Getting More from Every Event
The day of an event, everyone is focused on doing his or her job. There’s a lot of set-up to be done, trying to keep everyone calm and happy. You all have your own tasks, but there’s a broader group focused on the same goal.
A community can be defined as “a network of people with a common agenda, cause or interest who collaborate by sharing ideas, information and other resources”.1 As an event professional, you are part of a community. Venues and vendors have an opportunity to share ideas, information and resources to help each other succeed.
Consider your strengths, and those of your fellow event professionals, and determine how you can complement each other. What skills of your colleagues can be leveraged to build business for both of you?
Look to the Photographer
The internet is a visual medium and quality photos are one of the best ways to promote your services. But who has the time to think about capturing the right image while you are busy serving your client? Introduce yourself to the event photographer. They are already taking pictures, if they’re willing to snap a few extra photos of the DJ, the catering staff or officiant in action, you might be able to score some great promotional shots at bargain prices. Some photographers may be willing to provide the images at no charge as long as you credit his or her work and recommend them to future clients.
If you are a photographer, you could make it a habit to shoot staff photos at events and negotiate a deal with the other vendors to include cross promotion information, or even barter services. Think outside the box, and discuss how you might help each other.
Venues can benefit from the photographer as well. Many locations lack compelling photos of their event space. It can be difficult to judge the merits of a space from pictures of empty tables and chairs. Photos taken at an actual event give viewers a better idea of how the venue might look during their affair. The challenge is to make sure that individual guests are not recognizable in any images used to promote your venue – a task that any quality photographer would truly be up to accomplishing.
Any photos that include recognizable guests will require you to get their permission on a release form. But that shouldn’t be a problem, if you made a good impression on your client, they might be happy to appear in your photos. Just ask!
Regulations regarding food service vary widely by state and municipality, so connecting with good caterers is essential for any venue that does not provide food service of their own.
Venues – build a list preferred caterers whom you trust to provide quality food and a level of service that meets your — and your client’s — standards. Include a wide variety of cuisines and price points on your list to ensure you offer something for everyone.
Caterers – always check with the venue to see if they have a preferred caterer list. Find out who’s on it and ask if you can be included. By reviewing the list, you can position yourself to fill a niche that is not already represented. By differentiating yourself from your competitors on the list with style and price point, you add value to the venue and event holders who will review the list. The more venues you impress, the more references you will receive.
Caterers and venues have an additional opportunity to join forces with each other and pursue events online by building a co-marketing partnership.
Building a network of event professionals has several advantages, you can help each other earn business and make events more fun. Colleagues cross promote each other, making recommendations when a client is looking for a service you don’t provide. The best in the business will even suggest alternatives to clients when they cannot meet a desired date or price point – giving the customer what they want even when you don’t provide it does not go unrecognized.
Building relationships among vendors can make working an event more enjoyable, especially when you work alongside someone you truly like and respect. Many a business partnership has developed through such mutual admiration. However, getting too close has its downside, especially if the vendors spend more time chumming it up than doing their job. Always remain professional.
At every event, you are part of a community of professionals who are doing their best to make the event a success for the host and guests alike. Get to know these people and discuss how you can help each other succeed. Share feedback and experience, add value to each other, build a network and refer colleagues that you trust.