Managing a Corporate Event From Start to Success
Tips to make your event shine!
By: Beth Bach, Sales Director
Corporate events are what I live and breathe. If you’ve been deemed the lucky one to organize the next big event for your organization, then this is the post for you.
Having done this for many of our clients, I have found some successful ways to stay organized, keep to the budget, and plan and execute a memorable event that will have your guests talking about it the next day – all while keeping your sanity.
- Believe in the power of the first impression
If your event is at a venue or even a conference room in an office building, pay attention to some of the little details in creating a long-lasting first impression. Use serving trays or dishes and ditch the aluminum trays. Add an eloquent art piece to your catering spread. For larger events, consider a tower of champagne glasses as your “introduction piece” to a party, or create a fun, colorful sushi bar as your guests enter the room.
- Be budget conscious, but not venue poor
It’s highly recommended that when you select your event venue that you consider how the environment affects the experience. You won’t need a lot of décor dressing if you have a venue with elements such as large windows to bring in natural light, or a beautiful garden in the entryway. Look for venues that offer tables and chairs or a kitchen if those are what you need. Don’t forget to incorporate the right music and lighting into your experience! These automatic “savings” will allow you to focus your budget on cuisine, entertainment options and table displays.
- Proactive planning pays
Getting ahead of the game is a great indicator of success. Start early with the creative process – what kind of party are you envisioning for your guests? What type of theme do you want to bring to life? Then make a list of all the components that you need to budget for. Research and book your venue early to ensure the best dates, especially during the holidays when there are only so many Fridays and Saturdays available. A good rule of thumb for planning purposes is 4 to 6 months for a venue. Understand your boss’ wants and needs and his or her boss’s trigger points. For instance, I worked with a client whose boss did not like still water, and preferred sparkling water. When the client offered this as an option at the event, she impressed her boss.
- Make the cuisine the special guest star
Creativity and planning go hand-in-hand when you’re selecting the menu for the event. This is where an expert planner can assist you. You can have great fun with food stations, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and desserts. Experiment with food trends such as street food or specialty cocktails if that is what fits the mood of your event. Consider having a live action station if you’re dealing with guests who have food allergies. This is a clever way of cooking to order to suit their dietary needs without being super overt about it.
- Take on the role of the conductor
Like a seasoned conductor of a world-class orchestra, a successful event is carefully timed to a thoughtfully planned agenda. I have seen many events go on and on with speeches, acknowledgments, presentations, auctions and more. Try to keep in mind the pace of the meal as well. Breaking up the courses may not be the best way to keep your guests entertained (or even awake if it’s a long, drawn out evening). Understand your audience and cater to what you think they want and need.
- End the event with a little bit of the unexpected
To keep your guests talking about the event long after it’s over, consider a little “something-something” to send them away with. At Roundabout Catering, we often provide a small coffee cake takeaway in a box so that guests can wake up the next day to a special treat. If budget allows, you can provide a nice gift such as a small pizza kit (if your theme is Italian), a beach towel for an outdoor event or a company-branded item. Perhaps it there is alcohol involved, budget for and provide transportation options for your guests, such as a shuttle bus, Uber or Lyft ride. Maybe it’s a fun card that is signed by the executive team that graces their table at the end of the evening. Whatever it may be, you can leverage this as an opportunity to leave a stamp in your guests’ memory.
- Don’t skimp on service
This is probably the most important piece of advice that I have. Especially true for corporate events, it is imperative that the proper staff is prepared to service your guests. Reduce long lines at the bar by offering a specialty cocktail, beer or wine so that the bartender can more efficiently service more guests during peak social hour times. Make sure you have staff lined up to show guests to their tables, refill wine and water glasses and direct guests to the location of restrooms.
Just like any solid business strategy, a successful corporate event consists of equal parts exceptional planning and execution. And if you need someone to help you take care of business, there are many experienced corporate event planners out there to help make you shine. The best events are planned well, stay on point and are most of all, fun! Cheers to that.
Need a little help with your corporate event? Give Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals a call at 775-747-2090. From creating your event’s signature cocktail to table and linen rentals, we’ve got you covered. Located in Sparks, Nev., Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals serves Reno, Tahoe and surrounding areas.