It’s a new year and we’ve already hit the ground running with 2019 events and conferences. As we’re consulting our calendar and scheduling who is going to be onsite at which event, we’re thinking about ways to maximize our time. We’ve adopted a “road warrior” state of mind to ensure that we’re as efficient as…
Hosting an Event in Another City
About a year and a half ago, I took part in Kapow’s nationwide expansion and ventured from Chicago to Los Angeles to help open a new Kapow market. Having spent my entire professional career planning events in Chicago and the Midwest, I was surprised to see that the differences in planning events on the West Coast were abundant. If you’re hosting an event in another city, here are some things to consider.
One of the best things about moving to the West Coast was a lesser need for “weather back-up plans”, which are oh-so-common in Midwest markets. Without a concern for rain, cold and—heaven forbid—a snowstorm in markets like LA, OC, Phoenix and Vegas, you’re able to plan more outdoor and rooftop fun in the sun. But if you’re heading to the Midwest or East Coast, don’t forget to plan for the worst and always have a back-up plan.
When hosting an event in another city, get familiar with the layout of the city you’re booking in. Cities like Chicago and NYC are very urban and have specific concentrated areas where corporations (read: your clients) lie. Booking events in locations that are blocks from these buildings is key for getting your clients to attend. Cities on the West Coast, however, are sprawled out. Corporations are everywhere. When planning an event, start by putting together a map with all of your clients’ offices. When you’re scheduling events and creating invite lists, invite clients who are in close proximity, and try to pick a place that’s nearby. Professionals in the sprawling markets are used to driving, so if your event is exciting enough, your clients may not mind being behind the wheel for 30 minutes to get there.
Try to get a sense of if public transportation is accessible and used frequently in the city. If public transportation takes a backseat to driving, consider whether your clients will want to move their car and find parking near your event. In LA, for example, downtown corporations—much like Chicago and NYC—will want to walk to events rather than trying to find a new parking spot. The West Hollywood corporations, however, may be more willing to venture away from their offices because parking is more readily available there. Which leads me to my next point.
If public transportation isn’t available within your city, make sure you advise your clients on the parking situation in advance. Not only can parking keep your client from showing up on time—or even at all—they may show up frustrated from having to circle around the block looking for parking. This is especially true if you’re hosting an event in the downtown area of an urban city like Chicago or New York.
Some things never change
Of course there are some consistencies across all markets. Dinners and cocktail receptions continue to be popular throughout the country, but professional sports, interactive and retail events will draw the best attendance. Clients across markets prefer to attend weekday events and prefer events that last two to three hours, so they can get home to their families (or on to a later social engagement). Most importantly, clients in any city want to be entertained with booze. So open up that bar—but please book your event and drive responsibly.
If you’re hosting an event in another city and you’re ready to book, browse through events in 20 U.S. markets and book in a few clicks.
Posted by Ashley Ritzenthaler, Market Manager, Western Region
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