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Tricks of the Trade: Corporate Event Planning

February 13, 2013 Bradford Group Administrator

Over the years, many of our Bradford Group clients have come to us for their corporate event planning needs. Our role as their PR firm is to plan, promote and help coordinate the logistics of their event.

JT Terrell

JT Terrell, Music City Tents and Events

When the time comes for corporate event rentals like linens, tables, china, tents, etc., there’s no better choice than Music City Tents and Events (MCTE).

We reached out to MCTE’s co-owner, JT Terrell, for his insights on what’s “now” in corporate event planning rentals.

Q: Overall, what’s the climate in corporate event planning? Is business booming?

A: Corporate event planning took a big hit during the recession. If a company is short on cash, the first thing their directors are going to cut is events. From ’08-’11 we saw a lot of companies either cancel their large events, hold them in their own offices or host them online.

We’ve noticed the purse strings loosening over the past year or so, and companies are beginning to hold their traditional annual conferences in grander style.

The great thing is, a lot of organizations are looking toward Nashville. Our city is getting a lot of attention because we’re the up and coming place to be and our new venue, the Music City Center, is generating its own buzz.

We’re the up and coming place to be.

Q: What’s the main distinction between a corporate event and any other type of event?

A: Corporate events are typically more subdued than, let’s say, a wedding or maybe a fundraiser.  Corporate events are utilitarian and planners want their corporate rentals to be the background rather than the foreground.  Because of their simplistic tone, the typical corporate event venue is a hotel.

Hotel conference areas are designed to accommodate a wide variety of events so they’re usually a blank canvas. That’s good if you’re planning a traditional corporate event, but it can get costly if you’re trying to accomplish a dramatic look, since hotel space is typically as I said, a blank canvas.

Q: How do you cost-effectively “spice up” a corporate event?

A: There are a handful of easy ways to customize your event without breaking the bank.

  • Chairs – The hotel or venue where you’re holding your corporate event will most likely have foldout metal chairs you can use. One of the easiest ways to dress up your event and convey to attendees that you’re willing to go the extra mile is by opting out of the standard metal chairs and upgrading to a wooden variety.
  • Chargers – If you choose a hotel for your corporate event, they will most likely have china or dinnerware you can use. To kick it up a notch, and customize your table setting, add a charger. I’d suggest choosing your company color to really personalize the experience.

    Personalize with Chargers

    Personalize with Chargers

  • Linens – Matching the tablecloth and napkins to your company colors is also an easy and cost effective way to add individuality to your corporate event.
  • Chair ties – If you’re trying to set a dressier tone, chair ties will accomplish that.
  • Specialty Lighting – If you’re hosting an evening event like a dinner during your corporate event, lighting gobos with your company logo are an unexpected touch that are sure help your corporate event stand out.

Q: What’s the best time to schedule your corporate event?

A: Midweek during the day. If it’s a larger conference, plan your conference activities Tuesday through Friday. In the four-day scenario, a Thursday night dinner is typical and appropriate.

Q: Are round or square tables the way to go? What fosters the most attendee conversation?

King Table

King Table

A: There’s a trend right now to use long 14-foot tables called King tables. They seat 14-16 as opposed to 10. I personally favor them to more

traditional tables and notice conversation seems to flow better since there are more people to contribute.

Q: What’s the most memorable corporate event you’ve helped plan?

A: We help VACO with all of their corporate events. They certainly know how to throw a party. For one of their events we tented the lawn at the Walk of Fame Park. It was really cool.

Q: What are your favorite corporate event spaces in Nashville?

A: The Country Music Hall of Fame, aVenue, The Ruby, Noah Liff Opera Center, The Bridge Building, and Cheekwood.

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