I am currently working on planning and implementing the Big Island Chocolate Festival being held at the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast on March 23rd. I am very excited about all the sponsor support we have received and how this year is really putting us on target to make this Festival a world class food event.
However, there have been a few “whoopsies” that I wanted to share as to help anyone who does event planning avoid some pitfalls.
1. Posters-I thought it would be a great idea to have large posters to put around town to help promote the event. I asked our designer to create 16 x 24 posters. Did you know it costs $17 EACH to print these sized posters? I called OfficeMax and found out that if I printed out 11 x17, they are less than $2 each. I highly doubt that the amount of ticket sales generated from the large poster vs the small poster would help defray the extra costs of the larger poster. I am paying for a redesign instead. Lesson learned.
2. Website-We just completely redesigned and relaunched our Chocolate Festival website today. Yes, seven weeks prior to the event. We did this because the prior website just was not user friendly enough to clearly point to where people should buy tickets and explain all the different elements to the event with visual impact. So, we switched from HTML to WordPress and relaunched. I am glad we did, but we probably should have done it sooner or waited.
3. Email: Having five core committee members in charge of various aspects of the event and having streams and streams of emails going back and forth is inefficient and time consuming. We are moving towards Google Docs, Doodle polls, and cloud technology to make working together as a group online easier. I am considering helping another group on the other side of the island with their Fall event and I will incorporate Skype, BaseCamp and Google docs for budgets for that volunteer committee at the get go. Every time you produce an event, you find new tools to make it better.
The good news is that we are doing many things right and we are expecting a great turn out. We are also planning a second event two days prior to the main Gala event, a wine and chocolate tasting Prelude at The Shops at Mauna Lani on March 21st. We have great entertainment with the Bill Noble Trio, the pastry chef for Guittard Chocolate, Donald Wressel, sampling Guittard and Hawaiian chocolate for the guests and wine tasting. How much better does it get than that!?