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Corporate Events

All the little things to remember

Calgary Telus Convention Centre. CREDIT: Adam Joyce.

Whether planning a corporate event, trade show or any other kind of business function, there are basic tools and strategies that are helpful for making the occasion a success. Yet, remembering the little things is ultimately the most important aspect in making the experience momentous.

There are many marketing and planning organizations available in Calgary that offer expert advice and services for arranging corporate receptions. The key is finding one that can help with the sophisticated and simplistic details of the planning process.

According to Adam Joyce, vice president of acceleration at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre, “The three most common problems that arise when planning an event are underestimating budget, underestimating time needed to plan an event and overestimating attendance.”

Avoiding such difficulties can be easier said than done. But, understanding the various aspects related to any event planning process is central for creating a successful experience. Many corporate functions fail when there is misunderstanding of a client’s basic requirements or poor choice in venue and food.

“In the planning stages, remember the three common problems and plan around them. Give yourself more time and budget to make sure you are focused on the delegate experience,” says Joyce.

Although there are wide-ranging things to think about, the most valuable factor is being multifaceted and attentive during the developmental stages of the event’s scheduling and catering.

“Stay focused on the delegate experience and understanding of their needs: why are they meeting and what is the goal of the experience?” explains Joyce.

The central focus is to create a corporate experience that meets the client’s requirements. Careful attention to detail is necessary in making an event run smoothly and flawlessly.

At times, the smallest things can make the difference while also paying close attention to other components in the event planning process. Many corporate events are becoming more luxurious and creative in Calgary as people expect a certain professional quality and standard.

According to Joyce, there are many levels of involvement from sales managers, event managers, event services, marketing, communications, maintenance, engineering, housekeeping, audio visual, show services, loading docks, guest services, finance, IT and security services. All of these multilayered stages in event planning are necessary for creating a perfect occasion.

“If done right, details will be covered by a meeting planner or event manager to ensure the delegate experience is at the forefront when planning the event,” adds Joyce.

In the end, the main goal is to make guests feel special and important. Arranging name tags, seating charts, maître d’ services, guest speakers, music, lighting, food, beverages and transportation are only a small handful of important items to remember.

“Make sure the event partner you are looking at aligns with the standards of the corporation as well. Back-end operations, financials, health and safety procedures, and protocol are just as important as a well-designed event,” explains Keri Miller, partner and chief creative strategist at e=mc² events.

As the event planning company of the Juno Gala Dinner and Awards since 2012, e=mc² events knows a few things about the ins and outs of event development. Their expertise has provided world-class live event and conference services to a variety of corporate, non-profit and social organizations such as the Toronto International Film Festival and WestJet.

Finding the right company can make a difference in the planning process. “Without a creative management professional, you can end up with a hodgepodge of messaging and design elements with an experience that does not feel cohesive and connected,” adds Miller.

Choosing the appropriate event planner for the job is savings well spent. Most times, hiring one with a proven track record helps to avoid any problems that might occur during the process.

“Hiring a credible event professional that runs alongside you from inception to finale is very important and will save you time and money in the end because not every firm or individual is going to be the right fit for your corporation,” says Miller.

Not only are there complex content marketing aspects to consider, but also specific details that can become overlooked without professional help.

“Imagine building a house without a contractor and the amount of money spent on time and labour of all the individual suppliers. Think of all the potential errors made and the costs associated when for example the fridge gets delivered before the flooring is installed. Events are the same thing,” describes Miller.

One of the most important facets is to know the reason behind the event in the first place. Understanding the sole purpose and goal of the occasion is important in creating a successful end result.

“Bring in an event partner early on in the process and ensure they are asking ‘why?’ you are planning an event and what your end result should be (so) there is purpose to the investment,” says Miller.

Aside from the venue itself, selecting the right catering service is imperative since good food will always leave a lasting impression on guests. Another matter is to confirm the catering company can adhere to dietary requirements when needed.

“Allergies and health restrictions are a large small detail. Of course, we want to please all our guests, so formatting a menu that has something on it for everyone is a great start,” says Stephen Gillette, general manager of An Affair to Remember Catering.

Event organizers should also consider religious requirements if this is something a client requests. In addition, hiring a food stylist is a great way to ensure plates are well presented, and that the decor reflects the appropriate theme of the venue.

Handling all the intricacies in event planning can be time consuming, but also rewarding if done correctly. Most professional event planners and caterers lessen the worries with their expert advice and specialized support.

A good event planner will map out all the steps in the event planning process with a timetable for each task to be completed. Usually, they will provide valuable guidance while having a contingency plan and a checklist to help keep things on track.

“There are a lot of little factors that people could overlook, but of course every event is different,” says Gillette.

Social and corporate events vary upon a venue’s location, size, attendance and budget. So, what might work for one event may not necessarily work for another. The important thing is paying close attention to the smallest details to ensure an unforgettable experience. Ultimately, the goal is to create an event that grabs the audience’s attention while connecting individuals with a unifying concept and purpose.

“We are people creating experiences for people and each … agency is unique. Find the one you align with, not just on paper, and make sure you pay them what they are worth,” explains Miller.

In the end, choosing the right event planning company can provide insight and support while both saving time and worry.