Find the Right Event Management Company for You
If you’re looking to hire or partner with an event management company, here are some tips to keep you on track. Like starting any relationship, you should find someone you like and trust. Being able to do their job should be a given but it’s not.
Planning an event can be stressful; we like to compare it to building a house. You would never call a contractor and simply ask them to “build you a house!” no more than you would call an event planner and simply ask them to plan your event. There are so many things that need to be discussed! Here are 5 things you should keep top of mind when you’re hiring an experiential marketing or event management company.
The first thing that comes to mind when we are asked to quote on an event is budget. To get to the point, your budget as that will impact how BIG you can build your house. There are some nice to have items. Then there are need to have items. This is perfectly relate able to planning an event. We recognize that some companies or organizations are not able to reveal budget but doing so better enables us to come up with an accurate and realistic quote. In turn, it also helps us to quote our estimated time and project management fees better as well.
Just recently, we received a quote request to plan an outdoor event for 5,000 people on Canada Day weekend. The company indicated they had secured the venue already. They planned to provide free food, beverages and entertainment. Not having planned an event like this before, they wanted an event management company to help them coordinate the food, entertainment, AV, staging etc. It seemed a bit unusual to us however that they would be looking to provide free food and beverages. Free food and beverages for 5,000 people is EXPENSIVE!
After discussing their vision for the event, naturally our next question was regarding budget. They indicated a range of $25,000-$50,000. This seems rather low, wouldn’t you agree? Based on 5,000 people, even if you spent $10/person on food and drinks, you’d be looking at $50,000!!! Since they had confirmed the space already, we recommended offering 10×10 footprints to local restaurants who could participate to promote their services by providing food samples for free. This would bring down the budget exponentially and dedicate those funds to the event experience instead. If you’re expecting a quantity of people like that, you want to give them something to do whether it’s live entertainment, games or something else. Otherwise, what’s the point? And speaking of which… that brings us to OUR next point 🙂
Why do you want to plan this event? Are you looking to raise money for charity or your business? Are you promoting a product or service? Your reason why will play a big part in how you concept the event, develop and relay messaging about it and impact the event experience.
Since 2012, Tigris has worked with St. Joseph’s Health Centre to plan a Halloween Festival Fundraiser and Parade. As you can appreciate, this event is geared towards connecting with the local community and raising money for the foundation. In addition to keeping the project on track, Tigris is mandated to collect 3-4 quotes for each service to make sure we get the best price as possible for the hospital. This directly supports the objective to maximize fundraising dollars raised by sponsors and by attendees the day of.
A great event management company will employ a team of excellent communicators. You should be able to get a hold of them at any time. While most information will be available to, it may not be readily accessible the moment you need an answer. If you’re working for a big company or well known organization, it’s natural for vendors, members of the community or other parties to connect with you about your event from time to time. This could even be many months after your event or between events. Your event management company should be able to recall important communication or event planning details quickly and easily for you. If there is any turn over within your company or organization, the historical data is essential to brief and train new team members.
If you’re looking to hire an event management company, a good indication of their communication skills will be highlighted in the before – and the after. How quick were they able to turn around a quote for you? Did they answer all of your questions clearly and concisely? Did they indicate their approach to your event and how they planned to deliver? After the event, how long did it take them to provide a report? Was their reporting insightful? Was their final invoice on or under budget with adequate detail and proof of expenses?
Not meaning to brag… ok, maybe we are. At Tigris, we provide post-reports within 2-3 days immediately following the majority of our events. In comparison, one of our clients shared that a past event management company took 3 months to provide their report. You can just imagine our reaction – and we will leave it at that!
To get the ball rolling, your event management company should provide you with a detailed and comprehensive plan. Think of this is a gigantic to do list!
A work back schedule (or critical path) should include:
– what needs to be done;
– who is doing it;
– when it needs to be done by;
– and any important details or nuances pertaining to each requirement
Your work back schedule will be a living and breathing document throughout the entire planning process. We like to load our critical path to google docs to share with our clients. This way, they can take a look whenever they want to see how the event is progressing. Google docs also allows multiple people to work on the same document. This is great for an event management company as there may be a few planners working on the same event simultaneously.
Tigris quoted on a project recently and was horrified to learn that our client’s company had withdrawn their services mid-planning. As it turns out, they were more of a PR firm, with no event management experience, took the booking and got in over their head. Fortunately, we were able to save the day and the event went ahead as planned – on budget and on time. The moral of the story? If you’re hiring an event management company, it’s like hiring any other service provider. We still love our house example! If you were hiring a contractor, you need to do your due diligence. Partnering with an event management company is no different. If you don’t put in the appropriate research, it could cost you.
At the end of the day, it’s the results that count. Was your event executed smoothly? And if there were any issues that arose, did your event management company troubleshoot them quickly and efficiently? This is not something you can gauge before you hire one – but you can ask for references. Ask for at least a few to give you a well rounded opinion of the prospective event management company you are considering. Ask well thought out, open ended questions. You can supplement your insight of the company by looking them up on google, linked in and other sources. Online reviews, ratings and testimonials are also a great resource to determine the quality of a company’s capabilities.
Team Up with an Event Management Who Gets You
With most events, you only have one shot to get things right. It’s important to team up with an event management company who understand you, communicates well, gets you results and makes your job and life easier!
To discuss your next event, give us a call at 1-844-4TIGRIS.
How do you go about celebrating your best year yet? Throw nationwide holiday staff parties of course! Tigris events staff could be found working more than 32,000 hours on 4,500 shifts and 1,200+ activations in 2016. That’s a 30% increase over our 2015 events. Needless to say, we have lots to be thankful for and want to show gratitude with the hard-working members of our team.
We’ve been working with and getting to know some amazing staff across the country. What better way to ring in the New Year and celebrate our successes than with holiday staff parties in not only 1 but 4 of our major markets? This past Sunday, Tigris held its 13th Annual Holiday Staff Party in Toronto as well as our 1st Holiday Staff Parties in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver!
Planning for our Holiday Staff Parties
Planning holiday staff parties is not an easy feat, especially when your party is coinciding with so many others over the holiday season. With family gatherings, last minute gift shopping, traveling plans, vacations, and exams, it’s hard to get everyone under one roof. Even though we have nearly 600 people on our Toronto roster, past years have proven that only 10-15% of our roster makes it out. That’s why this year, we did things a little differently.
In previous years, holiday staff parties have been held in late November or early December. This year, however, we opted to schedule the parties for Sun., Jan. 8. Our team was interested in selecting this date to avoid conflicts with other commitments. Being a Sunday evening, guests can run their errands before the party, but go home early enough to take on the new week!
Our Account Coordinator, Joanna, spent lots of time researching tons of cool venues in each of the four cities before deciding on locations (named below) worthy enough for our holiday staff parties. We brainstormed a few places in Toronto, including iDarts, Ripley’s Aquarium, and Skyzone.
We utilized a variety of methods to round up the guests for our holiday staff parties. EventBrite was a huge help, as our guests could RSVP directly on their website. EventBrite has an instant notification system so we were consistently in the know about who was attending. In addition, Facebook event invites were created so our staff can see the guest list. We get it, most of us make decisions about whether to attend an event based on who else is going! As the deadline to purchase tickets neared, we also sent out personal reminders via email, text and phone calls. Each city had a sizeable guest list by Jan. 5 and we were pumped!
How were the Holiday Staff Parties?
On the evening of the 8th, Tigris staff filed into pubs and bars in each of the four major cities for their respective holiday staff parties. Our Toronto staff dressed to impress at the trendy Ballroom in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Tigris Head Office Team gave each guest drink tickets for the Turkey Bar as well as a raffle ticket for the prize draw. Delicious food platters were spread throughout the private party room and servers emerged in waves with additional mouthwatering appetizers. The BBQ grilled chicken skewers and mini mac n’ cheese were team favourites!
The party came in full swing around 7pm. Serious smack talking could be overheard by the two pool tables, coupled by the thunderous crash of bowling pins in the two private bowling lanes.
Over in Montreal…
Tigris staff could be found indulging in goodies at the Bishop & Bagg, an authentic British pub in Mile-End. At 7:01pm, our Regional Account Manager & host, Tommy posted a live Facebook video of guests clinking glasses for a toast. This led to a chain of live videos from each party being posted across the country. While we only had a small group of guests attend this party, they were touched that they finally had the opportunity to partake in a holiday celebration with some of their co-workers
A couple time zones behind in Calgary…
Tigris staff were mixing and mingling at the Hose and the Hound. Our regional account manager for Calgary went live on Facebook interviewing guests about their favourite part about working with Tigris. One events staff, Tara said, “it’s the different sorts of events, the level of professionalism, and the follow through with what they [Tigris] say.” Rayna said she really enjoyed working the Canada Beef event, which is always well organized and fun.
On the West Coast…
Tigris Event Manager, Jaime was busy chatting with Tigris promotional models at Doolins, an Irish Pub. When asked why she loves working with Tigris, Paris exclaimed, “because of the people I get to work with!” Holding up her wine glass, Yvonne said her reason was because of the awesome holiday staff parties that Tigris throws. YAY! We had closer to 30 team members hit up our Vancouver party – the 2nd largest crowd next to Toronto. What a great group!
Near the end of the night, we raffle prizes were drawn to further to show our appreciation for staff who made it out to party in the freezing cold. We gave away lots of sweet prizes, including $25-$100 gift cards to The Keg, Sportchek, Cineplex and many other places. Congratulations to all of our team members who took home added bonuses in each of our cities. The parties went off without a hitch and team members had a blast. Our management team had so much fun chatting with old friends and meeting new ones. Even our CEO came into the office on Monday morning with no voice so you know we had a good time! To check out all of the photos from the parties, check out our facebook fan page!
Since the Tigris holiday staff parties this year were so fun, we’re thinking of throwing Tigris Summer Staff Parties! What do you think?
I’m already daydreaming about those pink drinks on a patio or a friendly game of volleyball by the beach!
To find out more about what Tigris does when we’re not having holiday staff parties, please visit the rest of this website or call us at 416-283-9119. If you’re interested in joining the team, please send 2-3 photos in addition to your resume to email@example.com. If eligible, one of our recruiters will be in contact to schedule an interview.
About Top Choice Awards and Tigris’ Top Event Staffing Agency Win
On Sat., Oct. 22, Tigris’ CEO officially accepted the Top Choice Award for Top Event Staffing Agency. While we were notified about this incredible honour back in February, we did not receive the gorgeous golden trophy until this past weekend.
* receive at least 25 nominations in their category //
* be in business for at least 1 year
* conduct fair business practices
* should have a clean exterior and interior business location – what a business portrays to customers when they walk in is important
* in need of an acceptable online image – website are easy to understand and navigate with a pleasing aesthetic
* have online reviews with a minimum of 75% positive online business reviews and no more than 25% negative
* have one of more acceptable social media platforms (facebook, instagram, twitter, linked in.)
What Does It Take To Be The Top Event Staffing Agency
Tigris has been in business for 12 years and while this award is specific the top event staffing agency in GTA, our team is strong Canada-wide. None the less; it’s extremely exciting to be recognized with an award of this stature. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Tigris, it’s no surprise since we are the company behind the brands we build. From our humble beginnings, planning events in the basement of the company founders home and less than 25 staff here in Toronto – to purchasing our office space in March of 2015 with 6 full-time employees and 2000 events staff nationwide – it’s been quite a ride, to say the least.
When we are discussing our dynamic event staffing and experiential marketing services with prospective clients, one of the most common questions we get is – what makes us different. So what is it that makes us the top event staffing agency?
To answer this question, we asked our client’s this same question. One of them said, our success onsite is a given – but it’s the before and after that is truly exceptional. From the moment they contact us, they know they are in good hands. Their calls and emails are responded to promptly, we keep them in the loop every step away, we have measures in place to troubleshoot if need be, our post-reports are provided within 2-3 days of an event wrapping up – and this performance is consistent – event after event.
We have instilled our management team with a sense of urgency so no client’s call or email goes unanswered for an extended period of time. Our team is accessible 24/7 to ensure our events are executed smoothly. With such a large team, we also have processes and systems in place to further support the success of our activations. Our account managers work feverishly day in and day out planning our events and are excellent at what they do. In field, we look for the best of the best in our brand ambassadors, events staff, promo models and market researchers. We are committed to paying them well/quickly along with other incentives, benefits and fun/flexible opportunities to keep them coming back for years on end, literally. Some of our staff have been on our team for over 10 years which is almost unheard of in our industry.
While winning the award for the top event staffing agency is an exciting accomplishment, it’s not everything. Our people are our passion – and our client’s success is our success. Over the past 12 years, we have created, planned and staffed close to 10,000 activations for over 500 clients. That is a whopping 44,771 management hours and 144,971 combined staffing hours. That’s pretty amazing if you ask us – and now we have our consumer’s votes to support what we knew all along! And speaking of votes! Not only were we provided with feedback from voters, we were also provided with the results. We were proud to see we received more than half of the total votes in our category and a 90% overall rating. Results like this are something our entire team can be proud of – and it’s a testament to the quality of service our business stands for.
To date, Tigris has been nominated for 7 awards in the past 2 years and won 3 including the Top Choice Award for Top Event Staffing Agency, #95 on the W100 List of Female Lead Businesses for 2016 as well as a sales achievement award at the Ultimate Wealth Weekend in 2014. Check out our full list of award wins and nominations.
Recognizing Canadian business women is important, wouldn’t you agree? Only 14% of CEO positions in this country are held by female leaders – and even a smaller percentage own and/or run their own business. While the statistics are disheartening, there are some organizations – such as Veuve Clicquot, the luxury champagne brand – have long celebrated and honoured business women internationally.
New to Canada in 2013 was the Business Woman Award and more recently, in 2016, the well known brand launched the New Generation Award. Among hundreds of applicants, Tigris’ very own CEO, Serena Holmes was recognized alongside 4 other business women who qualified as finalists for the prestigious award. Isn’t that exciting?
The Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award recognizes the success and vision of up and coming entrepreneurial business women between the ages of 25-35. The age group was specifically selected as it marks the formative years of Madame Clicquot’s own tenureship of the House. It is anticipated that the winner of the award will reflect her values of audacity, innovation, fearlessness and drive to act in the moment!
At the awards presentation, held at Aria Restaurant in Toronto on Tues., Oct. 4, it became clear that all finalists exhibited passion for their work, a commitment to their employees and the community and a high measure of corporate social responsibility. Each finalist of this category and the Business Woman Award category – had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes and showcase their work.
All finalists were evaluated by an impressive panel of 6 judges including Lise Watier! In addition to age, all judges were required to evaluate finalists based on:
Entrepreneurship // being the leader of a business that has optimized a profound gap in the marketplace to bring an innovative offering and approach to modern business. They must demonstrate a fearless approach in their actions and leadership.
Innovation // utilizing an ability to transform a creative vision or innovation into a realistic and tangible business model.
Corporate Social Responsibility // finalists have a genuine commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices such as responsible product sourcing, community engagement and industry partnerships.
While our CEO did not take home the award, she comments, “I have worked hard to build Tigris over the last 12+ years so it’s a huge honour to be recognized among so many passionate and inspiring finalists. Furthermore, I am proud to have been nominated by one of our former employees, Kristen Carey (2nd from the right below). It is not only a compliment – but also a testament to the kind of leader I have strived to become.”
The winner of the New Generation Award will receive a crystal La Grande Dame-shaped trophy, a case of Veuve ClicquotVintage Rose 2005 and a VIP visit with a guest to Hotel due marc, Veuve Clicquot’s Private Mansion in the heart of Reims. They will also receive a place on INSEAD’s Powering Growth Programme, directed by Jean Claude Larreche.
So what’s next for Tigris? On Oct. 20, we are attending the Business Excellence Awards hosted by the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade. Our submission for consideration was nearly 100 pages so we are eager to find out if we’ve won! On Oct. 22, we will be attending the Top Choice Awards Gala to officially accept our trophy for Best Event Staffing Agency of 2016. For more on these awards and other recognition Tigris has received, click here.
Wedding Themes, Venues, Decor and More
Tigris is heavily involved in event staffing but over the last 12+ years we’ve been in business, we’ve also planned lots of events from start to finish. This includes inspired wedding themes! While our business is corporate focused, we have planned surprise birthday and anniversary parties. More recently, we planned a post-wedding reception for our very own CEO, Serena Holmes! Her and her husband were married in Thailand on their 9 year anniversary. Because they eloped, they wanted to plan an amazing reception for friends and family when they got home.
The wedding industry is a special beast, isn’t it? There are so many emotions flowing, family dynamics (or drama) to work through, a budget to manage and a relationship to keep healthy. Weddings are beautiful but they can also be stressful. From wedding themes and venues to catering, decor and a DJ, here are a few things our CEO learned along the way.
Nautical Inspired Wedding Themes at The Avalon Lounge!
When our CEO and her husband made the decision to elope in Thailand, their respective families weren’t exactly overjoyed that they couldn’t be involved in their day. This couple is a unique pair. They believe that marriage is about the two people involved. As a result, it was an easy decision to go on a whirlwind trip of a lifetime, saying “I Do” on an 11km long private beach in Khao Lak. They also toured 5 cities to create irreplaceable memories to build the next step of their life on. They love their families but thought it would be really cool to plan their wedding day in a tropical destination. They saved photos from the private beach ceremony and intimate candlelit waterfall dinner for a post-wedding celebration. In a nutshell, the post-wedding celebration was the exact same thing as a wedding reception without the stress of a ceremony the same day. Like any event, the first step in figuring out wedding themes – or anything else for that matter – is finding a location.
VENUES :: there are tons of venues in the GTA to choose from but they widely vary in size, cost, location, etc. With so many years of event planning under her belt, our CEO decided to book the party at The Avalon Lounge in Whitby. This is different from most halls because you’re only renting a room. This means you need to hire your own caterer, stock the bar, hire bartenders, get a permit – and set up/tear down – all by yourself. While this may sound like a lot of work, it cuts your costs in half (if not more!) and you still get everything you need. This includes a beautiful, open concept room with a bar, kitchen, indoor and outdoor space. Best of all, it’s on the waterfront in south Whitby. Guests had a GREAT time sprawling out on the patio, picnic tables and roaming the docks checking out the boats. With a location like this, it lent itself perfectly to nautical wedding themes. The location already had lots of great decor so this didn’t require nearly as much effort as it would have by choosing a regular hall. which adds to the savings.
Back in 2012, Tigris planned a couple of Moulin Rouge themed corporate parties. The marketing company that hired us booked the venues before hand which created some issues. Given the theme, the events required major installation of staging/drapery. This comes included with select venues in each city. Had they thought it through before hand, they could have cut their costs significantly by allowing Tigris to research and submit these venues for consideration in advance. However, since they did not, nearly $15,000 was spent re-creating what is readily available at some venues. In addition, they were forced to absorb a $10,000 cost to cancel one venue and switch to a better one in Calgary. It’s important to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line – that was a very costly cancellation!
DECOR :: pay close attention to the decor when you are checking out different venues. Some may have what you need already! For Serena, she noticed that The Avalon Lounge had lots of great decor already which would compliment the nautical wedding themes. The venue already had boating inspired paintings and a marlin on the wall behind the bar. They even a table with a ships wheel as a base along with a book shelf, with books on boating.
To enhance the venue, white chair covers and navy satin table cloths were rented. Navy/white runners were also purchased to set the tone for the guest tables. LED lit wire-framed lanterns were purchased as centerpieces. Vases were filled with 2 white hydrangeas and decorated with white rope, burlap string and anchor prints. The front table featured the same table linens along with a decorated gift jar. In addition, name tags were placed on a wire framed board and lots of sea shells. It’s safe to say everyone was aware of the theme!
FOOD STATIONS & BAR :: the catering company selected offered an array of delicious passed and stationary appetizers followed by 3 food stations. Keeping in mind guest preferences, Serena and her husband chose a variety of options. This included a carvery with prime rib, chardonnay chicken, spring salad and rolls, a Greek souvlaki station with chicken skewers, gyros, traditional salad and spanokopita and a mashed potato bar. The potato bar was a HUGE hit! Following dinner was a coffee/tea service and dessert – 3 mini cakes (turtles tart, caramel crunch and molten lava), a flaming crepe station and even a Lithuanian wedding cake.
One key learning from hiring the caterer was not to assume you’ll get to keep any left overs. This caterer in particular had a clause indicating all left over food is disposed of to ensure there are no risks of food poisoning from spoiled food. Unfortunately, this was one detail that wasn’t clearly communicated. Therefore, all left overs went into the garbage including the dessert – and the wedding cake that had been provided by Serena’s mother in law 🙁 Needless to say, it was a little disappointing.
The bartenders dressed in wedding themes to further enhance the guest’s experience. The navy and white striped shirts were perfect! The bar featured a decorated lemonade dispenser, 3 floral arrangements and 4 fish bowls with themed candy and snacks (peanuts aka “fish food” | gold fish crackers “catch of the day” | shark gummies “shark bites | gummy rings “life preservers”). Even the patio tables outside had small LED lanterns for ambient lighting after the sun went down.
INVITATIONS / GIFTS :: the theme was revealed with invitations a few months in advance of the party including a ship’s wheel on one side and an anchor on the back side. While return RSVP cards were provided with a stamp, quite a few guests didn’t RSVP on time and had to be contacted by phone, email or social media to confirm. When you’re dealing with a large number of people, confirmations can be a bit of a moving target. Keep calm and be flexible… it’s not ideal but it’s to be expected there could be changes – even up to the day of the event.
Given the nontraditional nature of the event, lots of guests had questions about what to wear. They were encouraged to dress in summer casual apparel they would be comfortable in so they could enjoy the indoor and outdoor space afforded by the venue. Not everyone may understand your vision so be patient and be as clear as possible when providing information.
Gifts were sourced for guests with the nautical wedding themes in mind. They included nautical wine stoppers with an anchor on top and glass coasters etched with a ship’s wheel. Both items were wrapped in white paper bags, stamped with an anchor in navy ink and decorated with royal blue curled ribbons.
When all was said and done, the event went off without a hitch and guests had a great time – some of our Tigris staff included!
No matter what kind of event you’re planning – from wedding themes to birthday parties (for dance lessons you’re on your own), be mindful of details as they are all interconnected. Keeping this in mind may cost or save you down the road. For all of your event planning needs, give us a ring at 416.283.9119 or email us at