5 Tips For Creating Events That Wow Media, Travel Agents and Meeting Planners

February 27, 2015

Event planning can be overwhelming , but finding the perfect venue doesn’t have to be stressful. Whether you’re looking to engage with media, meeting planners or travel agents, there are key ways for public relations and meetings sale professionals to minimize your event planning time.

These five tips will help you identify and negotiate a venue that will capture the attention of the audience you seek and allow you to focus on what’s important – your engagement with your audience while on site!

1. Finding The Venue: Looking for the next “it” location which will provide the inevitable cache necessary for drawing attendees to your event? Check out the “celebrity” or “scene” section of the local city magazine (such as Chicago Magazine, Time Out New York, or Toronto Life). Chances are your target audience looks here too – and would love to find a way in to check out that very venue! Your event provides the perfect opportunity. If you’re too shy to place a call to the venue directly without doing your due diligence, log onto bizbash.com, the industry leader in profiling event spaces in key markets. If the venue you seek is listed, chances are it welcomes groups and will welcome your call! Remember – just because it’s “hot,” doesn’t mean that its your golden ticket. Venues should also be convenient to access by your target audience.

2. Be Honest When Negotiating: One of the best ways to negotiate with your venue is to profile the audience you are targeting. If your audience is the same audience that the venue is targeting, they may offer a special rates or perks not available to everyone else. Hotels are often willing to negotiate when the audience is meeting planners and clubs/restaurants, when the audience is media.

3. Be Smart About The Guarantee: For DMOs unfamiliar with planning events in major cosmopolitan markets like New York and Los Angeles, its important to keep in mind that drop-off rates occur. In New York, you will often find yourselves competing with other tourism-specific events. In Los Angeles, traffic can be a beast. On average, expect a 25% drop off in New York and a 20% drop-off in LA. This allows you to negotiate a lower guarantee than your actual RSVP list – and end up on the winning end of a good deal! If you’re in Denver – plan for a full-house!

4. Make It Hard To Say No: While an innovative venue certainly helps attract a prime target audience, it’s also important for your audience to know that the event will offer something special. Providing new information or access to VIP or celebrity spokespersons for media, entertainment by a local band or entertainer for meeting planners, or trip giveaways for travel agents, can ensure the event draws an engaged crowd. Everyone loves a good #selfie – and you have the opportunity to create for environment of business to business social sharing.

5. Playback Your Success: Want a great rate again? Be sure that the venue knows that it was well received. If you have exact quotes from meeting planners or media in particular, be sure to share them in a thank you note that shows your gratitude to the venue’s onsite sales manager. Really want to make an impact? Send the thank you note to the sales manager’s boss – and copy the sales manager.

Have other tips for planning special events? We’d love to hear them!

 Contributors: Brittany Rustman and Megan McHale contributed to this blog post.

 

Written by Karyl Leigh Barnes

Karyl Leigh Barnes is managing partner of DCI’s Tourism Practice. Since joining the firm in 1998, Karyl Leigh has led destination strategy and created marketing communication programs for destinations on every continent except Antarctica.

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