Define Decor: To Furniture or Not To Furniture?
Recently I’ve been getting questions from you all about event furnishings. From when do you need it to how do you budget for it, it seems that meeting professionals are growing more and more curious as to how furniture can work for them.
To answer your questions and more I sat down with Furniture Expert, Ashley Fisher, for an in depth Q&A on all things furniture. I hope you enjoy it!
Monet: What if a meeting professional has never utilized decorative furniture at her event before, what is the first thing she should know starting out?
Ashley: Furniture will simply make your event stand out, you will receive more attendee engagement because attendees will feel more comfortable within an intimate setting. For example, I’ve been to seminars in which I was so bored I played games on my phone under the ugly table linen instead of paying attention to the meeting. If I had been sitting front and center on a beautiful sofa, I would have been more engaged and paid more attention to the event than my phone.
Monet: What if the event only has a General Session or Breakout sessions without a tradeshow or cocktail hour, what does high end furniture add to an event that standard tables and chairs don’t?
Ashley: You can rejuvenate your attendees by making your breakouts fun and comfortable! Make your General Session stand out with sofas rather than rows of chairs. Keep breakouts interesting with a fresh scene in each room; have white furniture with different pops of color in each room, or brand your pillows with the theme or logo of each session. Get attendees excited through your environment – have them taking pictures and looking forward to what’s next!
Monet: Ok, so how does a planner incorporate his conference or show theme?
Ashley: Well, what is your vision? Do you want white or black? Modern? Traditional? Eclectic? Do you want a couch shaped like an infinity symbol? I recommend going on Pinterest and finding the look and feel you envision for your event and really think outside the box. Anything you can imagine is doable- with pieces like the Endless collection, you just have to imagine it and we can figure out how to execute it. Colors also play a big factor in the creativity process- an all white party is drastically different than an event with colored chairs and illuminated LED tables!
Recently I had a client tell me she wanted her event to feel like it was right out of the show Mad Men. I created an “inspiration board” with pieces that matched that vision, and she was able to pick and choose what was right for her needs and budget. An inspiration board can really give a planner an idea of how furniture can make your event come to life!
Monet: Whoa! That sounds awesome! I can think of a few MPs who would create some very colorful experiences like that!
Monet: But is it expensive? What if the planner hasn’t had a furniture budget in the past?
Ashley: If you don’t have a large furniture budget, you can get creative with your sponsors. A social media lounge can be a great revenue generator. We recently had a well known brand sponsor a clients’ lounge and brand the tables and pillows with their logo- their sponsorship covered all the furniture necessary for the event, and created a really beautiful space! After receiving attendee feedback from your first furnished event- you will have all the proof you need that furniture is a vital part of your event budget.
Monet: Well now we know the logistics- what’s new and exciting, what trends do you see up and coming in event furnishings?
Ashley: Powered Furniture is definitely the up and coming trend this year. Our company is the only provider with a full powered collection; from pedestals, to sofas and chairs, to tables, the powered collection allows your attendees to plug in and unwind at your event.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ran up to my room to charge my phone and missed the better part of a session! Now, attendees can stay in the room and keep their laptop or phone plugged in.
Monet: Before you go, what is the one thing you would tell meeting professionals that we haven’t already covered?
Ashley: Get out of your comfort zone! Try something new and interesting! Your attendees care that your event is different, that they are comfortable, and that you went the extra mile to pay attention to detail and exceed their expectations of how they will experience your event. Furniture makes a power statement at your event.
Monet: This has been so much fun Ashley! Thank you for sitting down with me and giving me the scoop on how to bring furniture to events- we are thrilled to partner with you and provide a new service to our meeting professionals!