This is the second of a two part article on planning a special event, based on the author’s experience. In the first part of the article, we looked at venue choices, event decoration, tables and chairs and food and drink. In the second part of this article we will look at the less glamorous but nonetheless essential aspects such as, equipment, safety and security, transportation and advertising.
- Whilst it is common place to have PowerPoint and other audio-visual equipment at corporate events, it is now becoming common place to have all sorts of technological equipment at social events as well. So for instance you might find big screens that are set up to relay events as they are happening so that guests can watch a wedding in real time.
- Or, you might find that an event is so big that some guests have to be placed in separate rooms. The only way of getting them involved with the activities in the main room is through some technological, interactive means.
I am sure that we have all sat through events where the organiser spends significant amounts of time trying to get equipment to work – ‘death by PowerPoint’ springs to mind! The main concern here would be the provision of quality equipment that are not likely to break down during the event and the provision of qualified technicians who really know how to operate the equipment.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
As events become more lavish and expensive, so the need for adequate security has risen, not only to ensure security of its guests, but also of possessions etc.
- Consider taking out insurance to cover any losses example, loss of property.
- Where there are out of town guests, it is useful to include information on local accommodation. A good planner should even be able to negotiate reasonable rates, especially if there are large numbers of guests that require accommodation.
Transportation is another consideration, helping guests to work out how they will get to and from the event. At a minimum, it is useful to provide information about parking and public transportation. Parking is a very thorny issue especially in some parts of London where Pay and Display and Permit Holders Only parking abound. The last thing you want is for your unsuspecting guest to arrive at the venue with nowhere to park, and worst yet to unwittingly park in a spot which results in a parking fine. To be really thorough, you should provide a map of the location and details of how to get there. I have recently discovered that some addresses have a different sat nav post code to that of the usual postcode included in an address. Do ensure that this detail is included on any information that you send out to your guests if this is the case. If funds permit, the client may wish to provide transportation for guests, especially if alcohol is to be served at the event. The Big Red Bus is an affordable way of transporting large numbers of guests between venues. Other helpful tips include information about the local taxi service, and the rail and bus timetables and even whether there are any road works going on in the area, as this can affect travelling time.
In the case of corporate and fundraising events, it is usually necessary to advertise the event well ahead of the scheduled date. The following are some of the things that you need to consider if you are asked to co-ordinate the advertising:
- Advertising methods
- Establishing a website presence
- Radio and Television exposure
- Flyers, press releases, mailshots
Planning any event takes a lot of time and effort. The key is in organising and staying focused on the task at hand.
Organise your time, Organise your budget, Organise your skills set (outsourcing where you need to) and most of all enjoy what you do.