Archive September 2019

Add sustainability to RFPs urges the Meetings Industry Association

Add sustainability to RFPs urges the Meetings Industry Association

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) is calling on the sector to include sustainability as a key requirement in requests for proposals (RFP), to help eliminate single-use plastics by 2025. 

To date, many organisations have signed the association’s #20PercentLess pledge to eliminate single-use plastics from the industry by 2025, but it believes change could happen sooner if booking agents also underlined the importance of sustainability within their RFPs. 

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “We know there is an appetite among individuals in the industry to lessen their impact on the environment with many adopting more sustainable practices both at home and work. 

“Our #20PercentLess campaign is gaining momentum and we are proud of the number of organisations backing us in our aim to eliminate single-use plastics, but we know more can be done. 

“Making it clear that acting sustainably is as important to you and your client as the location, the room layout and the refreshments required in that first brief, puts pressure on venues to question their actions. They will want your business and if they are not acting in a sustainable manner already, it may help put pressure on them to do so. 

“A sustainable mindset is the first step to initiate change. As we say at the mia, we are taking small steps to make a big difference, and this minimal adaptation to an event brief can only help to do just that.” 

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Tips Tuesday: 28 Fundraising Gala Planning Ideas

Fundraising galas are one of the most lucrative and effective event types, bringing in an average of $275,000 in profits for even the smallest, low budget versions. The gala planning tips and tricks below will help you maximize your investment and create a killer attendee experience that guests will be talking about for the rest of the year. 

Explore inspirational gala planning tips to impress attendees & drive fundraising

1. Form a committee of designers, venue managers, and caterers who are also personally or emotionally affected by the focus of your event. 

Because they’ve experienced these issues on a personal level, they’ll be more willing to commit their all to the event. If you don’t already have anyone in mind, post on your social media or email your network list about the opportunity and see who responds with the most enthusiasm. You can also take a peek at past event attendee lists and see if any of those guests are also events professionals. 

2. Livestream the event online. 

If your gala has special meaning to a large group of potential remote attendees or involves any big reveals/announcements then you should at least consider livestreaming it. If you do, make sure to only livestream interesting action (like presentations and fundraiser counters) and double check that speakers or guests are comfortable with being on camera. 

3. Invite people who have benefited from your organization to mix and mingle with donors. 

This tactic is especially effective if you plan to raise funds at your gala. If their story is particularly emotional or memorable, invite them to give a short speech. 

4. Pair a financially focused activity with one that’s just for fun. 

For example, if you do a silent auction make sure you include something entertaining like a stand up comedy performance so donors don’t have to feel like every part of this event costs them more and more money. 

5. Add classy event decor that adds to your brand.  

Gold, silver, and copper accents elevate any gala color scheme or decor item and can be used for logo displays, event-specific marketing materials, and branded take home gifts. Make sure to also include plenty of candles, fresh flowers, and upscale dishware in colors that match your company. 

6. Use past event data to help determine your gala theme. 

Were certain events more well attended than others? What did your most popular events all have in common? Find and exploit these similarities in your gala design. You can also pull feedback from past attendee surveys and apply their notes directly to your new event. 

7. Consider partnering with a corporate sponsor. 

Not only will this save you money, you can also strategically choose who to align your own brand with. And if you’ve never reached out to potential corporate sponsors before, be sure to follow this great guide. 

8. Streamline your check-in process. 

Paper and pencil lists can fluster event staff as crowds tend to arrive in waves. Use event software that makes it easy for employees to update attendee info with details like additional party members, new donations, and captured photos of VIP guests for future event promotion. 

Create glamorous galas, no stress

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9. Gifts, prizes, and goodie bags should all support the main theme and meaning behind your gala. 

Examples of well done swag bags include branded merchandise paired with luxury blankets, candles, or books (coffee table photography books related to your primary charity or event theme are always a hit). If you have the budget, try finding these items at high end department stores like Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth. Or you can make them (sites like Shutterfly allow you to create your own hardcover photo albums with premade templates). 

10. Choose an unconventional event venue. 

Art galleries, theatres, and even arcades can be the next location of your gala. As long as it fits the theme, charity, or brand, the sky’s the limit. 

eBook: Where You Meet Matters

11. Provide group ticket packages. 

Here are some tips for maximizing ticket sales for any event type, including ones where tickets are bought in bulk. 

12. Allow guests to donate through their phones. 

Cutting edge donation apps (like the ones on this list) offer custom branding and digital security. 

13. Integrate physical representations of your association’s main cause into your event design.

For example, if your non-profit or business works with children, create a photo backdrop entirely made up of drawings and thank you cards made by charity recipients. 

14. Use event software to gather, assess, and analyze the success of your event. 

Just don’t base it on just one dollar amount. Galas are also helpful for building your brand, spreading awareness, and building long term relationships. All of these benefits can be measured through guest polling, attendee registration input, and ticket sales analytics. 

15. Take time to acknowledge how far your organization has come. 

This gala could be the first time some of your attendees have ever interacted with your organization so reminding them of where you came from (and, consequently, where you’re potentially going) will help provide proof that their investment of time and/or money was well placed. 

16. Consider how your event lighting will set the tone for the evening. 

Expert event lighting suppliers recommend dimming or eliminating overhead lighting. Then add some color splashes or highlight interesting decor pieces with LEDs. Add some string lights, GOBOs, or 3D mapping if you really want to get fancy. 

17. Use a gala planning timeline template to perfect your process. 

This toolkit will help you get started. In general though you should expect to begin planning your gala at least 18 months out. 

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

18. Surprise guests with celebrity speakers, jaw-dropping decor, or a touching experience.

Ubuntu Pathways famously used giant portraits of the children they’ve helped (dressed up as what they want to be when they grow up) at one of their galas. Thoughtful, out-of-the-box touches like these make your event even more memorable. 

19. Theme your catering menu with special event cocktails and specific audience considerations. 

For example, if your gala celebrates fair animal treatment, you should probably focus on offering a vegan menu. You can also create some craft drinks with unique straws or glass decor. And if you go that route, make sure they have some proudly displayed punny names. 

20. Choose an event date just before a national holiday or cultural event. 

Some of the best galas take place over Halloween or the Super Bowl. If you take this approach, you can base the majority of your design choices on that time of year. 

21. Use video marketing to engage potential attendees on social media. 

Every gala should include the following types of videos in their marketing content: 

  • A short and sweet introduction to your company as a whole. 
  • A story that symbolizes the meaning behind your gala and why it’s so important. 
  • An awareness video that highlights your main cause. 

22. Let guests know that if they can’t make it you will donate their ticket to another worthy attendee. 

Guests can still feel great about having donated to the cause or your business while giving someone else (who normally wouldn’t be able to afford it) the chance to enjoy the event themselves. Raffle the extra tickets off on social media or publicly present them to worthy attendees and tag or shout out the person who made it all possible. 

23. Send handwritten invitations through snail mail. 

It’s a really thoughtful gesture that will catch the recipient’s attention better than an email. If your gala will have a very large guest list, you can always outsource some of the letter writing using sites like Fiverr or Upwork. 

24. Create a surprise scavenger hunt. 

Follow in the footsteps of Disney’s Hidden Mickey and stash some “Easter eggs” throughout your event venue. Attendees can hunt for them, share hashtagged pictures on social media, and collect enough images to be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of the night. Use brand mascot plushies or logo symbols for the items. 

25. Make dessert a networking opportunity. 

Interactive dessert experiences are a great way to help guests mingle and meet once they’re all comfortable and settled into the gala. Set up DIY cupcake, hot chocolate, or even mini pie stations. Or have pastry chefs prepare share worthy desserts on narrow, buffet style tables. 

26. Add a door prize. 

Delight guests with a special gift the minute they arrive. Fill it with something that will excite them or make them really happy. It sets the tone for a fun-filled evening and can encourage them to be even more generous. If you also plan to hand out swag bags later on, make sure the door prize item goes well with what’s in the larger gifts too. 

27. Feed guests as soon as the event begins. 

Noone, in the history of events, has ever enjoyed waiting for their food to be served. Happy, well fed guests are more likely to donate money than “hangry” ones. So keep the appetizers flowing or start the buffet right away to make sure everyone has a chance to nibble whenever they want. 

Now you’re ready to win over all your gala attendees! 

Here are even more unique gala ideas, a few ways to exceed your event KPIs, and some event floor plan best practices to make your event a huge success. 

Bring incredible galas to life in minutes

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The post Tips Tuesday: 28 Fundraising Gala Planning Ideas appeared first on Social Tables.

Experience Design: Inside National Geographic’s Ocean-Inspired Activation at D23

nat-geo_disney_2019_4

nat-geo_disney_2019_4

Local artists created sculptures of marine animals made from recycled plastics and steel.

To connect with and inspire Disney fans following its acquisition by Disney, National Geographic created an immersive oceanic-inspired exhibit at D23 Expo: The Ultimate Fan Event, held Aug. 23-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The annual three-day event offers Disney fans “inside-the-magic” experiences and Disney brand activations.

Consumers were transported into the depths of the ocean to explore marine life through various seascapes enhanced by multisensory elements. Projection-mapping technology depicted the sights and sounds of life underwater in an experience called “Beneath the Blue” that leveraged National Geographic content.

Tying into its sustainability messaging for the exhibit, National Geographic enlisted San Francisco Bay area artists Joel De An Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova to create life-size sculptures of marine animals, like sea otters, Maui dolphins, reef manta rays, green sea turtles and jellyfish, all created from recycled single-use plastics and steel. The activation’s coral elements were created using recycled single-use plastics by Portland, OR, artist Richard Crawley. All in, some 8,400 recognizable pieces (straws, netting, clamshell containers and takeout boxes) of reclaimed plastic and metals were used to create the sculptures, helping educate consumers about the amount of single-use plastics that end up in the oceans.


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“National Geographic is really and truly about storytelling, so we stand on the side of science, we stand on the side of facts, and we stand on the side of planet,” says Amanda Hyland, vp-product and consumer marketing at National Geographic. “So we have this opportunity to unveil who we are to the Disney audience, and this superfan base, and we wanted to be as true to ourselves as possible.”

Attendees were invited to snap photos with the sculptures to spread the word about ocean conservation on social media and about the Planet Earth Plastic sustainability initiative the brand kicked off last year. They could also interact with virtual sharks and fish, and make a pledge via email to reduce single-use plastics by taking National Geographic’s “Planet or Plastic?” challenge.

“It was really the first time we were launching the brand in the Walt Disney universe and the Walt Disney family of brands, so our intent was to show that we weren’t this newly acquired piece, there is actually a lot of symmetry between the brands, so it was really this elevation of stories and messages we’ve already shared for a long time coming together in a really beautiful way,” Hyland says. Agency: Inspira Marketing Group, Norwalk, CT. Projection: Lumen & Forge.

The post Experience Design: Inside National Geographic’s Ocean-Inspired Activation at D23 appeared first on Event Marketer.

Plans for new and bespoke EventCity submitted

Plans for new and bespoke EventCity submitted

EventCity has submitted plans proposing the creation of a state-of-the-art events venue in TraffordCity. 

If approved, the impressive relocation scheme will see EventCity move from its current location on Barton Dock Road, to the present site of Soccerdome. The new site in TraffordCity will bring the venue closer to several existing leisure venues and hotels, as well as providing excellent road and public transport access.  

With a multi-million-pound investment, the purpose-built events space will boast an enhanced premium offering whilst still providing the same blank canvas as its existing core offer. EventCity will leave its current location and temporarily cease operations in July 2020, with a swift reopening of the new venue in September 2020. 

Part of a tripartite proposal with Peel L&P, plans also include the current site on Barton Dock Road proposed to become home to unique wellbeing resort, Therme Manchester, alongside the creation of a new football facility to replace the current pitches in the Soccerdome.   

News of the relocation follows Marketing Manchester’s recent announcement of its new strategy, focused on growing the city’s existing tourism value by 40%, adding an additional £345 million over five years. The strategy calls on partners across Greater Manchester to seize the opportunity that business tourism presents, including attracting more conferences to the city over the next five years, an aspiration that the bespoke venue aims to achieve. 

Neil Lees, acting chief executive at EventCity and deputy chairman of the Peel Group commented, “It has long been an ambition for the business to redesign the setting into a more dedicated space. We’re committed to offering our clients and visitors the very best experience, and we’re confident that our plans for the new venue will do just that, whilst still providing the second largest conference and events space outside of London.” 

The improved space will include updated features, such as a central foyer with breakout space and a reconfigured entrance hall. The venue will be designed to serve as a flexible conference, exhibition and gala dinner space. There will be divides available from 1,000m2 upwards, a great option for those wanting to hold smaller events. It will also offer free parking spaces for circa 2,000 vehicles. 

The new venue will strengthen TraffordCity’s already impressive offering as the UK’s most comprehensive experiential leisure and retail destination. Clients can rub shoulders with premium and emerging brands in a prime location with ample free parking and no city centre congestion. TraffordCity is already home to an unrivalled range of activities including ski slopes at Chill Factore and indoor skydiving at iFly. 

Alongside the adventure activities, intu Trafford Centre has something for those looking for a more leisurely day out. With over 280 stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis and Debenhams, the shopping centre is also home to popular establishments such as San Carlo and Carluccio’s, leaving visitors to TraffordCity spoilt for choice.   

Further details on the development of the site will be announced in due course. 

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Wednesday Wisdom: 5 Ways Modular Furniture Unlocks the Potential of Event Space

Hotel guests today are not easy to please. With every guest craving a personalized experience, and ready to share their opinions on social media, hotels have really had to step up their design game. So how can you take advantage of the latest design trends and please your guests without breaking the bank? One possibility that is gaining traction among hotel brands across the price spectrum is modular furniture. 

Modular furniture is made of different, separate items that can be pushed together or separated easily – so think work surfaces and storage that can be easily detached, or sofas and chairs that can double as ottomans and tables. You have the choice of using them together or as individual items. These items can often be combined in many different ways, and combine multiple functions into a single design. 

Read on for tips on why hotels are embracing modular furniture, its benefits for your event management strategy, and how to implement it in your space.

How to use modular furniture as a game changer for your hotel’s event sales strategy

1. Personalization is king: Give event planners flexibility and control

When hotel owners and operators are asked to describe their event strategy for 2019, many say just one word: personalization. In fact, 96% of the Social Tables audience believe events are expected to be more personalized than ever. Event planners and guests seek hotels that strike a chord and show an understanding of their needs, and are increasingly choosing spaces that are flexible enough to match those needs in the moment.

Modular furniture offers the flexibility required to meet guest and planner demands quickly and efficiently. Because pieces can be interchanged and fit together in almost limitless combinations, guests can feel like they have designed a setup suited perfectly to them. Many pieces also offer the ability to switch out textiles, hardware, or veneers, giving planners and guests further control over the vision for their event.

Venues that are true partners to planners are poised to see success in 2019 and beyond. When hotels have an active hand in helping events meet their objectives, it becomes the ultimate differentiator to gain repeat business, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.

For event proposals, try showcasing multiple event-specific variations. This adds value for the planner by helping them better meet their event objectives,while adding value for the hotel or venue as an upselling technique. By providing inspiration and unique options, you are positioning your property as a partner in the event planning process and showing that you are ready to personalize the event to your guests’ needs.

The Ultimate Group Sales Playbook

2. How to pace your events: Transform throughout the day

The flexibility of modular furniture pieces allows hotels to change the look and feel of event spaces easily, as furniture can be moved around to modify design layouts very quickly. This lends itself to events that take place across multiple days or at different times of the day. 

The classic example of this is a wedding, where one room is transformed from a ceremony space into a dining and dancing space in the time it takes for guests to have a few cocktails. But what if you could take it one step further? Picture a business function with a beautiful buffet set up for breakfast, including large tables for gathering and eating together. This same space can then be transformed into classroom space, a presentation space with a small stage, and then into the evening’s social networking with high-topped tables, a bar, and cocktails. This sounds complicated and cost-prohibitive, but with the modular furniture options available today your property could offer these experiences within the budgets of most event planners.

To embrace the transformational power of modular furniture, focus on pieces that can be combined in different ways. Trestle tables can have tops of different sizes and shapes to accommodate various group setups. Modular couch setups can often be separated into armchairs, or put together facing each other for a more social feel. Stages can become steps, shelves, tables, or dance floors with the right configurations. Use your group sales CRM to determine what types of groups normally use your space, and then work with your designers to find the modular pieces that will be the best fit for your audience.

3. Connected and connectable: Modularity helps hotels embrace new technology

While “personalization” may be the top event strategy most hotel operators are embracing for 2019, “emerging technology” is right up there near the top of the list. It’s hard to understate the wide-ranging effect that technology has had on all aspects of hospitality, from guest rooms to lobbies, where connected features enable a more seamless guest experience. Meanwhile, advanced manufacturing has improved the design of interior products and unlocked new possibilities in modular furniture.

Many modular furniture setups embrace tech-savvy guests by offering multiple charging outlets for devices, as well as various configurations of holders, holsters, and props for all of our gadgets. At large events, these portable charging hubs have become the new watering holes, with guests connecting and networking while taking a few minutes to (literally) recharge. Try placing furniture in a configuration that encourages interaction between guests as they charge, so that they can also network and meet other event attendees.

Technology has even changed the furniture itself. As modern business travelers are increasingly doing work outside of their rooms, ZenSpace smart pods are mobile tech–enabled meeting rooms that can be placed in hotel lobbies or other areas, opening up underutilized spaces and making them more usable.

The future for modular furniture is even more extreme. Designers are just beginning to unlock the power of textiles and furnishings that change in response to temperature, light, movement, and more. These technologies will allow even further personalization and customization, and will undoubtedly lead to interesting new event setups, layouts, and experiences. 

Use furniture wisely with easy event design software

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4. Take advantage of flexibility for different types of events and spaces

While it is readily apparent that modular furniture is a win for event planners, it is also a powerful tool for HMC’s, owners, and operators. While hotels have a limited number of spaces to use for events, modular furniture unlocks the potential of those spaces for all different types of groups. With a modular setup, your hotel can accomodate a sports team’s awards ceremony, a family reunion lunch, a TED-talk style professional event, and a business cocktail hour without a giant budget or large amount of event staff.

Hotels increasingly need to accommodate everything from seminars to live performances, panel discussions and big parties. Everything used in these spaces—furniture, audiovisual equipment, walls, dividers—can be modular, customizable, and portable. This gives hotel operators and event planners versatility, flexibility and connectivity.

This flexibility extends beyond one hotel property as well. Modular furniture is a great option for brands that want a consistent feel between one property and another, but have different spatial needs at those properties. With a modular setup, your brand can adapt one line of furnishings to many different spaces, such as a small urban environment, a property with a larger event space, or even one with more outdoor options. This gives your staff control over their individual property, and may lead to creative uses and setups that you hadn’t even imagined.

5. Refurbishment without extra costs, delays, and down-time

The cost savings for owners and operators using modular furniture can be enormous. Instead of chasing transitory trends, operators are moving toward modular brands with easy-to-alter designs. This allows the property to fully update its look without the costs of a traditional renovation or refurbishment. Furniture has limited built-in hardwiring, allowing for easy and cost-effective future refurbishments, or minor immediate changes to stay relevant in a more subtle, turbulent and challenging market.

Modular furniture can also save hoteliers money in the long term. Some companies make chairs and tables with covers that can be removed when the pieces are disassembled, making it easier to clean and maintain the unit as a whole. Replacing a worn or stained cover is decidedly less expensive than replacing the whole chair and extends the unit’s lifetime. In fact, an owner can save about two-thirds of the cost by putting new covers on the furniture rather than throwing it away. This can often be done onsite, so that you don’t have the downtime associated with removing the furniture. 

With an almost limitless array of possibilities in setting up modular furniture, you can change the entire look of your public spaces without spending a cent. Hotel owners and operators would do well to embrace the modular furniture trend and use it to their advantage in booking future events.

Ready to see how modular furniture would work in your space? You can use Social Tables group sales and catering CRM software to analyze the groups that are currently using your event space. Then check out our event diagramming software to impress potential clients and help them visualize a future event in your space. 

Grow group business with critical sales insights

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Fan Engagement: Five Brands That Aced the US Open

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The 51st annual US Open Tennis Championships kicked off with a bang, drawing in a record 68,000 fans on Opening Day of the competition (Aug. 19 to Sept. 8) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY. In addition to catching all of the on-court action, attendees had the opportunity to mix and mingle with a variety of brands, thanks to a roster of 21 tournament sponsors. Here’s a look at five fan experiences that caught our attention.


amex-us-open-2018_teaser.jMore on This Topic:
  • Sports Sponsorship Q&A: How American Express Keeps it Fresh at the US Open
  • Brands Descend on New York’s Seaport District for the US Open Experience

IHG Hotels & Resorts

IHG marked its debut at the US Open with a slate of fan experiences and a partnership with tennis legend Andy Roddick. The brand launched its sponsorship campaign Aug. 20-21 at its Kimpton Hotel Eventi property in Manhattan, where an ice cream cart serving flavors from Morgernstern’s Finest Ice Cream were served from noon to 4 p.m. Then on Aug. 24, IHG served as official sponsor of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, offering free meal vouchers and hands-on tennis activities to young athletes. On Aug. 30, two lucky fans earned an upgrade to courtside seats and a five-night stay at IHG’s new Maldives resort, where they’ll participate in personalized culinary experiences. On Sept. 7, IHG’s InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador loyalty members were treated to an exclusive tennis clinic hosted by Roddick, including drills, doubles points and a meet-and-greet session. And on Sept. 8, the final day of the tournament, the brand hosted a live viewing event of the men’s finals on a 30-foot outdoor screen at the Kimpton.

Throughout the tournament, IHG also offered special perks to loyalty members, including post-match press conference access, breakfast in the players’ dining area, meet-and-greet passes and a chance to bid on tickets to “Legends, Unmatched,” an introductory US Open celebration featuring an appearance by Roddick and a performance by Grammy award-winning artist Leon Bridges.

At the heart of IHG’s US Open sponsorship was an on-site activation available from Aug. 26-Sept. 8. The spa-inspired experience took a cue from the industry’s wellness trend, giving attendees the opportunity to indulge in temple massages and a sampling of infused waters. There was also a “digital daydream” experience offering an encounter with some of the brand’s luxury properties around the world. Participants selected an IHG destination, then watched a video about the property as a massage therapist provided a cooling towel infused with scents inspired by that particular hotel. Agency: Momentum Worldwide.


Fila

Along with media partner VICE, Fila produced a Tennis in Technicolor pop-up experience in Brooklyn, NY, open Aug. 24-25, that showcased the intersection of fashion and tennis. Throughout the year, the brand honored its original creative director, Pierluigi Rolando, by releasing collections inspired by his early sketches that were timed with major tennis tournaments, culminating with the Brooklyn pop-up. The experience invited attendees to fill in a coloring book mural wall featuring Rolando campaign illustrations, check out a multimedia archive gallery wall, play table tennis, munch on complimentary fare, sip on drinks provided by Peroni and Mionetto at the open “Backhand Bar”, enjoy tunes by MISTERVACATION and, for the first 100 people to arrive, snag a gift. Agency: The Gathery.

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Photo courtesy: The Gathery


Asics

Asics wasn’t on-site at the US Open, but the brand leveraged its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to engage tennis fans during opening week. Visitors could practice their skills on a mini tennis court and participate in training drills and games to win prizes. The brand on Aug. 23 additionally hosted a special event with four of its sponsored athletes—tennis pros Gaël Monfils, Julia Görges, Alex de Minaur and Shuai Zhang—who participated in a Q&A, signed autographs and took photos with fans.


American Express

amex-us-open-2019_1_tennis-city.jIf there’s one brand consumers associate with the US Open, it’s American Express, which has been a tournament partner for over a quarter of a century. For its 26th year participating, the company once again leaned on cutting-edge technology to engage attendees, this time with a “Tennis City” activation inside its Fan Experience. The brand additionally offered a Cardmember Lounge, cardmember spend offers, contactless payment touchpoints throughout the US Open grounds, networking opportunities for small businesses and American Express Radios providing live commentary from ESPN, available to cardmembers. Phew.

Fusing the sport of tennis with the culture of New York City, the brand’s Tennis City experience offered fans a variety of interactive engagements that highlighted the sights and sounds of the US Open’s hometown. Digital murals designed by Brooklyn-based artist Askew One gave attendees a chance to digitally spray-paint their own work of art, while a “Rally Remix” experience allowed fans to create their own melodies using tennis balls to trigger certain rhythms. There was also a life-sized game of ping-pong tied to New York’s five boroughs, and a subway car installation that departed from “Court Street” and took attendees on a tech-fueled journey through US Open history, including highlighting tennis stars the brand has partnered with along the way.

Amex also brought its Centurion Lounge for Platinum and Centurion cardmembers, which debuted at last year’s tournament, back to the event. But this time there was a twist—by pulling a specific book from a shelf within the footprint, attendees could access a hidden speakeasy. The cozy space featured tennis-themed artwork, memorabilia and branded installations for fans to explore. The experience was designed to give cardmembers a taste of a similar lounge space the brand will bring to John F. Kennedy International Airport later this year. Agency: Momentum Worldwide.

amex-us-open-2019_2.


Chase

During US Open Fan Week, Chase invited cardmembers to stop by its Sapphire Banking Lounge, which could be accessed by reserving a “session” online ahead of time. The sleek blue space offered access to Chase’s Sound Check concerts, an exclusive match-viewing area, photo ops and complimentary bites like mini soft pretzels and vegetable crudité. Fans could also check out a pop-up donut installation, grab a frozen margarita from roaming servers, fuel up at a coffee and tea bar, grab a free branded hat and rest in a variety of lounge spaces.

The post Fan Engagement: Five Brands That Aced the US Open appeared first on Event Marketer.

People’s Postcode Lottery to join sponsors of NOEA Awards

People’s Postcode Lottery to join sponsors of NOEA Awards

The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) has agreed a partnership with People’s Postcode Lottery to sponsor one of the awards at the association’s annual Awards, 27th November. The organisation has chosen to support the Small Event of the Year category at the ceremony, as part of its wish to encourage grass roots and growing events. 

The People’s Postcode Lottery’s in-house events team of seven plans and delivers all internal and external events and celebrations. From Street Prizes, where the team visits winners in locations across Britain, to monthly Postcode Millions events where winning communities and local good causes are brought together in unique celebrations. 

Nicole Allan, head of events at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We’re proud to sponsor this year’s NOEA Small Event of the Year award. Delivering small-scale events with people and communities at their heart is key to what my team does throughout the year. Partnering with the association in support of this award, which acknowledges and celebrates the work being carried out by event professionals in staging smaller events is extremely fitting. I’m looking forward to seeing the variety of entries and events in this year’s category.”

“We’re delighted to have People’s Postcode Lottery join our other sponsors in recognising the very best of the outdoor event industry,” commented Susan Tanner, CEO, National Outdoor Events Association. “The awards continue to grow in popularity and quality, and we’re looking forward to seeing even more entries this year.”

People’s Postcode Lottery is owned by Novamedia BV, a social enterprise that enables and supports charitable and social initiatives worldwide, the organisation is ranked the third largest private charity donor in the world in 2017 and second biggest in Europe. 

More than £462 million has been raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery for 6,500 charities and good causes in Britain and beyond.

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Wednesday Wisdom: How to Have Tough Conversations with Event Planning Clients

No one likes having tough conversations with clients. But with a little skill building and guidance you’ll be equipped to handle almost any scenario with flying colors! 

6 Soft Skills All Event Planners Need

Soft skills is a phrase most often associated with HR departments. People like to assume that they are fluffy activities reserved for rainy days when you have nothing else better to do, not the top of your event planning task list. But soft skills are really all about establishing an internal foundation you can use to support all aspects of your career. 

Soft skills are proven to be a core element in the success of most Fortune 500 CEOs – and for good reason. In professional trainer Peggy Klaus’ new book, The Hard Truth About Soft Skills—Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They’d Learned Sooner, she notes the soft skills play a critical role in each of the following areas: 

  • Career self advocacy
  • Project completion rates
  • Interpersonal conflict with team members
  • Leadership ability
  • Criticism processing
  • Effective and efficient communication

And last, but certainly not least: interpersonal conflict with clients. Which is, of course, the focus of this article. 

Take a look at the following soft skills. How they apply to your work? Which ones you’d like to focus on moving forward? They’re all important but some might resonate more with you than others. 

1. Empathy

Empathy is your ability to both process and understand your own feelings as well as the feelings of others. If you’re highly empathetic, you’re likely very good at considering situations from someone else’s perspective and would, in most cases, allow that information to dictate your actions towards them. 

2. Active Listening

Active listening is all about how well you can hear and actually comprehend what a person is trying to communicate to you through body language, subtext, and emotion. People who can remember the name of someone they just met ten minutes ago are experts at active listening. 

3. Being Proactive, Not Reactive

When an unpleasant situation or exchange occurs, do you stop and consider the best course of action? Or do you say/do/act the way your impulses tell you to? The former is the most effective option because it helps make sure you are constructively working towards a goal rather than doing something purely because it feels right in the moment. 

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4. Understanding Body Language

Body language is a science and those who study it can uncover subtle nonverbal cues that allow them to better understand someone whose intentions, thoughts, or emotions are otherwise unclear. People who are great at reading body language know what certain eye, hand, and mouth movements subconsciously signal, even if the person doing them doesn’t realize it. 

5. Emotional Resilience 

If you’ve ever considered yourself to be someone who is good at rolling with the punches then you might have high emotional resilience, which gives you the ability to manage life and career challenges with a generally positive attitude. 

Now that you know what soft skills are non negotiable for event planners, how are you supposed to improve them? 

Skill Building Resources You Should Bookmark

We’ve compiled a list of great resources you can use to improve your event planning soft skills. 

  • GoSkills is a website and resource guide entirely dedicated to educating users on the nuances of soft skills while also including helpful courses for building them. 
  • Lifehacker has put together a list of 12 Books to Equip You with the Soft Skills in Demand that will help you hone your soft skills, become more adaptable, resolve conflicts with ease, and improve client communication. 
  • This Soft Skills playlist on YouTube offers 73 digestible videos on every soft skill you can think of. 

Building soft skills is well worth the effort but it does take time. For more immediate solutions, check out our suggestions for responding to the following uncomfortable situations. 

Benchmarking the Modern Meeting Planner

10 Tough Client Conversations Most Event Planners Face at Some Point & How to Handle Them 

Here are some example scenarios you might find yourself going through one day along with practical steps you can take to resolve issues like it. 

1. Negotiating a fair event planning rate. 

A client approaches you with a really great opportunity – and they’ve even agreed to pay you your rate! Hooray! As you begin working with them however, they start requesting more and more of your time or services. You want to gig but know that the additional requests are not what you signed up for at this agreed upon rate. 

Ways you could respond:

Negotiating your freelance rate might feel uncomfortable at first but it’s important that you understand how much value you bring to the project. In a kind and casual way, let the client know that you’re more than happy to complete the requested tasks, remind them what the original agreement included, and add in your proposed fee for the additional work to help move things along. 

2. Setting communication boundaries. 

Your bridal client is very excited about her big day. So excited in fact that she can’t help but text you at 1am. On a Tuesday. And gets offended when you don’t reply back right away. 

Ways you could respond:

Communication boundaries can be added to your event planning contract. But if that ship has sailed, all you have to do is let the client know that you care about them and their event which means that, in order to deliver the best possible service, you’ll only be available by (your preferred communication tool) during (name the hours you actually want to hear from them). You can even set up email away messages that kick in at the end of your work day letting clients know what time they can expect to hear back from you by the next morning or afternoon. 

3. Knowing when to back down during a disagreement. 

You’re an event planner because you have excellent taste and are great at what you do. But your client has fought with you every step of the way. From the theme to the centerpieces, you don’t really see eye to eye on most things. 

Ways you could respond:

There’s a difference between letting a client have their way just because and gracefully choosing your battles. If you fall prey to the easy way out (letting them make bad choices that go against what they want or can afford) you’ll be the one they blame at the end of the day. Identify your client’s highest priorities early on and use those to gauge which disagreements are worth duking it out over and which ones are a waste of time. 

4. Dealing with a high strung or overly critical client. 

You’ve done a good job planning your first ever trade show. Yet despite receiving praise from the client who hired you, one of their team members always has something negative to say about your work. Their behavior is passive aggressive and no one seems to notice it but you so it goes unchecked. 

Ways you could respond:

Although it isn’t a reflection on who you are or your abilities as an event planner, constant criticism can feel really personal. Deal with highly critical people by first understanding that whatever problem they have is their problem. Continue treating them with as much respect and kindness as you would anyone else on the team but remember there is no shame in bringing the issue up with a trusted colleague. See what they have to say about it and if they’d be willing to play mediator so the two of you can hash it out. 

5. Standing up for yourself if clients are late on payments. 

You finally finished a multi day, cross country trade show and are eagerly waiting to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Which never come. You email the client and don’t get a response. You wait, email again, and wait some more, but nothing happens. 

Ways you could respond:

Deal with late payments by remaining polite and professional in every exchange, no matter how you really feel like behaving. Try to get them on the phone. And if that doesn’t work, contact the accounting department yourself to see what could be the hold up. Their answer might be telling – if they had no idea you were even on their payroll, you may want to get a mitigator involved. But first make sure to reach out at least one more time before you get that extreme. 

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

6. Being honest when what you have to say is definitely not what they want to hear. 

That wedding hall that your happy couple put as their number one, ultimate, must-have non-negotiable? Yeah it’s booked on their wedding day. And you have to deliver the news.  

Ways you could respond:

No one likes to give someone disappointing information. But you can and should soften the blow by suggesting 2 or 3 alternatives that better suit their event goals. In this case you could show them a comparable venue that had all their most loved features from the first choice. And you can get a list of dates their first choice venue does have available instead. 

7. Coming back from misaligned expectations. 

The brand that hired you to do their product launch assumed you’d be promoting the event entirely by yourself, despite the fact that they have an entire marketing team dedicated to it already and it wasn’t included in your contract. They want to know why you haven’t posted or shared anything to their social media yet. 

Ways you could respond:

Miscommunication happens. It’s no one’s fault. Well okay, it was probably your client’s fault but you cannot point the finger at them. Instead, let them know there seems to have been a misunderstanding but that you’d be happy to renegotiate your existing contract to include the additional service. 

8. Responding to a client who is raising their voice at you or someone else.

You overhear your client yelling at an event staffer for accidentally dropping a bottle of wine as they were setting up. Everyone is looking but no one knows what to do. 

Ways you could respond:

Because you are the event planner, you are essentially the leader of the event as well. Step in and calmly ask what is the matter. Allow the client and staffer to explain their sides of the story. Then, without taking sides, suggest a compromise or simply remind your client of the fact that you ordered extra bottles anyways for this exact reason, so there’s no need to get too upset. 

Also it’s worth noting that a momentary lapse in judgement is one thing, but a consistent pattern of behavior that negatively impacts you and your team may mean you need to consider a more in-depth approach. Or, in a worst case scenario, terminating the contract. Mutual respect is a fundamental right for you, your client, and everyone else involved with the event. If a client cannot handle that notion then you are in no way obligated to stick around and participate in their mistreatment.

9. Respectfully parting ways mid-project. 

The scenario we just described becomes extreme and your client’s behavior towards you and/or people around you has become intolerable. 

Ways you could respond:

Legal counsel blogs note that it’s important to do so in writing but there are plenty of ways to politely terminate a contract. But before you do that, make sure you’ve taken the time to calmly address the situation with the client. They might not be aware of their behavior and sincerely apologize. 

If they aren’t receptive to the discussion or do not change their behavior, then follow the guidelines set out in your contract for this scenario. If you didn’t include them, you can still send a letter (attached as a PDF in an email that is being tracked with a third party app to confirm it was successfully delivered and opened) that outlines – in no uncertain terms – what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, when it officially takes effect, and what steps you will do to tie up loose ends. 

10. Addressing inappropriate comments or actions.  

A few offhand remarks your client has shared haven’t been career-ending-Tweet worthy but they definitely point to an unspoken set of beliefs they have that rub you the wrong way. It’s subtle so you second guess yourself – they can’t possibly mean what they just said, right? Until it happens again. 

Ways you could respond:

You might not see eye to eye with everyone you organize events for but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate unacceptable behavior. The next time the client makes a remark of that same nature, use it as an opportunity to start a dialogue. Ask them why they said what they said. Explain how it makes you feel. If you aren’t able (or willing) to articulate why the remarks are so offensive, you can always limit in person communication and use phone meeting and emails to collaborate instead. 

Now, you’re ready to handle any tough event client conversation that comes your way. 

Want to learn more about common event planning problems and how to vet clients? Be sure to watch our video on starting an event planning business to set yourself for long term success! 

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Higher Education: Inside the Weedmaps Museum of Weed

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weed-museum-2019_1

A mix of artifacts and interactives are designed to educate attendees on the evolution of cannabis.

The legalization of cannabis consumption has made the plant a hot topic of late, but human interaction with marijuana dates back to ancient civilization. From binding samurai armor together to easing the effects of chemotherapy, cannabis has an extensive history that encompasses a range of uses, cultures and time periods. To illustrate this evolution while giving its brand a boost, digital cannabis platform Weedmaps developed an entire museum dedicated to getting the public up to speed. Open Aug. 3 through Sept. 29, the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, located in Los Angeles, takes consumers on a 30,000-square-foot journey through the history of marijuana.

The museum features a full cafeteria, merchandise shop, snack bar and plenty of lounge space, but at the heart of the experience are a “Plant Lab” and seven meticulously curated exhibits, arranged chronologically, that offer fun, educational touchpoints while encouraging attendees to support reform efforts.


cannabis_grass-lands_teaserMore on This Topic:
  • Blazing Trails: The Do’s and Dont’s of Cannabis Experiences at Events
  • Three Strategies for Igniting a CBD-infused Experience

The first stop, Pre-Prohibition, is presented as a traditional art gallery exhibit. The space features facts on the earliest uses of cannabis, including the first recorded use of medical marijuana, with artifacts to supplement them. Among the featured items: authentic samurai armor and a complete recreation of Betsy Ross’ original American flag made out of hemp. Then it’s on to the Age of Madness exhibit, which examines the use of cannabis propaganda to fuel racial tensions and panic in the early part of the 20th century. In the space, attendees learn how films like “Reefer Madness” generated widespread fear and misconceptions about cannabis use that lasted nearly a century. To bring the concept to life, Weedmaps created a “madhouse environment” that included old propaganda posters, bold graphics, examples of 20th century yellow journalism, and a look at the Mexican Revolution.

The third exhibit, Counterculture Revolution, offers a psychedelic immersion into the mid-20th century when a new generation stepped onto the scene, advocating for cannabis as a symbol of love and peace. Activist posters and trippy visuals line this exhibit to underscore the chaos of the era. Here, attendees learn about the Brotherhood of Eternal Love (the “hippie mafia” that aimed to inspire a psychedelic revolution in the U.S.), a brief history of music and cannabis, and the growth of mysticism.

Then over at the Behind Closed Doors exhibit, attendees are introduced to the key players in the War on Drugs movement. The space demonstrates how laws and regulations of the era targeted specific communities.

 

weed-museum-2019_7

The Dose of Compassion exhibit highlights a turning point in the history of medical marijuana.

 

“This is when the Shafer Commission basically came out and said, ‘Marijuana is not [as bad as] we think it is,’” says Julie Stein, executive producer of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed. “But Nixon said, ‘No, it is. We’re going to make it public enemy No. 1.’ So it became this war on drugs. From a production standpoint, the exhibit is really interactive. We have a big lenticular in the space where you see the two sides of Nixon, and then a more abstract installation with CRT TVs where they’re really ping-ponging between the two sides. This is when activist groups like Yippie and LEMAR and Norml were established. At the same time, this is when the DEA was formed. So we bounce back with conversations between all of the parties.”

The fifth exhibit, Entrapment, transports attendees to the Regan era during which some of the strictest cannabis laws in history were passed, leading to mass incarceration. In partnership with the CAN-DO Foundation, Weedmaps is leveraging the space to spotlight four people who are currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes. Within the exhibit, attendees participate in a visitation booth experience during which they walk through a replica jail cell block to a station where they can listen to the personal stories of the four incarcerated individuals, some of whom are in prison for life. Consumers can sign petitions to fight for those individuals’ clemency, brush up on statistics around dollars spent on incarceration for non-violent marijuana crimes, and review artifacts like old D.A.R.E. kits from drug education programs, board games and marijuana tax stamps.

“We really wanted to provoke emotion. There are moments where I’ve seen tears in people’s eyes when they’re hearing these stories and seeing some of the things that people went through to get to where we’re at,” says Stein.

Then it’s on to Dose of Compassion, set in the 1990s, when cannabis’ position in society evolved from counter-culture to pop culture. The exhibit portrays the bedroom of a ’90s-era kid, with cannabis posters, shelves lined with bongs and other references pointing to the plant’s progression into the mainstream. From there, attendees are transported into a replica hospital room from San Francisco General Hospital, the first facility to provide hospice services to people dying of AIDS. This marked a turning point in the history of medical marijuana legalization, including the establishment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the first medical marijuana dispensary. Weedmaps worked directly with the founders of the CDC, including some of the individuals who wrote Prop 215, to curate the exhibit.


“We really wanted to provoke emotion. There are moments where I’ve seen tears in people’s eyes when they’re hearing these stories.” —Julie Stein


In the last exhibit, Legalization, attendees engage with an interactive, motion-sensing timeline that guides them through pivotal moments in cannabis history. There’s also a data visualization that examines everything from the financial benefits of cannabis legalization to cannabis support from political parties. The final stop is at the Plant Lab where attendees learn about the anatomy of the plant and how its various components interact with the body. Consumers can compare THC against CBD, learn about different types of cannabis extractions and consumption technology and smell a variety of terpenes. At the core of the Plant Lab experience is a large installation detailing the body’s endocannabinoid system, which illustrates how humans react to cannabis consumption in different forms.

“The feedback has been overwhelming,” says Stein. “People who have never been interested in cannabis or aren’t connoisseurs are excited to learn about the plant. And that was really what we wanted to do—destigmatize it and make it approachable. It’s pretty amazing seeing people interact, engage, have fun and have their ‘a-ha’ moments.” Agency: Virtue, Los Angeles.

 

Take a Tour of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed:

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Events Industry Forum invites applications for grants

Events Industry Forum invites applications for grants

The Event Industry Forum is inviting applications for grants for projects that will benefit the events industry.

The Forum, which brings together 26 trade bodies and similar organisations from across the event industry, has funding available to support projects that will be of general benefit to the outdoor sector.

Since taking over publication of The Purple Guide from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) two years ago, the Forum has already provided over £70,000 in grants and support for projects to help the sector. It has also made a commitment to provide £5000 per annum to support event students attend industry conventions.

The Forum is committed to using funds raised from sales of the Guide to support projects that will have a wide benefit to the events industry.

Grant Guidelines

Grant applications must be able to demonstrate a purpose that will benefit and support the interests of the outdoor events industry, be it the whole or any part of it.

  • At least 20% of grant funds will be withheld until EIF receives a full report of the completed project.
  • Grant recipients must issue press releases both before and after the project, recognising EIF’s funding support. Press releases must be approved by EIF before being issued.
  • Any publication, report or marketing material produced referring to the project must acknowledge EIF’s funding support.

How to Apply

Applications for grants should be in writing and should include:

  • The title of the project and a short description of it
  • Details of the amount of funding being sought and specifically how it will be used
  • Details of the overall project budget
  • An explanation of how this project will benefit the events industry
  • Timescales for delivery
  • Applications must be supported by a copy of the constitution of the organisation applying plus their charity or company registration (if applicable)
  •  Individual applicants must provide appropriate references from the industry if the above do not apply.
  • Contact details for further information

Applications should be kept to a single side of A4 and should be sent to Jim Winship at jim@tesa.org.uk.

NEXT DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS – 1ST NOVEMBER 2019

EIF Decision Process

Applications for grants will be considered at a meeting of the EIF Directors twice a year and applicants will be notified of the outcome at least two weeks after each meeting together, where possible, with their reasoning. Decisions will be based on scores given by the Directors to each application.

The next Directors meeting will be on 8th December 2019

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Areas of interest

Brand Events

Concerts & Tours

Conferences

Exhibitions

Event Tech

Festivals

Meetings

Sporting Events

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