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Do you have a burning ambition to work in the Events industry? Are you at your happiest when you’re organising events of any kind? Everyone wants their event to be bigger and better than everyone else’s and it takes a certain type of person to make this happen. Today, we look at the key skill set required to be an Events Manager.

(1) Qualifications aren’t essential
The Events industry is a tough one to get in to. Competition is rife when applying for jobs due to it’s ‘glamorous’ outlook to those not in the industry. Degrees in Events are not essential to the foundation of your knowledge but do show an active interest in the industry. Generally, employers are more concerned about your skill set and proof of these skills. Try volunteering to gain experience.

(2) Patience
When starting in the industry, you won’t be organising large scale events in your first years, well, at least not leading them. Be patient and soak up all the knowledge and experience you can. The more you actively try and learn the better you will be. Remember, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. You can’t teach experience, so keep patient and persistent and the knowledge will come.

(3) Genuine Passion
Events Managers live and breathe their events. It’s not just a job to them, it is a career, a passion. To succeed in events, you must have a genuine love and desire for the industry. We all do better at something when we genuinely care about it. When times get tough and you’re in a stressful situation, enjoy it, because this is what you love to do! You give up a lot of your own personal time, but this shouldn’t be a chore if you love the industry.

(4) Attention to detail
Attention to detail is not a phrase just to be thrown around. It doesn’t just mean that knives and forks are straight, it’s about ensuring your presentations are slick, nothing is missing from the content, your budgeting is correct, and you have considered everything within every element of your job. The attention to detail in your logistics is key to the smooth running of events.

(5) Good computer skills
Most of your time is spent in front of a computer – how else do these events get organised? Good computer skills in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and general computer knowledge for any specific software platforms used is a must. This should be second nature. Formulas in Excel should be known too.

(6) Interpersonal skills
Events is all about relationships – with clients, suppliers, colleagues, industry personnel etc. The ability to build a rapport with somebody is not a skill everyone possesses, but is critical if you wish to succeed in this industry. An events manager must work within a team to ensure an event is a success. Being able to lead and listen without issues is a necessity. You’ll meet people from all different backgrounds, so being adaptable is a must.

(7) Communication
A successful Event Manager can communicate a message clearly and concisely, and is a skill that is second nature. Communication to your own team is vital if you are to run a successful event, How else will they know what their roles and responsibilities are? However, communicating with clients and suppliers is equally important. Clients must be kept in the loop and suppliers need to know what is happening. From a development point of view, being able to ask for help will fast track your learning.

(8) Thrive under pressure
There’s a huge amount of pressure on you – both internally (your own expectations) and externally (clients and employer). You cannot let your stress get the better of you, otherwise your performance will be affected. Forbes says events management is the 5th most stressful job in the world – that says it all. Learn to channel the pressure into positive energy rather than have it affect you in a negative manner. End-to-end Event Project Management is a marathon, not a sprint.

(9) Leadership
They say leaders are born, not made. This saying is true for any successful event manager, given that you will need to lead your own events and a large team under you whilst doing so. The impact a leader has on its team is huge – from morale to skillset. Good leadership skills gain respect as a result.

(10) Tech savvy
The industry is in a huge tech boom at the moment. New developments are popping up all over the place, so you should be well-versed in using it, or at the very least you should be doing your research on it. Corporate events have fast adopted technology as part and parcel of the attendee experience. Technology is the future, so if you want a long career in this great industry you need to be one step ahead at all times.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on enquiries@hippoevents.co.uk or 01372 460 100 – we’re here to help. Hippo.

The post What Does It Take To Be An Events Manager? appeared first on Hippo Event Management Agency.

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Organising an event can prove to be a stressful process. If you’ve run one before, you’ll be all too familiar with the challenges and hurdles ahead. If this is your first time, don’t panic, you’re in the right place. Winston Churchill was quoted as saying, “I am easily satisfied with the very best” so within this blog we have identified the top 5 hints and tips, to help you along your way with organising the very best event possible.

(1) Start early
A wise old man once said, “it’s not about having time, it’s about making time”. We’re not sure exactly who that wise man is, nor his age, but he does raise a good point. Starting early gives you ample time to organise your event successfully. No one likes to rush their decisions, nor be rushed by looming deadlines that inevitably result in just “getting the job done” rather than “getting the job done well”.

Occasionally we are led by our deadlines, rather than leading them ourselves, however when possible try to do as much preparation work as you can ahead of getting the all-important “go ahead”. You’ll see how much of a positive impact it has – you’ll then raise your hat to that wise old man. Starting your planning early means:

  • You can begin your delegate sign up further in advance, meaning a higher chance of their availability and more chance to advertise the event
  • You have the time to find the right venue that has availability
  • It takes the pressure off, so less stress for you
  • It gives you time to consider all aspects of the event, and not just the obvious. This has a knock-on effect on attention to detail you can install in the event.

(2) Find the right venue
The first in our Top 10 blog series provides a detailed analysis of what to look for when selecting a venue. Check the blog out for further details – it’s a great read, and that’s not us just being bias. Well, slightly. Fundamentally though, your venue needs to reflect your event and business. Further to that, consider your delegates when looking at location, style, catering etc. Ensure you conduct site visits to view the venue and get a feel for the atmosphere as well as the event spaces proposed. Try to remember:

  • Your chosen venue should reflect your business and content
  • Look at the demographic of your audience and consider their thoughts
  • It must be in the right location. If most of your attendees are London based, you woouldn’t choose a venue in Manchester.
  • Has the venue got the right space for what you need? Is it flexible?
  • Does it contain the right atmosphere for your event?
  • Non-residential / residential – is accommodation needed? If so, is it important that it is on-site?

(3) Food and Beverage (“F&B”)
The key to a mans heart is through his stomach. Yes, this might be talking about someone’s questionable love life, but it can also relate to your events too. We’ve all walked away from an event and talked about the food in some capacity. It may be a singular item up for discussion or it may be the food as a whole, but the key point is that people discuss it – it’s the singular most common feedback topic. Don’t underestimate the importance and impact of F&B on your delegates perception of your event – fill their stomachs. Consider the following:

  • Timings of the catering service
  • What your attendees would like at specific times. i.e. pastries are more relevant to morning breaks than they are mid-afternoon.
  • The variety of choices available
  • The variety of textures, colours and types of dishes on offer
  • Don’t forget the dietary requirements!

(4) Control your budget
Event organisers live and breathe their budgets. In fact, they live, breathe, sleep and eat them, metaphorically of course, although they would eat their budget for breakfast if that helped to reduce the cost of an event. Identifying and controlling costs and probably expenditures is no easy task, hence investing time in your budget cannot go a miss. Remember to allocate some time to your budget, analysing costs, looking at trends and checking your spreadsheet formulas. When working on your budget remember…

  • Set a realistic budget from the beginning. Look at all aspects of the event, not just the obvious.
  • Update your budget regularly – look at it daily. Update it live, don’t leave it until the end of the week.
  • Look at the list of your tasks and reflect them in your budget. This helps with identifying potential future costs.
  • Consider all elements, including those forgotten ones – transportation, printed materials, gifts, accommodation, on site expenses for your event team etc.
  • Build in a contingency

(5) Create an Operations Document
The bible to any events planner is their sacred Operations Document. With hours of work and meticulous planning involved, this document contains everything everyone on the events team needs to know, so it’s no wonder most event planners go to sleep holding it tight in their arms. Just don’t crease the pages. This document should reflect a one-stop-shop for all. It doesn’t matter if your event is a Conference, Product Launch, Birthday Party or Bar Mitzvah it’s always beneficial to make one. It takes some time to put together, but the use of this document on the event days itself are invaluable. When creating your Operations Document, don’t forget to include:

  • Your overall agenda
  • Key contact details for all suppliers, stakeholders and crew
  • Catering details, including a breakdown of quantities of what has been ordered
  • A minute-by-minute play of how the event will map out
  • Roles and Responsibilities for the Event Crew
  • Floor Plans

This document also provides the basis from which you can run your event briefing with all the relevant personnel.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on enquiries@hippoevents.co.uk or 01372 460 100 – we’re here to help. Hippo.

The post 5 Top Tips For Organising An Event appeared first on Hippo Event Management Agency.

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A pain point is defined as a problem, real or perceived. We all have them and we all experience them. Individuals pain points vary depending on their experiences. Hippo’s services are based around solutions to those key pain points, through our full Event Project Management and Global Venue Finding services.

Below we look at 5 common pain points of organising an event:

(1) Lead Time
Shortened lead times are a challenge of modern day event management. Many organisations and businesses often do not have sight of their meeting and event budgets either until the new financial year has begun or their recent fiscal results have been released. The largest trend the industry has seen in the previous ten years has been the dramatic reduction in lead times. Years have become months, months have become weeks and weeks are now days. This could be due to several influencing factors; increased competition and economic instabilities to name a few.

As a professional event manager you must work within your given timeframes. So, rather than dwell on it, embrace the challenge – test yourself and your skills. Anything is possible if you dedicate yourself, put in the work and do it with a smile you can turn that pain point in to a pleasure.

(2) Hidden Fees
So, you’ve signed the contract, added all items to your budget, received sign off and you’re pressing ahead with the planning. And then – wham! – you’re thrown a curveball…your supplier wasn’t quite a forthcoming as you’d like them to be about the breakdown of costs or any additional fees. Suddenly your budget has sky rocketed with these unforeseen additions. More so, where do you find the extra money?

Whether it’s rigging charges, cloakroom, staffing, furniture, accommodation, per diems, security, even electricity, these fees can rapidly add up. They are sometimes hidden deep in the terms and conditions, so Hippo would always recommend reading through the contract T&C’s as thoroughly as possible. We understand the small print can be annoying, but it could save your thousands in the future. In fact, speak with your suppliers and venue on the phone or face-to-face to ask about additional fees. Explain to them what you are looking to do in your event and ask them to send across quotations to match your requirements, prior to signing anything.

(3) Response times
In today’s world we are all guilty of wanting everything yesterday. The evolution of the internet and e-mails has made information accessible at the click of a button, and it’s safe to say that we now expect this from our suppliers. When organising an event, yours is the most important and always will be, hence why we need and want quick answers, however to a supplier, they may have multiple events on all at once, from which they must prioritise their responses.

Slow response times and chasing suppliers can be frustrating, especially when you have your own internal deadlines to meet. Think ahead as best possible, giving the supplier the maximum amount of time to draft a response. Detail when you need a response by, and if it is an extremely quick turnaround then consider if you’d be happy to accept basic information over a detailed response.

(4) Rogue delegates
Often working with hundreds (or thousands) of your invitees, all with different backgrounds, workloads, locations, mentalities etc. it can prove tricky to ensure they all follow the same steps and instructions. At times, it can feel like an uphill task.

Hands up if one of the following has happened to you… a delegate arrives on the event day itself providing an obscure dietary requirement that isn’t prepared for and wasn’t detailed in their registration…you are inundated with pre-event e-mails asking for detail already covered in the correspondence sent out…or….you’ve got either an incredible dip or spike in numbers on the event day itself due to no-shows or attendees turning up having not registered? Don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us and is part and parcel of events. Depending on how you perceive these quirks, its best to see the humour in the situation. Concentrate on that, and always remember that if it isn’t for your delegates attending the event, there wouldn’t be an event at all.

(5) Stress
Did you know that according Forbes event planning is considered the 5th most stressful job of 2017? If you are an event organiser yourself, you most probably could have guessed this! Stress comes hand in hand with managing events. The pressure both from external parties and internally can often be overwhelming. It is easy to get swept up in the endless e-mails and mountain of work to complete, but ensure you take a step back when you can. Reassess, prioritise, manage expectations and seek assistance where you can.

High levels of stress can often negatively affect performance but be mindful of the impact it is having on you and your health. Hippo offer a full Event Project Management and Global Venue Finding service. This means we can assist with as much or a little as you wish in your event planning, saving you the long hours, late nights, and endless e-mails!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on enquiries@hippoevents.co.uk or 01372 460 100 – we’re here to help. Hippo.

The post 5 Biggest Pain Points When Organising An Event appeared first on Hippo Event Management Agency.

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“Negotiation” – the term you either love or hate. Either way, it is a necessary evil when it comes to the world of business, and in particular, when organising an event. Negotiating for some can seem intimidating, however, once you learn how to negotiate effectively and successfully, you may find your opinion changes. Knowledge is power and experience cannot be taught.

Consider using the below hints and tips when you next have a contract in front of you. You may be surprised how much you can achieve.

(1) Take your time
Venues and suppliers commonly place unrealistic time frames on contract signatures. Be open about your internal processes and ask for a realistic deadline. Take your time over reading through the contract if you need it. When done quickly, often key elements are missed. Most people don’t enjoy negotiating and want to get it over with. This is completely understandable, however please don’t rush. The final product will be much better for it.

(2) Understand the supplier
Conducting some basic research and asking the right questions can give you an insight into how valuable your business is to the supplier. With increased desire for the business, your position of negotiation increases significantly. They may need the business to hit targets, so try and establish what else they have on the books.

(3) Compartmentalise
There may be several areas of the contract you wish to change. Negotiations can collapse by one party taking an ‘all or nothing’ approach, which can create a roadblock and cause unwanted delays. Compartmentalise your sections and reach an agreement separately on each. It may be that you have more wiggle room in some sections than others. The mentality of ticking off smaller sections rather than fighting one big list will help keep a positive approach from both sides.

(4) Don’t demand
It’s human nature, let alone polite, to be asked to do something, rather than demanded. The latter only gets their back up and can cause friction. If you are experiencing issues by the other party’s hard-line approach, ask them “why”? What are their reasons behind this approach? Questions breed discussions, which in turn provide you more information to act on.

(5) Be reasonable
At the end of the day a contract has got to be mutually beneficial. Don’t lose sight of your end game, but also, try not to lose sight of theirs either. Be reasonable with your negotiations. However, to be reasonable, you need to know what is actually reasonable. Our suggestion would be to do your research…which bring us onto our next point…

(6) Ask for advice
Talk to industry experts. Ask what the norm is and about what you are looking to achieve. Is it realistic? A good, neutral, industry expert should see it from both sides and can provide you with good advice from years of experience. They will see it from both sides, and help you find a solution. Moreover, ask colleagues, legal experts, and anyone else you feel can assist.

(7) Your first contract is not your last
Chances are the initial contract will be reasonably different to the final one issued. The first contract is a starting point – remember this. From there, your negotiation begins. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on points and insert your own comments and feedback. The supplier will issue their ideal T&C’s and rates as a starting point, and come to expect questions as a result.

(8) Have a “bad cop”
You don’t want to dampen your relationship with the supplier prior to your event, and it can be uncomfortable for both parties if this occurs. This is especially so if you personally will be working on the event in the lead up. It can help to have a “bad cop”, for example, a stakeholder or more senior manager who plays the hard ball. Use this colleague to your advantage – “I’m sorry, this point does not work for my Managing Director”. Many companies employ this tactic, because it works!

(9) Pick up the phone
Written communication can only go so far in conveying emotion and context. We’ve all received emails that have come across awfully, which in turn has left us questioning about the sender’s true intentions. Have a phone call. Relay your thoughts and you can understand theirs better too. You could even bring your “bad cop” on the call with you. You’ll get a much better read on the situation.

(10) Consider the bigger picture
If your event is looking to repeat the following year, don’t forget to mention this. Ask the supplier to see the bigger picture and explain it to them. The larger the cluster of events, the better your stance for negotiation. Be intelligent though. If you wanted to also contract on a second year add in an “opt out” clause for Year 2. This would usually be ca. 10 days after the first event and have no financial repercussions.

(11) Addendums
An addendum is an additional document not included in the main part of the contract. It is an ad hoc item, usually compiled and executed after the main document, which contains additional terms, obligations or information. This then forms a “revision” to your contract. If the supplier requires signature soon, discuss with the venue a potential addendum to a contract once you have more information.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on enquiries@hippoevents.co.uk or 01372 460 100 – we’re here to help. Hippo.

The post How Best To Negotiate Your Event Contract appeared first on Hippo Event Management Agency.

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We all want a positive relationship with our venue. Take a look at the below advice on how best to maximise your experience and work with your venue better.

Give them background on your event and ensure they are invested. Tell them a bit about your event, who will be there, why it is taking place. Instantly this will portray the importance of the event and they can share your passion for making it successful. It’s hard to give your all if you don’t know why you are putting effort into something.

Build and nurture a relationship. We are in a relationships business after all. Strong relationships flourish so take the time to build that relationship in a positive manner. Relationships grow organically if you give them time and invest in them. When it comes to negotiation and flexibility individuals are more likely to want to help if they have a strong rapport.

See the space. It’s extremely hard to convey space at a venue if you have not seen it first-hand. Visiting a venue and meeting your contact not only reinforces the point above, but will also answer plenty of questions you may have. You may also find that whilst walking around the venue your contact will provide further information you didn’t know was possible e.g. private check in desks, reserved parking, signage opportunities etc. It saves both you and them plenty of e-mails.

Be proactive. Here at Hippo our ethos is to be ‘proactive, not reactive’. Thinking ahead and answering questions before they are even asked is a key skill. Be proactive and place yourself in the position of the venue. Envision what requirements they will need; an agenda, what F&B you will require, if there any speeches during your dinner, what your signage need to read, where the signage should go, room layouts, dietary, what AV you’ll require, arrival times etc.

Set yourself up a document which contains all the information you can envision them needing. Send this through to them before they ask for it and give them a chance to come back with any missed information or queries. The more you help the venue, the more they will help you.

Templates. Often venues have their own templates with information they require, for example accommodation and dietary requirements. Generally, they prefer to receive information back using these documents as they are most familiar with the layout and details, however from an agency/client standpoint we tend to use our own. Ensure the templates you use include all the same information they have detailed in theirs – this way there’s minimal chance of missing details or unclear data, ensuring a smooth handover process.

Realistic response times. Start your planning early and allow for realistic response times. Venue staff have busy schedules with meetings, site visits and live events occurring on a daily basis. Often away from their desk setting a realistic response time for your queries aids them. Also, why not pick up the phone is it’s a quick query? You receive the information faster and lessens e-mail traffic, whilst also providing another opportunity to strengthen the relationship.

Use their Website and Brochures. Venues will always send through documents containing a whole load of relevant information. We are all guilty of not reading through these documents in great detail, but it’s certainly worth spending the extra minutes. Familiarise yourself with each document, know what it contains, as it may have the answers you’re looking for. Websites often have pictures and capacity charts whilst brochures may contain information of what’s already included in DDR’s and floor plans.

Ask their advice. No-one knows the venue better than the people that work there. If you have a logistical challenge or are looking for inspiring ideas, chances are the venue have an answer. Don’t forget, they run events in the same spaces day in, day out – they know what the spaces are capable of.

Thank them. A first impression is just as important as a last. Following your event, take the time to write and thank them for their efforts throughout both the pre-planning and on-site elements of the event. A small touch goes a long way – they’re more likely to remember if you don’t say thank you than if you do, so keep relations positive, it’s only to your advantage should you ever use the venue again.

Here are Hippo we value our long established relationships with our suppliers.

The post How To Work Better With Your Venue appeared first on Hippo Event Management Agency.

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So, you’ve worked hard on all the preparations, you’re all set for the ‘big day’ and you’re ready for the event you’ve thought about every day for months prior.

You may be experiencing a slight element of nerves or pressure to ensure the event is a huge success; all those long hours and countless e-mails amount to being on-site. Nonetheless, it’s easy to overlook your potential challenges you may face while running the event live. Take a read through of the below hints and tips to assist in minimising some of the most common challenges you may face.

1. Your Time. As the main organiser of an event, your time is precious. This means your time management is crucial to the success of carrying out your role effectively. Arrive early to your venue. Leave yourself ample time and have the mindset of ‘that will be enough time’ rather than ‘that should be enough time’. We all know that when arriving on-site, unforeseen issues arrive. Creating the time to solve these by arriving generously early it will minimise the pressure on you.

Moreover, don’t underestimate how long tasks may take to complete. Be realistic. Packing delegate bags takes a substantial amount more time than most think for example. Take a second to think logically. For tasks that will take time, start early. There’s no need to work until 2am before a 6am start if you don’t have to.

When running the event, you will get pushed and pulled in every direction. You cannot manage every task and do it efficiently, so ensure you have a trusted team to support you. Don’t be afraid to delegate. It’s quicker for you to delegate a role and then provide your approval upon inspection than it is to carry out every role yourself. This frees up your time to manage all your other tasks you need to do yourself. It’s better to have a team to large than a team too small. Again, think ‘this will be enough people’ not ‘this should be enough’.

2. Working with the venue. In conjunction with arriving early, ensure you have set a pre-event meeting organised with the relevant staff from the venue / supplier(s). Meet on your set up day, or the day prior. This meeting allows you to vocalise all elements of the event. Use the opportunity to emphasise the key areas and any concerns you have plus ask the relevant questions. Define your expectations from an early stage.

You can also ask the questions with regards to the challenges we commonly face on site. Have you found that finding staff during the event is an issue previously? Ask for a phone and direct dial. Locate their offices and kitchen. Get the food out quicker? Ask for it to be out 15 minutes before and get them to change the times in front of you. Worried about short-staffing? Ask about numbers and how your team can assist in any way. Room temperatures an issue? Ask what measures are in place, for example is their maintenance man on-site? Establish if they have any spare fans or cooling systems. Ask us here at Hippo for any advice you may wish to seek.

Try your best to predict potential challenges. Use your experiences from previous events to put a place in place there and then with the Operations Manager sat in front of you. If you are running over or under on the agenda, communicate this to the venue as soon as you know. The stronger and more regular the communication the better for both parties.

3. Supervising delegates. We all know asking a large quantity of delegates to follow the same instructions can be tricky at times. Smoking, toilet breaks, e-mails, phone calls, private conversations etc. all change the directions of delegates. Before we know it, they’re all over the place. Whilst a common challenge on-site, this is all about pre-planning.

Research your venue prior to know all areas. Have a means of communication in place; a PA system, potentially in numerous locations. PA systems allow endless announcements that communicate to everyone – a human voice usually works better than a message on a screen and is certainly quicker than your event team asking each cluster of delegates to ‘move through to the next session’. Saying that, if that’s what it requires, ensure your team is large enough to cope.

Think about signage. Define and clearly mark the areas the delegates can go. Statistically there will be smokers – designate where they must go. For a business event, chances are there will be phone calls and e-mails – provide a designated area for this. Minimise the risk of the delegates spreading by planning your space(s) carefully.

If there is a particular problem you are encountering or need to vocalise something to all delegates, see if you can do this at the end of one session. This can be done in an extremely professional and polite way, for example, stating how long the lunch break is and the importance of keeping to time or if the coffee break is only a ‘grab and go’.

Hippo offer an Event Project Management service, which includes our presence on-site, so we can manage these elements on your behalf.

The post 3 Most Common Challenges Whilst On-site appeared first on Hippo Event Management Agency.

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