Do the Math: The Three Keys that Add Up to a Fabulous Partnership
Whether you call yourself a meeting planner, strategic marketing specialist, an event producer, decorator or marketeer, all titles lead you to one destination…the wonderful world of events! Producing special events, tradeshows, conventions, conferences, product launches, board meetings, and staff outings require a certain amount of finesse, hutzpah, and good old-fashioned hard work. There are no “one man islands” in the event world and, even if there were, it would be no fun at all to plan, organize and execute an event by yourself. The spirit of camaraderie and teamwork that is built while creating one-of-kind, unique events is what keeps us moving ahead to the next city to do it all over again. It truly takes a village to build an event from the ground up and the team you surround yourself with matters.
Learning how to play the numbers game
All events have three things in common: Space, dates and rates. No matter what side of the event equation you are on – planner or vendor – working toward the best solution for you both is paramount. It really comes down to simple math and solving a puzzle; that’s why we call it the “math puzzle.” From a meeting planner perspective, you want to book your dates and space at a great price. From a vendor perspective, you want to manage your space, (talent, resources, etc.) and dates for a great price. Understanding how each side works and why, helps us not only book good meetings, but most importantly deliver even better ones. Regardless how large or small a hotel, convention center or venue is, the math puzzle exists. It is a numbers game, and knowing how to work the numbers to make a perfect fit for you and me is the essence of launching a fabulous event.
It takes teamwork
Partnerships with hoteliers, CVBs, Convention Centers, decorators, entertainment and production companies along with Destination Management Companies, (DMCs) are the keys to your success. Building and nurturing relationships with these vendors in a city helps you understand the full picture of what it takes to produce and manage the ultimate event! They are the resident experts who help you navigate the myriad of options for your event and usher you into the right direction. Given their hometown advantage of knowing the ins and outs of what works in their city, who to call to get it to work or how to work another solution, they are critical members of your extended team. Again, knowing how events work from each side – planner and vendor – helps you deliver your event more efficiently, manage expectations more clearly and ultimately foster better relationships.
Three Keys to Creating Partnerships that Add Up to Success:
- Surround yourself with the best – create a list of top-notch vendors you need to help execute the best event possible. Define the role each vendor will play and why. Get to know their world so they can know your world. Once they fully understand the purpose of the meeting and you fully understand what it takes to deliver your specific event/meeting, the better the two of you will work together. Remember, it takes a lot of hands and feet to make an event come alive; you will want the “A” team that helps you deliver the dream, the promise and the moon!
- There’s no substitute for doing your homework – ask questions, understand the booking windows, rates, sliding scales, food costs, beverage minimums, concessions, service fees, gratuities, taxes, surcharges, attrition, force majeure, cancellations and rebooking scenarios. Simply put, the more you know, the more you know. When you ask for something for “free,” understand nothing is free for you or the hotel/convention center/venue./vendor. Everything has a cost and a benefit. Know what matters most to you/your group and communicate it clearly. We are all in the business of delivering a service for a fair price. When you want something for “free” you are giving up something else which may be of importance to you later. This goes back to the math puzzle. It’s all gotta work out in the wash for you and me.
- Have fun and a sense of humor – when you put in long hours in the trenches on the road with your team, you want to work well together and having a sense of humor helps. Blending personalities and talents can be fun and daunting all at the same time. We all make mistakes and having the ability to work it out and get on with the show will matter. Business maturity and laughter really can go together. After all, planning an event of any size is the confluence of all things wonderful and wacky, serious and funny and most of all, spectacular. When the stars align and your event goes off without a hitch, it is pure magic. All the people that helped make it possible from the front of the house to the back, can now bask in the glow of this perfect moment. For this moment is the elixir we all strive and live for as it is what propels us to our next event!
Lisa Derby Tozer
VP of Sales