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If you’re someone that’s responsible for planning and executing events then you may or may not have worked with an event planning company in the past. Depending on your role, you may have other responsibilities and planning events is an additional task that you have been asked to do. Unless your sole role is planning events you may want to consider working with an event planning company. Selected properly these companies can help make your event a success. And in turn you will also be a success. If you have never worked with an event planning company here are 3 tips that will help make your task of selecting an event planning company that much easier.
1) How Transparent Is the Event Planning Company
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust the various companies that you’re considering. But most reputable companies do not have an issue with telling you how their pricing structure works. Not necessarily their exact markup, but an event planning company should be able to tell you where their fees are applied. Having worked in an event planning company in the past I had no problem telling clients that we were indeed a for profit company. I wanted to address that at the beginning so that my clients (especially the newer clients) didn’t think that we were there just to provide them with ideas that they could then run on their own. And believe it or not this is too often the case. However flipping to the other side of the coin as a person selecting an event planning company, you also want to know whether or not you’re receiving a fair price for the work that will be executed. Good event planning companies know that they can make a lot of commissions on hotel rooms from the hotel itself. Therefore as someone hiring an event planning company I would have an issue if they were also charging me a fee on top of the commission they were getting from my hotel. Same with most suppliers in general. If the event planning company has a reputation in their area then they most likely have preferred rates (i.e. wholesale rates) with certain suppliers . That enables the event planning company to still be able to markup the suppliers price and yet you would still receive a fair price overall.
Asking an event planning company how they markup or charge for their services is something that you should address at the beginning of your conversation.
2) What Is the Event Planning Company’s Relationship with Their Suppliers
Another important item to address when selecting an event planning company is what is their relationship with the prospective suppliers that they are proposing to you. It’s not that an event planning company cannot own a supplier company that they are proposing to you. It’s just that you would prefer to know that at the onset to avoid any conflict of interest that may arise. You also want to be sure that you’re getting the best selection of available suppliers in the area for your program.
3) Ask for References from the Event Planning Company
Any reputable event planning company will have no problem whatsoever providing you with references. Make sure these references are people that have used the event planning company in a way that you’re planning to use them. Determine what’s important to you for your program and then design your questions around those important issues.
Also inquire as to what industry associations the event planning company is a member of. This will give you a little indication as to their length of time in business as well as how well they are known in the industry. You can also ask your hotel contact or the local convention and visitors Bureau if they have a list of recommended event planning companies that you can call. Just be aware that with the convention and visitors Bureau they will only provide you with companies that are there members.