“Something unique” is the phrase de jour it seems when it comes to our corporate event and incentive enquiries. Whether it’s for pre-dinner drinks, restaurant options, a conference venue, a hotel, or an incentive programme, there is an increased desire to do something different and give people new experiences. However, freedom to offer creative solutions comes with a price, and that has to be balanced with multiple other demands of the event such as location, budget, transport, diversity in delegates etc etc.
This is where the beauty of working with a smaller agency comes into play when producing truly unique corporate events.
A smaller events agency, such as Clearwater Events, is large enough to align itself to strategic meeting management ideals and have purchasing power, and yet still has a finger or two firmly on the pulse of where and what the up and coming venues, restaurants, bars, experiences and theming options are. More importantly, an event management agency such as ourselves works collaboratively with our clients (or potential clients) to fully understand their definition of “something unique”. It’s amazing how such definitions differ and our more personal touch ensures we are able to invest time in understanding what creative solutions are being researched rather than a cookie-cutter approach of offering previous solutions. A unique cookie soon becomes a stale one.
As a Birmingham event management and Destination Management company, we consider continuous review of what makes something unique to be a key part of our duties. This review can be about knowing the latest restaurant or bar to open, and knowing the hidden secrets of what makes a particular hotel/venue/activity work well (or not work well as the case may be). It’s also about keeping fresh with ideas for managing the event, or incentive. I roll my eyes when people think “a treasure hunt” is unique. Not that there is anything wrong with treasure hunts, you will certainly find them on our proposals. But it’s essential that the ideas within that activity remain fresh and current, whether it’s by using technology such as tablets, (or in the future maybe Google Glasses), or by doing something creative, iconic and memorable during the activity. It is also crucial that the needs of the delegate are considered and understood. You can dress a treasure hunt up all you like, but if you have a group of people who don’t like walking then your unique activity soon becomes a dead duck. But then again, who said a treasure hunt needs to be on foot…
For unique corporate events, a broad knowledge of what’s available is essential, as is creativity (think big, think ginormous, and scale down where necessary from there), and using technology to help, such as Twitter, Pinterest etc to keep fresh with what’s current, or for some initial inspiration. Having an ideas page on a phone or just a simple notebook if you are old school can be a great starting point. When that 3am moment of inspiration comes, it gets recorded, when something new is seen or heard, it gets recorded. Our collective ideas box is potentially are largest and biggest asset.
But it’s also important to invest and align with the right people. We wouldn’t dream of running an event in another country without aligning ourselves to local DMC’s who understand what it is about that location that is unique. Likewise, it can be frustrating when we hear of people who bring their events to Birmingham for a ‘unique experience’, but who don’t do the same, and subsequently have a mediocre experience in a carbon copy venue to any other European city.
Truly unique events comes from truly unique solutions, which come from solid partnerships, enquiring, creative minds, and using past experience to understand what to do and how to make it better Unique events do not come from the cookie cutter machine, no matter how delicious. And that, ladies and gentleman, is what we call Clearwater Thinking.