We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, corporate event management is not for the faint of heart. What it is though, is a vocation that’s shrouded in misconception. If you’ve ever been taken for a wedding planner or fielded responses of “How glamorous” when asked what it is that you do for a living, this blog is for you.

 

 

Myth # 1: Corporate event management is a non-stop party

Contrary to outsider opinion, the job of a corporate event planner is up there with the most stressful jobs in the world. Super-tight deadlines, demanding clients and the balancing of big budgets can see even the most level-headed individuals cope with irregularly high stress levels. In fact, the job was ranked as the fifth most stressful occupation in 2016 by Career Cast, coming in just behind police officers and firefighters.

Event planners may orchestrate the world’s most glamorous affairs, but we very seldom get a chance to enjoy the fruit of our labour. While travelling around the country and audiences with VIPs are part of the job, we very rarely (if ever) have a moment to soak it all in.

Myth # 2: Corporate event planners are glorified wedding planners

Planning a wedding and orchestrating a corporate event are two very different tasks. While both require a degree of creativity and organisational skills, that’s where the similarities end. Corporate event planners are required to possess superior marketing and PR skills, financial acumen, an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour and human resource management skills –  to name but a few. What’s more, we have to deal with super-short turnaround times and feedback from multiple stakeholders.

Myth # 3: Event planners like to spend money like there’s no tomorrow

We’re not too sure where this myth originated from, although we suspect Hollywood is to blame. The reality is that corporate event planners are masters at stretching budgets. In fact, we’re most often the ones reigning in extravagant spending. While we can’t grow money on trees, we can wrangle with vendors and orchestrate an event for far less than our clients could if they had to go it alone.

Myth # 4: Anyone can do it

At the risk of sounding obnoxious, very few people are born to work in the corporate event management industry. This vocation is the intersection of multiple skills. The job demands unlimited patience, a spirit of resilience, heaps of confidence, an analytical and razor-sharp analytical mind, convincing communication skills, an ability to multitask, persuasive negotiating skills and more. What’s more, event planners have to be able to think on their feet, act quickly and provide clients with a stellar end product – all without breaking a sweat or uttering a complaint.

We’d love to hear the most outlandish misconceptions about corporate event management you’ve ever heard – fill us in on Twitter or Facebook!

 


The Easter Bunny, beloved by children (and many adults) the world over, pulls off a pretty impressive feat every year. Hiding chocolatey delights in millions of homes and gardens the world over, all without being seen. And when you come to think of it, event planners aren’t that dissimilar to this magical creature.

Before you indulge in your favourite Easter treat (Lindt, we’re looking at you), here’s what superstar event planners have in common with our favourite fluffy fellow.

They’re multitasking magicians

Hiding billions of Easter eggs before the sun rises? No problem. Securing a last minute keynote speaker a day before that big conference? Sorted. Whether traversing the globe with a haul of sweet treats and a turnaround time of just 24 hours, or dealing with a very demanding VIP, event planners and the Easter Bunny know how to get things done – all without breaking a sweat.

They have a knack for knowing what delights their audience

Chocolate covered marshmallow eggs? Cadbury Creme Eggs? A extra-length king size bed and blackout curtains? An audience with a marketing mastermind? Event planners and the Easter Bunny know exactly what their target market wants, and go to the ends of the earth to make sure they get it. (Even if that means no sleep)

They’re sticklers for time management

Whether it’s hopping from continent to continent in the space of a night or ticking off a to-do list as long as your arm, the Easter Bunny and event planners get more done in a day than most people do in a month. Time is of the essence, and both know how to squeeze everything in before the clock strikes midnight.

They’re not afraid of hard work

Having millions of children rely on you for their annual treasure hunt is a monumental responsibility. So is pulling off a large-scale corporate event. Both take a lot of hard work and dedication, and if left to anyone else would very likely result in tear-stained faces and negative brand sentiment. Luckily, event planners and the Easter Bunny are up to the task.

They believe in the magic of experience

Easter morning is about so much more than spotting a glint of foil-wrapped chocolate in the foliage: it’s about anticipation, intrigue and the sweet taste of success. So are events. Event managers and the Easter Bunny live to create experiences that cater to all of the senses, and that ultimately, have people eagerly counting down to their next encounter.

To find our more about how The RSVP Agency can help you to delight your guests (and make your job that little bit easier), download our brochure below.


Event planners have the eighth most stressful job on the planet, according to CareerCast’s 2015 rankings – and is it any surprise given how much is riding on every event and how many variables need to be brought together to work as a whole? Yet, stress levels are not a barometer for how hard or productively you are working. Our ever more competitive working world has instilled in many the mentality that lack of stress equals laziness. This couldn’t be further from the truth: a calm event planner is much more likely to function better and more efficiently than one who’s stressed out. Try these six tricks to help you keep calm throughout the frenzy of event planning:

1. Tackle one small task at a time

We’ve all heard the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, but there’s a lot of wisdom to be taken from it. Overwhelmed event planners can apply the logic behind it by breaking their event planning into small, manageable chunks and getting through them one by one. Forget about multitasking: as satisfying and ego-boosting it might be to feel like Superwoman or Superman and tackle ten tasks at a time, multitasking can actually lower the quality of your work.

2. Write things down to give yourself headspace

Every event planner will have felt as if their brain is literally overflowing with information, to-do lists and people to call. Unload by writing everything down. The moment you’ve put pen to paper and scribbled down those things you feel you can’t afford to forget, you’ll feel more focused. If you have an affinity for apps, then EvernoteAsana and Trello are some great project management tools that can help you keep track of every step. Corporate Event Planning Software is another tool that minimises how much information you need to manually store.

3. Enlist the help of RSVP Management Software

As all event planners know, keeping track of an ever-changing guestlist is enough to make the most organised event planner’s head spin. As the RSVPs come flooding in, you need to know who’s coming, who isn’t, who’s vegetarian, who only eats fish and whether they prefer to be contacted by email, SMS or phone. Save yourself the impossible task of recording all of this on a notepad or in a spreadsheet with Corporate Event Planning Software that’ll manage the whole process for you and store all the data for you to use in planning future events.

4. Phone a friend and get things off your chest

Another way to unload is verbally. When you feel as if it’s all becoming too much, step outside and give a friend a call – preferably someone who isn’t involved in event planning. Even if it’s for two minutes, hearing a friendly voice and having a rant can do wonders for your mental health in the short term. They’ll be able to offer an outsider view on things and help bring you a fresh perspective.

5. Listen to music or use earplugs

The worklife of an event planner involves talking to people – face to face, on the phone or Skype and over email. When you have to knuckle down and get some grafting done, try putting in headphones and listening to music. Choose whatever soundtrack you need to make you feel happy, calm or motivated. If you find it difficult to concentrate with music on, then simply popping in some earplugs will afford you some welcome silence.

6. Factor in some leisure time

Plan some downtime at least once a week. It’ll give you something to work towards and raise your morale. You don’t have to be extravagant – a night in with a loved one and a bottle of wine or a hike are perfect, depending on how energetic you’re feeling. Try to also fit in at least three weeknights that are work free: not even sneak-peaks at emails on your smartphone while you’re catching up on series. Your well-being needs to factor high up on your priority list.  To find out more about how you can expertly manage the RSVP process at your next event, download our Practical Guide to Professional RSVP or give us a call. Image Credit: s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com

Image Credit: s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com


Planning an event is a big deal. Planning a corporate event is an even bigger deal. Your guests’ enjoyment and happiness isn’t the only thing at stake – your brand’s image is too. You could hire one of the most exceptional event planners who understands your brand better than you do, but if they fail to ask these five event planning questions you could end up with an event that both you and your guests fail to remember.

What are the marketing objectives?

Event planners are sometimes so involved in the logistical aspects of the event – finding venues, recruiting staff, choosing menus and entertainment – that they forget about the medium to long term goals the event is trying to to achieve. Corporate events, whilst they should be thoroughly enjoyable for attendees, can be instrumental in working alongside the marketing strategy to achieve marketing goals or objectives. Is your brand aiming to grow its customer base in the Western Cape by 20% by the end of 2016? Little sense then holding the event in Johannesburg. The objective needs to be kept in mind at every step of the planning process.

What are the marketing messages that need to be conveyed?

Your brand’s marketing message runs parallel to and helps achieve your marketing objectives. If your marketing objective is to increases sales by 20% for one of your products among the 18-30 age demographic, then your marketing message needs to speak to that age group. It might then be “our product will not only solve your problem, it’s the trendiest one on the market and you’re going to love using it.” Your event must convey this. The only way to communicate a marketing message that helps to achieve marketing objectives is to gather as much information as possible about each and every one of your guests before the event.

Who are the guests?

No matter how skilled event planners are, even the best of them will create an event that fails if they don’t know who their guests are. As touched upon above, who you want to come to your event will depend on your marketing objectives. These need to be firmly in place before your guest list is compiled and personalised invitations sent out. Getting to know your guests – their age, cultural background, food and drink preferences and how they’ll be travelling to the event – will mean you can ensure your event is tailored-made to them. That said, it’s unlikely your event planner has the time or energy to start up one-on-one conversations with the hundreds of people you’ve invited to your event. Luckily, they don’t have to. They simply need to enlist the help of Event Management Software.

What should be avoided at all costs?

When event planners focus solely on getting the event planned and in place, they can easily forget to take into account one of the most important factors that will influence exactly how the event is planned – the guests. By forgetting about who is attending the event, they won’t know if there is anything that should be avoided at all costs. The most perfect, smooth running event can be planned and executed, but if an element of the function – be it choice of food, location of the event or entertainment chosen – is inappropriate given who is attending, your marketing objectives and messages will not only fail, they could offend your guests and mar your brand image.

Is the event within budget?

This might sound like the most obvious question for event planners to remember, but it’s amazing how easy it is for them to forget about whether they’re sticking to the budget you set them once the craziness of the pre-event run up starts. A budget should be formed at the very beginning of the event planning process, so that whoever is organising your event can get a sense of what they have to work with. This budget must be referred back to on a daily basis – not just days before the event after they’ve paid for the venue, catering and staff.

While the above might seem like a lot to take into account and convey to anyone you’ve hired to plan your event, choosing event planners who use Event Management Software means you’ll be choosing event planners with enough head space and information to plan events that fulfil all your marketing objectives.

Download our Practical Guide to Professional RSVP to find out more about how to make sure your event planning exceeds both your brand and your guests’ expectations – and you never overlook those small but significant aspects of event planning.

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As a marketer, you know your brand better than anyone else. You know how you’d like your audience to perceive you and how you want to achieve this. Events are an effective way to nurture loyal brand advocates as well as connect with customers and suppliers – but only if they are planned correctly. Choosing the most professional event planner is the first step in making sure your marketing objectives are reached. Here are the things you need to know before choosing an event planning professional.

Do your detective work before contacting potential event planners

Before enlisting the help of an event professional, you need to do extensive research. First check their websites and social media channels – an unattractive website that hasn’t been maintained in several years or an extinct Twitter account reflects a sub-par level of professionalism. A decent website and lots of engagement on social media, on the other hand, signals a professional event planner worth their salt. Word of mouth is another reliable way to suss out the ideal candidate to plan your event. Think back to any killer events you’ve attended and find out which agency organised them. In addition, talk to their past clients to get feedback about what they’re like to work with.

Your chosen event planner needs to be an appropriate fit

Narrow down your selection by carefully looking through the previous events they’ve worked on. This will give you an idea of the style of events they create, the type of budgets they work with and the areas that they excel in. If you’re planning a 400-person gala dinner to celebrate your company’s ten year anniversary, there’s little point calling a professional event planner who specialises in small corporate skiing weekends in the Alps. Bear in mind that  the location of the event planner you hire is just as important as the types and size of events they do.

Being on the same wavelength is crucial if you are to work closely during the planning of that spectacular event

Once you’ve made a shortlist of potential professional event planners it is important to meet face to face before signing any contracts. You will be working closely with them during the planning and execution of your event – if you have trouble getting through a half hour meeting with them, chances are you just aren’t on the right wavelength to get through several months of working together.

Your chosen event planner must understand your brand and messages you want to convey at your event

Getting on well is important, but just as important is whether your chosen event professional is able to plan an event that is in total alignment with your brand values and the messages you aim to convey through your event. The best event planners thoroughly understand your brand and stick to the budget you set them. Of course, being able to generate fanastic and original ideas is another prerequisite, but make sure these ideas serve your company and not the creative whims of your event planner.

As with many aspects of our daily lives, software lets professional event planners take event planning to the next level

The event planner you pick might have the most talented event professionals behind it, but without the right tools they won’t be able to create an event that delivers sound ROI. By choosing a professional event planner who makes use of event planning software, you can guarantee that the organisation of your corporate event will be based on solid data about your guests and their preferences. What’s more, the time an event professional saves on the admin of manually managing RSVPs can be spent creating an incredible event for you.

RSVP is happy to advise you about its Guest Concierge Management software today. Simply contact us and we can answer any of your questions.

Image credit: work.chron.com


Making it as a corporate event planner takes a lot more than being a multi-tasking magician. I’ve worked with hundreds of event planners over the years, and noticed that those who’re the most successful have the following seven traits in common:

1. Top event planners are aware of their own limitations.

This is without a doubt one of the most important qualities of those who succeed in the industry. Instead of over-extending themselves and eventually burning out, event planners who’re ahead of their peers know their strengths, as well as the areas that they need help in. Far too many event planners are a jack of all trades, and the master of none. Instead of trying to do everything on their own, great event managers identify what they’re able to do, and then delegate the rest.

2.  Top event planners curate a staff of highly-skilled individuals.

They don’t settle for working with just anyone; they select and then nurture skilled, competent staff and grow them into a team that can work together, playing off each other’s strengths. Each team member brings a unique set of skills to the table – whether it’s an eye for décor detail, a knack for coming up with innovative creative concepts, or a talent for crunching the numbers.

3. Top event planners value their human resources.

Industry-leading event planners look after their employees. They know that happy workers are hard workers, which is why they make sure that they’re cultivating a company culture which encourages each member of staff to thrive. Whether with incentives, perks or an overall great working culture, event planners who’ve got a team of driven individuals at their side prioritise the happiness of their employees.

4.  Top event planners are master fortune tellers.

While event planners won’t be found staring into a crystal ball, their eyes are firmly on the (figurative) horizon. They’re great at predicting future scenarios, as well as planning for any eventuality.  What’s more, they know that every single event and client comes with its own set of challenges, which is why they’re great at interpreting and planning for a wide array of possible scenarios. They’re able to learn from past events, and then use this knowledge to plan for potential pitfalls.

5. Top event planners invest in their professional relationships.

As in any industry, succeeding in the eventing space relies on the quality of your professional relationships. Leading event planners dedicate themselves to nurturing good relationships with every single person they do business with. They listen, pay attention and form connections with their vendors, suppliers and clients, in an effort to create connections which facilitate great working relationships.

6. Top event planners are tech-savvy.

All of the top event planners I know arm themselves with mobile apps and software which help to make their lives that much easier. They’re able to pull up information wherever they are, stay on top of a myriad of tasks, and streamline their events thanks to the fact that they’re unafraid of embracing new technology. Whether it’s using the latest RSVP software or a mobile app to conquer their email, by incorporating innovative technology into their day-to-day lives they’re able to boost their productivity without increasing their stress levels.

7.    Top event planners are data scientists.

Instead of relying on intuition or hearsay to figure out how an event panned out, the event planners who consistently garner ROI from their events are the ones crunching the numbers. They know that accurate data about every single facet of their event is crucial, which is why they make sure that they’re equipped with the right software to collect, store and interpret this data. They’re able to present accurate post-event reports to their clients, as well as gather a whole host of pertinent information about their guests.

Image credit – Inn at Loretto


If you’re on the look-out for a date for the international day of love, aka Valentine’s Day, you might want to consider choosing an event planner as your plus-one.

In no particular order, here are the top six reasons why event planners make the best Valentine’s Day dates.

1. They’ll never keep you waiting.

One (of the many) things that event planners get, is that time is of the essence. They live their lives ten minutes into the future, which means that you’ll never have to sit alone at a candle lit table for two, refreshing your Twitter feed until they finally arrive or you run out of data.

2. They’re great communicators.

Listening to a barrage of nervous chatter, is not ideal. So too is having to make small-talk about how you think the waiter’s pants are too tight, or God forbid – the weather. Event planners are great listeners, and experts at making anyone they come into contact with feel at ease.

3. They’re well connected.

Ask any event planner about their extensive network of contacts and they’ll rattle off an endless list of names. Need a dinner reservation or front-row tickets to that one-time-only show that’s sold out? No problem – your event planner’s already on it.

4. They have their fingers firmly on the pulse.

Want to know about the latest technology, trends or need-to-know news? Ask an event planner. They’re always one-step ahead, which means that you’ve got a go-to source of cutting-edge information, way before anyone else.

5. They’re always cool, calm and collected.

One thing event planners excel at is keeping their cool – no matter the situation. If you’d do anything to avoid drama, dating an event planner is your best bet. Keeping a situation under control is child’s play to them, which means that you’ll have someone by your side to smooth over even the most ruffled of feathers

6. They’re professional problem solvers.

Resourceful and level-headed, event planners are experts at solving last-minute hiccups. Because quick-thinking is a pre-requisite for the job, event planners always have their wits about them both on and off the job.

Image Credit: HDW


Before any event can come to fruition, you need to be able to present yourself and your company to clients in a persuasive, professional manner. This is easier said than done.

Pitching to a client is nerve wracking – regardless of your event planning experience. After all, the stakes are high when it comes to corporate events and it’s up to you to make sure that these are in your favour. It’s no secret that, to make it as a successful event planner, you need to be confident in your abilities and have the confidence to demonstrate this to potential clients. Before you break out the Rescue Remedy, read through our top seven tips for pitching to a client, without the nerves.

Do your homework

If you’re not familiar with your client then there’s little chance that you’ll be able to convince them of your expertise. Just as you would prepare for a job interview, do your research. Familiarise yourself with the client in question, and equip yourself with the necessary information. Not only does this make it that much easier to plan a presentation that’s in line with their company ethos and identity but being aware of what to expect goes a long way in instilling confidence in your own abilities.

First impressions last

Before you’ve even opened your mouth, you’re making an impression. Make sure it’s a professional one. No matter how talented or experienced you are, the way you present yourself plays a huge part in the client’s decision to hire you. An event planner who’s meticulously groomed and well-dressed is far more likely to get the job than one who’s sloppily put together.

Always stick to the brief

Clients compile a brief for a reason. No matter how creative or exciting your diversion from a brief may be, your client wants to know two things: if you’re able to do what’s required, and your plan for going about the task.

While thinking laterally is a must as an event planner, when presenting to clients make sure that your presentation is matched to the brief. As excited as you may be by a sudden brainwave you have while presenting, resist the temptation to veer off track, keeping your pitch short, sharp and to the point.

Use a ‘pyramid’ shaped pitch

The best pitches are composed of layers – a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each stage is just as important as the next, and when seamlessly weaved together they form a convincing case.

Think of the start of your pitch as laying the foundation of what’s to come – this is where you can talk about your credentials and experience in the industry. The middle part of the presentation forms the ‘meat and potatoes’ of a pitch. This is where you talk about the actual brief, and the ways in which you’d go about planning and managing the event in question.

Once you’ve demonstrated your proposed plans, it’s vital that you end off with a (brief) recap of your presentation. This plays the important role of reinforcing what you’ve just said, and helps the client to fully grasp your presentation.

Just as crucial to the layout of your pitch, is the language you use. By talking in terms of ‘we’, instead of ‘you’ and ‘I’, you’re placing your client as part of your team. Speaking as a cooperative goes a long way in solidifying your position as an event planner who views teamwork as a crucial part of the event process.

Cover your bases

Always arrive early – it’s far better to have to wait for the client than have them wait for you. This will ensure that you have adequate time to set up your presentation, familiarise yourself with the equipment and make sure that your projector or laptop is working. In addition, always have your presentation on a memory stick as a back-up. As prepared as you may be, technical glitches can and will happen.

Practice makes perfect

As we emphasised earlier, being prepared can make or break the pitch. Rehearse your presentation before hand – practice the pronunciation of your client’s name and prepare answers to any questions they might have to avoid being put on the spot. Clients can easily pick up on someone who’s trying to ‘wing it’ – the aim is to get to the point where you don’t even have to look at the screen. This also allows you to make eye contact with your clients, turning your presentation into an interactive, personal pitch instead of a stilted lecture.

Don’t hog the limelight

As in life, an event planner can’t be all things to all people. Instead, position yourself within a team of capable people. Not only does this make you look more credible to the client, it also enforces your ability to deliver. Your team may consist of a creative director, a technical expert, a health and safety officer, etc – depending on the event in question.

If you’d like to ensure that you’re able to offer clients the most professional service, find out about our RSVP and event planning software here.

Image Credit: Pinoria


The frenetic nature of modern day life means that it’s harder to capture someone’s attention than ever before. Remember that industry events are more often than not targeted at the same group of people, which means that some of your potential guests may be receiving as many as three invitations per day. Ensuring that your event is well attended by the people who matter is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Sending out your invitations is the first step of several – and if you’re relying on your initial effort to result in RSVPs, there’s a considerable chance that you’ll be left with lacklustre attendance rates. If you want to ensure that your invites stand out, read on for some commonly made mistakes that frequently result in dismal turnouts.

Not following up with guests is a cardinal sin where RSVPs are concerned.

Event etiquette dictates that invitations should be sent out 6 weeks (at the minimum) prior to an event. The way you navigate this considerable time-frame is crucial. On the one hand, you can’t mail your guests every second day, nor can you rely on merely sending out your invitations once. Event managers should ideally follow up with their guests in the form of a phone call, and then depending on response rates, initiate additional contact as the day of the event draws near.

That said, the attendance rates of your events will be hampered if you’re only using one method with which to follow up.

Communication preferences among your guests will differ, which means that in some cases, you may need to conduct your follow ups via a variety of methods. Some people may respond best to emails, while others prefer a phone call. Hectic corporate schedules often mean that it’ll take a while to make contact with someone – which means you’ll need to attempt to contact them several times before you’re able to obtain a response.

It’s imperative that you’ve taken SPAM detectors into account when sending out your invites.

Invitees are more likely to open an invitation if they know the person sending it.  There is sensitivity around bulk email and most servers will automatically block anything over 20 emails that are sent through to one company at one time. This is why it is imperative to use professional invitation management software which will allow you to know exactly which of your emails have bounced and why, and who of your guests have not responded.

Moreover, make sure that any images you have included are not unreasonably large – the majority of your information should be conveyed in the copy, with images merely enhancing the aesthetic. When it comes to online invitations, simple layout is far superior to a flashy, image-laden invite.

Don’t let your event attendance rate hinge solely on one guest list.

If you don’t have a “B” list in place, you’ll be left with a conundrum when someone from your “A” list declines. It’s imperative that you compile your “B” list from the beginning, as you’ll need to give guests adequate notice beforehand in order to maximise your attendance rates. This practice safe-guards against poor event attendance.

Attempting to manually manage your guest list results in wasted time and delayed response rates.

This is way too much of a time consuming task – your effort needs to be focused on the event and not on the RSVP process. If you’re trying to manually handle this process, your response time will be significantly longer. An online solution will speed this up, as well as ensuring that no oversights are made.

Make sure you’re not making it too difficult for your guests to accept or decline your invitations.

Your invitations should make it crystal clear as to how guests can go about replying. The easiest way to do this? With “yes” and “no” buttons. Never make someone reply manually in order to decline attending – rather receive a straight out “no” from the get-go, than spend time chasing after someone only to have them decline.

An event manager should be focused on the event, and not the RSVP service.

Your attention needs to be focused on aspects such as the catering, entertainment and décor. Avoid conflicting deadlines between event managers and RSVP managers. If you’ve set a deadline for RSVPs, it’s imperative you follow up as soon as possible. Attempting to manage last-minute cancellations, or late responses without an online RSVP solution is a guaranteed way to ensure that your event is poorly managed.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your RSVP rates, avoiding these mistakes will guarantee that you’re never faced with a poorly attended event again.

Image Credit: East Texas Area Aglow