Conducting a Corporate Event Site Visit – Step 3 – Evaluate

When planning a Corporate Event and choosing the most appropriate venue, the final step of the process is the evaluation.

In order to objectively evaluate each venue, I recommend that you set up a tool or grid that will allow you to compare sites based on the elements or criteria that is most important your client. Setting up your evaluation tool prior to arrival will make the assessment much easier.   Be sure to always leave room for additional factors that you did not think of or that impressed you while on the visit. Your evaluation tool and criteria should closely reflect the key information you provided to the venue prior to arrival. For example, if you have outlined specific space requirements, your evaluation tool should allow you to quickly assess whether or not the venue meets your needs.

For my recent site visit in Miami, I had the pleasure of visiting Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Turnberry Isle Miami and PGA National to determine the feasibility of hosting a 2014 golf and spa event. My key areas of evaluation for all properties were:
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  • Hotel (layout, location, number of rooms, group rate, resort fees, available dates and pre/post rates, etc…)
  • Function Space (available space, capacity and location for each planned event, storage, back up space, etc…)
  • Food and Beverage (quality, pricing, minimums, additional charges)
  • Golf (championship course/quality of course, degree of difficulty, pricing, formatting, pro shop, staff, on-course set up, etc…)
  • Spa (world class, appointment capacity, pricing)
  • Golf School (quality of instruction, clinic set up, location, capacity)
  • Concessions

Now that I am back , I can review my notes from each location against my client requirements and come up with my objective recommendation.

Having a plan of action setup for your site visit will allow you to be prepared, prepare the site representatives, manage your time on-site, conduct a full and relevant review and may even leave you with a little time to enjoy the property for yourself.

Hopefully these three steps of the corporate event site visit:

will help you to gain additional insight into the process so you know what to look for if you are conducting one on your own, and you know what to expect from your corporate event planner.

Hiring a Corporate Event Planner – Top Five Considerations

Hiring the right event planner and manager is a key task for a successful corporate event planning. Hosting corporate events requires a significant time and money investment, and needs to be handled with professional care.  Not all event planners are a good fit to be your corporate event planner.   In order to choose a good planner, its best to first start with a good strategy.   The best person for the job is the one that can most completely fill your strategy.

Below are the top five considerations Acuity Sports recommends for choosing a event manager or event management company for your corporate event.
1. Have an event strategy 
Before going out to find a corporate event planner, know what you want for your event.  What type of event are you planning?  Is the Corporate Event you are planning to recognize employees? to create brand awareness? to launch a new product? to thank vendors?   Know your event’s goal, budget, and the key players before you start to look for an event professional.   The right person is going to be the one that best fits the key elements of your strategy, which is why you can’t choose the right person without the strategy.

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2. Get recommendations and referrals
Ask around.  Start with your current professional network and ask for referrals for corporate event planners.    Getting referrals and recommendations from others usually also comes with tips based on what they learned from past experiences.   Also, when a professional comes by the way of a recommendation, they know their performance impacts both the referring company and the client.   This added accountability can lead to a higher level of service.
3. Gain clear alignment of expectations
Go beyond the standard terms and conditions and get what you expect in writing.   If there are specific goals, actions, tasks, etc. that you expect your corporate event planner to handle, spell these out in a written scope of work. This is your guiding document for your work with the planner and it is a great way to keep all parties involved focused.  Before hiring your corporate event planner, be sure to have them commit to your expectations and have them provide you with the details of what they need and expect from you.
4. Open lines of communication
Find out how your prospective event planners communicate with their clients.   You want to determine how often they communicate and through what methods.   Also, find out who will be the point of contact should the primary contact not be available.   You do not want to be left on the day of your event with an emergency situation and no one to contact.
5. Added Value
Your corporate event planner should be able to add some extra value to your specific event.   If you are hosting an event to attract new clients, hiring a planner with extensive connections and an ability to network would be key.  If you are looking to thank current clients, then hiring a planner who specializes in recognition events would be ideal.
Acuity Sports can be either a prospect or a resource for referrals for your next corporate event.   Depending on the goals of your next event, we could serve as your primary planner or we could work with your planner to help you create a memorable experience using golf as an activity or a central theme.
Good Luck planning your next corporate event.

Learning to go the distance in business from golf

Golf is often referred to as the sport of business because the sport creates a great environment for people to get to know one another beyond what is typically shared in a scripted networking conversation or business interaction.

But golf is also a great business sport because the game has many similarities to business.   In both golf and business, participants are challenged to see if they can go the distance. .business-golf

If you live in the Northeastern part of the country , the typical golf season stretches from April to October, longer if the weather permits.   With the average 18-round game lasting an approximate 4-5 hours, that’s a lot of time spent on the greens!

Unlike most sports, where the goal is the same throughout the game, golf has 9 – 18 different goals, each which must be approached differently.   The inclines and declines, the obstacles, the wind speed, the distance, all of these critical factors vary at every hole and at every course.  The sport of golf requires endurance and mental fortitude.Business is the same way. The goal is conceptually the same each time – make contact, promote a call to action, convert to a sale.  Yet, the landscape changes with every transaction, every day and every new interaction.   This means that in both business and golf, it is important to embrace form, function and flexibility.    This requires all the great players to have the ability to stay focused with every swing and to pace each move, but to also be able to quickly shake off frustrations and missed swings so they can regroup and move ahead.

Every business owner can learn from the perspective of a golf player.  Focus on each swing, but play for the whole game.   Yes, it would be ideal for each swing to be a hole-in-one,but chances are you are going to experience a few over swings and under swings and some swings that you just can’t even describe. That is just the nature of the game.   The goal is to get the ball in the hole with the fewest amount of strokes, period.  Despite the many obstacles on the course. In business, sometimes your perfectly crafted sales page does not convert. Sometimes, an unhappy customer remains unhappy no matter how many times you attempt to resolve the issue.

Sometimes, your great product idea does not sell well or at all.  At times you will be able to pinpoint why you did not reach you goal, other times, a cause won’t be as obvious.   But regardless of the ‘why’ you need to keep your eye on the next hole or ‘what’s next’…the answer is to play another round, another game, another course.  It is important to go the distance, the longer you play the better chance you will have of having your good swings outweigh the ones that don’t quite mark.

On the golf course and in the boardroom, always strive for success and remember that a winning season isn’t winning every game, its winning more than you lose.  As long as you hang in there you have a chance to make it a winning season.  No one swing, or one game, or one contract or one sale defines your bottom line in golf or in business.

Just keep swinging.

Golf for Non-Profit Organizations

A golf fundraiser is a great way for non-profit organizations to receive positive publicity and raise money at the same time. It is a fun activity that people in the community can get excited about and enjoywhile helping others.money-ball

Two of the most important components when planning a charity golf tournament are keeping expenses down and publicity up.

Expense Reduction

Organizing a charity golf tournament has the potential to be quite expensive if planning is not meticulous.  The three highest expenses are typically the course rental, refreshments and prizes.   Here are some tips to reduce your event costs:

  • Course rental – There are several ways to mitigate the expense such as asking the golf course to waive the fee to be named as a partner in the tournament or to reduce the fee to be listed as a sponsor.   You could also partner with a golf instructor or trainer that might have special arrangements at the course.
  • Refreshments – There are two easy ways to reduce this cost. First, ask local stores or restaurants to contribute food and drinks that can be sold by volunteers at the tournament in return for a place on the list of sponsors in the publicity material. Second, offer to let a catering company or local restaurant have a refreshment stand for a flat fee or for a percentage of total sales.
  • Prizes – Prizes are part of the draw for charity golf tournaments, so you want to keep these attractive will cost-effective.  People want to win prizes or they want to win raffles being held after the tournament. Seek community sponsors to donate these prizes so additional expenses are not incurred by the non-profit.

Publicity

Hosting a golf tournament fundraiser requires publicity if the event is going to raise money. Paying for publicity is an expensive proposition. There are newspaper advertisements, flyers, tournament programs, banners, and signs that are needed to really bring awareness to the cause and the fundraiser.   The more awareness, the higher the fund raising potential.

  • Media – Paying for media recognition in the form of print, radio, or television advertisements is prohibitively expensive for most non-profit organizations. One way to obtain free media exposure is to invite on-air talent to participate in the event. If a television reporter, deejay, or newspaper journalist is going to be playing in the tournament, they will likely promote it as well. Online promotion can be done with a free blog or social media page, such as Facebook.
  • Art – Finding an artist willing to create a logo for the event as well as artwork appropriate for the printed materials can be expensive. There are two easy alternatives; a contest and a sponsorship. Hold a contest a month or more before the event and let area artists enter for a chance to have their work displayed before a large audience. Alternately, approach area artists and ask if they would be willing to donate their time for the recognition. Regardless of the method chosen remind artists that their artwork will be on all of the printed material and that they can include their contact information in the sponsor section for individuals who want to learn more about their work.

Planning a golfing tournament to raise money for a non-profit organization requires a great deal of planning and patience. Remember to ask individuals and businesses for help in order to reduce the expenses and provide the most benefit for your organization.