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.


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.


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!


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.