Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Section 4 - Analysis of the Application and Development of Event Management Skills

By having the opportunity to get hands on experience within a live event, it is possible to assess my academic skills along with my placement work related skills. NUS CBI (2011) mentions how a student’s relative course can develop their employability skills. This relates closely to my live event because I was able to use my built up related skills in relation to my different academic modules. By integrating different modules such as strategic event design, implementing senses of stimulation and strategic events management including the lookout of the wider environment, it was possible to gain insight on how to produce a successful yet strategic event. Furthermore, Beard & Wilson (2006) present the point that learning from experience is key and allows everyone to learn from their previous practices. By reflecting on my experiential learning and assessing my strengths and weaknesses throughout the event development and implementation phase, it is possible to adjust and progress myself for future scenarios and work experience. In addition to this, Reis & Pena (2001) mention that ultimate success depends on how well a person can apply their knowledge and detail to a specific job. In the case of events management, detail can be gained from my live event to be used as professional skills for future employment and to be reflected upon when creating further live events.

Additionally, Kolb et al (2005) mentions that experientially learning in teams is vital for future progression as the addition of psychological motivation from others can help achieve better success. Within the events industry, teamwork and leadership are vital characteristics that any manager or employee needs to succeed within delivering an event within a particular framework. By receiving criticism and appraisal from team members, it is possible to further continue to work towards strengths and develop on weaknesses in each order to become more efficient within the workforce. Walker (2005) also states that experiential learning is vital to understand phenomena in the workplace and gain knowledge of anything that could possibly go wrong. Strong event managers create contingency plans for each stage of their event, ensuring that if any phenomena were to arise, it would be possible to deal with in an effective and efficient manner. Finally Williams-Perez & Keig (2002) involves reflection on the part of the student, including the use of reflective observation from my previous experience. Reflective experiences involve reflecting on different factors and aspects from many perspectives. This could include looking at key points of my completed work during the live event and seeing what I could of improved, adjusted and developed in order to gain insight for the future.

Reference List – Section 4

Beard, C & Wilson, P (2006). Experiential learning: a best practice handbook for educators and trainers. Kogan Page, London.
Kolb, A et al (2005) Experiential learning in teams, Simulation & Gaming. vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 330-354.
NUS CBI. (2011). Working towards your future Making the most of your time in higher education. Available: https://shuspace.shu.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-4757087-dt-content-rid-8256297_2/courses/44-6128-00L-A-20134/CBI_NUS_Employability%20report_May%202011.pdf. Last accessed 29th April 2014.
Reis, D and Pena, L (2001) Reengineering the motivation to work. Management Decision, Vol. 39 (8), p666 - 675. Available: http://www.emeraldinsight.com.lcproxy.shu.ac.uk/journals.htm?articleid=865253&show=abstract#sthash.mfl9Ql7M.dpuf
Walker, J. (2005) Debriefing: Enhancing Experiential Learning. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, vol. 97, no. 1, pp. 73.

Williams-Perez, K. & Keig, L. (2002). Experiential Learning: A Strategy to Teach Conflict Management. Nurse educator, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 165-167.

Section 3 - Evaluation of Event Design & Experience

In terms of event experience and satisfaction Buswell (2004) cited within Berridge (2007, p69) explains that a service encounter involves the creation of different outcomes, therefore involves different levels of satisfaction dependent on people’s expectations of the event. With attendees paying a total of £30 per ticket, it was important that DoubleDose ensured value for money and created an experience worth the value of the ticket. This meant that as a group we had to consider the types of entertainment that were going into the event. We also had to ensure that the 3 course meal was adequate enough for the money spent. With the use of an exceptional external catering team, satisfaction levels in terms of the food were very high. The following screenshot also presents general satisfaction levels in terms of price and value from our attendees at the event:

As expressed above from a 5th of our attendees, satisfaction levels in terms of price and value were extremely high showing good integration of implementing a positive experience for our stakeholders. Roehl & Adema (2010) mentions that event design is classified by its overall ‘look’ and ‘feel’. By having a creative manager who focused on tailoring the theming and décor, it was possible to focus on creative a cohesive experience through every minor detail of the event and further enhance the experience of the attendee. In comparison, Silver (2004) cited within Berridge (2007) also expresses the concept that event experiences are created in comparison to the size and type of event. By using a compact venue, keeping an ambient atmosphere and encouraging networking, the size of type of event could be used to its maximum efficiency displaying a hectic yet controlled atmosphere in which people could integrate themselves easily in to. By implementing a charity raffle and providing an area for dancing and casino playing within our event programme, Birke et al (2013) explains the idea of the creation of psychological inclusion, allowing guests to be directly involved with any occurring tasks. Finally, the following screenshot shows how we used the idea of a ‘wedding book’ to allow guests to leave their feedback and comments about the event:

Silvers (2004) expresses the viewpoint that entertainment is used to enhance the event experience is a key factor in the success on almost all events. The entertainment and music for A Taste of Vegas were all contacted and applied in relation to our Las Vegas theme, showing valid relation of the recreation of Las Vegas. By hiring in a magician, singers, showgirls and casino tables, attendees could immerse themselves into a Las Vegas designed experience.  In close comparison, Bladen (2012) mentions that stakeholders attend particular events to gain unique experiences that cannot be gained elsewhere.  By presenting this 1 off event that brings together close family and friends in aid of a charitable cause, attendees are able to gain a unique experience that they wouldn’t find within similar event styles. Friends and family were kept close towards the design and ideas of the event, implementing co-creation through social media by gaining opinions and thoughts of the attendees on certain aspects and factors of the event.

Reference List – Section 3
Berridge, G. (2007). Event Design and Experience. Elsevier. p69
Birke, M et al (2013) Innovation is the Aim of the Game: Using Gamification when Co-creating and Co-selecting Ideas with Consumers. Value co-creation BlogSpot.
Bladen, C. 2012, Events management: an introduction. Routledge, London.
Roehl, S. & Adema, K. (2010). Environmental scanning the future of event design. International journal of hospitality management, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 199-207.

Silvers, J. (2004) Professional event coordination. Wiley, Hoboken, N.J.

Section 2 - Evaluation of the Achievement of the Event Objectives

Doyle (1994) mentions that objectives are an end state condition to be achieved and have some sort of future effect. Furthermore, Skinner & Rukavina (2003) explain that in order to create a strong event, it is important to create an event that is regarded highly by all stakeholders and provides value for money. The event objectives for 'A Taste of Vegas' were specifically designed to impact the Cathedral Archer Project in a positive manner by increasing money and awareness for them and their homeless cause. Finally, Bowdin (2011) presents the viewpoint that areas of strengths for an event include how managers can utilise their supplier relationships, creative techniques and stakeholder relationships to achieve maximum benefit.

As briefly explained before, the event objectives for a 'Taste of Vegas' included:

Objective 1 - •To raise a combined total of £200 for the Cathedral Archer Project from pre event activities and fundraising during the event. This event objective was monetary based, involving the team to try and raise and donate as much money as possible for the charity and their cause. Redhood (1977) states that objectives are guidelines and the basis for corporate activity. This is closely related due to the fact that we set a £200 guideline, however the group worked tirelessly to achieve this target plus more. As explained before the vast amount of donated money predominantly came from pre event activities such as a car boot sale, cake sale, auction and entertainment during the event.

Objective 2 - •To increase awareness by a combined total of 40% for the Cathedral Archer Project through all stages of the event. This objective involved the utilisation of social media, word of mouth, event advertising and promotional factors to raise the awareness of the Archer project by 40% in relation to attendees of the event. Kenny (2012) mentions that once objectives are set, managers must ensure they know how to fulfil these specific objectives. DoubleDose Events believed the best way to assess this awareness would be by 3 different methods:

Pre Event - Use social media to negotiate and update stakeholders with information of the charity. Facebook and twitter would be utilised and updated frequently to connect with attendees and others.

During Event - The use of word of mouth, a charity speaker and a wedding book for comments were all used to collectively gain opinions of the attendees, present accurate charity information and see what people had learnt of the charity's morals and policies.

Post Event - Use feedback questionnaires, social media and thank you mentions to see what attendees had learned over the course of the event, gaining knowledge of any information that was displayed across clearly to them. 

Level of Achievement -

·         Objective 1 - The target for this objective was to raise a total of £200 which was majorly exceeded due to the support of friends and family, raising a grand total of £521.93. This saw an increase almost 300% on the original targeted outcome, providing a rewarding finish for the hard work that was put in for the event. Macdonald et al (2013) indicates that it is important not only to create short term value, but to leave long term value to all stakeholders involved. Even though the venue was free of charge, the finalised budget as displayed earlier presents many assets that had to be taken into consideration and to provide value for money for all attendees.  This is particularly why the objective amount of £200 was set to a minimum, as it was unclear how well the team could achieve effective sponsorship and funding to afford these assets such as entertainment and the external catering team.

·        Objective 2 – Involved the measurement of increased awareness for the attendees towards our selected charity. Our post event feedback questionnaire addressed people’s knowledge towards the charity and what they had learned. The following screenshot presents the general overview the respondents thought about the information that had been presented:

With guests having no initial ideas about the charity to knowing general information, it is possible to say that we achieved our 40% goal. However, our initial idea was to have a 10 minute speaker and charity representatives throughout the event to integrate the charity more into our programme, although due to cancellations and busy schedules we only had time for a 3 minute speech at the start of the event, decreasing the amount of information that could be shared with the attendees.

Reference List - Section 2

Bowdin, G (2011). Events management. Butterworth-Heinemann, Amsterdam; London
Doyle, P. (1994). Setting business objectives and measuring performance. European Management Journal. vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 123-132.
Kenny, G (2012). From the stakeholder viewpoint: designing measurable objectives. Journal of Business Strategy. vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 40-46
MacDonald, C, Walker, D & Moussa, N. (2013). Towards a project alliance value for money framework. Facilities, vol. 31, no. 5/6, pp. 279-309
Redwood, H. (1977). Setting corporate objectives.  Long range planning. vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 2-10.
Skinner, E & Rukavina, V. (2003). Event sponsorship. Wiley, Chichester; New York

Section 1 - Showcasing The Event

A Taste of Vegas used a tested charitable format of a Las Vegas themed 3 course meal and entertainment to achieve two particular objectives for the charity, The Cathedral Archer Project. These objectives included:
  • Raising a combined total of £200 for the Cathedral Archer Project from pre event activities and fundraising during the event.
  •  Increasing awareness by a combined total of 40% for the Cathedral Archer Project through all stages of the event.
Crystal Bar, Sheffield was the selected venue due to its recent renovation, ease of access and potential contact that let us have the venue for no charge. Here is a picture of Crystal Bar before the setup of the event: 

In order to achieve a successful return on investment, attendance numbers were set to a maximum number of 58 to ensure comfort, space and ambience within the venue. Here is a picture showcasing attendance and reflecting the atmosphere that was created during the event:

In order to provide value for money for all stakeholders, theming and décor had to be optimized to reflect the Las Vegas theme. The following pictures show how DoubleDose Events implemented theming and décor into the event:

All table decorations were designed to fit into the Vegas theme of the event. As shown by the pictures, the use of playing cards, dice and poker chips were used for place cards, table center pieces and general table decorations.

In order to keep guests amused and entertained through the evening, DoubleDose events hired in casino tables, a magician, showgirls and singers to do so. This would allow for entertainment throughout the 3 course meal and the corresponding casino room in which guests would gamble with fake money and enjoy jazz/swing type music. Here are some pictures reflecting the entertainment of the evening:

The entertainment and pre event activities were key factors in raising the grand total of £521.93. Without sponsorship from family companies, we could not have achieved enough of a surplus to achieve our objective of £200 for the charity. Also, pre event activities including setting up a car boot sale and a cake sale to generate funds for the event and help the group set more money towards the charity. Here are some pictures representing the pre event activities that took place:

The largest sum of money came from the raffle in which people bought tickets for £10 a strip in order to have a choice to be selected to win any of our group prizes including:

        Spa Vouchers
        Gift sets
        Meals for two at different restaurants and locations in Sheffield and the surrounding areas.

The following pictures represent snapshots of the raffle and the helpful involvement of the showgirls in selling and handing our tickets:

Furthermore, in order to have a successful build up to the event and keep stakeholders on board a Facebook and Twitter page was set up. This allowed for me as Marketing Manager to speak to potential attendees, gain opinions on theming and décor and give information and updates about the event that everyone could see at an instant. 

In order to certify the success of the event, the DoubleDose events members' roles were created as follows:

Marco Galluzzo - Marketing Manager. Ensuring the constant updates of social media, creation of promotional material and the collection of stakeholder feedback before, during and after the event.

Madeleine Bentley - Operations Manager. Involved with the actual running of the event. She also dealt with health and safety documents, health procedures and dealing with all stakeholders on the day of the event.

Eliza Carroll - Creative Manager. Eliza was in charge of dealing with the theming and décor of the event, ensuring maximum benefit for money and to stimulate the senses of the attendees during the event.

Devon Forbister - Financial Manager. Devon had the task of ensuring the budget was kept up to date, update members on their current spending and gaining numerous amounts of quotations on items before anything was bought or decided.

The following picture displays the final realized budget showing the overall costs in comparison to the revenues generated:

As you can see with the completion of our 100% sales, we managed to achieve a profit of £521.93. We also had contingency plans knowing that we could sell around 80% of tickets and ensure that we would still meet our£200 profit target for the charity.

Other memorable/high moments include different members of audiences networking with one another and gaining positive feedback about the event from the attendees involved. Here are some pictures expressing these memorable moments and feedback that was attained during the event: