By Kristine Pottle, Director of Programming & Special Events, Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center
Building a circle of influence is foundational to business success—and knowing how to host the perfect event is an art. Events provide businesses with the opportunity to build lasting relationships with customers and peers, building relationships with target audiences, and building brand awareness and recognition. Whether coordinating a networking event, conference, product launch, or client retreat, it’s best to adhere to the tried and true fundamentals of event coordination.
Tip 1: Outline Your Goals
Even if you’re planning an annual event, it’s imperative to sit down and determine what you hope to get out of it. Is the goal to generate leads and establish partnerships? If so, how many leads and connections do you anticipate generating from this event? Is the goal to raise awareness about a new product or service? If so, how many attendees would make this event a success for you?
Determining goals at the beginning of this process will help you determine where, when, and how you execute your function.
Tip 2: Choose the Right Venue
Your event goals will help determine your venue.
A 2019 survey of over 23,000 event professionals revealed that 92% of planners and property professionals say traditional hotel events are falling by the wayside, with unexpected independent hotels and unexpected venues taking the stage. Non-traditional venues create more enticing, memorable experiences for event attendees, often offering more customization and a higher return on your investment.
Looking to increase attendance? Invest in a venue that has a proven track record of generating excitement and boosting event registrations. Events under 500 attendees are uniquely poised to capitalize on trendy, boutique spaces and can be a lot more creative with flexible spaces.
Keep industry trends in mind when selecting your venue. Look for a venue with sprawling open space that can serve as a blank slate for minimalist event design. Review menus for seasonal menus—venues featuring local farms and hyper-local produce get an extra gold star.
Tip 3: Keep Audiovisual Technology In-House if Possible
Hiring an outside audiovisual and technology team can quickly eat up most of your budget. Look for venues that have onsite A/V and a staff that can handle setup and tear-down of their event technology. It is far less expensive to rent A/V equipment from your venue than hiring an outside team, requiring pre-event setup and post-event break down.
If your event requires more advanced A/V, be sure to hire an experienced firm that can manage your tech pre-, during, and post-event. Read customer reviews and get referrals to make sure your event technology runs seamlessly.
Tip 4: Stay Sustainable
Keep your carbon footprint front of mind. Event attendees now expect sustainable initiatives.
Check to see if your potential venue has experience in sustainable conferencing. Your venue should have low waste event options that limit single-use plastics and paper cups.
If your event requires disposable products (grab-and-go containers, to-go cups, etc.), ensure your venue is using plant-based, compostable packaging. 86% of consumers expect companies to act on social and environmental issues, and you can expect your sustainable efforts to be rewarded.
Be sure to choose a venue that offers vegan and vegetarian menu items. Plant-based menu items will lower the carbon footprint of your event while including options for attendees with different dietary restrictions.
Tip 5: Promote Properly
In today’s digital age, there are countless ways to promote your event and generate attendance. Create a Facebook event, advertise on LinkedIn, create email marketing campaigns, utilize Google Ads… and the list goes on. There are endless ways to reach your audience.
Set promotional goals that align with the overarching goals of your event. Who do you want attending this event? What is the most efficient and effective way to get your message to that audience? Promotional strategies will differ depending on your audience and where and how they consume media. Look to where your target audience communicates with their peers or gathers industry information and promote there. Place ads in industry newsletters or targeted print publications.
The key is to promote where you know your target audience will be looking. As event marketing continues trending towards a niche, customizable experience for your audience, make sure your promotional efforts are appropriately placed and properly messaged.
An incredible chef and expert in event coordination, Kristine has over 30 years of experience in catering and special events. After owning and managing her own catering company for 25 years both in Buffalo and Seattle, Kristine joined Hotel Henry in 2017 prior to the property’s grand opening. Kristine is a pivotal member of Hotel Henry’s Events, Culinary, and Programming teams, specializing in event coordination, culinary trends, and community outreach.