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Event Planning. Teri Ditsch Marketing Director BLUE HAWK Cooperative. Overview. Pre-planning Sourcing Site Visits Negotiating Contracting Pre-planning after Venue Selection. Registration Event Draws Near Staffing Tips from Fellow Electric Co-ops Post Meeting Follow-up.

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event planning

Event Planning

Teri Ditsch

Marketing Director

BLUE HAWK Cooperative

  • Pre-planning
  • Sourcing
  • Site Visits
  • Negotiating
  • Contracting
  • Pre-planning after Venue Selection
  • Registration
  • Event Draws Near
  • Staffing
  • Tips from Fellow Electric Co-ops
  • Post Meeting Follow-up
pre planning
  • Set your objectives
    • What is the purpose of the meeting?
    • Who are your attendees?
    • Where are they coming from?
    • What is your room rate threshold?
  • Determine city/cities you want to source
    • Region determined by objectives
    • Attendees Driving or Flying?
    • 1st Tier vs. 2nd Tier Cities
  • Dates
    • Dates firm?
    • Alternate dates a possibility?

Pre-planning Continued

  • Establish Planning and Promotional Action Plan
    • Create a master checklist.
    • Determine who needs to be involved at what point in the planning process.
    • Assign follow-up items to specific members of the team.
    • Prepare calendar of staff planning meetings, conference calls, deadlines,
  • Review History
    • Should include, room pick-up, any rooms booked outside your block, total F&B, other hotel revenue (A/V, guest dining, equipment rental, etc.)
    • Your best negotiating tool is a strong meeting history
    • Educated Guess
    • Attrition and room block

Pre-planning Continued

  • Agenda (basic but detailed enough for sourcing)
    • Space requirements
    • General sessions, break-out, food functions, etc.
  • Determine Number of Attendees
    • How many locals are there? This is important for understanding parking needs.

Pre-planning Continued

  • Budget
    • Budget basics
      • Don’t forget to add the “++” into your calculations.
      • Always pay attention to below minimum fees.
      • Cities – 1st tier vs. 2ndtier.
      • Peak season vs. shoulder/off season.
      • Are you paying all sleeping rooms or are your attendees paying on their own?
      • Giveaway items.
      • Food and Beverage
        • You can ask the hotel/caterer to come up meal choices to fit your budget.
        • Select break items that you can order consumption instead of having to order a set amount.

Sourcing Hotels and Event Venues

  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
    • Always include
      • historical rates and F&B spend
      • approximate decision date
      • square footage required for each meeting
      • alternate dates/patterns
      • date you need responses by
      • concession wish list
    • Be honest about your space requirements and potential room block
    • Be thorough as possible
site visit
Site Visit
  • Determine which hotels/event venues you want to visit
    • Create a comparison spreadsheet with the information from your proposals to figure out your top hotels or venues.
    • Make sure the hotels you are siting have your space on 1st option hold (but don’t have them continue to hold unless you are seriously considering them for contract)
  • Schedule Visit
      • For hotels, a one night comped stay for Site Visit and transfer from the airport is standard.
site visit1
Site Visit
  • Know your goals
    • Different goals/objectives require different locations.
  • Be an attendee
    • Walk around without a sales person. You’ll see things differently because they won’t be directing your attention.
    • If a venue where most people will be driving, pay attention to parking areas, distance from venue, max capacity, etc.
  • Set goals going in – what’s really important to you and your group? (budget, flexibility, etc.)
  • Be realistic & only negotiate with hotels/venues where you are already close to your goals (i.e. – most hotels leave some negotiating room, but a $225 rate isn’t going to go down to $175). Otherwise, you’re both just spinning your wheels.

Negotiating Continued

  • Concessions for hotels – standard requests are 1 complimentary room per 50 occupied rooms, a few upgrades to suites *, a few complimentary amenities *, complimentary meeting space with a reasonable amount of F&B.
  • * these concessions are relative to group size. A small group (25 people) mayonly get 1 upgrade & amenity, where a larger group (500 people), may get 20.

Negotiating Continued

  • Other areas you can negotiate
    • Staff rooms – 50% discount
    • Complimentary internet access in meeting office or registration
    • Menu pricing (10-15% discount, or current menu pricing for future dates)
    • A/V (10-15% discount, or free items, etc.)
    • Resort fees
    • Wifi in sleeping room (sometimes included in resort fee)
    • Fitness center (sometimes included in resort fee)
  • Don’t forget, it is about “Relationships”. You are trying to make it a win-win for both your organization and the hotel/venue.
  • Check to make sure everything is correct
  • Make sure the contract is in your company’s name not yours
  • Function Space – it is what you discussed? Is it enough?
  • Concessions – Make sure they are in the contract, not just verbal
  • Hotel - Room block – are the numbers correct? is the rate correct?
  • Hotel - Room types – if you need a certain percentage of doubles for example it must be in the contract.
  • Hotel - Does the contract include pre/post dates for room block
  • Hotel - Method of reservation – rooming list vs. attendee call-in
  • Hotel - Reservation cut-off date
  • Additional charges
pre planning after venue selection
Pre-planning After Venue Selection
  • Reviewmaster checklist.
  • Develop theme, logo, graphics.
    • Prepare a promotional strategy. Make sure that all correspondence regarding the event follows the look dictated by the theme.
  • Reevaluate your budget.
  • Invite and/or confirm speakers, including those from within your organization.
    • Get AV needs for all speakers.
pre planning after venue selection1
Pre-planning After Venue Selection
  • Indentify and evaluate needs for outside suppliers.
    • A/V company
    • Caterer
    • Decorator
    • Printer
    • Transportation company
      • Tip from Jackson EMC – Use school buses to shuttle attendees from offsite parking lots. Cheaper than bus company and you’re also supporting the local school.
    • Entertainment
    • Furniture rentals
    • Photographers
    • Security
    • Temporary employees
    • Translators
pre planning after venue selection2
Pre-planning After Venue Selection
  • Licenses and Insurance
    • Are you having liquor at your event? Do you need a liquor license and/or licensed bartender?
    • Does your company’s liability insurance cover your event? Or do you need to get a special policy?
  • Design/Reevaluate space layouts and floor plans
    • Determine flow of attendee traffic throughout the entire event.
    • Identify ADA needs and make necessary arrangements.
  • Registration
    • The higher number of advance registrations you get, the more accurate your counts.
    • If your group tends to not register in advance try to give some kind of incentive for those who do .
      • Extra ticket for a door prize.
      • An additional giveaway that onsite registrants don’t receive.
      • Coupon for free item at local ice cream shop.
      • Percentage off of their next bill.
      • Advanced registration lines for quicker check-in.
    • Try to make it as easy as possible to pre-register.
event draws near
Event Draws Near
  • About a month to two months out reconfirm with all outside vendors.
    • Reconfirm again the week of the event. Confirm:
      • Time
      • Location
      • Contact information for the people who will be onsite and their supervisors if they will not be onsite.
      • Make sure they have contact information for you while onsite and not just your office information.
  • Reconfirm all speakers and their A/V needs
    • Try to avoid all last minute changes if possible.
event draws near1
Event Draws Near
  • Go through all possible problems and issues that may arise so that you can try to head them off or be prepared if they happen.
    • Weather back-up if event is outside.
    • Power outages.
    • Security needs.
    • Technical problems
  • Make sure all event staff know their roles and the procedures for handling as many situations as possible.
    • Create a reference binder or few so they can look things up if you’re not available.
event draws near2
Event Draws Near
  • The larger your event the more time you’ll need for set-up and pre-event run throughs.
  • Give final guarantees to caterer and anyone who needs them.
  • Evaluate your needs and make sure to staff accordingly.
  • Try to minimize lines at check-in/registration.
    • Make sure people are properly trained before your start so they aren’t stumbling through as the line grows.
    • Automate as much as possible.
  • Make sure to have staff available to direct the crowd and answer questions.
    • People hate having to chase someone down to get an answer.
    • In addition to staffing make sure signage is visible and easy to understand.
  • Make sure your venue, your caterer or your staff stays on top of the garbage and recycling. And make sure there is enough of both.
    • Even if a outside company is in charge of waste, have a staff person in charge of monitoring it. Nothing worse than overflowing garbage cans. They don’t necessarily have to be the person to empty it, but they can inform the person who is when needed.
tips from fellow electric co ops
Tips from Fellow Electric Co-ops
  • Use a local 4-H club to BBQ your meal. It becomes a large fundraiser for them and will probably save you money over using a caterer.
  • Have a kids carnival where kids can play while their parents enjoy the entertainment and business meeting.
      • Include: jump houses, giant inflatable slides, kiddieferris wheel, clown stations making balloon animals, face painting, Little Tykes Village for kids 2 and under.
    • Have a Health Fair (vendors offer free and low-cost services to members.
tips from fellow electric co ops1
Tips from Fellow Electric Co-ops
  • Customer Service Tent – partners include:
    • Associated Credit Union
    • EMC Security
    • Your product and services
  • One EMC gives about 34 door prizes
      • Draw throughout the night, not at the beginning so attendees who are just there for the door prizes don’t leave early.
      • Items include flat sceen TV’s, entertainment systems, grills.
      • Have youth prizes that only the youngsters can win.
      • Grand prize giveaway truck – retired fleet vehicle.
tips from fellow electric co ops2
Tips from Fellow Electric Co-ops
  • Every member registered for the event gets a logo’d item such as an acrylic cutting board.
  • Attendees park at local school and county courthouse. Shuttled by school bus to the event.
post meeting follow up
Post Meeting Follow-up
  • Bills
    • Thoroughly check all bills to make sure they are correct, bring up any discrepancies sooner rather than later.
    • Pay Promptly.
  • History Spreadsheet
    • Enter F&B totals for each event.
    • Enter room sizes used and comments on how it worked.
    • If hotel is used - final pick-up, including those who booked outside your block.
    • Entertainment - did you get good feedback?
  • Survey
    • Sometimes people won’t tell you in person if something was wrong or could be improved, but they will anonymously on a survey
  • Post Meeting Staff Meeting
    • Discuss what worked and what didn’t.
    • Involve as many staff members as possible because everyone had a different job and a different point of view.

Teri Ditsch

BLUE HAWK Cooperative