With golf tournament season upon us, many corporate planners will be finding themselves planning for client appreciation events. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Vary your invitation touch points: Email seems to be the preferred means of communication for many events these days. But if you want to make sure your clients see your invitation, don’t assume email alone will do the trick. While a hard-copy invitation may cost more, it is a more tangible demonstration of your appreciation. And if you are worried about the “killing trees” perception, you can invest in plantable invitations (see www.botanicalpaperworks.com). Alternatively, check if your charity of choice sells blank cards, and use them to create your invitations.
- Details, details! Cara Tracy, CMP, CMM, Director of Professional Development at the National Speakers Association advises, “Provide as much information as possible in the invitation. Is there a dress code? What is the agenda? Are there specific parking instructions? Are guests allowed? What costs are being covered?” If your printed invitation doesn’t allow enough space, create a web page where guests can consult FAQs and RSVP at the same time.
- Mitigate no-shows: A common complaint I hear from event planners is people who RSVP but don’t show for the event. Avoid this by working with your sales or PR department (or whoever is deciding on the list of invitees), and plan to make personal phone calls to those who have RSVP’d. Not only will this flag anyone whose schedule has changed, it will make all your guests feel wanted. This doesn’t have to be you; this is a perfect opportunity for a salesperson to pick up the phone and bond with the client ahead of the event. And this allows you to reconfirm any dietary or other special needs, and answer questions. Yes, this does require more time and effort, but isn’t it worth it to have happier guests and fewer empty tables?
- Do good: We mentioned your charity of choice in the hopes that you use events to support the cause your company cares about. But even if your event doesn’t feature a charitable component, take care to reduce food waste and to donate leftover food after your event. For a great resource on this topic see Meeting Change blog post, Reducing Food Waste at Events.
- Make the feeling last: You put a lot of time and effort in your events. Make sure you share the memories! You can have a professional photographer take snapshots and give everyone a copy at the end of the event. Or, given the low cost of digital cameras, why not entrust your staff to roam the golf course or the event venue, snapping pictures of the guests? Just make sure they take respectful, posed shots if possible. And encourage them to note down names to help identify guests. Then download the photos and post them to your social media networks! A corporate Facebook page full of smiling, happy clients is a great testimonial to a company’s reputation.
Wishing you some great events this summer!