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In this guest blog, Kaitlyn Klimbach, Events Manager for Atlanta Tech Village, teaches you how to throw the best client appreciation event. Atlanta Tech Village had over 500 events last year, yep you heard that right, 500! Kaitlyn has experience, to say the least, and is sharing some of her event planning wisdom so you can throw an amazing event.
Throwing a client event can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 4 foolproof tips for helping you host a killer soirée.
This thought crosses everyone's mind when planning an event… what if no one comes to my party? Have no fear and go with my motto… throw a great party and they will come! Just give guests plenty of time to plan to be there. Impromptu parties are some of my favorite, but let’s be honest, the stars don’t always align.
I recommend sending invitations a minimum of three weeks prior to the event date. This gives guests plenty of time to make room in their schedule and it gives them something to look forward to. This brings us to the paper or evite question. Paper is timeless and beautiful, but in this digital age there are so many wonderful options (not to mention planning perks) for using an evite. Here are my top picks: For a more intimate gathering (under 30 people) my favorite site would have to be Paperless Post. They have a beautiful array of both free and paid options, as well as printed. If you are a little more tech savvy and hosting a larger event you may want to consider Splashthat. Splash has a free, as well as a paid, option that will give you a seamless, beautiful invite and event page all in one. For ticketed events I would recommend Eventbrite. Eventbrite is free, but there is a cost to ticketed events (you know the whole processing thing). I like each of these sites for so many reasons including their completely free options, the ability to customize, and the added bonus of managing and messaging your RSVPs.
Atmosphere is everything and it starts here! Your venue has the power to define the success of your event. It’s important to pay special attention to the event venue because the rest of your planning will closely relate to it. I encourage you to think outside the box when selecting a location to host. Everyone has seen the inside of a ballroom or conference room, but have they been to the new local brewery or restaurant? Take advantage of their cool factor and create some community while doing it. Wanting something less formal but still community driven? Parks are also a wonderful option if you are looking for something a little more casual and they are very budget friendly.
Picking a location that is non-traditional or unique will expose your attendees to some of the coolest new places. This will also help limit the need for décor, as well as become a marketing tool to get people to attend. Depending on the venue you choose you may be able to save on things like tables and chairs, decor, food, and bar. Planning an event that is in an unfamiliar part of town or out of state? Look to the local convention and visitors bureau. That is what they are there for. They can make wonderful suggestions, they have connections with the best places in town, and can answer any questions you may have about the area. With location be sure to consider potential goodies that save you time and money like event packages, catering menus, audio visual, music, decor, and sometimes a day of planner.
This is the golden rule of parties, and nothing kills the vibe more than an empty glass! To help you escape this party faux pas here is a little math for you. A general rule is to assume guests will have two drinks during the first hour of the party, and one drink every hour after that so…(NUMBER OF GUESTS) x (ESTIMATED NUMBER OF DRINKS PER GUEST) = TOTAL NUMBER OF DRINKS
Now, think about the crowd and what you want to serve. Wine and beer only? A signature cocktail or two? Or go all out with a full bar? Perhaps you shake it up a little and do a combination beer, wine and a signature cocktail. It’s up to you, your budget, and what you think your guests will enjoy. Signature cocktails are a fun budget friendly way to make an event feel more custom! No bartender? No problem. There are tons of simple batch cocktails out there that you can set up ahead of time so all guests have to do is pour and sip. Okay, back to math. Figure out how you want to divide the total number of drinks among your selection. If you are doing wine, beer and liquor and are feeling a little lost at this point, you can make it simple and say 1/3 for each. Simply offering wine and beer? The average party will have 60 percent of your guests drinking wine and 40 percent drinking beer. Want to serve craft beer for a larger group, but it is too expensive to buy all those bottles? Consider a keg. They are a great way to get more bang for your buck and most liquor stores will loan you all the equipment you need to serve it! Doing liquor? Tower will allow you to return unopened bottles!
Who doesn’t love free things? Whether it’s a pen, t-shirts, bags, etc, getting a gift for your guests to thank them for attending is a must. More and more businesses are investing in promotional products as a marketing strategy. They can be effective, desirable and memorable. Here’s how to pick a smart gifts that attendees will keep, so your time and budget won’t be wasted. The real key to a successful gift is to offer products that are meaningful, functional and relevant. Giving attendees random goods is a wasted opportunity. These gifts should serve as appreciative statements to your guests for having attended the get-together. They don’t have to be traditional at all.
Consider your theme. For example, if you are hosting at a brewery, give attendees a custom glass. Did you decide to do a signature cocktail? Make it even more fun by adding something like a LED light up swizzle stick. These gifts may also be distributed as aids for heightening the fun and excitement. Or maybe you want to hand out gifts promoting your brand or logo? Quality Logo Products has plenty of party favors that will keep your brand top of mind. Think wow factor like custom candy bars that the attendees create onsite or characters. When in doubt, think local. Bring in some of your favorite localgoodies. Coke does custom glass bottles. Doing something outside? Everyone loves ice cream and ice pops. Who knows the company may even partner with you for a chance to do a little marketing with your guests. Putting a little more thought and budget behind cool and custom favors can payoff ten fold.
If you make customer appreciation a consistent theme in your work, customers will take notice, which means they are more likely to come back and even share their positive experience with others. Like any successful relationship, the love has to go both ways. If you’re wanting customers to show their love for you, start by showing your love for them. Now that you have the tools, it’s time to share the love!
Kaitlyn does event planning magic- connect with her on LinkedIn!
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