Powered by EventWorks, Inc.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Event Floral: Going Green in Many Ways for a St. Patrick's Day Event

Our team worked hard over the past weekend. Floral Design Artist Rebecca Motus reports. 

While we were all feeling Irish this weekend our team was hard at work producing a St. Patrick's Day themed event.

Event Date: March 17, 2018
Event: a Closing Night Party
Event Location: Monarch Beach Resort, Monarch Beach, California.

The Challenge: the client wanted to use organic and eco-friendly materials. This requirement extended to all greenery.

Rebecca Motus: "We selected only plants that are California grown and water-wise and therefore eco-friendly.

We used Bells of Ireland, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus, rosemary sprigs, Bupleurum, White ranunculus,, White Veronica, White Lisianthus, White Dahlias and Green Cymbidiums. The eucalyptus and rosemary took dual roles. Besides floral decor they acted as aromatherapy ingredients at the same time. Our team went to work in our floral studio to assemble it all.

We used a variation of mason jars for the centerpieces, cocktail tables and buffet tables.
I bought a variety of Irish beers in different sizes for the bar arrangements.

We made 4 Bar Arrangements (Florals in Irish beer bottles with fresh florals)
6 Buffet Arrangements
20 communal center pieces in mason jars
22 centerpieces for the round tables
and finally 10 cocktail table arrangements in small mason jars."

The client loved the result.
Rebecca chuckles: "Most wanted to know what happened to the content of the beer bottles."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Alisa Walsh reports from last week's MPI OC Panel on Food and Beverage Trends.

Alisa had the pleasure and honor of participating in MPI Orange County's panel discussion with FoodBeast's Geoff Kutnick, Chef Martin Salazar from Canyon Catering and Moderator Lisa Meller. The topic: Food and Beverage trends in the event industry.

The Conference Topic: On a scale of 1 – 10: How confident are you that you fully understand the role of food in our business?

We are seeing that there is significantly more pressure on us in our events industry to create experiences, not just “events”.   
Food has always been a cornerstone for human connecting –in our house growing up, the kitchen was the center of the house – cooking together, entertaining, and dining with family and friends.  When it comes to  “going out”  - can we even do it without food and drink?   
Now the role of food is taking center stage. We are seeing tours, trips, and travel experiences in our industry continue to grow and to even move into the general session. Food is no longer an afterthought but now needs to be at the forefront of the experience. People are craving to be wowed – new tastes, new visuals, new presentation.
Bye bye buffet chaffing dishes with big spatulas and a presentation that looks like a glorified cafeteria. 
However, budgets are only seeing slight upticks when the economy is confident, but never enough to meet the real cost and pressure for profitability.

Alisa is happy to share experiences and advice from a planner's point of view.

"What we are encountering is that food and beverage is the central focus of the event these days. It used to be headliner entertainment or an iconic venue or famous keynote speakers but food and beverage has moved to the top now. For us this means that our clients request a much more curated food experience. Consequently we work very closely with chefs these days and the collaboration starts much earlier in the event planning process.
For us as planners the design aspect of food has become very important - and we love it.

Social media has influenced people in recent years. There is a lot of information and inspiration out there about foods that many may not have been used to in the past. People are more willing to try unique foods. It helps our creativity and it allows us to be a bit bolder with our food and beverage presentation. It used to be buffets with chafing dishes provided by the hotels. That has changed completely. To give you an example, we had the opportunity to serve sushi from an industrial conveyer belt recently and desserts from a ferris wheel. We get to have a lot of fun with food and beverage displays these days.

However, overall event budgets have not really changed so we get creative to turn grandiose ideas into an event reality.
Food and Beverage is now the focus of the experience so we allocate more of the entertainment and decor budget portions to this. We also encourage the chefs to source foods locally and do the best they can within the budgets to deliver a top experience because that is what we are all about.

An important aspect for event venues is the attention our clients pay to food these days. Our clients want the quality of the food to match the overall quality of the event. And they do not want to be bound by catering contracts venues may have. They want the freedom to be able to bring in a chef of their choice.

I tell clients that there are a lot of creative ways to deliver a great food and beverage experience that allows the guests to interact with food in new ways. It doesn't have to break the bank either. Convention Bureaus are a great resource to get in touch with all the local vendors, such as craft beer breweries and local specialty food vendors that will enable the planners to deliver an outstanding experience within budget."

Bon Appétit and Thank You for reading.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Alisa Walsh Reports from "Ready Los Angeles"

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board invited industry partners to attend a Crisis Preparedness Summit last Monday. We were very impressed!

LATCB invited partners to the L.A. Convention Center for this half day event a week ago. On the agenda: The Importance of Planning, an Overview of the City's Emergency Response, Hardening Soft Targets, LATCB's Role in a Crisis, #Recoverstrong and Reviewing Your Response.

Photo L-R: Alisa Walsh, Brandi Thigpen with LATCB and Kayla Kilpatrick with AEG.

Alisa Walsh: "Security at events is on the forefront of everyone's mind. It is something that needs to be addressed. All of our clients are certainly asking all of the questions that they should be asking these days. What event security measures are in place? We rely heavily on the venues to have security plans in place but we as event producers have to ensure that we provide our customers with that information and that we ask these questions on our end as well. There is a lot we can do to prepare for every sort of scenario but there is also a lot we can do to support our clients and attendees should they need it.

I was very impressed with the amount of information and the number of positives that the City of Los Angeles does have in place. It was interesting to hear from all of the different aspects; transportation, LAX Airport, the Mayor's Office, the City, the EOC. We have a lot of great plans in place. One example: the bollards that the L.A. Convention Center installed to block vehicle access. I walked away with the knowledge that the City of L.A. takes security very seriously and that they are prepared for certain scenarios.

The most profound insight for me was shared by one emergency management team member. The emergency management teams will come into place but the true First Responders are actually your neighbors. The people standing next to you, your neighbors on your street or in your building; we as a community have to come together and talk about how to develop a plan as friends and colleagues and neighbors."

Los Angeles Security by Numbers:

Jeff Gorell – Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security & Public Safety, City of L.A.

• L.A. is prone to 13 of 16 natural and manmade disasters (volcanic eruption, ice storms, hurricanes not applicable).
• Every September City and County organizations train with US military.
• Emergency Operation Center – in operation for every major event and recent natural disasters.
• Resilience by design – create opportunities for every disaster possible, retrofitting buildings, creating ordinances and more.
• March 2nd – signing of new resilience plan-  resilience strategy requires redundancy in water.
• Mayor signed telecommunications company so that Verizon, AT&T, and others will open up communications for emergency messages regardless of personal carrier.
• NotifyLA - City of LA first city to have earthquake early warning on cell phones and classrooms – by the end of 2018. Doors of fire stations will auto open so trucks can get out quickly, Transportation will slow and stop trains, with a 8-10 second warning, elevator doors open at next closest floor.

Emergency Management Department

• First responder that is helping in a disaster is your neighbor
• EMD - Coordinates emergency preparedness response and recovery, provides a unified and streamlined chain of command to coordinate resources
• Signing contract with AirBnb to open homes in case of emergency, also open internet lines


• Active shooter training
• Twice yearly evacuation training
• Installed bollards that prevent trucks from bombarding gathering areas


• Moves 80 million people through the year, 700 reported thefts (30% were misplaced items)


• 4 rail lines opening by 2028, will likely be 2nd behind NYC
• Have containers with food and water supplies for up to 5 days for employees and patrons in case they get trapped


• Social media – Getty Center one recent example, provided Instagram stories regarding update to fires.  Added ‘swipe up to donate to Red Cross’ during fires

Crisis Communication Plan

• According to study by World Travel and Tourism council it takes tourism:

    • 12 months to recover from terrorist attack
    • 21 months to recover from disease outbreak
    • 24 months to recover from environmental disaster
    • 27 months to recover from political unrest

• More than 75% of Americans receive breaking news from social media rather than traditional news sources
• 42% of US adults get most of their news from friends and family via Facebook and vast majority of them (87%) follow links to full news stories
• 86% of adults are online, for an average of 5 hours per day, surpassing TV
• Training and exercises are crucial

Click for the L.A. Emergency Management Department Website

Monday, February 26, 2018

Large Crowds and Large Spaces - How To Conquer the Challenges

We recently had the pleasure of transforming two large, blank spaces into exciting, themed event venues. We conquered some challenges in the process.

Here is our report.

Event Location: Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA.
Date: January 18, 2018, 6pm to 1am.
Guest Count: 1200
Event Theme: Nineties

Kristen and Alisa with client Eliza.

Kristen Rensch: "This group had experienced a number of events in the San Francisco area. The client wished to invite them to a fresh new venue. The waterfront Fort Mason, with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, was selected.
We started with a blank space that was actually too large for this group.
Our solution: we pulled in the perimeter and created catering corridors. Next, we created intimacy through strategic placing of a variety of colorful seating areas and bringing in a central curved salon bar. Three more bars were placed on the sides to avoid lines.
Nineties themed decor and activities, such as a Bart Simpson donut wall desert station from our San Francisco based caterer and Hello Kitty food stations added ambiance and dimension. Both a DJ and live music kept the party going. The guests thoroughly enjoyed the night."


Event Location: LA LIVE Deck, Los Angeles, CA.
Date: February 6, 2018
Guest Count: 3300
Event Theme: Beach & Brew

Kristen Rensch: "Our challenge consisted of theming out such a high, large space to create the Beach & Brew event. We used all dimensions of the deck.. We brought in large, tall elements that played to the height, such as the palm trees and the photo trailers. 
How to you keep 3300 guests engaged? The LA All Stars and a DJ provided entertainment. Food and beverage stations served continuously fresh California beach fare. Furthermore interactive games and activities on the open air deck kept the attendees engaged."

"We applied detailed lighting packages in both venues to transform the blank spaces. We had the luxury of shoulder days for load-in and load-out for both events, a necessary luxury to ensure good audio. We ran numerous audio tests to make sure the levels will be perfect in a filled space. 
We love bringing trans-formative spaces alive. Our next large event will host 4500 guests. We will be happy to report about it."

Thank you for reading.

Photo Credit: LA LIVE Event photography by Lisa Bronitt.
All other photos: EventWorks

Monday, February 19, 2018

What We ❤️ At The Winter Games Opening Ceremony

The talk around the water cooler - well, okay, we also texted about it - at our office this week: what was your personal favorite moment of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games Opening Ceremony?

Here is a list of the moments that moved and impressed us the most.

Brynne Peña, our in-house sports event expert and ice hockey fan:

"The Korean ice hockey players, scaling that huge flight of stairs with the Olympic Torch. Talk about a calorie burn! Go hockey!"

Ted Bowers:

"Shaun White's exuberance during the opening ceremony was infectious and reminded us that these are games. He posted really fun video clips on his social media channels. I'm also happy to see that he won the Gold medal again."

Elizabeth Brazil:

"I consider myself pretty patriotic and I loved that they used the LED lights mounted to each seat in the stands to depict each nation’s flag as the teams entered and that it traveled around with the team as they moved though the arena."

Kristen Rensch and Kate Brack agree:

"The world record setting, pre-recorded Intel drone show was absolutely stunning."

Alisa Walsh:

"It was really cool to see the stadium come alive through the video mapping and augmented reality components. A big Shout Out to ETC Audiovisuel!

Janet Elkins:

"I was truly moved by the Korean K-Pop stars' rendering of John Lennon's "Imagine". What a perfect way to start the games! Unfortunately the video has been blocked because of copyright issues."

Still hoping that we will all give Peace a Chance!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Janet and Alisa Report from The Special Event 2018

Left to right: Paul Tramonte, Alisa Walsh, our official New Orleans greeters, Janet Elkins and Douglas Johnson.
Thank you to all who attended our two seminars, Sales Strategies and Crushing It, We are happy to report that both forums generated very interesting discussions and we received wonderful feedback.
Here a quick recap for those who could not attend in person.

Sales Strategies

Thank You to all Expert Panelists, from left to right:

Kathy Miller, Total Event Resources, Chicago, IL
Dianne Budlon Devitt, Dianne Devitt, New York City, NY
Alisa Walsh, EventWorks, Los Angeles, CA
Sally Webb-Berry, The Special Event Company, Raleigh, NC
Janet Elkins, EventWorks, Los Angeles, CA

Janet Elkins: "We have presented this seminar in the past, actually for several years. However, we redesign and update Sales Strategies each and every time to remain relevant and fresh. And lots has happened in the last 12 months.
In 2018 our seminar was structured to be a lot more interactive. We are happy to report that the room was nearly at full capacity. We recognized repeat guests and we were happy and honored to welcome new ones, of all ages. 

One common issue we all share and discussed a lot: how do you control the cost of proposals? We all go to great lengths to create them to secure new business but we cannot invoice all this work and expense. A lot of discussion went into what it takes to create a great, effective proposal. We all agreed that initial research into the prospective client and the possible event does pay off. And sometimes it is better to politely turn a RFP down. Saying No at the beginning to an assignment that will not be a good fit will save money, time and your staff's mental health. It could also save a possible relationship with the client for a later time.
I want to especially thank Maggie Orchard of Total Event for taking on the laborious task of creating the extensive PowerPoint this year!"

Crushing It

Thank you to
Moderator Aaron Kaufman, CSE, Fifth Element Group, Toronto, Ontario, CAN.
and Expert Millennial Panelists
Alisa Walsh, EventWorks, Los Angeles, CA
Francesca Lombardo, Lombardo's, Boston, MA
Bobby Dutton, Groove Boston, Boston, MA

Alisa Walsh: "We presented our seminar for the very first time and were very happy to have such a multi-generational audience, The fact that we started our session with entrance music and that we handed out daiquiris to get the party going - after all it's New Orleans - may have been one of the factors of the overall success. We hoped to get millennials motivated to engage in more leadership roles in our industry and to increase synergy among all ages. I am happy to report that everyone in the room had ideas and shared generously. I think that our discussion about the generational differences with regards to work habits and changes in business communication styles was very useful. Cold phone calls are a turn-off these days. I don't like to take unsolicited calls because I am usually fully focused on a task or I am driving.  LinkedIn in-messages are a much better way to go. You can research good prospects, get a referral from someone you know already and start the conversation online. And then agree to a date and time when it's convenient for all to talk or better yet, video chat."

It was not all just work, work, work. Janet had a blast playing with Gary Bordman's VR toys from Amusement, Exhibit and Event Services, Las Vegas, NV.

Janet and Alisa both had a great time at The Special Event.

Janet: "By continuing our attendance we increase our engagement in our industry and maintain relationships with our colleagues. I always learn something new."
Alisa: "I loved the educational aspects of all the seminars and I appreciate the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the country to learn what they are doing and what is successful."
Janet: "The energy at TSE is always wonderful. Everyone is very open and the conversations are so worthwhile."

See you next year in San Diego!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Alisa Walsh Reports from 2018 Global Forum SITE&MPI

Our SITE Young Leader and Business Development Director, Alisa Walsh, was honored to be one of two winners of euromic's scholarship to attend the 2018 SITE and MPI Global Forum in Rome, Italy.

Alisa: "This was the annual forum for both SITE and MPI combined. It was a truly unique opportunity since SITE and MPI joined forces and gathered about 700 people."

Here in the photo: Alisa meets with Joe Lustenberger, Director - Americas, for Brussel, Belgium, based euromic and the other 2018 Young Leader Scholarship Winner, Sam McNeil, Creative Director from Song Division, London,UK.

Alisa: "The forum culminated with the Crystal Awards Night but there was a lot of education as well. It was actually one of the best educational conferences I ever attended since the leaders and speakers hailed from global executive levels. I learned a lot about what the future of companies looks like and how to rebrand and gain inspiration from other areas, not just the events/meeting/hospitality industry. We were encouraged to look outside and bring that into our space. And then of course, I loved the location!"

Dinner with Southern California friends Jennifer Shafer, John Ehlenfeldt, Mandy Brown and Diane Herrmann. 
"It was very fun to be in Rome. My favorite part was the opportunity to meet and network with people from all over the world. I have made new friends and connections all over Europe.
To travel with people and spend a lot of time with them is invaluable. It also was a chance to spend several days with my SITE SoCal friends.
I am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity and honor that euromic bestowed upon me. They really did everything possible to make sure that we had a great experience."
Tourism is a must-do in Rome, here actually visiting the city state of Vatican City, with Jennifer Shafer.

Hoping to return to Rome some day soon, Alisa followed a long-standing tradition and dropped a coin into the famous Fontana de Trevi.

Thank you for reading!