Multi-location corporate events are more popular than ever. But that can really complicate things for event planners because corporate events that are scheduled in series should all have the same look and feel, no matter where you are. So, how can you take your show on the road and do it right?
Here are some tips using Delta Airlines’ retirement event for the 747 fleet.
Who: Delta Airlines
What: Four events to celebrate the retirement of the 747 fleet
Where: Airplane hangars at four major hub cities in the U.S. (Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle, and Minneapolis)
When: Four consecutive days in December 2017
They expected about 300-500 attendees in each location.
What We Learned
1. Everything revolves around logistics
Your AV team and all their gear need to be in the right place at the right time. That means you have to allow enough time for shipping/trucking and personal travel.
In the case of the Delta event, the turnaround time from one location to the next was so short we had to double up. Instead of one crew and one set of equipment, we had two that leapfrogged. We all started in Detroit so each team could see what the vision looked like in person. Then, one crew traveled to Seattle while the other went to Atlanta and Minneapolis.
We also had a logistics issue with the 747. Our client wanted to fly the plane from city to city, but there wasn’t enough time to get the plane set up in Seattle before it needed to depart for Atlanta. So, we used a second plane, too.
Not all jobs are like the Delta Airlines one, however. Another multi-city, multi-day event spanned three months, providing us ample time to move one crew and one set of equipment from one event to the next.
2. Plan for the smallest space you have
You’ll work with a new venue in each city. As an event planner, try to book places that are similar in size but inevitably there will be differences. The key to achieving a cohesive look across the board is to figure out what fits in the smallest space you have and use that as your design standard. That way, you know your production will fit in all your venues.
The venue was huge for our Delta events. Even our semi truck filled with lighting, sound, and rigging equipment, looked like a toy truck inside the hangar. Our lighting setup had to both highlight the enormous plane and define the party space for just a few hundred guests. We lit a stage for a DJ and speakers as well as created a 26-foot tall projection screen in the shape of an airplane’s tail fin.
3. Don’t make plans without your AV team
The more complex your event, the more critical this becomes. You won’t be able to pull off a multi-location tour without upfront advice from your production experts. Plus, they need complete, accurate information to plan their equipment needs.
You know how many people you expect and what will take place during your event. But there must also be enough room for staging, rigging, screens, etc. Just because a room holds 700 people doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fit that many once the room is set up. Working together with your AV team and your venue improves communication so your multi-city corporate events will be flawless.