Planning an annual event can become tedious, especially if the previous years efforts have started to become routine or predictable. Don’t let the success of your event suffer due to mundane formats or dull decor. Here’s 5 ways to inject some new life into your annual event…
1. Get Feedback
Gathering feedback from the previous year’s event is a crucial first step that must be taken before you start planning for the current event. Find out what your guests or clients liked and didn’t like.
For example, was the food great or just good? Did they like the venue? Was the entertainment fun?
Giving your guests the opportunity to reflect on the event will give you great insight into what worked and what didn’t thus allowing you to make changes without lots of guesswork.
Warning! If you get positive feedback, don’t rest on your laurels and re-create the exact same event. Its essential that you tweak certain elements to keep things fresh. For instance, if the food was well received, use the same caterer but change the menu. If the style of entertainment was good, opt for a similar style but with a different performer perhaps.
Tip! The easiest way to ensure a high feedback response rate is to offer an incentive such as a free prize draw, gift vouchers or discount on your products and services.
2. Change The Décor
If you’re restricted to using the same caterer and venue, then you can easily spice things up by freshening up the décor. In fact, our advice would be to NEVER repeat the décor from the previous year’s event. First impressions are crucial, no more than in the events industry. If your event looks like a carbon copy of last year then your guests will immediately think “Here we go again”.
88 Events is the official design sponsor of the annual SSBA Gordon Ramsay Gala Dinner and although the venue for this event has regularly changed we have kept things fresh each year by completely changing the design. Here’s what we did each year:
For another client, we designed 3 consecutive awards ceremonies around different themes. This was essential as the event was in the same venue each year:
Whether your event is in the same venue each year or you switch venues, it is crucial that you mix things up a bit. Changing the visual feel of the event is the easiest way to do things without necessarily commiting more budget.
If budget is an issue, you can do things as simple as seating guests at long tables as opposed to the more traditional round table format.
3. More Spontaneity
Surprise your guests with something out of the blue such as human canapés, celebrity guests, special cocktail on arrival – anything that will be unexpected and create a buzz.
How about adding a new component into the event such as speed networking where all guests would be required to switch tables at an appropriate part in the evening? This could be a cheap yet effective way to increase client engagement as one of the most common complaints from people attending events is that they didn’t get a chance to speak with the people they wanted to speak with.
Creating a spontaneous feel to your event tales a lot of creative thinking, however the rewards in terms of increased client engagement could be huge. The only problem you’ll have is going one better next year!
4. Spice Up The Menu
We’ve already alluded to this, however the food is another element of your event that can be easily changed. Review your feedback and decide whether the food was well received or not. If there was an issue, then you might need to consider different catering options.
If the food was well received, speak to your caterer about creating new dishes especially for the event. Make sure that your guests are aware that these dishes have been created especially for the event and ask your caterer to give some commentary into the ingredients used, why they were used and where they were sourced from.
All the top restaurants do this but it is a tactic seldom used in an event scenario.
TIP! Always arrange a tasting prior to confirming your menu choice especially if you are using a new caterer.
5. Change The Venue
The size of your event is going to have major impact on whether or not you can source a new venue. If your event involves large numbers over 500 guests then this will limit your choices.
However, if you are in the 100-300 guest range then you will have far more flexibility. New venues or venues you weren’t previously aware of crop up all the time so have a scout around for something different.
Oftentimes, a simple change of venue can be all that’s needed to give your event a fresh impetus. If you’re considering sourcing a new venue, then you might find this article of interest:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it’s given you some fresh ideas and concepts to consider.
88 Events can help you create an event that is truly special – one that rises above the norm and ensures great client feedback. Whether you want help with event managment and design or you simply wish to use our hire service, the first port of call is to get in touch. Do that here: