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Tuesday
Nov272012

Registration Solutions: Ooh La La

Event registration software continues to improve every year making it easier for event planners, volunteer organizers and fundraisers alike to streamline their event information as well as publish their own registration forms.  We recently came across a site which reviews registration software, Online Registration Reviews by Dr. Catherine Key. We particularly like the one below, on a la Reg but all of her reviews offer fresh insights and an unbiased perspective in this space. 

Tuesday
Oct302012

Force Majeure....

Our thoughts are with those in NY and along the east coast as they start to move forward from Sandy.  

In light of this tremendous storm, countless meetings and events will be canceled due to flight issues or worse, venue closures.  Many meeting professionals are currently reading the fine print in their contracts to fully understand the always included, but rarely discussed, Force Majeure clause.  We came across an interesting article by Meetings Net (full article) which provides a great overview on the subject.  

From Meetings Net:  The Legal Side of Storm-Related Cancellations

With so many canceled flights, the storm is likely to have an impact on meetings nowhere near the hurricane’s path. Attendees from East Coast cities may not be able to get to meetings across the country. In cases where a significant number of attendees can’t make it due to the storm, it’s important that a force majeure clause allows for partial performance being covered, says attorney James Goldberg, principal, Goldberg and Associates, Washington, D.C. Often, it’s written as an all-or-nothing proposition, meaning that a contract must terminate or go forward, he says.

Also, the force majeure clause probably won’t cover a group that cancels a meeting next week over concerns that power will still be out.“It’s best not to make unilateral decisions,” says Goldberg. “Discuss it with the hotel and reach agreement on how to proceed.”  

Adds attorney Steven Adelman, Adelman Law Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., "In any force majeure event, it is most important to concentrate first on saving lives, then on protecting property, and last on who has a legal claim against whom. Behaving ethically and generously in a crisis tends to make people disinclined to sue.

“Your contracts define only your basic legal rights and obligations,” says Adelman, who deals with risk management and litigation involving public accommodations. “The details of how you perform those duties, and the consequences of your actions, are up to you." 

Hats off to Hilton:'

Hilton properties in the affected areas are waiving cancelling fees through October 30 for advance purchase reservations for those hotels located in evacuation zones and affected areas. Early departure charges will also be waived at all applicable hotels. Hilton will continue to monitor and evaluate its storm-related policies accordingly. "Hilton Worldwide's NYC hotels are all faring well, as we planned ahead and have enough food and supplies," says Hilton Worldwide officials in a statement. "The Conrad has been evacuated due to the flood zone and West 57th Street by Hilton Club has been evacuated due to the crane collapse nearby on 57th Street. Guests have been relocated to the Hilton New York." 

 

Tuesday
Oct092012

Finding New Vendors just got easier

When you're planning an event, especially in an unfamiliar city, one of the hardest parts can be finding professional vendors you can trust with your event and clients.  UK based Event-Library is making this process easier providing a platform for peer submission and reviews for vendors (catering, av, staffing and of course venues).  Think of this as a Yelp for event planners.


You can search for the best-rated venues and suppliers within your specific city or country and can filter reviews by group size.  As this is a rather new business they are also looking for your submissions of great vendors.  (this is a much more sophisticated version of our little vendor directory). 

Check them out at:  www.event-library.com .  Good luck team Event-Library.

www.event-library.com

 

 

Monday
Oct012012

Throwing a Flirty Thirty...

This article was kindly submitted by Amanda Toernqvist out of the UK.  Thank you Amanda.

If the event planner in you is bursting to come out, then there is no better opportunity to let it happen than when arranging a thirtieth birthday. Eighteenth and twenty first birthdays are all about the excitement and giddiness of finally being a grown up and are usually heavily focussed on alcohol, being seen to be popular, and having as loud and lairy a time as possible. By the time you get to your 30th, you’re still young enough to enjoy yourself but you can truly please yourself with a party you’ll really enjoy – no peer pressure to follow the crowd anymore!

The first thing to consider is the guest list. Make sure you whittle it down to those people you truly enjoy the company of and who you really want to be there. Is it to be a friends-only affair or a friends and family do? Give people plenty of notice when you send out invitations. A nice touch is to send out physical invitations – there are some lovely choices available from Hallmark – rather than simply texting or emailing invites. It shows more effort on your part and demonstrates to guests that you really want them to be there.

A good tip for any 30th is to have a central theme. It doesn’t have to be anything tacky; you might choose to make the theme a cocktail night, for example. Many bars offer ‘cocktail master class’ evenings, allowing you to experiment with making various cocktails under the guidance of an experienced member of the bar staff, and then of course you get to enjoy your efforts by drinking the results!

You will need to consider whether you want to provide your guests with food, or if it’s going to be a drinks-only affair. If you are laying on a buffet, you will probably have to cover the cost yourself as it wouldn’t be good party etiquette to ask guests to contribute to this. However, if you have a meal out as part of your 30th then of course guests will pay for themselves. Your only responsibility here would be to book the venue.

A good idea if you want to throw a big party with a buffet and drinks laid on is to have a joint celebration with a friend who has a birthday around the same time (providing of course you both want the same kind of party). This way you can throw the party you want whilst spreading the cost. 

Tuesday
Sep182012

Your Very Own Cloud: You Dazzle

As event producers you are juggling multiple files and presentations for many different clients.  We came across a wonderful product to streamline your communication efforts called You Dazzle.  

You Dazzle provides a micro site for you to host large files, images, videos as well as host conference calls making many enterprise level services available to individuals on one platform.

 

 

The best features we see for event planners are the following:

  • Store all files needing sign off in one place (think of sending the stakeholders just one link to view the stage mockups or event logo choices)
  • Provide a location for presenters to send their large presentations (they can upload directly into your portal) 
  • Create a showcase of your work with high res photos and video montages
  • Easily host web meetings, faster and easier to use than WebEx
  • YouDazzle is the only way to share files live from tablets and mobile phones.  

Please check out You Dazzle online for a better overview of the services available and try it with a free 14 day trial. You Dazzle Site.

Tuesday
Aug282012

Importing technology into your next charity event

A la Reg is a new online form creation tool and provides volunteer coordinators and event organizers tools to streamline the registration process with a very easy to use web based solution.  With no HTML knowledge necessary, any of us can create beautiful and highly functional online forms, saving hours of typing up registrant information.      

 

 

 

A few ways to easily leverage technology in your next event:

New Member Inquiries: 


Collect new member inquiries for a non-profit or PTA online.  The form can even live on your own website if you prefer.  Ask any questions and receive the answers in a neat spreadsheet.

Event RSVP Tool:  If you plan to print RSVP cards, or posters for an event, you can simply list the short URL for your event RSVP form on the paper cards.  A simple line such as "If you'd like to RSVP online please visit:   ACME.alaReg.com” will save you hours.  You can also email invitees a link to rsvp.

Donation Collection Tool:  If you're soliciting donations for a silent auction, your phone solicitors can direct interested donors to the online form. The form link can also be emailed or printed on any paper documents. The form can have the same questions as your current paper version.  You can also collect dollars directly into your pay pal account or authorize.net. 

Volunteer commitments:  Volunteers make the world go round and millions of hours have been spent confirming and scheduling event and PTA volunteers.  As an organizer you can offer shifts (with limits), collect shirt sizes, phone numbers and the correct spelling of their names – all without reading pencil handwriting. 

Organizers love a la Reg because everything is already typed up correctly in a spreadsheet, and the cost is a fraction of most registration options ($5/mo flat). Registrants appreciate the option to fill out a form online, rather than printing and faxing or emailing back paperwork.  

FYI: For schools and Non-profits – a la Reg will cut a check for 15% of all payments made to a la Reg associated with your organization.  We hope a la Reg simplifies your next event and improves your profit margins.

Thursday
Aug232012

a la Reg: A new way to collect event registrants, ala Reg

If you've ever been on the receiving end of event RSVP's via email, typed up registration data into a spreadsheet or are simply tired of paying a premium for online registration tools, you are going to love this product.

As a former corporate event marketer and now non-profit volunteer, I felt there was a need for a budget friendly, easy to use, online registration tool.  I'm thrilled to announce a la Reg has been created to fulfill these needs.   


The concept is simple: enable anyone to create a custom branded online form for any event, organization or class and eliminate the paper sign up forms and email RSVPs.  Organizers can easily collect registration data, donations or event payments.  Use case examples:

*  Charity or Corporate event organizers can push a branded event registration page live in minutes

*  Non-profits can collect donations, without paying a cent to the collection tool      

*  Event or Class attendees can register via mobile phones

*  Volunteers can select shifts and commit to work at an event

*  Conferences can sell tickets (for just $5/mo.)    

a la Reg offers a flat $5 per month per form with no other fees to the user or the organization.  This compares with competitive sites, which charge $1-3 per registrant and/or keep a percentage of the money collected.  

All Bonjour Event readers are welcome to try the site for free until December 25 with promo code: alafriend, feel free to share this with friends in the industry.  We hope you find this to be a very useful tool in your life. \ Please send any questions or suggestions to marketing @ alareg.com or leave your comments below. ala reg

Happy (paperless) event organizing.  Please visit:  www.alaReg.com

Tuesday
Aug212012

Your Guide To Christmas Party Venues In London  

For the majority of people, Christmas is their favourite holiday. They relish in the opportunity to spend time with their family and friends, eat and drink as much as they like to and buy and receive gifts from the ones they love. There simply is nothing better than that festive feeling.

 

One thing, a lot of people like to do throughout the festive period, is host a celebratory Christmas party. As most people benefit from time off work, it is the perfect time for everybody to get together, catch up, celebrate the year they have had and look forward to the one ahead. If you have the pleasure of hosting a party this year, then you will need to consider Christmas party venues in London.

 

There are so many different venues you can choose from to host your party; restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, halls, social clubs etc. This really depends on the type of party you are hosting and what type of mood you are going for. For instance, if you want a wild party, then the most obvious option would be to go for a nightclub venue. However, if you want something more low key and intimate, then a restaurant venue would perhaps appeal to you more.

 

When you are deciding upon the venue you are going to go for, there are a lot of things you need to think about. The first thing

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug142012

Great Snack Ideas from About.com

If one of your many roles is coming up with clever break foods for your clients, check out About.com Geoff Beer's article on Splendid Snacks today - love the popcorn ideas.  

Sunday
Aug122012

Closing Ceremonies: Imagine

How incredible was the tribute to John Lennon during the closing ceremonies?  From the children performing sign language, the meaning of the song, to the "statue" of his face and the video image of the former Beatle - this was an incredible 3 minutes.  

     

 

   (GETTY)

And imagine the coordination efforts of the many, many volunteers who sang, danced and wrangled the bands.  What a production.

What was your favorite performance during this incredible ceremony?

Wednesday
Aug012012

Classy Bridal Party Gifts

Brides, if you're looking for a gift your bridesmaids will cherish and haven't received before you may want to check out Bespoke Monogram.  A Palo Alto based store, they just launched a beautiful online store allowing all of us to enjoy their great taste in gifts.  Below are a few favorites for the bridal party (or your new bedroom).  Visit:  www.bespokemonogram.com.

 

                         

Wednesday
Aug012012

Helpful (and free) Event Handbook

Event Guru, and creator of the largest Linked In event professionals group, Julius Solaris just published his updated "event tool kit" ready for downloads.  This is an informative collection of free tips/tools from a global group of professionals.  Enjoy, and Merci Julius!   http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/event-management/event-management-toolkit

Wednesday
Jun272012

Take a Vote: Snooozy

Almost every seminar, conference style event is made better by creating audience participation.  Just a few years ago we would hand out very expensive and bulky "machines" for live voting, which also required a tech to accompany the hardware at no small price. 

Well we've all watched American Idol a time or two and seen the voting via text.  It's just as easy to plug that technology into your next conference with a Silicon Valley based company called Snooozy. (note the three "o"s).

How Live Polling Works with Snooozy:

  • A host asks a question that the audience is passionate about
  • The Audience votes with an sms text, by calling in using Interactive
    Voice Response (IVR), or over social media.
  • Snooozy collects votes from all sources and displays them live.
  • Your audience can see their vote register, keeping them glued to
    the results and engaged with hosts.

You won't need a "device" nor an internet connection.  You can ask any questions and provide live feedback to your audience.  Just be careful what you ask...

Visit www.Snooozy.com before the next conference.

 BTW - these companies are using Snooozy at their events: 

Thursday
Jun212012

Paris Inspired cocktails

With the weather so warm, you may be hosting outdoor soirees.  We thought this would be a fine time to share the Paris Inspired cocktail recipes courtesy of Left Bank Restaurants: LINK.  

 

One of my favorite photos, taken by event guru Andrea Joe.  

Salut!

Monday
Jun112012

Free Fathers Day Cards, Next two hours

Between now and 11:00am Pacific Time (2:00 pm ET) you can get a FREE Father’s Day card from Treat

Just in time too, as today is the LAST day to guarantee shipment before Father’s Day.

Just use the code WEEKENDTREAT and enjoy a free, customized, card. This offer applies to all new and returning customers.

Here is how it works:

·  Select your card from their hundreds of Father’s Day designs.

·  Personalize it with photos, or simply your inside jokes.  This is your chance to make it YOUR card. 

· Use the code WEEKENDTREAT to get this special deal.

Don't forget the Grand-peres.

 

Note: You can choose the “Send it to me first” shipping option to receive the card free. If you choose “Mail it directly to the recipient,” you will be charged $0.44 for postage. Limit one per household. You will also be asked for your credit card to verify your identity and prohibit fraud, but you will not be charged for a free card if you mail to yourself.

Monday
May282012

Name Tags Made Simple

Name tags are one of those event essentials that event planners love to hate.  Beyond selecting the background image, name tags are not a lot of fun, and we like fun.  Below are best practices around name tags and hopefully these tips will save you time on your next event.

* Select an easy to read font, no cute curls on the font.  Arial font is great.

* 24-36 point font is ideal, any smaller and guests must stare to read a name.  Make it easy on them.

* Standard name badges for a conference are 4x3 inches.  Standard for a cocktail party is 2x3 inches. 

* White font against a dark color background is ideal.  Otherwise, black font on white is default.

* When you can, brand the lanyard or badge holder and leave the actual tag available for the client's information only. 

* Print two copies of every name tag and insert back to back in the badge so if (when) the tag flips backwards the client's name will still appear.

* A good rule of thumb: Make the first name larger (36 pt.), followed by last name on the next line in a slightly smaller font size (24 pt).  The name of the company can follow below the last name, ideally two lines below in the same font size as last name (24 pt).

* Titles get tricky.  If you're printing titles, be sure they are correct, this becomes a large issue when wrong.  You also want consistency in title formats.  For example, if you list title followed by details "Director, Cheetos Brand" or "Vice President, Audi Western Region" you do not want another client listed as "BMW VP of West Sales" even if that's how they submitted their title.  Allot time for this task.

* OUTSOURCE.  If this is a corporate event or any with a budget you will probably want to outsource the printing.  When you find a great printer, keep them.  Below is the contact information for a Silicon Valley print shop that jumped hurdles to get our name tags to us on time over and over again. They fed ex anywhere and understand event pressures.

                Legacy Print Shop                                                                                                                

                 www.legacyprint.com

                 (408) 970-9334

                 Owner: Bill Baxley, Bill@legacyprint.com

                  (And he didn't ask us to write this, they're just that good).

Happy Planning. 

Monday
May282012

How to Out source Name Tag Printing

As a follow up to the post on Name Tag best practices (hard to believe there could be such an entry), below is quick summary of what outsourcing the name tag duty for a large event would look like.  So many planners do this in house and spend many frustrating hours dealing with printer jams and errors. For a large scale event it's not worth it.

How to out source event name tags: 

Select a reliable printer and negotiate a rate based on the number of badges needed, full color or b/w.  Avoid Kinkos at all costs (seriously). 

Send your printer the graphics/color background and size requirements up front so they can run tests. 

Closer to the event (5 days prior) send an excel version of the attendee list exactly as you want them printed.

If possible, pay for the printer to stuff the tags into your badges (saves many finger nails).

Provide your fed ex # and have these shipped to your office or remote site prior to the event.

Send the printer any late additions to the event two days prior to your event so they can print/fed ex them to you overnight along with a stack of blank tags. 

Have printer ready for any walk ups.  You can print clear labels and place these on the blank extra tags.  Their tag won't be exact but at least they will have one.

Here's to letting the experts shine.

Very reliable event printer:  

                  Legacy Print Shop                                                                                                                

                 www.legacyprint.com

                 (408) 970-9334

                 Owner: Bill Baxley, Bill@legacyprint.com

                 Ships anywhere, can use your fed ex # to save $.

                  

 

Monday
May282012

“Organized Diva on the Go” Kit

If you find yourself producing several events a month, you may find it very helpful to create an “event kit” for your event. I found keeping a few pre-packed plastic portable file boxes ready to go made me much more efficient. These are lightweight and easy to keep track of in a hectic environment.

In the hanging folders consider placing permanent typed labels and simply change out the content inside each folder before you go. These are documents you need multiple copies of for your staff and vendors on event day.
Permanent File Labels for your Event Kit:

Attendee List by Company
Attendee List by Last Name
Rooming Lists
Load in schedule
Agenda Copies
Menus
Logistics Schedule
Budgets
Maps (venue, to/from hotel and event venue)
Speaker Contact List
Parking Passes
Fed Ex (pre-printed slips)
Place cards (blanks as well)

Essentials to keep in the top section of the magical case: sharpies, a highlighter, a pen, Scotch tape, masking tape, pre-paid phone card, Advil, business cards, gum, oh, and lip gloss.

Monday
May282012

PerfectTablePlan, Now Even Better

A few months ago we did a review on a great software for organizing your seating plans called Perfect Table Plan.  We all know this is the most dreaded task of brides and gala hosts, but this software really makes it easier to drop and drag your guests' names to the "latest" seat as your rsvps change.  And, it just got better.

Perfect Table Plan just released V.4 with over thirty improvements and a few of these are highlighted below.  At $35 this tool is a lifesaver for anyone planning a Bar Mitzvah, dinner gala or wedding.

 



New features of the drop and drag seating plan software:

  • Import attendee list directly from Excel .xls and .xlsx files
  • Oval tables & Semi-circular tables (in addition to rectangle, square and circle)
  • Rows of seats (without tables) - perfect for fashion shows
  • Optional realistic chairs and place settings
  • Angled text for banquet seating
  • Print or export all tables from the Table plan pane in a single operation
  • Export stationery to PDF
  • Export to custom size PDFs
  • Paste the Table Chart and Guest Chart panes directly into MS Word

To view the original post and review click here.  Merci Perfect Table Plan.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr232012

Clever Mint Julep Recipes

The first Saturday in May is always a favorite "holiday" for me, the Kentucky Derby. 

If you're lucky enough to watch the best horse race at Churchill Downs itself, cheers to you.  If you're having your own celebration below are a few very creative versions of the classic Mint Julep Derby Drink, courtesy of "Southern Living" -  does anyone know the South better? You can view the full recipe and other cocktails at this Bonjour Events page: Aperitifs.

Place mint leaves and syrup in a chilled julep cup, and muddle. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; add bourbon and mint sprig.    


1. Mint Syrup: Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add 15 fresh mint sprigs, and cool completely. Cover and chill 24 hours. Strain syrup; discard solids.

2. Grapefruit-Honey Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing sugar to 1/2 cup and stirring 3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup honey, 3 (2- x 4-inch) grapefruit rind strips, and rind from 1 lime, cut into strips, into sugar mixture with mint. For julep, muddle with 1 small grapefruit rind strip.

3. Peach-Basil Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, substituting basil for mint and stirring 2 (5.5-oz.) cans peach nectar and 1 split vanilla bean into sugar mixture with basil. For julep, muddle with 1 peach slice.

4. Blackberry Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, adding 6 oz. fresh blackberries, halved, with mint. For julep, muddle with 2 fresh blackberries.

5. Pineapple-Lemongrass Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing granulated sugar to 1 cup, adding 1/2 cup light brown sugar to granulated sugar and water, and stirring 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 3 (3-inch) pieces fresh lemongrass into sugar mixture with mint after removing from heat. For julep, muddle with 1 small fresh pineapple chunk.

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