What is a destination management company? What is it that such an entity does? More commonly called DMC, this is a specialized company that offers specific professional travel services. In simple terms, some refer to it as a travel agency, but that’s a simplification of what a DMC is. If you’ve never heard of a DMC before or aren’t quite sure what they do, here you’ll get the opportunity to learn about this business. What do destination management companies do? Let’s attempt to answer that question.
What is a Destination Management Company?
A destination management company or DMC is a third-party company that an individual or group hires for their professional services in planning and implementing out-of-town event programs and activities, services, resources, and expertise. A DMC is valued for its extensive knowledge of the local area, professional relationships with local entities, and local resources that clients can depend on to get their activity, event, or project accomplished.
Who Seek The Services of a DMC?
A DMC can be hired by an individual, corporation, or event planner whose event will take place outside. The reason for hiring a DMC, which can be seen as a local expert planner includes knowing the best facilities, services, and businesses that can match your needs and budget; their understanding of local cultural norms, knowing where to find the best entertainment-specific and food-specific spots, and the top routes to get to particular locations/destination in the locale where you intend on visiting.
Specifics of What a DMC Does
As a specialized consultant, DMC provides services that are related to all aspects of out-of-town event/activity planning. Services that the DMC offers include:
- Program Design: Covers venue selection and booking, organizing event activities and projects, and decor could also be included.
- Logistics Management: Involves creating an event timeline and schedule, transportation coordination, guest arrivals, and departures coordination may be a part of the package.
- Supplier Management: Includes selecting vendors and negotiating supplier prices for preferential rates
- Accounting: Services cover auditing and vendor payment, and providing clients with a detailed accounting of the process
Other services may include corporate event planning, conference or meeting, hotel accommodations, and coordinating meals and local activities.
Hiring a DMC in Boston
A DMC can do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to planning and coordinating an event. At Art of the Event, we can offer you a range of services that can help make your event a smooth and successful one. Contact us and let’s be the specialized consultant that will help make your event perfect! Give us a call at 781-670-9292 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
The current reality is that many events, from business conferences to concerts, have been canceled from in-person and moved online. Virtual events are now commonplace and also important because of the intended goal behind them. The success of a virtual event is important to the host. How does one host a successful virtual event? Here are some useful tips that could help you with hosting your next virtual event.
Establish a Game Plan to Guide You
Before your virtual event can take form, you have to come up with a solid strategy. That begins with a clearly established goal and event concept. Start your planning early, whether the event is large or small. Think about the experience that you want your guests to have, how you want to present the event, be it live or on-demand, the time to put on the event, how you’ll promote it, etc. Put careful thought into what you want to achieve with your event and how you’ll go about it. Put your plan on paper first and let that be your guide.
Make Sure Your Timing is Perfect
Timing is everything no matter the event that you are hosting. Choosing the right date and time for your virtual event is crucial no matter the platform you’ll be using. A great turnout can make an event special, so do your homework and ensure that there are no other events that your potential guests may also be interested in attending on the date you have in mind. If your event will not only be for locals, keep time zone in mind and pick a time that works best for most guests. It’s a good idea to send out a poll on Facebook, for example, with the goal of identifying the preferred event date.
Put Effort into Promoting the event
The importance of promoting your virtual event cannot be understated. You need to have a great incentive that can draw attendees and be sure to highlight that incentive. If it’s a networking opportunity or a keynote speaker, the selling point should be efficiently promoted. Make use of the different platforms to share details regarding the event, like social media(Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and email. A fun thing to do is an event countdown that you can create on your IG. Don’t forget to also hashtag the event. Facebook is a great platform to create an event page with all the detail. You want to keep reminding people that the event is happening, keeping them engaged with pre-event promotion. You not only want them to sign up but to also be present for the event as well.
Foster and Encourage Engagement
What’s an event without some degree of engagement? Engagement will be a part of your virtual event if you foster and encourage it. There are a number of ways that you can encourage engagement, including creating mini-quizzes, live-tweeting and commentary, sending shout-outs, and spark conversation between attendees, taking questions, and incorporating surveys. It takes a lot of effort to keep an online audience engaged but it can be done. Keep the content interesting and exciting, and make use of interactive and fun features while live streaming.
Contact My Safe Meeting in Boston
For your next virtual event, let My Safe Meeting help you to make it a smashing success. We have the tools that you need to host an unforgettable online event. Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us help make your dream virtual event a reality. Give us a call at 978-267-1080 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Yes, you can throw a safe Summer (and Fall) Outing for your employees and their families! It just takes some smart planning, good supplier choices, and extra care.
Your most important ally is buy-in so begin by making sure you get it from all your stakeholders—your internal clients, your external partners, and your attendees. Survey those stakeholders to get a bead on how they are feeling about getting together in person. Ask them if they feel safe now. If not now, when do they think they might feel safe, and what specific steps could you as a planner do to help? Be sure to ask them what type of Outing they would prefer in this late Pandemic era.
Once you’ve established buy-in, you should carefully consider and create your Duty of Care philosophy. This philosophy should be put into writing as this is the template by which you will keep all your stakeholders safe. A Duty of Care statement will communicate your company’s obligation to protect employees, travelers, and other participants from risks. These risks are typically related to injury, sickness, safety, security, health, and travel. And in our current Covid 19 era, a clear and workable Duty of Care statement is more important than ever. Write it, hone it, revisit it and, of course, make sure your internal client/s sign off on your most recent version before you distribute it.
Now it’s time to reach out to your venue and other suppliers! Your initial consultation with your suppliers will set the tone of your expectations and their responsibilities throughout the span of your planning through your event. Be sure to properly vet all your suppliers to make sure they too will respect your Duty of Care and will enthusiastically sign onto your company’s Covid safe guidelines. Make sure that each team leader is fully prepared to be responsible for their employees’ behavior and safety, too.
Reach out to an Event designer who knows how to plan your outdoor space so that it conforms to your social distancing guidelines. As the Planner, you are required to adhere to local city and state requirements, but you are well within your rights to go beyond those measures. For example: If your local Board of Health requires three feet of space between attendees at the time of your event, you are free to widen that distance to make all your attendees feel safe.
If existing space allows, having your outing on company premises allows you the most freedom— you can “rule your own roost” as you see fit. If your team decides to book an outdoor space off-premise, make sure you get buy-in on your Duty of Care and ask your venue to communicate their existing internal safety guidelines and resources. It’s a good idea to bring your entire team together for a socially distanced walk-through prior to your event to re-enforce the rules with your vendors and discuss alternative plans in case guidelines change as you get closer to your event date.
Along with your standard events team, you will also need a team to administer temperature checks, distribute the proper signage, double-check seating arrangements and regulate your group’s movements for proper distancing. A Covid or Pandemic Officer’s assistance helps to ensure everyone is safe and, as importantly, everyone FEELS safe throughout your event. Depending on the size of your outing, you may need to dedicate an entire Covid team to this effort. Yes, you can use staff volunteers to assist your Covid Officer to reduce costs.
Be sure to get all staff and crew names and contact information before your event date and use that list to check people in at your event set up for Contact Tracing purposes. This is another task that can be handled by your Covid Officer if needed. Bring all your event team’s leads together at the start of your event set up to review your Duty of Care and all of their responsibilities one more time. Remember: your Duty of Care cannot be communicated too often!!
Your event Designer can arrange your outdoor space to set the tone for distancing by spacing furniture pieces appropriately and demarking walkways that allow free movement without crowding. They can also help group families in their own “bubbles” by demarking areas for each group. Picnic-style events are a wonderful option for this effort. Put your stage in front and set up your families to the front and the sides with plenty of space in between.
There are many touchless options for your foodservice. A simple boxed lunch works great for daytime casual outings. If you want a more traditional buffet, you can call each group up separately and have them pick and choose the items they want— to be delivered when ready by your catering staff. All buffet stations should be outfitted with sneeze guards so be sure your caterer or vendor offers them or rent them on your own. And don’t forget that technology is your friend! Apps can help guide your group’s touchless food service. Your guests can order directly from an app that then signals them when their food is ready for pick up.
Brainstorm and research activities, games, and roving entertainment that doesn’t require close physical contact outside your group bubbles. If you choose to bring in games requiring touch, make sure you have plenty of sanitizer on tap and someone available to wipe down equipment between groups.
Consult with your MC or DJ to help you entertain safely. He or she can lead group activities families can do in their own “bubbles” and s/he can also remind people to continue to play it safe as your event progresses.
Speaking of playing it safe, it’s time to talk about alcohol. If you are thinking of serving alcohol, be sure to carefully consider limits. Too much alcohol decreases inhibitions and can increase risky behavior so while you want your group to have fun, you also want to make sure they are having fun responsibly!! Set minimums on free drinks to avoid overconsumption.
Your event’s lifetime is not over when the last attendee leaves. Follow up with your event team leads and make sure no one has fallen ill after your event. Notify attendees to contact you if they or anyone they have been close to displays symptoms or has tested positive for Covid 19. If anyone does, immediately contact your Covid officer (if he or she is not the one doing the follow-ups) who will then take the proper steps needed to ensure the rest of your team and your attendees are kept safe!
With special attention paid to local guidelines and your event team’s unwavering commitment to a robust and workable Duty of Care philosophy, you and your team can enjoy summer and fall outings together once more. If you are interested in learning more contact us at Art of the Event! Give us a call today at 781-670-9292. Cheers!!
There has been a nonstop bridging of the virtual and online world. The reality is that every day something new is in development while something has already made its way into our lives. Humans will always look for the “shortest way from point A to point B,” which paves the way for innovation.
However, we are not talking about some “techy” gadget or a new social media platform. In fact, we are talking about something that reflects the necessity of today’s modern tech-hungry world during the global pandemic.
Hybrid Events, what are they?
An event at a physical venue with online viewers leads to what many people may call a “hybrid” event. This simply entails an event organizer utilizing many tools and facilities at their disposal to make the event more accessible. Therefore, they allow the audience to access the event regardless of their location.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events offer a multitude of benefits over regular events, especially during the current days of the pandemic. Here are some of the best advantages that they offer.
Your audience might want to experience your event through the comfort of their house. Maybe because they are ill or due to some other health conditions, they cannot travel. Or perhaps, their corporate travel spending doesn’t allow them.
You can easily guess how this is possible, right? Well, this does not imply that you have to split your audience from in-person to online in a “half” manner. In fact, you can increase the number of your attendees, bringing more attention to the event.
The plethora of features available as an online attendee is of paramount importance. Collecting polls, distributing questionnaires, and receiving feedback with comments becomes very easy for the event hosts.
Natural and Environmental Concerns
This is an essential point for hybrid events. As the attendees of a hybrid event may increase, the travel costs and pollution from it may not. The increasing online presence also makes hosting an event a limited number of in-person audience members easier.
Misconceptions about Hybrid Events
Do not consider every live streaming from any platform of the internet as a “hybrid event.” Furthermore, it is critical to realize that the priorities of the in-person and online audience should not vary. That is, you should consider all the attendees equally valuable.
Contact Art of the Event in Boston
Do not stop yourself from hosting a hybrid event. Even if you have not heard of it or organized one before, there are ways to go around it. During this global pandemic (COVID-19), it might be the right time to utilize the potential benefits of hybrid events. You not only get to keep your existing customers but gain more as well.
Contact Art of the Event and let us help you organize a wonderful and successful hybrid event for your organization. Give us a call now at 978-670-9292 for further service inquiries.
As we all know, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the event industry. The industry as we know it is no longer—at least for now. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t reinvent and change it for the better! While the last year has been tough, it has led us to explore different approaches to recreate the results that live gatherings offer.
In order to successfully plan large events during this time, it’s important to utilize both digital and live tools to add real value to our events. Over the next few years, even if planners put together the most amazing events, there will still be some hesitation and fear from attendees. By planning digitally live gatherings we can ease people’s fears and allow them to be able to participate without the need for long-distance travel. The quality of events and how safe they are will be a driving force for success.
What is the Hub and Spoke Method?
David Adler has put together a paradigm called the hub and spoke method. Before COVID-19, the goal of most events was to create intimacy in large groups. The hub and spoke method allows for this but in a different way! His idea was that for an event for say 5,000, a planner can break up the event into smaller groups within local venues. These venues would all be connected through A/V so they can interact with one another. The main stage area with the Keynote speakers, etc., would be the Hub- the localized gatherings are the spokes. This method creates the emotion and level of intimacy of a large gathering while keeping attendee numbers within local safety guidelines.
The Basic Elements in the Hub & Spoke Method Network
- Venues and individuals are connected through virtual “bridges” or A/V and streaming platforms
- A main “Hub” venue has the primary stage. This can be the venue that presenters and leaders attend
- Satellite “spoke” locations will enable smaller groups in venues
- People attending from home can gather in small groups or individually to attend the event
- Utilize technology to bring individuals, spokes, and hubs together
- Utilize spatial computing to connect with virtual attendees
- Have on-stage presentation synthesizers to interpret key information and relay it to audience members
- Deploy tools such as emotional recognition technology for speakers and organizers to read the room
- Have all hubs and spokes offer food and beverage that can be safely delivered to attendees.
- Turn hallways into exhibit halls using spatial computing technology that will allow passersby to interact
Adjusting to the new way our industry will work is important as this is how large events will likely continue in the future. Connecting people in smart ways will never go out of style! By utilizing technology, we can change the way we plan events for the better! For more information, contact us today!
The coronavirus has changed the way we do almost everything in our daily lives. From work to school to grocery shopping and everything in between, we’ve had to rethink everything in order to slow the spread of the virus. One of the many changes you’ve likely noticed are the pieces of thick plastic in front of cash registers at grocery stores and cash stations. Those pieces of plastic are called sneeze guards, but do they actually help slow the spread?
What Are Sneeze Guards?
A sneezeguard is a large piece of plexiglass or a thick plastic that’s used to create an extra barrier between people. The idea is that the extra layer of protection can catch any droplets that make their way through a mask or offer protection if someone is wearing their mask incorrectly
Where Can a Sneeze Guard be Used?
Sneezeguards are beneficial in almost any setting you can think of. Some of the most common uses for sneezeguards include:
- Cash registers – to protect the cashier and the customer
- Schools – between and around desks to separate students
- Gyms – between pieces of equipment to limit the spread of bacteria from one machine to another
- Doctors offices
- Public transportation – sneezeguards can be placed between seats for different patrons and they can be placed around the driver to protect them from exposure to everyone entering or exiting the public transit
Almost any public place you can think of can benefit from the use of sneezeguards. Anywhere where direct contact can occur from one person to another, a sneezeguard can be placed in between them for added protection.
Do Sneeze Guards Work?
A giant piece of plastic might look silly, but it actually works! Sneezeguards are shown to be effective at catching bacteria and droplets in the air that would otherwise infect the person on the other side of the guard. Masks offer the same type of protection, but sneezeguards in addition to masks significantly lower the risk of transferring bacteria from one person to another. Not everyone is compliant with mask recommendations and some people don’t wear their mask properly, so a sneezeguard offers an extra layer of protection. The sneezeguards should be disinfected regularly and you should avoid touching the guard unless you’re the one cleaning it. After all, the bacteria and droplets just sit on the guard, so who would want to touch that?!
Purchase Sneeze Guards from My Safe Meeting
Sneezeguards are not required by law in every state, but they are encouraged by the CDC. Reception desks, cashiers, schools, and nearly any area of customer service can benefit from the added layer of protection. Both acrylic and plexiglass make effective sneezeguards. For help purchasing and installing sneezeguards, contact My Safe Meeting today! You can give us a call at 978-267-1080 or fill out a contact form.
Covid-19 has presented a lot of restaurant owners with many challenges. Whether your restaurant is getting ready to re-open or you’re looking for some extra safety precautions, My Safe Meeting is here to help! Our social distancing products can give restaurant owners some solutions to make sure your restaurant is safe for all your guests and employees. Here are some tips and products we can offer you to help!
Signage to the Outside of your Restaurant
Make communication with your customers easy by adding outdoor signage to your restaurant. You can post that the restaurant is indeed open, that you offer curbside pickup, and that you offer delivery options as well. You can also use this signage to remind customers to wear their masks and to stay 6 feet apart. By displaying this information outside, potential customers who walk by your restaurant will know everything you’re offering. So whether they choose to go in right away or not, they’ll know the options they have for your restaurant and your policies.
Protective Partitions and Barriers Between Tables
Adding partitions or barriers between tables in your restaurant is a must. This will reduce the spread of germs being circulated in the air. We offer custom booth dividers as well as 4-way dividers for the tables themselves. We also offer sink dividers for your bathroom! We have many options and can help install these for you easily.
Standing Divider Walls
To take the barriers a step further, we also offer standing dividing walls for you to place wherever you think might need some more isolation. These are extremely easy to move around yourself so you can place them wherever you see fit any day.
No Touch Hand-Sanitizing Station & Banner
It’s a good idea to place hand sanitizing stations in your restaurant’s high trafficked areas. This could include your front door, outside the bathroom, or any other area you see fit. Adding a banner to your sanitizing station can also make it stand out to customers so that they are more likely to use it. It’s easy to just walk by a sanitizer station if it’s just standing alone, but adding a banner will make the area pop and get people’s attention.
Contact My Safe Meeting in Boston
If you’re interested in any of these products or the many products presented on our website to help with social distancing and keeping your customers safe, contact us! We will give you insight on prices as well as schedule to install these products for you. We’ll help make this process easier for you. Give us a call at 978-267-1080 to inquire!
As business places and public places begin to open up, it is the responsibility of the owners and authorities to enable their visitors to abide by the social distance practices. It is then important to understand how and where to use social distancing signage to help curb the spread of the virus.
Let’s go over specific places you should place social distancing signage and why.
Entrances and exits
If your business environment has the facilities, designate a separate entrance and exit into your building. This will help to encourage social distancing and also aid traffic flow control. You can also put signs in places to remind people of the need to have physical distance, but you should also be vocal about it.
If the visitors have to go through a temperature check before getting into the building, coordinate the checking in an orderly manner. Some of the signs you can place at entrances and exits include wall signs, arrows to direct, floor tapes, barricades, and many more.
The lobby or waiting room is an area where people congregate and can often forget to observe the social distancing rule. This place is a great place to put the signs and labels to remind the people. If you have chairs that are stack together, use seat markers to indicate which seat is available for use and which isn’t.
Warehouse or distribution centers
Another place you can put the social distancing signage is the warehouse. Be innovative with the traffic patterns to encourage social distancing and put signs in various places within the facilities. Floor tape, adhesive floor markers, and wall signs will be of great help.
You can also put social distancing signage in communal places like the restroom, break rooms, or cafeteria. Put spacing reminders in places where lines will be formed and help encourage hand washing in the restrooms through the use of signs.
The employees that work in manufacturing or areas where the cooking is done as in the case of a restaurant too need to be protected. So, to keep out crowding in areas where stocks are located, guidelines need to be put in place.
Floor tapes and signage that stands out in specific parts of the room will also go a long way to help.
Curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus is the responsibility of everyone. Store owners and other business owners should take social distancing seriously. Invest in signage that helps you sensitize your visitors and customers about the dangers of contracting the virus.
Handbills, wall signs, floor tape, custom signs, and many more will help your cause. My Safe Meeting will help you take care of all the signage your business needs to be vocal about social distancing. The virus has changed your business, and we are here to help all along the way. Contact us today by giving us a call at 978-267-1080 or by filling out a contact form.
As the peak of coronavirus infections starts to level off in many countries, industries affected by the outbreak are starting to plan how their businesses will reopen while continuing to stay safe and practice social distancing. With the plan of reopening businesses as soon as possible, we knew we had to take action as to what measures to put in place. After carefully researching CDC, OSHA, and private organizations’ guidelines to learn best practices in the COVID-19 era, we have come up with products and services that can help you as you move to reopen your buildings, offices, and meeting and event spaces while continuing to practice safe social distancing.
Planning Safe Social Distancing
In order to have a safe social distancing plan, you’ll need to examine your space and consider your existing floorplan. Art of the Event offers safe space consultation to clients to tailor the best safety layout for a meeting space, office building, venue or other institution. We can consult on how to rearrange your existing floorplan and the elements within to maximize safety. We also offer floorplan generation services for those who need it.
Safety Instructions for Employees and Guests
To fully inform your employees and clients about best practices, we create custom table tents, pamphlets, and kits for public and private spaces. Within these, we have guidelines and directions on how to follow proper social distance, hand washing, and sneeze etiquette while at that facility or event. We can also create welcome and informational boards to display throughout the space.
Room Dividers, Screens, & Walls for Planned Social Distancing
As HR departments, building managers and other company stakeholders consider splitting shifts and some continuation of remote work to lessen congestion in the office and lower room capacities to lessen congestion in venues, Art of the Event provides permanent and temporary acrylic screens and dividers as well as splash shields for cubicles and heavily concentrated areas. These elements can help people distance even while they are together. Art of the Event also creates custom room dividers and movable walls for office spaces, meeting rooms, etc.
Other resources we are happy to provide are movable Plexi-guarded registration and medical assistant booths. These can be used for offices and meetings as well as (in the future) your meetings and special events.
Branded Social Distancing Guides
Graphic clings and stickers via floor, wall, or column wraps can guide people as they move through your space. Directional signage creates one-way “traffic” in narrower hallways, etc. Similar to these guides, we offer informational stair, elevator and escalator wraps to reinforce your protocols to everyone working in or visiting that facility.
Art of the Event has the unique ability to customize any and all of your guides, informational boards, room dividers, pamphlets, etc. Our internal graphic design team can work with you to incorporate your logo, colors, and all pertinent information.
Tools and Equipment
Safety comes first so it is important to have certain items available for everyone when they arrive. Plenty of hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves should be offered freely on-site.
No-touch hand sanitizer stands placed strategically throughout your space help to ensure everyone is sanitizing often. We also offer temperature monitoring equipment. Temperature checking facial recognition technology ensures an ill guest or employee can be flagged and sent home without infecting others. Much like metal detectors, thermal imaging booths also allow for “passive” no-touch temperature checks for larger groups entering a building or venue space. We are also currently studying other technological devices to help you keep your clients, employees, guests, and spaces safe.
Contact Art of the Event
For more information or to schedule a safe space consultation, contact us at (781)670-9292 ext. 10 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out the complete list of everything we have to offer for safe social distancing here.
How to Organize your Home Office: Most of us began working from home suddenly and without having an opportunity to plan properly. Temporary offices and shared offices were tossed together for, what many of us thought, would be a short time. Now that we’ve all been home for a while, I thought advice from an organizing expert could prove helpful. Fortunately for all of us, my great friend MJ. Rosenthal just happens to be a seasoned professional organizer. I interviewed her on April 10, 2019.
Interviewer: Gayle Gilberto for MPI New England
Interviewee: MJ Rosenthal, Certified Professional Organizer
Organization & Executive Function Coach: An Organized Life
GG: Are there universal rules for organizing an office?
MJ: The one big rule is to make it work for you. I share with clients that organizing is not “one style” or “one container” fits all. It’s a very personal application. One person’s order is another person’s disorder.
Some general “Good rules of organizing” which apply to most of us include:
Store Like Items Together
Keep Frequent Use Items Most Accessible
Instead of asking “Where You Should Put It?”, ask “How Will I Look For It?” How you answer the latter will help you determine the former.
When you decide to do any organizing task, make it small enough so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Break it up into segments and time block them to minimize stress.
GG: Most home offices are used for chores like family bills and mail. Are there easy ways to organize both work and personal tasks from home?
MJ: Sure. Here are some easy ways to clear the clutter and re-set for how you need to use the space today:
The first thing to do is to divide up the individual items based on the task. Group work items/tasks together; group personal items/tasks together.
When you use an item less often, or for both categories (like office supplies or technology) keep some with each grouping — or store with other like items that are less frequently used.
Once you divide up the stuff, get ready to relocate the categories to their own spaces/ surfaces.
The second step is to divide up the real estate. Decide where you will do your “work” (maybe at the desk in the office) and where you will do your “personal” (perhaps at a temporary desk in the same space or a folding table in another room of the house).
Make sure whatever area/surface you choose is devoted only to the task of “work” or “personal/home” — avoid “technical errors” (mixed categories) and co-mingling of other non-related categories.
The third step is to decide where to locate items. We answer this question based on (1) how we will use it next (2) frequency of use and (3) emotional attachment.
Items that are engaged with most often should be assigned real estate within arms reach of the task. (I.e., — computer and key board, pen/pencil, to-do list, printed paper to review, brain toy you play with all the time to help you think) — and items which are used less frequently should go to secondary storage areas (reference material, back up supplies, to be filed, charging cords, etc.)
If you love it, keep it! A picture of your family, a treasured memory, an inspiring poem— all of these items are as important as your laptop or cell phone. But keep it simple. Too much of a good thing becomes overwhelming.
Now is the time to link our space, tasks, what we have to do and our time to do it. Space Planning (how we use the space) and Time Blocking (when we do the stuff we hold onto) go hand and hand. A clutter-free space means linking “what you have to do” to a time you “have to do it.”
GG: Do you use labels to help your clients organize?
MJ: Yes. This is a hard and fast rule. Yes. Labeling does several things:
One, it reinforces your decision about location and incorporates the muscle memory of movement, cerebral decision of what to call it, and aesthetic decision of what the label looks like. All of these factors help to “set” an organizational memory.
Two, most of us respond extremely quickly to visual cues (that’s why we leave things out to jog our memories). Having clear information identifying what the item is is the easiest method for storage and retrieval. Labels can take the form of label tape, Post Its, writing on the outside of the box, etc — and labeling in our calendar via Time Blocking.
GG: For folks who did not have a home office and now need to create one: How can they take a non-separate room space and turn it into a workable office? What’s most important for making this a productive space?
MJ: Another great question. Many of us are turning spaces which have been functioning in one way into a space that can serve a different purpose, like a dedicated work from home office.
The first thing we need to do is clear out the room we are going to use. I use the SPACE Process.
Once we have cleared the stuff, we are ready to re-set with the sorted “work” items. Starting with a clear space leads to clearer, more purposeful decisions on where to locate things.
We talked about function and frequency of use above, but aesthetic choices — and space planning — is also motivating when creating a home-based office.
Consider how your desk/office at work was set up. Are you a creature of habit and do you need to set up in a similar way to create historical comfort? What does your chair feel like — can you comfortably sit for long periods? Is a stand-up desk a better fit? Merging function and feeling together creates a space of balance, peace, and productivity.
GG: For people who want more personalized, professional assistance: Do you offer Virtual organizing sessions?
MJ: Yes, I’ve been providing Virtual Organizing services to Clients who have moved away or live in a remote region, as well as Coaching Programs to Clients with ADD/ ADHD & Executive Function Coaching; the virtual structure is something we’ve had in place for many years. Now local Clients are taking advantage of the Virtual Organizing Programs because they offer a huge amount of support and productivity in a very short time frame.
GG: Thank you, MJ. This was very instructive. We can use some of these tips for organizing our home offices or just about any other space!
MJ: Thank you! Be safe, be healthy, be organized.
Photos courtesy of An Organized Life
As we can all agree, Zoom has become an invaluable tool for connecting during this pandemic. When it comes to virtually meeting with clients and colleagues, we all want to look as professional as possible, even when we are connecting from home. Fortunately, looking your best is easy online once you become familiar with a few tools of the trade!
If you haven’t yet downloaded Zoom yet, we highly suggest it! It’s the most popular free video conference tool you can download onto your computer. Zoom has many internal tools you can use to stay organized on meetings and presentations. Once you download Zoom, don’t forget about downloading a great extension called Snap Camera. Snap Camera is a highly intuitive camera filtering program (similar to the Snapchat application) offering an ever-growing assortment of filters.
Once you’ve downloaded both applications, you want to open Snap Camera first. This will make Snap Camera your Zoom camera lens and enable you to work with both simultaneously. Now open Zoom and go to the settings cog found just under your initials at the upper right of the downloaded Zoom page screen.*
In your Zoom settings, you will see a few tab options. Let’s start by observing your unaltered image. Simply click on the video icon tab and your computer camera or webcam will bring up your live image. Don’t worry if you don’t like what you see yet! No one else can see you and now you can spruce up both your backdrop and your personal image prior to any real meetings.
There are two ways to create virtual backdrops with Zoom, with a green screen and without. Let’s begin with the latter. If you don’t have a real green screen, no problem! Zoom will automatically find you and crop your actual background out. Yes, a green screen can give you better quality and you can buy them if you like but if you play with images you can find some that will do a good job. Virtual images work best with an overall consistent light.
You can make it easier for Zoom to determine where you begin and other elements end by taking notice of your clothes and what is directly behind you. For example, If you have black or dark hair and you are sitting in a black high back office chair, Zoom may blur the lines between you both, which is disconcerting to viewers. You can fix this by simply switching out your chair for another. It’s also best to avoid very dark or black tops for the same reason. You want to choose your preferred image or video background on Zoom before you use the Snap Camera filters because, as we’ve observed, the background image does change what filters look better or worse.
First, click the video icon on the settings page. Here you can choose a 16:9 widescreen ratio or the original ratio. A 16:9 is arguably better as it is the standard ratio. Enabling HD by clicking that option will make the overall image, including your background, more crisp. You can also choose “Mirror my Video” which will flip your entire image to your audience, however, keep in mind this will flip your text or written notes backwards as well.
Now go to virtual background in settings. You will find there are already a few free options offered by Zoom. There is also a small square icon with a plus symbol (+) to the right of the “Choose Virtual Background” text. This option allows you to upload and save your own images and videos to be used as your own personalized background.
Finding images online is easy and inexpensive. Some high-quality images are even royalty free. Search the web and see what meeting appropriate imagery you can use for a backdrop. We suggest searching “Free images for Zoom” and you’ll find more options than you can count! You may want to download some fun ones too for your next personal meeting. Once you select the image you want, it will automatically download into your Zoom! The image will be added to the gallery below and then you can click your image to test it out. Testing the image will help determine if an image is too fuzzy or just doesn’t look good. If you choose to remove this image from your gallery, then simply scroll over the image and a small black circle with an “x” symbol will appear. Click that icon at the top right of the image and it will vanish from your Zoom library.
If you are savvy enough to create your own media, you will need to know the correct specifications to maximize your imagery. A video background should be created as a horizontal “.MP4” or “.Mov” file at a minimum of 480 x 360 pixels with a maximum of 1820 x 1080 pixels. A still image should be a horizontal 1280 pixels x 720 pixels with a 16:9 ratio.
Using the “green screen” option on Zoom:
For those unfamiliar with the term, in TV and film production a green screen is quite literally a green-colored backdrop that goes behind talent, similar to a meteorologist on the news. The vibrant green color is used because it contrasts with skin, hair, clothing and other natural colors. Images keyed into the system will fill the green area on screen but will not interfere with the person or objects in front of it. You can buy a professional green screen kit over the internet if you have both the room and the money. However, if you have an existing solid color backdrop that is not black or white, you can use it. Being sure the solid color contrasts with you enables the use of the ‘green screen’ option on zoom. Choosing this option will clearly define you from the background creating the most optimal overall picture.
To install your own inexpensive background, take some solid color fabric and clamp it to a curtain rod or tack it up against a wall behind you. Just make sure your fabric surface is as smooth as possible for the best green-screen effect. Once your “green screen” is physically set up, start by selecting the “I have green screen” option on the Virtual Background page in your Zoom settings. You will see a bar that says to “Manually pick the color of the background if the automatically detected color is not accurate.” This means if your background is not the traditional green screen, you will have to click on the icon to the right of that description and an eyedropper tool will pop up for you to select the background color reference you want Zoom to identify and use. From this change, Zoom will automatically fill your “green screen” with your virtual background.
Choose background images based on your preference and that of your audience. Try to find appropriate images or videos that don’t overpower you or take attention away from your meeting. Skylines, bookshelves, library sets and softly textured backgrounds are all good choices for virtual meetings.
Your personal image:
Looking you best will be easy with zoom. There is a “Touch up my appearance432313” button on the Zoom video page. It will create a slight soft focus filter over your image, diminishing small problems like mild blemishes and fine lines.
But you have Snap Camera as well and that does much, much more!!
With your Snap Camera already open, select your filter before your meeting. You can change filters anytime before or during your call, but unless you are chatting with friends during a virtual social distancing-happy hour you may want to pre-set your filters and your
virtual backdrop before you start your meeting and remain consistent all the way through.
Snap Camera was created by Snap Inc. who also owns Snapchat, most of its filters are goofy and fun. You may have already seen some wild filters that turn a person into a potato or an egg yolk.
Snap Camera also offers a host of filters that can help you look your best, with or without your make up. The search magnifying glass is found just below the camera image and above the featured filters. We recommend typing in “skin” or “make-up” and try out the options. The quality of these consumer-generated filters may vary so do take the time to poke around and see what works for you on your chosen background.
Some of the makeup images are zany like a cyber blue complexion—cute and fun but not appropriate for a business meeting. Others are more realistic and you can find makeup, skin and blush lens options that look natural. Your chosen filters will change instantly by simply clicking on them. You can even save your favorites for later use by clicking the star option on the upper left-hand corner of your preferred filtered image.
You can spruce up your existing real-life background and make yourself look your best with your own makeup and good lighting. But when in a pinch, these virtual options can get you ready for your next impromptu meeting!
*Zoom is available on IPAD and IPHONE but neither can handle the virtual backdrop option particularly well as the Snap Camera lens cannot integrate with Zoom on a tablet or mobile device. The above tutorial works best with a PC or MAC computer.
Whether you’re looking for an immersive theme for your next event or just some ideas for accent decor, we’ve got you covered with the latest styles to make your event unforgettable.
1. Bring in the 2020’s with 1920’s Glam
Harkening back to the 20’s of last century, create an experience that goes from rustic speakeasy with whiskey barrels and leather decor, to Great Gatsby Glam with crystal chandeliers, golden tables, and feather centerpieces. Notorious for ﬂappers, jazz, and bootleggers, the Roaring 1920’s bring a rebellious spirit and glamorous style that still resonates with us today
2. The Golden Rules
A decadent, rich color, gold is the perfect color to make your next event shine. For a classic look, choose gold and glass furniture, or put ﬂowers in gold vases on your cocktail tables. Or make a stunning stage set or photo op with a gold-accented backdrop.
3. Mark Your Calendars
As we embark on this new decade, we look forward as we also reﬂect. Celebrate your organization’s history or personal accomplishments with interactive timeline walls. Today’s displays merge visual and interactive elements to engage guests physically and mentally in your story using 3-dimensional signage, timelines and infographics, photos, videos, and props.
4. Change It Up
Have a long event or multi-day conference? Keep your audience alert and engaged with real-time changes in decor, interactive elements, and activities. Switching out elements mid-event, especially after long days of panels and training, keeps things interesting! This can be as simple as changing w few decor pieces and lighting to go from reception to after-party, or a full room ﬂip. Using technology like A/V Projection Mapping, you can even change a stage or room dynamically as your event is happening!
5. The Shape of Things
Bold, abstract shapes add dimension and interest to backdrops and dividers, while shapely curves in your furniture helps soften up the space. Combine curved furniture and angled backdrops to create a dynamic space for your guests.
6. Are You Blue?
This year’s Pantone color of the year is classic blue, a “shade reminiscent of the sky at dusk.” In truth, all blues tones from beryl to deep navy are popular so feel free to take your pick or mix and match! Accent it with warm, natural colors and organic textures to create a chic lounge space, or pair it with white and silver for your classy gala.
7. Naturally Warm
Warm natural colors are also trending, including natural wood tones. Rustic woods make room for reﬁned lighter wood designs. Make your natural, warm tones more interesting by adding lots of organic texture.
Biophilia is described as “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive” by German psychoanalyst Erich Fromm. In design terms, this simply means to bring the outside in. Living walls, large trees and plants, running water fountains, and other outdoor elements add life to your event and engage your guests using the organic colors, textures, and even sounds of nature.
9. Opposing Elements
Two design trends merge when natural materials are combined with synthetic, contemporary ones. Upgrade that hedge wall with a neon sign. Enclose your plants in lucite cubes. These seemingly incompatible juxtapositions lead to stunning results!
10. Insta Moments
Let your guests share in the excitement with Instagram-worthy props, backdrops, and environments. Don’t just go for the traditional step-and-repeat – add props, 3D elements to interact with, or furniture to sit on for a unique experience your guests will want to share!
By: Cierra Dubinsky & Alanna Lynch
The positive effects of flowers are immeasurable; they can brighten up a room, someone’s mood, and promote healing. They offer vibrant colors, fragrant smells, and a small reminder of the beauty of the world around us. Flowers are a celebration, and naturally, an important part of what we do at Art of the Event Inc.
Our florists are passionate about creating arrangements that perfectly capture the essence of whatever event they are featured at. But what happens to these fresh flowers when the event is over? Most companies and venues simply discard them without a second thought. We at Art of the Event Inc. want to avoid waste and spread as much happiness as possible; that’s why we’ve partnered with the Power of Flowers Project, founded by Joyce Bellefeuille.
Located in Tewksbury MA and home to 75 volunteers, the Power of Flowers project takes lightly used flowers from events and services and delivers replenished bouquets to anyone who needs a smile. In their own words, they are “one small effort to reuse something beautiful and bring joy to others.”
Not only does this project better the lives of surrounding communities, but it is done in a sustainable fashion. The Power of Flowers “renews and refreshes gently used flowers, recycled from weddings, banquets, business conferences, memorial services—any event where flowers are left behind or tossed in the trash while they are still fresh.” By reusing flowers, they are saving land, money, and water used to grow and maintain new flowers!
Art of the Event Inc. is thrilled to be donating to this admirable project. Every time flowers or centerpieces return to our warehouse, they find new homes with Power of Flowers. Want to help the Power of Flowers flourish even more? Click here to contribute! “Making a difference, one flower at a time.”
One of the biggest trends right now is getting your guests involved in their menu choices. Skipping the plated meal or traditional hors d’oeuvres and opting for more interactive delights is a great way to make a lasting impression on your guests.
AotE has got you covered with unique interactive food displays on the market. Our one-of-a-kind food service stations create photo opportunities, conversation topics, and make food part of the fun. Most importantly, they allow your guests to customize their fare to fit their preferences, all but guaranteeing that everyone will be raving on social media about your event!
1. Bring the Refreshments Around on a Ferris wheel
Carnival and cirque themes are hot this summer! Whether you’re planning an outdoor or indoor festival or event, our working Ferris wheel will create a truly instagrammable moment for your guests!
Dimensions: 9’T with five trays to hold your snacks or merch, and a customizable base.
2. Not-Just-A-Doughnut Wall
There’s a new sweet treat dominating dessert bars everywhere: doughnut walls! Our sleek & whimsical doughnut wall will look impressive in your space, and you can customize it with a graphic, logo or monogram.
Not a fan of sweets? Display pretzels, bagels, candy canes, or any other hang-able food!
Dimensions: 8’Tx4’W, with 2’ of customizable space at the top and bottom, and 96 pegs.
3. Raise Your Glass with a Champagne Hedge Wall
Guests will have a blast choosing their glass, toasting to the night, and taking selfies in front of our elegant champagne wall! With faux hedge and custom florals, this wall is stylish, functional, and bound to be the center of attention.
Dimensions: 8’x8’ hedge wall, complete with slotted shelves that hold 96 of any size wine glass.
4. Tap the Keg Wall
Breathe new life into your bar space with our rustic & chic keg wall; A fully functional and staple decor piece, featuring your favorite brews on tap! Draft beer is also eco-friendly, with refillable kegs and less overall waste.
Dimensions: 74”Wx8’T with four beer lines.
It’s finally Summer in New England and outdoor celebrations are in full swing! Whether you’re hosting a wedding reception, BBQ, or rooftop party, AotE has got your seasonal event covered with limited time specials; our in-house designers are offering complimentary styling services & products to make your event the stand-out party of the season.
These specials won’t last long though – book by 8/31/19 to reserve yours!
Summer Style Spotlight: Lanterns
Whether your aesthetic tends towards bold colors or sparkly lights, lanterns are a simple & classic way to light up your summer night.
Summer Style Spotlight: Modern Lounge
Get your guests talking! Create a comfortable, social space at your event with specialty lounge furniture – from modern white lounge sets that match any decor to classic teak sets that never go out of style.
Summer Style Spotlight: Sun Umbrellas
Instead of baking under the hot summer sun during your next ocean-side gala, enjoy the shade under market umbrellas!
3 Landsdowne Street, Boston, MA, 02108
photo by Christopher Huang
Landsdowne Street has a new, hip brewpub on the block, and its name is Cheeky Monkey Brewing Company (CMBC). Located in-between The Landsdowne Pub and Loretta’s Last Call, CMBC prides itself on house-brewed craft beers, cross-cultural street food, and table games. The restaurant and the first level of the building occupy 10,000 square feet, with their capacity maxing out at 500 guests. A staircase within the brewery connects drinkers and baseball fans alike to Lucky Strike Social, a bowling alley and bar. Together, both places make up a multi-level, 70,000-square-foot behemoth.
Cheeky Monkey oﬀers semi and fully private event spaces in their Tap Room & XO Lounge. Each room boasts its own distinct environment equipped for corporate parties and social gatherings. They are extremely accommodating to large groups, as the restaurant seamlessly entertains the masses that attend Fenway Park, and provides top-notch services at a reasonable price.
photo by Christopher Huang
The XO Lounge is the perfect place for small gatherings and is located in the far back of the restaurant. Enjoy a quiet, secluded craft beer on their leather sofas, just steps away from the game room with billiards, darts, ping-pong or shuﬄeboard. For larger groups, CMBC has a specialty Tap Room that can host up to 60 guests. This room features a private bar with craft beers on tap and is enclosed by their state-of-the-art beer tanks.
photo by Christopher Huang
Rounding out the entertainment experience, Cheeky Monkey is fully decked out in funky, modern decor & art pieces, including some Insta-worthy neon signs. This place is one of Fenway’s hot spots for millennials after hours as well. Going far beyond your average brewery, Cheeky Monkey truly creates a one of a kind experience in Boston.
Is Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co. the venue for your next event? Give us a call or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate!
By: Cierra Dubinsky
For Gayle Gilberto, President of Art of the Event, Inc., employee appreciation is #1! In fact, she recently spoke on this topic during the Boston HR Summit at the Westin Waterfront. So, what are the best management tactics to keep employees happy and satisfied? Gilberto suggests two efforts that can be easily implemented: special events & incentive programs.
It’s Party Time!
The most common employee events are holiday parties and company outings, which are a great way to keep morale up. Gilberto describes these as a “direct give back to employees.” AotE hosts a joint client/employee appreciation event every Spring, which functions as the perfect opportunity for employees, leadership, and clients to get to know each other in a different setting. Other special events that can improve a company’s dynamic include team building programs, awards galas, or any shared experience that, “make the employees feel like they’re part of the
family.” Something as simple as a summer afternoon ice cream outing could have an overwhelmingly positive influence!
Gilberto emphasizes the importance of management attending these events as a way of opening the lines of communication between employees of all levels who may not regularly interact. She also recommends having this outside of the office or workplace. A different atmosphere will encourage employees to relax and feel more comfortable mingling with one another.
A Team Effort
Incentive programs are another great way to “drive sales and help the company achieve its goals, which is to keep employees happy.” Incentives have gained a lot of popularity within the millennial crowd, as they are “very motivated by team experiences and feelings of belonging. Incentive programs will only get more valuable as time goes on.”
Recognition systems are relatively cost-free, and the benefits can be great when implemented effectively. “For every dollar spent on incentive travel programs, the business will benefit an average of $12.50 in increased revenue, and $3.80 in increased profitability… that’s $4 to the dollar spent!” That’s a win-win for any company, on and off the paper. In addition to travel, paid time off, vacations, bonuses, and gift cards are all examples of incentives that are overwhelmingly well-received amongst employees. According to CIS.com, 87.5% of people who participate in an incentive program feel they’re appreciated, 80% said their loyalty to the company increased, and 78% said they felt an increased sense of belonging. “These are all things we want our employees to feel!”
All in all, it’s about understanding what truly motivates and drives people. AotE is currently running a spa package incentive program throughout April, and employees have already shown extra enthusiasm to exceed this month’s goals!
“That’s how you want your best employees to feel— to feel valued. To feel appreciated by you, their peers, and the company itself.” – Gayle Gilberto
What does it take to stay on the cutting-edge of the rapidly changing world of events? Fast-moving trends can leave companies, nonprofits, and individuals continually searching for the next hot theme and the newest social-media friendly craze. Whether you’re planning a gala, a product launch, or a mitzvah, staying fresh and modern is critical when crafting a memorable event. Here are three ways to navigate this constantly shifting scene without getting bogged down in the details:
1. Follow Event Companies on Social Media
Whether you’re prepping for a wedding or a corporate holiday party, inspiration is readily available on social media! Follow industry-leaders to discover photos of unique and modern events. It will also give you a sense of what themes are hot and what company can best make your vision become a reality.
Our favorite channels? Pinterest and Instagram. Two imagery-focused platforms that let you get the full visual, and provide a bread crumb trail to similar images so you can delve more deeply into your favorite theme.
2. Discover Industry-Leaders in Event Production
How to tell if a company is a cutting-edge industry trailblazer? Look for new and unique designs, furniture, and concepts. Art of the Event’s brand new Edison Tables are one-of-a-kind and made in-house. By continually imagining and crafting unique individual pieces to make clients’ dreams into reality (or just because we had a cool idea!) we ensure that the company is always oﬀering creative and modern designs that make each event one-of-a-kind!
Even if you’re re-using a past theme or going for a classic design, your event company’s capabilities shouldn’t box you in. Take a look at a company’s online catalog (see Art of the Event’s here) to see what kind of variety they have.
3. Choose an Event Company that can Customize
Does the event company you’re working with produce their graphics and builds in-house? If not, your business is being outsourced to another company, and you’re paying extra! Look for companies that employ graphics and fabrication staﬀ full-time. Not only does this save you money, but it also helps prevent confusion and allows for greater customization.
When one of Art of the Event’s producers gets a request for branded pieces, a custom build, florals, or anything else that requires a personal touch, they’re able to go right to the source. Instead of making calls to external companies, they’re able to sit down with a member of the graphics, fabrication, or floral department and figure out how to make your vision come to life. Instead of asking ‘can we do this?’ our team is able to focus on crafting your unique vision.
Bonus: Pick a Veteran Company
Another major factor to consider: How long has an event company been around? Established companies have relationships with other providers, so if they do have to outsource for a specific item, they’re able to get a deal, which is then passed along to you, the client.
It also means they have relationships with venues and are often able to work more closely with your chosen location. Art of the Event producers always oﬀer to coordinate directly with your venue, so you don’t need to worry about the load in or set-up at all. With floor plans for almost every venue in the Boston area already on file, and team members who are familiar with the load-in and strike procedures of every hotel, conference, center, and venue in Eastern MA and beyond, picking a veteran events company can take a considerable load oﬀ of your shoulders!