**Warning the opening para below contains spoilers regards the Netflix/ Hulu “Fyre Fest” doc. and allusions to sexual activity. Sensitive readers are warned.
Our entire office — like yours probably — is entranced by the Fyre Festival fiasco. Most of us saw both docs, while at least one of us (looking at the boss) is suffering from full blown Fyre addicition. Speaking of full blown — how about when event industry boss Andy King admits he was prepared to go down to Bahaman customs and, ahem, provide oral service to get Fyre goods released by customs! What the hell?!
In my 10+ year career in corporate incentive travel I saw first-hand how fun and stressful corporate events can be. I am so thankful our corporate clients were always professional and nothing even close to the Fyre fiasco ever happened, Still, it’s one thing to hold a sales retreat in your local Sheraton ballroom. But, imagine transporting all those participants, C-Suite Execs and spouses to a remote Caribbean Island? That’s corporate event travel at its most stressful!
One area that can add or ease your event planning burden is custom merchandise. Things like welcome gifts, beach towels, speaker gifts and uniforms. If planning the event in Upstate New York, you have thousands of options and can ship the day before the event. If holding your event in St. Lucia, you still have the same ten thousand options but the catch is to plan early and smart. Here are some tips I have learned over the years.
Tip 1: start sourcing 4 to 6 weeks earlier than normal (if the program allows) so you can use the cheapest ship option. We recently worked on a large Cannabis conference and our client planned their order very early. We were able to skid-pack the cartons onto three skids and ship LTL (less-than-truckload). It took seven business days from Texas to Canada but only cost $500. The same on FedEx was over $6,000?!.
Tip 2: gravitate towards the lightest, smallest carton items when possible. It will save big bucks on shipping. Our client hosted a Dominican Republic based sales conference. We had several products shortlisted but the tipping point came when we compared product A (50 cartons) with product B (10 cartons). The difference in weight and volume to ship to the D-R made the smaller, lighter B the winning choice. Simple!
Tip 3: this could be a difficult one to plan logistically, but explore delivering merch to attendees before the event so they carry the goods down. Take the case of an event planner who wants 300 participants to get a welcome gift when they check-in to their Island resort. As we noted above, depending on what gift, weight and size it could be quite costly shipping to any Island resort. But what if you could deliver the gift before departure? The 300 attendees happen to work at six different North American branch offices. You ship to six continental offices at an average of $75 each location and then the attendees carry their own gifts down. If you worry people will forget their merch or not care to pack it, make some or all of the merch mandatory. For instance “Lanyards and conference journals are mandatory for entry and one launch party drink ticket!”
Plan early and plan smart to ensure you get the best designed and most efficiently delivered merchandise to your next remote event.
- by Jayne Ircha