The Three Dumbest Mistakes I Have Seen Corporations Make When Planning an Event

In all my years of experience, I have definitely seen corporate clients make more costly mistakes than brides do. It makes me cringe every time, and I believe it is time that someone slaps them with some reality. I could write a list as long as Noah’s, but here are the top three that need to stop immediately.

1. Hire a local producer. You know what the first thing those big NYC event production companies do? They hire me. They know that to have a successful event in Miami, they need to have someone on the ground that actually knows the city and has personal relationships with the local venues and vendors. But they don’t pay me out of pocket. Somehow they add that expense into your budget. Did you hear that?! YOUR BUDGET!
2. Value transparency.Through twelve years of planning in NYC, LA, and Miami, I have seen many planning companies gouge clients. ALWAYS ask to see the original invoices from all venues and vendors. Not only will some planning companies upcharge every item on the budget, they will then charge you their fee, which is usually based on a percentage of the total budget. But wait, your total budget includes all those upcharges, so that fee will be even higher than it should be. A planner with integrity, that has your company’s best interest at heart, is worth gold.
3. Use local vendors.I have walked into events where clients spend a fortune on bringing in an out of town vendor. Now sometimes it might be necessary, but most of the time I could name two local vendors that would do that exact same job for ¼ of the cost. And many times these out of town vendors are brought in by out of town planners that feel more comfortable with that vendor, since they do not have local connections. This is another scenario where the client’s budget loses.

So next time you wonder why your six figure budget does not get you the furniture, catering or A/V that you want, make sure you are not making these three, costly mistakes. Make sure your money is actually going in to your event, and in making the impact that you are looking for.

The Woes and Joys of Planning a Corporate Event in The 305, aka “Miami”

I recently sat down with an exec for a very well know television studio in Los Angeles. She is shopping around for a producer to coordinate a big annual convention in Miami Beach. The thing is, this lovely lady had the same exact complaints that I hear from all my major clients from New York, Los Angeles, or really any other metropolitan city…. “Vendors are hard to reach”, “No one emails me back”, “They were an hour late”

I always chuckle, and say “Welcome to Miami!”
First of all, most people here operate on “Cuban” time. They leave to a meeting 15 minutes before knowing, very well, that the traffic on the Palmetto will delay them 30 minutes.
Second, even though Florida is a peninsula, Miamians live the “Island” life. Most are more concerned with happy hours, being in the scene, and boating plans, than with emailing you the proposal. Yes, even if you are offering a large sum of money. They don’t care. They are too busy driving to Crossfit.
Thirdly, haven’t you heard, Spanish is the first language here. They probably didn’t understand your request in the first place. Better go get a cafecito, this is going to take a while.
So to my future corporate clients that actually want to have a successful and stress free event in the 305, my advice is to get a proper guide (AKA, a bilingual producer, raised in Miami, but trained in NYC). We live on this island and have spent years weeding out our vendor lists. We speak your language, but speak theirs too. We can help you navigate the scene down here to make sure your event is successfully produced AND successfully received by the Miami locals and visitors (that’s a WHOLE other blog) And after we do all the work, you can do exactly what you flew down to do, hang by the pool with a mojito. Don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss 😉
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