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Category Archive: Orlando event planning

Tips to Choose a Caterer

Delectable dishes, outstanding service, and an awesome cancellation plan are only a few components of an ideal caterer. But there’s more than that when it comes to choosing the perfect company! Take a look at what you should know before signing the dotted line.

Event Experience and Specialities: Different companies are built to serve different markets. Some caterers specialize in large events, while others are “boutique” and designed to only handle small parties. Make sure you’ve chosen a caterer who can work with your event’s size.

Menu Flexibility: If you will be serving a group with a particular dietary need, such as a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance — or even if the majority of your guests are vegan or vegetarian — make sure the caterer is equipped to meet those needs while still serving delicious food. It’s also important to verify that they have menu options that fit into the theme of your event.

Compare and Contrast: Talk to the caterer about your event’s specific needs, and compare proposals from multiple companies before selecting one.

Ask For References: Online reviews are not always reliable, so ask the caterer to provide references, reviews, and testimonials. Feel free to contact previous clients to ask them about their experience.

Verify License: Check with your local health department to verify your caterer’s license. Ask to confirm that the company has no bad records, violations, or complaints.

Taste Test: It’s not a hassle to ask for a taste test! Attend at least three testings with separate caterers, and make sure that you can taste what you ask for, not a generic sampling — and be prepared to pay for the testing is necessary.

Venue Familiarity: While this isn’t make-or-break, there are benefits to working with a caterer who is familiar with your venue; they know the rules and the available equipment and space. If you’re leaning toward a caterer who hasn’t worked at the venue before, ask them to come for a walk-through. 

Review the Contract: Every detail should be included in the contract, even small no-brainers, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about what will be provided. Consider having an attorney look it over before you sign.

More Than Food: While a caterer is obviously supplying food and beverage, it’s important to remember that they’re supplying service as well. Inquire as to the number of servers, their experience, and the number of staff in supervisory roles.

If you’re looking for a caterer for your next event, make sure you check out services here at Fun Planners. For more Orlando event planning tips and information on how we can make your next event great, call us at 407-955-4949.

Pick the Best Tech For Your Event

Figuring out what technology to use for your event can be tricky. You have to consider your event and organization goals, your demographic, and your budget. No matter what your needs are, we can help find a solution to your make your event a success!

Monkey See, Monkey Do

If you’re thinking to yourself, “My competitor is using this technology, so we should too,” or “I read somewhere that VR is the next big thing, we should try it,”  then don’t do it. It’s more important that you implement the right technology for your event rather than just doing it because someone else is.

Know Your Goal

Before deciding on what technology to use, it’s important to know how exactly you’ll use it. There should be something about it that grabs your attention; it should be an asset to your event. How does the technology connect with your goals? How can it benefit the needs of your customers and the organization? Look for technology that offers a competitive price and consider how it relates to your end goal.

Types of Tech to Implement

  1. Smart wearables
  2. Facial recognition software
  3. Live streaming
  4. RFID technology
  5. Event app
  6. Collaborate app
  7. Audience response app
  8. Social media campaigns
  9. Virtual/augmented reality
  10. Artificial intelligence

Understand Your Audience

It’s important to understand your audience. Although we live in a world of technology, not everyone has the same technical abilities! If your audience includes people of all professions and backgrounds, consider how this can influence the technology’s effectiveness. Take the time to get to know your audience. Take into account things like their age, profession, and even gender, and examine potential social media platforms, opportunities in virtual reality, and phone apps based on these demographics.

Understand Your Event

Consider how technology can be accessible to your target audience and employees. Use different social media platforms to generate publicity and to encourage more people to register. Create social campaigns through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and post videos from previous events to improve brand awareness. Establish partnerships with other companies to help increase revenue and your return on investment.

Stick to a Budget

If you want something to be successful, investment is crucial to your success. Before planning your event, it’s important to have a set budget that prioritizes your goal.

The Four Questions

As you’re considering technology, ask yourself: Does this technology add value to my event? Does it make things simpler? Does it solve problems? Do the pros outweigh the cons? If you answer yes to these questions, you should likely move forward.

If you’re struggling to find technology that meets your needs, reach out to the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners. We can guide you to the best choice! For more information on how we can make your next event great, call us at 407-955-4949.

 

Post-Event Survey Questions

The leftover food is put away, the tables are wiped down, and the chairs are stacked; the event has come to an end. However, one of the most important parts of an event happens afterward — it’s time to get feedback from the attendees. Based on the type of event you planned, choose 5-10 relevant questions from the lists below, and you’re sure to get your guests coming back year after year!

Open-Ended Questions

  1. What did you like most about the event?
  2. What did you like least about the event?
  3. What were your favorite sessions?
  4. How did you hear about this event?
  5. How will this conference improve your skills and work?
  6. Do you have any topic or speaker suggestions for future events?
  7. Do you have any additional suggestions or comments to help us improve our future events?
  8. If you would like to provide a quote for promotional use, please include here with your title and occupation. (Name/company optional.)

Yes Or No Questions

  1. Was this the first time you attended one of our events?
  2. Was the staff polite and helpful?
  3. Was the speaker engaging?
  4. Did the conference meet your expectations?
  5. Did you feel prepared coming into this event?
  6. Was there enough time for discussion? (if applicable)
  7. Did you have enough time to get in between sessions? (if applicable)
  8. Did you have an opportunity to ask questions during the event? (if applicable)

Likert Questions

  1. Please rate the following: the date, the catering, the speakers, the location, and the vendors.
  2. How would you rate the value of this event/conference?
  3. How would you rate our communication leading up to this event?
  4. How would you rate the on-site arrival and registration process?
  5. Based on your experience, how likely are you to attend future events?
  6. How likely are you to recommend our events to a friend/colleague?
  7. How would you rate the quality of the keynote speaker? (if applicable)
  8. How would you rate the length of sessions versus the length of break sessions? (if applicable)
  9. In your opinion, did the event meet its objective?
  10. Overall, how would you rate the event?

It’s important to keep your survey short and sweet! This helps guarantee responses. Once you’ve discovered how to make your event even better next year, contact the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners to find out how we can help.

How To Pitch Event Ideas to Executives

Business executives can be intimidating, especially if you’re approaching them with a plan they need to approve — and finance. When it comes to Florida corporate events, follow these tips when pitching an event and you’re sure to have success.

Organizational Goals

An executive wants to hear one main thing: how does your plan align with the organization’s goals? Demonstrate that you have a knowledge of the company. Discuss how your plan relates to member acquisition and retention, increased donations and shareholder value, and brand recognition.

The Executive’s Priorities

Consider your audience. Depending on their position, each executive will have a slightly different set of goals that you need to properly address.

If you’re pitching to a:

  • Chief Executive Officer: Focus on revenue, new opportunities, and how you’ll be utilizing current trends to attract attendees.
  • Chief Operations Officer: Talk about how your event will improve the day-to-day operations of the organization.
  • Chief Financial Officer: Show the revenue that your event will bring to the organization and how you will work with potential investors. If possible, find data from a similar event to support your claims.
  • Chief Technology and Chief Information Officers: These executives are concerned with enhancing IT resources. Let them know that you value this as well, and explain how your event will help them reach their goals.
  • Chief Marketing Officer: Share how the community’s perception of the organization will better from this event. Talk about increased sales and your value propositions.
  • General Councils: Discuss how you will protect the organization from any legal issues. Highlight the qualified medical team that will be available on site, or quickly summarize the paperwork that vendors will sign.

Share Your Data

Provide as much hard data as possible. Do your homework, and avoid speculation statistics. Focus on key numbers like potential revenue, headcount, marketing reach, and costs.

Create a Handout

Nothing says “I came prepared” like a small handout with your value propositions, hard data, and how you intend to meet organizational goals. Make sure to include your contact information.

Stay Short and Sweet

This is important. Not only should your handout be short and brief, but your presentation should be that way as well. It’s not necessary to dive into small details like potential venues, speakers, or food options; this will only get your presentation stuck in a rut. Demonstrate that you respect their time by keeping your pitch under 10 minutes (and prepare for up to 20 minutes of Q&A), but don’t leave until you’ve discussed and settled on the “next steps” with the executive.

Pitching to executives can be daunting, but these Florida corporate event tips are sure to help you reach your goals. To find out how we can help your next event, contact us at 407-955-4949.

 

Prioritizing Security and Safety

When it comes to event planning, things like catering, venue location, and entertainment tend to take precedence over security. But safety is just as crucial to the attendee experience as anything else! By investing in quality security, your events and staff can be prepared for everything.

Document Everything

Everything needs to be properly documented in order to keep your insurance premium in check and keep your staff informed. This is especially true in the event of a medical emergency. Just remember, if something happens and you wonder, “Should I write this down?” — the answer is yes. It’s better to be safe than sorry!  

Enlist a Medical Team

Prepare for medical emergencies by hiring an approachable, knowledgeable medical team. It’s vital that you have professionals available on-site who can handle everything from providing a band-aid to administering CPR.

Lock Down Event WiFi

Your WiFi should always be password protected and only shared on a need-to-know basis. Make sure a venue’s network is secured by WPA and equipped with AP-isolation; this blocks other users from accessing devices logged into the network.

Create an Emergency Response Plan

Find out your venue’s procedures for active shooter situations and mass evacuations, and mark evacuation routes clearly on the day of the event. Map the closest route to the hospital. Decide what your security team will do with any unidentified bags or boxes, ensure the venue is equipped to handle all traffic, and know how to lock down the facility — just in case. It’s also crucial to establish a chain of command so that every staff member knows exactly what their role entails.

In addition, your emergency response should detail a crisis communications plan. While we can never be sure what the next crisis will look like, you can plan how you would communicate with attendees, employees, and the general public. Put together a crisis communications team and identify your communication channels ahead of time.

Get a Screening Strategy

It’s important to develop a screening strategy for both attendees and employees. Make sure to equally utilize technology and your security team! Metal detectors and magnetometers are great tools, but if they aren’t an option, don’t turn your nose up at a solid bag check.

Hire a credible security firm that’s supplemented with off-duty policemen, who are licensed to carry a firearm at events, and then meet together before the event kicks off. Communicate your layout and any areas of concern, and provide two-way radios and a detailed site map that shows emergency exits, bathrooms, stages, and concession stands. Many police departments post off-hours opportunities on their internal websites, so that’s a great place to start.

At Fun Planners, we believe that investing in high-quality security greatly benefits you, your staff, your attendees, and your event. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any Orlando event planning questions! For more information on how we can help you and your next event, give us a call at 407-955-4949.

Winning Negotiation Strategies

Finding the perfect venue is critical, but it can be a challenge — and a major expense. It’s important to approach venues with the mindset that everything is negotiable as long as you know what you’re doing; after all, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Don’t Share Your Budget Right Away

Rather than divulging your budget, say, “We’re still working on our budget, so just give me your standard rates for now.” The venue will likely share their top pricing, and you can negotiate from there. (This changes if you’ve used the venue before; if you have a good relationship, sharing your budget at the beginning could help you get more for your money.)

Be Flexible

A venue’s goal is to be booked all the time. If you have a few dates you’re willing to consider, you may get discounted pricing for a day they’re having difficulty filling. However, if all of your dates are around the same time and the venue is fairly full, there’s a chance they won’t be as flexible with pricing! Do some research and find out when the “off season” is to save money.

Don’t Overestimate Attendees

If you’re working with a hotel and you give them your dream attendance number — rather than a more practical one — you’re locking yourself into a higher minimum pay for food, beverage, and reserved rooms, meaning there’s a chance you’ll have to pay a penalty if you don’t meet those minimums.

Prove Your Value

If you’ve held similar events in the past, it can be helpful to show the venue that you’re known for meeting your food, beverage, and guest minimums. They need to see that you’re a reliable source of revenue. If so, they’re more likely to negotiate with you.

Maximize Your Comped Ratio

Many hotels offer a standard deal where they comp one room’s fee for every 50 booked. Depending on the overall spend of your event, you can try and negotiate this for an even better deal.

Don’t Be Fooled

“We have another interested party for this same day and time, so I’d act fast if I were you.” “This pricing is only available for the next 24 hours!” These statements may or may not be true, but you have no way of knowing for sure, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to make a hasty decision based on a predictable sales tactic. At the end of the day, if a venue wants your business, they’ll work with you — and if they don’t, that’s one less candidate for you to worry about.

Free Meeting Spaces

If you’re meeting your minimum spend, the venue is likely willing to work with you! Ask if they can provide a complimentary meeting space or hospitality room.

Required Vendors

If your venue refuses to let you use an outside vendor, get quotes from outside vendors to negotiate with the venue on the prices of their approved vendors. A venue would rather work with their vendor to lower the price than lose your business!

For tips on tricks on negotiations, publicizing your event, writing a winning proposal, and more, check out our blog! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners at 407-955-4949.

Prepping for Autumn Event Planning Trends

Fall is approaching, which means pumpkin spice and autumn aesthetics will soon take over storefront displays and living rooms, and Orlando event planning will be in high demand. Although Florida’s leaves might not change color, event planning opportunities blossom with the changing of the seasons. Be prepared for what autumn may bring with these upcoming event planning trends!

Fundraising in Fall

As summer comes to a close, organizations want to kick off fall strong and raise funds before winter. Fall fundraising is a great chance to welcome people with delicious cuisine and fun activities that encourage engagement. To help your next fundraising event stand out from the rest, add a new and exciting form of entertainment, such as a magician or a caricature artist for guests to enjoy while mingling and purchasing raffle tickets.

Team Building in Fall

September often marks a return to normalcy after sporadic work schedules and summer traveling, so businesses are looking to rein in the autumn quarter with team building. It’s prime time for teams to gather for company picnics and bond before the hectic rush of the winter holidays. Make these events feel fresh and different by adding a in some yummy snacks, a few games of cornhole, or even a mechanical bull to bring everyone together. Make sure you capture your team’s best moments with our videography and photography!

Venues for Fall

Entertainment and team building activities are great accents to fall events, but to make your event stand out, you need a great venue. Take advantage of Orlando’s warm fall season to select an outdoor venue with a view. If you’re planning an evening event where things may get a bit chill, consider an indoor venue. Planning events before the chill of winter will give you more options and the chance to make the right selection for your event.

Fun Planners wants to help you make the most of the Orlando event planning opportunities the new season brings. Contact us today to find out how we can take your event to the next level!

 

Throw The Best Back-To-School Bash

The rush of back-to-school excitement each August becomes a busy blur of packed schedules as students stock up on supplies, finish summer homework, and prepare to return to school. Take a break to celebrate the end of a great vacation!  These Orlando event planning tips can help you throw the back-to-school bash of the summer.

Cool Down Bash

August is one of Florida’s hottest months, which can make people retreat indoors to the comfort of their air conditioner. To add an icy twist to a traditional pool party, bring in a snow cone machine, a water tag maze, or a surf machine and invite guests to cool off together.

Pre-Sports Season Bash

Before the hectic hustle of daily sports practice and games becomes the daily routine, get young athletes excited for another year with sports-themed games. The inflatable basketball challenge or soccer kick game is a great way to have fun and help teammates bond before the season officially begins.

Night-Time Bash

To avoid the Florida heat and opt for a more relaxing party activity, host a movie night under the night sky with an inflatable projector screen. Guests can sit on picnic blankets and laugh together over a throwback film or new release while munching on classic snacks like popcorn or snow cones

For The Parents

The fun of back-to-school isn’t just for kids — have parents gather for mingling and Hors D’oeurves, or to chat about the upcoming year over drinks and darts. After a long summer, everyone deserves a night out to catch up and get ready for the new school year.

Fun Planners has more Orlando event planning tips and creative ideas for any occasion. Contact us to find out how we can help your next event be the best it can be!

 

Plan in Advance to Enjoy Your Own Event

We’ve all been guilty of waiting until the last minute to plan an event, and the stress of scrambling in a time crunch can cause unnecessary panic. When you organize your event in advance and get help from a skilled team, last-minute planning disasters will be a thing of the past.

If You Need A Venue, Caterer and Entertainment

Finding the right venue, cuisine, and entertainment can be overwhelming as the date of your event draws closer. The sooner you find a venue, the better! If your event is six months out, start venue hunting right away. Remember that October, November, and March are peak wedding months in Florida, so for those events in particular, availability can be limited if you don’t plan ahead.  

You’ll be ready to move on to catering within two to three weeks. Take someone with you when choosing a venue to make the decision easier and faster, and delegate that responsibility to them while you move on to researching entertainment. Your goal should be to have booked your entertainment and catering four or five months before the event. Then, you can use the remaining months to focus on details like decorations and party favors.

If You Need A Venue and Catering

If you’re planning a conference or similar event and won’t be needing a band or performers, give yourself five months to get fully organized. You’ll need to decide on the venue by the three month mark, and then you have a week or so to choose the caterer. All-inclusive venues that provide food for guests in-house can be an efficient, one-stop-shop approach to event planning that help to lighten your team’s workload.

If You Only Need Catering

Backyard bashes and family reunions make location a non-issue, but booking the caterer far in advance will allow you more time to complete all your other checklist items. Feedback on cuisine from your team takes some of the responsibility off your back. Your planning process may be short, but to avoid the chaos of finding a caterer just weeks before your event, be sure to choose one three months ahead of time.

Looking to make your Orlando event planning strategy quick and painless? We can help you make your event a success and avoid last-minute stress before the big day. Contact us today at 407-955-4949 to find out how!

Inside or Outside? Event Venue Pros and Cons

Planning an event in Orlando can be difficult, especially when it comes to picking a venue. Florida weather can be temperamental, but Orlando also has some of the best outdoor venues to be found. Although the perfect venue depends on your event, here are some things to consider when deciding whether you want an indoor or outdoor venue.

OUTDOOR PROS

Atmosphere
When the weather is good, guests will enjoy being outside for festivities. Outdoor venues provide a great ambiance and beautiful, natural views, and there’s less need to worry about decoration.

Budget
Outdoor venues will generally be less expensive than indoor options, and may even be free to use! If you’re planning an event during a good weather season, this is a huge financial boon.

Space
With an outdoor venue, you don’t have to worry about running out of space or guests feeling cramped. More people can come to your event, and you’ll have more room for activities and themed decor!

OUTDOOR CONS

Weather
Weather can change in a snap, and if your event is planned in a rainy season, you might want to avoid an outdoor venue. Rain can ruin an event, and if it’s too hot, guests likely won’t appreciate being outside. You also run the risk of losing decorations and signs to the wind.

Facilities
It’s important to have easily available bathrooms at your event, and with an outdoor venue that can be tricky. If the facilities are too far away, it could prove a big hassle.

Insects/Pests
Having an outdoor event has the added challenge of dealing with pests like mosquitos, wasps, and ants. Food can quickly attract flies and other unwanted diners.

INDOOR PROS

Weather
With an indoor event, you have complete control over the weather and temperature! Even if the weather outside is harsh, an event can easily be enjoyed from inside.

Power Supply
You don’t have to worry about where or how you’re going to power any electrical devices because indoor venues typically come equipped with power. They also offer controlled lighting, so your event can continue well into the night.

Flexible Decor
Barring fire hazards, there’s no limit to your idea of the perfect decorations for your event. No weather will interfere with your setup, and you can let your vision run wild.

INDOOR CONS

Space
With an indoor venue, you run the risk of running out of space! Indoor venues tend to get cramped fast, and that can slow down an event like nothing else.

Budget
Indoor venues can be expensive and hard to book at the right times. If you’re planning to have a long event or are scheduling on a short notice, this might not be the best option.

Winter
It can be almost impossible to find an indoor venue in the winter because the weather will force indoor venues to be in high demand. If you’re planning a winter event, be sure to book your venue well in advance of the season.

Venues can make or break an event! Our experts can help you with any Orlando event planning needs, from the best venue to the best entertainment. To learn more about how to plan a perfect event, check out our blog!