Tag Archives: events

Unconventional Conventions

We’ve all walked onto the tradeshow floor at a convention and been overwhelmed by the task of walking the whole floor and absorbing everything that’s there.  There’s only so much time that we have during limited time we to spend on the floor engaged in productive conversation with the exhibitors in addition to the educational seminars, events, off-shoot business meetings and company gatherings that we have to attend. 

In addition, for the exhibitors, the costs of hosting a booth can be astronomical in the design, set up, labor and staffing depending on the tier and city the convention is hosted in.   The conversion of contacts to sales to demonstrate a profitable return on investment can be elusive.   It may even be a losing proposition for smaller companies (and even some of the larger ones) when trying to maximize marketing budgets.

In the shadow of the “new” economy, we’ve found that many companies are looking for new ways to make productive contact with potential clients and begin constructive relationship building.  Will the traditional tradeshow booth fall as companies find more creative and economical ways to spend quality time with potential and established clients?  We think not, but there is alternative.

Clients are becoming more and more interested in creating alternate avenues to meet with their clients.  Chaotic tradeshow floors make it hard to really connect meaningfully with clients. How many times have you found yourself saying, “Do you want to slip away for coffee so we can talk?” Cocktail parties in the aisle of the convention centers offer equally low quality opportunities. Let’s face it, it really doesn’t matter what booth you’re in when the 5PM cocktails roll out, it’s all free and it’s hectic!  There’s no experience attached with the contact, nothing that can really set you apart from your competition in the next booth.  There’s only so much creativity that can happen within the confines of the limited square footage of an exhibitor booth.  Add in the policies and restrictions of the venue itself, and bam, you’re stuck on main street with everyone else.  Are you ready to try a different approach?

Recently, we had a client that decided to take a risk and do something different.  Instead of renting a booth at the tradeshow, they rented a mansion for three days, provided transportation, invited potential clients to a private presentation, met with them, engaged, and then at the end of the day, held a private cocktail party for the guests to enjoy and continue networking with key members of the team.

In addition, the last day of the convention, the company kept their team for an internal sales meeting to discuss and define how the alternative approach worked for them.  The feedback was positive – from both the potential clients AND the sales team. 

The team felt that choosing a different way to do things set them apart from their competitors, provided opportunity for meaningful and productive conversation and enabled them to really relationship build with their prospective client. It allowed them to remain focused on the goal at hand without all the chaotic distraction.   They didn’t have as many cold touch points in numbers but the conversion for sales actually increased because the people they were talking to were qualified prospects.  Not all companies can work this way, but in this circumstance it made sense and the return on investment proved immediate.

In addition, the expense for this particular company to try something different was considerably less, even with having to provide transportation to and from the convention center and hotels and providing high end food and beverage.  The mansion was branded in creative ways to make the property their own.  It left an indelible impression and clients were so appreciative of the focused time the company was able to give them.  Making an impression and moving the conversation forward?  Check.

Another company, used the ICEBAR Orlando for their tradeshow space which is within walking distance of the Orange County Convention Center and the convention hotels like the Peabody and Rosen Plaza, again creating an opportunity to communicate that was different from the tradeshow floor, yet still easy for convention attendees to get to and spend some quality time getting to know a potential supplier.  (Watch for an upcoming blog in the next few days on this FABULOUS venue for events!) Again, the ICEBAR became a uniquely branded space that fit the company perfectly while providing a different experience from that of a traditional tradeshow.

While these are just a couple examples, the surrounding areas of convention centers often hold hidden treasures for developing and implementing a very strategic approach to convention visibility and client attraction and retention. Is it a trend?  We think perhaps it is, and if so, it’s a smart one.  Do we think it will take the world by storm?  Maybe not, because then there would be no purpose in having a convention at all.  Gathering like-minded people and businesses in one place to share ideas and strategize business is invaluable. However, for the discerning client that wants to capitalize on their marketing budgets, set themselves apart from their competition and capture and engage potential clients, this ideology certainly shows huge promise.

If you’re interested in developing an alternative option to the tradeshow floor, we’d love to help you find a venue that would match your company brand, and help you engage and focus on your potential clients.   For further information, please contact valerie@thevibeagency.com.  As always, we welcome your thoughts and opinion on the topic too.

 

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VIBE SPOT: That’s Entertainment!

At the VIBE Agency, we are always talking about new products, cool events and great ideas.  Today, we’re going to focus on another aspect that serves many purposes during an event or even stands on its own.  Entertainment.  Entertainment wears many faces in the event realm, sometimes it is a background performer at a cocktail, or doubles for décor, pushes your product or content, gets the dance floor going…or is the focal point of the event.  Today, let’s focus on entertainment as a standalone focal point of an evening.

Picture this.  A small group in New York City needs an evening out and they want great food and entertainment but don’t have the budget to buy out a space, deck it out and get a headline act.  What to do?

With so many great dining and entertainment options available in New York, why not give them a Night on Broadway?  There are so many different scenarios that can be put together to create a wonderful experience out on the town in the Big Apple.

 

Pre-Theater Dinner:

DB Bistro Moderne is four-star chef Daniel Boulud’s modern French-American bistro where the traditions of French cuisine meet the flavors of the American market. The menu reflects the changing seasons and a focus on the simplicity of fine ingredients. DB promises dining that is as easy-going and convivial as it is delicious, in a casual and contemporary setting. Located in midtown, at the crossroads of fashion and theater, it is the perfect spot for pre- and post-theatre dining.

Theater Stop:

Sister Act: Direct from London and based on the hilarious hit film, Sister Act features an original score by 8-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast) and direction by 4-time Tony® winner Jerry Zaks (La Cage aux Folles, Guys and Dolls.). When disco diva Deloris witnesses a crime, the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look – a convent! Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. A sparkling tribute to the power of friendship, Sister Act is reason for Broadway to rejoice!

“Irresistible! One big, spirit-soaring joyful noise!” –The Times of London

After Theater Stop:

Stone Rose, a lounge by brothers and founders of the Gerber Group, Rande and Scott Gerber, fuses cutting edge interiors, exclusivity and signature cocktails to create an ambiance of style and comfort. Located on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center, the lounge was conceptualized to echo the posh atmosphere of a classically timeless hotel lounge, coupled with a new extensive small bites menu, an in-house sushi chef and breathtaking views of Central Park. The lounge’s décor is designed to emphasize the unique art piece showcased in the venue and the seating areas are constructed to provide both a feeling of intimacy, as well as an open atmosphere made for stylish Manhattan-ites.

There’s nothing better than a great night of great food, great music and late night fun in the glamor and glitz of  New York City.  Why not give your clients an experience they’ll never forget?  It’s a clever option that fits in with  smaller budgets we are seeing these days, yet gives guests an experience in NYC that they are likely to never forget.

Take note, that while it’s top of mind idea for NYC, there are many other similar experiences that can be created that highlight entertainment as the focal point of the evening – no matter what town you’re in.

For other great ideas for experiential evening ideas, please contact valerie@thevibeagency.com

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Miami – Don’t Stop Til You Drop!

We’ve busy with a myriad of events the past few weeks.  Today we thought we’d share one of the programs with you!

For a custom program for a  client who invited fifteen of their top international clients to the Winter Music Conference in Miami we put together a trip of fun, memorable experiences, great food and relaxation.   Their main objective was to highlight Miami and all that it has to offer within the winter months.  In addition, the guests were large nightclub owners, so you can imagine their excitement at being in Miami during the Winter Music Conference.

We know designing a winter program in Miami while everyone else is buried knee deep in chilly winter weather is a tough job…but someone’s gotta do it.  *smile* We designed a program filled with more fun than should be legal.  The object was to showcase the best of the best in Miami while providing unexpected and memorable experiences.

Guest arrival and check in at the beautiful Delano Hotel started off the trip.   This urban treat is located in the heart of South Beach and directly on the ocean.  Delano is the ultimate world-class urban resort hotel and self-contained destination. In a completely original manipulation of space that blurs all “normal” distinctions, Delano boasts the first indoor/outdoor lobby, offering a seamless flow between a series of unique environments. Philippe Starck has assembled a stunning international collection of furniture and objects, including works from such renowned artists as Antonio Gaudi, Man Ray, Charles and Ray Eames, Salvador Dali and Mark Newson.  It’s a stunning hotel and a must see when you are in Miami!

Why not start off a fun filled trip with a dine around at some of the most upscale restaurants in Miami.  The Blue Door…Asia d Cuba, Prime 112, and the VITA.  Can you say delicious?  Trust us, it was. And, more importantly the guests thought so too!

The next day we took them off for a few days in Key West in a convoy of convertible cars.  We dropped the tops, let our hair down and enjoyed the beautiful drive down to the Keys.

When the convertible convoy arrived in Key West, we checked them into the Casa Marina hotel.  Built in 1920, Casa Marina, is a flawless merging of old Key West ambiance and contemporary luxury. Immerse yourself in a restful haven where emerald lawns meet a blue Atlantic – welcoming stunning sunrises each day.

It is the “house by the sea” enveloped in breezy elegance and shaded by graceful palms.  Again, if you haven’t been there, it’s a bucket list experience.

That evening, it was off for a sail and then dinner on the beach.   Guests were soaking up every moment of the warm weather and beautiful views.

The next day it was back to Miami for a night of club crawling at some of Miami’s hottest night clubs – Mansion, Mynt, Mokai, Set…all of them.   During the Winter Music Conference there’s a party on every corner and since they were night club owners themselves, they were in their element.  Every year in March, Miami becomes the global platform of electronica music. Any artist or DJ Electro, beginner or advanced, must be in Miami for this explosion of festivals.  And this, to the delight of fans of Electro House, Ambient, Trance and Techno, and our clients were!  It’s a busy time in Miami as nearly 2,000 artists and DJs are invited to perform, approximately 500 journalists from around the world present to cover the event, industry professionals descend upon the city from all over the world.  Professionals are discovering new talent, DJs are trying to make themselves known and the public enjoys.  And, enjoy our guests did!

We’d shown the guests Miami by car, by hotel, by food and entertainment as well as the history and rich Art Deco  District architecture …what better way to add a wow than to showcase the city by air.  And, we did…with a 30 minute helicopter tour of the city.

And, of course what trip to the United States would be complete without some free time to shop…and shop they did.  With a quick trip to the Aventura Mall in Miami Beach!

The next day was departure day, and guests headed to the beach for some rest and relaxation before leaving for Miami International Airport to catch their flights home.

With all the fun that we had, we think we FINALLY wore them out.  Let it not be said that these guests wouldn’t keep going until they dropped.  We barely outlasted them, but we were still standing at the end of this whirlwind, jam packed trip!

Sound fun?  Why not let the VIBE Agency put together a custom program for your next trip to Miami.  Come on…come and party in the sand and the sun.  For more information, please contact valerie@thevibeagency.com.

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DMC’s: Fluffing Your Dollar

With the economic downturn everyone, everywhere is looking to find ways to trim back their budgets and save money.  The hospitality industry is no stranger to budget cutbacks and literal business eradication, after suffering through a devastating wipe-out of events/hospitality industry in the first 18 months of the stormy economy.  Established companies went out of business within days due to business simply dissolving into thin air with cancellation after cancellation and corporations going underground to avoid public scrutiny or perceptions that they were holding extravagant events and trips on the taxpayer dime.

But times are a changing and while business most likely won’t necessarily return in the same way, we are smarter, stronger and more aware now than ever before of the value that we bring to the table for our clients. We’ve had to re-evaluate, restructure and find new ways of doing business.  In doing so, we’ve really had to focus on the value that we bring to the table and how to increase what we call the “benefit effect.”

As a corporate event planner, it’s important to understand what really saves you money and what doesn’t when planning your meetings and events.  I want to share some thoughts with you that I am hopeful will  help you better understand the value of a DMC and our services as you are looking for that return on investment and budget accountability.  While  some of theses thoughts are not new, they are good reminders of how much monetary worth a DMC can bring to your programs.

1.       We are local. You are playing in our backyard.  We know the ins and the outs, where the best value can be found, where to go and where not to go.  We are your boots on the ground.

2.       We have relationships. We work with the very people you go to directly thinking it saves you money.  The difference is that we bring our local businesses a lot of money.  Often times we can offer special rates that you won’t get when approaching a hotel or venue without us.

3.      We are a lifeline. When something goes wrong, who are you going to call?  Another vendor off the internet?  DMC’s are your ally.  Your partner.  Your success is in our best interest and more often than not, we can literally be your lifesaver when an unexpected situation arises directing you to a solution that is cheaper, faster and reliable.

4.      Knowledge is power. We know the quality suppliers, the reputable business owners and who aren’t.  With the internet at the fingertips, businesses spring up over night.  We’ve vetted our vendors and worked with our local people.  These are our colleagues and business partners.  We have the relationships to make great things happen when you need them the most.  Take for instance, you are in a foreign country and there is a taxi strike (which actually happened to a me when I was in Rome).  Who are you going to call for transportation?    How do you find out information as to when the strike will end. Your local contact has the know- how and the contacts to create success for you rather than being at the mercy of someone looking to make a great dollar off your misfortune.

5.       We save you money. From entertainment to hotels and transportation, we can save you money.  We work with the local people all the time.  Often times, we can get a special rate with a hotel, a venue, or even a caterer.  In addition, we know what’s available locally so that you can save substantially in travel and hotel costs for elements that can be obtained locally.  The savings we offer you most times more than not offsets the cost of our services AND STILL saves you money.

To maximize the savings, bring your DMC into the loop early. Once you’ve begun negotiating with the hotel, it’s too late for the DMC to get you that special rate.   Pick up the phone and call us as soon as possible.  Bringing us in sooner will only help you save money since most of us base our fees based on the final services that we offer to clients.  The side benefit of that is that it’s only going to make your program stronger but more creative.  As they say, the early bird gets the worm.

I hope that you will find these tips to be helpful as you consider your next destination and the team that you will use to make it your best program ever.  At The VIBE Agency, providing our clients with great value and benefit is one of our biggest commitments.

For more information on the Vibe Agency or your next program in Miami, please contact valerie@thevibeagency.com.  We look forward to helping you make your next trip, an experience of a lifetime.

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Destination Vail Colorado !

Nestled away in the mountains of the White River National Forest is the small, quaint, winter paradise of Vail, Colorado.  With a population of less than 5,000, Vail is the perfect getaway spot for companies looking for an exclusive destination for meetings and incentives.  In additional opportunities for a little rest and relaxation, it’s the perfect destination to mix business with pleasure.

" Vail Village"

Located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains at a comfortable altitude of 8,150 feet, with crisp, dry air, Vail is a magnificent and surprisingly affordable destination for group and leisure guests. Eagle County Airport is just 30 minutes away, and Denver International Airport is just 100 miles to the east and offers a memorable and scenic trip through the mountains en route to the town of Vail.

The Place To Stay:  The Vail Cascade Resort & Spa

The Vail Cascade Resort & Spa will have you and your guests feeling like royalty with its stunning views of the mountains, recreational activities such as racquetball, three indoor and outdoor tennis courts, indoor volleyball and basketball courts, two heated swimming pools and two hot tubs, a full-size gym and the award winning Aria spa. Home to the second largest single ski mountain in North America, the opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and outdoor activities throughout the year are endless.

" Vail Cascade resort & spa"

You’ll be surrounded in opulence, comfort and convenience at Vail Cascade. The richly appointed guest rooms offer the finest accommodations and offer the intimacy of home, with the impeccable service of a AAA four-diamond resort.

" dining restaurant Vail Cascade resort & spa"

Team Activities and Team-building:

As one of the world’s most famous ski destinations, Vail is also stunningly beautiful in the other seasons. Activities abound year round, with snow sports, golf, shopping, fly fishing, jeep tours, horseback riding, biking, and just about anything else imaginable.  The VIBE Agency also offers a full line of custom team building activities and spousal program ideas to meet the specific needs of your group.

Business Meetings and Conferences

While it all looks fun, it’s about business too and Vail Cascade is the perfect location for business-savvy groups who are looking for the perfect place to hold their annual conferences, board or executive retreats and meetings. With 45,000 feet of space designed for groups of 10 to 800, the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, along with your team from The Vibe Agency, ensures that you have everything you need to make certain your conference is upscale and professionally produced. From state-of-the-art conference rooms to impeccable service, and creative décor and production management, you’ll find elegance and sophistication at one of our favorite Colorado alpine destinations. The VIBE Agency is very familiar with this beautiful mountain town and all it has to offer. We’d love to help you design a program that has just the right vibe for your retreat, conference, meeting and events.

Need more information? Just contact us at valerie@thevibeagency.com and we will be happy to assist you with anything you need.

The Dinner Experience:  The Swiss Chalet

The Swiss Chalet is a favorite of locals and out-of-towners alike with an exclusive menu and cozy, inviting décor. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the Swiss Alps with traditional European dishes such as Gebratenes Fisch Duett and Steak Tartar. And who could forget the delectable desserts and fondues!? Along with touches of custom décor and entertainment that fit your group’s needs, The VIBE Agency guarantees that the evening will be one that send your guests home with memories to last a lifetime.

" Swiss Chalet restaurant in Vail "

If you would like to feel the VIBE and talk about this destination for your next event or meeting, please contact Valerie Bihet at Valerie@thevibeagency.com

or visit www.thevibeagency.com.

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The VIBE Agency Goes Bananas!!!!

Life is about milestones and celebrations along the journey, and last year, Turbana had a lot to celebrate.  Forty years in business, forty years of growth, forty years of accomplishments and sustainability and looking ahead to the next forty years of even more success!  It was Turbana’s birthday – and we went bananas!!!!

Destination:  Orlando

Venue:  Double Tree Hotel, Castle Ballroom

Number of Guests:  120


Down the walkway to the Castle Ballroom, banana crates were stacked and branded with the Turbana logo and lit in bright vibrant colors of blue, purple, red, pink and green. Birds of Paradise Palms were up lit and helped to create the sultry ambiance we were looking for.    Guests only needed to follow the path of six big milestone stars underfoot to know they were headed in the right direction.  At the end of the walkway, there was a quick stop at a branded step and repeated for a quick photo with costumed girls in lime green and banana yellow satin and then it was full speed ahead to the party.   There was a sizzle in the air and we got that party started!


Further into the ballroom, waiters in custom Turbana shirts and bistro aprons welcomed guests to the birthday celebration with a cold Turbana Bananatini and a warm greeting.  Tropical flavored rhythms created a hot and sultry feel to the evening.  It was festive and exciting.   For the first forty five minutes, sumptuous tray passed hors d’ oeuvres of coconut shrimp, chicken salsa in plaintain cups and crab cakes were offered by wait staff.

As with any festive event, people wanted plenty of icy cold libations and we had them all. As a fun enhancement, specialty drinks were served from a custom ice bar with an etched Turbana logo.  Turbana Pineappletini anyone?

The room was awash in vivid tropical inspired colors.  Glass cut gobos splashed Turbana onto the walls intercut with break up patterns of banana leaves on the ceiling. Existing chandeliers were enhanced with banana leaves.  There was no mistaking the evening was hot, sultry and tropical!

Around the ballroom, high top and cocktail tables were set and surrounded by modern bar stools so that guests could find a spot and enjoy their food.  The tables were lit in bright-hot tropical green.  In addition to the variety of table seating, sleek lounge groupings of white leather furniture created spaces for people to sit, chat and enjoy a drink.   Lit, cubed plexi pillars in varying heights, and similarly styled coffee table height cubes in matching tropical colors completed the style of the look and created areas for places to sit food and drink.


Buffets were dressed in bright red linens and buffet floral were created from a variety of tropical fruits (mostly bananas) and banana hands to honor the “top banana” of the evening as well as provide a unique look.  Serving vessels were authentic bamboo and banana leaf finishing off the tropical look of the buffet! The menu was Caribbean in flavor with sumptuous edibles like Stuffed Artichokes, Crispy Fresh Salads, Grouper, Jerk Chicken, and Beef Tips with Plaintains.  Every bite was delicious.  To complete dinner, later in the evening, there was a decadent Banana’s Foster Station for those that may not have wanted some of the delicious birthday cake (It was a surprise!).

After dinner,  the lights were dimmed and Happy Birthday Cha Cha Cha began to play and two dancers rolled the cake out to the stage and everybody joined in to sing happy birthday.   The cake itself was a fun sight to behold with three layers of gloriously delicious cupcakes arranged to resemble a three tiered cake.  On the top, a fruit arrangement created from different varieties of bananas and finished off with a 40’s candle and sparklers.  We did say it was a celebration, right?

The DJ immediately lit up his turntables with some funky fun music to get guests out on the floor to celebrate and dance the night away.  It was non-stop until the event ended.

Leaving the party, each guest was handed a small custom logo gift bag stuffed with lime green and yellow tissue containing a small memento to remember the birthday party where everyone went bananas celebrating Turbana!  Here’s to the next forty!


At the VIBE Agency, we get it.  It’s about your event, your brand and our best efforts to assist you in creating an experience that speaks exactly to your event’s purpose.

This event was a celebration, a rebranding and a kick off to the future success of the company.  We delivered on every objective the client asked for and exceeded there expections.

Here’s what our clients had to say….” Valerie, thank you for organizing such a great event for Turbana’s 40 year anniversary celebration.  All the attendees had a great time and it was a refreshing change from the typical events usually organized in the produce industry.  You did a fantastic job!” M.T

“I want to thank you for the great job at our party. Everything was perfect and very well organized !!!. All customers and employees were really impressed. We also had a lot of fun. Thanks for a great job !!!” J.A

Contact Valerie@thevibeagency.com to find out how we can help YOU create just the right VIBE for your event!!!

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THE INDECENT PROPOSAL LIVES ON…

After getting the word out, we are getting response. Check this out.  This is a direct quote:

“FABULOUS IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MY class was on Wed. and it was one of the few times I didn’t make it to Search, but I have attended this most TSEs since it’s inception. I am not in the position at the moment to contribute to this, but will pass this along. Fortunately I have paid enough dues ( 40 years ) in the industry to be able to do this with most people anyway, but this is a great inspiration for doing this at the local level as well. In Philadelphia, the events are few and far between with a large amount of event people, but it is a FABULOUS idea!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks of the inspiration, I will try to carry this one and we will see about trying this at the local ISES Chapter fund raiser or Gala Awards. A great twist to giving back, especially since our friend IRA MITCHELL STEINMAN benefitted from Search as well as Katrina victims and others. ” Joanne

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