How to Throw Killer Events Your Team Will Love
When planning an event, your biggest fear is to throw “that” party, the one that gets talked about for all the wrong reasons and whose attendees were counting down the minutes until they had obligated enough time spent that they could use an excuse to leave. Well, we are here to help you throw a party that you must kick people out of because they are having so much fun they don’t want to leave, one that attendees will hype about as The Event for months after. Here are a few suggestions to help you plan a successful event like this that your entire team will love!
Know your Attendees
Each successful event needs to be tailored to fit the type of attendees that will be there. Not all parties (no matter how well they are executed) are right for every crowd. Will they like a casual event with games and simple bar foods or would they prefer to be wined and dined at a top venue? Understanding what your team is looking for in a party is a great way to start – if you are unsure, consider sending out a quick office poll or survey where people can select the types of activities they are interested in.
Understanding Your Budget
Knowing what your overall budget is will help you make the correct venue, food & beverage and entertainment choices. It will also help you know if you can afford additional items like décor, open bar, or off-the-wall entertainment. If you’re not familiar with the industry, you may hear some terms when speaking with vendors (food & beverage minimum, all-inclusive, room rental fees, buyout, etc.) that you will want to make sure you understand so there are no surprises on your final invoices. You’ll also want to be aware that many rates you see don’t include tax and gratuity which could be added to the bill. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand what’s included or consider hiring a professional like So Diego Tours to do the negotiating for you.
Choosing a Venue
Once you understand what your attendees are looking for in an event, selecting a venue should be on top of your event planning checklist. Keep in mind that each venue will offer a different vibe, décor, and amenities – you’ll want to find one that meets your needs and is within your budget. Starting with an area or neighborhood (maybe something close to the office or hotel) can help you narrow down your search. Do your co-workers prefer the event to be held at one of sunny San Diego’s many outdoor venues or would they prefer to be inside? Many neighborhoods have associations that you can contact to give you suggestions of venues in their areas based upon your needs. You’ll want to pick a space that fits the number of attendees you think you’ll have. A space too large will make your event feel poorly attended and a space too small can become warm and uncomfortable for guests. Some venues have a maximum amount of people that can fit and depend upon whether you are having a sit-down dinner or cocktail style of event, venues can accommodate different amounts.
Each event should have an overall goal or intention, whether it be team bonding, celebrating company milestones or recognizing individual achievements. When creating your event agenda, you’ll want to come up with a flow for the event that will keep people entertained and excited for what comes next. When guests arrive, you’ll want to have someone to greet and direct them where to go. It’s a great idea to have a cocktail hour with some snacks or appetizers and beverages – it helps attendees to feel more comfortable to socialize. The main part of your event should focus on the meal and/or entertainment. You’ll want to make sure you have a transition from the main event to whatever comes next so guests are not left guessing what they need to do. Make sure you set an event end time that aligns with your venue rental.
Making the Right Food & Beverage Choices
Venues may work directly with a food vendor or have a list of those they’ve worked with in the past, we suggest checking with them before making a choice. Depending upon your event type there are many different options for food and beverage. You may choose to do something simple like pizza and beer or something more upscale like a cocktail party with passed appetizers or a sit-down dinner that could be plated or buffet style. There are also choices for beverages – you might have a self-serve wine & beer station, drink tickets or a full open bar. You’ll want to align your food & beverage choices with the intention of your event and choose something that fits your venue choice and budget.
Entertaining a Crowd
You’ve picked the perfect venue for your group and lined up an amazing menu but how do you keep everyone entertained? Special events typically require some sort of planned entertainment. Depending upon your budget, there are many options to add fun to your event and keep people interested and engaged. A party is always better with music and whether you assign someone to bring a portable speaker with a music playlist or hire a live band or a hit DJ, there is something for every budget. Games may not work for every event but can be a low-cost way to give people something fun and competitive to do especially if your event is at an outdoor venue. Photo Booths are a great option to entertain and help capture the fun had at the event. There are all different types to appeal to every budget – you can bring your own props and use and online app version or hire a local company who can provide everything for you. If budget isn’t an issue – consider something over-the-top like dancers, performers, bubble machines, or even fireworks!
Hire a Professional
If you are still feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional event planner like So Diego Tours who can arrange it all. They’ll sit down with you to understand your unique event needs and then go through the planning process for you. One of the benefits of this is utilizing the connections they have in the event community. Often, they can negotiate deals with vendors to get you the best rates and they may know of venues or event activities that you wouldn’t even have considered. Ultimately, they can save you time, headache and money and help you plan an event everyone will talk about for all the right reasons.0