1. Think “Bucket List”
You really can’t go wrong when offering guests a “once-in-a-lifetime” event. The most popular include: The Masters, The Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, US Open Tennis, Olympics.
Equally important, make sure the services around the event are up to the grandness of the event itself.
2. Follow “What’s Hot Now” Travel Trends
Build an event around activities for which your clients have expressed interests. Golf, hunting, fishing and wine tasting are all very “current” and popular.
Some of the top trending destinations for these types of activities in recent months include private clubs and resorts (Sutton Bay, Cabin Bluff, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and the Boulders). Also popular are trendy, exotic locations (Deep Water Cay, Meritage Resort and Spa and the Dominican Republic).
3. Emphasize Guest Experiences
Guests should feel as though they are having an experience, not merely attending an event. Think “wow” factor.
Go Hollywood — bring in a celebrity, pro athlete, author or musician who has some connection to the event. In our Masters outings, for instance, we typically secure a current or former PGA TOUR professional to spend time with our groups. Also key: the “talent” should be aligned with your goals and your clients’ interests.
Go Exclusive — Limit the outing’s size. Smaller groups are easier to manage while also enhancing the face-to-face with each guest. Some of 54 Sports’ most successful events have been limited to just eight guests and included “inside the ropes” access. (Last year’s US Open was unforgettable!)
4. Ask the Right Questions To Get the Right Guests
Planning is critical when your event needs to deliver a positive ROI. Consider these questions:
- How much business is the client currently doing with your company?
- Is there a significant opportunity for incremental growth?
- Does a prospective guest offer meaningful revenue potential?
- And, importantly, are you negotiating a new deal with a prospective guest and could the invitation be a deal-closer?
Internally, ask yourself who is the right person within your organization to make the invite? For high-end VIP events, we often advise our clients to have the invite come directly from the CEO or another C-Level executive.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea for an executive to follow up the invitation with a quick telephone call. This extra effort adds a personal touch, gives you a chance to share other names on the guest list, and secure that RSVP.
5. Post-Event Follow-Up
Post-event efforts are as important as pre-event preparation to ensure guests are happy to attend next year’s event.
- The event host, preferably the CEO, should place phone calls or send handwritten thank you notes to each guest
- Prepare a personalized, follow-up email survey. (We prepare and execute the survey on behalf of our clients.)
- Your sales team should consider scheduling sales calls with event guests soon after the event’s completion (within a month or two).
- Track incremental sales growth from the invited guests post-event.
Create an event that has appeal and meaning to your desired guest list, execute the event flawlessly, then leverage smart follow-up and sales tactics, and you’ll not only get the “right” guests to your event. You’ll realize a terrific return on your investment.
Until next time,