An important question to ask yourself when planning an event: Why?


When designing any special event, there is a very important question that I keep constantly in my mind: Why? Everything I do and all elements must answer ‘the why’.

For example, I spend my client’s money as if it were mine. If I would not spend the funds on something myself, then why would I expect the client to spend the funds?

Case in point: I produced an incentive program for a client’s President’s Club. The budget was not limited. For the final evening, there was a reception and dinner. The reception was to last one hour. The client wanted decor everywhere. However, the reception lounge was stunning and needed no decor. As this was the last night of the incentive program, guests would be wanting to talk to one another, say goodbye, and so on. Plus, viewing of the space would be limited to an hour reception and then just going to the restrooms, so why spend money on decor? I told this to the client and suggested she spend the funds in the dining room where they will be able to experience the decor for the evening, or not spend the funds at all.

‘The why’ refers to every component of an event. Everything should relate back to the theme, objectives and corporate image. For example, I would never suggest a Hawaiian night in Toronto unless the group was going to Hawaii the next year.

My regular vendor partners share this philosophy and it is wonderful to work with people that approach the project in the same way.

I mentioned in a previous issue that you are only limited by your imagination. I have followed this approach throughout my career – even to the point of producing a spouse program years ago, for $3 a person! Being the cheeky person that I am, I asked if that budget was in U.S. or Canadian dollars, and the client laughed and said U.S.! It became one of the association’s regular programs at their annual convention.

Another time, a client needed a unique way of introducing the next year’s incentive destination but had a very limited budget. Having been previously in the entertainment business, I chose a musical answer. I hired studio musicians and since it was limited in budget, they sang a capella so no piano was needed. I picked well-known songs from each destination and the performers were dressed accordingly. The audience loved guessing the destinations from the repertoire and the actual destination was revealed at the end.

About the author:

Roni Feldman has been involved in the meeting and special event industry since 1979. She is President of Roni Feldman & Associates Inc. which provides a wide variety of services to the hospitality industry including conference and special event management, marketing, training and education programs. Roni Feldman holds the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation, the Destination Management Certified Professions (DMCP) designation and the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) designation. These certification programs are only available to senior industry professionals who qualify and they were developed to define a high standard of proficiency in meeting management. In addition, Roni Feldman is the only planner in Canada who holds these certifications as well as a professional degree and experience in the areas of theatre and film production. This knowledge and experience provides a unique perspective on all aspects of meeting and event management. Roni continues to be in demand nationally and internationally as an instructor and workshop leader. She has been involved in the CMP study groups and has been a guest speaker at two of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Professional Education Conferences, MPI’s first Canadian Educational Institute I & II as well as several of the Toronto Chapter monthly MPI and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) meetings; the Canadian Society of Association Executives; and the Life Insurance Management Research Association's Annual Conference. Roni spoke at the 16th International Meetings & Incentives Conference in Greece on Partnerships and was asked to address a group of DMC’s in Lisbon on selling and servicing the North American Market. Roni was asked in 1994 to serve as a member of the task force set up by the Ontario Tourism Education Council to establish and validate Standards for the Special Events Industry across Canada. Roni was also chosen to be included in the Nationwide Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Business in recognition of achieving a level of recognizable success in their respective field. In 2012, Roni was inducted into the M+IT (Meetings and Incentive Travel) Hall of Fame with the Industry Veteran Award. THE INDUSTRY VETERAN AWARD recognizes a planner or supplier who has, during a long career, distinguished themselves by demonstrating leadership and innovation in all facets of their own job and the industry as a whole.

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