ND Events has been featured in the Northern Ireland Conference Guide 2015.  Managing Director, Neil Dalzell, wrote an article on how choosing the right supplier can make or break your event.

The article in full is shown below:

When it comes to event management, picking the right suppliers can make the difference between a good event and a great event. Every event manager relies on a network of trusted suppliers and getting it wrong can be costly.

If someone lets you down or makes a mistake on the day, it could easily reflect on you and potentially damage your relationship with your client and other suppliers. That’s why thoroughly researching your options and understanding how to get the best out your suppliers is such an important part of the overall event planning process.

A simple Google search will show you just how many companies there are offering seemingly identical services, so it can be a challenge to find the right partners for your event – it’s definitely not as simple as choosing the least expensive!

Here are my top tips for choosing the best possible suppliers for your event:

Refine your requirements

First, really consider what you want each supplier to deliver on the day of the event. Many suppliers can offer varying levels of support – for example, do you need an entire team to decorate and theme the room, or do you have adequate resources to do this yourself?

Compiling a comprehensive list of things you’d like each supplier to do or provide means you can be sure you’re judging their proposal on all the facts.

Don’t forget though that sometimes your supplier will have the expertise to know what you need better than you will, so it’s good to be prepared to take their advice on anything additional you could consider to make your event really stand out. I often find that more experienced or skilled suppliers are likely to make recommendations to you based on your original brief.

Don’t be afraid to shop around

Don’t get a quote from just one supplier, even if you think you know who you’ll book, getting more than one quote is just best practice. It means you’ll get to see the industry price standards, and a quote from a supplier you don’t end up booking may include something your preferred supplier has overlooked.

If you’re a seasoned event manager you may have a set of preferred suppliers you work with time and again, and if that’s the case then have a chat with them to ensure you are getting best value for your repeat business. They’re likely to give you preferential rates if you ask for them!

Cost isn’t everything

It’s always a good idea to get a breakdown of everything included in a quote so you can make fair comparisons. Cost will vary somewhat from one supplier to the next, but remember that while the hours on site, equipment on hire and so on may be exactly the same, you can’t put an exact price on experience and talent.

In my experience, if the price sounds too good to be true then it’s sensible to be wary and do a little more research before committing to anything.

Can they do all their own tricks?

When first speaking to a supplier make sure they meet all your requirements, starting with their availability on the day of your event. Another good question to ask is whether or not they have all their own equipment and staff in house.

If they need to bring in additional equipment or personnel, they’ll most likely have to mark up their costs to make money on the contract, potentially making the service more expensive for you.

It’s not a job, but get a reference

Regardless of the type of supplier you’re looking for, be it an audio visual company, a photographer, caterer or DJ, if you haven’t worked with them before then get a reference from a past client who has worked with them before.

Happy clients are generally willing to help a preferred supplier by recommending them for new business. I also recommend asking advice from other people in the event industry – it’s reassuring to get good feedback from others who have worked with them.

People in the hospitality and event industries are by nature some of the friendliest and most helpful you could meet, so they’ll most likely be glad to point you in the right direction to a reputable supplier for the service you need.

Finally, go with your instinct

Armed with your research, it’s just a matter of weighing up the options to choose the supplier that best aligns with your needs and with whom you have the most confidence to successfully deliver on the day.

From my perspective, one of the most important things is to work with people who are as enthusiastic about the event as I am, and that don’t just see it as another job!

For more advice and news from ND Events, visit www.ndevents.co.uk or call Neil Dalzell on 028 9263 3232.