By Melissa Layton
After food and beverage, entertainment is the next most important element that can make or break an event or meeting. Entertainment sets the tone for the event, be it background music or an exciting show to capture the audience’s attention.
Know Your Audience
Get a sense of who will be at the party. Are you trying to entertain a group of financial attendees who are comprised of mostly men or an incentive group with couples who want to dance? The age of the guests is also important. Is it a snowboarding apparel company of 20-somethings or a sophisticated group of bankers?
Book an Act that Fits the Space
Research the venue and become familiar with what other elements are going into the space (buffets, bars, food stations and décor elements). Know if you need to nestle a trio into a corner or if you can feature name entertainment with major production on a large stage. If dancing is the goal, make space for a dance floor.
With the plethora of outdoor event spaces in Colorado and our ever-changing weather, you also need to take into consideration a whole separate set of variables including shade/shelter, access to power and zoning guidelines. Wind is another factor that can dramatically impact the entertainment experience.
Determine the Goal of the Entertainment & Share with the Entertainer
Does a notable sports figure providing an inspirational message with sports innuendos fit the bill or is it a high energy DJ that will get the group going? Or maybe it is an acoustic soloist or low-key trio creating background music.
Once you have a clear understanding of the goals, be sure to communicate that to the entertainer—in writing if possible. From appropriate dress to corporate messaging, getting the details right is key.
If you want to showcase the destination, there are many genres of music that work such as bluegrass at a microbrew and Colorado cuisine tasting party or an acoustic guitarist/vocalist performing après ski contemporary tunes.
Or consider interactive entertainment where the guests can get involved with walk-around characters that enhance a theme, local artists, a brew master or distiller from local producers to educate attendees or even a winter-themed shot ski.
Again, you have to know your audience profile, it could be a games emcee inspiring kids to join the stick-horse rodeo or Cirque style aerialists serving champagne suspended from a silk scarf.
Manage the Budget
You may have a budget for the act, but keep in mind there are often rider requirements (entertainment contract specifications) that need to be factored in. Travel expenses, special sound and light, audio visual requirements, entertainer meals and dressing room needs are possible budget necessities.
There are endless entertainment options for your meeting or event in Colorado. If you know the audience and what is going to appeal to them, you can create a memorable party that the guests will be talking about for a long time afterwards.
Melissa Layton, Principal at Operation Altitude, has been a meeting and event planner for 30 years. Her career in the travel industry started at Maritz Travel before moving to Chicago to plan pharmaceutical meetings, product launches and incentive travel programs. She moved to Colorado to open Operation Altitude, a destination management company, with her business partner/brother, Todd Layton, in 1997.