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Don’t Have a Boo-ring Halloween Event

It’s tempting to celebrate Halloween at work by just putting out a bowl of candy. But why do that when you can plan an exciting and spooky Florida corporate event that gets your employees in the holiday mood? Get inspired by the ideas below!

Pumpkin Carving Party
Ask each guest to bring their own pumpkin, and tell them that you’ll be providing all of the pumpkin cutting tools. While it’s tempting to break out larger steak knives, your best options are the little knives that come in pumpkin carving kits. You can also offer some more unusual carving options, such as keyhole saws, hole cutters, power drills, melon ballers, chisels, awls, and cookie cutters.

When it’s time to set up, make sure you purchase several carving kits, lay down some newspaper for guests to carve on, and have printed design templates. Set out bowls to place “pumpkin guts” and seeds into, and offer hand sanitizer to wipe off gooey hands. It’s also smart to provide markers and pencils for your artsy guests to sketch out their designs before carving. Plan to host this party outdoors for easy cleanup, and don’t forget to serve warm cups of cider!

Murder Mystery Dinner
Don’t worry, you don’t have to come up with the murder mystery — that’s why you buy a kit! After researching and finding the story that’s perfect for your business, send out invitations that include costume suggestions, character descriptions, and character backgrounds. This is a great choice for a company who enjoys being theatrical, or whose employees are especially comfortable with one another. The key to a great murder mystery is great actors! Encourage your guests to get dramatic, dress outrageously, and interact with each other throughout the evening. It’s crucial that each one of your guests RSVPs; all characters must be played, and it will be a challenging dinner if the murderer is a no-show.

Ghost Tours
Do some research, and find out what ghost tours are available near you! Tours are available in a variety of themes and price points. If you have employees who are squeamish about participating in a ghost tour, encourage them by explaining that the tours are not just a thrilling way to spend the Halloween season, but they’re also an excellent way to learn about your town! You get to tour buildings you may have otherwise never stepped foot in, and you’ll learn things that won’t come up in a history book. It’s an exciting way to discover your city!

Fun Planners can help you plan the perfect Florida corporate event this Halloween. To find out how, give us a call at 407-955-4949.

Get to the Subject

For months, you’ve completely thrown yourself into planning an elaborate, time-consuming event. You’ve spent hours negotiating prices, invested days into researching the perfect catering company, and got put on hold more times than you care to count. Now that you’ve put so much time into planning your Florida corporate event, make sure that your email marketing campaign is up to snuff. Get inspired with some of our favorite email campaigns!

charity: water: Progress Emails
Most of the time, we donate to charities without a real knowledge of where exactly our money goes, and we’re never given specifics. However, once someone donates to a charity: water project, they’re put on a list where they receive automated emails about the journey their money has taken, how it’s being used, and the impact it’s made. They’re given a progress update, a project timeline, and updated pictures. This is great to keep in mind, particularly when you’re working with a nonprofit! If attendees made donations at the event, consider keeping them up-to-date on where their money goes.

Cook Smarts: Easy CTA
Cook Smarts makes the CTA of each email easy to find! In the upper right-hand corner, subscribers can always find a “Forward to a Friend” button. As you publicize your event, make it easy for potential guests to tell their friends about it!

HireVue: Unsubscribe, It’s Okay — Seriously
It’s smart to purge your subscription list of people who don’t open your emails — low open rates can affect email deliverability. Take a look at how HireVue opened the door for subscribers to go away.

“You haven’t been opening our emails in the last few months, and the last thing we want is to come across clingy. If you still want to stay connected, then just press ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ below, and we promise we won’t let you. Otherwise, we’ll take you off our business list in three days. No hard feelings.”

This is simple, humorous, and guilt-free messaging! If you have a list of subscribers interested in future events who don’t open their emails, consider approaching them this way.

Loft: Happy Inbox, Happy Life
Ann Taylor Loft acknowledged the cluttered, overwhelming feeling of the common inbox, suggesting to all of their subscribers they should embrace the “Happy Inbox, Happy Life” approach to email. This is a customer-focused email that asks recipients to update their email preferences because they’re going to be sending content they won’t want to miss. As your event gets closer, send out an email asking attendees to update their email preferences! They won’t want to miss out on any important updates.

Florida corporate events can greatly benefit from a solid email campaign. If you’re looking to strengthen your team or put on an amazing business event, make sure to reach out to us online or at 407-955-4949.

The AV Glossary

The jargon and fine details of the AV industry can be overwhelming, especially as you’re planning your next event and realize — you don’t know what anything means! Don’t struggle through your AV quote without grabbing this handy cheat sheet!

The Gear
Rigging Points: These are specific spots in the ceiling where things can be safely hung.

Rig Plot: This diagram shows where the rigging points are located. Ask your venue for this if it was not provided!

Truss: This is the framework of the structure. Motors are connected to the rigging points and the truss, as are the lighting, projectors, and speakers.

Motors: Attached to the rigging point and truss, the motor allows the truss to be brought down so you can attach any equipment.

The Microphones
Handheld: These are great for speeches, Q&A sessions, or presentations. Opt for a handheld mic when your entertainment is stationary and won’t get tangled in a cord!

Wireless: Wireless mics are popular with public speakers, interviewers, and stage performances. You’ll also see these referred to as lav mics, lavalier, or lapel mics.

DPA — Headset: Choose these when you prioritize superior voice reproduction, comfort, and easy setup over concealment.

Combo Kit: Your AV company might allow you to utilize both handheld and wireless mics!

The Lighting
Gobo: A pattern you can insert into a light to project that pattern through the light. These can be used to add texture effects on walls and scenery, or projected through haze as an aerial effect.

Spot Fixtures: These hard-edged lighting fixtures are versatile and flexible. They can project color, spinning lights, or gobos, and are great for spotlighting people or objects while leaving the rest of the stage in darkness.

LED: LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than other bulbs. They can transform a space by color washing walls or decorative elements with multi-colored light, and since they don’t require any warm-up time, they can be quickly turned on and off for different effects.

Beam: While these moving lights may look like lasers, they are actually just very tight beams of light! You often see this kind of light at big concerts.

The Projectors
Rear Projection: While this is a great option because there are no rigging costs — since the projector is on the ground — you need to make sure you’ll have enough space for the equipment and projectors behind the screen.

Front Projection: Placed in front of the audience, these take up floor space unless you choose to have it rigged (although it will cost you to do so). Consider if any people or objects will obstruct the projector at any time.

It’s vital that you sit down with your AV company and ask them to walk you through the contract, explaining each piece and answering all your questions. For more information on Orlando event management, give us a call at 407-955-4949.

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!