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So, you’re the lucky person who’s been chosen to create this year’s holiday party. Or, your company’s president wants this year’s executive retreat to really “blow the team away”. There are literally thousands of meetings and event companies out there. How do you choose?
The meetings and events industry tends to be segmented with many event companies specializing in one or more market segments – corporate events, association meetings, conventions and events, social events, fundraising for not-for-profits – to name a few. So start by searching for a company in your city that specializes in the segment that best reflects your company or organization.
Who’s Already Using the Event Companies
Obviously most of us will start by searching through websites to see what type of events the event company has already created. Search the list of existing clients to see if they “match” your company/organization’s culture. Reputable event companies will give you a list of client contacts so that you can speak with people who are actually using the planner’s services.
Price is Important when Selecting Event Companies – But It’s More about Value
Reputable event companies understand and respect the fact that you’re on a budget. The better planners will work creatively to ensure that you get value for your dollar. They won’t necessarily just recommend the cheapest option but rather they may suggest you cut back in one area so that you can spend more in another area. For example, décor is very important but so is the food. Cutting back a bit on the lighting or special affects may mean a higher quality meal. The planner will help you with these decisions to ensure your event is memorable, for the right reasons, even if you’re working under tight budgetary restraints.
Look for Event Companies on Business Directories and CVBs
There are a number of convention, meeting and event companies directories out there. Industry sites such as mywelcometothecity.com will give you a good overview of the meeting and event companies operating in your area. Also, take the time to visit your local Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). A good CVB can direct you to the very best industry suppliers – including meeting and event companies – in your city. If you’re planning an event in another city – again, the CVB is a good place to start your search for qualified event companies.