Managing events in the restaurant and hospitality industries isn’t easy. Between balancing incoming leads and outgoing contracts to managing day-of setup and staff communications, event managers must not only be a jack-of-all-trades, but also professional task jugglers. And this is especially true for restaurant and venue owners who take on event planning in addition to their day-to-day jobs.
So how do the best ones do it? It’s all about discipline.
Successful event managers have the right practices and tools in place to keep the wheels spinning, even when things get chaotic. Here are a number of key habits event managers should live and work by to knock every event out of the park:
1. Pay Attention to the Details
What makes or breaks an event is in the details. That’s because clients (and their guests) love a customized event experience. But there’s more to personalization than a simple upgraded drink package or customized menu options. Effective event managers must provide a truly unique and highly personal experience for guests—think small touches that shape each guest’s experience.
How about the option to gift each guest a signed cookbook from the chef or researching past bookings to provide a few of their favorite bottles of wine on the house? If you can offer upgrades and customization hyper-relevant to each event and guest, those details are something guests will never forget.
2. Use the Right Tools
Boots on the ground are no longer all you need to run a successful events program. Seasoned event managers have a roster and rely on a powerful arsenal of tools to help organize details, prioritize communications, and keep their events program running smoothly.
Topping their list is an event management solution, which helps streamline event planning and execution. Whether filtering incoming leads, churning out customized contracts, or managing changes to a booking, an event management platform increases efficiency and minimizes stress for the modern event manager. Not to mention, an event management platform serves as a central hub for team communications—ensuring no event details (from server dress code to menu changes) go unnoticed.
3. Be a Constant Learner
As new technologies and trends emerge, those who make constant learning a priority will set themselves apart in the events business. By keeping up on current events, industry trends, and tips from other experts, you get a better pulse on the market and can create more positive experiences for your guests.
Join networking groups like the International Live Events Association (ILEA) and the Event Services Professionals Association (ESPA) to gather takeaways from veterans in the industry. Sit in on professional development webinars to educate yourself on best practices in event management. Or attend event and catering conferences and expos (The National Restaurant Association is a good starting place) to polish your industry knowledge.
Additionally, it never hurts to keep up on what’s trending outside of the event planning market. Understanding business news and following the latest advancements in the tech industry (think augmented or virtual reality) allows you to incorporate timely trends outside of your own space in future events.
4. Maintain a Strong Digital Presence
Today’s event managers won’t find success without having an engaging online presence. That’s why 77 percent of event managers rely on social media as a primary engagement strategy before events.
Choose the right social platform—LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram—for your business to provide a place for positive engagement with clients and event guests. A presence on social media is a powerful tool for promotion, since it allows guests to post and share their experience at your restaurant or venue’s events with everyone in their network. By hosting a fabulous event, and having your guests share the experience online, you’ve opened the door to a new roster of future clientele.
5. Think Outside the Box
As events in the restaurant and hospitality industries continue to grow, the need for standing out is critical. Those who try to sell the same event to every client that comes along won’t see long-term success. Similarly, those who use their space in a restaurant or hotel the same way for every event will fail to excite returning clients and guests.
One habit that drives event sales—and uniqueness—is not leaving upsells on the table. More often than not, upsells are an easy win. As clients finalize menus, head counts, and seating, consider offering add-ons that take events to the next level, like a build-your-own bloody Mary station, an extra coffee bar, or punch bowl mimosas. It’s a win-win situation.
Running an events business can be a lot to manage at times, so take notes to take from others who’ve proven they can do it right. Between leaning on the right tools and resources, to staying on top of new trends throughout the industry, event managers can build up a number of healthy habits that will lead to success.