five-event-planning-mistakes-to-say-goodbye-to-in-2016

As a new year stretches out in front of us, endless with possibility, now’s the time to make space for success by saying goodbye to anything that doesn’t serve you. Whether due to tight deadlines, fly-by-night vendors or unpredictable guests, event planning mistakes are part and parcel of the job. The good news? Many of the scenarios that frequently trip up the savviest of event planning professionals can be avoided. Here’s how to make sure that the event planning faux pas stay firmly behind in 2015.

Event planning mistake #1: Dismal attendance rates, thanks to a non-existent event marketing strategy

If an event is held, but no one shows up for it, did it really exist at all? Your events are only possible thanks to your guests. Pouring your heart (and budget) into an event that’s poorly attended is one of the hardest event planning mistakes to swallow. Making sure that the right people know about your event – and then want to attend it – is the first step towards a successful event. In order to do this, you’ll need to strategically plan an event marketing strategy. (Read more about the how and why of this in our eBook Turning your Events into Marketing Gold.) Safeguard the success of your events by being cognisant of the fact that event marketing is just as important as the event itself.

 Event planning mistake #2: Lacklustre, unprofessional corporate entertainment that muddies your event’s image

This repeat occurrence sees brands spending much time and thought planning all aspects of the event, only to pick the first available corporate entertainment act. To their detriment, they’re faced with the unpleasant ramification of unprofessional, audience-inappropriate entertainment. Just like every other event touch point, your corporate entertainment has to be strategically chosen, in order to convey the right message to your guests. Don’t risk the success of your 2016 events; make sure you thoroughly research any potential entertainment, gather reviews from past clients of theirs and – if possible – audition your preferred choice before you include their name on the line up.

 Event planning mistake #3: Having to scrimp on vendors due to poor budgeting

Inaccurate event budgeting can have all sorts of dire effects on your event, one of which is having to resort to second-rate vendors thanks to the fact that you’ve spent too much on another aspect of the event, or failed to allocate adequate capital altogether. Unpalatable hors d’oeuvres, inexperienced hospitality staff or a venue that’s seen better days are all problems you – and your guests – will have to endure as a result. As with all event planning responsibilities, informed planning when it comes to your event budget will save you from having to resort to cowboy caterers or amateur staff.

Event planning mistake #4: Being left high and dry by a vendor or client as a result of failing to draw up a water-tight SLA.

The importance of an exhaustive SLA cannot be stressed enough. Without an agreement between your various suppliers and you, you jeopardise your reputation, your bank balance and importantly – your guests’ safety and overall experience. As we’ve said time and time again, failing to plan is planning to fail. Make sure all of your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted in order to safeguard against the effects of poor or non-delivery of service, by having an SLA between every single supplier and vendor involved in the event.

Event planning mistake #5: Alienating your guests, due to the fact that you know nothing about them.

Treating your guests like strangers is probably one of the worst event planning mistakes you could ever make. Your guests determine whether your event succeeds, as well as whether it results in ROI. This means that you need to do everything in your power to create a personalised experience that resonates with every single one of your guests. In order to uniquely cater to your guests, the onus is on you to ensure that you’ve not only got adequate (and relevant) data about each and every one of your attendees at your disposal, but that you’ve got the tools needed to collect this valuable information.

In an age where data is the new gold, make sure that you’re equipped with smart event database software that can collect, collate and store this precious information.

Make sure you don’t make any event planning mistakes in 2016. Download our Event Compliance Checklist to make sure your events are a success.

Image Credit: www.laxtowncarservices.com


your-guide-to-successful-event-planning-in-2016As the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December, millions of people around the world will vow to hit the gym more often, be kinder to themselves, or run a 10km (among other things). It’s no secret that the majority of New Year’s resolutions fall flat, often due to the fact that merely having a goal won’t ensure success. In order to make good on any resolutions, you need to have a plan of action. Event planning is no different – the more prepared you are, the higher your chances of succeeding. While we can’t help you stick to your vow of visiting Virgin Active three times a week, we can give you the tools you need to meet your 2016 event planning goals.

Great event planners are first and foremost, great leaders

In our blog, How to up your event planning leadership skills, we looked at the best ways to grow your ability to confidently lead a team. There’s a big difference between merely managing people and leading them towards success; while a manager typically designates tasks and micro-manages, a leader inspires and motivates each team member to fulfil their potential. In addition, great leaders are able to see the bigger picture, are comfortable with change and are always on the lookout for ways to better their team. Give your leadership skills a head start and read the full blog over here.

Being able to confidently pitch to clients is a major aspect of the event planning role

Confidence is the name of the game when it comes to securing business. Presenting your ideas to a client can be nerve-wracking – and even more so if you’re ill-prepared. In short, researching the client, making a good first impression, following the brief to the letter and constructing your pitch in the most convincing way possible are all ways to up your pitching game. Get the full run down, here.

A SLA is a crucial part of the event planning process – yet many event planners fail to give these the attention they deserve

A service level agreement (SLA) acts as a safeguard for both your clients and you – which is why it’s a non-negotiable aspect of the event planning process. Making sure that everyone – your clients, vendors and your team – is on the same page when it comes to expectations and deliverables is the only way to ensure that your event runs smoothly. Read about the ins and outs of SLAs, in our blog Why SLAs are a crucial part of the event planning process.

Event planning is a continual learning process; that said, there are some fundamentals that we swear by

In our blog The most important things we’ve learnt about event planning, we talk about the lessons we’ve learnt from our years in the industry. It’s an exciting time to be an event planner – with a plethora of new technology at our finger tips – the eventing landscape is rapidly changing – for the better. As well as making use of Event Management Software, there are some golden event planning truths that will always apply – no matter how many apps and tools there are at our disposal. Read about the essential event planning lessons we’ve learnt, here.

Make sure you’re ready to tackle 2016, by downloading The Practical Guide to Professional RSVP.


2015 has come and (almost) gone in a flash. If you’ve missed out on some of our best event planning blogs, fear not! We’ve rounded up our most-loved blogs of 2015. Before you switch off your laptop for a much deserved break, join us as we review our five best blogs of the year.

1. The human side to access control

High profile events require strict access control. However, some events require a balance of efficient guest list management, discernment and compassion. The late Madiba’s 90th birthday was one example of how bending the event planning rules is the best approach to access control. Read about how a little girl and her elderly grandfather captured Madiba’s heart – and taught us a valuable event planning lesson in the process.

2. Why event planners make the best Valentines

Event planners aren’t just masters of multi-tasking – they’re also high up on the list of individuals who make a great date. We list the top six reasons why event planners should be your Valentine, including a knack for communicating, an ability to stay cool under pressure and a finger on the pulse that rivals Twitter.

3. Seven traits of exceptional event planners

Event planning isn’t for everyone. Those who excel are individuals who exhibit a variety of strengths, like an ability to predict the future (or as close to it as possible), the ability to analyse data, and a dedication to building up their teams. Read more about the seven qualities that separate the event planning experts from the rest, and see if you make the grade, here.

4. How to up your event planning leadership skills

If there’s one word that describes an event planner, it’s ‘driven’. Those in the event planning industry are always working – on themselves, their teams and their projects – in an attempt to add to their expertise and build a reputation that shines. But what does it take to be an effective leader in this demanding role? We look at the most effective ways of upping your leadership skills, gleaned from the unique approach of Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, who transformed the company into one of the most successful entities in the world.

5. How event surveys help you build better customer relationships

Success boils down to one thing, and one thing only: the quality of your relationships. Without the ability to relate to your customers, getting them to trust your brand is a hard task indeed. In order to build authentic relationships, you need to know as much as you can about your target market. Thanks to the power of event surveys, you’re able to tap into the zeitgeist of your customers – giving them the opportunity to tell you what they like, dislike and hope to garner from attending your events. We discuss the best ways to implement an event survey in order to achieve enduring relationships with the very market you’re courting.

Efficient event planning relies on having the proper tools at your disposal. Our Event Management Software helps you to effectively plan and manage events that resonate. Find out about our Guest Concierge Management Software™, here.


Event planning might be universally challenging, stressful and all-consuming, but there are some key differences in the habits of event planners in the Mother City and those in Jozi. In this blog, we’ll look at various aspects of the event planning process and see just how Cape Tonian event planners differ from their Gaunteng counterparts.

Creating guest lists

CT: Cape Tonians are known for their flakiness and their inability to stick to plans. As a result, anyone in the event planning industry in the Mother City must compile not just one, but several guest lists to simply guarantee that there’ll be anyone at the event.

JHB: Joburgers, on the other hand, are punctual and meticulous when it comes to engagements. Once they’ve committed to something, there’s no question of them flaking out at the last minute. An event planner in Joburg will only need to compile one guest list, as they’ll be certain that people who RSVP “yes” will turn up.

Choosing a venue:

CT: The beauty of the surrounding landscapes outside the city is too much of a temptation for Cape Town’s event planners. Chances are an event will be located on a wine estate an hour’s (or more) drive away.

JHB: Joburg might not have been blessed with stunning scenery, but its event planners certainly keep convenience in mind. Any event venue is likely to be located centrally so that guests who live scattered across its sprawling mass can minimise time spent sitting in traffic.

What a typical workday is like:

CT: Relative lack of traffic in Cape Town buys the average person back an extra two hours a day. No surprise then that Capetonian event planners spend them topping up their tan in Camp’s Bay.

JHB: An event planner wouldn’t dream of wasting hours spent in Joburg gridlock. Instead, they’re on their phones whilst driving between important meetings.

How they organise brainstorming sessions:

CT: Nothing encourages creativity more than nature, or so the Capetonians believe. Don’t be surprised to encounter event planners taking a hike through Newlands Forest for their event planning brainstorm sessions.

JHB: The closest your Jozi event planner gets to hikes in the forest is a sweaty session at the gym. Event planners march side by side on treadmills as they brainstorm – they believe creativity comes through endorphins.

The first thing they do in the morning:

CT: Nothing gets the day going better for the Capetonian event planner than a fresh green juice and an organic gluten-free muffin enjoyed at a Bree Street café.

JHB: There’s no time for juicing or breakfast in Joburg. Instead, a quickly knocked-back double espresso – as they check emails on their phone – must suffice until their next caffeine hit at 9am.

How they manage stress:

CT: The “stress” of event planning is counteracted with a morning surf in Noordhoek before work and then a Bikram yoga session in the evening.

JHB: It’s high-octane spinning classes and weight training at Virgin Active for Joburg event planners and the occasional honking of car horns during peak traffic times.

What they post on Instagram:

CT: Cape Town provides no end of Instagram-able attractions. Expect pictures of tastings at wine farms, snap shots of their dinners at hip eateries, sunsets at Clifton and and Lion’s Head at Full Moon.

JHB: The Joburg event planner’s daily Instagram feed will be filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, their newest gym outfit and what they’ve bought on their latest designer shopping spree.

A typical voicemail message:

CT: “Hi, I’m on a five day silent retreat. Namaste.”

JHB: “Hi, I’m in a client meeting. You can email me, tweet me, fax me or call my PA. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

Their pet hates:

CT: The South Easter.

JHB: Traffic and being late.

What RSVP stands for:

CT: Reply sometime to verify presence

JHB: Reply soonest to verify presence W

hat does RSVP actually stand for? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comment section below the blog.

Whether you’re in Cape Town or Johannesburg, Event Management Software can help you automate and streamline the event planning process. Download our Practical Guide to Professional RSVP to read more about how you Event Management Software for your next event. 

Image Credit: img.tatler.co.uk


Quick Response (QR) codes have boomed in the last decade. Although the technology was invented back in 1994 to keep track of car parts during the manufacture of vehicles in Japan, QR codes have had to bide their time before really taking off outside the car industry. The current climate of smartphones, apps and a hunger for automation has created the perfect environment for QR codes to flourish in. The events industry is a perfect example of where QR codes can be used to create the smoother running of events that give attendees a more personalised experience.

QR codes can perform a wide variety of functions – from displaying text to visiting a webpage

Next time you’re perusing the aisles of your local supermarket or walking down the street, look out for QR codes. It’s very likely that they’ll feature on a product item or poster advertising a concert. The idea behind them is simple: a two-dimensional barcode embedded with “instructions” is scanned by a reader – usually a QR reader app that uses your smartphone‘s camera. The instructions can be anything from “take me to this website or YourTube video”, “store this contact” or “send a text message to this person”. The beauty of the QR code is its rapidity and convenience. Rather than a concert organiser printing the words “visit our website to see what the band has been up to” and you having to type the URL into your browser, the QR code takes you straight there. The QR Code Generator website gives you an idea of the kinds of functions a QR code can perform.

QR codes improve the experience of your event for both the guest and the event planner

In the context of event planning, your guests are the ones who present the QR code to you, the event planner. Embedded in their QR code is anything you need to know about a particular guest. No longer will you need to rifle through reams of paper trying to find your guest’s name and information, as the queue grows longer and longer. You simply scan your guest’s QR code – provided to them in their invitation – and you’ll be able to find out who they are, where they’re sitting, their food preferences and other information that’s been collecting using Event Management Software. Armed with this information at your fingertips, you’ll be able to treat your guests with just the right amount of familiarity: making each one of them feel like a VIP.

Streamline the security and access at your event with the help of QR codes

As mentioned above, QR codes make managing the entry and access process of your event a thousand times more convenient. As each guest is given a unique QR code with their invitation, you don’t have to worry about verifying guest identity, which will cut down on the size of the security crew you need to hire. Perhaps you have a specialised VIP or parking area that you want to control access to? If your event has multiple areas that only select guests can enter, a QR code will save you having to keep track of who is allowed entry where. Simply position a host with a QR reader at the entrance of each area – just make sure there’s WiFi at your event or you won’t be able to scan the QR code.

The first thing your guest sees of your event is at the door – make sure they’re not waiting in line for more than a minute

QR codes will also help minimise queue times, especially if there are more than fifty guests at your event – or they end up arriving all at once. You’ll be using your smartphone or iPad as the QR reader, so you can walk down the line scanning invitations and speed up the entry process. The first impressions of your event count for a lot: if guests don’t waste a minute getting into the venue, it’ll leave a lasting positive impression.

Our RSVP Event Management Software brings the offline experience together with the digital one

RSVP’s Event Management Software makes use of QR codes in our RSVP process. Our software lets you pool all the information you need and want to know about your guests, letting you plan an event which resonates with and delights them. Everything from their travel details to the event, where they’re staying and events they’ve attended in the past can be gathered, stored and programmed into individual QR codes. If you’d like to experience how to make use of QR codes at your next event, contact us for a free demonstration of our Event Management Software.

Image Credit: blogs-images.forbes.com


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.

Image Credit: images.askmen.com


The world of event planning is exciting and varied, attracting the most energetic, lively and charismatic people – people who also aren’t afraid of working long hours whilst trying to juggle the motives of many: caterers, venue owners, guests, clients, staff – the list goes on. As strong and organised as they may be, event planners sometimes need a little help if not from a friend, then from technology or a go-to checklist.  Mashable’s event planning cheat sheet infographic is a useful and informative checklist summarising the event planning basics you probably already know, but sometimes forget during the event planning maelstrom. In this blog we’ll elaborate on some of the points.

Mobile continues to be one of the hottest trends out there, especially in events

You could increase engagement by up to 33% if you incorporate mobile apps at your next event, according to the infographic. That’s a huge increase and highlights just how popular and pervasive mobile is becoming. While you might not have the budget or resources to have a custom app for your event made, there are others ways to harness the power of mobile for event planning.

Your invitations need to look stunning on a smartphone

Your event invitation is the first bit of personalised contact you have with your guests. A significant portion of those guests will be accessing this invite through their smartphones or tablets rather than on a laptop. It’s essential that your invites are mobile friendly and can be viewed in their entirety on these devices. There’s little point investing in a beautiful design if it gets distorted on an iPhone.

QR codes make controlling access to your event as easy as scanning a barcode

QR codes are another mobile-centric tool that can be exploited at corporate events. Not dissimilar to a barcode, a QR code can be provided in your invitation and act as a personalised entry pass for each of your guests. Your attendees simply present their QR codes at the entrance of your event, VIP or parking area and your welcome staff’s QR reader app will scan them. No more confusion about who is on what list.

Use mobile for those all-important

Thank You messages Event follows ups are not just essential from a customer service point of view; they provide you with the perfect chance to get feedback about how your guests enjoyed the event, allowing you to create future events that will feel tailor-made for each and every guest. Make sure these thank you messages and surveys are sent out within 24 hours of the event – either by SMS or through social media. According to the infographic, guests are a whopping 150% more likely to respond to a thank you message or post-event survey if you send one out no less than 24 hours after the event has ended. After 25 hours that percentage plummets: amazing what a single hour can do.

Time is of the essence, especially for event planners

Time, or lack thereof, is the event planner’s Achilles heel. We all know that event planners work some of the longest hours and have to survive on very little sleep, but Mashable’s statistics bring the reality into sharp focus. 42% of event planners work between 15-20 hours a day and the average night’s sleep is about 5-6 hours – although, that would sound like an indulgent night’s sleep to many! Believe it or not, there is a way to buy back hours in the day – without sacrificing the quality of your event.

Technology has made it possible to literally buy time

It’s clear from the infographic that technology is having a huge impact on how events are planned. Large guest lists and the pressure of delivering those crucial brand messages amplify the stress of planning corporate events: a lot more than disgruntled guests is at stake. Automating as many tasks as possible – sending out of invitations, collecting and managing guest contact info – means you not only save time on manually managing guest lists and RSVPs, but you’ll eliminate any potential human error too.

For more information about how technology can be your trusty assistant in the RSVP process, download our Practical Guide to Professional RSVP.

Image credit: campusexplorer.com

Infographic credit: mashable.com


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


Dropping the ball is part of being human. After all, if we never mess up, how are we supposed to learn? Even the most seasoned event planners make mistakes (they’re human after all). We’ve put some thought into what some of the most common mistakes are that event planners make  – rookie or veteran – and hope that by sharing these with you, you’ll be equipped with the know-how to help you dodge these all too frequent ‘’Oops, I did it again” moments.

  1. 1.  Overpromising on deliverables

Ever had a client who’s so excited about their upcoming event that their energy is contagious? It’s easy to get caught up in the anticipatory mood of a client whose ideas are big, bold and boundary-breaking. Which makes it very difficult to say that two letter word they don’t want to hear: “No”.

Instead of thinking you’ll put your client off, think of setting boundaries as to what’s possible within a certain timeframe and with a set budget as tough love

If you tell your client that their vision of dancing flamingos accompanied by the Drakensberg Boys Choir and pyrotechnics that would put Disneyworld to shame, you’ll only end up disappointing them (not to mention, losing their business). Be clear on what’s doable, and what’s not. Being aware of your skill set, and that of your team and vendors play a big part in ascertaining what you can deliver – so make sure that you’re honest with yourself, and your clients about what you’re able to deliver.

  1. 2. Ignoring the importance of nurturing a relationship with the client

Your clients are your bread and butter, which means that if you want to succeed as an event planner, you need to do everything you can to build authentic relationships with them. This may seem intimidating, which is where the mantra “Fake it till you make it” comes in handy. (We’re not suggesting that you lies about capabilities, credentials, or anything for that matter.) Being confident when working with influential brands and companies can be intimidating – but if you shy away from finding out who the people are behind the job specs, you’ll be able to not only provide them with an event that’s in line with their expectations, but enjoy having their repeat business.

As we said before, success in an arena boils down to the quality of the relationships you have. Sincere, genuine relationships are a scarce commodity; investing time and effort in your clients is without a doubt, one of the smartest things event planners can do to build their reputation.

  1. 3. Failure to prepare for any and all eventualities

Oh boy. It’s for good reason that the saying “Failing to plan, is planning to fail” is bandied about our office so frequently. Juggling multiple clients and the myriad tasks that go with them is only possible with a plan. Know your plan. Then work your plan. It’s easy to get lost in the thousand and one projects you have to do on any given day, but failing to plan ahead for any and every “what if” should be at the top of your to-do list. Event planners need to be able to predict the “what ifs”, and then have a plan at the ready should something go awry. Your “what ifs” will differ with each event – an EXCO dinner held outdoors in the (dry) bushveld teems with several potential disasters (ahem, FIRE), compared to a product launch of a new alcohol brand that’s open to the public (inebriation). You get the gist. The good news is that the more experience event planners have in tackling last-minute hiccups, the easier it gets the next time around.

Get our free eBook, “The Practical Guide to Professional RSVP” and learn more about what separates mediocre event planners, from exceptional event planners.

Image credit: globalpost.com