December 6, 2012 – RE/MAX Christmas Party
“Everyone had an incredible time. Thank you Eric for being so easy to work with and doing an amazing job.”
The Back Story
A peer of mine referred me to the RE/MAX Calgary group to assist with their annual Christmas party. He had Deejayed their party for close to a decade, but was unavailable to do their 2012 party. As always, I arranged a phone call (If you are like me, e-mail is so impersonal?) to discuss the details and arrange a time to meet. Kathy and Doug were in charge of organizing the party, on behalf of all RE/MAX realtors in Calgary.
Kathy had a LOT of questions for me during the initial phone consult. She is definitely a detail oriented person! But lots of questions is often a good sign in my case, because it shows the client is heavily invested in a successful outcome. We worked out all the details, came to a verbal agreement, and agreed to meet a couple of weeks at the venue before the party.
Skipping forward slightly – I haven’t always invested in meeting clients face to face before an event. However, every time I do, I’m more convinced of its importance. Particularly for this party.
Skip ahead to 2 weeks before the party – I met Kathy and Doug at the venue. And boy, was I glad I did! I discovered that the venue’s Room Manager had taken maternity leave, and left no Event Plan on how the RE/MAX party was supposed to flow!
Kathy was very concerned and frustrated since they had spent hours already communicating what they wanted at the party. Menu choice, Bar service, decor, logistics, and a whole bunch more. As it stood, the venue was unprepared to deliver on the promises of their absent Room Manager.
The Problem Solving Process
I immediately put my Event Manager thinking cap on. What advice could I offer to assist the Kathy and Doug? How could I help the venue deliver on their promises?
I offered my advice on bar placement, table centrepiece ideas, festive lighting to compensate for the plain looking room. Why is placement of the bar important? It determines how busy the dancefloor will be. I always suggest the bar being in the same room as the dance floor, or else you split the crowd and the dance floor suffers.
Doug also had concerns over the volume level of the music during each portion of the evening. I explained, that I like my hearing too! I regularly use my decibel meter throughout every event to maintain a safe and enjoyable volume level. I find a decibel level of 70-75db is ideal for background music, and 85-90 db is ideal for dancing. I try to never exceed 95db or else you risk hearing loss. A big name rock concert is usually set at 110 db.
Within a couple of days of meeting I had gathered centrepiece samples from the florist I work with, sample lighting pictures, and other suggestions. Not something that most people would expect a “DJ” to do or know anything about.
Kathy liked both the ideas. She did decide to add lighting (but used the venue’s in-house provider because the venue offered to subsidize the cost to compensate for their mistakes), and found some nifty LED lit centerpieces.
I also suggested hiring my colleague Acetrife, to perform close-up magic during the cocktail hour as an ice breaker. This option was approved by Kathy and Doug.
Exactly what the client wanted. The room looked amazing with its glowing red hue. With all the mixups, expectations had fallen low. Acetrife and I had delivered strong performances, made the crowd feel welcome, and convinced many people to stay until 11:30pm on a worknight!
Dinner was served on time (but service took over 2 hours to complete), the music level was set just right the whole night, guests applauded loudly in amazement watching Acetrife, guests laughed rancorously, and Kathy got the night off! Thanks to proper planning and input from all parties (in the end) there were no fires to put out.
Merry Christmas! See you in 2013 RE/MAX Calgary!
Addition to Entry – January 17, 2013
I’ve just spoken with RE/MAX. I’m disappointed to report that there we’re fires to put out, relating to the venue. They are still working out issues 2 months after the event. There was supposedly over $4000 in additional unbudgeted expenses billed to them. I will not be recommending any of my future clients to hold their functions at this venue.