As the markets change, it becomes more evident that clients are looking for a one stop shop. It is no longer good enough to offer one or two elements as needed for a successful event, there needs to be the synergy between the food, beverage, venue, decor and music – audio visual, bedrooms, flowers, stationary and lighting. Someone to manage the event, and someone to call on day after day to answer all questions, instantaneously.
Double, triple and quadruple this, as you deal with multiple events at one time, and I wonder, does the jack of all trades then become the master of none?
Whilst there may be logic in the thought that it would make sense for a florist to also be a linen supplier, for a venue to also offer catering, there has to be something to be said for knowing when to call in the experts. There is a tendency to over stretch oneself, we can promise our clients the world, and yet when it comes to it, are we short-changing us and them by speaking out of turn on subjects we are not fully versed on?
My thought is that it is better to surround ourselves with the right people, rather than try to be those people ourselves. I feel confident in the suppliers I trust, those I have worked with time and time again and who have come through for me on countless occasions – to whom I can say with certainty to a client, will not let you down. At that point, I have put the two people in contact with each other, who will best work together on that specific aspect of the event, rather than trying to act as no more than a glorified middle man, becoming overwhelmed at the time it takes to decide on what matches what, and how best to choose one damask cloth over another.
This is not to say that the client is less demanding, and especially in a hotel environment where the expectation is different. Part of the 5* service that is expected when paying 5* prices, extends to the time dedicated to the event, the ability to arrange everything through one central hub, and have someone at the end of the phone 24 hours a day to answer the same questions over and over. How do we best manage this? To be fair it is a combination of people management – knowing when to push back, but equally how to push – and honesty. I have found it imperative on occasions, and especially for weddings, to hold my hands up to a client and say that I would feel more confident in putting them in touch with X and Y, than taking on one specific element of the event I don’t think I am an expert in. The client appreciates the honesty, but it adjusts too the dynamic with the client, as you suddenly find your opinion valued and the client wanting to hear what you have to say. At that point, you are able to guide and direct, whilst still keeping your breathing space.
At the end of the day, an event can be as successful, if not more successful, when directed by you, but utilising the skill set of the wider cast and crew – over the one man stand up show that sometimes just isn’t that great and falls flat because not enough time could be dedicated to each and every corner, some of which are then sometimes cut.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts – do you prefer to go it alone, or are you perfectly happy to work as part of a wider team of experts who can then all share the glory?