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Conceptualizing an Event

How to conceptualize a great event

When you need to develop some great ideas for an event, don't do it alone. Gather your team for a brainstorming session and see what you can come up with.

Many good ideas are killed because it is deem "impractical" or "impossible". During the brainstorming stage, be mindful about not discounting any ideas.

What makes up an event

Elements of an Event Anticipation: This is usually through the marketing and publicity materials where the attendees will get a feel of what to expect at the event. Arrival: This is what greets the attendees at the start of the event. As they say, first impression counts, it is therefore important to ensure that your attendees have a good start to your event. A few areas which you may wish to look into include:

Travel Arrangements - How easy is it to make travel arrangements to attend the event? This can usually be solved by appointing an official travel agent who takes care of your attendees' flight and accommodation.

Meet & Greet - This can be in the form of meet and greet service upon the attendees' arrival to the destination of the event. Are there nice welcome signages at the airport? Are the guests properly directed out of the airport? If you are expecting some VIP, you may wish to have a luxury car pick him/her up from the airport.

Parking Services - If you are guests are driving in, are there sufficient parking facilities at the venue? Will there cars be safe? Is it possible to obtain complimentary parking?

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Registration - Some events encourage their attendees to pre-register before their arrival. If so, are their badges ready or so they have to wait 20 minutes to collect their badge. Some organizers will work with the official travel agent to put their badges in the rooms of the attendees when they check in.

VIP Security - If you are expecting a famous personality, you may need to deploy more security personnel for the guest/s as well as arrange for a separate area to check in the guest/s upon arrival.

Atmosphere: What the attendee see when they enter the event venue will help to set the mood for the event experience. There are some of the physical environment which matters:

Dcor - The dcor need not be elaborate. It needs however to fit in with the attendees' expectations. Basically, a event for the family is expected to be colourful with lot of family friendly decorations such as balloons, streamers, etc.

Furnishing - To create a holistic event experience for the attendee, the dcor will need to blend in with the furnishings rather than stick out like a sore thumb.

AV Equipment, Lighting/Soundscaping, Staging - An attendee attending a concert by a high energy band will most probably expect special effects such as laser lights and pyrotechnics.

Special Storage - Some events, such as magic shows and mega concert productions will require special storage areas and requirements.

Ambience: The theme of the event and the dcor that have been put up to blend with the theme will have an impact on the overall mood of the event. Activities: Depending on the nature of the event, there are a number of activities and entertainment which an organizer can provide. Here are some event activities which can be considered:

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Tours - this can be organized as part of the event, such as a site tour, or at the end of the event day as part of the recreation programme.

Speakers - this is applicable for B2B events such as conferences and workshops. Ceremony - this is organized with the purpose of recognizing an individual's or company's contribution to a particular cause or as per predetermined criterias such a 5 year long service awards or a event preceding or at the close of an event. e.g. an opening or closing ceremony.

Games and activities - this is applicable for celebratory events or informal corporate events such as team building.

Appetite: There are a number of F&B requirements to take note of:

Menu & Beverage Preference/Restriction - Do you prefer sitdown or standup, buffet style, cocktail style, sitdown dinner, etc?

Dietary Requirements - Do you have Muslims, vegetarians amongst your attendees? Specialty Items - Are there any special item that you need to include. If you are organizing a Halloween event, it will make sense of have a pumpkin of sorts as part of the menu.

Special Wait Staff Attire - If it is a dress up party, you may wish to have the wait staff dress up to blend in.

Amenities: There are a number of giveaways in which you can offer to the event more memorable for your attendees.

Gifts Awards

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Merchandise Conference Materials Prizes

Factors to take into consideration when developing an event concept

WHY - Why is the event being held? What is the objective of the event? WHO - Who are the stakeholders in the event? You need to try to accommodate to the preferences of various groups of people. Naturally the attendees would be the most obvious. What is their profile and what form of entertainment they would prefer. But consider the less obvious stakeholders such as the sponsors, the VIPs attending the event, your event partners, the authorities, etc.

WHEN - When will the event be held? It can be a little ridiculous to theme an event a Christmas theme in the middle of October.

WHERE - Where will the event be staged? Venue considerations are important. Certain venues have their own restrictions such as fire and safety restrictions, maximum floor load restrictions, height restrictions, etc.

WHAT - What is the event content or product? What is the message that you wish for the attendees to take away with? What are the deliverables such as documentation, door gifts, etc, which you can give away to aid in the message delivery.

How to enhance your attendee's event experience

What is the process in which an attendee will go through from creating the first impression to confirming the final perception of the event?

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Marketing Materials - The first point of contact will be the marketing materials notifying the attendee to the existence of the event. The attendee will decide if he/she wants to attend the event based on the marketing materials.

Entrance & Atmosphere - This will be the first point of actual contact onsite at the event. This will be what greets the attendee when they arrive. If there is a string quartet playing at the entrance of the event when they arrive, the attendees would expect the event to be rather formal and business like as compared to a balloon sculpture welcoming the guests at the reception.

Themes & Design - The event theme and design will set the mood and tone for the event. When an attendee walks into a brightly decorated room, they will anticipate some form of excitement or entertainment as part of the programme as compared to an event with just a simple backdrop.

Food & Beverage - Food can create a lasting impression. This will add to the attendee's impression of the event. The attendees will equate poor quality food with low budget and therefore low quality of event.

Entertainment and Activity - The organizer will need to ensure that the event activities and entertainment is appropriate for the nature of the event. For example, an activity during a dinner event will probably be a lot more fun, exciting and noisy than an activity during a conference.

Amenities and Souvenirs - You will be surprised how important souvenirs are. Good, nice, high quality and practical souvenirs are kept by attendees for long periods of time. I still keep a very nicely designed coaster which I collected at an event 4 years back.

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Selecting the Right Event Venue

How to Select the Right Venue for your Event
Venue selection is very important. From social events like weddings and birthdays to corporate events like conferences, exhibitions and workshops.
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The venue of the event has a direct impact on the F&B minimum, the house rules which the venue has in relation to decoration, open flame and special effects as well as the capacity.

Attractiveness of Venue
Local support Find out if the local authorities is supportive of events of such nature. Some cities/states increases the frequency of public transportation during the event or have rebates and subsidies to help organizers defray costs. Reputation - Is the venue popular with other planners. If not, there might be a reason and it will be useful to have a quick chat to see if their concerns are valid. Marketing How well has the venue been marketing itself? This will impact the perception of your attendees on the quality of your event.

Ambience of the Venue

Is the ambience of the venue suitable for your event? If the venue is home to families and there are children running and screaming down the hallways, it might not be suitable for business events. If you are intending to hold a celebratory event like a wedding, a venue surrounded by factories would be inappropriate.

Budget Considerations
How much you can allocate for the event will naturally have an impact on the type of location that you are constrained by as well as the day in which the event can be held. If you like a particular location but the cost for renting the location is a little off your budget, consider hosting your event on a weekday, where the rates are usually much lower.

Accessibility of venue
Location of Venue Determine if the place is centrally located and the attendees are able to commute easily to and from the venue. Cost of Transportation what is the cost of transportation for the attendees? Some venue locations are cheap but it will cost the attendees a lot in terms of transportation. Travel Time and Distance Is the venue close enough for your attendees or do the attendees have to travel 2 hours to get to
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your event venue. If so, how long will it take for attendees to get to the location? If the venue is too far out, attendees might be unwilling to invest the time and money to travel to the event, unless it is a groundbreaking event. Frequency of Public Transport If you have selected a venue which is only accessible by car as you will be limiting yourself to attendees who are driving. If you are hoping to attract a much large group of attendees, you should hold it at a venue where it is easily accessible by public transportation so that your attendees can get to your event a lot easier. You will need to ensure that there are regular connections to the site via public transportation; be it by bus, train or subway.

Venue Support
Level of Service Is service an important consideration when selecting a venue? A check with a few business acquaintances and suppliers will be able to provide you with some feedback on how the venue fared in terms of suitability for your kind of event and their level of service. You should find out: What is the perceived standards of service at the venue? Are they prompt when need arises or it is almost impossible to find anyone when you need them and only to have them appear at the end of the event? Accurate Diagrams Is the venue able to provide you with accurate diagrams of its floor space? This is key to an efficient and effective space planning. Some venues come with floorplan that is drawn to scale. That makes planning alot easier as you can do all your planning in the office with the the need to perform a massive site measurement exercise. Permits and Licences Some venues are more particular than other. If you are organizing an event that requires fireworks, some venues might not be too keen to offer you the space. Some might require you to take up some form of insurance or permit before it is allowed.

Venue Facilities
You need to determine if the amenities in an around the venue are sufficient. If it is a business event, are there hospitality areas where the attendees can network and do business and business center facilities? If it is an event targeted at the elderly, children or handicapped, do they have the necessary amenities?
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Layout Is the layout and the floorplan suitable? Capacity Based on your event design, is the space large enough the expected number of attendees and whatever equipments that are required to stage the event? Is the venue able to provide suitably sized facilities. Some venues are more flexible than others so you need to consider your needs. If it is your first time organizing an event, ensure that you select a venue where it allows you to expand or reduce the room capacity. Amenities Is the venue close to amenities and has the necessary facilities such as a business centre and internet connection. Accommodation Facilities If the event sees a lot of guests from other states and countries, you need to take into consideration accommodation facilities. Is the venue which you have chosen near a variety of hotels with sufficient room capacity and at affordable rates? Security If your event is showcasing expensive products, you may need to consider safety and security of the venue. What is the perception of the attendees in terms of the security level at the venue? Structural Impact If you are organizing an event that involves heavy machinery and equipment, you'll need to find out about the maximum floor load and if that load is sufficient for the organisation of the event. Storage Considerations If your event is over a long period of time, you may need to look into storage for the displays. Extra Conference Opportunities Although the primary purpose of an attendee is to attend the event, the attendee will also be engaged in secondary activities such as entertainment, shopping, sightseeing, recreation and networking such as visiting local clients, negotiations, business deals, selling, making contacts, etc. You should therefore determine if there are such facilities in and around the selected venue.
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Traffic Management If you are expecting a high number of attendees, traffic management must not be overlooked. Not just for vehicular traffic management but human traffic management as well. Parking Spaces Are there sufficient parking lots based on your expected attendees? And most likely it will not be the only event at the venue, so you will also need to find out what other events are being held during the same period and what is the attendee profile to get a more accurate gauge.

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