other companies in the same sector. While this may seem like a drawback to the corporate event landscape, it is an important part of the business. You are working for a company that is likely to have major competitors and they may not like the idea of you planning events for both.
    Do your best to be open and honest with the companies you work for, while also being smart about the business you take on. Trust your gut and spread your work throughout a variety of industries in order to avoid an overlap between two fierce competitors.
  1. Get to the Point
    In the personal event space, some planners have a tendency to sugar coat certain aspects of an event. You may tread lightly when speaking about an unforeseen expense or change to the event schedule, but with a corporate client they want you to cut to the chase. Don’t talk in circles around a potential issue. Identify the problem, provide solutions and work it out in the most productive and efficient manner. Corporations are in the business of making tough decisions on a daily basis. They will respect you more if you get to the point and provide transparent communication.
  2. Respect the Budget
    Corporate clients often times have a lot of money to spend, but that doesn’t mean you get to take advantage of the situation. Even though they may bring more money to the table than a private event, you must find a way to fit within the budget they have established.
    Showing them that you are willing to negotiate prices and come in under their set budget will establish a solid relationship with the client and show them that you are on their side, not just another vendor looking to make money. This level of mutual respect will pay off for you as the planner and will do wonders to ensure that you are their go-to planner for future events.
  3. Bring Innovative Ideas
    Even though corporate events will have an established budget (see above), this industry is a great place to spread your wings and try out a new exciting technology that a small private client isn’t financially able to explore. If you can provide proof that an innovative idea is worth the added expense, the client will often times find a way to make it financially possible.
    Think outside the box and give them options on possible ideas that will set them apart from their competition. Businesses love the idea of being on the cutting edge of their industry and the event space is a great opportunity for them to show off their forward thinking ideas.
  4. Maintain the Connection After the Event
    Even though the corporate space isn’t as intimate as a private event, you should do your best to establish a real personal connection with the lead decision makers. Follow up around the holidays or on their birthday with a handwritten card or letter just to let them know that you appreciate their business and see them as not only a client, but also a friend and partner. This small personal touch, in the sometimes harsh corporate world, can make all the difference in getting future business from their company.

In Conclusion

(Social Coup LLC)