Event Planning: It Used To Be Easy

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There has been a major shift in corporate and social event planning.

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There was a time when corporate event planning was as simple as deciding on the guest list, picking a hotel, and choosing the menu. Times have changed and there is much more at stake when planning a special event. As any experienced conference planner and events coordinator will tell you, people’s expectations today are much different. Gwen Kennedy, owner of Details Event Coordination says, “Over the last five years, the bar has been raised. Company events can do so much – motivate, educate, celebrate and more. Today’s employees are bored with stuffy speakers, standard conference rooms and average locations.” For this reason, there has been a major shift in corporate and social event planning.

Progressive companies today look for unique, versatile venues with unusual themes, and innovative facilities. To show the direction that social and professional event planning is going, consider nontraditional locations such as the all new Ice Hotel in Quebec City which is made purely of ice, the Sandra Ainsley Gallery where you surround your dinner guests in fabulous art sculptures, or a large, 18-bunk cabin in the woods at the Fairmont Kenauk that you access by snowmobile. Professional event planners have the world at their fingertips to coordinate events aboard a VIA rail car, complete with murder mystery, dance floor and personalized menus. Dog-sledding, snow golfing, astronomy nights, snow tubing, rock star clinics and mini-Olympics are all innovative, exciting activities for team-building events.

As the event planning industry has changed, so have the meals--moving more toward healthier considerations. Nutritional, low-fat menus are commonly requested, along with granola bars and yogurt for breakout snacks. And although chicken has been popular for a long time, small cuts of premium beef are regaining popularity. Allowing meeting attendees a choice between two main courses is also trendy these days, along with ethnic food stations with props, and staff attired accordingly.

Spousal and family programs are also changing at events. Cooking classes with an executive chef complete with wine sampling and take-home recipes are very popular for spouses looking to be entertained. One recent Canadian event featured author Barbara Coloroso who gave wonderful, useful advice on how to parent today’s child. Children’s workshops are also gaining popularity with interactive segments such as “Build A Teddy Bear.”

“When planning your next event, get your creative juices going,” says Gwen Kennedy of Details. “Look for jumping off points from movies, toys, books, sports, fashion, TV shows. Once you’ve decided on the concept, surround yourself with visual stimuli to support that winning idea. For example, the Ontario Science Centre hosts a great team-building exercise called “One Small Step” which turns participants into astronauts looking for the perfect lunar base on the moon. Imagine how creative your invitations, internal promotions, guest speakers, menus, and information packages could be with a great starting step like that.”

“In an era where advancements in Web technology and videoconferencing are supposed to make it easier and less expensive for corporations to unite far-flung employees, even more companies are hitting the road, organizing gatherings where employees can share ideas, train and motivate staff, and resolve problems face-to face. In order to do that efficiently and effectively, they first seek to understand what motivates their employees and how they’re going to achieve it. Then they go figure out where to rent blackjack tables and a Marilyn Monroe costume.”

With so many options available today, planning a successful corporate or social event is no longer a simple task. Times have changed and with peoples’ expectancies much higher, enlisting the services of a professional conference planner and events coordinator can certainly make the process much easier and ensure a successful outcome.

Details Event Coordination, Inc. specializes in conference planning and execution, grand openings, golf tournaments, social functions, and hospitality consulting. To learn more, please visit http://www.detailseventco.com.


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