Going above and beyond

More companies are looking to customise their corporate events in an effort to create a good impression. HRM finds out the ‘do’s and ‘don’t’ s of executing the perfect event.

Planning a corporate event can be a tricky endeavour in terms of ensuring that all details – from food to location – are covered.

The perfect event also takes a hefty amount of time, planning and effort in order to be executed seamlessly.

In the past year, organisations have hosted an increasing number of business events.

According to a survey by Unique Venues of London, 47% of the city’s venues polled witnessed a rise in dining events and reception enquiries over 2015.

Ninety-four percent also reported a positive outlook for 2016.

Of this group, 86% predicted an overall increase in event revenue for this year.

Companies in the UK are also believed to be raising budgets in an effort to pull off a successful business event.

A survey by the International Special Events Society revealed that these firms spend more than a billion pounds a year (S$1.93 billion) just on corporate events.

In Singapore, companies are now striving to keep track of the changing demands in the market.

Julie Yeong, Director of Sales, at Wildlife Reserves Singapore says organisations are on the constant lookout for new ideas and innovative proposals.

“They want to be different from their peers and make each event memorable,” she says.

A trend that has been prevalent is the customisation of corporate events. This allows firms to meet their specific goals and objectives, she noted.

Customisation can translate to conveying key messages to staff, team building and incentives.

Choo Yew Meng, Marketing Manager at IndoChine, agrees that firms are in search of how to make their event stand out from the rest.

This is mainly because companies want to keep up to the standards of professionals who travel frequently, and who attend many different events for their work.

It is also seen as an effective method to leave a deep impression on clients.

Common customisations

The right theme acts as an integral tool to set the tone for corporate events.

During the planning process, themes can be used to drive decisions about venues, menu selections, messaging, music and entertainment.

This was one point Choo stressed upon.

Product launches and, dinner and dance programmes, are some events that would typically require some form of customisation, Choo says.

On the other hand, Yeong explains that larger events are also often customised.

This is especially so for events attended by representatives from different regions.

Event organisers are then able to showcase their capabilities and will aim to live up to the potential of the destination or location.

Services offered

Wildlife Singapore has a strong emphasis on putting its clients’ needs first.

The team pays close attention to minute details and listens carefully to instructions.

“We are all ears when it comes to hearing from our clients on their needs,” Yeong explains.

“We customise our proposals to their needs, offering suggestions and various options for consideration.

“Every event is unique on its own.”

Given its name, Wildlife Singapore has a unique twist on offer when compared to a traditional event venue.

“Here at our parks, we are able to ensure our venues provide a unique alternative to the usual ballrooms in the hotels and city areas,” she says.

“We look towards providing tailored and memorable solutions for a range of events to suit the needs of our corporate clients and their families.”

IndoChine aims to offer a “one-stop shop” for its corporate clients.

Choo says the firm not only customises the food and beverage options but also goes the extra mile to help coordinate the programmes.

If necessary, it will even provide additional set ups.

“As the organisers probably have other things to look into during the event, this helps to lighten the load of the customers,” Choo says.

Planning the event can also act as a platform for firms to leverage on their expertise and learn from each other.

“Since we have been organising so many events, we can share our expertise and ideas with our customers,” he adds.

Top blunders

Whether an individual is new to event management or experienced in the field, mistakes can easily happen in the planning and production processes.

Companies that are hosting their first event would typically be unaware to the amount of work that goes into their creation. Yet, those well-versed would have gotten to where they are along the same error-strewn road.

Events are commonly damaged by cost overruns, poor scheduling and customer dissatisfaction.

These could be due to a wide range of aspects related to planning, communication and resource allocation.

Based on previous events experiences, Yeong indicated budget was a top issue that most firms faced.

“Customising corporate events in most cases, does come with a price,” she says.

Apart from budget, considering the event’s objectives and the profile of attendees is equally important.

“We can’t be putting up a ‘black tie’ event at an outdoor venue without investing in an enclosed marquee with cooling units,” she explains.

Instead of customising events accordingly to plan, Choo says some firms can go off track.

“They prefer to follow the trends,” he shares.

“Hence, many corporate customers are willing to try things that are too different which may eventually leave a deeper, negative impression with their customers.”

These issues have caused some companies to cancel their events at the last minute.

A survey by specialist event insurance provider Expo-Sure showed that more than 40% of UK event organisers had to cancel a business event because of circumstances that were beyond their control.

Of these, 66% were forced to cancel a week or less before the event was due to be held.

This includes 20% of organisers who were forced to cancel their event on the day itself.

To counter these issues, three main factors: budget, target audience and purpose need to be taken into consideration, as Yeong says.

One specific example was to prepare even for a rare pool of attendees.

“If the group is made up of elderly guests, then special logistics arrangements need to be made to facilitate their movement,” she says.

Minute details also need to be thought through in an effort to make these professionals feel included.

How do you source for venues?

According to a survey entitled, “The Future of Meeting Space: Meet the Millennials”, the top sourcing channels when picking a venue for corporate events are:

  • Online sourcing tool: 38%
  • Search engine: 31%
  • Peer recommendations: 14%
  • Direct to venue: 14%
  • Other: 3%


Is event planning taking a toll on employees?

In the run up to a particular event, a quarter of event planners have reported feeling anxious, a survey by QHotels revealed.

As a result, more than 70% lose out on sleep the night before the big day.

Not having the time to exercise was listed as another circumstance that 53% of the survey respondents faced.

Despite feeling tired or stressed, this group admitted to “powering through” when organising events.

In addition, the survey found that 98% of event professionals need more time after an event for their bodies to recover.

For 48% of them, it would take at least two days to recuperate.


A day out with the horses

Searching for a unique experiential learning experience? New Voice Asia is organising two workshops in May that will get you up close and personal with some beautiful horses.

Why horses? “They have been used in training courses because they are a great mirror of our emotions. They provide immediate feedback on how effective we are. We cannot move a 600kg horse by pushing it, we need to engage a number of things: We need to have the right mindset, we need to be clear on what we want the horse to do and we need to be confident they will do it,” says Sarah Schubert, Director, New Voice.

The Leader Within (23 and 24 May) and The Authentic Communicator workshops (30 and 31 May) aim to help employees develop self awareness at a more deeper level and recognise the good, the bad and the ugly in everything they do. Participants can expect to gain confidence in their communication and leadership abilities.

All offerings can be customised according to the issues that the company would like its employees to focus on.

“Horses are great levellers because they don’t care who you are, how busy your week is, what position you hold. The benefit of using this in a customised way where you have teams with a mixture of seniority, is that it puts everyone on the same level,” says Schubert.

For more details, please visit: http://new-voice.asia/leadership-encounters-horses/


Analysing the Workday advantage

Sandeep Aggarwal, Chief Financial Officer of Aon-Hewitt Asia-Pacific, shares his thoughts on the Workday finance and HR analytics platform. He says the cloud-based system is intuitive and easy-to-use, but still provides powerful insights across the functions.

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