By Suzanne Chadwick
You know the feeling I’m sure – you’re heading off for the day to an event. Not just any event, but one that you’ve invested in. It’s at a gorgeous venue with amazing speakers. You’ll be connecting with other EPIC women in business and entrepreneurs and you’re ready. You’re ready to learn, take notes, collaborate, connect and more.
This is not just a chance to hear stories, but it’s a chance for you to learn and be empowered to create real change in your business. The excitement of what you’ll experience is at an all-time high.
As the event landscape continues to grow, there is a place for events at all levels. There are the breakfast events, evening meetups, half day and full day workshops, large scale theatre style events with hundreds if not thousands of people and then there are higher end premium experience events. Each one of these types of events has benefits depending on what you’re looking for.
When putting on a premium experience event there are so many things that come into play. Knowing your audience, who you want to attract and what is key for them. What makes an event premium? Different people may have different perceptions of what premium is to them.
Having attended a lot of different events, a premium event to me consists of some the following things. Exceptional speakers who can deliver unique and tailored content to the audience. The venue is 2nd to none. Beautiful surrounds, food, event management, flowers and overall experience of attendees on the day. It’s little things like – no one is left standing on their own, people are actively introduced, there are opportunities for attendees to connect and get to know each other. Beautiful gifts, potentially workbooks or programs for the day. A spacious venue to relax, work and feel at home.
If you’ve been to an event like this then you’ll exactly what I’m talking about. You feel special just being part of the day. At premium events the ticket price is higher but you also know that the experience will be as well. You could pay a lot less for an event – be shuffled through crowds, squeezed in theatre seating and provided with at times dry and heavy food options.
If you’re looking to create your own premium experience event then here are a few things to consider:
1. Event spaces
Take a look around the central locations you’d like to host your event. There are so many great venues around. When looking at spaces for EPIC Business Branding Summit I viewed some beautiful venues. Consider things like – size, how many people will it fit comfortably as well as at a stretch. View the stage area from every possible angle. I hosted an event last year in a stunning space but not every table and attendee had a great view of the stage area or screen which was an issue; something that I’m more aware of now.
Look at the different spaces in the venue. Are the tables round which encourages more connection between everyone at the table and therefore communication. Simple things like white table clothes make a huge difference. Check out the bathrooms. I found a gorgeous venue but they only had 2-3 toilets. When you’ve got 100 women, that can be an issue so you can either make sure that there are more bathrooms or make sure you have use of the men’s toilet exclusively and make sure you’re happy with it.
One of the event partners offered to promote the event through their own social channels which I thought was amazing and supportive. Discuss bump in and bump out times. What is the earliest you and your guests can get there and what time do you need to be out by. There is nothing worse than have a fantastic day and then you have to leave quickly or get booted out. This also comes down to your running sheet or schedule for you to manage it well.
Food at premium experience events is so important. When you’re hosting an all-day event, attendees want to enjoy their breaks and their lunch. It’s a time to connect and converse with others and who doesn’t love to do that over a beautiful lunch – especially women. Once again it’s about creating special experiences with high quality products. If you’re charging a premium price then this would be a minimum expectation as well. Speak to your venue and see what they can do. It doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive if you are very specific about what you want and how they price it.
Knowing what kind of event you want to put on, you’ll also need to think about what I like to call tangible and intangible partners. For example I’ve partnered with the fabulous ladies at Babylon Flowers who will be supplying the flowers for EPIC Business Branding Summit in Melbourne in April. They have worked with us before and it made sense to work them again. We are also partnering with Frank Body for gifts as well as other businesses and provide. Other intangible (as in, not physical products) that we’re working with is Social Concepts Consulting for our PR Management. The more people that know about the event the better off we are so it’s key to ensure we’re got the right partners focusing on that for us.
Think about what you need and who you can partner with in a mutually beneficial way. Approach them and see if there is a synergy regarding what you are doing and what they do. If you support any charities then creating partnerships with them is key as well and seeing how your event can continue to support them.
3. Tailored Experience
Whether you’re working with one person or you’re running an event for 100 people, sit down and work through the step by step experience they will have. It helps you craft the experience you want your attendees to have but it will also mean you are 100% on top of everyone on the day. What do I mean by this? I actually start from a week or so before the event. As tickets close then I start to prepare for every touch point that my ticket holders will have.
- Creating a web page with all the details of the event, parking, food, speakers and more and then email that out to everyone who has bought a ticket so that they have directions, public transport links, what to do if they haven’t provided dietary requirements then who to email etc.
- Sending any “let’s get excited” emails to rev them up a day or two before the event
- On the day I walk through what the day looks like for attendees – they arrive, there is clear signage, there are people meeting and greeting them at the door, lanyards or name tags, coffees on arrival (we are in Melbourne after all) and anything else that they need.
- Social information; how can they share and be part of the day. Have it clear and accessible which is great for branding
- Getting started on time and provide a full overview of the day; people like certainty about what they will experience over the next X number of hours
- As I MC my own events it’s key to stick to the timing of the day for yourself and for your attendees.
- Ensure there are regular comfort breaks.
- Create conversation and discussion so that people aren’t just sitting and listening all day.
- Having some fun giveways during the day
- We then have a cocktail event at the end of the day just wind things down and end on a high.
- There is then the after care and connection from the event. So things like feedback forms, special communication about anything that is just for attendees. Spaces and places for them to connect. Walk through it all so that you know how, when and where your attendees will have special experiences.
4. Have a premium mindset and a premium Team
If you have a vision for your event then you have to have the right team to back you up. As with your partners, having others to help you do the things that you can’t or don’t want to do is key. When running an event of this size I have a VA, Social Media manager for the day, photographer, someone to support me in securing sponsorship and more. Having people there on the day also takes the pressure off you if they are looking after registration, meet and greet, capturing social images and content.
Pick a team that understand your brand values and what you’re trying to deliver on the day. This might sound strange but if your team don’t value the high end experience and what that looks like then they may miss things that you would like them to pick up on the day –and experience is everything!
These are just some tips on creating a premium experience event for your attendees. These types of events ideally attract people who want to invest in themselves, in something beautiful and in quality rather than quantity.
If you’d love to experience an event like this, then we would love to see you at EPIC Business Branding Summit at Carousel on Albert Park Lake on Thursday 14th April 2016. For more information and to grab your ticket, head HERE.
Suzanne Chadwick works with both small and large businesses to develop the right business and brand strategy to ensure that the outcomes you want in your business also align with the message, image and impact that you’re putting out to your target audience.
All photo credits belong to The Connection Exchange