2. INTRODUCTION TO EVENT MANAGEMENT
3. BENEFITS OF EVENTS
4. KEY ELEMENTS OF EVENTS: A CASE EXAMPLE
5. THE INDUSTRY SCENARIO
6. CURRENT SCENARIO
8. OVERALL PLANNING STRUCTURE
9. THE BUDGET
10. THE PROGRAM DESIGN
11. SPEAKERS AND OTHER PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
12. LOCATING PEOPLE
13. SITE SELECTION
14. THE PROSPECTUS
15. SITE INSPECTION
16. FOOD AND BEVERAGES
17. SAFTY AND SECURITY
18. EDUCATING DELEGATES
19. DATA COLLECTION, EVALUATION & REPORTING
20. MARKETING AND PROMOTION
21. TYPES OF EVENTS
22. MARKETING CONSIDERATIONS
23. SPECIAL EVENTS
24. THEME DEVELOPMENT
25. BUGETING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
26. SELLING SPONSORSHIPS
27. EVENT CONTROL SHEET: AN EXAMPLE
28. KEY TRENDS IN THE INDUSTRY
29. FUTURE PROSPECTS
30. CASE STUDY
A SYNOPSIS OF THE PROJECT
This project has been prepared for the completion of the Subject – Project Work as is
required under Fifth Semester of Bachelor of Management Studies. This project
explores the various aspects of event management. This project can be broadly
divided into seven sections.
The first section of the project we take look at what is event management, its benefits
and the key elements of events with the help of an example. We also touch upon how
this is growing industry looking at what it was 15 years ago and what is the current
position of this industry. Then we see broad classification of events, which is in to
two categories namely live entertainments events and corporate events. Corporate
events account for the lion’s share of the total number of events managed in the
The second section of the project deals with the industry scenario. This section covers
details of event management showing that now weddings and birthday parties are
celebrated in such a large scale that professionals need manage them. This is followed
by the overall size and shape of the industry further followed by segmentation of
events breaking it into smaller categories.
The third section of the project deals with the actual process of event management.
We first look at the over all planning structure which is comprised of analyzing the
event. This is followed by assembling the event management team, then selecting the
event coordinator. After which decision makers, technical staff and support staff are
appointed. An efficient record keeping system is to be implemented.
The fourth section of the planning phase is the budget, which is a very important
detail. It is only through the budget does the manager know what all are the options in
all the fields that can be employed for the event. Then an efficient program design
needs to be designed.
The fifth section deals with selecting the speakers required for the event. Selecting
speakers is a difficult task for the event coordinator. After which the site selection
process begins. The next step is to decide the food and beverages for the event.
Another important part of the planning phase is the security aspect of the event.
The sixth section deals with the data collection interpretation of the data and reporting
and presenting the data in a manner, which is useful to all in the organization. Then
we deal with the marketing and promotion of the event. The marketing considerations
need to be given attention to. Finally we decide the theme of the event and also which
type of event does the event the firm is planning falls into the different types of
events. Then we discuss about sponsorships and then the project deals with the event
control sheet with a hypothetical example.
The final section of the project deals with the key trends in the industry, the key
challenges, the case study – Bacardi, the future prospects, the conclusion, which has
been in reference to what is mentioned in the project, and then remarks about event
management and the project ends with a bibliography and a questionnaire as tools of
data collection of the matter presented in the project.
Definition of Event Management
“Event management is the planning and management of an event, project or
Event Management 15yrs ago, this phrase would have meant nothing in the India
corporate world. Today, it conjures up the image of celebrities packaged with glamour
and pomp in a gala event that is meticulously planned and slickly turned out. Event
management in India, which was born somewhere in mid 1980s, has grown in to a
highly professional and tech-savvy industry over the years. In 2001, the industry
managed over 1,000 events, including 22 international events.
Broadly event can be classified as corporate events and live entertainment event.
Corporate events are commissioned by corporate for specific purposes such as
dealers’ conference, or a happening such as the India visit of Indira Nooyi, worldwide
chief of PepsiCo. Corporate events account for the lion’s share of the total number of
events managed in the country.
Live entertainment events are stage shows or concerts by international artists
(international events) or Indian artists. These could be film based, music- based or
sports- based events. For instance, The Manikchand Filmfare Awards is a film-based
event, a concert by ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas or by the international rock group
Scorpions would be a music – based event. Typically, for a live entertainment event,
there is more than one sponsor as well as entry fee for the audience. This category of
events, albeit small, is growing rapidly in size and popularity.
Unlike a corporate event, a live entertainment event is usually conceptualized,
planned and executed by the event manager. Therefore, the Intellectual Property
Rights (IPR) also vests with the event manager. However, a company/television
broadcaster etc can also commission an event. In such circumstances, the
company/television broadcaster sponsors the entire show and retains the IPR. The
event manager is paid a management fee and a production fee as well if it also
produces the event for television. Certain events are created and marketed by the
event manager as a branded property. These events are called branded events. They
are held periodically and require substantial investment in terms of infrastructure and
marketing. For instance, the Femina Miss India contest is branded event produced by
Times Entertainment and held annually.
"An event is something that happens, not just exists - somebody has
to make it happen. Successful events only come about through action,
some individual or group of individuals getting things done."
A Comprehensive New Definition
An event is a live multimedia package carried out with preconceived concept,
customized or modified to achieve the clients objectives of reaching out and suitable
influencing the sharply defined, specially gathered target audience by providing a
complete sensual experience and an avenue for two-way interaction.
From the above figure we can infer that an event is a package so organized so as to
provide, reach and live interaction between the target audience and the client to
achieve the desired impact. The population of the target audience that the event is
exposed to is called the reach of the event. The live interaction process facilitates
communication between the clients and the audience.
with the client
BENEFITS OF EVENTS
1) Brand awareness- Helps in increasing awareness of a company or its brand(s)
2) Corporate Image- To support, build or change a desired company or brand
image. Shape or reinforce the public’s perception of a company’s brand
3) Media Coverage- Guaranteed and potential publicity, helps in projecting right
corporate imaging of the company
4) Building corporate hospitality- Entertain key and potential clients, b2b
marketing, building goodwill amongst potential clients, reinforcing faith in
distribution partners, forging alliances with potential investors, motivating
existing workforce or rewarding them.
5) Niche audience targeting- More cost effective and accurate than
conventional advertising which can get diluted.
6) Product showcase- Opportunity to showcase existing products and test new
7) Differentiation- helps create perception about product, helps differentiate
product from competitors.
8) Identification with particular lifestyle- Creates brand world experience
which audience can identify with hence forming an emotional bond with the
target audience by supporting their lifestyles and likes
9) Merchandise opportunities- Opportunity for on the spot audience
10) Impact the bottom line- Driving sales through contests, special schemes
KEY ELEMENTS OF EVENTS
A CASE EXAMPLE
Event: L’Oreal femina elite model look ‘98
• Core concept: Search for a new top class modeling talent through a contest
and pageant interspersed with entertainment.
• Core people: Participants i.e. models taking part in the competition and other
performers during entertainment slots such as well known classical musicians
Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Rahul Kumar Sharma accompanied by Ustad Shafat
Ali Khan and popular music by Shweta Shetty and Stereo Nation.
• Core Talent: Physical Looks and Proportion
• Core Structure: Annual event of Beauty pageant
• Fountain ahead: Event support
• Banyan Tree: arrangements for classical music performance
• Hemant Trivedi with assistance from Noyonika Chatterjee: Choreography
• Omung Kumar Bhandula for Opus construction: Sets
• Shoot location: the retreat, marve
• Official Host: Taj Mahal Hotel
• Pre-event: magazines and newspapers to inform about event and call for
enteries with entry forms in them.
• Electronic Media: TV and FM radio to inform target audience about event
coverage, date and time.
• During event: live coverage on DD2 for widest coverage
• Post-event: Re-telecast on Star Plus.
• Interviews and appearances of winner on shows sponsored by L’Oreal on the
Reports on the events in the print media.
• Main Sponsor: L’Oreal
• Gift Sponsors: Onida, Siemens, Baush and Lomb, Global Telesystems,
Akbarallys, Department store, Trussadi, Catwalk Shoes, Estelle, The Orchids,
Lakme, Sony Music
• Communication Convience: Gloal Telesystems.
• Beverages: Coca-Cola
Youth or family though with a younger mindset or young at heart
THE INDUSTRY SCENARIO
Event Management is a multi-crore industry with mega shows and events hosted
regularly. In India even personal functions like marriages and birthday parties have
become important social matters, and have to be professionally managed. The growth
of sophisticated and mega companies have brought forth a spurt of meetings,
seminars, exhibitions, conferences, product launches with everything being a matter
of class and style. Then comes the innumerable celebrity shows, international artists
shows, shows for a cause, road shows, competitions, that India has seen of late.
More than 200 companies have forayed into events. The early 90s has seen events
spend at a mere 20 crores but now it has increased to over 500 crores. Growth is
therefore 400% annually. The FICCI has estimated event management to be a 3500
crore industry by 2005. But surprisingly, research showed that there was no
formalized education to teach event management and Companies found their
executives not up to the mark to handle events. It was not so easy to train because
event management includes organizational skills, technical knowledge, P.R.,
marketing, advertising, catering, logistics, decor, glamour identity, human relations,
study of law and licenses, risk managements, budgeting, study of allied like television
and other media and several other areas.
OVERALL SIZE AND SHAPE
The size of the live entertainment segment can be measured in terms of total billing
for the events managed i.e. sponsorship fees, tickets sales revenue and sales of various
rights associated with the event content such as telecast rights, music and video rights,
internet rights and merchandise rights.
Sponsorship fees: On an average, there are three sponsors for an event – one main
sponsor and the two co-sponsors. The total sponsorship fees ranges between Rs. 10mn
and Rs 20mn for an international event, and between Rs. 2.5mn and Rs. 5mn for a
Ticket sales revenue: This revenue source has picked up substantially over the last
year. Currently, approximately 25,000 tickets are sold on an average in an
international event. Ticket sales revenue has ranged between Rs 3.2mn for the Venga
Boys event to Rs 24mn for the recently held show of Bryan Adams.
Sale of telecast rights to television broadcasters: event managers have not
commercially exploited this source of revenue so far. There have been only some
stray deals involving sale of telecast rights, for instance DNA networks has sold about
3 properties to B4U for approximately Rs 4.5mn.
Sale of Internet rights: As broadband Internet is not currently available for live video
streaming of an event, this is non-existent.
Sale of merchandise rights: In case of concerts by popular artist or groups or popular
sporting events, significant revenue can be earned through the sale of event-related
merchandise such as clothing, etc. The event manager can sell rights to merchandisers
for such activities. However this is not a significant source of revenue at present.
In 2001, the industry managed approximately 1,000 live entertainment events,
including 22 international events. According to industry sources, the total billings for
the year are estimated at Rs. 1.5bn, with domestic events accounting for Rs. 0.9bn and
international event and a domestic event is as under:
Revenue profile for international and domestic events (average)
Item International event Domestic event
Sponsorship fees 30% 80%
Ticket sales revenue 70% 20%
Revenue Profile for International and Domestic
In terms of cost, artists’ remuneration accounts for 40% of the costs and production
expenses such as erection costs of the stage, lights and sound, and operating expenses
such as travel and stay expenses of the troupe, freights expenses, etc. account for the
balance. This cost profile is the same for domestic event as well as an international
Cost profile for international and domestic events (average)
International event Domestic event
Artists’ remuneration 40% 60%
and operation cost 60% 40%
Cost Profile for an International Event
Cost Profile for an Domestic Event
“Today, Event Management has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries
in India, and a career in event management is not only lucrative but also
glamorous and challenging. Events are now acknowledged as a tremendous
image multiplier option leading to greater development. As a result, opening
brighter and prospective career opportunities for the new age career seekers.”
India has just hosted the first Afro Asian Games. Soon, it is going to host the
Commonwealth Games in the year 2010, an event many times the magnitude of the
Afro Asian Games, and India is also making a bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games in
What does this mean to the Event Industry?
It means jobs. It means shortage of people with the skills required to execute an event
of the enormity.
The organized industry has grown from around Rs 350 crores during 2002 to be a 580
crore (US$129 mn) industry in 2003. the live entertainment and event management
segment has demonstrated an overall growth over : 60%. As this segment, which is
still in its infancy, becomes an increasingly important part of the media pie, it is
expected to demonstrate a growth of 30% pa over the next five years, in effect, more
than doubling its size to approximately Rs 1443 crore (US$321 mn) by 2008.
And that’s just the part, which can be measured and estimated. There are around 10-
15 large players with revenues around or over Rs 20 crores each and many small
players- around 70% of the segment remains unorganized. The event segment as a
whole can be divided into several key sub segments that include corporate events,
sports, arts and theatre, felicitations and contests, festivals and personal events, of
these, small operators I the unorganized sector primarily manage weddings, small
corporate events, and festivals which have not been considered for the purpose of the
size and the Indus
Segment wise analysis of organised & unorganised
business of live entertainment
Arts & Theatre
(Source: Industry estimates, Ernst & Young Research)
OVERALL PLANNING STRUCTURE
Analyzing the event
The planning process begins with an analysis of the event itself. The questions that
begin this process what is the main reason behind having this event? What does the
event hope to accomplish? How will the event be financed?
Numerous questions are placed in front of the event manager. That is how a strong
foundation is established. If too few questions are asked, an event can suffer from a
lack of focus and direction.
Keep in mind that during the planning stage there are many options and hurdles to
anticipate. Some things increase complexity tenfold and others simplify by an equal
amount. A party in the hotel, for example is always simpler to arrange than a party in
a warehouse of distant field with no power, no restrooms, and no kitchen. That is not
to say that the event manager shouldn’t have an off-site party, but the details should
be considered in the planning stage. In the same vein, the site is often selected before
the program has been set and the event manager may have to anticipate a problem
fitting the program into the available space.
Assembling The Event Management Team
The next important stage of the planning process is assembling the team. Broadly
speaking, the team should consist of decision makers and implementers. Decision
makers are the people who define the parameters and are ultimately responsible for
the success or failure of the event. Implementers are those who do everything from
negotiating contracts to inviting speakers to making sure that the right speaker is in
the right room and that the microphone works.
More specially, the planning team will probably include people or committees with
the following functions and responsibilities:
The planner is the central coordinator and does the following: negotiations and
recommends contracts for signature; solicits bids from suppliers and hires and
supervises suppliers; prepares and recommends budgets and monitors expenses
throughout the planning process; recommends policies and procedures, supervises
registration, maintains communications; set up filling systems for controlling
documents and reports; prepares personnel schedules for on site activities.
Decision makers may include the organization’s president, CEO, executive director,
chairman of the board, corporate officer, and certain departmental heads.
Various tasks requiring technical expertise may be assigned to in house personnel or
Members of the clerical support staff handle typing and computer date entry, makes
copies maintains files, process incoming and outgoing nail, and stuff attendee packets;
they may keep daily activity logs for registration, expenses, and income, they direct
incoming calls; they follow up on requests for brochures and answer routine questions
such as dates and costs.
Developing record keeping systems
Often, the event planner becomes the central coordinator of all information. Therefore
record keeping systems are essential to organize, control, and monitor activities. The
organizational system he sets up must include a planning schedule. Deadlines forms
and checklists to expedite the process and capture the details in a structured, usable
quickly retrievable manner. The system’s documents become the files and records he
will need for reporting, evaluating and planning for future events.
Establishing policies and procedures
Another important planning issue has to do with establishing policies and procedures
in the early stage. The key to effective management is deciding the rules up front and
advising the people they affect. Simple things such as registration cutoff dates,
administrative penalties for cancellation, payment and reimbursement procedures for
speakers, to name a few need to be established and communicated or event
coordinators will find themselves continually answering the same question and
Preparing a planning schedule
A successful event coordinator must have many attributes, but two important
characteristics are good organizational skills and attention to detail. A key tool that
will help in this regard is the planning schedule.
The planning schedule is a detailed list of all the required tasks and steps, the required
completion dated, and the person, department, or committee responsible for each. The
event coordinator should prepare it.
The event manager cannot have a successful planning structure without a budget and
priorities for how the money will be spent. Financial decisions affect every area of the
event and must be established early in the process and monitored on a regular basis.
The importance of having all the planning issues covered is that, by anticipating
problems, special needs, and hidden costs, the manger can be calm during the storm
of the event. If he/she always ask “what is the worst that can happen?” and then have
a solution ready, they will have a reservoir of strategies to be used at a moments
notice, no matter how serious the crisis.
What is the program? It encompasses all of the activities planned for the attendees,
from the moment they arrive until they depart. It includes the content, recreation, meal
functions, receptions and parties, tours, expositions, spouse and children’s’ programs,
and informal and unscheduled free time. What are the program topics, passive and
active sessions, serious and fun presentations, and formal and informal times to
provide professional and personal growth and networking opportunities for
participants? The program is like a jigsaw puzzle. When the event manager starts the
puzzle, all the pieces are there but what a mess! The design is putting the pieces in
order. This is more difficult than it sounds because of the many needs and
expectations coming from bosses, association or committee members, attendees,
speakers, and suppliers.
Purpose of the event
The first step is to prepare a statement on the purpose of the event. Identify whether
the mangers objective is to educate, to inform, to solve problems, to reward, to
introduce new products or services, to generate revenue, or whatever.
Next, he needs to know something about the attendees. Will the audience be primarily
male, female, or mixed? Are spouses and children invited? Has the primary attendees
met together? Will they know each other? What is their knowledge or skill level in
relation to the subject of the program? What is the groups’ personality? Is it fun,
serious, verbal, formal? This may not seem like a major issue, but it can make a huge
difference in the success of the program. There is a big difference between state
legislators and hand surgeons.
That brings us to why the attendees will sign up in the first place. Their needs and
expectations should not be overlooked. The sponsoring group is often so concerned
about the organizations’ need being met that it forgets about the attendees. The event
coordinator should play a strong role in monitoring the program plans to see that the
attendees are not forgotten.
Selecting topics formats and speakers or participants
Preparing a master list of topics or activities that is required by the event coordinators
particular event and list educational topics important to his group. Once the list of
topics is complete, the manager can begin the task of assigning a format to each topic.
Some may be debates; others may be group discussions, still others, lectures papers.
Finally there is the challenging task of finding the right person to successfully
implement the selected format
In addition determining what time of year the event will be held and how many days it
will run, time allotment means establishing time allowances for each topic and
presenter. To do this, the manager must rough out a program agenda showing the
activity, the format, the amount of time allotted, the sequence (daily), and the topic
Prepare a budget listing all programs costs, including meeting-room rental, attendees’
materials speakers, fees and expenses.
SPEAKERS AND OTHER PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
Who are the people on the program?
A program requires a variety of types of people-speakers, moderators, interviewers,
workshop leaders, trainers, discussion leaders, panelist, expert witness, and
summarizers. If we must have a generic term, let’s use “program participants.” But
don’t confuse that term with attendees, who are also often called participants. By
using the word “speakers”, we lead people to believe that they need only come
prepared to speak, when should be leading training, interviewing.
Scrapping the term “speakers” is a fairly easy way to make a dramatic difference in
the quality of programs offered. The challenge is to see how many different types of
people the manager can use to communicate the required information without having
them read speeches.
Successful professional speakers learn very quickly that reading speech is not good
for business. They talk to their audience; they usually move off the stage, walk
around, and look the audience squarely in the eyes. Wireless microphones encourage
movement. Theses speakers are often looked upon as entertainers, and there is nothing
wrong with speakers being entertainers. In fact, the problem arises when a speaker is
Event coordinators must be more selective more demanding and more detailed with
speakers. They have got to learn how to bring out the best in poor speakers who
happen to be recognized expert in the field. Most speakers would not welcome
guidance on the subjects’ desired focus as well as the type of attendees and the level
of their knowledge is unimaginable.
As the competition to attract attendees grows attendees are becoming more selective
about where they send their budgeted event money. Programs with high-quality,
knowledgeable speakers, a variety of type of program participants, and focused and
varied presentations will capture the market.
Just as the design of program is one of the most creative aspects of planning an event,
the management of program participants is one of the most challenging. The
managers’ programs participants are the transmitters of all that he hopes to
communicate. Both the coordinator and the presenters need to reevaluate the
importance of the participants’ role.
Thinking about program participants actually begins in the program design phase,
because this is where the manager decides what he wants plan to communicate and
how he will do it. As the manger selects the topic and a format, He must ask if he can
locate or recruit qualified people at a price he can afford.
Once the event manager knows the boundaries of who he needs and what he has to
offer, he can begin researching, brainstorming, asking knowledgeable people in the
field or his colleagues with related and respected experience. Don’t automatically use
the staff, board of directors, congressperson, and friends as key presenters. Not only
may they not be the best, it may be harder to keep them focused on the goals and the
audiences interest in the subject. Besides, how does a manager tell his congressperson
or the chairman of the board that the fifteen minutes are up?
While the manager is researching his resources, he should begin to define in writing
what he wants each person to do. What role does this person play in the conference?
What does that role mean to him? Will the participant automatically understand what
he expects? Probably not, so the manager should write a description a short paragraph
explaining exactly what is expected of each program participant.
Developing content guidelines
The next step is to develop a written list of points or questions the manager would like
to have included in the speech, discussion or workshop. Then communicate these
points to his program participants in writing, through briefing meetings, or in reviews
of their plans. This is also a good time to go over the schedule and the importance of
adhering to it on site a key aspect of managing program participants.
Some topics are so broad it would be pure luck if the speaker/leader touched on them
without guidance. The question the manger may ask is: why tell the experts? The
answer is that the experts usually have no way of knowing what has been covered in
past events, and they may not know the level of audience’s knowledge or its current
interest in the subject. All speakers have favorite aspects of a subject, areas in which
they are most comfortable and require the least preparation. Without guidance,
speakers head straight in that direction and the manager will have given them a
license to do what they want rather than what he or the audience wants. They aren’t
wrong the manager is for abdicating his responsibility.
The event coordinators who think through theses program issues to the same extent
they think through the logistics will succeed. It is not hard: it’s logical. What would
the event manager want to know if he were asked to speak to or lead a group? Ask
speakers whom he respects what would be helpful to them. Call potential attendees
and ask them what their interest in a particular subject is.
Research takes time and requires the manager to become a three minute expert in a
variety of subject areas. It offers the opportunity to learn about so many different
subjects. If the manager has to delegate don’t give the job away without explaining
what he wants, indicating why he wants it and supervising the product to keep it on
The Hotel Market
The beginning point is to know the hotel market and the event group. The manger
must first understand that hotels make a profit from guestroom sales, not from sales of
food and beverages. Once he realizes that, a series of questions must be explored. He
needs to know the high, low, and average rates for each property. He should know
occupancy levels at various times of the year and a week. He should know the general
economic situation in the city and within the hotel. Companies such as PKF
consulting produce monthly and annual reports on an areas occupancy level and
average daily rates (ADR). These vary by seasons and days of the week
Look internally for stable ratios of staff to guests and at staff turnover. How long has
the firm’s salesperson been there, the general manager? Request a copy of the staffing
roaster and ask for lengths of employment.
Along the same lines, look at the hotels ownership structure. A hotel is part of a chain
may be owned and operated by the chain, or may be franchised, and thus carry the
chains name but be owned by a separate entity. In either situation, a management
company, whose reputation the manager should check, may perform management of
Each of the foregoing arrangements is not of itself good or bad; the manager simply
needs to be aware of these structures. For example, there are hotels operated by
management companies whose standers are higher than the corporate franchise name
implies and vice versa. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the firm’s market
Next to use a tired but true phase, is to know the event group. Roughly, “the event
group” includes the company or organization the event manager is working for, the
programs goal and requirements the budget and the attendees’ needs or preferences.
The formal document that profiles the event group is called a “prospectus”. The first
section should introduce the organization and the specific event in general way. While
the introduction should be factual, it may also be considered a promotional
description emphasizing the organizations purpose.
Section II should relate to the events site requirements for this specific event, to
include the number and type of guest rooms, ADA requirements, preferred rates, dates
and pattern, and the manager’s moment by moment needs for meeting rooms. This
breakdown should include room setup, anticipated attendance per room, and any
special space eaters, such as projection equipment, screens, or head tales. In such
cases he many indicate his total square footage requirements as a total number, or per
person if higher than normal allowances are required. This is also the time to specify
ceiling heights, freight access, or any other required features. Be sure to advise the
hotel if commissions are to be paid to the firm or not to any third parties, other that
the direct booking event. A simple statement that says rates are either commissionable
or no commissionable will do.
A facility should be able to determine from this section whether it can accommodate
the event group. If the manager has ever repeated the same requirements over the
phone to fifteen different properties, he will quickly realize the benefit of including
site requirements in his written prospectus. Not only will he ensure that everyone
receives the same information as part of a well thought out plan, he will ultimately
save time and gain well deserved respect for a professional approach.
In section III, describe the firms’ history, either regarding this specific event or a
similar one. This is the place to demonstrate that the firm’s assessment of its group’s
needs is accurate and that the facility must deliver what the manager is asking for.
Include past cities, properties, and numbers broken down in every possible way.
Especially as related to numbers, the firms’ history plays an important role. The
manager can be sure the hotel will check the firms’ past history. Prospective hoteliers
will want to find out about the firms’ guest/sleeping room mates and pick up, the
events meals counts, firms’ total master account charges and credit record and all too
often they’ll elicit a few choice editorial comments from the prior facilities managers,
which may be to his benefit or disadvantage. The inexperienced coordinator probably
has no knowledge of this underground grapevine. The experienced coordinator not
only knows it exists but controls the information released. How? By preparing in the
contract that any report or data about the event must be approve prior to release by the
hotel, thereby giving the coordinator an opportunity to adjust any incorrect or
The most difficult problems for hotels are when the firm considers that their sales are
generated from guestrooms. Say for example 300 rooms are requested and no basis
for arriving at that number is given. Hotels either need a history or a rationale for the
requested number of rooms. If the manager wants it all with no guarantees and no
history, he can and should expect to pay heavy penalties if he fails to meet his
confirmed requirements. Attrition clauses have been added to hotel contracts to hold
the coordinator responsible for lost revenue from unsold rooms.
Section IV is a detailed day by day time and event specification. The hours, event and
location should be itemized for each day of the event
Once the event’s prospectus is complete, the manager should review potential hotels,
select those that meet his criteria, and send them a copy, he might even close an
R.S.V.P card and ask the hotel to return it indicating its intent to submit a bid. A three
to four week response deadline should be established.
After careful review of the proposals, the manager is ready for his site inspections.
The tendency for most coordinators is to over schedule their site inspections
appointments and to respond to the invitations of all hotels that want to see them
rather than only those appropriate to their event. Three to four hours per facility is the
minimum time needed for a thorough inspection. The “interview” portion should take
one to two hours and the walk through, depending on the facility size, one to two
hours. Then he should give himself one hour alone for note making measuring, and
revisiting the areas he’s having trouble remembering. It’s best to do this on site, so the
coordinator can go back to the room or ask the salesperson to fill in the gaps.
There are numerous site selection checklists that are useful in devising the manager’s
form. He doesn’t even have to have a form, but a system for capturing comparable
data is going to be valuable when he makes his final decision.
Finally, the manager should check references of the final properties under
consideration. Ask for the names of three companies that held events similar to the
group’s event in the hotel in the past month. That ensures a response based on the
current level of service and limits the ability of the hotel to give the event group their
best references. Everyone has had “star” performances they want to find out about the
typical ones. Even a bad reference can be good if it helps the manager to anticipate
problems and prepare solutions in advance. At one time or another, everyone has been
in this position, but that is no reason to be less through. If this is the case for the event
coordinator, he should think in terms of site evaluation rather than site selection.
Regardless of the number of choices, he must know the capabilities and limitations of
the facility and the staff the building the people.
The event manger should not forget about the hotels general manager (GM). The
manager can ask the bell or housekeeping staff who is the GM? and see what
comments are volunteered. There are various approaches to finding out more about
the facility. Some coordinators visit the hotel unannounced, other take a secret tour of
the services areas, and some have private conversations with guest and in house
groups. The key is not so much how the manger approaches site selection, but that he
is thoughtful and thorough.
Negotiation is the thread that should have been woven throughout the entire process.
Actually, negotiation is an important sounding word for the give and take discussion
between the hotel salesperson and the coordinator. The key to success in this area is
not only to know what the manager wants in relation to what he must have, but to
know the other business as well as or better than the other sides representative.
Unfortunately, the reverse is usually true: the hoteliers know more about coordinators
than coordinators know about themselves or their event.
FOOD AND BEVERAGES
Food and beverages usually constitute a high cost item for the coordinator, and a
hotel’s prices should be evaluated as a part of the site selection process.
Hotels are usually less flexible in their food process than their room rates, especially
if the manager waits until after the contract is signed to negotiate food and beverage.
Hotels are often reluctant to guarantee process more than three months prior to the
event because of the fluctuations in the costs of food items. This is not generally
acceptable to coordinators because they need to prepare a budget one to three years
ahead of time. One option is to have current menus signed and dated and insert a
contractual clause that limits price increases by tying them to cost-of-living increase
or to some other predetermined percentage. Even with this option, prices should be
finally confirmed one year out.
The manager should not select a site on the basis of process alone. If cost seems to be
the coordinators only criterion, the hotel may try to lower its price by reducing the
number of services, the quality or freshness of the food products (lesser cuts of beet
canned versus fresh vegetables), and possibly the size of the portion. A loss of service
and quality can eventually be more damaging than a few added Rupees.
The hotel market
The hotel market is constantly changing depending on supply, demand the inflation
rate, and the availability of money. It is therefore important for the coordinator to stay
informed on market conditions. Convention hotels traditionally have high, shoulder,
and low seasons that also influence rates over that period. When selecting a hotel it is
important for an event coordinator to be up-to-date on the market situation. The best
and most current sources of information are the industry trade magazines including
those of the hotel industry. If the coordinator does not receive these magazines he
should ask local hotel industry friends if he may borrow a copy or the event manager
may simply interview them.
When the hotel industry is in a down cycle (a sellers market of the hotels) the
coordinator has the advantage; in an upward cycle (a sellers market for the hotels) the
coordinator is at a disadvantage. It is quite simple, as demand moves closer to, or
exceeds, supply costs increase and the hotel can be more selective in the business they
book. They establish the rules and effectively eliminate those who are a not reliable
customers. This is not to say that there are not times when they will want the event
group’s business, which is a logical question for the manager to explore with his sales
PLANNING A EVENT WITH SAFETY AND SECURITY IN MIND
Safety and security are on the minds of all travelers. While the percentage of crimes
against travelers nationwide is lower than against residents in a community that is
small consolation to an event coordinator when he’s assisting an injured or victimized
event delegate. What makes the safety and security situation even more challenging is
that too often people are not as cautious when they travel as they are in their own
homes. Therefore, the coordinator should be familiar with the basics to provide a safe
and secure environment for his attendees. Addressing these details as part of the
planning process can help boost attendance and reduce liability exposure both for the
event group and the organizational sponsor.
Safety is concerned with protecting people from injury resulting from accidents
caused by their carelessness or the negligence of others. This includes helping
delegates take precautions when necessary, inspecting the event facility to insure that
basic safety programs are in place and identifying sources of medical assistance that
can be called in the event of an accident.
Protecting the physical well being of delegates is paramount. Life safety includes
protection from natural and "man-made" emergencies. An event coordinator can do
little about the fact that certain geographical locations are prone to floods,
earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. However, he can determine what safety
measures have been instituted by the meeting facility. Don't be reluctant to ask the
sales manager, general manager or security director about the facility's emergency
management plan. Most properties will be happy to show the coordinator what they
have outlines in the event that guests must be evacuated from a hotel or convention
center. If the property has nothing in place despite the fact that it is located in area
where acts of God are known to have occurred in the past, perhaps the manager might
want to talk to their competition!
Security is concerned with protecting people and property form injury or loss
resulting from criminal activity. To help insure the security of delegates, inquire about
crime prevention practices taken by the facility and in the surrounding area, and
examine these policies. In addition, the manager will also want to "educate" his
delegates about measures they can take to be more secure.
Common law requires that hoteliers provide reasonable care for their guests during
their stay at the property. What constitutes reasonable care is determined by
exercising foresee ability, anticipating what risks may befall a guest based on the type
and level of criminal activity that has occurred at the facility and in the surrounding
area. Hoteliers and event coordinators are not expected to prevent crime, and at best,
reasonable care and foresee ability are terms open to interpretation. However, what is
quite clear is that an event coordinator, is expected to assess how secure the guests he
brings to a property will be base upon the reasonable care and foresee ability he
exercises in his site selection process and while at the facility.
This means that an event coordinator’s site 'inspection responsibilities include
determining the quality of security provided by the property. His most knowledgeable
point of contact is the security director, who should be happy to answer his questions.
These inquiries can include types of incidents that have occurred on the property
within the past year, what policies the facility has instituted to prevent their
reoccurrence, and how secure members of the event group will be in the surrounding
neighborhood. When the manager asks these questions, the answers should be
documented because they are important in the unfortunate event that a security breach
Don't eliminate destinations principally because they may be "unsafe." Incidents can
occur anywhere. However, if the group’s event is in an area assumed or known to be
less safe, ask that the security director attend the pre-con.
When the manager visits a facility, be aware of how secure he feels, and add the
following security items to his checklist.
• Are side entrances locked at night and do they have a sign explaining this
policy on both sides of the door with clear directions to an accessible door?
• Do first floor rooms have special security devices on the doors and window?
• Are parking lots well lit at night?
• Are staff members available for guests who wish to be escorted by security or
management to and from the parking lot?
• Are parking lots visibly patrolled at night?
• Do surveillance camera casings actually contain cameras and are those areas
monitored around the clock?
• Does the hotel have executive level floors with limited access and a concierge
on duty where a lady traveling alone, a controversial speakers or delegate can
• Do the sliding glass doors have secure locks and Charlie bars or security bars
in the track to prevent someone from prying the door open from outside?
• Do guestroom doors have deadbolt locks extending into the door jam one
• Do guestroom doors have a "peephole" and a secondary locking device such
as a swing bar or chain?
• At registration, does the front desk clerk write the room number down 'instead
of announcing it aloud?
• If a guest room key is lost or stolen, are replacements procedures followed that
require guest identification and security escort to the room if identification is
Protecting valuable property is an essential aspect of having a problem free event,
bearing in mind that hotels have only limited money liability for items stolen from
their premises. They often post a disclosure to this effect at the front desk and provide
safety deposits boxes for guest valuables.
Since not all valuables can fit into safety deposit boxes, hotels often provide storage
security for merchandise that requires special protection. Discuss the secured storage
areas the facility can make available, including how merchandise is inventoried and
who might have access to the area. Number the boxes and inventory the contents of
each. If the property has surveillance cameras, do they monitor secured areas around
the clock? At trade shows, all contractors should be required to wear name tags,
which can be color coded to represent the days of the week they are scheduled to have
access to the exposition floor.
Check with the security director, can the property provide 24 hour security if
necessary or assist the manager in making arrangements for private security to
augment what the hotel offers? If the event needs private security, the manager should
notify the facility, only contract with firms licensed by the state, and check their
The best safety and security system is ineffective if it isn't used properly. Hotels,
CVB's and event planner associations make safety brochures available for guests. If
the situation warrants, include a brochure in each delegate's registration packet. While
the recommendations offered by the brochures are common sense, don't assume that
the delegates packed theirs!
Unfortunately, terrorism is a reality and can affect any meeting. In addition to the
security issues already addressed, if the event company is planning an international
meeting, it needs to check with the State Department about destinations for which
they have issued a traveler's warning and those that might require special security
attention and educate the delegates before they travel to try not to stand out as tourists
or foreign executives. Include information about the location of the American
Embassy and other agencies that provide traveler assistance.
A gentle reminder isn't meant to frighten anyone or discourage attendance. Instead,
people should feel more secure that the event group has taken steps to help them and
the facility is more attentive to safety and security.
DATA, COLLECTION, EVALUATION AND REPORTING
Through every stage of planning, the manager will focus on numbers. The manager’s
first call to a hotel involves numbers-number of people, number of function, number
of days, number of amount in the events budget, how much income, how many
expenses. As the planning progresses, the manager has to know the number of items
to be printed and the number printed of each piece; the number of microphones, meals
signs, flowers, gifts, and on and on.
All of these numbers form a database and must be collected, analyzed interpreted, and
finally documented in a useful format for future planning. This process completes the
circle from concept to evaluation. It is the coordinator’s measuring stick for past
events and his most important guide for the next event.
The key areas are financial, attendance, food and beverages, program, and facility,
also document personnel, marketing and mailing, and any other areas that give the
manager information for future planning, decision making, or improving his next
The best test of the value of date collection and reporting is the impact the data has on
the people who receive the report. Sometimes the manager will see the lights go on.
For instance one client was recently shocked to learn that 40 percent of its attendance
came from fifteen companies. That client is now adjusting its marketing efforts to
encourage corporate groups by offering special rates. Another group was overbooking
meeting space because it expected all registrants to participate. The data showed that
"all registrants" included staff, volunteers, and speakers-people who did not routinely
attend functions. Thus, the group was able to reduce meeting space by twenty-five
percent. For one group, the lunch guarantees (the minimum it must pay for) were
reduced by 300 people per function because the data showed the 20 percent of
registrants did not participate in scheduled luncheons, but 105 percent (attendees and
guests) attended evening awards functions The luncheon savings alone were worth the
money it took to prepare the report
The possibilities are limitless. The key is to determine the data needed up front so the
coordinator end result is consistent and accurate. If the coordinator wants to know the
average age of his attendees, he has to devise a method for collecting that data. If the
manager wants, to know attendees' positions within a company, instead off just asking
for titles, he might also ask how many people report to them.
Data collection is valuable only if the coordinator takes the time to analyze the results.
For the most part, event coordinators are not numbers people, and they avoid dealing
with statistics beyond the most basic requirement. The manager should tear apart
everything he does, count actual numbers, and compute percentages for each
category. Percentages allow the manager to compare categories and show him the
pattern for his event group. He shouldn’t forget to document the variables that affect
each year. A poor economy, high air fares or high hotel rates can affect attendance.
Once the meeting has started, bad weather may increase the number of people
attending functions; good weather may reduce the number. A great city versus a city
without pizzazz may have an impact.
MARKETING AND PROMOTION
Event coordinators are often responsible for marketing and promotion-for delivering
attendees-and the manager’s success as a coordinator is often measured by the
effectiveness of his marketing efforts. Promotional materials, such as letters,
brochures, advertising, and new releases, are used to get the word out.
Emphasize the thinking through of marketing and promotion more than the
mechanics. The mechanical things must be done, but the risk of failure is significant if
the event manager doesn’t think about what he is doing, why he is doing it, and for
whom he is doing it. They are mechanical, routine procedures and practices, but only
an organization can determine what the best marketing approach is for its attendees.
There is no "wrong" way; if some thing works for the group and appropriately
communicates the organization's image, then its right for the organization.
To successfully promote an event, the manager needs to be sure that he has an event
people will want to attend. Second, he needs to encourage the sponsor, maybe the
boss, to be realistic about the attendance goal. Try to set a number that's a little lower
than what he thinks the coordinator can deliver. Third, evaluate his obstacles. Is there
enough time to properly market the program? Are there scheduling conflicts, such as
The point is if attendees are really the most critical ingredient then consider them in
the beginning. It's dangerous to promote a event based on the organization's needs
rather than on the attendees' needs.
The wrong approach is copy and assume. We don't look at the market from the
perspective of need versus saturation, the sponsor's credibility versus the
competitions, the costs and incentives versus the value of the conference.
Coordinators must also consider the drawing power of past successful events and
potential attendees' word-of-mouth recommendations. Three key community leaders
felt the sponsor had not treated them with the attention they deserved, and when asked
by other invitee if they were attending, they quietly and simply said no. Without
further questions or explanations, word quickly got around, and the event was
essentially blackballed. The petty reasons may never be known, but a lot of time and
money was lost because the sponsors were more focused on the event than the
attendees. The third point, which may not seem important to the manager need to be
made a note off.
When the manager considers promotion material he should not only look at the small
list of ten points but to the event from a holistic perspective.
TYPES OF EVENTS
The type of event the manager is planning will affect how he proceeds. For example,
there are corporate meetings that "advise" attendees of where to be and when to be
there. The sponsor usually pays all expenses. The attendees; choice is, though subtly
presented, to attend or resign from the company. The attendees' motivation is obvious,
but the meeting can have a negative impact, especially if it requires canceling the
family vacation. It is necessary to communicate to such people the importance of the
events, explain why they were selected, and describe the benefits and value of heir
participation to each of them personally and to the organization. While the company
clearly expects total commitment from employees, it is good psychology to recognize
workers' sacrifices and loyal support.
Such an event is held as the corporate reward or for outstanding performance. Some
coordinators get involved in the total conceptual design of inventive programs, setting
the sales and production goals as well as planning the reward, which is often an event
in a highly desirable resort location. The recognition that accompanies the invitation
is usually sufficient motivation to attend, and spouses are often invited. Who wouldn't
want to go? Coordinators often use a dramatic invitation to stimulate those who failed
to earn the reward this year to work harder so they will be invited next year.
The most difficult of corporate meeting are the ones that bring together a company's
distributors franchisers, sales reps, and other loosely tied field people. The
coordinator's job is especially hard if attendees are expected to pay their own way.
Such a group is comparable to association meeting attendees; a relationship and
credibility exist among those invited, but costs versus the value to participants have to
be the marketing focus.
Associations are membership based organizations providing education, legislative
monitoring or lobbying, certification, and other services to special interest or
professional groups. They are run by and for their members. They are usually
nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations that rely on dues, meeting fees, service fees, and,
to a varying extent, contributions and grants.
Whatever they choose to call the yearly gathering annual meeting, convention,
conference, or incentive one is almost always held. The purpose for attendees is
education, networking, recognition, and conducting official association business.
The key to marketing the association's annual meeting is to offer a quality educational
program. That may not be the real reason people want to attend, but participants need
a strong educational program to justify their attendance and expenses to the company
or the IRS. Getting the approval should not be forgotten. So there is some dual, albeit
subtle, consideration in the event’s marketing.
“Public” Meetings and Seminars
These are sponsored by individuals, corporations, associations, or entrepreneurs and
are marketed to anyone who is likely to come up with the fee. Such events are usually
held to make a profit, to promote an organization, service, or cause, or to offer
continuing education courses. They require large promotion budgets and carefully
developed marketing strategies. The deciding factors in determining where the
manager fits in the above categories are (1) the extent to which he has to create a
market and (2) the recognition, credibility, and power of the event group to achieve
success based on the invitation alone. If there isn't an existing credible structure, the
event is probably in the "public" arena.
There are three parts to the marketing strategy
• Penetrating. The manager must get the night people to read the promotional
pieces and sell them on the value of their participation.
• Timing. The coordinator must reach his targets when they have the need,
problem, interest, or time. That's tough, but he can try to anticipate the timeliness of
his program. An investments program will likely be more successful in a strong
economy. Tax subjects, are most popular from December through April or May, and
issue programs draw best when the legislature is in session. Most are not so obvious,
but a hard look and a few telephone calls may be a good investment of the
• Selling. Keep in mind the real influencer and decision makers, may range from
the attendees' boss and board of directors to a spouse, if the benefits of participation
extend to them. And don't discount the children, who can be most persuasive in
getting their parents to attend the event at Disneyland-as a Family of course!
DETERMINING ATTENDEES' NEEDS
The list of attendees need is limitless. Where can a parent find say milk for a child?
Where is the briefcase that someone left in a session yesterday? Why wasn't a
reservation form or check received? The manager hears about all these problems: The
room is too hot; the room is too cold; the room next door is too noisy; the room needs
more chairs; the room needs more coffee.
What's really necessary is that the manager should try in advance to plan for what
attendees will need. He must try to make every attendee feel important and also must
try to be helpful when unexpected crises come to his attention. With the vast array of
conferences, services, and products for an attendee to choose from, the coordinator
will find that he needs the attendees more than they need him.
The place to start is with a familiarization exercise for attendees. Its object is to
prepare a group profile by listing everything the coordinator knows about his actual or
A questionnaire is useful in this respect and can be sent to attendees prior to the
meeting. Provide some incentive for recipients to complete the questionnaire and
return it with their registration forms, such as gift subscriptions to trade magazines,
tickets for a free drink, or a discount on the registration fee. The questionnaire can
cover such things as where they are from; religion; nationality; values; levels of
sophistication; level of knowledge or expertise regarding the conference subject; if
children or spouses will accompany them; if special diets, special needs or
interpretive services will be needs; if they are used to luxury and a litany things.
Once the manager or the coordinator has gathered all this information and sorted it out
he needs to forwards to other parties who also require it, for example hotels.
Everyone loves to have fun, and special events can and should be fan both for the
attendee and the event coordinator. Not all meetings have a special event and not all
special events, like fundraisers or company parties, are tied to a meeting. However,
whether they are together or separate, they require the same skills.
What are special events? They are gala dinners or receptions, theme parties, sport
events, creative breaks, dances, tours, special programs, performances. They take the
ordinary and make it extraordinary. They may have decorations, unusual locations,
entertainment, unusual menus, creative themes, special transportation, gifts or prizes,
surprise appearances of celebrities or robots. The sky is the limit. Actually, the budget
is the limit but the event manager can still be creative.
The fact is that much of the planning for special events is routine and tedious. The
coordinator is dealing with a myriad of details that he plans, follows up, checks and
checks again-and he'll still wake up in the middle of the night thinking of one tiny, but
critical, detail that he will check on again in the morning. Creativity is the ingredient
that keeps projects exciting and fresh and will definitely help him to avoid burnout.
Special events are necessary to loosen up and lighten up attendees so they can interact
on a real person-to-person level.
First the coordinator begins with an idea or several, ideas, and then, unfortunately,
most of us have to look at the budget. Is it affordable? If not how can we adjust the
idea to make it affordable? Then he looks at the attendees and the organization. The
coordinator probably doesn't want a magenta break for teetotalers or a three-hour bus
trip for five-year-olds. The coordinator should not try to second guess his guest.
Once the manager has matched the idea, budget, and people, he is ready to develop
the idea into a structured plan. What will it take to pull this off? He is back to the
basics of event planning: site selection, catering, transportation, decorations,
entertainment, insurance, repeal of city ordinances, themes, costumes, lighting, sound,
From a management perspective, the manager also has to evaluate the reality of the
lead time available to plan the event and the actual planning hours needed versus the
time his staff can commit. It is the thoughtfulness of these early plans that will
determine the ultimate success.
In this age of specialization, the coordinator has a wealth of "experts" in every area,
professional special events companies, because they plan these events routinely, can
oversee all or a part of the event and will advise him of opportunities and pitfalls. The
coordinator will also find suppliers of services expert in their individual areas. A bus
company will help the event manager in routing and scheduling, a decorator can help
him with space requirements and setup times, and a golf professional can help the
coordinator structure a tournament.
The manager must also do his own homework by talking to other coordinators who
have conducted similar events, by reading related articles in professional publications
and by checking the references of all suppliers.
Finally, in getting it all together, don't rush or make hasty decisions. The highly
creative people the manager will be working with are, all too often, high strung and
demanding. The manager should hold on to his money tightly, put everything in
writing, and give himself time to carefully think through his needs; don't be trapped
by their needs.
Themes have been developed for almost every imaginable area. Here are just a few:
Ethnic themes Mystery themes
Movie themes Transportation themes
T.V. themes Futuristic and Space Themes
Storybook Themes War themes
Historical themes Political themes
Motivational themes Color themes
Geographical themes Costume or Dress themes
Sports themes Personality themes
Seasonal themes Food themes
Holiday themes Current events themes
Way of Life themes Hollywood/ Bollywood themes
Animal themes Negative themes
(Such as a very successful annual dull
Themes can be very powerful and a memorable experience or they can be a disaster.
If a theme involves attendees' participation with either costumes or games, the risks
are fewer. In such cases (more than ever) the coordinator needs to know his attendees,
and often it's better to have attendees sign up in advance. Most people are willing to
accommodate requests such as "black tie," "casual “or” western wear," but they might
draw the line at dressing up; as Queen Victoria or a favorite rock star. (Incidentally,
wait persons in costume are quite acceptable.)
On the other hand, everyone appreciates creativity, especially new ideas or a new
twist to old ideas. The interaction that takes place among attendees at well-planned,
well executed theme events makes them worth the time, effort, and expense.
Knowing a sport does not qualify the coordinator to set up a tournament. He is the
expert on the event group. Especially as it relates to number of participants, time
scheduled for the event, and general skill level of players. But a professional in the
planned sport, with experience in setting up tournaments, is a critical ingredient. The
pro will assign handicaps, pair players, set up start times and scoring procedures,
arrange for judges, ball chasers, caddies equipment, etc. of course, the coordinator
should be involved in setting the tone (Serious or fun), selecting prizes and
giveaways, preparing a budget, arranging transportation, ordering food and beverages,
registering attendees, and providing final court and player information. The pro and/or
the resort should be certified and insured. But remember, any official event of the
event places the firm, at a minimum, in a third-party liability positions. As the risk
increases, so should the insurance.
The part of the program that has gone from being called a wives' program to a
spouses' program, and now to either a guests' or companions' program, has evolved
from consisting of primarily women oriented activities (shopping, luncheons, teas,
fashion shows, cooking classes) to gender-neutral events with more emphasis on
enrichment. Actually, we should forget the companion's relationship to the attendee
and just provide an open track of activities labeled the "enrichment program." This
would allow attendees and guests both to switch from professionally related topics to
personal growth and "see the city" topics and tours.
Women still out number men as guests at conferences, and there are still women who
like to cook and shop. Even male registrants sometimes cook and shop
Conference coordinators should consider whether they want to encourage guests (both
adults and children) to attend. If their attendance is desirable, keep this group in mind
during site consideration (city, meeting space, room rated), and as the firm develops
and prepares promotional materials, plans the budget, computes total numbers,
conducts registration processing, and establish a fee structure essentially, as the
coordinator makes all his plans.
A local committee or professional company can be a great asset, but the coordinator
should not abdicate control. This is as much a part of the firm’s event as anything
else. An unhappy guest can cause more trouble than fifty attendees can, especially if
that guest is the president's spouse! Take a fresh look at the whole program. The best
tactic may be to involve the attendees with guests, balancing genders, ages, and years
of attendance to recommend an alternative agenda.
BUDGETING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
The budget is the real event shaper; it puts all the theory into perspective. The
manager will find out what is really important to his CEOs, members, or clients. It
doesn't have to be an extravagant budget; actually, there are very few of those. The
interesting point is where the money is spent, specifically when compared with the
The coordinator can't talk about expenditures without an evaluation of potential
revenues. Fortunate indeed is the person who has a financial history of the meeting, or
better yet, a budget not dependent on the collection of fees to cover costs. The
manager needs some idea of revenues before he tackles the expenditures. This ceiling
or range becomes a major management and planning tool for the coordinator.
The history is an important to the budget process as staff resources are to planning
schedule. If the manager doesn’t have a group history, he can, at a minimum, seek out
trends for similar, programs or evaluate the general economic outlook. Normally, in
good times, attendance is higher and supplier costs are less negotiable.
Correspondingly, bad times mean fewer attendees and greater flexibility in
negotiations. But this is not always true, so check the implications for the event. An
event that emphasizes selling skills or employment opportunities may be better
attended in tough times.
Also in the trends area, event publications survey readers and publish results that tell
the firm how money from corporate versus association events is being spent. There is
a lot of good information available. If the manager takes the time to seek it out. Our
industry's trends, suppliers, respected colleagues, and the event firm’s files are the
most obvious sources. All too often, the budgeting process is seen as purely
mathematical, while it is really an intellectual process in a mathematical format.
The budget as a document is an important planning tool, but the true value is in the
degree to which the manager uses it and in the accuracy and thoughtfulness of the
preparation process. The planning schedule reduces all the manager knows to people,
risk, and deadlines. It is this combination that determines the road the event will take.
The goals are the foundation; the planning tools are the supporting beams. Add a
healthy dose of creativity in the interior design (program, speakers, food and
beverages), this empty structure for the energy that only the attendees can provide.
Ultimately, it is this combination that determines whether the result will be success,
mediocrity, or failure.
The event coordinator's role in establishing the budget varies, depending on the
organization's structure. In some companies or associations, the budget process is
closely guarded and the coordinator is involved only in the area of his or her
responsibility. In other cases, a budget would never be prepared if the coordinator
didn't force the issue.
The beginning point in preparing a budget is research. Research can be in the form of
bids, the economy in the host city, past financial reports on the same or a similar
meeting, seasonal advantages or disadvantages, or national economic trends, such as
the price of gasoline. The manager doesn’t need to be an economist but needs to
observe, make notes and view it from a holistic point of view.
The coordinator must take apart financially the event he is planning. There are many
ways to divide the event into general categories that may or may not relate to the
internal accounting system.
If the event has only one account code, the manager will have a lot of flexibility in
formatting his budget. If he is required to bill a variety of costs to a variety of
accounts, prepare to work closely with the accounting office in the beginning. That
aspect of budgeting is most difficult when government contracts are involved or when
direct, indirect, overhead, and general and administrative costs must be broken out
The point is not that he understands the mathematical formulas for organization's
accounting, but that the manager interfaces with the system for efficiency and
Now that the coordinator has all that information, he must organize the budget into
categories. These are divides into income items and expenditures. Other schemes
include organization by day, by fixed and variable costs, by profit centers (such as
children's or spouse programs exhibits, or events with add-on fees), or by internal
accounting codes. What ever be the requirements the manager must at all times list
every possible expense item and the estimated cost.
He must then explain exactly how he arrived at each cost figure-for example 2,000
four color, eight-page advance program announcements; or 200 lunches at Rs. 150
plus 25 percent tax and gratuity times three days. This explanation will be valuable in
the monitoring and final accounting.
Clearly, some areas are easier to budget than others, such as signs, furniture, office
equipment and any of those areas directly controlled by the coordinator. Audiovisual
is one of those areas not easily controlled by the coordinator, especially if he leaves
all options open to speakers. Always the manager should go by the budget he might
want the world but can the budget carry it all the way.
Budget for "unanticipated extras" but also give staff and speakers deadlines for
additions to the budget which the manager is on a tight budget, additions may also
mean cuts. The video monitors may cut into food and beverages or decoration. A
quick trip back to the purpose (goals and objectives) may provide guidance in
additions and cuts.
One the budget has been prepared and approved; attach a page for explanations of
budget adjustments, with additional space for dates, changes, and approval signatures
Sponsorship has become an established communication tool for building brand
awareness, brand image and corporate image.
It is important to write a good sponsorship proposal and sell it in the most effective
and efficient manner:
A good sponsorship proposal must include:
A) Title of the event:
The sponsor shall be entitled to have the event named after the brand nominated
by the sponsor.
B) Background of the organizers and the events
C) Types of Sponsorship available
D) Details of benefits to various sponsors:
This is the most important point, which is the backbone of the proposal, and
the sponsor will only be given based on the benefits, which a sponsor receives.
For example: Logo on advertising – the sponsor shall receive logos on all
advertising related to the event, including all press advertisements, all posters,
banners and hoardings which is of great benefit as the buyer now visualizes
the media as described above and is more inclined to the event.
Sponsorship: Who’s sponsoring whom and where. Some of the examples are:
Company Products/Brands Event Category
1 Pepsi Soft drinks Sports, Music,
2 Asian Paints Paints Fairs and festivals
3 MRF Tyres Cricket
4 Seagram Liquor Music
5 Lee Jeans Special Launches
6 Hero Cycles Motor Bikes Hero Cup
7 SAIL Steel
8 Colgate Products Dental Care
9 ITC Tobacco Products Sports (Classic golf,
10 Action Shoes Shoes Sports
EVENT CONTROL SHEET
In any event, an event control sheet is generally made. It takes revenues and
costs into account.
A Hypothetical example:
EVENT CONTROL SHEET
Costs Head of
Venue 3 100000 30000
0 30000 Mr. A 98xxx
Artist 3 50000 15000
Mr. AB 98xxx
Branding 10 10000 10000
Mr. C 98xxx
Travel 5 3000 15000 15000 0 Mr. D 98xxx
Food 200 100 20000 0 20000 Mr. E 98xxx
Sound 1 100000 10000
Mr. F 98xxx
Lights 1 50000 50000 0 50000 Mr. G 98xxx
Accommodation 10 3000 30000 15000 15000 Mr. H 98xxx
Total Cost 76500
Revenues Title Sponsor 200000 Mr. K 98xxx
0 Mr. K 98xxx
0 Mr. L 98xxx
Ticket Sales 25000 ` Mr. N 98xxx
Total Revenues 76500
It is now clear that the project now needs another 5,40,000 to break-even. Witht eh
event control sheet in place, a firm will know how much the gap is, and will have to
strategize as to how to bridge it.
KEY TRENDS IN THE INDUSTRY
The trends of international events is fast catching on
The year 2001-featured 20 international events in addition to the 2 annual events by
the times group – The Fa Femina Miss India contest and The Manikchand Filmfare
Awards ceremony. There were several blockbuster concerts by top international
groups – Bryan Adams, Deep Purple, Scorpions Acoustica, Venga Boys and M C
Hammer. The year 2000 featured 20 international events including several events on
account of Millennium year effect. Accordingly, there is a trend of an increasing
number of international events in India.
Multinational companies have made popular artists their brand ambassadors
Multinational companies have realized the growing popularity of live entertainment
and artists with the masses. As a result, they are using such artists as ambassadors to
promote their brands. For instance, Pepsi has appointed Adnan Sami as its brand
ambassador while Coke has done the same with Aamir Khan.
Live sporting events are also becoming big budget entertainment events
Live events (besides cricket) such as tennis championships, golf championships are
increasingly catching the fancy of sports lovers in the country. Corporate sponsors are
also spending huge sums of money on such events. The year 2001 saw three major
events – the Goldfalke ATP Tour World Tennis Championship at Chennai (billings
approximately Rs. 80mn), the Gold flake ATP Tour World Doubles Tennis
Championship at Bangalore (billings approximately Rs 65mn) and the Hero Honda
championship at Delhi (billings approximately Rs 15mn)
The trend of single city international events has been broken
Concerts by international artists are now held in multiple cities as opposed to just one
city earlier. For instance, the VengaBoys India Tour 2001 was a series of concerts
across seven cities in India –Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin,
Hyderabad, and Luck now – and Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Bryan Adams concert
was held at Bangalore and Mumbai. This trend can grow rapidly provided obstacles
such as high levels of entertainment tax and cumbersome approval procedures are
removed in many states.
The practice of ticketing for events has been firmly established
The free lunch for consumers of live entertainment is over and ticketing as a practice
has been established. The encouraging fact is that events, especially international
events, were huge crowd pullers despite pricing of tickets. Cases in evidence were the
sold out shows of Bryan Adams, the concert of Scorpions Acoustica (audience of
25,000) and Deep Purple (audience of over 30,000). This clearly brings out the value
that Indians are attaching to quality live entertainment.
The Indians event management industry moved a step towards organized
The industry, which has grown over the years in a rather disorganized manner and
still largely comprises non-corporate entities, instituted the Event management
Association of India under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Chambers of
Commerce and Industry (FICCI). With this, the industry has taken the first step
towards organized activity. The industry forum should assist the players in addressing
and resolving industry issues that are stumbling blocks to growth.
Single window for central government clearances for inbound foreign artists has
Managing an international event has been made significantly easier with the
Government of India (GoI) entrusting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with the role
of providing a single window for all the central government clearances necessary for a
foreign artist or group to travel to and perform in India. However the processing of
applications has been centralized at RBI’s Headquarters in Mumbai.
Key Issues & Challenges
Besides generating revenues directly through sponsorships and ticket sales, an event
also has a strong ripple effect on the economy. In case of a visiting foreign artist, GoI
receives income tax revenues from the artist. The state government receives
entertainment tax from the sale of tickets. The city municipality receives revenue in
the form of hire charges for the stadium or ground where the event is held. The event
involves a large number of people traveling to the venue. For instance, people from all
over the country traveled to Bangalore and Mumbai for the Bryan Adams concert.
Therefore, such an event gives an immense boost to the local industry such as hotels,
restaurants and transport as well as national industries such as airlines, railways and
logistics. Despite its revenue potential and spin off benefits, the industry is facing
several issues that are impeding its growth. These are discussed below.
The entertainment industry has to pay two main taxes namely entertainment and
service taxes. The entertainment tax in India is much higher than in other Asian
countries and varies from state to state. It varies from 20% to 60%. The industry has
appealed to the government to levy a uniform entertainment duty across India. This is
perhaps the biggest hurdle the industry is facing currently. While event managers
wish to hold events in more cities, the high rates of entertainment tax on ticket sales in
certain states are forcing them to avoid such states. For instance, according to industry
sources, Mumbai has become quite unfavorable for events owing to a tax rate of 40%.
On the other hand, Bangalore has become a preferred venue primarily because of a
low tax of 10%.
A high tax rate makes events unviable and therefore, states that charge high rates will
lose out on events, and potential tax revenues from such events. In contrast states that
charge lower rates would attract more events and benefit fro m higher tax revenues.
Hence, it is but clear that several states need to reduce their tax rates in order to
become favorable destinations for events.
In developed countries in the west i.e. the USA, Canada and European countries, live
entertainment is a very organized and advanced industry. Most individual artists/
entertainment troupes perform anywhere between 60 to 80 shows in these markets.
For example, Depeche Mode, in the year 2000 from June 15 to November 05,
performed 81 shows between Europe and North America, which total tickets sales of
US $ 1.08mn. Besides music, there are also events for children like the Barney Circus
tour, The Walt Disney Circus Tour, Magic Shows and a variety of other live
entertainment events. On an average in a year, there are about 180 live entertainment
shows in these markets playing at multiple venues, cities and countries. The live
entertainment business is also closely linked to the record music labels, which work in
tandem to promote and sell the music albums of popular artists. Besides western
countries, the two other significantly established markets are Japan and Australia, and
fast catching up with them are Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
Entertainment tax for live events in certain states
State Tax rate (%)
Uttar Pradesh 23
West Bengal 17
Tamil Nadu Nil
Andhra Pradesh Nil
0 50 100 150
Tax In %
Entertainment Tax for Live Events in Certain
Withholding tax on foreign artists’ remuneration
As per existing regulation, the event manager is required to deduct tax at the rate of
30.6% from the remuneration paid to a foreign artist. In most cases, artists require
event managers to bear this tax burden, as a result of which events often become a
non-starter. Given this scenario, India has the potential to host many more
international events every year provided GoI reduces the withholding tax rate to a
more reasonable level. More events would mean higher tax revenues for the GoI
despite the reduction in tax rate. Simultaneously, it would also give a great fillip to the
live entertainment business in India.
Regulatory clearances for events
There are several clearances required at the central level (for an international event)
and the state level, for organizing an event. While the single window clearance
facility with RBI has vastly facilitated central clearances, decentralization would
speed up the approval process. At the local level, according to industry, on an
average, 18 different approvals are required from various agencies for staging an
event. State governments need to realize that they stand to gain substantially (in terms
of higher entertainment tax revenues) if they make it easy and simple for event
managers. A significant reason for Bangalore attracting many events is the helpful
attitude adopted by the State government and city authorities towards the event
Clearly the need of the hour is rationalization of taxes to a more manageable level of
around 10%-15% across all states.
The rate now proposed by the Budget is to be increased to 10 per cent from 8 per cent
apart from a 2 per cent education cess on the tax element. This will have a detrimental
effect on industry. Even if the industry passes the tax on to the clients, from the
viewpoint of the client this would only desist clients from spending on events.
The Government has budgeted a target of Rs 14,150 crore towards service tax for
2004-05 on the back of the enhanced rate and expanded net.
Industry experts believe that there is a need for large, international quality facilities in
all major cities in India, supported by a network of hotels and domestic transport. This
is because the current infrastructure in the form of event venues of international
quality and size is not adequate. Mumbai’s largest auditorium, the 2800 seater
Shanmukhananda Hall is generally booked for over 95% of the year.
Corporatisation is on the increase, as more and more clients source services from
large companies who provide better quality end-to-end solutions using experts.
Corporatisation will eventually result in increased accountability, ability to
benchmark performance and more accurate measurement of industry size and growth.
Corporatisation also assists in obtaining finance, a key requirement for specialized
players with high technology and equipment costs, as well as for promoter driven
Having highlighted the issues and possible solutions, the potential for growth within
the industry is immense.
The use and re-use of event formats are not only diluting their impact but also
confusing customers. The best example of this is the recent plethora of Auto Events.
CNBC Autocar, ICICI Overdrive, Business Standard Motoring and BBC Wheels all
held car and bike awards for the year 2003-04, within 2 months of each other.
There is need to create newer, innovative event formats to capture target audience
attention. Differentiation is the key. Innovative ideation also has a large export
Quality of services
Quality of event execution remains poor in the main, as it is seen in the form of
shabby sets, poor equipment and inadequate facilities provided during events – what
event managers attribute to the “chalta hai!” attitude. Specialization is clearly the way
Specialization is clearly proportional to the quality of the event, which in turn
provides more option to the customer and even reduces cost. It also results in the
availability of better event technology (lights, mechanics, fireworks etc), an arena
which India is now catching up with the West. However, the lack of adequate number
of specialists in many areas of event management still needs to b addressed.
Training is another key initiative, which is required to improve the quality of output.
A number of institutes like the event management development institute (emdi),
national institute of event management, Mudra institute of communication etc provide
part time and full-length courses in event management. Fresh talent is generally
absorbed directly into industry.
Promoter driven events
With the expected increase in the number of promoter driven events a few years down
the line (where ticketing revenues are larger than sponsorship revenues) risk will
devolve on the event manager. Correspondingly, the focus will be on the project
management to ensure promoter’s funds are deployed in correct manner, expenses are
authorized and timeless are adhered to.
Desired customer experience
Given the large Indian population and growing per capita income, the demand for
event remains robust. The key driver for success is the ability to provide the desired
experience to customers so that their objectives are met. This can be achieved through
ideation, careful planning and detailed budgeting. The flexibility to change event
formats, create new types of events and execute them within the limitations of
available infrastructure and resources (electricity, security, regulations etc. ) are key to
ensure growth in the segment.
It appears that the future growth of the event industries, be it concert rock, pop or
filmi, award ceremonies or the likes, hinges on two critical factors – rationalization of
laws and regulations by the government to facilitate a health growth of this industry
and a mindset change amongst audiences long used to freebies to pay for their
entertainment., initiatives like the Event Management Association are positive steps
already initiated by the industry players.
The huge potential for this industry needs to be harnessed through improved product
quality, which can be achieved through a sharper focus on meeting customer needs.
Alliances with international event management companies, technological up
gradation, and innovative ideation are the cornerstone for growth.
As the company grows, assets like technology, stage, materials etc may be acquired to
cut costs in the long run. Therefore, investment required may increase to include other
assets like sound and light systems that are being outsourced. As the company
becomes event savvy, more companies will budget for events in annual plans in the
future. Currently, the profit margin is 15% annually, however with the growth of
EMC’s and the price wars will see profitability fall.
As Michael Menezes, MD – Showtime Events puts it, “the current year has been good
– and things can only get better!”
On account of these factors the industry is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 30%
per annum over the next 5 years, to a size of Rs 5.6.bn in 2006.
Total Live Entertainment Industry Revenues (Rs. bn)
2001 2002 2003 2004P 2005P 2006P
(Source: Industry estimates)
Background of the alcohol industry marketing
The fundamental about alcohol marketing is that lower the alcohol content, the less
the need for image and brand building. From the graph below it can be understood
that white spirits need significant brand building. In India, considering that dark rum
is very cheap, it does not need as much brand building as the graph suggests.
Least Image building Most Image building
Beer Wine Premixe Rum
Bacardi & friends
Bacardi is a leading international white spirit. The product competes with other white
spirits and also with beer, as it is targeted at the young adult.
The product is more expensive than others in the category, and therefore the
marketing is the challenge.
Bacardi advertises on television. The commercial portray “Bacardi” values of good
music, sun, sand and surf….. and beautiful people. The general take out is that of a
great beach party. Obviously, consumption of a colorless drink is a part of the
Bacardi needs to do the following:
1) Demonstrate the Bacardi experience on ground
2) Encourage sampling
3) Build Relationship with customers.
Note: Bacardi also wants to ensure that the people they communicate with are
inclined to drink alcohol and would end up as unofficial ambassadors for the brand.
Problem 1: How do you ensure that all those invited to an event are likely to be
Solution: Get a database of drinkers!
Problem 2: If you are inviting customers at random, how do you know they will
The solution: Bacardi & Friends
To solve the first problem, Bacardi took into account the fact that they already had
some kind of database. What if they invited all on their database, and asked each
guest to bring along five friends?
Bacardi’s database was consumers who had tried the brand earlier, or had attended
earlier Bacardi events. It was completely reasonable to assume that friends of their
invitees were likely to be people like them. In other words, drinkers as well.
Bacardi rolled out a new property called “Bacardi & Friends”, where each invitee was
given the “honor” of bringing along another five friends.
In order to ensure that these possibly unconnected consumers would “gel” Bacardi
created a variant of the party, they announced B&F advertising parties, TV parties and
so on. This ensured that all the guests at the party had something in common other
than alcohol, and therefore were to enjoy each other’s company. Hi
Writing a below the line brief
All briefs need to have some basic details, whether the task is below the line or above
the line. These will include:
The target audience
The campaign period
The geographical target
For the Bacardi & Friends example given earlier, the brief could have been something
along the following lines:
Target Audience: SEC A, B, C+, 18-25, M/F
Objective: to increase brand salience, to ensure sampling
Budget: Rs 5 lakhs
Campaign Period: October
Geographical Target: South Mumbai
Task: Create an event, which will reinforce the Bacardi image, and reach as many
new consumers as possible. Strategy should ensure that very few non-drinkers attend.
Event should have adequate values for PR.
Requirements: Concept, all collaterals including posters, invitations, branding at
venue, merchandise. Recommendation of venue, entertainment. All budgets to be
included in the presentation to the client.
From a fledging industry, live entertainment is becoming big business. Large
corporates are sponsoring events, and are using the opportunity to market their brands
to a focused audience. The future is expected to see more events, especially
international events, drawing larger crowds and leading to higher ticket sales.
Television channels, in their relentless quest for viewer ship, are expected to
commission more events and also buy telecast rights of events. Revenue sources such
as merchandising rights and internet rights, hitherto untapped, also hold out
significant potential for event managers.
High entertainment tax in certain states, high withholding tax on foreign artist
payments, the proposed service tax, cumbersome clearance procedures at the local
level and lack of exhibition infrastructure are the chief stumbling blocks to growth.
GoI and the state governments should address and resolve these issues as they stand to
benefit considerably from the industry’s growth.
Going forward, the live entertainment business is set to show strong growth on
account of several factors.
Events are fast becoming an integral part of the marketing strategy of companies.
Events score over conventional mass media in several ways- exclusive coverage for
the sponsors, a huge captive audience to watch brand advertising and opportunity for
product trial so that product attributes can be effectively conveyed to the target
audience. In comparison to these benefits, the cost of sponsoring an event is
reasonably small. For those reasons, companies are expected to take to sponsoring
events in a big way.
Live entertainment events, especially international events are drawing people in large
numbers. International artist too are making India a part of their global concert tour.
Once regulatory and taxation obstacles are over come and multi city events become
an established norm, the number of international events is expected to increase
rapidly. Hence, ticket revenue are also expected to show a steady increase in future.
Television channels are looking for driver programmes to boost viewer ship and
events offer a unique genre of programming. Television networks can either
commission events for their channels or buy telecast rights of events from event
managers. In both cases, the industry stands to gain. Commercial exploitation of
merchandising and interest rights in future by event managers would further boost