Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blogalog - Vancouver, New York, Vegas

Over the last few weeks I have had some seriously great opportunities to think about venues and events and the differences determined by location.

First, I went to the Aquarium, not through the back door or on a site visit, but with my children and niece on a (gasp!) public weekend day. First, kudos to the Aquarium for their great management of a lineup that went to the sidewalk, and on managing to move people through in a flow that rarely felt crowded. Second, boy, do I prefer having cool venues for private events. Yes, spoiled, I admit it! I love when you can take somewhere really cool, and make it your own for the evening, and when you can add in hospitality elements and great entertainment to a fantastic backdrop, perfection.

I have also had the pleasure of following along with @eventwist and while there are noteable pangs of envy at the fabulous venues already in New York combined with the always new openings of venues, I do love what we have here.

Yesterday I was in Lake Louise, where it was still snowing, and where our "summer" program that will happen in four weeks might not feel quite as summery as the clients had hoped, it will definitely be a stunning setting.

A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of having lunch with King Dahl, who has the very, very cool job as Director of Events for MGM Resorts. @kingdahl is inspiring, lovely, relaxed and energized all at the same time, and I can imagine what a pleasure it must be to be part of his team - a massive team that includes bringing the dreamiest dreams that can only be seen on the scale they are seen when you are somewhere in Vegas. Where a massive installation can be up for a season, and then pieces can be recreated for an event; where the ballrooms are designed for events and you can rig a catwalk that dancers can perform on so it is 5' above people's heads and they party underneath... the imagination is entrenched... as I said to King, I would do nearly anything to just spend a few weeks on an internship because the scale of events and the opportunity to THINK BIG BIG BIG is something that just on scale we won't see here - our biggest productions are scaled to suit Vancouver, our Canadian modesty and while fabulous, inspiring and engaging, there is simply nowhere to hang a catwalk, or 8 life size reindeer covered in chestnuts as you might see in the lobby of the Bellagio in the holiday season.  (well my boss might miss me but the offer stands!)

Coming up we will create a Midsummer Night's Dream in the rainforest at Capilano, Uber-Lounges where a business session just happened 90 minutes before and car reveals that will cause gasps of delight - all events that we are very excited about. We will continue down the path of engaging, authentic events in settings that simply cannot be replicated anywhere else, and will continue to admire the events that happen, well everywhere else too, and seek inspiration from our #eventprofs friends.

Now, back to work!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wolf Credo

Many years ago a speaker shared this with our team of planners, and it absolutely stuck with me over the years as truly having a fit with #eventprofs.  What do you think?

Rest in beween (literally)
Wolf Credo
Respect the elders
Teach the young
Cooperate with the pack
Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between
Share you affections
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Special Events - What Makes them Special?

The appeal of special events is precisely this: they are special. They elevate the everyday and allow people to live out a different way or being for a brief period of time.

If you are producing an event for the public, then you seek to promote and celebrate the special because special events hold public media appeal. They make good stories. The stories other people tell about an event are the realm of public relations. Now some of us are in the business of public relations, and kudos to you, for successfully sharing messages that bring brands to life and create connections for people to these.

From a pure Producer's point of view we want to create environments that allow escape from the everyday, where great company, food, beverage and engaging entertainment lets us not focus for a while... where we can put aside the every day things (and we all have them) and relax.

In the case of an evening event, one where the focus is on relationship building through shared experience, this would be an approach.

We create environments by first finding the "right" venue - whether it is the top of a mountain, inside an Aquarium, under a tent overlooking a sunset, or a purely blank space - dependant on where you are, the size of your group, the expectations, and so much more...

Once the venue is selected we combine furniture, linens, lighting, light, darkness, fabric, space, flow to create a sense of place that sets a tone and sends a specific message to the brain that you have arrived somewhere that is not "regular" and where you can allow yourself to be in the moment of where you are.

We use food and beverage in different ways in the evening than during the day. Through the day we want to use brain-friendly, lighter fare that allows us to produce the chemicals that provide a more alert state, allowing for greater contribution, learning and retention. In the evening however, we want beverages that say as you sip, relax. We can serve food that is richer, more luxurious in taste and texture and that send the messages that breaking bread in great company with great food is an excellent way to induce meaningful and thoughtful, relaxed discussion.

Entertainment can be used to set a background ambience, to provide close-up or interactive experiences, to provide a show that wows, get people moving on a dance floor, and to deliver key messages in ways that surprise. The entertainment when tied to the key objectives and integrated through the whole event is a layer that enhances in ways nothing else can, leaving lasting memories.

What really makes an event special though is a combination of all the above, and the small moments... a great takeway from a speaker, the person you meet and connect with instantly, a shared laugh over a moment of delight, a hand brushed in harmony during a powerful moment...

What memories will you create?

Fire and Ice - literally - with Cantrav Services