Lifestyle

ISES Quick Tips For Event Planners: April 2016

How to work with your production partner to make your event a success.

A production partner can make or break the event of your dreams. Here are some tips for the best ways to engage with them.

Bring them in early: It is common practice to do all the front-end work for a meeting or event and then turn to your production partner in the final stages of planning. In order to get the best value and service, bring them in as early as you can.  There are so many decisions that take place in the planning process that can drastically affect what your production partner can bring to the table. Some of your best ideas may not work for various technical reasons (such as ceiling height). Wouldn’t it be nice to determine that as soon as possible?

Be open about your budget: This knowledge gives your production partner the ability to provide the most value for your investment in order to meet or exceed your expectations. The environment’s look and feel has a lot to do with this level of transparency. Just like building a house, the décor elements for the interior of your home will be selected based on what your budget will allow. Similarly, with a trusted AV partner, they will provide the best solution and service for the price point your client can afford. This creates alignment and establishes a stronger relationship.

Introduce them to your other partners on the project: Depending on the scope of the project, there are likely several vendors that come together to execute the project. Connect them early. If this happens on-site, there can be challenges that prevent critical deadlines from being met.  (For example: scheduling issues, logistical challenges, and, in some situations, ideas that don’t fit together). It’s important that all key players collaborate ahead of time to achieve the desired outcome for the client.  This will help to alleviate any on-site surprises or challenges. Not only will this save blood, sweat and tears, it will also limit or prevent any increase in labor costs from each vendor.

Include them in your site selections/visits: This one is very important! If you are in the process of selecting a venue and already have a dream of what you’d like your event to look like, bring in your partners, or at the very least, be sure to include them in a walk-through of the space during the initial planning phase. Often your production partner will be able to quickly help determine if your dreams can become reality or offer suggestions. This step can also speed up of the process of design during the estimating phase(s). This is standard protocol for most production companies, so why not tour the space together?   

Tour their facility & meet their team: If you haven’t been to your production partner’s facility, you need to schedule this with them ASAP, especially if you are sourcing a new company or shopping for the first time. You can tell a lot about how your event will go just by the way they run their operation. Look for their processes and best practices. Look at the environment: Is it clean? Is it organized? When you meet the team, how were you welcomed? Would you buy a home without ever looking at it? Would you hire an employee without meeting them first?  This same principle applies to your production partner: When it’s show time, there’s no room for error. Get to know your production partner!

Always re-convene after the event is over: Plan a post-show meeting with your production partner as part of your overall planning agenda. Shortly after the event completes, take the opportunity to meet and discuss the positive and negative aspects of the event. Did the production partner meet you and your client’s objectives? What did the attendees take away?  This is invaluable in strengthening your partnership and making future endeavors even more successful. If you don’t have this type of conversation with your production partner or they are not offering it, you may want to drive this yourself. This shows true commitment to you and to your client. 

Jill Blihovde is the business development director at Showcore, an Eagan-based corporate event design, event production and audio-visual production services company. Jill possesses 20-plus years of sales and marketing experience and has been with Showcore since 2012. She can be contacted at: jill.blihovde@showcore.com.

The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world’s largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide. The Minnesota chapter of ISES is comprised of leading professional in every aspect of the event products and services industries. For more information on how an ISES professional can help you with your event, please contact info@ises-msp.org