Quick Note from ShawnQ: Patrice has hosted, produced, staffed, and planned events like the Emmys, Grammys, and other internationally recognized events in Hollywood. If you want your next business event, workshop, or conference to have a next-level, professional feel, get ready to take notes.
How to Host High End Business Events Like Hollywood
How to Host High End Business Events Like Hollywood
Patrice here – The information I’m about to share with you is the actual stuff I’m using now (Like NOW-NOW…) in Hollywood, for corporate and church conferences, for weddings and small workshops and beyond…
(As I write this to you, I’m in the midst of preparing for an epic week of events during “Award Show Season” in Los Angeles. It’s my favorite time of the year.)
Whether you’re planning your next business retreat – or hosting an industry-wide conference that will have all your attendees “over-the-moon” engaged and delighted, or you’re just ready for some more Pinterest-worthy event planning hacks…
The tips you’re about to read can translate across a variety of events (large and small) and can turn any event into a High End Experience. Imagine hosting an event that every attendee remembers for the rest of their life, one that honors VIPs and volunteers, where moments of breakthrough and insight are captured and talked about again and again…
The 4 Magic Elements To High End Events...
When approaching your next event, make sure to focus in on these 4 areas…
1. Have A Dynamic Schedule
2. Use Thoughtful Décore
3. Include Noteworthy Entertainment
4. Give Away S.W.A.G.
Let’s dive in…
1. Have A Dynamic Schedule...
Before you start putting anything on your agenda, you should first ask yourself 7 these questions.
1. Who is this event for?
Getting clear about the type of people you want to attend will help you decide the type of speakers, entertainment, and moments to include in your event. The easiest way to answer this is to think of one real life person you’d like to attend and describe why they would attend the event.
2. When is it?
I suggest having at least 4 – 6 months to prepare, market, and plan your event. (Most events plan an entire year in advance, so the more time you can give yourself, the better!)
3. What’s Your Budget?
Consider how much money you want to invest in the venue, taking care of speakers, entertainment, and staffing needs. Small events can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000. Large events can get into the millions.
4. What’s the “Why” of your event?
Why are you hosting this event? What “action” do you want to inspire attendees to take after attending your event? If you could boil down your top goal for this event into a single sentence, what would you say?
For many business events, it’s usually to sell a program, service, or course. For other events, it may be to deepen a sense of community, or to network, or to develop your teams skills.
5. Will you need help planning and hosting the event?
Planning an event is a much larger task than you might imagine. I recommend finding 5 – 10 volunteers who can help you think through all the details of each moment. A few roles I usually find volunteers for (or even hire for) are…
A personal assistant – someone who can help you manage the overall event…
A volunteer coordinator – someone who can coordinate all the volunteers and plan out their responsibilities during the event…
A VIP / Speaker Coordinator – The point-person for all speakers and VIP attendees to make sure their needs are met…
Onsite Venue Coordinator – The point-person for the venue to make sure the venue and your event work seamlessly together…
Onsite Marketing – Someone to capture all the big moments, attendees, testimonials, and speakers through video and photo…
One of my favorite ways to get volunteers is to speak with local colleges, fraternities and sororities who focus on community service. Sometimes they even get college credit for helping you out.
6. What are your marketing needs?
Your agenda will be one of the main marketing assets since most people make decisions about attending an event based on what they’ll experience. When putting together your agenda, make sure you consider who or what your attendees would like to see and meet.
7. How many attendees do you expect?
Will your event be an intimate workshop with 10 – 20 attendees, or will it be a massive conference with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of attendees. This will impact the venue, the number of volunteers, budget, and timeframe you’ll need.
2. Use Thoughtful Décore...
Décore is all about mood. And the part of your event that will impact the mood the most is the Venue.
Let me quickly give you 5 key tips to ensure you pick the right venue and space for your event:
1. What is the general feel of the location?
Ask yourself: What will attendees feel when they first walk through the door? Will your attendees be delighted by the space? Can you see attendees enjoying themselves when walking through the venue?
2. Does the space have the required “tech-spec’s”?
Ask yourself: Can the venue hold the amount of people you expect to attend? Do they have adequate lighting? Will they provide a sound system (speakers, sound board, microphones, etc.) or will you have to rent one?
Will they provide an audio/visual crew or will you have to hire contractors? Is there a projector and screen available or do you have to rent one? Is there enough electric plugs to power everything?
3. Will you have the freedom to customize the look of the space?
In other words, will the space allow you to bring in signs, banners, flyers, table decorations, etc. or do they require you to use what’s already provided?
4. Is catering allowed?
If you plan on providing any type of food or drinks, will the venue allow you to bring it in from outside vendors, or do you have to use their kitchen staff/restaurant? Are you free to provide any drinks (even adult drinks) or is there a limit to what you can bring in.
5. Is the venue ready for the “Gram”?
In other words, are there “photo-perfect” spots around the venue your attendees would love to take selfies and group photos at to share with co-workers, family, friends, and even future attendees? (Be sure not to overlook this! It will definitely help you create a memorable event that gets people talking…)
3. Include Noteworthy Entertainment...
Entertainment is the key to deepening the relationships with your attendees. When they can rock out to a live band or have fun with a DJ or enjoy a local comedian and laugh together, they’ll find it easier to find reasons to come back again and again.
Here are 2 key tips to finding great talent and staying under budget…
1. Look Local
You don’t have to bring in an internationally recognized singer or band to create a great moment. There are tons of local cover bands that you can hire at an affordable price to come in and play some “attendee favorites” for an hour or two after the event.
2. Look Within
Sure, your attendees are professionals. But they also have hidden talents that you would be surprised by. Ask your attendees to sign up for a talent show so they can show off their mad-skills and host it during lunch or after the event.
4. Give Away S.W.A.G...
In the entertainment industry, S.W.A.G. stands for “Stuff We All Get.”
Whether your event is full of hundreds of people or ten people, you should plan to give away a creative, memorable gift to each of your attendees.
Now, as much as you might want to make your S.W.A.G. a huge grandiose (and expensive) statement, let me encourage you: thoughtful gifts often outweigh the most expensive gifts (even in Hollywood.)
Here are 5 S.W.A.G. ideas to get your ideas pumping:
High-Quality Tote Bag (Put your logo on it and place event materials inside.)
Coffee Mug (Include 3 packs of single-serve coffee and 3 bags of tea.)
Branded Journal & Pen (Put a flyer on the inside of the journal that includes a promo code to your program.)
A Relaxation Kit (you can include body lotion, soap, lip balm, a sleeping mask, and anything else that’ll help them relax while they’re at your event.)
A business card that doubles as a gift card to a local coffee shop. (Connect with a local coffee shop and ask them if they’d be willing to open a tab for you so anytime someone hands them your business card, they get a free coffee that you pay for later.)
5. Bonus: Safety...
One final element worth mentioning regarding your next High End event: SAFETY.
Most events these days need at least a minimal presence of security to ensure your guests and staff are not bothered by outside distractions.
The venue may provide security, but if not, make sure you interview more than one security option for your event so you know you’re taking the best safety precautions for your attendees.
And finally, just one more thing: The Thank You’s.
To officially end your high end event, it’s key to send out thank you cards to your volunteers, venue, speakers, attendees, and anyone else that played any role in making your event a success.
And believe me, ‘Thank You’s” go a long way – even in Hollywood.
Ending on a classy note will also ensure that you and your event will be remembered and recommended to others for the future.
In the end, your attendees are ready and waiting for an event that is both informative, inspiring and memorable, which in turn, is the essence of a great Hollywood event.
As you plan your next business workshop, make sure you lean into these 4 Magic Elements to creating a High-End Event. I cannot wait to hear how your next business event goes – no matter how big or how small the attendance may be – remember, your event is making an impact!
Guest Blogger: Patrice Patrick
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