4 Budget-Friendly Event Planning Ideas

Let’s face it. Some events have bigger budgets than others. While most people believe that with unlimited funds you can potentially move mountains, it does not mean that events with smaller budgets are going to be less impactful and successful. Below are some ways to help you make a strong impression with a tight budget:

Budget-Friendly Event Planning Ideas

  1. Less is more
    When it comes to decorations, event planners tend to take on a “sky’s the limit” attitude, even when they don’t mean to. Luckily for you (and your budget), minimalism is a popular trend. Keep décor simple and, more importantly, logical. A good rule of thumb is to imagine everything and then scale it back times 10. Another area to cut down: SWAG bags. Instead of spending money on several chotchkies, consider one popular, local item that relates to the brand or the culture of the host city. A sponsor might even donate pieces for the exposure.
  2. Negotiate
    This seems like a no-brainer, but people often get shy about negotiating with venues, caterers and rental companies. Don’t be. Most businesses actually anticipate you to negotiate. Additionally, there are more venues than companies having events, so feel free to negotiate as hard as you feel comfortable. Remember, the worst they can say is “no.”
  3. Location is everything
    When choosing a venue, consider its location not only for overall cost, but also factors such as transportation logistics and lodging. Look for event venues that offer a walkable, centralized location, free shuttle service for your guests, or spaces that are convenient to public transportation. If hosting out-of-state visitors, use a venue with onsite hotels to save on extraneous transportation costs. Campus hotels may even offer exclusive incentive deals to groups meeting onsite.
  4. Go digital
    In the age of smartphones, investing in a mobile optimized website, event app and email marketing service is the way to go. Each can be used year-after-year and allow you to save on printing costs. Also, since most venues have screens throughout the space, lose the individual event programs and display them on the monitors. Your bank account and the environment will thank you.

Need more budget-friendly tips? Tweet us at @TheGICC.

Top 4 Tips for Avoiding Event Planning Mistakes

Our job at The Georgia International Convention Center is to keep your event running as smoothly as possible while allowing your guests to have the time of their lives. You can prevent an event disaster and avoid the most common event planning mistakes by following the helpful tips below.

Avoiding Event Planning Mistakes

  1. Don’t Do It All Yourself
    Event planning shouldn’t be a one-man job. Whether you ask an intern to help with tedious tasks or you recruit your team for full support, you’ll need to assistance to keep the planning in motion. Feel swamped? Let us take some off your plate! The GICC’s employees are talented in a wide range of event planning skills including catering, tech, design and more.
  2. Promote, Promote, Promote
    “If you build it, they will come” does not apply to event planning. To ensure guest attendance, promote your event far in advance for ample planning time. Utilize your social media accounts, send an invite via your newsletter system, even use your attendees to spread the word. We recommend promoting your event at least 6-9 months before the opening week, with more frequent event updates leading up to the registration deadline.
  3. Make It Fun for Attendees
    The easiest way to make your event more attractive is to make it fun. Include a variety of activities in the schedule, including helpful and informative sessions, offsite social activities and plenty of networking. Incorporating un-related activities like a yoga break or a brief stand-up comedy show will allow attendees to make the most of the event and go home happy and fulfilled.
  4. Expect the Best, but Plan for the Worst
    Sometimes mistakes are inevitable. With large (or even small) events, there are many things that can go wrong. The only way to assuage their affects is to think ahead and plan for the solution. Make a list of all of the things that could go wrong, then pair that list with ways to combat the aftereffects.

How did you rebound after a meeting planning mistake? Tweet us at @TheGICC.

4 Ideas to Keep Attendees Engaged During Your Event

Your meeting or event is not a success without attendees who are both interested and focused on your sessions. Attendees’ excitement and willingness to engage is one of the top factors in making your event worthwhile. Make sure your event is a success with these ideas to keep attendees engaged during your event.

Keep Attendees Engaged

Attendees’ excitement and willingness to engage is one of the top factors in making your event worthwhile. Make sure your event is a success with these ideas to keep attendees engaged during your event.

Play a Game For events spanning multiple days, organize a group-wide game or challenge to keep all guests involved and working towards one single goal for the complete time period. This could be a daily scavenger hunt, a point system for attending the most sessions or a trivia game that creates questions from the event content. If the prize is worthwhile, the audience will want to be involved.

Involve the Audience If you are hosting smaller sessions including breakouts or small group meetings, be sure to create an interactive atmosphere. An easy way to do this is to encourage audience participation by bringing audience members onstage for interactive presentations or to simply incorporate polls, in which users can vote by tweeting or texting. Offering hands-on activities like virtual reality experiences is a very innovative way to keep attendees excited and engaged.

Surprise and Delight Make sure your guests know how grateful you are for their attendance. Whether you shower them with special gifts upon check-in or hand out giveaway prizes for checked-in attendees throughout your event, exclusive gifts given to those who chose to attend will brighten days and encourage guest to stick around. They may even become advocates for recurring events like annual conferences!

Host New and Exciting Experiences The easiest way to keep attendees engaged is to offer new and exciting experiences they cannot discover anywhere else. These can be exclusive product launches, a behind-the-scenes look at a popular item or a personal experience with a celebrity or popular industry personality.

Have more questions about our space? Tweet us at @TheGICC.

5 Things You Didn’t Know about The GICC

If you’re in the market for a location for your next group event in Atlanta, you’ve found it. The Georgia International Convention Center is a special event space with a top-notch staff, easy accessibility and plenty of space to host your small board meeting or large convention and anything in between. Just how special is it? Keep reading to learn 5 new facts you didn’t know about The GICC.

The GICC

The GICC is the second largest convention center and one of the newest in Georgia. Opening in 2009, it is second in size only to the Georgia World Congress Center. The facility is 400,000 total square feet with modern décor, services and unique components including top-level security, state-of-the-art audiovisual services and flexible spaces for every type of event.

Despite coming in second place for the largest overall square footage, The GICC is home to Georgia’s largest ballroom. Coming in at 40,000 square feet of open, spacious and modern design, the ballroom has been host to a variety of events from religious conventions to extravagant holiday parties – even a life-size game show set!

How ever will you feed all of these attendees? CulinAero of course! CulinAero provides full-service, onsite catering with the capacity to serve 4,000 meals at one time. The Executive Chef, General Manager, catering staff and wait staff will ensure that no guest goes hungry at The GICC. Whether it’s a casual breakfast bar or an executive 5-course meal, each menu can be tailored to fit your event’s needs.

Have no fear of finding a place for your guests to rest. The GICC’s campus is home to two onsite Marriott-brand hotels that offer the quickest commute to and from sessions. These hotels also offer dining options, fitness facilities and indoor pools just steps away from planned festivities at The GICC.

Speaking of quick commutes, The GICC is proud to be the world’s only convention center directly connected to the airport. The ATL SkyTrain picks travelers up at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and sends them over directly to The GICC – all within 2 minutes. That’s quicker than it takes to call a taxi, and best of all it’s free.

Knowing what you know now about The GICC, are you ready to bring your group?

Have more questions about our space? Tweet us at @TheGICC.

5 One-of-a-Kind Events Held at The GICC in 2015

The Georgia International Convention Center is host to a wide variety of events from national conferences to small board meetings and everything in between. Not only does the space decorate well for large exhibitions, but it also makes an excellent backdrop for movie sets and parties. Take a look back at all of the spectacular events held at The GICC in 2015:

Meet College Park Annual Meeting

The Meet College Park Annual Meeting celebrated a successful year for College Park and East Point, Georgia meetings, tourism and visitation. Guests were treated to delicious dining from The GICC’s very own onsite catering, CulinAero, for breakfast goods and snacks.

One-of-a-Kind Events

JAINA Convention

The 2015 JAINA Convention showed The GICC what peaceful extravagance is all about. The weekend convention hosted spiritual development for those in the Jain community in addition to sessions on heath and well-being, social and ecological issues. The center was transformed into a makeshift temple complete with cultural dancing, awards and even yoga.

 One-of-a-Kind Events

Sleepless Night

The stars aligned in College Park for an exciting Hollywood production. The all new, not yet released, remake of Sleepless Night, starring Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union and Michelle Monaghan, made a stop in the GICC’s kitchen to film an intense fight scene. Jamie Foxx was onsite for filming, joking with employees and staff alike. The feature film will be released in theaters later this year.

One-of-a-Kind Events

Perfectly Posh Escape to Atlanta

A girl’s trip is not complete without a bit of pampering. Perfectly Posh Escape to Atlanta brought the whole gal group down south for pampering, games and more girly fun. Decorated as a casual hangout, complete with bean bags, this product sales convention brought the girly pink sleepover vibe to the usually business-oriented convention center!

 One-of-a-Kind Events

Delta Leadership 2015

One way to keep your attendees’ attention is to get them right in on the action. Delta did just that at their Delta Leadership 2015 event by bringing attendees up on stage to participate in a Family Feud-style team building exercise. You’ve seen how The GICC easily converts to a movie set, now see how it hosts a TV game show set!

One-of-a-Kind Events

3 Trade Show Secrets for Success

Trade shows can be exhausting, but with the right strategy they can also be extremely successful for your brand. Success depends largely on your preparation before the event including reaching out to attendees on social media, preparing an exclusive look at a new product or service and planning to host a session or show event. Want to know more? Keep reading to ensure your next trade show attendance is beneficial for the success of your company.

Connect On Social Media

Trade Show FloorIt is important to have a social media presence at the trade show before, during and after the event. Begin posting about the event well in advance using the established hashtag, getting attendees and speakers familiar with and excited about your brand. During the event, encourage attendees to interact with your event posts or publish their own social posts about your brand. An excellent way to promote social conversation at your trade show is to have a social activation at your booth. Be sure to interact with attendees who have visited your booth and reach out to those using the event hashtag who have not yet stopped by. After the show ends, continue socializing with engaged attendees to build relationships and loyalty.

Give Attendees Something They’ve Never Seen

Whether it’s a new product or service you’re releasing, give trade show attendees an exclusive look into your newest offering. Not only will it draw attendance at your booth, but it will also create buzz on social media, thus driving more outside engagement with your brand. If you’re unable to debut a new product, give a behind-the-scenes look at your process to deliver a unique experience to attendees.

Host a Breakout Session or Event

The easiest way to build brand awareness is to host or sponsor an event such as a welcome party or happy hour. Another effective way to build awareness and recognition is to sign up to be a guest speaker or panel member for a breakout session. In both of these situations, you’ll be able to assert your expertise and direct attendees to your booth for post-session questions and conversations.

With a bit of pre-event planning and stepping outside of the box, you’re bound to have a successful trade show using the tips highlighted above.

Which of these tips have you tried? Tweet us your recommendations at @TheGICC!