Top 8 Tips for International Events

Planning an international event is no easy task.
I live in the US, so planning an event in another state has its own challenges. International events come with a unique set of challenges based on the country you plan the event in.
When planning an event, there are a million and one things that need to be done and sometimes it feels like they all need to be down NOW or maybe even yesterday.
Most likely….yesterday.
When I work with clients, I go through an extremely thorough discovery process to get their event started off on the right foot, but what happens when you come into the event planning process in the middle?
Well, let’s be honest, more often than not, it’s a total disaster. The client has bitten off more than they can chew. They are trying to run their business AND create an event and they know nothing about the latter. Then they go hunting for “HELP” because they can’t make money at their business now because they are too focused on planning this event and they end up in an ugly downward spiral!
Events By Lany to the rescue!
This actually happened with an event I planned. This client decided to host an event in a foreign country with a year lead time. Props! 12 month lead time on an event is great! Event planners LOVE this.
However, by the time I was hired only 3 months prior to the event, it was a mess. Let me be extremely clear, this is not meant to reflect badly on these business owners it is merely to show you what happens ALL THE TIME.
Three months prior to an event you need to be in final confirmation stages with everything and making final decisions on decor, food, tightening up a/v, lighting and staging setups and the like.
Not this time.
Three months prior to this event was like starting at the very beginning of planning an event. Thank heavens I know what I am doing otherwise I don’t think I could have pulled it off. I’m sure you’re saying “So what Lany, what’s the big deal?”.

  • This event was in a foreign country that is known not to be friendly to foreigners who come for business. Essentially, you can get kicked out and banned. Bye bye event hopes and dreams.
  • There were immigration and police issues that had to be addressed and…um…paid off
  • There were over 100 women traveling from all over the globe to attend this event.
  • 45+ speakers had to be organized (travel logistics, speaker bios, headshots, workshop session details, tech riders and more)
  • Entertainment, Agenda, Catering, Transportation, Outings, Parties and Swag all needed to be planned and set

To be honest, that’s not even the complete list because you can never quantify the millions of minute details that have to be taken care of.
If you decide to plan an event in another country, I want to share with you my TOP 8 TIPS that you need to pay attention too, need to know or need to do before you sign ANY contracts.

  1. Do you know anyone in that country? If so, ask them questions about immigration, exchange rates, locales, excursions, transportation, security, etc.
  2. Do your own research! Now that you have some initial information, go do your own homework. Is this country safe to travel to? What are the hard costs going to be for your attendees? What are your estimated event hard costs? What kind of immigration and security issues do you need to handle from the beginning?
  3. Travel to that country and visit it. Meet the locals. Be a tourist. Look at the areas you want to hold the event. Connect with the venues and hotel management staff. DO NOT book your venue site unseen.
  4. Test your market. Will your audience travel to another country for your event? Is it attractive to them to fly across the world for 3, 5 or 7 days? Can they afford it? Can YOU afford it?
  5. HAVE MONEY! Yes, you cannot plan an event; ANY event, without cash on hand. Credit cards work too! Make sure that you can pay your bills. You cannot just leave a foreign country without paying the venue, hotels and any other bills off in full. They can literally put you in jail. Have money and pay your bills, in full and on time.
  6. Plan ahead of time. DO NOT plan an international event (or any event for that matter) with less than 6 months lead time. Preferably 12-18 months lead time internationally is the best. You need to make sure that you can sell all the tickets and fill that event and most people typically need more than 6 months to plan to travel internationally.
  7. Hire a professional. Having someone on your team that actually knows what they are doing, what to look out for and how to negotiate contracts is necessary. I spoke to a prospect the other day and she was going to have a friend of hers who lives in Paris help her plan a conference in Paris. My radar went up on that one. If your friend is not an event planner, don’t hire them to “HELP” you. That’s got trouble written all over it.
  8. Have an attorney review ALL contracts prior to signing. A client of mine signed a contract for their venue BEFORE I came on board in the event planning process. After reviewing the contract, my first question was, “How do we get you out of this contract?”. It was a strangle contract which means that no matter what happened they were obligated to pay the almost $90,000 USD to the venue. Meaning war, flood, acts of God or anything else under Force Majeure didn’t matter, they still had to pay. There was absolutely NO way for them to cancel the contract without payment in full. That contract would have been an illegal contract to be bound in the US, but because it was international anything goes.

I’m Overwhelmed

I’m so overwhelmed.
I hear this often from business owners while they are in the throws of planning their event. They are trying to manage their business, market their event and sell tickets, AND also plan their whole event. At first glance, planning an event looks or seems easy, but if you have never planned an event it can be like a black hole once you begin.
When you plan an event you have to negotiate contracts, food & beverage, transportation, activities, entertainment, audio visual, hire a photographer & videographer, branding, event content, social media, marketing, sales, customer service and so much more. This list doesn’t even contain all the back and forth, the details, the idiosyncrasies, managing and leading a team, more personality and ego management, and, and, and…. You get my drift. The lift goes on and on…
Strip away all the BS and follow my top ways to remove or reduce overwhelm:

  1. Breathe. Stop. Take a step back and just BREATHE.
  2. Create a plan. I recommend working with an event planner or project manager to lay out your event goals, strategy and budget so that you have the support and backing of an expert. Create a timeline. Set soft and hard deadlines. Make sure you are clear about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
  3. Delegate and Outsource. What I really mean is hire a team! Yes, it’s money out of pocket. It’s an investment that is well worth it AND you can earn the money back a variety of ways. You can choose to be stressed out trying to do it all yourself or you can surround yourself with a team that supports your mission and vision.
  4. Share Your Vision. Your team and your audience need to have a clear understanding of where you are going and WHY. Your team needs to have a complete download of your vision, purpose and goals so they can operate at the same level you’re at.
  5. Stay Calm, Meditate and Manage Your Money. Expenses create high stress for most business owners planning an event, so this is the perfect opportunity for you to really take some down time and remember WHY you are doing this event. Staying level headed and meditate….seriously.
  6. Monitor & Follow Up Weekly. Once you have delegated tasks to your teams, set up a plan for weekly updates so that the entire team is on the same page as you move forward.
  7. Stay Grateful and Happy. There are going to be days where you want to throw in the towel and give up. The fear is going to feel insurmountable, but if you truly believe in your vision and you’re going to be ok! You’re going to be more than OK!
  8. Surround Yourself with People Who Believe In You. You need a solid support system that you can open up to and be vulnerable with, who will love you, push you, support you and challenge you to be the best version of yourself. People who will pick up every time you call. People who won’t let you give up.



Do’s and Don’ts for Setting Up a Green Room

When setting up a Green Room, Event Hosts, Creators and Planners need to remember that it’s all about serving your Speakers. Keep them happy and make them comfortable so that they are able to give their best performance or presentation to the audience. The Green Room is a place where speakers and presenters can prepare, have some private time before they speak, enjoy some refreshments and connect with other speakers. The Green Room is a VIP experience, so make it feel like one.
Here are the 3 top DO’s that make a great Green Room for all involved.

  1. Ask speakers if they have any preferences. When you are working with celebrities they usually have a food and beverage list, but not all speakers will be at that level and most will be grateful that you even asked what they like or prefer. When you show that you care about their needs you make them feel important and special. You may not be able to give them everything on their list (especially if you are working with more than one speaker), but providing at least one or two of the items is key.
  2. Create a comfortable, peaceful and inviting space. The Green Room is the perfect place for speakers to step away from the noise of the crowds and center before they hit the stage. I like creating spaces that are casual, yet functional. The Green Room is not only a great place for speakers to prepare, but it’s also good for interviews and meet and greets. When you set up the space, you need to know 1) What will the space be used for? 2) When will it be used? 3) How will it be used? 4) How many people will be using it throughout the event?
  3. Have the Green Room managed by a trustworthy team member. No matter if your speakers are celebrities or not, it’s smart to have a team member manage the Green Room to handle any concerns, questions or issues that your speakers may have. Discretion is a must as you will have speakers who may want to have confidential calls or meetings in the Green Room during the event. Your team member will handle all Green Room duties, working with venue staff, providing for speaker needs, managing Green Room schedule and of course, ensuring that your speaker is on stage on time.

A few simple DON’TS:

  1. Don’t leave the room unstaffed or unmanned by a member of your team. You want your speakers to feel protected and cared for. Don’t leave them wondering who to ask for help.
  2. Don’t overcrowd the space with meet and greets or interviews. Remember this is a space for speakers to prepare for their time on stage. Schedule speaker meet and greets or interviews during down times or slower times in the Green Room. Always have a working timeline.
  3. Don’t turn away a speaker’s assistant or other staff. That doesn’t mean let in any of the additional staff the speaker has with them. Set up the guidelines and protocols for who has access to the Green Room prior to the event.

The great thing about having a Green Room is it’s one more place to utilize your brand messaging which is a great selling point to your sponsors. Now that doesn’t mean you make it all gawdy and ugly with branding, this is where you get creative and your branding is sleek and suggestive. It should add value to your space, not degrade it.


Event Experiences: Amazing Concept, Failed Execution

Originally seen on LinkedIn

The pictures looked amazing. The promo video was enticing. The event screamed,
Don’t Miss This!
FOMO was real.
I bought my ticket, paid for my airfare and joined their Facebook group.
I was excited. Everyone was excited.
Off to another country with unlimited opportunities..
The day finally arrived.
The venue was beautiful. Points made. Promise kept.
That happened to be the only promise that was kept.
This event was ok, but it could have been amazing.
There were a list of challenges that they had. Some were in their control and others not, but they didn’t have backup plans in place to keep the experience amazing.

  • They planned the event in an area where the weather was unpredictable at the time of the year the event was being held. So, everyone had packed clothes for a warm spring and we ended up with cold rain. They venue was not heated at all, so everyone froze. Not enough blankets, no heat and lots of rain makes for a very miserable time physically at an event.
  • They provided an agenda, but following it was not a priority. Some attendees were nonplussed about it, but many were bothered and annoyed as they had made business arrangements and scheduled calls around the original schedule provided. Now, it’s understandable that agendas change and may have to be adjusted, but this was way beyond anything I had ever witnessed or experienced before. At this point, you literally need to discard the agenda or not provide one if you are not planning on following it.
  • Excursions and downtime was promised. And oh how we really needed it. Can you guess how much downtime we got and how many excursions we went on? That would be Zero and One. Since they had issues with the agenda and the logistics that were tied to it, there was absolutely zero downtime. Many attendees had to create their own downtime which meant they had to miss sessions of the event that they may have wanted to attend. The one excursion was more exhausting than fun for most. Neither components of the event were thought out well.
  • They promised a Gluten Free and Dairy Free meal plan as most of the attendees were GF or DF, but the first meal they served was pizza. And you guessed it, it was not GF or DF. The meals continued that way throughout the event and many struggled to eat and were impacted physically.

The event creators of this event tried hard, but they missed the signals and signs. They were so focused on their own agenda and what they wanted to have done that they missed the prime opportunities to improve the experience for their attendees. The energy and excitement about the event fizzled out as the days progressed.
Minor changes or adjustments could have easily made this experience more positive for all attendees.
Key takeaways for all event creators:

  • Fulfill all promises on your marketing/sales page
  • Tune in to your attendees actively during your event
  • Communicate changes to your attendees in a timely fashion
  • Adapt to keep the energy up

They Lost the Venue

Originally seen on LinkedIn

We lost the venue.
I’d been telling them not to avoid the venue or their agency, but they just wouldn’t listen.
You see, I’d only been hired on to manage the event about 60 days prior so I wasn’t around when they signed the venue contract.
To be honest, the contract they signed would have been illegal to even draft in the states, but we weren’t in Kansas anymore.
We were the outsiders.
We were the foreigners.
From the moment I came on board, they were behind in payments to the venue.
That was an issue I could not save them from.
They needed more money.
More sponsors.
More ticket sales.
They only hired me to produce the event.
So, the venue cancelled their contract. 

3 weeks before the event.

You might think, well, there goes the event. They’ll cancel it.
They were determined to make the event happen.
So, what did I do? I did what I was hired to do.
I flew in country and secured another venue.
Then re-planned and restructured the entire event in 14 days.
It was no easy task.
Actually, it was a miracle I even pulled it off.
In the end, the event was beautiful, the attendees were happy (after initial frustration due to venue and travel changes), the new venue was incredible and everyone left with mostly an amazing experience.

The moral of the story is two fold:

1. Pay your bills and honor your contracts.

2. Know that anything is possible.


The Bus Was 3 Hours Late…

Originally seen on LinkedIn.

The bus was 3 hours late.
I knew this was not a good way to start a retreat….50 entrepreneurs hanging around the airport with nothing but time to kill. Then lunch showed up and it was wrong too.
Now there are 50 hungry people waiting for a bus for a 3+ hour bus ride to the event location.
It didn’t bode well for the event creators.
The attendees were adaptable, but still many were making mental notes already. You could see it in their faces and you could hear the grumblings if you paid close enough attention.
A pit stop at a truck stop to get water, run to the bathroom and pick up snacks was a must since the promise of food and wine on the trip was apparently not happening.
We’re tired, hungry and it’s late when we finally arrive. Instead of feeding us right away since it was after 9pm, they shuttle us to our rooms and then off to a meeting room for a welcome ceremony.
The looks on everyone’s faces spoke volumes. We’re tired and we want to eat. WTF!
Once more, everyone pulls up their boot straps, gets through the welcome ceremony and ritual and they finally feed us. Pizza!
While, pizza was well and good for a few, most of the attendees were gluten free and dairy free, so this was one more frustration added to the list of a frustrating day.
This was not a fictional event. This was real. It was an event that I attended and did not produce. This was the first 6 hours of the event and the following 3 days only got worse.
As an event producer, I could tell the event creators were not only unprepared, but they did not have an expert on the team to help them prevent frustration and angst right from the beginning.
When plans go awry, you must have backup plans and you must take good care of your attendees. Every moment of your event is part of the experience that they will take away and remember forever.
Make that experience amazing and one they will look fondly back on.

Events Health

Live Event Experience: Restaurant Grand Opening

Originally seen on LinkedIn

In September 2017, I had the honor to work with a client on the Grand Opening of her restaurant. Let me be honest. This was the first restaurant opening I have ever been involved in. I knew nothing about the restaurant business at this point.
Now, hold up. Before you walk away, let me share some thoughts and insights. This goes back about 15 years, maybe further, but we’ll start there before I age myself.
I worked as a Branch Manager for a global financial institution for 5 years in my 20’s. I was the manager that upper management brought in as the fixer. If you’re a Blacklist fan, I was the Mr. Kaplan of the Region. 😉 If they brought me into an office, you knew it was a disaster.
I have this innate ability to walk into a business office, event and now restaurant and see all of the gaping holes. The gaping holes don’t always correlate with being “wrong” or “bad”, sometimes the holes just show the glaring inefficiencies.
I can see those.
For 9 years, I was the clean up and mentoring manager. I cleaned up the messes and then trained new managers on how to efficiently manage their offices, financials and staff. In the end if was a thankless job, but the skills I walked away with were irreplaceable.
I moved from the financial industry into event management. I was able to craft and hone these same skills to work for me in the event space. They translated easily. I was still dealing with messes and financials with a twist of creativity.
Today, I can walk into an event strategy session or a live event and help my clients prevent the issues or fix the issues (if they are fixable). So, when I showed up to help my client with her restaurant opening I did the same thing.
Now an event activation or a restaurant opening is really just a project. An event planner is a project manager who facilitates all the activities, supplies, vendors, staff and guest through to the deadline which is the event activation, launch or grand opening.
While I wasn’t necessarily planning an event, I was definitely in heavy project management mode. With this grand opening, I was 4-6 days away from a soft opening and then the grand opening. I found that there was no organization around what needed to be completed. The first thing I did was sit down with the owners and draft a punch list and identify who was responsible for each item on the list. We ended up with 40 items on the punch list that needed to be completed in a very short amount of time.
Now before you go off all shocked at the size of the list, let me say that list is not bad. I’ve seen worse and I’ve dealt with worse. Every week or two before you launch an event or restaurant, you will have a list a mile long of last minute details. I prefer to be brought in sooner to minimize these issues and to create more efficiency in a launch or opening, but that isn’t always an option.
Here’s where I get to have fun. The deadline looms on a punch list for a project manager. I love the thrill of getting it done before we launch or open. It’s a challenge that most would shy away from, but I dig in and go for it. See, the thing is you can’t really scare me with a deadline. I worked with some of the biggest brands known
to the world and I learned quickly to deliver under high, high, HIGH stress situations. Which is probably why I started to go gray in my late 20’s. Ssshhhh…. Yes, that is hair dye.
The magic happens when you can bring in a project manager that isn’t afraid of strong personalities, high stress, emotions that run amuck and that ever looming deadline. I was describing what a project manager does and is. Visualize this. A project manager is in the eye of the storm. While all the chaos, stress and emotion are circling like crazy a project manager can be surrounded by all of this and keep moving the project forward to meet said deadlines WITHOUT being distracted.
My team has worked with restaurants for years and this was the first time they had boots on the ground and it was a perfect collaboration. The client was able to focus on the food, FOH and BOH while leaving all the nitty gritty administrative stuff to me.
I worked with the web designer, graphic designer, social media team, the reprographics (large digital format printer), the local printer, the sign company, the city and the local media. Being able to handle all the incoming inquiries for print, media, marketing, design, etc reduced the burden of the client. The only thing they had to do was make a decision once I brought them their options. It’s a more efficient process and lets the client focus on their area of genius while I focus on mine.
Due to the depth of my experience in contract negotiation, digital printing, marketing, social media, design and more, I was able to clearly communicate and identify my client’s needs. I was able to negotiate contracts on their behalf, negotiate pricing, manage suppliers, installations, pushback on deadlines as needed, train staff, communicate with all vendors and suppliers and establish relationships with local vendors and media that will only enhance and help my client.
One thing that you will learn about me if you don’t know it already, is that I profusely encourage people to stay in their lanes, their zone of genius. It’s more effective for the long and short term. It saves both time and money.
If you are looking for long or short term project management, look for someone who has a variety of skills that will best suit your needs and purpose of your project.
Are you ready to hire a project manager for your next launch or opening? Contact me at


Event Planning 101: Invest in an Expert

Originally seen on Linkedin

During 2017, I have had more inquiries than I can count from business owners who were stuck at a certain point in their event. Some I was able to help and others, sadly, I wasn’t. I want to share a few insights that I hope will help business owners as they incorporate events into their 2018 agendas.
These unique inquiries were from business owners that varied from first time event creators to seasoned vets. Some new nothing at all and some had been burned by other event planners so they were extra wary. The most consistent inquiries were from the newbies though. They were eyeballs deep into their event and were hitting brick walls left and right.
The #1 issue that they were all dealing with…lack of money. Not being liquid for your event can be a heavy burden and only gets heavier and more stressful as the countdown to your event looms over you. Budgets were way off, ticket sales were dreary, the business owners were spending what minimal profits they had to live on and the expenses were off the charts. All these lead to disaster and unimaginable stress.
I sat back this week and wished that I could have spoken with these business owners long before I did. What if I could have talked to them before they started planning or even chatted with them in the early stages of their planning. I could have made a difference. I could have helped them create a solid strategy for creating a successful event. By the time I spoke to most of them, they were out of money or out of time.
There are ways to plan an event without funds up front, but you have to know what you are doing. You have to have a strategy in place and a team ready to implement. You need to be willing to put your ego aside and be willing to ask for help from the experts. You know, you do tell your clients the same thing. Hire an expert. Delegate. Don’t do it all yourself. Stay in your lane.
Now it’s time for you to take your own advice. You need to stay in your genius and bring in members to your team that can shine in their genius to make your event a rocking success. Otherwise, what is the point? Why waste the time and money and cause all the heartache for the event to fall flat?
As my council of event planners and I discuss the issues that we regularly see, it makes us cringe, drives us crazy and we really wish we could get our hands on you BEFORE you start planning your next event.
It’s really hard for us as event planners to help such late stages and we REALLY want to help. We hate to see an event go down in flames. Every event planner I know would gladly help at earlier stages if the opportunity ever arose.
What if you could avoid these scenarios in your first event or next event?
What if spending the time and money with an event planner to consult on best direction and a solid strategy actually helped you make money in the long run?
Would spending the $500-$2,000 with a professional event planner and strategist be worth it if you were able to make a profit of 5-6 figures on your event?
The cost to get some solid consultation and strategy sessions from an event professional is worth the investment 10 times over. I can’t tell you how many events we could save and help each year if only you had reached out earlier and been willing to invest in an expert strategy session.


When to Start Planning Your Next Event

Originally seen on Linkedin

There’s a negative trend that I see becoming more prolific and I just have to speak up (because you know I have such a hard time sharing my opinion…lol).
What is this negative trend you ask?
You’re screwing up your event lead times. You are doing last minute event creation and planning! I’m talking about planning an event or hiring an event planner 60-90 days out from your event.
Let me just give you a big WTH are you doing?!
Look, most event planners (myself included) are willing to take on last minute work, but we are going to charge a premium rate because
1) We really have no idea how far along in the process you are. What you tell us and what is actually happening are usually 2 different things BECAUSE you don’t know all the nitty gritty details that need to be completed that have been missed and
2) We typically have 6-12 months of work to complete in 90 days or less, which can be REALLY stressful, and
3) You need to learn a lesson that you need to plan ahead better.
Here’s why I think this is all happening last minute:

  1. You didn’t want to spend the money to hire an event planner. Look, I get it. Hiring a team is an investment that not everyone is financially prepared to do. There’s nothing wrong with that and there is no judgment with trying your best.
  2. You thought you could do it all and you’ve had a come to Jesus meeting with yourself and realized that you need help and you need help NOW. The problem with this is you usually wait until too late. You are in the throws of desperation and you are still not financially ready to hire an event planner. Remember from above, we are going to charge you a premium rate because we have way more work to do with a much shorter lead time.
  3. You hired an assistant to help you plan your event, but they have no experience either. So now you have the blind leading the blind and your event planning is not progressing. Now you need to hire an event planner to get the ball moving because your event is coming up fast.
  4. You didn’t put enough focus and energy into planning the event because you are running a business and trying to plan an event. You’ve split your time and attention and your event has taken the hit. It’s hard to focus on your business and income producing activities AND plan an event for many unless you have a team on board. Now you need to hire an event planner to fix this.

Every bit of this is preventable. Hire an event planner earlier!
Ideally, when you start planning an event you need to give yourself 9-12 months to plan your event. Certain events you can start planning 6 months out, but when you are 60-90 days out from your event, you are in what I call “Red Flag” mode. I start looking and asking questions to find out what got you to this point.
What do lead times for your event look like? Take a look and see if you are on track or if you are in a danger zone, red flag scenario.
When you are booking and planning your event in this last minute, stressful stage it affects everyone that you work with. We as event planners, have timelines for everything to do with your event. While most of us can successfully accomplish a lot in a few short months, you run the risk of your vendors and suppliers charging you premium pricing as well. When we have 6-12 months of prep time, we are not rushed and we actually save you money which means that you have higher profit margins. What a novel concept.
Let’s talk about where we are today as I write this. We are closing in on the end of August 2017. If you are planning events in 2018 here’s what your timing needs to look like. These are 6 month lead times, but let me give you some wise counsel, the longer the lead time (time to plan and execute), the less stress and higher success you will have.
I highly recommend that you begin planning your event at least 9 months out if not 12 months. A longer lead time also allows you to spread the cost of creating the event over a longer period of time. Sounds like a smart move, right?
If you are looking to plan an event between January to September 2018, now is the MOST ideal time to start planning your event.
Do not wait until we are in January 2018 to say, “Oh, I think I want to plan an event this year.” Especially if you have never planned an event before. You need to prepare to plan. As you move forward in the event creation process, you need to determine your budget first and foremost. Make sure you plug into the free resources that I have at or to help you plan your next event you can get your copy of the Event Planning Roadmap to get you started off on the right foot.


7 Tips to Create an Amazing Experience

Originally seen on Steemit

We no longer create and plan events; we create unique, memorable experiences.
If you have decided to add events to your business, I’ll say, it’s a very smart decision. While smart, it also comes with it’s own issues. The event industry has changed and morphed over the years and you can’t just show up with good content and a badass keynote speaker. It won’t draw your attendees in and it will surely disappoint!
We have become a society who wants to see, touch and feel and we want to do it NOW.
How do we create an experience for our attendees and exceed their expectations?
How do we create the wow factor?
How do we keep them coming back year after year?
This is something that so many clients and event creators struggle with. I want to eliminate some of your struggle, but let’s take a jog down memory lane really quick. I want you to think about all of the events you have ever attended. What memories or experiences stand out to you in this moment? Are they good? Are they bad? Why did you like it? Why did you dislike it? Did that experience turn you off or turn you on from attending that particular event in the future?
Let’s take it one step further. Close your eyes, take a moment and think about the event that you want to create right now (yes, you have you close your eyes and stop reading for a second).
If you were attending your event, what kind of experience do you want to have?
What does the event sales page add or take away from the experience?
How does all pre-event communication enhance the experience?
What are you feeling when you arrive in the host city or country?
What kind of feelings and emotions are you feeling as you arrive at your hotel for check in?
How about when you walk into your hotel room?
Next, let’s walk through the event registration.
How do you feel? Calm, cool collected, nervous, excited, frustrated, angry, tired, ready to go home?
Then move yourself through the event, what excites you?
What type of personality or energy are you and what do you need?
Do you need space to decompress or are you ready to party all day, every day?
Is the food amazing?
Are you never leaving the buffet line?
Are you wow’d by the decor?
Does it impress you or are you completely blind to it?
How is the speaker line up?
Are you on the edge of your seat or are you trying to hide that yawn to not be rude?
Are you enjoying the connections you are making?
Are there even opportunities to make connections?
What’s the best thing you are feeling?
What makes you grumpy thinking about your event?
Ok, now that you’ve experienced your own event make note of the good that you experienced and the bad that you want to avoid.
Let’s take a look at the 7 areas that will help you create an AMAZING event experience.
1. The entire experience needs to be strategic.
You need to determine the outcome and end result that you want to create when the event is complete. The customer journey is through every element of your event will affect the outcome that you are aiming for. The key is to create each element of the experience to help your attendee follow the path to your desired outcome.
2. Make sure that your experience aligns with the message of your event.
What is your event message? What impact do you want to leave on your audience? The answers to these questions help you determine the kind of experience you want to create. If you are running a detox retreat, you may not want to have a dessert bar set up every night. While your attendees may LOVE the sweet treats, is that in alignment with your message and will your attendees really love it in the long run? Probably not.
3. Will the experience entice your target audience?
Who is your target audience. If you haven’t clearly defined that yet, then you need to go back and do that first. Based on your target audience, what kind of experience would attract them? Do they like a fun, dance party, let loose kind of experience or are they more low key, earthy or are they more straight laced, suit and tie? Based on this key piece, you can tailor and maximize the experience that you create for them.
4. Find ways to personalize the experience.
One of the best ways to create a personal experience is through our technology. Use your event technology to send personalized messages and tweets to your followers. I attended an event a couple of years ago and one of the sponsors set up fun, quirky, intelligent and sarcastic comments auto-responses on Twitter. It made the social experience WAY more fun and what it did was made you WANT to engage even more. Honestly, it was simply brilliant. If you are creating a smaller event, you can always do smaller, personal hands on touches. One fun way to personalize the experience is to custom monogram swag gifts. This is brilliant idea especially if you have your branding on that particular piece of swag.
5. Create an interactive experience.
Enhance the senses, create play and movement, humorous ice breakers are just a few things you can do. One of my clients loves to incorporate some kind of movement or dance at intervals throughout their event. It gets the blood flowing and snaps the audience attention back in place. Everyone these days LOVES a good tasting. Blind taste test some local wines or brews and create a fun, light hearted experience with your attendees. Photo booths have been a rage for awhile. You can set up one yourself (please don’t make it look half-assed) or you can bring in a vendor. You can customize your photo frames to match the branding and experience of the event.
6. Collaborate with strategic partners that will enhance your experiences.
There are a myriad of companies that will collaborate on events to get more exposure for their brand. One of my clients owns a boutique and she creates private VIP events and partners with the local restaurants to provide all the food and drinks. She also brings in a makeup artist and hairdresser for the women to get all dolled up with trying on new clothes. Venues are great to collaborate with if you can find the right one. You can create a solid foundation for an amazing experience if you can find unique and different venues.
7. Meet and exceed expectations.
Attendees come with high expectations based on who you are, what your brand is, what they see online and what bill of goods you sold to them. If there is anything in your event that is not genuinely in alignment they are going to pick up on that vibe so fast. The old adage ‘under promise and over deliver’ applies to events too. Yes, make the event sound amazing, but realistic. Create a level of excitement, but make sure that can be maintained throughout the event. Satisfaction and experience is an intangible metric, so a good way to find out if you met or exceeded expectations is to send out a survey to your attendees and speakers.
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