In our SuiteGuide interview chair this week is Chivonne Hyppolite of Abstract Elements Management Agency (AEMA). Our 5 Questions series asks leading event professionals about their favorite tools, tips, and hacks for better face-to-face meetings.
1. What is the best thing about planning professional events?
The best thing about planning professional events is that I get to collaborate with my clients to make their vision come to life. Oftentimes, clients have one traditional idea and then we sit down and collaborate on ways to take their ideas to higher heights. It is always truly rewarding to me to get that hug or high five at the end of an event, because my client is overwhelmingly happy.
2. What’s your go-to meeting tech tool and why?
As of now, my go-to meeting tech tool is Cvent. It is my registration hub, my speaker portal, my room list manager and keeper of very event specific items that I need to function on site.
3. What are the three most challenging issues that come up when booking a venue for a professional meeting? How do you resolve them?
First, space ratios are usually a challenge. When working with an event that has no prior pattern history some venues are reluctant to provide you with the space to accommodate your request. I resolve that by informing them of how many confirmed attendees are going to be present. Second, Mandatory in house food & beverage services. Many of my clients want to bring in their trusted catering companies or desire to have cultural foods which meet their meetings standards. There is nothing worse than to say you would like a Caribbean based menu and the chef comes back to you with pineapple ginger infused rice and coconut marinated chicken! That displays a lack of cultural cuisine competence. The resolve this, before any contracts are signed, I sit down with the chef, complete a tasting (with the client in tow) and map out the possibilities for their menu. Third, Dates, Securing annual dates for clients who have no wiggle room with venues who have no wiggle room. To resolve this, I ask my clients to propose 3 date patterns for the next 3 years. Then I speak with the venue and inform them that this meeting has the potential to be repeat business for them if they can shift some things around to accommodate these dates over the next 2-3 years.
4. How small is too small for branding a meeting or professional event?
I do not believe that there is such a thing. You can brand an event that only 15 people come to. If those 15 people are millionaires or social influencers and they had an amazing experience, your event could then have the potential to receive great notoriety and attract even more people the next time it is run. Succinctly, I would say nothing less than 15 people in attendance.
5. What’s your best advice for small business owners planning their own meetings?
My best advice would be to make sure that you have a supportive staff! You need a right hand person and a left hand person to assist you in carrying out the duties of an event. Be sure that you understand everything your client is looking for and execute with excellence!
Abstract Elements Management Agency (AEMA) provides authentically memorable experiences for our clients who are the pulse of our business. AEMA delivers stellar event concepts and execution. We specialize in engineering events uniquely tailored to any brand or occasion. We have a keen eye for detail and a knack for logistical planning.The most important element in our business is the people we serve! We do not believe in a one-size-fits-all mindset. Our tailored system allows us to OUT plan our competition! Our passion for event planning and execution is fueled by seeing our clients dreams come to life through our work together!