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