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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conference Adventures Part Quatre - Working with the Hotel

It's now the evening of the same day since my last post (19 hours later). I checked a lot of items off of my list with regards to the logistics of the event, so I'm feeling pretty confident in how smoothly this is going to go (famous last words right?). I gotta say, my favorite part so far of the whole event... I booked a photographer to bring a photo booth to the party and asked for 80's props to go with my little theme.

After every up, there must be a down... This afternoon I felt an illness coming on. In a panic I ran to the Pharmacy across the street from the office and grabbed Zicam, a spray to protect from illness, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B-12 tablets. If I get sick this close to the event, I am screwed...

13 Days Until the Event

Status Update: 
Speakers: All Speakers confirmed and in the agenda
Speaker's Presentations (PPT or other): 0
Agenda: Full!
Logistics: F&B Coordinated, layout of room and AV discussed - Video Recordings, Meetup event details, Party details, and Photographer all checked off (WooHoo!)
Marketing/Promotion: I managed to get all of the speakers on the website (with the exception of Aaron Kronis, but he doesn't' count anyways) and the Agenda is looking pretty complete. I do have some room if someone comes in last minute, but we can go on with it as is as well.  I still need to get speaker emails set up as well as the marketing emails; schedule tweets, Facebook updates, get a Google+ event update schedule figured out (can't schedule those - have to do them manually), update Lanyrd,  finish last years videos, print materials for event (signs, schedules, promotion of next events) and oh so much more.
Master of Ceremonies: Still Me
Volunteers: 1 (Lydia is going to check people in - Yay!  Thank you Lydia) - I still need a Volunteer to help with the speaker's transition and man the video camera.

Coordinating with the Hotel

While the most feared part of organizing an event for me in the past (simply because I had NO idea what I was doing), it has now become one of my favorites. The first time I walked through the plan for F&B and AV with the event coordinator for the resort in Hawaii I got screwed. $20k in the hole later, and after a bail out from my Father to keep Search and Social Hawaii from being canceled, I learned from my mistakes, and have not made the same mistake since. 

I met with our coordinator this afternoon after getting off work. Now that the agenda is set, we went through day by day and discussed numbers for each meal and service. After the disaster of last year at the Hotel Kabuki, I am confident that the Sofitel will have good food, an impressive room (with heat), the coffee will get served (and won't run out), the mic will work for every talk, and the staff will be there if I need anything (did I miss anything?).

After talking with Lisa, I met with the Audio Visual guy. There were a couple of emails going back and forth, and they drafted up an estimate based on that. I'm not going to divulge the total, but I gotta say, I was pretty upset with what they came up with. I now realize why Lisa, and the IT guy both started off (before showing me the numbers) that everything is negotiable, and if needed we can cut some things out.

Well... They have about 90% of it to cut out before I can even come close to being able to afford the bill...