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Corporate Event Planning - Behind the Scenes - Part 1

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the these two words – corporate events? From the perspective of somebody attending this type of event, hopefully it’s something along the lines of “engaging, organised, informative, fun” etc… And how does this fun and exciting event come to fruition? That’s exactly where the help of companies like ours comes into play. We’re going to share the secrets of just how much time, money, and ultimately, stress, we save clients. As there are so many details, we’ve split event venue finding into an easy 3 part series. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show.

Corporate Event Planning – Part 1

This past June 2017, Akommo was selected once again by a Fortune 500 company to assist with their annual corporate conference for 400 delegates. This year the event took place in our city, Barcelona, and we were thrilled to get to share our local expertise and use our exclusive network of contacts.

So what are the first steps to successfully organising an event of this size? We’re going to break it down into steps, but keep in mind, the entire process took place over a 7 month period.

Step One: the Venue Search

As we have been in the event industry for almost 10 years now, we’ve got quite the database of event venues and invaluable contacts. Have you ever tried to navigate a major hotel website? There are at least 8 pages to skim through just to find the contact details for sales or events - and often it’s just a generic address! This means the request must be processed through headquarters and then passed along to the particular hotel and person in charge.

A response from larger hotels can take up to 3 days. Thankfully, we’ve already made contacts and agreements with over 500 hotels and venues throughout Europe (a never-ending contact list). However, to be thorough, we always want to make sure we have considered every possible option.

We revise the client’s request and their vision for the event, and then begin to choose hotels in usually around 6 different cities. We then prepare a brief with multiple dates, and then we contact each hotel and venue individually to check on availability and rates.

Total time: 40 hours per event request for the initial venue search alone.

Hold on tight, we’re just getting started...

Step Two: the Pitch

After extensive research, we carefully select the best options available for the various dates requested. It can take up to a week to receive multiple proposals from each hotel. We organise this information in an easy-to-follow format with all necessary information for the first round presentation. This service is absolutely fundamental for saving time, as we become your single point of contact. This means we act as the middleman for your event by communicating with up to 30 separate hotels and contacts.

Total time: 15 hours for first round proposal and information organisation

Side note - 55 hours of work later, and the client still does not have to pay a cent. This service is completely free because we’re confident the client won’t find a more thorough search anywhere.

Step Three: the Site Visits

Upon receiving the first round feedback, advising the client, and selecting a few final cities, we begin what we call, the “top” work. We start to choose the top cities, the top hotels in each city, and the top proposals received based on the client’s feedback. After narrowing down the final destination location, we’re able to search for supporting event venues for first round visits, such as restaurants, museums, theatres, and other event spaces in the city.

Most corporate events that we do require a large space for corporate dinners and private VIP meals. In order to find the perfect location, we begin our search once again, contacting up to 30 event spaces and restaurants. We also repeat the availability-checking process in each space. As we mentioned before, this is a major time-saver for the client as we become the single of point of contact for up to 30 different sites.

Before we decide to bring our client to any hotel or venue space, we always do a personal site visit to make sure it’s up to Akommo standards. Once we’ve approved the space, we plan site visits for hotels, private venue locations, as well as restaurants. The coordination for each visit is organised by us, as well as a personalised agenda for our clients. We also provide private airport transfers for the pick-up and drop-off for our clients. If required we can also provide translations for our clients in English, French, Spanish and Catalan.

Total time: 30 hours for private event venue search plus 30 hours for site visit preparation and realization = 60 hours total.

Side note - this is still free. Yup, you read that correctly. All of the services provided by Akommo are still free of charge at this point.

Step Four: the Selection Process

Like any difficult decision, selecting the final hotel is even harder than selecting the final destination city. On top of being a tough decision for the client, it’s even tougher for us as the intermediary.

This stage requires a lot of back-and-forth in order to guarantee the absolute best room and daily delegate rates (cost per delegate or attendee of the event). During this process we also try to negotiate extra meeting room discounts, complimentary features (Internet, breakfast, office space for the event team), and make sure to get the most competitive attrition (negotiating the best possible rates to reduce the original number of rooms at minimal cost should the client cancel) and cancellation policies. This is followed by countless revisions of contracts. We like to be transparent, so when we tell a client that we’ve got them the best deal, we mean it.

Money Saved

We’re going to drop some numbers in your lap. Last year, over their cumulative events, we saved our client a total of 35,000 euros. See the breakdown below:

4,500€ on breakfast rates

7,200€ on daily delegate rates

8,000€ on negotiated room rates

8.000€ on meeting space rental and set-up of plenary room

10,000€ on negotiation of Audio and Visual Supplies

If we had to go out on a limb, we’d say this is why they continue to work with us.

Total time: final selection of hotel, keeping first options at hotels and venue locations, as well as negotiation… an estimated 35 hours total.

Side note - even though it can be tedious, going over every single detail saves time in the future. The clients also greatly appreciate it!

Corporate Event Planning Isn't Easy

We won’t deny it - that was a lot of work. All of the steps for the first phase of event venue-searching and logistics have been completed at this point. We won’t make you whip out the calculator and figure out the total time, don’t worry!

In total, we estimated 150 hours of thorough, passionate and experienced venue finding service, all free of charge.

The reason for doing this insane amount of work at zero cost? We’re confident that our clients will stick with us until the event has been completed.

Check out Part 2 to see more behind-the-scenes action from corporate events handled by Akommo!

Have questions? Have requests? Already convinced by our work? Let’s chat about your corporate event!