When it comes to building the perfect event, you have two options: the seemingly simple all-inclusive hotel package, or an approach inspired by the city you're in and the best vendors available.
The next time you plan an event, challenge yourself to think like a local and do some digging on the most sought after venues, food and experiences available. Not only will your event be far more memorable, it will be a lot easier on your budget too.
Here are a few of our favorite event planning tips and tricks to help you think outside the hotel ballroom:
1) Get Outside of the Typical Hotel Venue
There is nothing worse than a boring event venue. And a hotel conference room is the number one offender. Does anything sound less inspiring than a dimly lit room covered wall to ceiling in various shades of beige (likely with terrible carpeting)?
Instead, seek out a local agency to get the inside scoop on the event city's hidden gems. If you want to inspire people to think differently about your company, then you need to start with some out-of-the-hotel room thinking yourself. We hosted our last LIVE! event in San Francisco at a converted church turned music venue called The Chapel. It was not only well located, in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District, but it was a unique experience and the perfect conversation starter for both local and out of town attendees.
2) Lock Down Trendy Local Food
People love food. Good food can make an event memorable. Bad food can really put a damper on things. So skip your temptation to shell out too much money for hotel catering and instead invest your time in some local foodie research. One of our favorite tricks is to start by searching different foodie Instagram handles and hashtags in each city. We love #nycfoodie, #chicagofoodauthority and #eatsandiego but there are countless others that will have your attendees mouth watering before they walk in the door. Seeking out local vendors not only improves the attendee experience but can save you tons of money.
3) Find an affordable (and better) A/V package
A/V packages are expensive, but they don't have to break the bank. Big hotel chains usually have partnerships with PSAV, so you don't have much option if you go that route (another reason to look outside of the hotel venue space). If you opt for a fun local venue or use Kapow, which has A/V included in their packages, you have more flexibility to find something that fits your event and your budget (and often provides better, more personalized service). For LIVE we found a full A/V services and production team that we loved, check them out here.
Check back next week for our hot new venue series! Over the next few months, we will be giving you the inside scoop on the hottest venues around the country.