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Special Events


THIS issue marks the kickoff of Special Events Magazine's 2006 Gala Awards competition. You'll find the entry form on pages 58-59.

I hope you will enter one of your recent events. It's good mental exercise to analyze how you put an event together. It's wonderful to be nominated, and thrilling to win. (And just being selfish, I thoroughly enjoy the window into events that reading Gala entries provides.)

While the Gala entries show me the latest trends in decor, catering and entertainment, they also show me the global reach of special events. Last year, we received entries from Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Thailand and the United States.

You'll find the same international flavor in this issue. Our cover story includes the work of Eventlabs, a German company working for a French client. This month's “Guest Room” visits with Tom Burke of AMCI, an L.A.-based operation with outposts in Rome and Shanghai. Starting on page 27, read about two American companies that recently produced events in China, a burgeoning market for special events.

Producing special events has always required a combination of hardheaded business management and subtle cultural sensitivity. The color of a flower can mean a world of difference around the world. Yet some things about special events are the same, whether you're on the job in Beijing or Baltimore. Will Holditch, CERP, CSEP, is a Texas party rental professional who spent two months last year working in China. He shares some of his “Undeniable Truths of the Event Industry,” true all over the world:

  • Being creative is only a step; being able to produce is the process.

  • Too many bosses hurt the process.

  • Train your customers to work on your timeline, don't let your customer work you on theirs.

  • Charge what you're worth — there is profit to be made in this business.

  • Food is important; alcohol is important; the “feel” of the event is important.

  • The customer's main objection is “money”; the truth is it's everything but money.

  • Quality is important; quality production is more important than quality planning.

  • Creativity does not always mean success in this business.

  • Creative ideas come from the whole group; production ideas come from experience; experience comes from being involved in events.

  • Take care of your employees, they work hard and at odd hours. Employees are skilled labor and should be treated as experts in what they do.

  • Love this industry or leave; there is no in between.

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