The one that got away, don’t give up


I was reminded recently about a post I wrote some time ago, that seemed a little relevant now – although for both good and not so good reasons. A post therefore, for anyone in the industry who has had an event fall away from their grasp and has come away from the experience feeling a little deflated. Don’t – you just never know…..

…….There you are, sitting in your chair, a little uncomfortable and trying desperately not to make an obvious glance at your watch. Its been two hours, and even by your own reckoning, at least one question has been asked more than three times – the answer of course having been the same on each occasion… the client testing you?, trying to see if you can squeeze thirty more people in to the room on the third time of asking?…..

it’s late, the sun was shining when there was still sunlight outside, and you try to remind yourself that closing this event will be worth it in the end, if not just the start of many more months of late nights – the mood board, the Powerpoint presentation, the afternoon tea and “WOW” site visits for visiting relatives…..all helping to secure a piece of business for the hotel, and a personal win for you having had indication of just who the competition is for the same event…..this is after all part of the excitement of being in events – that buzz you often hear about from those working in the industry….

Tick tock, tick tock….a week has passed, a couple of emails, phone call, “smiling” follow up and back and forth quotation…..and then, in one line

“Thank you for your help, but we have decided to hold the event in our back garden” / “out of London” / in the local business centre…..


I mean “REALLY!”???

You sit at your desk and question the “why” – the “what could I have done” and a sprinkling of “what if”…..none of which matters at this time, and there is no escaping the feeling that you’ve been a little fleeced of information and advice, now in the hands of someone else who will benefit accordingly. The fact is, you don’t win them all – but nothing sucks like thinking with hindsight, that it was never really there for the taking in the first place.

Has the above happened to you?, the story may seem a little far fetched to those not working in the events world (although the example resonates through all types of business), but the wider challenges are there in the current climate, and when so many venues and event managers are fighting for the same business. Time is spent really exploring how we can make an initial experience extraordinary for our clients and build a relationship in the short space of time that a “lunch hour” site visit allows.

Whilst it is hard to avoid taking things to heart, after all, there can be times when everything seems to fall in to place bar one major element of the event, there is little choice but to get back on the horse and keep riding. What is clear I feel, is that you never know the possible butterfly effect of your actions, and although this time around the event may not have panned out as you hoped it would, I have equally been in a number of situations where how the client was treated on that first meeting, has left them doing everything they can to come back on a future occasion to work with the hotel, often to the point that you find certain compromises are made where numbers or layout are concerned – the client already knowing that they will be treated with the 5* service your venue represents.

Sunny days may be few and far between “a’ Londres”, but there is no telling just how much influence we have had over a client through the effort we have put in  – even having not won the event – and next time around, we know that every effort will be made to impress all over again.


Creative Overload – break it down!


If you live or work in a creative industry, all be it on behalf of someone else, there can be times when in today’s world – with so much information available, you find yourself completely overwhelmed with one creative idea after another, and it can become extremely frustrating when trying to work out how best to incorporate these ideas in to the events that you are working on.

There will also be times of course, when the clients with whom we work don’t want an overly creative solution for their event, and there can then be a tendency to become bored with repeating the same tried and tested methods of managing what could be events with much more WOW.

So how do you take a creative overload and break it down, and stay motivated during those times where we are working on the more subdued events?

During the course of the day I try and be as aware as possible about what is going on around me and how I might be able to take things I have seen and incorporate them in to an event at a later date. What materials are people using to display things in shops, florists – designers – food and beverage….and these ideas get stored, written or otherwise, for another day.

Online and in magazines, seeing a photo shoot and how it has been put together, an idea turned on its head as the model in Guatemala is seen leading a goat down a rocky road, all dressed up and with everyone looking on…..just really interesting set ups for which only one small element might be useable – and in certain cases all of it – should the right event come along (I actually have that one stored for something I hope to work on….)

Taking photos whilst reading the Metro on the train, or of something someone is wearing – inspiration in whatever place, in whatever form – and knowing how to develop this idea further both with or without client and their input at a later date. There will always be the more “mono” type of event, but by adding a little “stereo” in the form of a different place card, welcome cocktail or starter serving plate – can still allow those creative flashes to have their place and who knows – just by talking to the client you may find they are open to a different approach for an event that has run the same way for umpteen years.

There is little point in becoming frustrated and embracing the ideas of others will help you become more creative yourself. With Twitter, Hipstamatic and Facebook – Youtube, Fliker and Pintrest there are so many ways to share your thoughts in a forum from which others can gain inspiration and you can highlight just how you think an idea can play a part in someone else’s design and creative process.

Love to shoot, love to share.