Is your company thinking of holding a party? Have you got all your invitations sent out? Selected the venue, the entertainment, the food? Will the event be indoors or outdoors? And what happens if it rains? Or the entertainment gets stuck in traffic on the M25? There are a lot of things to take into consideration and a lot of things that could go wrong, leaving you looking more like Basil Fawlty than the organised professional that you hoped to be.
There is, however, one easy solution to such a scenario: hiring an event management company to put on the party for you. Not only does this mean that you can spend your work time getting on with things more central to your core business affairs, but you will free yourself to network on the day, secure in the knowledge that the event is being managed by professionals who have organised it down to the smallest detail and have plans in place to handle all eventualities.
In order to have an events company on your side that best suits your needs, however, it is necessary to consider the following key points:
- First of all, what is the exact nature of the event you are hoping to host? Is it a corporate event or a team-building exercise? A charity fundraiser or a product launch? A press day or a staff party? A successful party is one that has been tailored to a specific audience, so it is important to know how to present the concept to your prospective agency to see how much experience they have of hosting this kind of event.
- Do you have a particular venue in mind? Will this be at your office, near your office, in the countryside, or even in a foreign country? Check whether the event management company you are approaching has experience of using the sort of venue and location you are thinking of using. Do they have local contacts to be able to do all the work on-site using local services, or will elements have to be shipped in at extra expense?
- Will the venue be built especially for the function (like a marquee or similar temporary structure)? If so, once again, check that the organiser has the necessary contacts to be able to do this as cheaply as possible. After all, one of the benefits of hiring an event management company is that they buy services in bulk, so you are able to make overall savings.
- Make sure that all transportation issues will be comprehensively covered, so that all of your guests arrive on time. Ask the company what back up measures they have in place should a disruption occur to your guests' transportation and how your guests will be notified of this. It is of critical importance that your guests have their travel plans clearly defined so they know where they should be and at what time, and that there is someone to meet them when they arrive. A final service that the event management company should be able to provide for you is a list of the delegates attending.
- Will you have any say in the food and drink arrangements? And will these arrangements accommodate vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements?
- Long before the event takes place the company should be able to provide a clear schedule for the day and be open to making any alterations that you ask for. They should also keep you fully up to date on the progress of the preparations in the weeks and days leading up to the event.
- If your company is hosting an event to promote a certain product or attract new customers, look for companies with some experience of holding marketing events and providing the necessary signage so that guests can move from one area to another without confusion. If they can produce invites for your event, then they are probably able to produce press packs, corporate literature and promotional displays too.
- Check whether the event management agency will arrange the delegates' accommodation and be on hand to answer any delegate queries about travel arrangements and accommodation, so they feel as though they are being looked after and their needs are taken care of. Also, check whether there are any special packages available for VIPs or guest speakers.
- After the event has taken place and the clear up begins, ensure there are provisions in place to have this done as quickly and effectively as possible. And check that the event management company has adequate provisions for the removal of rubbish before, during and after the event.
- Ask whether the company is able to provide some form of objective evaluation and give feedback about how the event went and whether it gave you value for money. In other words, did your message get across and were the reasons for holding the event achieved?
- Estimate how pro-active the company is about your propositions, suggesting alternative venues and different forms of entertainment based on any local knowledge they might have. Is the service focused on you and your requirements or do you feel your event is being managed according to a set formula?
As this article demonstrates, there are a great number of areas to take into consideration when selecting an event management company to suit your needs, but if you go through them slowly and carefully you should be the belle of the ball when the event actually takes place
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