Today’s guest contribution is written by Caryl Lyons of ROAR events. She has been planning and producing corporate events for over 25 years, first working as an event manager for corporations and then running my own business. I’ve invited here to share advice for those of you wedding planners looking to expand into corporate events.
I’ve been planning and producing corporate events for over 25 years, first working as an event manager for corporations and then running my own business – ROAR events – for the past 11 years.
Needless to say, that’s a long time and I’ve made my share of mistakes. The good thing is that I’ve learned from them and over the next few days, I’m going to be sharing some potential missteps and how to avoid them. As I mentioned, I’m a corporate event planner, however I have designed and produced a few weddings and what I’m going to be sharing can be applied to both weddings and corporate events.
First up are site visits. These can be tedious and time consuming and you might think, I don’t have time to do this, I’ve been to the venue before or the photos look great. Stop right there. This is one of the biggest mistakes that you could do and here is why:
Photos can be really deceiving
A photographer’s job is to make a venue look inviting and lust worthy. The point with seeing the photos is you want to be there. However, there are all sorts of lenses that can make a venue look really big and once you get there, it’s nothing like the photos.
Been there – done that. We thought we were sold on a venue and then we got there and it’s nothing like we imagined.
You need to see the space when it will be used
True story…I just did a site visit and fell absolutely IN LOVE with the venue…during the day. I loved the décor, the vibe, the view – everything. We were sold. This was going to be the place for the reception and we all thought it was perfect. (See photo above)
We decided to head to the venue at night to see what it was like when the sun was down, the music was playing and the overall vibe. We were completely disappointed. The décor, you couldn’t see because it was so dark in the space. The vibe, it was an after work crowd and the space felt surprisingly smaller and a little claustrophobic. The view, we couldn’t see a thing. Because of the location, there weren’t a lot of lights on the building. We wouldn’t have known that if we didn’t see the space at night.
You need to see the surroundings
When you look at photos of venues, you aren’t seeing the surroundings. Is the entrance professional? Are there lots of banners or random branding hanging? Tons of construction? Can you envision your guest’s arrival?
I’ve seen the venue before
You may be familiar with the venue, but the space changes. They renovate and you might not like what they’ve done. Go back to #3 – the surroundings might have changed. Even if you are familiar, you need to see the space with fresh eyes and with the specific event in mind.
Bottom line, this is an area that you need to push back with your clients. It doesn’t matter if you are a wedding planner or a corporate planner, your client is about to fork out a ton of money for an event and it needs to be perfect in every way. It might even be a good idea to add a clause into your contract.
Caryl Lyons began her events career in publishing, first in fashion at Condé Nast Publishing’s Mademoiselle Magazine and then in tech for Ziff-Davis’s PC/Computing Magazine. She loved tech so much, she decided to make the jump into corporate where she managed teams at PeopleSoft, Tesseract and Symantec Corporation. You can find her on instagram at @roarevents and @hotelwanderlust. AND – check out the ROAR mini-email course which shares all about the corporate events world. You can sign up by heading to: www.roarplaybook.com/jumpstart.