Making Connections

In Real Estate, they say that location is everything – location, location location.   In small business, relationships are everything.  The true value of a small business lies within its relationships with its Clients, Contacts and other Connections.

When Acuity Sports makes decisions to conduct site visits, we have to consider the costs in terms of company dollars and times, but we choose to continually make the investment because site visits are about more than just visiting the actual location, but it also about making relationships in and around the venue.

John Willard "Bill" Marriott, Jr.

Acuity Sports Team and John Willard “Bill” Marriott, Jr.

Last week, during a routine site visit to JW Marriott Grande Lakes In Orlando, we made the connection of a lifetime.   We had the opportunity to meet John Willard “Bill” Marriott, Jr., the Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International and Son of JW Marriott the founder.   This was a special day for our team, as we admire the Marriott’s brand excellence and consistency.   This one connection was great confirmation for us that this standard practice of site visits are a priceless benefit for our business, our current clients and our prospective clients.

” It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Sustainable Golf: Saving The Greens

Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Conservation – these are all terms that corporations have adopted as part of a growing trend to ‘go green’. Since the sport of golf is heavily connected with and influenced by business, it is not surprising that this trend has made its way to the greens.

Creating-a-sustainable-golf-event

In fact, sustainability has become a goal among many sports, not just golf. As environmental awareness and concerns among fans continue to increase, so do their expectations regarding the way their lifestyles impact the environment. The Green Alliance, a non-profit organization that represents over 140 teams across 14 leagues has been meeting with sports stakeholders since 2010 to identify and implement ways to address the environmental concerns that exist within the various sports. These concerns includes things like energy usage, waste management, water conservation and pollution.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog:

The Philadelphia Eagles are preparing for on-site wind and solar generation at Lincoln Financial Field. The National Hockey League became the first league to join EPA’s Green Power Partnership, offsetting 100 percent of its post-season electricity consumption through its green power commitments.

Nascar has also taken similar measures. In May 2012, they announced an agreement made with the EPA to join the trend towards implementing safer, more environmentally-friendly products and practices.

Golf is has not been left behind in these efforts. While there have been emphasis on sustainability in the past, the International Golf Federation (IGF) released an official statement in October 2012 which highlighted its commitment to making environmental health a core priority.

Acuity Sports has remained on the leading edge of this trend towards sustainability. The Golf Goes Green article of SuccessfulMeetings.com highlights Acuity’s contribution to these goals. By thinking outside the box, Acuity was able to hire a company that provided a card-less option for keeping score, which had the added benefit of repurposing older model phones.

We would love to hear about the unique ways that your company / organization has employed sustainable efforts into its operations and/or events. Please comment below.

Golf Events 101: Making event planning easier

Golf Events and Tournaments are a proven method for organizations to promote networking, to raise money and to entertain.    They are also a significant undertaking for any event planner or coordinator.

In addition to the general event planning tasks, such as venue selection, sponsor solicitation, event marketing and registration, golf event planners must also coordinate specifics such as hole signage, golf clinics, prizes, and contests.   This usually requires interacting with a team of individuals and stakeholders from the event host to the venue manager to the clinic instructor.

 

Because we understand and identify with the complexities of hosting golf events, Acuity has created the Golf Events 101 workshop.   Acuity Sports, an experienced planner and coordinator of diverse golf events, has partnered with Golfsmith, a superstore specializing in golf apparel, equipment, and accessories.  Together, Acuity Sports and Golfsmith, will bring you three workshops in January, serving the MD, DC and VA area.
Golf-Events-101-Golfsmith

 

The Golf Events 101 workshops are designed to educate and connect all of the key stakeholders involved in an excellent golf event – the planners, coordinators, vendors and venues.   In addition to invaluable networking, we will host a discussion that will include tips on:
  • Marketing your golf event offline and using Social Media
  • Recruiting more sponsors and attendees to your golf event
  • Generating revenue through the day of your golf event
  • And more…

 

This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered on how you can host or be a part of a profitable golf event for your company or organization.
Golf Events 101 will be held on three dates in January in MD and VA:

Conducting A Corporate Event Site Visit: Step 2 – Envision It

After you have crafted your corporate event’s experience with the venue representatives, it is time for you to arrive on-site and begin your observation.

Conducting-A-Corporate-Event-Site-Envisioning

Based on what you know and have shared about your corporate event goals, your guests and their expectations, requirements and restrictions, you want to be able to determine whether or not they are going to be satisfied with the experience you are helping to craft for them.   Create a checklist for yourself so you can review it when you return.   Your checklist should capture your observations of the following:

 

  • If your guests will be dining on the premises, you will want to do a tasting with table service;
  • If your corporate event host’s guests are playing golf or going to the spa, you want to experience it those amenities;
  • Observe how the staff treats you as a guest.  Are they warm and friendly, does everyone say good morning or do they avoid eye contact and look the other way?
  • What happens when you call the front desk with a problem?
  • How accommodating are they to helping you navigate your way around the property and the surrounding area?
  • How comfortable are the accommodations?
  • What amenities are on-site?  Which ones did you feel were missing?
  • What services are provided by the venue vs those that you are expected to perform?
  • Are operations actually in line with the sales pitch?
Many corporate events invest a significant portion of their budget with the venue.   The venue, in turn, plays a huge role in the overall satisfaction level of your participants.  The features and amenities are typically added to the marketing material for the event to create a sense of anticipation.  The attendees’ experiences with these features will collectively determine their level of satisfaction.   If you can, it is helpful to visit venues while other events are going on so that you can get a sense for how your event may or may not be similar and how the venue handles events. Observe how well they are able to accommodate the guests at the event they are hosting, as well as, those not participating.
This will give you a sense of their available resources.   Spend time away from the site representatives so that you can explore the property for yourself to see the condition of the premises and the services completely unbiased.

Conducting A Corporate Event Site Visit – Step 1 – Manage the Experience

As a corporate event planner, one of the tasks that I perform for my clients is the site visit.   Typically, I will visit a few locations and then based on the host’s goals I will recommend the one that best meets their expectations.
Conducting-A-Corporate-Event-Site

Last week,  I had the opportunity to conduct site visits to determine a suitable place to host an upcoming golf and spa event.  My site visits consist of three main steps:  Experience, Envision and Evaluate.   Simply put, I want to experience the venue as a planner and just as my client’s guests would; to envision how the event would play out at the venue, and lastly to evaluate whether or not the location is the best selection for the event looking at all the venue amenities and the host requirements.   In this post, I will provide you with the steps I take to help you plan and conduct your own site visits.

Experience

A successful site visit experience starts well in advance of the actual visit.  Prior to the visit you should provide the venue with as much information about your event as possible.   This information should including an

  • event profile,
  • attendee profile,
  • dates,
  • arrival and departure patterns,
  • reservation requirements,
  • program overview/function space,
  • and any other special requirements.

It usually works best if you outline the itinerary/agenda stating what you want to see and do while you on site.  This helps you to handle the planner details before you arrive.   Once you arrive, you will be playing a dual role.  You will need to look at the event from your perspective as the planner and what you will need to operate and execute successfully, as well as, from the perspective of your guests and the experience they will have.

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.

Hiring-a-Corporate-Event-Planner

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.