FINDING THE IDEAL SPOT FOR YOUR CORPORATE EVENT
Corporate events in the luxury sector are notoriously tricky to get right – launches, press events and parties may be meticulously planned, with location scouts, caterers and interior decorators briefed months before, but they still risk falling flat. There’s a fine line between glamorous and brash, elegant and boring, and it’s one an event organiser must be careful not to cross.
I work in the luxury industry and have seen it all – whether it’s A-list celebrities rolled out for the occasion who give nervous speeches while being prodded by anxious P.R.’s, killer locations (as a notorious decliner of invites, even I said yes to the last one at Kensington Palace), or champagne for breakfast, someone will have already been there, done that.
SO - WHAT DO YOU REALLY NEED?
It’s simple – don’t overdo it.
Firstly, it is no cliche to say the address is the most important part of any event.
Yep, it all boils down to…
location, location, location!
Easily accessible? A must.
Private? Always – there will most likely be VIPs milling around somewhere, and the chances of them attending if it looks like they’ll be hounded are virtually nil.
A good location sets the scene, letting your clients know what you’re capable of in the most informal way possible. While they relax and have a good time, they’ll be able to appreciate you know what you’re doing, a philosophy that then naturally encompasses all areas of your business, letting your product sell itself.
But don’t make life harder than it needs to be – let the location work for you, not the other way around.
If it’s naturally in beautiful surroundings, you don’t need to spend time on interior design.
If the sun is likely to be shining, you don’t need a back-up plan.
If the staff are efficient and intuitive, you’re not required to keep double-checking that everyone has everything they need.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Attention to detail is one of the key points you should be looking for when scouting for the perfect spot – after all, it’s what elevates somewhere from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and it’s the little quirks that leave a lasting impression.
It goes without saying, too, that the food and drink should be absolutely top-notch – no shortcuts here please, we all know every major decision is made by our stomach.
Think carefully too about the admin/organisation around the event.
Ideally, it won’t be too far from a major transport hub, whether that’s an airport or train station. Can the location arrange transfers and do they have the capacity to go backwards and forwards for you, picking up guests as they arrive? Your clients’ experience begins as soon as they step off the plane – if there’s no-one waiting to greet them, it starts you off on the wrong foot. You need high-quality service you can trust.
The importance of star treatment at all times cannot be over-estimated, and everyone must have a clear idea of what to expect from the event.
EVENT ORGANISATION - WHAT TO PREPARE
Is it a party, or it a retreat; a weekend away for the team?
How many people are attending, are they bringing their plus 1s? If they are, you need to be able to suggest activities for them, without meticulously planning their day, as no-one likes a packed schedule for what is supposed to be a special event (trust me on this one). A host of informal, indulgent options is your best bet here – a spa treatment, a suggested visit to a local antiques market, a cocktail by the pool will always go down well, in my experience.
(Who can resist the lure of the beautiful Côte d’Azur beaches? )
Most importantly, you need a location which has already been there, done that. They’ll have hosted a plethora of events, or launches, or car shows and so on, and know what works and what absolutely doesn’t. The smart, practical advice they can consequently offer is invaluable, and this is one of the main reasons Le Mas Candille in Mougins is one of my favourite places to attend an event.
Whether it’s a fashion launch by the infinity pool as the sun goes down or an intimate dinner at its Michelin-starred restaurant, the service is flawless, the backdrop pretty stunning and guests are always suitably wowed. Twenty minutes from Nice Airport and buzzing Cannes, it’s hidden in the hills, getting that perfect blend of privacy and good location that’s so hard to find.
Wherever you are looking, remember not to over-think it and, if you’ve chosen the right place, it will let what you are offering speak for itself.