Posted on 2012-10-08 04:59:47

LEAVE IT TO THE EVENT PLANNERS
by Admin

Every day, there are birthdays to celebrate, parties to throw, gatherings to organize and wedding ceremonies to hold.

Anyone who has ever been to a party of any kind - and that would be pretty much everyone - knows that guests will pass judgment on the event: whether it's been a great success or an outright disaster.

Anyone who has ever hosted a party of any kind - also pretty much everyone - might agree that planning and holding an event is never easy.

But there is one way anyone can host the perfect event sure to entertain - and be praised by - guests.

Consult the experts.

Event planners, known better in Indonesia as event organizers, have been around for quite a while. Because since the most important details in the world of events are, well, the details, event planners are prepared and trained to handle every detail an event requires. Offering creativity, knowledge and a dash of style, event planners seek to captivate those who need professional assistance.

Actress Aida Nurmala, who owns event organizing agency Studio One, says people seek help from event planners for several reasons.

First, she says, "they're clueless about how to organize an event". Second, she goes on, "they expect a unique and dazzling event". And third, "it's because they have a lot of things to do and not enough time to plan such an event".

By hiring event planners, she says, people are hoping to get rid of those stressful planning jobs so they can focus on other, more important, things.

Similarly, Michael Onank of Saka Infosa Communications says that people hire event planners so they can save their valuable time.

"Most people are not used to such tiresome jobs as spending hours looking for contacts and calling to get information," the company's account executive says. "Whereas, for us, event organizers, that's what we do.

"We have networks; we know how to negotiate and we have experience in developing concepts, as well as executing them," he says, adding his company has 23 years' experience in holding events.

Koji "Quicksilver", owner of Koji's Dancer Management and Party Organizer, says that because most events are all about entertainment, finding the right entertainers can be hard for those just feeling their way in the showbiz world.

"Because we partner with many artist management agencies, we work to assist people who need access to entertainers," says Koji, who started his event planning business in 2002.

Although the event planning business has been established in Indonesia for decades, the industry really began to gather momentum in 1998. At that time, mass layoffs had left many people unemployed, resulting with many of them looking for alternative sources of income. Setting up as an event organizer was one option. Driving this trend was the belief that there would be a increasing need for event planners, with events and celebrations taking place every day.

It helps that event planners do not need to have a specific office building; they can work from anywhere. Consequently, there are event planners operating from the comfort of their living rooms or in buildings in commercial areas.

Over the years, the event planning business has expanded in terms of types of events they handle. Today, event planners arrange more than just birthday parties, corporate events, fashion shows and exhibitions.

They also plan award ceremonies and community or family-oriented events such as reunions and wedding ceremonies. Wedding planners started to become popular around 2002.

"Back in the day, wedding ceremonies might only involve family, relatives or friends close to the couple," says Melinda Tjandra, creative planner for DND Production. "But then, the trend shifted to hiring a wedding organizer because couples today prefer to be more relaxed in holding their ceremonies.

"On the other hand, the couple's family members also want to enjoy the wedding more, instead of keeping themselves occupied with tiresome details," she adds.

Service expansion aside, Aida says the event planning business today has evolved into more than just creating fun. Today, she says, event planners create programs that address the purpose, message or impression that their clients are trying to communicate.

"Before, people didn't really have high expectations of us; all we did was just organize the events," Aida reveals. "But today, like with corporate events, we have to consider the branding, and so on.

"Event planners have to work hard to find ways for the message of the event to be well conveyed to the audience members," she adds.

Koji agrees, saying that, when holding a party, it's important for the event planners to ensure that the whole party's theme and entertainment connect well with the guests.

"It's about how the stage people like the MC *master of ceremonies* can share the same mood with the audience," Koji says.

What this all means is that event planners today not only have more work to do but also have to deal with the fierce competition among them. No wonder, then, that event planners today are staying competitive by working up their own signature styles through creativity.

Koji, for example, creates specific concepts for every kind of event he handles, whether a private party at a club, a formal company gathering or sweet-17 birthday.

"Like when we carry out a private party, we will consider using sexy dancers to entertain the audience," he says.

When it comes to staying competitive, Aida emphasizes the added value she can give to clients, such as "friendly service and better offers".

And talking about best offers, event planners cannot be separated from budget. In this matter, it's interesting to note that event planners do not adopt the same pricing system from one to another.

Melinda, for example, says her company prefers to set prices based on packages.

"So, we provide clients with alternatives for services and prices," she says.

Koji, on the other hand, says he plans events based on his clients' budgets. "We let them propose their budgets first because we have had experiences in the past where clients complained a lot when we set the budget," he says.

Aida says her company tends to plan the budget. "Mostly, our clients have their own budget platform. From here, we can predict our prices," she says.

As for Michael's company, they say "we are open to clients about how much they will actually spend on each event's detail like decoration, entertainers and so on".

But no matter how different their pricing systems, all the event planners agree on one thing: Everything is still negotiable.

So, for your next event, are you going to try and go it alone, or get in the event planners to ensure you get lots of fun and flair?


- Dian Kuswandini, The Jakarta Post, 2009 -