My mom always told me that she thought I should be an event planner. Maybe that’s because my father’s side of the family has owned and operated an event rental business called Camelot Special Events & Tents for the last forty years. Or maybe it’s because I’m organized, creative and meticulously detail-oriented – the perfect attributes for an event planner. Regardless, thanks to The Castle Group, I got to live the dream as an events intern – if only for the summer.
From an outside perspective, it may seem like event rental services and event planning services have a lot in common. While this is true in some sense, I have come to realize that there is one large distinction between the two professions. Event rental services are a cog in the machine: a specific and essential component, but one of many parts. Event planners, on the other hand, are the operators of the machine. They have the general knowledge necessary to make the whole thing work without a hitch.
Of course, this is not to say that these two professions lack similarities. Event rental services and event planning services naturally have common threads that have become increasingly apparent to me over the past few months. In fact, my experiences from working in both event rentals and event planning have taught me a few valuable lessons as a young professional in the events industry.
1. There are three different perspectives in the events industry: the client’s vision, your vision, and what actually happens.
Any client’s vision is achievable given a blank check and zero logistical restrictions. However, there are always budget restrictions, capacity limits and unforeseen challenges which often conflict with the client’s original concept. Seemingly simple choices such as which kind of tent to rent can trigger a slew of new decisions and discussion. That is where the professionals of both event rental services and event planning must advise the client on what is achievable.
It is the professional’s job to take the client’s vision and ideas and apply them practically to make their dream a reality within their budget. Oftentimes this also means helping the client find the best way to accomplish an objective. For example, this summer a client of Castle’s wanted to create an impactful moment that encouraged audience participation; so, the team sat down to brainstorm a variety of creative concepts for the client to choose from, and eventually landed on an idea that the client loved.
Striking a balance between what the client wants and what the restrictions allow is an art form not easily mastered, but I have found that the best event rental specialists and event planners are those who manage to achieve this objective.
2. Building client relationships is an essential part of success.
Both event rental and event planning services depend on forging lasting relations with their clients. I have learned that a client relationship must be symbiotic, because neither of you would be successful without the other. Success for them is success for you, and ultimately, the business as a whole.
Event rental and event planning services similarly benefit from treating clients both big and small as their top priority. Event rental and event planning companies understandably have the same busy seasons – and I have seen firsthand how busy they really are – but I’ve learned that it is during these times that it is most important to maintain and build customer relations. Here at Castle, we manage client relationships efficiently and effectively by working in teams. Each project has a team lead who is supported by other team members to ensure that we keep up response time and meet deadlines even during the busiest times.
If you are willing to go above and beyond to provide your customer with dependable, high quality service, you will grow and achieve alongside one another.
3. Your commitment and level of effort as a professional makes all the difference.
Clients are perceptive; they recognize when you are dedicated and loyal to them (Castle’s clients even tell them so). From my experience in both event rentals and event planning, I have seen that the effort put forth by the event rental specialist or the event planner directly affects the outcome of the event.
Automobile visionary Henry Ford famously remarked, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” He was innovative and dedicated enough to provide customers with a service that they didn’t even know they wanted or needed.
This ability is beneficial when working with clients in the events industry as well. The more hats you wear, the more useful you are to the company and to your client. Correspondingly, if you exude minimum effort on the job, the event’s outcome (and the client’s attitude) will reflect that. It is when you support your customers with the highest level of commitment that you execute effective events, forge lasting relationships, and grow as a professional.
These three lessons have guided my entrance into the professional events world. I have found that your background really can be a huge benefit, especially regarding event planning where there is so much to learn and understand. Every single day working in the events industry has brought me new knowledge and experience that I believe will be an invaluable contribution to my future success.