Obie O'Brien, Director of Sales at Manhattan Center, offers the following tips that can help make your corporate party or event one to remember:
• Planning is essential. Secure a suitable venue as far in advance as possible. You also might benefit from choosing a spot that is not just centrally located for ease of access and parking, but one that can expand if your RSVPs go higher than originally planned. Get your contract and deposit in early, as some venues book as far as a year in advance.
• Set your budget. Unexpected expenses are sure to arise, but you need a strict budget.
• Make double copies of all contracts, seating charts, vendors or anything else important. You wouldn't be the first person to leave that ever-so-important folder in a taxi.
• Invite early & avoid major holiday weeks. Consider "Save the Date" emails. Insist on RSVPs for calculating your headcount. Plan on doing late RSVP call-downs.
• Decide on a theme…or not. Is a theme necessary? Or does your organization carry the day?
• Seating or standing? Are seating charts required? Who'll be in charge of those? Or is a more casual event planned where guests will mix and mingle more freely? Get details on guests to avoid any uncomfortable situations.
• Equipment counts! Does the facility you want to book offer in-house microphones, projectors, speakers, video, recording or live air streaming? Or will you have to bring this all in, at possibly significant additional expense?
• Staff? Will you need doormen? Servers? Bartenders? Does the facility offer an in-house production team and/or staff to fill certain requirements?
• Are special accommodations required? Is there a hotel in proximity? Will your talent or others require rooms or suites? Are they convenient to the event?
• Communication is key. Healthy dialogue between the planner and all vendors is paramount to a successful event. Make sure your requirements are spelled out and that you give detailed instructions regarding what you expect from every vendor hired. Eliminate major headaches by taking time ahead of the event to clarify possible areas of confusion.