PlannerPalooza Vendor Presentations

From venues and catering to entertainment and services, PlannerPalooza was teeming with some of Chicago's hottest businesses in the meetings and events industry. Attendees included nearly 200 meeting and event planners who had the opportunity to hear short presentations from 20 businesses, as well as expert panel discussions on the most top-of-mind industry topics. Take a look at each of the vendor presentations for more information like pricing, capabilities, offerings, and key contact information when you partner with these businesses:


All Events Photography

Aries Charter Transportation, Inc.

Balloons By Tommy

Catalyst Ranch

Chicago Magic Company

City Winery


Hospitality & Tourism Summit Chicago

IO Theater

Kuma's Corner

Live Art International

Motor Row Brewing


Riva Crabhouse


Spa In Your Space

Vanille Patisserie

Venue ND

If you would like to connect with any of the panelists from PlannerPalooza, just click here!

3 Tips for Maximizing Procurement and Vendor Relationships

The first step in any great event is, well, finding a place to host it! Any good event planner knows that finding the perfect venue and developing a relationship with the venue - s sales team, marketing department, and catering team is imperative to the outcome of the event. We spoke to three successful Chicagoland event planners at PlannerPalooza! and got their best tips for maximizing procurement strategies and vendor relationships.

Details, Details, Details!

Leave no stone unturned - a detailed RFP is your friend says Bailey Shultz, Account Manager for Sourcing at NHS Global Events. Shultz says that a detailed RFP is helpful for a few reasons; in a saturated market, distinguishing your business from others is necessary, too few details make you a less desirable candidate and will not elicit a response, and small details help to determine an accurate budget. Jackie White, Director of Events & Conference Services at Illinois Institute of Technology, says that identifying and including all of the - what ifs - and potential acts of God that could take place in a particular city will help both parties build a strong foundation ahead of an event.

Make It Personal

What better way to build a relationship with a venue than to actually get to know the people behind the title - White says that taking the time to get to know a vendor on a personal level has helped her to build lasting and mutually beneficial professional relationships. Perhaps a sales manager at a catering company just got married or has a birthday coming up; a card in the mail or a small gift is a meaningful and personal touch that will help you remain top of mind in the future. Jay Weidner, Managing Partner at On The Scene noted that taking the extra step in finding what the client truly wants and identifying their objectives will show that you - ve done the due diligence in ensuring the event is successful. Weidner also said that you may find that the client is not always the stakeholder and their ultimate objectives may be different. Get to know the people you - re working with on a more personal level to better define their goals!

Money matters in the event industry! Vendor relationships rely heavily on efficient spending and saving. Weidner says that it - s now more important than ever to find the main items that clients are NOT making money on, and find a workaround to monetize those. Maybe they aren - t making money off of name badges or transportation; a sponsor can offset those costs and either save the client money with in-kind sponsorships or earn money with a paid sponsorship. White suggests finding out if the sales team of one of your vendors is trying to reach a bonus or a perk; if they are, work out a mutually beneficial contract that helps save your client some money and the sales person reach their quota.

Sources: -

Jackie White, Director of Events & Conference Services

Illinois Institute of Technology

Jay Weidner, Managing Partner

On The Scene

Baily Shultz, Account Manager - Sourcing

NHS Global Events

4 Non-Traditional Venues Planners Are Loving Right Now

Sometimes the hallmark of a great event is a memorable venue - a place that attendees may have never attended, a unique space local to the host city, or a fun spot that offers the opportunity for interaction. As meeting and event planners work to find new ways to make their events more exciting and stand apart from run-of-the-mill banquet hall settings, non-traditional venues are seeing a spike in meeting and event activity.

We discussed this very topic at a recent Planner Master Class with nearly 100 meeting and event planners. Here are 5 types of non-traditional venues that meeting and event planners are loving right now:

Sports Stadiums

Many professional and college sports stadiums have ample space for larger groups and the planners we spoke to have taken full advantage of that space! Field-view banquet rooms can be set up in a plethora of ways and the stadium can often provide the catering on-site. One planner at the Planner Master Class hosted a meeting at Wrigley Field on a non-gameday and as an added bonus, was able to offer her attendees a tour of the stadium as well. Another planner utilized Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin for a corporate seminar; in addition to the main general assembly, she was able to sell sponsors the smaller suites at VIP level to later use as smaller breakout networking sessions.


The meeting and event planners we spoke with agreed that food and alcohol is often a significant draw to getting people to attend their events in the first place. That being said, breweries have proven to be a great venue for events! Not only do breweries often have space large enough for a big group, the added benefit of offering brewery tours and tastings makes for a unique and memorable event experience. Many breweries can offer their own catering on site, and spaces without a kitchen are usually open to outside catering, according to a number of planners at the Planner Master Class.

Museums and Galleries

Looking for a venue with character but don't want to provide your own decor? Check out event space at museums and art galleries! Already decorated beautifully, these venues are a unique break from sterile-looking banquet rooms that your attendees will love. One planner at the Planner Master Class held an event at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Museum and saw a jump in attendee registration when the venue was announced. Another planner noted that many local attendees may not go to galleries or museums in their spare time, so it's fun for them to have an 'excuse' to check out new exhibits and spend time in a local landmark.

Cruise Boats

It doesn't get more non-traditional than a venue on the water! A surprising number of Planner Master Class attendees have hosted meetings and events on large cruise boats. Planners agreed that the outdoor environment inspires a fun, exciting attitude going into the event and helps to maintain positivity throughout. Attendees have loved the open space, nautical themes, and interesting concept, and planners have loved the ease of organizing as cruise boats have on-site catering and staffing.