Your worst nightmare isn’t the zombie apocalypse. It’s spending months and months putting everything you’ve got into planning an event … and having a lousy turnout. How can you avoid what is surely the most terrifying, hair-raising, spine-tingling, chilling thing to ever happen to an event planner? Lisa Albers, Sales Manager at Rush Creek Golf Club, has a suggestion or two that might just show you how NOT to be afraid ever again.
Q. Tell us about Rush Creek and what you do there.
A. Most people know us for our championship golf course, but we also have a year-round restaurant (Highlander) and lovely banquet facilities that can host up to 340 people, depending upon the room set up. I am the Sales Manager and work on outside sales, marketing and event coordination.
Q. You also sit on the board of the MPI - Minnesota Chapter. What are your responsibilities there?
A. I am the Vice President Strategic Alliances for MPI Minnesota. I provide oversight to the various sub-committees (i.e. Community Outreach, Holiday Celebration, Spring Social), oversee and manage all accounting for the chapter by working with our association management company, and serve as a leader for the committee, encouraging them to meet their goals.
Q. How many events do you host on-site at Rush Creek each year?
A. Between 375-400, including social events, weddings, corporate gatherings, golf events and meetings.
Q. As the holiday season approaches, there’s a lot of competition for people’s time. What do you recommend planners do to increase attendance at their event?
A. There are several things a planner can do to increase attendance. Holding the event at a nice location, serving quality food and hiring first rate entertainment are a few things to start. For example, at Rush Creek, we host many golf events during the summer, but our venue is also appealing during the winter. The ambience of our building is warm and welcoming with two fireplaces in our ballroom, one fireplace upstairs and one in the restaurant; we have lots of windows with natural light that overlook a beautiful landscape; all of our food is prepared froom scratch and we’re flexible with menus; and finally, we’re easy to get to and we offer free parking. All of these things combined give an event appeal. Lastly, a planner needs to make sure the agenda of the event offers value to the attendees.
Q. In your experience, what things should a planner avoid that may reduce the number of people who might want to attend their event?
A. I think it’s important as a planner to make sure you know your audience and know their limitations, whether that impacts the room setting, the type of food served, or the kind of service they receive. For example, you want to make sure that all of your attendees will feel comfortable during the event by meeting their dietary needs.
Q. Any other thoughts on what can make an event more appealing?
A. Make sure your attendees know what to expect at the event. If they do, they’ll feel more comfortable when they arrive. If there’s an educational component, share it with them ahead of time. It actually could become a driving factor that motivates them to attend.