In the business world everything is weighed on ROI, return on investment. Sometimes the ‘return’ can’t be measured in simple dollars and cents. Many times when you are hosting a corporate event the return is either about getting the right people together to interact in a specific way or in presenting the right message to a group of potential clients.
In order to get the return you are looking for it is important to start with your specific goal in mind.
You cannot disconnect the investment you are willing or able to make from the conversation. This is business. As you set your budget be careful that you account for everything you want to include. Location, rentals, food, decor, speakers and incidentals all add to your final cost. If you really think it through there are some ways to lighten the investment.
If you are having speakers or team activities you need to account for your cost. In some instances you may be able to negotiate their fees if exposure to your group will benefit them. You may also consider finding some sponsors. If the exposure is there you may be able to find companies whose marketing department will pay royally for the PR associated with your event. Never forget who you are entertaining and whom they can benefit. These are the people that can help you stretch your budget.
Here are some tips to help you get the ROI you need from your corporate event.
Once you have decided on the outcome you want and your budget, communicate it to your event team. Who are your guests? Are they high-level executives? What exactly is the response you want to get from them. What is the investment you are willing to make to get that return? The more in depth you can get with your event team the better able they will be to put together a proposal that works for you without being too much.
Nail down all the details in advance with your party professionals. Your job at a corporate event is to do business, not juggle catering details. Because of that, you need to work with a team that you aren’t going to have to worry about micromanaging on the day of the event. If there ever was a time to bring in the professionals this is it. It also helps to work with a team that you have built a relationship with so they already know your style and requirements.
Don’t just hold your events anywhere. Think about the space; does it present the impression you need to get the response you are looking for? Is it large enough for any activities you are planning? On the other hand you may want somewhere more intimate if you are trying to bring people together. Think about the little things. If you are having a group spend the day in a boardroom style setting is the seating comfortable? Is the lighting good? These are all seemingly little things that make a difference. Try to remove any barriers to getting your point across.
Think about the food you will serve. Does it match the objective for your event and does it match your corporate image? If you are cutting edge, your food should be to. If you are setting a tone of secure, reliable and traditional then the food should say that. Suppose you are getting your sales staff pumped for a contest and the prize is a trip to Maya Riviera, use the food from that region to build the excitement.
Speaking of food, don’t forget to take the style of service into account. For instance, if your goal is to get people interacting with one another, consider using smaller tables and serving family style. When people have to pass food around a table they are forced to interact. Food can be a powerful icebreaker. Using interactive chef manned stations can get people up and moving around the room. If you need people to stay put, serve a plated seated dinner. Details matters.
Remember, this is business. Use every available tool to make your statement. Take everything from budget to the seating into account. Most importantly, establish your objective and then bring in the professionals. Don’t just wing it.