All posts by farshi

Destination Wedding Packages

If you are considering a destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort, you have likely found a staggering number of options. But how do you know what’s included? Are the free wedding packages really free? What kind of things carries an extra charge? Here’s what you need to know!

Free wedding packages: Most all-inclusive resorts offer a complimentary wedding package. But there is usually some criteria you have to meet to get it. Typically the bride and groom will need to stay in an upgraded room category for an average of 7 nights. You may also be required to fill 5 to 10 additional rooms with your guests for anywhere from 3 to 5 nights. Please bear in mind that free wedding packages are very basic. Free wedding packages never include the marriage license fees. This will be an additional charge of $250.00 to $500.00, dependent upon the destination.

What should we expect to pay for a wedding package? There are a lot of great promos available for weddings. If you’ve got 50 people on your guest list, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3500.00 to $20,000.00 on your wedding, dependent upon a number of factors. The Ultimate Memorable Moments package from Karisma Hotels is one of our favorites, as you get everything you need for 40 people for $10,000.00! Some hotels have great offers if you hold your wedding on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday.

Can we have a private reception at an all-inclusive resort? We get this question a lot! Some all-inclusive resorts will allow your wedding party to make reservations at one of their restaurants following your wedding. However, many all-inclusive resorts don’t allow this, as they either don’t have space, or it interferes with the experience of the resort’s other guests. If you’re on a budget, and have less than 20 guests, finding a resort that will allow your wedding party to dine together at one of the restaurants following your wedding could save you thousands of dollars. We can help you sort out which ones allow for this, and which are a better fit if you want a completely private event.

Can I bring my own photographer? Yes, you can, but there’s a fee for it. Most all-inclusive resorts have everything you need for your wedding. If you bring your own wedding vendors, you’re taking away from the local economy. Most resorts do charge an outside vendor fee of $300.00 to $1000.00, dependent upon the resort, and the vendor you want to bring. Some hotels we work with will waive the fee if certain conditions are met.

Can my guests stay somewhere else and just come to the resort for my wedding? Most resorts do sell day passes. Day passes usually run about $100.00 per person. Hotels sell a limited number of passes per day on a first come, first serve basis. They cannot be purchased in advance. Most hotels won’t sell day passes if the occupancy rate is higher than 80%. The pass will allow your guest to enjoy the resort for a few hours on your wedding day. In short, there’s no guarantee that your guest will be able to get a day pass, and could miss your wedding. We always recommend that your guests stay at the hotel instead.

Do I need a travel agent, wedding coordinator, or both? Planning a wedding ceremony and managing travel are two completely different skill sets. The resort’s wedding coordinator is the best person to guide you through your ceremony and reception. There’s no need to also hire a local wedding planner. A wedding travel agent will manage the travel for you and your guests, saving you hours of work and frustration.

If you’re planning a destination wedding and could use a little assistance, contact the pros at Bliss Honeymoons today!

Human Resources in Successful Event Management

Human resources play a crucial role in the planning of an event or conference, no matter how big or small the attendance is.

This specific department are the go-to team for organisation and support on a number of elements that all contribute to the smooth-running and success of an event.

Many debate the importance of budgeting for a dedicated HR team when it comes to an event, they assume it’s a job that can be managed by one person or responsibilities can be delegated throughout other departments – but that simply isn’t how it works.The market is healthy — meaning more hiring for more companies

We at events management company have been responsible for the management of a number of successful events throughout the UK and from our years of experience, we absolutely value the need for dedicated HR before, during and after events have taken place.

For example, let’s imagine that you work for a conference centre that has admin, sales, marketing and an events team all on site.

It’s the HR professional’s responsibility to ensure that all of the named departments have the right support, training and facilities needed to perform in a safe environment which all contribute to the smooth-running of an event. It’s useful to use a virtual project management tool for scheduling, allocating work, tracking time, and handling finances. This frees up time for critical tasks like building relationships and holding training sessions, especially in the initial stages which are often so important.

What is the Role of HR in Event & Conference Planning?

Whilst the basic functions of a HR team will always exist for event planners, there are a number of specific aspects that only apply to event and conference management.

Having worked with a number of HR professionals, we decided to make it easy and list what we deem to be the most important duties that human resources contribute The top 10 responsibilities that apply to HR in this industry include:

> Developing Job Descriptions

Creating accurate job descriptions is an imperative part of recruiting either permanent, contract or voluntary staff for an upcoming event.

A job description holds many purposes which include:

  • Helping people to understand the job role being advertised
  • Providing the correct objectives and guidance needed for the people who take on the work
  • Ensuring consistency in performance for people who take on the job
  • Helping the event managers to find the right person for the role

But that’s not all.

Depending on the type of staff required and the type of work being offered (permanent, voluntary etc) the descriptions many need to be altered significantly each time, which will help to speed up the applicant process, especially when being assisted by third-party recruitment.

In a competitive hiring market, recruiters are facing a talent shortage

The typical sections of a job description would include:

  • The type of employment being offered i.e. full time, part time
  • Transparency in relationships e.g. applicant would report to the events coordinator
  • The purpose and objectives of the job role
  • The main duties involved in the job
  • Criteria that will be used to assess successful applicants

> Advertising New Positions

The human resources team recruit applicants for open positions and help find the right employees for a given position.

According to a survey of 1,600 recruitment and HR professionals, 65% claim the biggest issue in hiring new staff is the lack of talent available, which adds more pressure to HR professionals to not only find the right candidate but to be creative in doing so.

Only 10% of recruiters say their companies plan to automate jobs in the next 2-3 years

A few examples include:

  • Financial incentives for current employees who can recommend a successful candidate
  • Inviting the help of current industry friends and contacts
  • Eye-catching social media advertising (think a whacky 30 second YouTube video)

Most human resources teams will invite the expertise of a recruitment agency to widen the chances of finding the right candidate, but this option is often avoided for the events industry as budgets will vary depending on the size and structure of your event.

> Conducting Interviews

Once the HR team have collected a number of potential candidates for the job(s) being advertised, it’s now up to them to arrange and conduct a number of interviews.

Many jobs in the events industry require both specific skill sets and experience in a number of areas.

To hire the best people, recruiters are changing their ways

For example, if you’re hiring a sound technician for a music event, it’s important that specific questions are asked and this would involve quoting specific equipment, which would mean the HR team having to brief the events coordinator first and almost having to educate themselves in some cases (depending on time limits and the size of the department).

> Training

A key area for all HR professionals is providing the right training for the correct employees. Basic introduction courses (think health and safety) are to be handled by the department.

Job seekers aren’t off the hook, though — especially when it comes to soft skills and social media

What about the roles that require a specific set of skills? Perhaps the event taking place requires more volunteers than usual?

In these cases, it’s the job of human resources to organise that an expert in this field or a person of experience conducts the training.

> Work Allocation

Many assume that the event management team will allocate the work, but human resources often work very closely with coordinators to ensure that:

  • The budgets allocated for third party involvement aren’t exceeded
  • Departments are aware of their objectives leading up to the event
  • Tasks are allocated to the right employees

Not to take any credit away from event organisers, but without HR staff, the smooth running of an event before, during and after is never 100% guaranteed – which is why experience always pays off.

> Managing Performance & Expectations

We touched upon it very briefly in the last section, but managing both the performance and expectations of employees is crucial to a winning event.

It doesn’t matter if the event involves 50 members of staff or 500; the HR department have to make sure they work together with other relevant figures to ensure that performance levels are managed correctly.

Talent is the lifeblood of every organization

In order for a lighting technician to improve upon setting up times or to ensure that the head of catering is properly managing their team, performance needs to be monitored realistic expectations need to be set.

HR professionals are the ones that plan and maintain performance management along with working closely with employees and their authorities to create expectations that are challenging and that will help them to further their skill sets and enhance their experience within the events industry.

HR management software is fast becoming one of the most popular ways of managing the performance of employees, setting new goals, managing employee leave and much more.

> Payment & Rewards

Although research by the Harvard Business Review states that the majority of employees are not money driven, ensuring that employees or contract workers are paid fairly for the work they produce at events is important for a number of reasons.

The reputation of the event, the company associated and the reputation of sponsors could be tainted if employees aren’t paid on time or with the correct amount.

The association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak

HR professionals therefore have to work closely with an internal finance department or third-party to monitor that employees are being paid the amounts they’ve been quoted.

For permanent employees of a company, rewards are often used as a way of acknowledging and thanking team members for their hard work.

Human resources are counted on for creating the right prizes for the right departments, using their judgement based on employee interests.

> Time Keeping

Often events are allocated a very strict time allowance, depending on the venue or the nature of the gathering.

This means that schedules and patterns are created for employees to make it clear where they need to be and the tasks to be carried out at given times.

In order for this to be a successful process, labour laws have to be adhered to which includes:

  • The limitation of hours that employees are allowed to work
  • Any overtime requirements for staff members

If hours are not correctly delegated and regulated, the company in charge of the event could face legal action either a.) Working employees for too long or b.) Not giving them the appropriate compensation.

> Event Safety

Safety at en event is particularly important and takes careful consideration and months of planning.

For examples, the use of heavy equipment and large displays are often utilised during events, which could mean the need for forklifts or other forms of transport to move equipment to different locations.

Event statistics show that there were 66,000 reported injuries at events in Europe within 8 years due to crowd safety failures, which makes it just as important to be on top of the expected attendee numbers.

If an event is likely to be overcrowded, using ticketing has become a popular way of monitoring the progress of sales, which in turn makes it easier for HR professionals to hire the right amount of security and first aid staff (in case of an emergency).

Crowd safety failures (2002-2010): 2,321 deaths confirmed, 66,000 injuries reported

Issues like these raise several safety concerns that have to be reduced to ensure employees are safe and free from harm on the job.

The HR team are heavily involved in creating a number of safety processes and handling risk assessments to ensure that injuries aren’t incurred during an event, for participating staff and event goers alike.

To summarize, this article has been created to give a greater insight into the important role that human resources play in the successful running of events and conferences along with what their overall role entails.

This includes:

  • Developing accurate job descriptions for permanent, contract and voluntary staff
  • Advertising new job positions with 100% creativity
  • Arranging and conducting interviews with potential employees
  • Providing or organizing training in key areas for all departments across the business
  • Allocating work to employees and coordinating progress
  • Managing employee performance whilst setting realistic goals
  • Ensuring workers are paid accordingly and on time
  • Devising work schedules and patterns that safeguard time allowances
  • Producing concise safety processes that protect both employee and attendee.

Effective Ways to Market your Articles

One of the best ways to job security as a freelance writer is to become your own marketing agent. Who can better promote your writing than you? Always view your writing as a business, because it is! You are a retailer, the Neiman-Marcus or topnotch magazine writing. Your articles are your merchandise, your inventory. Don’t ever think of yourself as bragging; view yourself as an entrepreneur who is marketing a new inventory or product, namely your articles. When you tell others about your latest work, you are adding to your resume and ultimately applying for your next writing gig. Never forget that!

1. Set up a blog or create a website exclusively for your writing

Always take yourself seriously as a professional writer. Spread the word about your work and others will start paying attention to your work. Each time you have something published, be sure to write a post about it and also create a link to your work on the blog. Always give reference to the magazine where your article appears. This is a win-win strategy for both you and the magazine and its editor.

2. Promote your articles via as many social media sites as possible

Use any and every social media spot for your writing; social media sites are a perfect marketing tool and avenue for your work. Limit your posts to writing-related news and events. This is not the venue for photos of your latest vacation or announcement of the birth of your new granddaughter. Actively seek connections and friends to expand your online presence as a professional writer.

3. Develop a newsletter or an email mailing list to announce the publishing of every article

Friends and family will appreciate receiving the news about your latest published article. Add names to your list as new people show an interest or curiosity about what you are doing. If someone in particular has inspired you to write a particular article, be sure to mention them. People always enjoy being appreciated. Perhaps Aunt Sally’s story about finding a pet sitter when she went on vacation inspired you to write about care for your dog while you are away, for example. Always welcome comments to your article, either to you personally, or on the web site where your article appears if there is a spot for reader comments.

4. Send email links to individuals who may have a particular interest in your latest published article

People love to know that you are thinking of them. If your friend Karen is considering installing a fence at her home, be sure to write her about your latest article “Affordable Fences”, and ask for her input. If Dave has strong opinions about tattoos, forward your article about tattoos and ask Dave for his comments.

5. Submit a press release each time you, the writer, get a promotion

Your local newspaper probably has a weekly column where community members are recognized for their professional accomplishments. Our newspaper calls it “Business Briefs” and it appears in the business section of each Sunday edition. Next time a magazine asks you to write a weekly column, for example, write a paragraph and send a professional-looking photo of yourself to the editor. See how other press releases are written first, and then use that style to write your own. Know the specific name of the business editor and find out their email address so that you can send this press release to them personally. You will be amazed as I was at how many of your local friends, neighbors and co-workers read these. Don’t be surprised to receive in the US Mail, greeting cards with enclosed clippings of your press release.

6. Make public appearances where you can promote your work

Perhaps your nearby high school wants their students to discover that professional writers don’t have to be fancy, over-the-top Hollywood types of people. After all, many published writers live in urban and rural areas all over the country and most writers are regular folks like you and me. Be flattered by the invitation to speak to a group of any age audience in any setting, and always agree to talk to these local groups. Maybe one of the service clubs would like you to present a talk during one of their monthly lunches. Or possibly you can organize an event at your local library where you and other authors can answer questions for the public. Always say “yes” to any and every invitation to get public exposure for your writing.

7. Maintain accurate and thorough records for your writing

Keep track of everything you write and submit, and also where and when it gets published. And of course, keep records for yourself, for marketing, and also for the Internal Revenue Service, every payment you receive for your work. You will be amazed how handy it will be to have a comprehensive list of all your writing when it comes time to do more marketing. Venues where you may ultimately have your articles published with think well of you if they see how productive and versatile you are as a professional writer.

Most businesses, big and small, whether they are selling product or only service advertise. As a professional writer, whether experienced or a newbie, must get the word out that you are a serious writer, always ready to embark on the next writing adventure.

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is the most inexpensive way to reach your target market, regardless of the size of your business.

But what is internet marketing, really?

Defining Internet Marketing

Also called online marketing, internet marketing is the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet using tools that help drive traffic, leads, and sales.

Internet marketing a pretty broad term that encompasses a range of marketing tactics and strategies – including content, email, search, paid media, and more.

These days, though, internet marketing is often used interchangeably with “content marketing.”

Why?

Because content marketing is the internet marketing of the present and future.

Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Think of it like this: content marketing (or inbound marketing) is in direct opposition to traditional advertising (outbound marketing), and in direct integration with the patterns and habits of today’s generation.

We don’t like to be sold to, we have our ad-blockers on, and we barely watch cable anymore.

Content marketing serves up content that addresses our pain points, and is there when we want it.

Here’s a great illustration of that from Voltier Digital:

What is Internet Marketing? Your Guide to Today’s Online Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising

Here’s the evolutional pathway behind the modernized form of marketing that is most successful today.

Selling no longer works (a.k.a., traditional advertising).

Why?

Traditional advertising focuses on pushing messages at the consumer to get them to buy.

It’s interruptive, obstructive, and intrusive.

It shouts, “Hey, look at me!” while waving its arms.

You may try to avoid eye contact, but traditional ads are persistent.

You know what traditional ads look like because you’re bombarded with them every single day.

Think TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads, radio ads, and web banner ads.

What is Internet Marketing? Your Guide to Today’s Online Marketing

Ads have been around for a long time, as evidenced by this traditional ad for “honest-to-goodness” coffee from the 1950s.

Ads may still work in some strategic places.

But Internet users can just click away from ads if they don’t want to see them.

Which is exactly what happens.

According to a PageFair report, 615 million devices in use today employ ad blockers. Additionally, ad blocker use increased by 30 percent in 2016 alone.

You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Ads are annoying.

And, they aren’t the way consumers prefer to learn about new products anymore.

Instead of businesses shoving themselves in consumers’ faces, they need to take a different, gentler approach.

Content marketing is exactly that.

Brands and marketers who use it publish content that teaches, inspires, guides, or solves a problem for their target audience.

With some handy tricks, the targets can find that content on the web without it being pushed at them.

If the prospects gain something useful from the content, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Finally, consumers can interact with the brand organically and share their content on social media.

Trust is forged.

Authority is established.

Connections happen.

These loyal followers can then be converted into leads and sales – naturally.

All of the above happens with a focus on giving value to the user.

Help users – offer them value and they’ll reward you in return.

That is what internet marketing/content marketing is all about at its core.

Why Internet Marketing?

Now that you know what internet marketing is, you still may be wondering why there’s so much hype around it.

Well, the hype is totally founded.

Internet marketing has shown proven success over and over again.

Here are some stats gathered from around the web to help give you an idea of why internet/content marketing stands tall:

  • By 2019, content marketing is set to be an industry worth $313 billion.
  • 91 percent of businesses already are convinced of its power and have already adopted it as an essential marketing tactic.
  • Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional, outbound marketing, but pulls in 3x as many leads.
  • If you’re a small business with a blog, you’ll rake in 126 percent more lead growth than your competitors without a blog
  • If you have a blog and publish content, you’re likely to get 434 percent more indexed pages on Google, on average

And there’s more.

From my own content marketing endeavors, I have seen my small business take off.

With 99 percent of our focus on content marketing, we managed to grow our worth to millions of dollars.

Bottom line: This stuff works.

Reasons You Need to Use Video Marketing

We recently published an infographic on how powerful video will become. But the future has already arrived. This has been a full-on video revolution year for marketers. According to Wyzowl statistics, 63% of businesses have started using video content marketing. Out of those 82% of businesses feel video marketing is an important part of their strategy. Video is progressing rapidly and will reach new heights sooner than we think. This trend is fueled by 83% of businesses believing that video marketing gives them a good ROI.

Undoubtedly, video marketing is one of the newest additions to your promotion toolbox. You might still have your doubts. Is it really worth to consider using videos for promoting your business? Do you have enough resources to create and use video content in your marketing?

The answer is simple: Yes, it’s worth it. Not only because everyone’s doing it but because video is one of the most versatile and profitable digital marketing tools out there. Here are 8 reasons why you should use video marketing right now.

1. Video Boosts Conversions and Sales

First things first. Videos can make you some serious money. Adding a product video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. And Treepodia team has made it sure that video works well regardless of the category in which you deploy it.

ecommerce-video-verticals-roi

Video can also lead directly to sales. Studies show that 74% of users who watched an explainer-video about a product subsequently bought it. So better start crafting your exciting product videos now!

If you think about it, the effectiveness of video is not even that surprising. After all, vision is our most dominant sense. Most information transmitted to our brain is visual. So if already pictures can boost engagement massively, imagine what moving pictures can do to your business.

[adinserter block=”6″]

2. Video Shows Great ROI

To get you even more excited, 83% of businesses say that video provides good return on investment. Even though video production is not yet the easiest nor cheapest task, it pays off big time. Besides, online video editing tools are constantly improving and becoming more affordable. And even your smartphone can make pretty decent videos already.

Another good news is that your videos don’t have to be perfect. It’s the content that matters! Latest research shows that users are mostly put off by videos that don’t explain the product or service clearly enough. Low quality and poor design didn’t matter nearly as much. So it’s fair to say that video is like pizza – when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good!

video-pizza

I Learned All My Youtube Marketing from Epic Meal Time (and You Can Too!)

youtube marketingYes, you read that title correctly. That out of their minds, slightly alcoholic team over at Epic Meal Time were the first to teach me about YouTube marketing. As with all successful YouTube channels, they had to build their own channel themselves. There was no network backing them or an executive producer coming on board to show them the ropes. There wasn’t even anyone with any real experience!

Read the full story…

3. Video Builds Trust

Trust is the foundation of conversions and sales. But building trust should be a goal on its own. The whole concept of content marketing is based on trust and creating long-term relationships. Stop selling and let the people come to you by providing them interesting and useful information. I couldn’t have said it better than Mark Schaefer, the Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions:

The new era demands a focus on ignition, not just content, on trust, not just traffic, and on the elite people in your audience who are spreading and advocating your content.

Video does it all. Video content is likely to engage us and ignite emotions. And when we talk about elite people in the audience, YouTubers have become the most powerful social media figure to promote your brand. So, if you are serious about content marketing, you must be serious about video, too.

Promotional videos can foster trust as well. Some consumers are still skeptical about buying products and services on the internet because they fear fraud and cheating. But effective marketing videos present your products in a conversational form. That creates a sense of individual approach which is why 57% of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to purchase online.

4. Google Loves Videos

Videos allow you to increase the time spent by visitors on your site. Thus, longer exposure builds trust and signals search engines that your site has good content. Moovly gives us whopping statistics: You’re 53 times more likely show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. Since Google now owns YouTube, there has been a significant increase in how much videos affect your search engine rank.

first-in-google-with-video

Make sure to optimize your videos on Youtube for SEO. Write interesting titles and descriptions. Add a link back to your website, products, and services. Give potential customers the way to take the next step. And explore the world of interactive videos, to encourage actions even more.

5. Video Appeals to Mobile Users

Video and mobile go hand in hand. 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile. From Q3 of 2013, mobile video views have grown more than 233 percent. YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. Since people like to watch videos on the go, and the number of smartphone users is growing, your video audience keeps getting bigger and bigger.

mobile video views

Also, Google tells us that smartphone users are twice as likely than TV viewers and 1.4 times more likely as desktop viewers to feel a sense of personal connection to brands that show video content or ads on their devices.

smartphone-video-viewer-preferences-google

The growth of mobile video means, brands need to be sensitive to the personal experience people have on their smartphones. For example, give them a better choice in the video content they consume.

6. Video Marketing Can Explain Everything

Are you launching a new product or a service? Create a video to show how it works. 98% of users say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. That is why 45% of businesses who use video marketing said that they have an explainer video on their home page. Of those businesses, 83% said that their homepage explainer video was effective.

Trying to explain a difficult concept? Create animated videos. Animation can bring concepts to life that no text or live video can. Besides, boring talking heads are not enough anymore to break through the clutter. Animated videos are a perfect combination of entertainment, nostalgia, and simplicity. And they work.

physics-and-ballet

Make sure you use a process that will get you results. Use these 20 pre-production steps to make your video content stand out from the rest. Check out the essential tips and examples of best practices on how to make a product demo video.

7. Video Engages Even the Laziest Buyers

Video is a great tool for learning, but it’s also super easy to consume. Today’s life is too busy to have time to read long product descriptions or dig deep into services. The modern customer wants to see the product in action. Video preference is one of the most important driving forces of using video in your content marketing.

lazy-animal

Video marketing can capture a wide audience, and it works on many levels. Even the laziest ones. Make sure you target not only to the eyes but also to the ears of the potential client. Your competitive advantage gets double power!

video marketing statistics

Slides

8. Video Encourages Social Shares

In the 8th annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report Michael Stelzner stated that 60% of the social marketers used video content in 2015 and 73% of the total respondents planned to use it in 2016. And they sure did.

Social networks also encourage video content with their new features. Facebook has launched 3600 Video, Live Video, and Lifestage (A Video-Centric App for Teenagers). Instagram put in place 60-Second Videos & Instagram Stories, Twitter has Periscope. And YouTube is the second most popular social network in the world.

However, in a social media context, video marketers must remember that people share emotions, not facts. 76% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining. So create fun entertaining videos to encourage social shares. Emotions are not exactly ROI but social shares can increase traffic to your site, and you can take it from there.

people-share-emotions

Bonus Tip 1: Video Ads Work Wonders

Hear this: the average click-through-rate of video ads is 1.84%. That’s the highest CTR of all digital ad formats! And for a 15-second non-skippable YouTube video ad the completion rate is 92%. For skippable video ads, the rate is 9%.

youtube-video-ads-graph

Video ads are also highly effective on social media platforms. Facebook, clubbed with Nielsen, projected the value of video ads on its platform. They learned that 74% of the total Ad Recall can be achieved already within the first 10 seconds of the video. So, fight against banner blindness by making video ads instead.

Bonus Tip 2: Video Is Rocking Email Campaigns

When you’re creating videos already, make sure you to incorporate them into your email marketing campaigns. An introductory email that includes a video receives an increase click-through rate by 96%! That’s a great way to stand out from competition and get your message across.

New Event Planning Trends

The new year is well under way, and all of us in the event space are watching out for the new trends that’ll continue to influence our work throughout 2019. So what’s changed, and what can we expect to see going forward? At all ends of the spectrum – from shrinking budgets to investment in advanced technology – there are several trends you should add to your watch list. Here are the five I’m paying attention to this year:

1. Shrinking Budgets

You’d think that, given that the Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council reports that “meetings generated $1,294 of spending per participant,” event and meeting planners would be given budgetary free rein to produce the kinds of events needed to generate these economic returns.And yet, according to a new survey conducted by Event Manager Blog Editor Julius Solaris and released during his “Event Trends for 2019” educational session at IMEX America in Las Vegas, 55.5% of respondents cited “shrinking budgets” as a concern in 2019 – the highest response rate out of any concern reported.

It could be that shrinking budgets are occurring because events are being asked to compete against the greater number of channels in today’s marketing landscape. Or it could be that organizers haven’t yet succeeded in reporting their ROI or justifying their impact on a company’s bottom line. Regardless, it seems likely that planners will be asked to do more with less in 2019, which makes selecting the right event technology tools even more important than before.

2. Event Personalization

Those event planners facing shrinking budgets won’t want to hear this one, but event personalization is likely to continue impacting meeting and event organization and outcomes in 2019.

For an example of just how extreme event personalization can get, consider the C2 Montréal 2018 event – attended by more than 7,000 participants. Cramer reports that “Between the Conference Blocks, Conference Sessions, and Labs, there were literally 11 different ways for every attendee to experience every hour of the three day event.”

Event personalization extends beyond offering multiple sessions and tracks so that attendees can customize their own experiences. An increasing number of events are adopting non-traditional layouts and session formats as part of their personalization efforts. For an extreme example of these alternatives, take “silent conferences,” which make use of technology so that multiple speakers can present in the same space while attendees toggle between the audio feeds of each according to their own preferences.

3. Adoption of Advanced Technology

While I’m on the subject of technology, it’s worth exploring the explosion of advanced products and systems that have the potential to influence events in 2019 and beyond:

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which could make it possible for event speakers and exhibitors to present experiential learning experiences beyond simple lectures or presentations.
  • The expansion of 5G networks, which could facilitate new forms of technological connectivity as their adoption grows.
  • Increased use of RFID systems for everything from cashless payment systems at events and on show floors, to attendee data capture at every stage of event participation.

These three forms of advanced technology barely scratch the surface of what I expect we’ll see in the event space in the next few years. I’m keeping an eye on these trends (as well as how practical they actually are), and I recommend you do the same.

4. Events as Experiences

Perhaps in an effort to differentiate themselves from others, meetings and events appear to be taking inspiration from experiences such as movies and music festivals.

As an example, Event shares the emerging idea of “Emotional ‘Un-Themes.’” In an article on event trends for 2019, the team reports that “The rise of un-themes involves focusing the event on an emotion or feeling rather than a tangible concept or idea.” The authors describe an event with a “dream theme,” which combined “different dream stages and elements to create varying atmospheres for the event and allowed greater freedom in the planning stage for color schemes and ideas.”

Or, take the example of Forbes’ 2018 Under 30 event in Boston. Rather than simply introduce a musical act, the event transformed into a fully-fledged music festival, featuring performances from acts like Marshmello and Wiz Khalifa.

Certainly, going to these extremes isn’t appropriate for every meeting, and the scale of each event must be taken into consideration. Think about the personalities of your attendees as well, but don’t be too quick to pigeonhole them into limited sets of experiences. Even the most traditional and buttoned-up of audiences may enjoy elements of experience-building at their events.

5. Going Back to Basics

Having said all that, I’m particularly interested in a trend predicted by the Rapier Group: going back to the basics.

Essentially, the Group reports, it’s fine to go all out if you have the money for all the technological bells and whistles available to planners today. But all the technology in the world won’t make up for failing to get core event principles right. The Group explains, “Don’t overthink things – don’t overestimate what you need to offer to create a great event. If you can get the visitor experience just right – which doesn’t need to include flashy tech and an over-amped budget – and delight delegates at every turn, you’re sure to succeed.”

In particular, the Group calls out “ensuring amazing website functionality, a straightforward ticket ordering process, an effortless journey to and from the venue, a strong WiFi connection, and comfortable networking spaces” as the basics organizers should be concerned with. And although Attendease can’t rig up your venue’s WiFi or arrange car service for your attendees, we can help with the first two basics – effective website and ticketing solutions – on the Rapier Group’s list.

Event planning tools

Event planning is a stressful business. In fact, on CareerCast’s annual list of most stressful jobs, event coordinator lands just after police officer, airline pilot, and firefighter. You might not be saving lives or fighting crime — but it certainly feels like it sometimes.

Getting an event out the door requires serious multitasking and a Ninja-skill level of organization. Which is why there are so many apps on the market today — tools that can help you with just about every aspect of event organization.

Too many, in fact.

You want to spend your time focusing on doing great work, not on managing tools. The goal is to figure out which problems you’re trying to solve for, and use the right tools (and only those tools) to make it happen.

Here are the four tools you can rely on to simplify event management and become more productive. They work on their own, and they’re even better together.

Salesforce & Hubspot: Organize attendee information and maintain strong relationships

There’s no more important tool than a CRM (customer relationship management tool) for any business that cares about customers — which is every events business. With a world-class CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot, you keep all your attendee information organized.

Your CRM is particularly critical if one of the goals of your event is to generate sales or fundraising leads. Once you have customer information stored in your CRM, you can track and manage each customer’s journey over time.

But a good CRM also helps you manage vendor, sponsor, and partner relationships. So this tool can be your central hub for organizing every human aspect of your event.

Eventbrite: Simplify your ticketing and registration to drive attendance

Chances are you’re already using an online platform to sell tickets or collect registrations — but not all solutions are created equal.

Your online ticketing platform should go beyond transactions to help you manage your event end-to-end. It should also supply you with valuable data and reporting you can use to make strategic decisions at the right times. And it should help you drive attendance by integrating with attendees’ favorite apps like Facebook and Instagram.

If you use Eventbrite, you’ll get detailed insight about the people attending your event with access to visual analytics, charts, and reports. Plus the Eventbrite Organizer app helps you track ticket sales on your phone in real-time, facilitate mobile event check-in, and stay up to date with live attendance tracking.

Your event management tech should also sync automatically with your entire event planning toolkit, including…

Emma & Mailchimp: Engage potential attendees with email

73% of event professionals say email is a top marketing strategy to improve in 2019, according to a new Eventbrite survey. To get (and stay) in touch with potential attendees, there’s no better channel.

At the same time, 52% of event professionals say they think it will be more difficult to drive sales via email in 2019. That’s why an email marketing platform is critical to track your efforts and improve your sales.

Emma and MailChimp are two of the best email marketing services out there. Using them, you can:

  • Create on-brand, well-designed email campaigns
  • Organize your email contact lists by category (potential attendees versus registered attendees versus repeat attendees, for instance) and target customized messaging to each group
  • Schedule and automate the sending of emails

Bonus points if your email platform syncs with your event ticketing platform, as both Mailchimp and Emma do with Eventbrite. That way, when people buy tickets to your event, they’re automatically added to your email lists, saving you an important manual step (and preventing mistakes or the risk you’ll forget).

Asana: Manage every single detail of your event planning

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our go-to tool for tracking all the moving parts of event planning, Asana. Asana is a work management tool that helps users plan better projects, track what’s important to their team, and produce better work, faster.

Use Asana to create a project for each event you manage and populate it with every step in your workback schedule. Then, share the project (and it’s workflows, roles, and deadlines) with anyone within your organization who touches the event, so they know who’s doing what by when, and can monitor progress as you plan.

Whether you’re in a big organization or a team of one, Asana even has a customizable event planning template to track to-dos and progress specific to event workflows. You can also integrate the tech with your other go-to tools like MailChimp and Salesforce.

World’s most lavish destination wedding venues

Coco Prive, a private island in the Maldives

Coco Prive
Courtesy of Zapwater Communications

What’s more intimate than renting out an entire island for a wedding? Not much.

That’s exactly what you can do at Coco Prive, a private island in the Maldives. The average venue rate is $45,000 per night, and includes a variety of inclusive services such as a private chef, unlimited drinks, unlimited diving and access to personal staff. According to Venue Report, the venue can only accommodate 12 people.

In total, initial costs for a wedding at Coco Prive can reach around $315,000 for a seven-night getaway wedding, based on the nightly rate provided by Venue Report.

Traveling to the Maldives isn’t cheap, either. Couples looking to be gracious hosts that are planning to pay for travel costs of their guests can expect to pay a large sum, too. A single ticket to the Maldives from New York City can cost around $1,247 on Emirates Airlines, according to pricing available from Google Flights at the time this article was written. For a party of 12, that means covering everyone’s flights could cost around $15,000 alone.

Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte
Alexander Ipfelkofer/Getty Images

Looking for a fairy tale wedding? Then look no further than the French castle Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Located just outside of Paris, the chateau was the inspiration for Versailles, one of the most famous establishments in the world. It’s also the largest private estate listed as a historical monument in France.

The Grand Salon and West Wing areas of the chateau will run around $47,500, including tax. Staff and coordination fees are $6,100 and chateau insurance is $1,100, both also including tax.

For an additional cost, you can rent the library and buffet room for $24,250. How about some fireworks? That will cost around an additional $11,000 — but that doesn’t include the cleaning costs afterward.

In total, renting the chateau and having fireworks will cost about $90,000. That cost will increase once catering, lighting and other considerations are arranged.

The New York Public Library

New York Public Library
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

No, not just Carrie Bradshaw gets to have a wedding at the New York Public Library. Anyone can have their wedding here — it just comes at a hefty cost.

This massive library, first opened in 1911, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in New York City. Renting the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building starts at $60,000 and requires hiring a professional wedding planner, which can cost between $5,000 – $10,000, according to Angie’s List.

On top of the overall rental fee, the library requires some additional — and unconventional — costs.

For example, the venue’s guidelines warn couples of the potential need of a supplemental dumpster, which is not included in the rental cost. The rental fee includes a five-hour rental time; celebrations lasting longer will be charged a per hour fee. If couples want photos on the front steps next to the legendary lions (which, by the way, are named Patience and Fortitude), it will also require an additional fee and insurance costs, since they are trademarked.

Food, decorations and beverage packages are not included in the rental fee.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

Umaid Bhawan Palace
Leisa Tyler/Getty Images

For those who think they’ve never heard of Umaid Bhawan Palace, think again: Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas held their wedding ceremony and reception at the hotel in 2018. The palace, located in Jodhpur, India, is estimated to have cost the couple over $460,000 in rental fees alone for their three-day celebration, according to E! News.

According to Wedding.net, accommodations at the palace vary by how grand the wedding is intended to be. The indoor space can seat 250 people, while the outdoor space has capacity for up to 1,200 people. The cost per plate starts around $90, meaning even a modest wedding could easily serve up $20,000 or so in food costs alone, excluding tax or other add-on charges for items such as lighting, decorations, fireworks, alcohol and more.

Umaid Bhawan Palace hosts over 300 rooms and spans across 26 acres. The hotel located inside has a fine-dining restaurant, marble bathrooms and a spa. Pricing of rooms vary, but the royal bedroom suite, which sleeps up to three guests had a $1,300 nightly rate according to hotel booking information at the time of writing.

Flying to Jodhpur is costly, too; a single round-trip ticket from New York City can run around $1,500 and includes multiple layovers, according to pricing available from Google Flights at the time of writing.

Palazzo Avino

Palazzo Avino in Italy
Courtesy of Palazzo Avino
This 12th century Italian villa is located on the hill top of Ravello, a village on the Mediterranean Sea. With a town hall only 150 meters from the hotel, Palazzo Avino is the spot for the reception.

Dinner can host up to 120 people and the rental fee starts at $5,650, plus tax. Welcome cocktails start at $45 per person, hors d’oeuvres at $17 per person, and a set dinner menu at $203 per person (drinks not included). Couples wanting to rent the terrace overlooking the ocean will have to fork over an additional $565.

For a wedding reception including the maximum 120 people, this can put total costs around $38,000. Accommodations are booked separately and can cost as much as $400 per night. Assuming each room housed two guests, that could leave the bride and groom with $24,000 in accommodation costs alone.

Getting to the Amalfi Coast requires flying to Naples first, which can cost around $1,000 per ticket, according to pricing available from Google Flights at the time of writing.

Tips for destination wedding planning

Destination wedding planning, that’s what this section is all about!  Knowledge is power,  especially when it comes to planning a destination wedding.  When you know what to expect and you have the right tools, you’ll save yourself a lot of money, time and stress!  Check out all the info on this page for invaluable tips and unique ideas that will make your journey to “I do” a lot smoother.

9 Tips for Successful Destination Wedding Planning

  1. Do a site visit!

    I start with this tip because it can not only eliminate 99% of your destination wedding planning concerns but also aid with the other 8 tips on this list! More about destination wedding site visits.

  2. Excite your guests

    You’re asking friends/family to make a significant commitment of their time and money. This is their vacation too, so you should excite them about the trip.  When I got married, 95% of the people we invited showed up. I chose a fun, affordable location that was a relatively short flight from home. But most importantly, I set the tone from the moment save-the-dates went out. By the time they got formal invitations in the mail, they knew this celebration was going to be unlike anything they’d ever witnessed and they were excited to be a part of it.

  3. Do it all from home

    After all the destination wedding planning, this should be a vacation for you too. Complete as many tasks as possible while you’re still home so that when you arrive at your location, you can relax instead of running errands.  Almost everything can be done from home via e-mail or phone. Make sure you have all the details finalized and in writing before you leave.

  4. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

    Destination wedding planning requires giving up a lot of control to someone in another country who might not even be fluent in your language.  You will not be able to micro-manage every single aspect the way you would if you were tying the knot in your hometown. Don’t get so caught up in tiny details that you don’t enjoy the experience.

  5. Plan Another Event

    pre destination wedding planningWhat I’m about to advise might sound contradictory, but stay with me. You shouldn’t over-plan for your guests.  You’ve probably chosen a really nice location and you should let your guests enjoy their vacation. Planning too many events won’t leave them any free time to explore and do their own thing.  That being said, you should arrange at least one event (welcome cocktails or rehearsal dinner) prior to the big day as a way to thank your guests for making the trip.  It’s also a great opportunity for them to get to know each other. You might even be able to negotiate this for free as part of your group reservation.

  6. Send Invitations Early

    Invitations need to be mailed much earlier than a traditional hometown marriage. You have to give your guests plenty of time to request time off from work, save money, snag the best airfares, arrange for babysitting, etc… Send them out at least 2-3 months ahead of time. More on when to mail your invitations.

  7. Thank Your Guests

    As your friends and family arrive, it’s important to show them how much you appreciate them traveling the distance to be a part of your big day. Plan a welcome party or dinner, greet them with a welcome bag full of goodies like flip flops, snacks, an area map and water bottles. Another easy and inexpensive idea is to include a heartfelt thank you note in your program.

  8. Dress Appropriately

    It’s your big day so by all means, if you’ve always dreamed of a velvet, Cinderella ball gown, go for it.  But if you want to be comfortable, keep in mind your location’s climate when choosing a dress. You can go as elegant or casual as you want, but choose lighter fabrics like chiffon, organza, crepe, silk georgette or tulle. More tips and pictures of beach wedding dresses.

  9. Remember The Honeymoon

    destination wedding planning and honeymoonAfter spending days with a group of people, I can almost guarantee that you and your new spouse will be craving some alone time. The beauty of destination wedding planning is that you can combine it with your honeymoon. Instead of spending time and money jetting off to a whole other country, consider having your honeymoon in the same place.

    How?

    After you tie the knot, ditch your guests and go to another resort or town where it’s just the two of you.  I got married in touristy Cancun where I spent a week with family and friends in a massive five star resort. For my honeymoon, I headed to the more quaint town of Playa del Carmen, an hour south of Cancun and stayed in an intimate boutique hotel. I was in the same country but it felt like worlds apart.

Destination wedding planning doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming if you do it properly and keep these tips in mind.