Do you need an Event Planner or “Creative Solution Provider”?

Somedays I wonder if I should change my job title – from “Event Planner” to Creative Solution Provider – after all, isn’t that what my clients are looking for when they hire someone in the event planning industry? I’m glad they do, because it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. There’s not a day on the job that I don’t create a solution for my clients. Some small and others big.

Creativity and problem solving go hand in hand in the meeting and events world. Where some consider creativity finding the right linen or entertainment to match the theme, others see creativity on how to fit 300 people in a meeting room that only fits 100 people.  I think about these situations as "opportunities" - some planned, others are not!

Planned opportunities:

The best case scenario is when a client presents an “opportunity” and we need to develop a solution, AND we have time to brainstorm. One of my clients listed a goal of “making our attendees feel extremely special.” This group regularly attends conferences and I knew that we’d have to develop something completely unique. While onsite for another meeting, I watched as the hotel staff lined up to greet a VIP on arrival. Not only were they ready to greet, they rolled out the red carpet-literally, and welcomed him as he opened his limo door and entered the hotel. A throwback to a different era, the event impressed everyone who witnessed it. We created a similar setting at the offsite venue to show the attendees they were welcomed and appreciated! It was a hit and it set the tone for a very engaging and successful event! We could deliver a truly creative solution, because we had time to plan how to address this opportunity.

Unplanned opportunities:

Now to the other end of the creativity spectrum – whether you call it a crisis, an issue, or a plain old problem, these opportunities are unplanned. Some might think these situations occur as a result of poor planning; but typically, most of these opportunities stem from what might be seen as a minor detail. What happens when the registration website isn’t charging the correct registration fee and over 100 people have registered?

“Why it happened” isn’t as important as how to resolve the situation. It’s all about recovery. Let me provide manageable and workable solutions. When a speaker runs long, we serve the afternoon coffee break in the conference room, instead of a common area down the hall. Or, if the motor coach with the Executive team gets a flat tire in route from the airport, we commandeer taxis from the hotel cab stand to fetch them ASAP. The secret to this kind of problem solving comes from “been there-done that” experience as an event planner. Experience I’ve gained through my 20 plus years as an event planner pays off for my clients today, and I’m happy to provide the expertise as part of my engagement with them. 

What’s my role?

 I take my role as problem solver as seriously as you take your job as business leader – some events can make (or break) a company’s goals for the year. Leave the problem solving and creative thinking to me and you focus on being the business leader.

Our tagline is Meeting Planning. Solved. Let me help create solutions for your next meeting! Send me an email – kris@kobeventsolutions.com or visit our website: www.kobeventsolutions.com. I can answer any questions or address concerns about working with a planner from KOB Event Solutions. Interesting conversations and initial consultations are always complimentary- let me help you get started towards achieving your event goals!

Leave the Negotiations to an Expert!

As a savvy business leader, you know the value of spending time and energy negotiating a good deal. Whether you are buying or selling on behalf of your company, you look to extract the highest value out of your relationships. As a professional Event Planner, I follow the same guiding principles – extracting the most value to deliver the best experience for my clients. It seems straightforward: a discount on the rack rate for hotel rooms, or a break on the cost of a per plate meal; yet professional event planners know how to dig deeper with vendors to get the biggest bang for your buck. 

Goals and Objectives

When we first meet, we discuss goals and objectives of the event - higher employee satisfaction, client development, etc. In addition, I want to understand  negotiable items and deal breakers that are important to you. Using these pieces of information, I can then look at potential vendors, and dig into the contract details that are most likely going to deliver that unique value and objective.

Prioritize Negotiations

How does that come to life in event negotiations? In the early stages of proposals, vendors and venues present seemingly attractive package deals to demonstrate their eagerness to do business.  Based on our initial discussion, I can negotiate the proposals to find concessions to best fit your needs. One venue offered free onsite parking - sounded like a great deal, all the guests would be flying into the area, and using group transportation. I declined that offer, and successfully counter-offered with a request for free daily Wi-Fi in guest rooms instead. If there are predominantly local attendees, the negotiation focus is on discounted or complimentary valet parking. With a packed meeting agenda let’s remove barriers that keep people from arriving on time. 

Don’t Forget the Little Things

Special requests may be an important factor with VIP attendees.  That’s right - riders aren’t just for celebrities and rock stars! If you work with a client or executive who is quite particular in their hospitality needs, I can make sure that their favorite brand of soda or beer is available 24X7, or their suite on the club floor is stocked with snacks of their preference. What may seem trivial will make their experience more memorable than what your competition offers - I know how to make those details come to life through negotiations. 

How to Negotiate What’s out of our Control?

Do you request force majeure? Did you know you can even negotiate cancellations/reschedules based on inclement weather?  A force majeure clause is included in contracts to specifically spell out what happens in case of an earthquake, hurricane, act of terrorism or other major events. Cancellations, rescheduling, and refunds are all part of everyday negotiations I do on behalf of clients.

In my years of experience, I’ve learned that nearly everything within a contract for an event is negotiable; the trick is to understand what is most important to my client.

There’s nothing worse than working hard to host a customer event and your biggest competitor is hosting a meeting or worse, recruiting event, down the hall of the same venue.  A Conflict of Interest clause is a necessity to include in contracts to avoid these situations. Acquisitions and mergers are common in the hospitality industry.  By including a “change of flag “clause, I make sure you have the ability cancel if the hotel changes from a well-known Tier One Brand such as Ritz Carlton to a brand that you don’t feel aligns with your event and company’s image. 

I’ve negotiated hundreds of venue and service provider contracts on behalf of my clients, and each one is unique. I know what trade-offs come at a price and which ones can be nearly free. My job is to make sure that you are focusing on your goals and objectives – not only meeting the food and beverage minimum! Leave these kinds of details to an experienced professional planner like KOB Event Solutions. 

Do you have questions about working with a professional planner, but don’t have anyone to talk to? Send me an email – kris@kobeventsolutions.com .  I can answer any questions or address concerns about working with a planner from KOB Event Solutions. Interesting conversations and initial consultations are always complimentary- let me help you get started towards achieving your event goals!

 

Be the leader, not the organizer - Eliminate the worry of planning logistics by hiring a pro.

Be the leader, not the organizer - Eliminate the worry of planning logistics by hiring a pro.

Think back to the last event you hosted for your clients, employees or partners. Do your memories focus on all the promising connections you made with top performing clients, high potential employees, or valuable colleagues? Or, instead, are you flashing back to the last-minute adjustment to the menu, issues with a too small venue, or an AV system that didn’t work? Worse yet, did your guests only remember the mishaps because you were preoccupied with the behind the scenes details?