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3 Proven Ways to Revamp Your Repeat Event

3 Proven Ways to Revamp Your Repeat Event

By Cylie Svartoien

When you have a local repeat event with a consistent audience, it’s easy to get comfortable and rely on tactics that have worked before. However, if you want to keep your audience’s attention and attendance, it’s critical to revamp, refresh and rejuvenate your show.

Last week at the Heroes Luncheon in Tampa, we spruced up the atmosphere in a variety of ways. Already, we’ve received phenomenal feedback, and here are some of the key tactics we used. Apply them to your next repeat event, and watch your audience crave more!

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5 Minutes to Boost Your Guest Experience

5 minutes to boost guest experience

 

By Trace Kingham

Yesterday, I was talking to group of planners at the University of South Florida, and we touched on the topic of inconsistent attendance from year to year. Many of us have been there—one year you have 500 guests and the next you have 300 RSVPs. How do you retain and gain guests? We have a simple, 5-minute mental process for you that will boost your guest experience and have them returning – with their friends and colleagues!

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The First Step to Increasing your Event ROI

First Step to Increase Your Event ROI

Before you even start to plan your event –there is one trick you need that will help you to maximize your return on investment. Do this, and every detail you plan thereafter will have a greater impact on your target audience.

You must think like a guest.

To help you develop the experience, put yourself in your guests’ shoes – or high heels for an elegant occasion. Make sure that you are designing an event that reflects your brand mission.

Imagine you are them.

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Turning Guests into Mission Partners

Guests into Mission Partners

By Cylie Svartoien, with excerpts from Standout by Trace Kingham

For years, the typical event experience resembled a night at the theater: guests arrive only to sit down and turn their attention to the stage. If it’s a typical event, the show might feature a speaker and possibly even a video. Now, the audience wants to be heard, too. With all of the advances in event technology, there is no excuse for not including your guests in the conversation.

Guests are no longer satisfied with watching an event-they want to experience it.  People are looking to be involved in the event, switching the stage to the guests and giving them a voice. So how are you engaging your guests?

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4 Pillars of Event Planning

4 Pillars of Event Planning

These pillars have stood the test of time to pull off unforgettable, milestone events. They will help enhance your event by maximizing the four main experience checkpoints. When you can masterfully pull off each checkpoint with panache and style, you will see your return on investment skyrocket!

Pillar 1: ATTRACT

When it comes hosting an event, understanding your audience is essential so that you can best know how to entice them. What do you want them to know about the event, and how can you present that to them?

When it comes to the invitation, it’s more than just inviting the masses and assuming they will come. Introduce them to the event by giving them a sneak peek at your WOW factor that will encourage them to take action and RSVP to your event.

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Events with a Purpose: 3 Steps to Define Your Event Plan

Events with a Purpose

By Cylie Svartoien, with excerpts from Standout by Trace Kingham

If your guests walk away from your event and you don’t hear from them in some way or another (product purchase, donations, mission partnering, website traffic, etc.), then you have lost your ROI. To get the most return, your event needs strategy. To start your Event Discovery Process means defining your event’s purpose.

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Events Are Like Theater

 

Events are like Theater

By: Cylie Svartoien, Marketing Specialist, Kingham Signature Events

Set the stage – can everyone see the action? Cue the lights – what are you spotlighting? Design the set – what atmosphere are you going for? Can you feel the excitement buzzing in the air?

Your milestone event is theater in live action. Except, you don’t get a typical rehearsal process to work out all the kinks.

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Trace Kingham launches new book and supports Adoption.

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STANDUP for Children & STANDOUT the Book Launch

Tampa, FL (January 27, 2016) – Tampa-based Kingham Signature Events (KS Events) founder and President, Trace Kingham announces partnership with the Columbus, Ohio based Dave Thomas Foundation for Children. Trace Kingham will launch his new book, STANDOUT: Place Your Business in the Spotlight with Results-Driven Events, January 28 in Tampa and February 1, in Columbus, Ohio. All profits from the book sales and the launch events will go to support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. (www.davethomasfoundation.org).

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3 Event Exit Strategies to Leave Your Guests Craving More

By: Cylie Svartoien, Marketing Specialist, Kingham Signature Events

Send your guests off craving more. The end of your event should really be an invitation for them to return to you again, whether through business or contributing to your mission. Whatever the case, you want to be sure you create an experience as your guests depart your event wanting –rather needing—more. Carry the experience forward, not just at the end of the experience, keep it living well beyond the event.

Leave your mark.  Branded

Branding is more than instilling your name with your audience –it’s about inspiring them with your company culture. Excite them with your passion and mission so much so that they want to join you NOW.

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Mad Dash to the Finish: 6 Common Event Planning Mistakes

Mad Dash to the Finish: 6 Common Event Planning Mistakes

6 Common Event Planning Mistakes

By: Trace Kingham, President & Chief Experience Officer, Kingham Signature Events

When you’re planning an event, does it feel as if you suddenly become overwhelmed with tasks that leave you rushing to the finish line? More than likely it’s due to six mistakes that most make leading up to the event.

  1. Not writing down everything you need to accomplish leading up to your event.

If you don’t create a check list, you are going to forget something, and end up at the last minute spinning to get it done.  This list will grow as you go through the planning process, by capturing all the tasks at the beginning of the process, you’re going to be in a better position a few days prior and not in scramble mode.

  1. Deadline setting.
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KSE Honored With Global ISES Esprit Award

Tampa, FL (August 27, 2015) – Tampa-based Kingham Signature Events (KS Events), was recently honored with the ISES Esprit Award for Best Event for Non-Profit Organization $75,000-$150,000. The award was given to KS Events for producing the American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year event. The ISES Esprit Awards program is a globally recognized awards competition that honors the exceptional professional achievements of individuals and organizations in the event industry.

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KSE Honored with ISES Ohio WOW Award

ARC 2014 HOTY Best NonProfit Event

Friday, April 17, 2015

Kingham Signature Events was honored as being named Best Non-Profit Event for budgets $85K – $150K for the 2014 American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year produced on June 7, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.  This prestigious honor, from ISES Ohio WOW Awards, recognized accomplishments by event producers working with major non-profit organizations in Ohio.  The award was presented by the International Special Event Society Ohio Chapters at the Ivory Room on Friday, April 17, in Columbus, Ohio.

The team developed creative for the client and worked with Audio Visual Experts from Mills James to produce the final elements of the show.

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Entertaining Lessons from the Griswold’s Family Christmas

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One of my earliest and fondest memories was of my mom hosting Christmas dinner for the entire family. She was a planful and detail-oriented woman, so well in advance of the day menus were planned, guests were invited and days were spent preparing for the event. But that evening, just as guests began to arrive, the electricity went out! Our multi-course meal was sitting in our all-electric oven with more than an hour to go before it was safe to eat. With great calm and without hesitation, my mom cheerfully filled the house with dozens of candles, served beverages and encouraged everyone to play cards and board games, holding out hope that the lights would come on soon.

But they didn’t.

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Kingham Signature Events supports University of South Florida Foundation with Donor Announcement Event

We’re pleased to assist the USF Foundation with the unveiling of the MUMA College of Business. The Challenge…surprise the Muma’s along with faculty, staff and students on the new name of the college by hiding the permanent installation of the MUMA name inside the school’s atrium. We used a 16′ tall kabuki drape drop, staging and Event Experience Solutions to meet the challenge!

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It’s NOT just a bite anymore.

I recently reposted a photograph on Facebook from an event designer that I follow. https://www.facebook.com/KinghamSignatureEvents It was a new twist on pigs in a blanket. It was the shape of fish made out of the dough and the hot dog inside, as if the fish had just eaten it! What a clever idea, and seeing the appetizes all lined up on a platter really was impactful and made me smile and giggle.

What made this creative food offering such a great idea was the fact that it was building human connections amongst the guests whether intended or not. Can you imagine standing in a business networker, enjoying conversation with someone you just met, and talking a bit uncomfortably on what you do for a living? You’re working hard to be engaged and learn more about the other person, it could be a good contact. As the conversation continues, a server walks up with a tray of these fish-shaped pastries and you both chuckle at the offering. Of course, once you learn it’s a twist on pig in a blanket you each take one.

Now the ho-hum conversation has turned into a much brighter conversation about what you’re both eating, and memories you had as a child eating the traditional pigs in a blanket. It lightened the moment and then allowed each of you to have a more human connection with each other sharing a new experience together. Creating a strategic event experience makes guest comfortable to be more open to new possibilities and builds an affinity for the host/organization. Why? Because guests can feel you care enough to create something different for them to enjoy. While I’m not sure if this particular event designer strategically thought through the impact it would have on their event in regards to building human connections, but I’m sure it did and that’s why it was shared on Facebook.

Food is at the center of most events, so why not be strategic in your offerings. If you’re planning an event for your company or yourself, think about the impact you want to create with your food offerings. Does the food fit your brand? Does the food help to bring people together? What is the best food presentation based on my event goals to build a human connections? Does my food selections align with the overall design of the event? These are just a few questions that you need to ask yourself, whether it’s cocktails for a few or a fundraising dinner for 2,000.

To emphasize my point, I recently attended a sales workshop where the instructor shared a story about a high-end wine salesman in France that he recently met. He was a door-to-door salesman selling $150 bottles of wine and he was the most successful salesman in his company. When asked about his success, the salesman said he wasn’t selling wine, he was selling an experience. His prospects bought the wine not necessarily because it was a great bottle of vino, but because they wanted their friends to feel important, loved and most of all appreciated when they served the wine at their next dinner party. Wow! That’s a strategy that anyone designing an event should consider. Create an experience with the purpose of making sure your guests feel important, loved and most of all appreciated. If you do, it will elevate your audience and help build human connections to your brand. Just this simple purpose statement will ensure that you as a designer examine all the possibilities with your food offerings and beyond. Next time you design an event, be sure to be strategic about your food offerings, it’s more important than you may think!

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Event Experience Strategy – Registration…Your First Chance to Impress

As an event professional, it is important to determine what key Event Experience Strategies or EES your events need in order to enrich, excite and retain your guests to buy into the brand, spread the word and/or return for a future events. One of the most forgotten strategies in event design is Registration. No matter what type of registration your organization uses when producing events, whether non-profit or corporate marketing events, it is one of the first moments that an organization has to capture the attention of the guests and make or break the experience.

One key component of EES is to create touch points across your event program(s) creating human connections with individuals and/or your brand. These great connections need to be based on real substantive interactions that will take your direct/indirect messages well beyond the event and create a heightened awareness about the experience. Keeping EES in mind, why would you not extend EES to the registration process for your guests as they arrive? It’s like the old saying, “you only get one chance for a first impression!”

No matter what type of event you are producing, guests arrive and guests leave, sometimes you have to call security to escort them out…but that is another topic all together; I digress… it’s the perfect opportunity to create a “wow” factor for your guests upon arrival and an fantastic opportunity to put a nice “red bow” on the end of their experience with another “wow” moment or memory.

There are so many ways in which you can create EES for your registration. As you develop your program, revisit the purpose for the event. What is the end game that you are wanting to achieve, are you wanting to raise a certain amount of money, do you want your guests to remember your brand, what action do you want them to take afterwards…you need to know that purpose that fits into your organizations business plan in order to determine the best strategies.

For example, if you are a non-profit organization that is looking to raise money with your silent auction and bring awareness to a particular service line that will be supported by the funds raised, this is the chance to get information in your guests’ hands the moment they arrive. Guests arriving should already be aware there is an auction through the marketing plan, in fact, most guests should already have a clear idea of what item they want to bid on, because they’ve seen a listing well before the event. Print a news piece on nice card stock with a very short write-up of the service line, real life testimonial from someone supported by the service line with their picture and on the back side a short listing of all the silent auction items to remind guests.

A must strategy for your registration is never have your staff sitting at registration. Create kiosks or tall cocktail tables, if that’s not practical, have your registration volunteers stand in front of the tables and engage your guests. Create script points for your registration volunteers so everyone is getting the same information upon arrival and the same experience. It’s about maximizing the 15-30 seconds you have with your guest and getting them excited. Smile, look in their eyes and welcome them! I tell my staff just before doors open to pretend as if these individuals are walking through your front door of your home and treat them as if they are friends and family. Greet guests how you would like to be greeted when visiting your best friend you haven’t seen in long time. It works! Human connections make all the difference.

Finally, as guests leave, this is a great opportunity to have leadership (wearing name badges) from your organization personally thank guests for attending. If guests see they are important in the eyes of the organization’s leadership and in some cases from individuals they just heard from the stage, it will make a huge difference in the way in which they remember and talk about your event/brand. Most of all, invite them back next year if this is an annual event. Send off your guests as if they were leaving your home at the end of a fabulous evening.

Always implement Event Experience Strategy for your next event’s registration process.

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