On the Ground at iHeartRadio Music Festival 2018

I think I can speak for the entire Concierge.com team when I say that we are still recovering from all of the excitement surrounding last week’s 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival. For the past seven years, the Concierge.com team (formerly Pop2Life) has helped manage over 3,000 invited guests to the annual festival in Las Vegas. This year, we brought on an additional 14 freelance concierge coordinators to create a seamless, personalized experience for each guest. iHeartRadio partners with Concierge.com to book travel, manage hotel and ground reservations, create itineraries, and coordinate weekend activity schedules for VIP clients, radio contest winners, working staff, and other invited media partners.

Managing thousands of guests is no easy task, but our Concierge.com platform alleviates the pressure of tracking the numerous invitations, travel, and other reservations for the weekend. Each year, we send out a unique invite to each invited guest based on their group (VIPs, contest winners, etc.). The guests are invited to fill out their information, travel preferences, and any other pertinent information. Our platform records these answers for a Concierge.com coordinator to reach out and book all of their included activities for the weekend.

Take a behind the scenes look at our week in Las Vegas preparing for the arrival of our guests, checking them in, and enjoying two amazing nights of music!

Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan
Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan

When we arrived in Vegas, we hit the ground running in our “war room” inside the Aria Resort & Casino, making sure all itineraries were sent to guests, filled envelopes with tickets, and managed any travel change for guest experiences.

Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan
Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan

We had three different check-in areas in Vegas for our guests. Our fearless team manned the VIP Ticket Pick Up at the Aria Resort and Casino.

Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan
Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan

Night one kicked off inside T-Mobile Arena with performances by Fleetwood Mac, Jack White, Panic! At the Disco, Kygo, and this powerful performance by Childish Gambino.

Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan
Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan

Jason Aldean returned to Las Vegas with an emotional tribute to victims of gun violence.

Photo courtesy; Shannon Beller
Photo courtesy: Shannon Beller

The Daytime Stage had exciting performances by Dua Lipa, Logic, Lil Uzi Vert, Dustin Lynch, and more! The iHeart Festival brings together the world’s top performers spanning genres for a weekend full of exceptional music and surprises.

Night two opened up with Justin Timberlake bringing out a surprise collaboration with Shawn Mendes. Mendes later performed following country powerhouse, Carrie Underwood. Lynyrd Skynyrd brought down the house with Sweet Home Alabama.

Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan
Photo courtesy: Kendall Deighan

Las Vegas natives, Imagine Dragons, helped close out the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival with hits like Radioactive and debuted their new single, Zero!


8 Classic & Luxe Ideas to Create a VIP Experience for Guests

Truth: Guests give life to events.

It is the guests and the collective energy of their respective vibes, personalities, laughter, and joie de vivres,  who make the hard work and hustle of planning come to life. So roll out the red carpet — figuratively or literally — and make them feel like a movie star.

Whether you have a large budget or are operating on a smaller level, these tips will make your guests feel appreciated.

Here are 8 classic and luxe ideas to create that VIP experience for guests: 

Get people talking. Start hinting at it on social media. This form of promotion is even better if it’s a secretive event. Create a catchy hashtag leading up to the event so guests will want to use it when the actual event happens.

Make them feel like they’re in the know — even before they arrive. Give them insider information. If your guests think they know something everyone else doesn’t, they’ll immediately feel more like a VIP.

Create an enviable guest list that everyone is talking about. Invite people who will create the buzz. Socialites, influencers, philanthropists, local celebrities, and even politicians can make the event feel more exclusive.

Pay special attention to the details. Personalize greetings and mementos. Prep your team members about guests beforehand so they can greet them when they arrive. If guests feel personally welcome from the start, they will be more excited about the rest of the event.

Serve a signature welcome drink. Offer a light and beautiful signature welcome drink once guests arrive. This eliminates the need for guests to visit the bar as soon as they step through the door, and makes for an easier transition into the event.

Treat them like they are the most important person in the world. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you should treat each guest like he or she is the only one that matters. It doesn’t matter if they’re a popular Instagram influencer or a fledgling startup founder, give them your utmost attention, no question.

Hire a best-in-the-world videographer and photographer. Having professionals in attendance to document the event will instantly elevate the experience. Plus, guests can look back on the occasion  and share imagery with their networks on social media.

Always offer to-and-from transportation or valet parking options. Guests want to have a good time, so make the transportation aspect easy for them. Transportation to and from the event also safeguards against drunk driving.

 

The keys to the VIP treatment at any level of entertainment? It’s service and attention. A little VIP treatment can go a long way. If you put your guests’ wants and needs at the center of your event planning, they’ll be talking about it long after the party.


Get to Know: The History of RSVP

Répondez s’il vous plaît — Please reply.

Tracking RSVPs and registrations in real time is one of our favorite features of the concierge.com platform’s most current technology, which got us thinking, how long have we been RSVPing?

The French sentence that appears printed at the bottom of many invitations has evolved over time. It was born out of the courts in Europe and eventually landed in North America. In RSVP’s early days, it was only used by the elite, for the French language was seen as refined.

While vernacular has morphed over hundreds of years and we no longer speak like those in English court, we still rely on the RSVP to plan for many events. Hosts want to know how many to expect at their event so they can prepare accordingly. But feelings toward the four-letter acronym have changed over time.

RSVP was used prior and throughout the 19th century, but by the early 1900s, many etiquette books said the term was unnecessary. It was assumed that everyone was courteous enough to let a host know whether or not they would attend. To remind potential attendees to do so was redundant.

While early 20th century etiquette police called for the RSVP’s death, it lived on. RSVP is still heavily used for formal invitations for weddings and such, but responses have declined.

The R.S.V.P. with periods was once in style, but the periods fell from common use after styles like AP refrained from using them. “Regrets Only” also gained popularity. It was assumed that if you didn’t respond, you were coming.

RSVP was once primarily used as a noun, but it has turned into a verb as well.

In the age of Facebook invitations and evites, silence has risen. RSVP responses have fallen. Unlike those of the early 1900s, many hosts experience fewer and fewer responses. In an effort to get answers, hosts send along small reply cards with a reply envelope ready to go. The reply cards are simple — guests can write their name and check whether they will attend or not. Yet responses are still low and modern-day hosts end up chasing down potential attendees who have not responded.

Want to break the mold? Try RVSVP — Répondez vite s’il vous plaît or please reply at once. While RVSVP didn’t catch on, maybe its urgency will resonate with people.

How does concierge.com take RSVP to the next level?

  • Efficiency in numbers. (Literally.) If you’re a company that needs to send 1,000 invites to an internal event, we’ll partner with your IT team to whitelist your clients’ emails making it easier for you in the long run.
  • We bring clarity. One of the challenges in our industry is that when we’re emailing invitations, they oftentimes end up in the SPAM box. Concierge.com’s RSVP status page shows you immediately if these invitations have bounced; it shows you who clicks and opens, and it allows you to send a text or email reminder to RSVP.
  • Keep everything under control. Long-story-short: concierge.com can limit the number of people in each group. Good example: let’s say you’re inviting 100 clients, but you only have 50 VIP slots; you can limit the Group to 50, so then RSVP #51 receives a cordial, but direct message that the event is at capacity.

What we’re looking forward to? Soon you’ll be able to automate RSVP reminder emails with concierge.com, so you can get ahead of the game and schedule them accordingly.


Corporate Partnership for Events: Best Practices

Corporate partnerships or sponsorships are a beautiful thing when done well. They raise the brand equity of both partners and introduce an already-loyal audience to a new brand at a relevant time. They can also be a painful waste of time and resources when executed poorly. That’s why we’ve compiled best practices when it comes to corporate partnership for events.

We’ve seen (and orchestrated) a lot of corporate partnerships in our years managing events for clients like iHeartRadio and Capital One. Here’s what we’ve learned about making it work for your event.

Don’t Force It

You’re dealing with a savvier consumer than brands did ten, five, or even one year ago. They’re getting more connected and are attuned to fabricated brand moves by the day. They can see through a partnership that doesn’t make sense. It is so important to create partnerships that put you in contact with your target audience. You should also provide something relevant and useful to that audience. Being force-fed brand messages or products that don’t add anything to the experience is worse than doing nothing – now your audience is annoyed and views you as unnecessary.

For some examples of recent event partnerships done well, we loved BizBash’s article on the topic.

Expect a Courtship

Joining forces on this level simply doesn’t happen overnight. You’re hoping to merge objectives, budgets, personnel, and communications with another brand entirely, so there are plenty logistical, creative, and legal hoops to jump through. It’s still worth the effort for the right partnership! A more efficient way to promote and host events, you can gain an entirely new and captive audience in the process, and you have access to resources you didn’t before. Many brands get discouraged by the long process and abandon what would’ve been a beneficial arrangement. Remember: if right now isn’t the right time to form a partnership, but you think you have the right partner, keep communication open for future events.

It’s a Marriage, Not a Blind Date

You’ve identified a perfect partner, you have put in the hard work of aligning objectives and resources, and you might even have an event under your belt together. Partnerships are best when approached like a long-term commitment, rather than a one-and-done association. You’ll make different (and historically better) decisions about almost everything when you are thinking of it like a relationship and not a transaction.

A great example of this is Marriott’s new partnership with the NCAA – rather than focusing on a one-off deal or just March Madness, they have worked out a partnership that places the Marriott family of hotels as the “Official Hotel Partner” for all 90 championships the NCAA hosts.

Plan Thoughtful Promotion

Several studies have found that underperforming corporate sponsorships spend big money on securing sponsorship rights, but then fail to spend as much or more on promotion of that sponsorship. Promotion makes or breaks the reach you have with your audience during an event, and you have the opportunity to promote before, during, and after an event. You should be planning resources and budget for each of those three areas to really make the best impact.

Concierge.com makes promoting event partnerships easier.


Can You Share Too Much Information With Event Guests?

Can you put too much information on a guest itinerary? The short answer: No. Knowing what to expect is key in building attendee anticipation. We have some serious experience doing this, so we’ve laid out our recommendations for what and how much to tell attendees before an event.

In our case, this information lives in a cloud-based itinerary, so it’s available ahead of time and is always up to date. Even if you’re not working with dynamic itineraries, these tips apply to any pre-event communication you send out.

More is Better

As Event Professionals, we can all relate to being a little Type A. It’s what makes us thorough, knowledgeable, and dependable. We can relate to the need to know as much information as we can about an upcoming party or trip. While not every attendee you’ll encounter will be as Type A as you, people are now accustomed to having tons of information at their fingertips that will help them pack, prepare, and get excited for an event. When you provide less than what attendees are used to, it’s actually a point of frustration. This is why we abide by the “more is better” rule of thumb. Every description is an opportunity to engage and excite.

Types of Details

So we can agree that more information is key – but where do you start? What kind of information should you include?

Common Courtesies: don’t underestimate the power of speaking to your guest as though they are, in fact, a person. It’s easier to just list out details, but simply starting with a “Please join us for” or “We’re looking forward to seeing you at…” goes a long way in making the experience feel personalized.

What to Wear: it’s not news that people agonize over what to wear to an event they care about. Any direction you can provide as to the formality, location (indoor/outdoor), or forecasted weather of an event will be appreciated. If your event warrants it, this is even great content to share leading up to the event in a “What to Wear” blog post or social series. Feature photos from last years’ attendees or inspiration from influencers.

What to Bring: what’s worse than showing up somewhere and realizing you needed a photo ID (which is now inconveniently in your hotel room and you’re carless)? Or bringing an umbrella you can’t take into a concert? Or not using a venue-approved bag for your belongings? The list goes on. A description or list of items to bring (or not bring) is extremely useful and avoids attendee frustration.

What Will There Be to Eat/Drink? Should attendees eat ahead of time or will food be provided? If it is provided, how heavy is the meal and are there options for those with dietary restrictions? Is there a cash bar or are drinks complimentary? Hungry, sober guests aren’t high on anyone’s list of event outcomes, so help them prepare for the situation.

Brand Messaging: use event descriptions as an opportunity to reinforce your messaging. Give them some history, reinforce your tagline, and share facts and statistics about why your event is the best event. This is also a great place to introduce attendees to a campaign or hashtag you wish to use during the event. The more they are exposed to it in a relevant place, the more likely they are to recall it when it’s time to use it.

Good luck on your next event and happy writing!

Want to see our itineraries in action?


The Vegas VIP Experience

What Can Event Planners Learn from Las Vegas VIPs?

Las Vegas invented the VIP experience, and they continue to redefine what it means to be indulged. Whether you want playlist control and a front row fountain seat at Hyde Bellagio (for a cool $250,000, with drinks delivered by the Super Mario Brothers) or a Villa at Caesar’s Palace that boasts self-playing pianos, private celebrity chefs, and remote-controlled toilets, Vegas has you covered.

As a company that champions remarkable experiences, we know there’s a lot to be learned from the way Vegas treats its guests. It’s the perfect place to find inspiration if you’re looking for ways to step up your guest experience game. We’ve pulled together some Sin City tricks of the trade that could work for any event to get you started.

Personalize Everything

It’s the same concept that makes you feel welcome in the home of a great hostess. A guest should feel they’ve been thought of ahead of time and that their presence is an important one. After all, few things make you feel more important than when little details were clearly designed with you in mind: your favorite music is playing when you check into your hotel room instead of stock smooth jazz; when you arrive at the theater, you are greeted by name and led to your seat with a smile; your massage chair relaxes you to the rhythm of whatever song you’re listening to (this is, of course, an actual thing in Vegas). Anything you can do to include someone’s name or personal preferences into their experience goes a long way in making them feel like a guest – not a number. This can be accomplished in communications, greeting during events, and in the way you prepare materials and spaces ahead of time.

Don’t Underestimate Exclusivity

We all love a little something extra, don’t we? A complimentary upgrade we didn’t expect, a personal tasting of a new dish the chef is trying out, or early access to, well, anything. It’s a little like winning the experience lottery because you always expect what you planned and paid for, but the extras are the most exciting. Even if those exclusive pieces are paid for, that is what sets their experience apart from everyone else’s. Try adding in tiers to your event, so guests can choose to upgrade their own experience if they have the budget. You can also plan ahead for upgrades, extras, or surprises that you present to VIPs, influencers, or other guests for free – this way, you’ve budgeted for it and they still get the surprise of a complimentary perk!

Always Deliver – Or, Better Yet, Overdeliver

Here’s the scenario: Your high-profile guest is all set for the trip of a lifetime; their expectations are high, and your team is all prepared to exceed those expectations, but in hospitality, you have to expect that things will go wrong. Planes may be delayed, rooms aren’t always ready on time, or rain ruins plans for a rooftop event. It’s how you respond that defines your guest’s experience, and this is where many fall short. When you’re dealing with VIPs, you should take every opportunity to make up for inconveniences and disappointments, even when they weren’t your fault.

Don’t just correct the mistake – take the opportunity to go above and beyond for their trouble to leave a lasting impression of quality. Sometimes it’s going to cost more, but Vegas hospitality icons know that the small extra cost is well worth the customer satisfaction and loyalty. If a guest’s room isn’t ready, provide them with complimentary champagne while they wait. If the VIP table they reserved got moved around, comp their meal and invite them back.

The Las Vegas commitment to VIPs provides endless inspiration. If you want to see how executing on that commitment becomes easier with concierge.com, visit our software page. And, of course, a little reconnaissance trip never hurt, right?


Managing the iHeartRadio Guest Experience: The Client

Welcome to Part II of our iHeartRadio guest experience series. This time, we sat down with iHeartRadio’s Christine Flipse, Senior Manager of National Entertainment, to get some insight into her experience working her way through the company, coordinating national events, and working with Lady Gaga.

Q: Give us some background about your role and how you started with the company.

I’ve been with the company for 9.5 years, since before it became iHeartMedia, back when it was still Clear Channel Radio. I started as a promotions assistant at Z100, then worked for all five New York radio stations at the time. In 2011, after our first iHeartRadio Music Festival, I started working for Darren Pfeffer [SVP, Music & Entertainment], became a coordinator, manager, and now a senior manager. Our team produces all of the national events for iHeartRadio such as the iHeartRadio Music FestivaliHeartCountry FestivaliHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, as well as all the B2B and internal events for iHeartMedia, such as activations at the Cannes Lions Festival and SXSW, and a lot of other events. I produce all the events in the iHeartRadio Theater in TriBeCa, as well as manage travel and fulfillment for all of our major events.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the job?

I love watching our events come to life. Working on this team and knowing how much work goes into each event, being an integral part of pulling off something like the iHeartRadio Music Festival is huge. I love seeing everyone work together to make our events a success.

Q: What, to you, defines a successful event?

There are always going to be challenges and bumps in the road leading up to an event, but if everyone walks away from it at the end and feels like it was a great experience, then that’s a successful event. Whether you’re in the audience or the artist on stage or the executive producer or a stage hand, no matter who you are, if you walk away feeling like “that was great”, then you have a successful event.

Q: I’m sure you meet a lot of big names through your job – who has been your favorite? 

I think Paul McCartney because, come on, he’s Paul McCartney! I’m a huge fan of Lady Gaga and working with her is incredible because she is so involved with the creative aspect of her performances. It’s amazing to see how involved she is during rehearsal – you’ll see her tweak the angle of the piano herself until it’s perfect, that’s how invested she is. One of the most exciting moments for me was when we had the Foo Fighters at the iHeartRadio Theater in LA. I was able to watch Taylor Hawkins as he was listening to his drum track from soundcheck, correcting things in his mind, and making sure he sounded the way he wanted to. You don’t think of someone that big doing that. It’s great realizing that these people are people just like you and me, and they need to practice and prepare. They don’t just get up there and do it; there’s a lot of hard work on their end.

Q: What’s the best thing you could hear from a guest about one of your events?

We hold contests for our events for people to win a trip there, and a lot of our winners are people who have never been on a plane before, and they otherwise wouldn’t have that type of experience. So when they come back to us and say “You’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s an experience I’ll never forget”, that’s so special to me. To give that type of experience to someone who wouldn’t otherwise have it is the greatest.

Q: How do you and your team cope with the stress of an event?

We are really in it together; our team is very much like a family. We pick each other up when we’re down and we celebrate each other’s successes. This is not a standard nine-to-five desk job where you come in , do your work, and leave. We eat more meals together with our coworkers than our families some weeks. Being there for each other and having each other’s back helps us get through it. We also often work out together, whether it’s a run or a SoulCycle class, to help us clear our minds and not just talk about work 24/7.

Communication is also key. There are so many different aspects that need to come together properly in order for the event to be a success, and there is a lot of overlap between teams – the sponsorships being incorporated into the backstage areas or party spaces, the number of credentials lining up with the number of tickets, the stage call times working with the backstage artist “move times” – everyone needs to be on the same page.

Q: What is one of the most rewarding moments of your job?

My favorite part of an event is to go out into the house and stand in the arena and just look out while everyone is having an amazing time, knowing that I helped get them there. I try to make it a point at every iHeartRadio Jingle Ball stop to go out and do just that. The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball is a 12-city concert tour every December. It’s one of our busiest times of the year so taking a moment to be reminded of why we’re doing what we’re doing gives you energy to get through it.

Q: Speaking of people having an amazing time, you’ve seen so many live shows. Which artists have the most excited crowds?

The Backstreet Boys were huge. They make full grown women act like tweens again. Like professional, marketing geniuses become children again. I mean, of course, Bieber comes on stage and gets an amazing response, the girls go crazy, but seeing the adults react like that is the best.

Q: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow your career path?

Work hard. Really hard. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, to start low and work your way up. If you have the motivation and the drive and love for what you’re doing, it’ll show. When I started as a promotions assistant, it wasn’t even in my mind that I’d end up here. iHeartRadio wasn’t even a thing yet, and I’ve been part of the whole ride and I’ve seen it through, and now I’m a member of this great team. Take any opportunity and make it everything you can. Work hard from wherever you are and be passionate. Those are the most important things. Everything else can be learned.


When to Text or Email Guests During an Event

Picture this. The stunning outdoor event you’ve been slaving over for months is about to be rained out and moved to your backup location indoors.

The issue? Your event guests are spread all over the city right now and you need to let them know ASAP. Luckily, we live in a modern event planning world with instant communication at our fingertips. It’s why concierge.com lets you text or email your guests through the system however and whenever you need to. Although, just because you CAN communicate with your guests at any time doesn’t always mean you SHOULD. Read on to learn how and when to text or email guests during an event, and when not to.

Instant Text and Email Best Practices

The ever-presence of mobile devices really allows us to make every guest feel connected and cared for leading up to and during an event. When done respectfully and sparingly, instant communication to event guests can reduce anxiety and promote trust.

Changes: Anytime there is a change to guests’ itineraries, it helps to get in touch with them as quickly as possible so they aren’t left feeling lost. Use this any time you have a venue, time, or speaker change. Additionally, if you’re aware of traffic or transportation concerns (like an accident on the highway), a heads up to guests is always appreciated. Be as brief as possible while conveying all of the change information.

Select Reminders: Especially if you have guests traveling to your event, it can be helpful to remind them about presentation or event start times, where they can find catering or meals during a break, or if there are any delays.

A recent firsthand example of this: a client of ours was hosting a party during a sporting event weekend – at said party, our client was broadcasting the game, but attendance was strangely low. They realized their guests didn’t know that the day’s game was being broadcast at the party and, instead, the guests were at bars or hotels watching it. They used that opportunity to text guests reminding them that the game was being shown at their party, and the guests showed up in droves. Big win.

Follow-Ups: Few things are more helpful than leaving a great presentation with follow-up materials, resources, and links sitting expectantly in your inbox. Creating a seamless guest experience means staying top of mind for guests and meeting needs before they are even realized.

When Not to Use Text and Email

Now that you’ve seen ways immediate, personal communication can be done well, let’s look at ways it can damage a relationship so you can actively avoid them at all costs. Guests can spot fake and manipulative communication from a mile away, and it instantly leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Let’s not.

Every Little Thing: Sure, you’d love to be there at every turn to welcome your guest to their hotel, presentation room, or afterparty, but doing it via text or email for every little thing is going to get old fast. Instant notifications are meant to be attention-grabbing in order to share important information – once a guest receives them too frequently, they tune them out and might miss the actual important info.

Third Party Information: This is not the place for third party advertising or sponsor messages. It is self-serving and not useful to your guests, so it is seen as a nuisance. Advertising is best left for event web pages, print and digital materials, and perhaps as part of useful post-event offers.

Polls and Questionnaires: Be wary of sending out polls during your event. Yes, it’s nice to get feedback when the content or event is still fresh on guests’ minds, but this also falls into the category of unnecessary communication during an event. If the poll is going to inform the schedule of events or itinerary, then it may make more sense. In that case, keep it short, sweet, and on topic. Otherwise, plan to send out any surveys at one time after the event has ended so attendees can answer at their convenience.


4 Things Your Event Planner Wants You to Know

You are eternally grateful to your event planner or agency for pulling off great events, but are you really giving them everything they need to help your event succeed?

We’re going to walk you through four things your event planner wants you to know.

The concierge.com team has spent years pulling off large-scale events (think AMC’s Talking Dead Season Premier event and the MTV Movie Awards) and working for hospitality giants and major brands, which gives us the unique position of seeing both the client and the event pro side of the equation. We’ve seen plenty of miscommunication go down (heck, we’ve been the cause and recipient of it plenty of times), so we’d love to save you the trouble by sharing what we’ve learned.

1. Know that your event pro is a trusted partner.

You probably hired this person to your team or as an outside consultant after much research and budgeting and praying to the event gods. You know they are capable. You know they are invested. Don’t fall into the tempting habit of keeping them out of the loop as your event evolves and changes take place. They’ve probably been immersed in the minutiae of events longer than you have and may have valuable suggestions to make as issues arise. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own teams, but remember you hired this person not only for their skills in executing and organizing, but also for their experience! Use it!

Tip: Keeping them in the loop is easier than you think. Make it a habit to Cc: them on internal emails about the event and schedule a brief weekly check-in.

2. Know that timelines are everything.

Event Planners live and die by your timeline, but it is often seen by brands as a flexible thing. Commit to the timelines your company sets for your event and deliver on your end of the deal when approvals are needed and to-dos are due. Of course, there are undoubtedly times when things change and everyone has to adapt, but holding fast to the deadline you set whenever possible gives you more understanding to cash in on when things really do need to change. Event pros will stick to your timeline and will appreciate and respect when you do, too.

Tip: From the beginning, create a shared calendar or Google doc that you and your event planner can access at any time to see an up-to-date timeline. It’s transparent, efficient, and updated in real time. 

3. Know the value of your investment.

Event planning is around-the-clock work. There are fires to put out in the middle of the night, Plan Bs (and Cs) put into place at the last minute, and days spent rechecking every detail so that you can focus on the big picture. And that’s just the set-up! The actual event is an especially intense time for your event pro since they’ll be everywhere at once and responsible for every detail. Keep in mind when you’re lamenting the cost of event planning that you’re paying for empathy, diligence, and integrity with every dollar. When you’ve hired a good event team, they are going to pour themselves into your project 100%, often going above and beyond what you’re paying them to make sure everything is perfect.

Tip: This is a two-for-one deal. During your brief weekly calls (mentioned above), ask for clear updates and challenges from your event planner. We’re confident they’ll be happy to outline the ways they’re going above and beyond for you throughout the process.

4. Know that issues will come up. Then trust your team.

Issues come up. They just do. Celebrity event planner and producer Jung Lee even said, “Just because you have planned something doesn’t mean it is going to happen.” Resist the temptation to blame your event planner for every little issue by understanding that stuff happens out of everyone’s control. Instead, hire someone you trust to handle problems professionally and gracefully. When mishaps pop up, event pros will get your event back on track faster if you give them the trust and power they need to do their job successfully.

Tip: Always set time for a post-mortem on an event to discuss what issues came up, how they could be avoided/better handled in the future, and what you’ve learned as partners from the experience. 

Event pros, what did we miss? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


Concierge.com's Event Check-In App is Here

Great news, just in time for January! We’ve expanded our check-in feature to include a dedicated tablet app that syncs directly with the concierge.com platform. Here are a few features of the app, available to concierge.com customers immediately.

Fully Integrated with concierge.com: Our app is easy-to-use (just like the rest of concierge.com) and automatically syncs your event info. Finally, everything on one platform.

Customize Check-In: The check-in app was designed with the same high level of customization you’d expect from concierge.com. Check guests in by guest name, by group, by byt, by entire event, or any other way you want.

User-Friendly Design: The check-in app is easy-to-use, intuitive, and cleanly designed.

No Additional Cost: For concierge.com users, the app is yet another feature of our comprehensive platform, not an add-on or additional expense.

Barcodes and RFID: In development and coming soon! The app will support multiple barcode formats and RFID technology.

We’re thrilled to add the app to our platform and would love to answer your questions about it.


3 Ways You Can Better Manage Guest Travel

Getting guests to and from your event is half the battle for many event professionals.

They all come equipped with different needs, expectations, time constraints, and geographical challenges. It’s one of those things we suspect will never be no-effort, but from our years of managing guest travel for events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, we’ve learned a thing or two about saving your sanity while you do it. Read below for three ways you can better manage guest travel for events now, and save yourself a headache later.

1. Book Extra Hotel Rooms

Inevitably, when a large number of guests are checking into their hotel, something is going to go awry. Whether the front desk employee looks up the guest’s name incorrectly, or the record was lost along the way and the hotel is completely booked, the last thing you want is a guest standing in the hotel lobby with no room and no plan. This is why we suggest keeping a few extra rooms in your back pocket so you can transfer your displaced guest over to one of the extra rooms quickly and easily.

2. Go Beyond Plan B

Try as you might, you don’t have control over guests’ flights, traffic, or the weather. That’s why it is not only important to have a “Plan B”, but also a plan C-G. When your main speaker gets snowed in at home and your backup speaker misses her flight, have someone local in mind and prepared to step in with a killer presentation they have ready (for example, someone who has just spoken at a recent event with a different audience). Have the numbers of at least two or three other transportation companies on hand so you can call right away if your shuttle bus gets caught behind a pile-up. The last thing you want to do when you’re panicked is research.

3. Rack Up Contact Information

A CIA dossier should pale in comparison to the file you have on your guests. Well, at least your VIPs, contest winners, and other special guests. You never know when phones will die or when email will get sent to the spam folder. Get as much information for your contacts as possible: phone number(s) and email are a bare minimum. Also gather their Twitter handle, phone and address of where they are staying (if you didn’t book it yourself), and the names and numbers of any people with whom they’ll be traveling.

We hope you found something helpful here. If you’re interested in learning about how to make managing guest travel even easier with concierge.com, click the button below.