Don't be the "hurry up and wait" kind of event planner. You know, the one who demands immediate attention to trivial matters for an event taking place 6 months down the road, or the one who waits until the last minute to plan an entire week's worth of meetings. Allow me to provide you with a few simple strategies for getting the work you need done in the timeframe that works best with your work schedule. Coming from an Event Manager's standpoint, I can assure you that these strategies will work in your favor, no matter what kind of Event Planner you claim to be!
1. Give the Event Manager a timeline. Whether you'd like to begin discussing the details of your event 1 year out or 1 week out, let your Event Manager know when he or she can expect to be able to spend time ironing out the details. Regardless of whether or not it's optimal for them, at least they'll know in advance when your peak planning phase will take place and can work with you accordingly.
2. Review the menus. Prior to speaking with your Event Manager, look over the menus. Get a feel for what's offered, read the fine print, and answer a lot of your own questions!
3. Create a list of questions and send them in one email, rather than multiples. Any organized Event Manager loves a good list from a client. It's a comprehensive way to answer all your questions at once. The best part? Your manager will be quicker to respond if your questions are organized.
4. Develop a relationship with your Event Manager. Often overlooked, relationships can aid your planning process in many ways. Working with a "friend" is so much easier than a "client", wouldn't you say? The tighter of a relationship you have, the tighter your control will be. Speaking from personal experience, I'm quicker, more efficient, and more detailed with those clients whom I enjoy corresponding with.
5. Work with you finance department. Draft your budget, read the fine print on your BEOs and contracts, and provide your finance department with a rough estimate of what's to be charged for your event. Keep them in the know and in touch with the hotel's finance department in order to avoid any pre-event billing issues that may threaten your event's existence.