As an event planner, your success hinges on your ability to create an outstanding experience for attendees. But five-star event planning will not magically occur on its own. It requires a desire to improve upon your existing skills and a proactive approach to remaining on the leading edge of event planning technology. Below are six strategies to help you sharpen your event planning skills in 2020.
1) Prioritize your requests for proposals to improve your event planning skills
The path to successfully increasing your event planning skills begins by separating requests from serious prospects from those that are made to satisfy an internal requirement to secure three bids. Prioritizing is important because it can take hours or even days to prepare a formal client proposal, and the last thing in the world you want is to spend time preparing a proposal for someone who really has no interest in your services.
Tip: Set aside 10 minutes each morning to review your RFPs and rank them in order of quality. Then tackle them in that order. Top contenders would include requests from loyal repeat customers or referrals from existing customers while requests from people who admit they “just need to get three bids” would be relegated to the bottom of your list.
2) Strive to deliver a more personalized attendee experience
Today’s event attendees expect more than a ticket and a reserved seat. And many are willing to pay more for a five-star, personalized experience. You can exceed client expectations and increase your repeat business by finding new ways to make your event special and unique. Here are some ways to achieve this goal:
- Use a mobile app to send updates: Sending updates through a mobile app helps to build enthusiasm and keep attendees engaged.
- Choose hotels or locations with the latest technology: Guest apps, virtual concierges, and rapid check-in will boost satisfaction.
- Send personalized thank-you notes: Your attendees will be pleasantly surprised to receive a note letting them know their participation is valuable.
3) Expand your network of local experts within key destinations
Delivering a superb turn-key event in another city requires a strong working knowledge of potential housing shortages, travel delays, and available venues. And because today’s event attendees have expectations that are higher than ever, it is up to you to prepare an enticing agenda that features engaging speakers, delicious cuisine, and a unique venue.
The best way to achieve this goal is to develop a network of “local experts” within key destination cities. Once you have assembled a network of trusted contacts, you can maximize efficiency when planning destination events.
4) Attend industry trade shows and professional meetings
Remaining on the cutting edge of the latest trends in the event planning industry is essential to staying a step ahead of your competitors. The world’s top trade shows and conferences are scheduled to take place in cities such as Las Vegas, San Francisco, London, Montreal, and New York. In addition to the opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the globe, you will be able to do the following:
- Network and learn from the industry’s top leaders
- Attend your choice of educational seminars and breakout sessions in a variety of disciplines
- Gain exposure to the latest event technology solutions
- Learn how the industry’s top event planners overcome challenges
5) Survey attendees to identify opportunities for improvement on your event planning skills
Even the most spectacular event in the world can be improved upon. While some opportunities for improvement are glaringly obvious, others may not be as noticeable from the bird’s eye view of an event planner. And sometimes attendees may not feel comfortable proactively approaching you with suggestions to help you improve upon next year’s event.
For these reasons, you should incorporate surveys into the process to receive feedback and improve your event planning skills. If you are already using surveys, then take some time to sit down and review your survey methodology to make sure you are maximizing your response rate and successfully identifying the factors that are instrumental in your event’s success or lackluster turnout. Here are a few specific ways to sharpen your surveying procedures:
- Do not delay. Rather than postponing your post-event survey until a week or two after your event, plan to administer the survey at the end of the final phase of your event. Your response rate will be higher and attendee experiences will be fresh.
- Offer incentives for participating. Time is a valuable commodity for your attendees. Even if your survey only takes one or two minutes to complete, you can boost participation by entering respondents in a raffle or cash drawing.
- Protect attendee identity. Make sure attendees know they will be completing the survey anonymously. This will help you to secure the most honest responses and increase participation.
6) Become a master of generating excitement about next year’s event
If your event was a smashing success, the odds are in your favour that attendees will plan to return next year. However, you should never assume that everyone will automatically return. In fact, you should assume the opposite and begin promoting next year’s event at key intervals during this year’s event. Here are some specific tips to try:
- Include a colourful ad featuring the date(s) and location of next year’s event in your attendee guide or prospectus
- Offer discounted pricing to attendees who secure their reservations for next year’s event
- Involve attendees in the planning process by seeking their opinions about possible add-ons for next year
What is the best way to take your event planning skills to the next level?
As outlined above, there are many steps you can take to boost your event planning acumen. But the single best way to take your event planning skills to the next level is to request a consultation with an expert in organizing large scale events. As the most trusted event planning company in the Middle East and Africa, The Event Production Company has the resources to make your next event a smashing success.
We invite you to contact us today to discover why clients such as Shell UK, the late Nelson Mandela, and COTY entrusted us to make their events memorable. For 26 years, we have organized live events, conferences, and product launches that exceed our client’s expected ROI. We look forward to helping you make your next event an unforgettable one!