Seven tips: What to look for in an event supplier

Seven tips: What to look for in an event supplier

Recently, the OpenMeet team had the pleasure of participating in the annual Practically Perfect PA Assist Conference 2017, where we ran a few workshops. The discussions amongst our workshop participants were so interesting that we decided it would be a shame to restrict the knowledge we gained for the people in the room!

Instead, we are going to share what we learned over the next few OpenMeet blogs, so stay tuned!

We used a combination of iPads and Post-it notes to ask our workshop attendees questions about what makes an event supplier great, and what makes them not-so-great…

What does a good event supplier do?

  • Excellent communication skills, keep in touch with their clients
  • Upfront about service costs, no hidden fees
  • Client-focused service, listen to client needs
  • Professional, fulfils agreed expectations

What is frustrating from an event supplier?

  • Lack of appreciation for the client relationship, e.g. Not understanding the client’s needs, or not rewarding repeat business
  • Issues with deadline management, e.g. Meeting deadlines or having unclear invoice deadlines
  • Poor service, being unreliable and not communicating

Event supplier ‘Red Lines’ – things to avoid!

  • Asking for the full payment before providing their services
  • The supplier can’t prove previous successful services
  • The supplier won’t accept feedback

In summary, our 7 key tips for choosing a great event supplier are to make sure that your supplier:

  1. Has strong communication skills, keeps in regular contact with their clients and provides prompt updates
  2. Is upfront about what their services cost
  3. Will respond to your needs and provide solutions
  4. Will meet deadlines
  5. Can demonstrate their past successful services (for instance, they can refer you to other clients)
  6. Does not demand full payment up front (a deposit is reasonable)
  7. Accepts feedback, including criticism. Bonus points if they display this feedback somewhere prominent for prospective clients to read!

In terms of ensuring that you are choosing a supplier who will do these things, a certain amount can be determined by internet research and by preliminary meetings with the supplier. However, sometimes nothing is better than experience and word-of-mouth, so take advantage of PA networks as much as possible!

Our next few blogs will be based on the insightful information we gathered from our workshop participants at the Assist Conference, covering topics such as how to ensure career development is central to the PA role, and how to ensure organisations value the work PAs do.

For more information on OpenMeet technology, please contact us here, or visit our blog to read more tips and advice about how to improve audience engagement at your meetings and events.

Procuring a great supplier

You might not think so but assistants deal with suppliers on a a regular basis. From hotels to stationery manufacturers, car hire companies and venues for events we are constantly procuring suppliers. It is essential that we know how to procure great suppliers and build effective relationship which benefit our organisation. Here are my top 5 tips:

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The perfect corporate gift

A corporate gift website called Tippletreat has recently launched in the UK and I think their products look great, so I thought I would let the guys from Tippletreat tell you a little more about what they do! 

We offer luxuriously packaged gifts of fine wines and premium spirits, delivered with a personalised handwritten note – going that extra mile to ensure your gift is really special.

From Laurent-Perrier Champagne to quadruple-distilled Crystal Head Vodka, with over 150 expertly-chosen tipples to pick from it’s the perfect gift for the discerning friend, colleague or family member.

Each Tippletreat delivery comes with a hand-written gift tag containing the customer’s message and is lovingly delivered in its own high-quality rigid gift box lined with either silk or bio-degradable woodstraw.

Inside every box is a chic card filled with details about the drink such as origin, tasting notes and suggestions of what to drink it with.

photo 1

Site founder Adam Franks, said:

“Unlike other sites Tippletreat only offer premium spirits and award winning vintages so you can be assured you are sending a quality gift.

We take time and care to select the right tipples and we take equal care to get our packaging spot-on too.

We want to create more than just enticing gifts. We want to create magic. When you buy from us you are giving our dedicated gift wrapping team the chance to produce something special for your lucky recipient.

Each product is hand wrapped using enchanting and stylish coverings to ensure a thrilling delivery for the receiver.”

Visitors to Tippletreat can choose from collections or search by keyword, price bracket or brand.They can even select a date when the gift is to be delivered by.

The collections are:

Customers can compare up to four products at a time and sort results by various factors including product review scores and best sellers.

Adam, added: “Finding the right gift couldn’t be any simpler. Once you have decided on the tipple and gone to the checkout all you need to do is enter your personal message and leave the rest to us.”

This post is sponsored by Tippletreat. More information about Practically Perfect PA’s sponsored posts.

Picking the right promo good

I’ve spent the last few days at a big exhibition for the events industry in Frankfurt called IMEX 2013.  When I say big I mean huge! There were hundreds of exhibitors all with massive stands, tons of speakers and thousands of delegates. If you have been to one of these shows you will know it can be quite overwhelming especially if you are on your own or you are new to the industry and haven’t met many people yet (this was my predicament!) I wrote a blog on this issue a few months ago which looked at how assistants can get over their initial nerves and go to a conference or trade show, you can find that here. I thought I would follow my own advice at IMEX and go along knowing that I had something to talk to people about… which is this blog!

One of the tasks I had in my previous job was sourcing and selecting different and unique promo goods for the company. My boss (the COO) had organised a client golf day and I spent months finding top quality golf products for him to take along to the course. It was a fun job (a bit like shopping with someone else’s credit card) but at the same time there were so many products to choose from it was difficult knowing which merchandise was worth the money. I now feel I’m quite knowledgable on the subject of promo goods so I made it my mission at IMEX to visit all the stands and take some pictures of the promotional goods that I really liked and could blog about this week, which turned out to be a great icebreaker with the exhibitors working on the stands and the other delegates too!

Here are some of pictures and also some handy tips on picking the right promotional material for your company!

Pick a product that your clients are going to use

I actually took one of these home with me so that I could use it at the gym. Delegates were also using the water bottles during the conference as they were next to all of the water machines – I thought this marketing was very clever!

Make sure your logo is displayed on everything

The logo was on the mug, on the sweets inside the mug, on the business cards attached to the sweets! It was everywhere!

picking the right promo good

Be a bit creative

This company provided name tags for events but they also let you create your own badge on the day with lots of different colours and styles. Their logo was on all of the lanyards which meant you had their logo around your neck all day.

Picking the right promo good

Create a must have product

I overheard a lot of delegates saying to the exhibitors that their kids would love the rubber ducks, which meant they were going to take the duck home and it would probably be sitting in their bathroom for the foreseeable future. Plus they are really cute!

Picking the right promo good

Use bright eye-catching colours

Everyone was using these bags to collect all of the paperwork, brochures, business cards and other promo goods they were given on the day. The bags were brightly coloured, useful and I saw so many delegates at the airport still carrying them home.

Picking the right promo good

Looks are important!

The last thing you want is a cheap and ugly product associated with your brand. Pens are great but make sure they are stylish and high-quality

Picking the right promo good

Sweets are brilliant

Everyone loves free food, everyone! My old company used to have little bags of gummy bears on the reception desk, clients loved them. In fact clients used to come into our office just to get a handful of these sweets. We went through boxes and boxes of the things and I wonder how much business we got just because we had tasty treats for clients!

Picking the right promo good

It was worth remembering that promotional goods only have a shelf life of 8 months max so it is worth investing a bit of money into really good, useful products that your clients will keep and associate with your company. Another great product I worked on was an expensive iPad cover for our top clients. The cover had a swivel motion and also a keyboard, it was leather and had our logo stitched on to the side. The cover was great and our clients almost saw it as a gift from us rather than just a promo good, which is exactly what we wanted!