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How to throw a successful corporate event

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Rebecca Kincade on February 25, 2014 - 6:55 am in Advice, Featured Advice

In today’s highly competitive business world, companies of all sizes are turning to corporate hospitality to impress current or potential clients and reward successful employees. Melita Williams, director, , knows how make sure your event is the one that everyone is talking about.

There is no better way to strengthen bonds with clients, employees and of course friends, mentors and supporters of your business than with a successful corporate event.

Even in times of recession it has been proven that spend of this type will pay off with return on investment, as both customers and staff require retention and acquisition.

If you’re thinking of entertaining then perhaps you’ve already got something in mind and are comfortable with your plans. If you don’t know what you should look for and the pitfalls to avoid, here are some tips to help with your event.


Firstly you need to be clear about what you expect to achieve from your event. If planning a ‘thank you’ for employees then don’t make the mistake of confusing it with a team building event, which is much more about strategic interrelationships.

If you are hoping to network, then choose something that lends itself to this, giving you a chance to talk and move around your group. Some activities are better suited to this than others.

Be clear on your budget. Make sure you achieve your aims and objectives within this amount. It might be better to have a few smaller intimate gatherings spread across the financial year, where you can spend more quality time with your guests. After your event it is important to review it, however purely social it seemed. Be aware of what you need to change if your aims and objectives were not met.

The expectations of your guests need consideration too. Give as much information as you can on the invites so that they are fully prepared. Formal outfits or heels might not suit all activities and everyone needs to feel appropriately attired and comfortable or their enjoyment can be tainted.

Nothing should be hard work for the guest in terms of logistics and transport. They should be a part of more of a ‘seamless’ experience.

The trend in corporate hospitality has moved into providing creative, interesting and unusual experiences, doing something different and learning new skills. These events can offer a more financially viable package for smaller SME’s. Golf trips playing prestigious courses, luxury spa days, horse racing and boxes at the rugby are still popular options in Northern Ireland.

Know your guest

It’s about making your guests feel valued, building trust and developing personal relationships. If it is a client-based event then take the time to find out what they love to do or whether there’s an experience they’ve always wanted to try.

The same applies with your staff. Plan something that you know will appeal to them. Maybe include them in the choice too.

Remember to choose an event that will appeal to all. Just because you like a certain sport or location doesn’t mean that everyone else will. Remember that it’s for their benefit rather than yours, so you’ll want something with widespread appeal. It has to be inclusive and appropriate for all ages, abilities and genders.

Don’t cut back on staff

You will want to be on hand to greet your guests, make introductions and generally make them feel comfortable during the event. You need to be free to network with clients or spend time with your staff. Remember that you are the host and you can’t carry out this role while sorting out transport, catering, entertainment logistics, or problem solving any glitches. Ensure you have colleagues there to help you and give them defined roles or tasks so that they are clear as to what you expect from them.

Go local

There is so much to do on our own doorstep that there is no need to go far. Northern Ireland is wonderfully compact and varied. It is the perfect country for a whole host of creative corporate hospitality options.

When planning, think like a tourist and see what local options we have with a fresh outlook. We don’t do what is in our own ‘back yard’ and you will be surprised at how much your guests will enjoy experiencing the activities, tours and sights that our growing number of visitors are shouting about.

Choose a professional

A professional corporate event company will assist you every step of the way. From the initial financial planning and decision-making, to ensuring that you use tried and tested transport, catering, entertainment and venue providers. They will also obviously be on hand at the event so that you can host your guests. It makes sense financially too, as often you will be able to avail of the specialist provider’s business rates with suppliers.

Successful entertaining, however simple, can take time. By employing a specialist you can keep your focus and effort on your all important core business, achieve your entertaining aims and objectives, even managing to enjoy yourself!

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  • February 25, 2014

    Really helpful article, thanks Melita

    Emma Cowan