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  • 1. How to Avoid Costly Mistakes and Big Headaches that Excedrin Can’t Help! 1
  • 2.  Hey, I did say “might!” My background: ◦ Themed birthday parties for my kids ~ every year ◦ Events for my own company for 12 years ◦ Events for clients such as Kodak and Xerox STC Program Manager for two years/Barbara Knight 2008. Spectrum Co-chair 2011. 2
  • 3.  Develop your event based on consumer demand: * surveys * suggestions * data from past events Consider the “risk factors” regarding P & L 3
  • 4.  Assessment Scoping ◦ Time and cost projections (“cost of goods sold”) ◦ Attendance projections ◦ Income projections (baseline, upside, downside) Venue arrangements ◦ Food, entertainment, raffles, presentations 4
  • 5.  Size of event Target Competing events in your market 5
  • 6.  Scalability ◦ Venue flexibility * Menu revisions * “Lock-down” date * Increasing/decreasing room space, menu items * Volume discounts or freebies Event fee structure (…adequate for downside?) 6
  • 7.  Is there a deposit required? What does it cover? When is it due? Are you required to sign a contract? ◦ Are you authorized to do so? ◦ If a written contract is not required, you are still in an oral contract. Get all of the details and fees in writing. 7
  • 8.  Fees you need to inquire about: ◦ Room rental fees ◦ Food costs ◦ Gratuity (Standard 20% for some venues) ◦ Server fees for bar or food setup ($45 per hour?) ◦ Linen fees ($5-$7 per tablecloth, 50 cents per napkin?) ◦ Décor fees 8
  • 9.  Fees you need to inquire about (cont.): ◦ Internet access fees ◦ AV fees (slide or overhead projector, screen, flip charts) ◦ Parking fees ◦ Promotional materials/signage fees ◦ Table and chair rental (if catered) ◦ Coat rack rental/coat room fees ◦ Security fees 9
  • 10.  Do not forget to provide the venue with: ◦ Tax exempt certificate ◦ Certificate of insurance (if requested) ◦ Set-up instructions ◦ A list of any special food requests ◦ Your phone number to give to the chef or the event coordinator in case there are last minute changes. 10
  • 11.  “Guarantees” are fees for unused food, rooms, etc. based on either “minimums” or “lock-down” dates. ◦ A contract is the place to START negotiations! It is a “suggestion” until it is signed. ◦ All establishments have policies, but most of them will be flexible to obtain business. 11
  • 12.  Contract negotiations: to succeed in passing through, around, or over (as in a hiker negotiating a mountain pass) At its core, a negotiation is reaching an agreement…but sometimes you must get around or over policies of the venue that do not meet your customer needs. 12
  • 13.  Things you might be able to negotiate: ◦ Free hotel rooms for event planners ◦ Donations from the venue to put into a raffle ◦ Free coffee or tea with a meal ◦ Less expensive dessert like cookies (even if those are not on the menu) ◦ Free use of the event room if you order meals ◦ Free speakers if you buy them dinner 13
  • 14.  Things you might be able to negotiate: ◦ Better “lock-down” dates (Get these added to your contract!)  Smaller events (up to 50 people) -- try to lock at 24-48 hours in advance. Give updated counts at 7, and 3 days in advance. Final lock 1 day in advance.  Larger venues – Give count 2 weeks out, then 1 week out. Lock 3-4 days before event. 14
  • 15.  Publicize small community events 10 days to 4 weeks in advance. Publicize larger events 2-3 months in advance, with increasing frequency until day before event. Use a variety of distribution channels: 15
  • 16.  Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) Professional organization web sites and info boards Local and regional colleges and universities Professional trade shows (Digital Rochester) 16
  • 17.  Direct e-mails and invitations Word of mouth/personal invitations Company contacts such as HR departments Event Planning mailing lists such as EventBrite Literature and “leave-behinds” 17
  • 18.  Media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines) Blogs Event web site (Spectrum), chapter/co. web sites, my STC Member communications 18
  • 19.  Communication targets: ◦ Capture and maintain contact information and continue mailings until “targets” opt out (non-renewals and referrals) ◦ In business, this may refer to former clients or sales contacts. 19
  • 20.  In all publicity, include: ◦ Clean, motivational copy and custom graphics ◦ Perceived benefits (Why should you come?/What will you get out of it?) ◦ Motivational copy/R.O.I info for the money manager (Why should you send your employee?/How will your company benefit?) 20
  • 21.  NOTE: It is not enough to sell the attendee on the event. You must “up-sell” whoever is paying for the event (the ultimate end– user). 21
  • 22.  NOTE: All of the PR in the world can’t overcome resistance when: ◦ there is no money to spend to get the R.O.I. ◦ the perceived value is less than the price. ◦ there are two good choices, and the competing event makes a better business case than you do. 22
  • 23.  the competing event is not a business event, it is a personal one. the weather is bad. 23
  • 24.  Your best publicity comes from people who enjoyed past events, so: ◦ meet everyone who attends your events if possible, ◦ help guests meet others who will build personal and business connections with them, and ◦ make your events fun as well as educational. 24
  • 25.  Provide quality! Bad food (or sparse food) and run-down venues communicate, “We will do as little for you as possible, to improve our bottom line.” Negotiate the best value you can provide for a quality event. People remember a good meal spent with “friends.” 25
  • 26.  Warm chocolate chip cookies will make you a hero! Good-bye, good luck…and let’s have fun out there! 26
  • 27.  Marilynw@wingzcreative.com Marilyn.woelk@gmail.com @bluestoneriver 27