By Antoinette Redmond

How did Planit happen?

I always wanted to work in events, I think it came from the background of my dad being a chef and always helping him in the kitchen or on parties he was catering and organising.  I love the energy & adrenaline you get from working events.  I was working in Bank of Ireland but after have my annual appraisal and getting a great review my old boss Malachy Murphy and I discussed me leaving and going after my as they say dream job, he was a fantastic support and guided me into making the right choice.

Tell us the 1st event Planit organised?

Ironically my first event was for Bank of Ireland, it was a supper BBQ with fun activities for 150 people in St Mary’s Rugby Club.  I remember being nervous and excited on the day of the event, I don’t think I slept the night before running the event around in my head over and over and checking my list and notes.  I remember it was a beautiful sunny day and the clients all had a super day playing on inflatables, sports day activity and closed off with a prize giving with a BBQ and band.  I remember going into the office doing a post event chat the next day so excited and that was it I had the “Event Bug”.

Describe your typical day at Planit.

Well is never dull or boring! There are general working, planning & concept days, pre-production days, event days, and post-event days.  If you’re lucky, some days may be more than one!  You may go into pre-production the morning of the event and load out that night.  A day in the life of an event manager is both exhilarating & tiring at the same time.  You need to have an organised & creative mind and be able to prioritize your work load.  Planning is vital but you always have to be prepared for that as I say lastminute.com change or addition to the event.  Having great people around makes your day worthwhile and at PLANIT we have great people.

Takeaway/Learnings for Planit during COVID, how did the team manage?

After we got over the initial shock of the close down and cancellations of events like the rest of the country.  Our industry was decimated.  I personally feel PLANIT came into their own.  We remained positive and focused. 

As a team were quick to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, and have made remarkable progress developing and deploying technology to keep customers connected and informed.  We learned how to work with different platforms to suit the needs of our customers.  Our creative team adapted and produced some great work & digital activity interest was closely aligned to the nature of the virtual event.    

Going forward for example, for events catering for the creative industries, such as broadcasting and publishing, exhibitors are significantly more likely to be interested in digital tools that enable them to socialise and network with their peers.  Similarly, for more retail orientated events exhibitors are more interested in tools that help them to generate leads and make direct sales.

Customers continue to value face to face events and they will return.    

Behavioural change is already shaping the future of events. As new technologies become part of our everyday lives, our willingness to adapt is reflected in attitudes to online events but traditional events still remain an important tool for our customers.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in events industry?

Events are important because they allow for a more intimate and engaging experience with your audience which ultimately leaves a lasting impression and one that is more memorable than a passive viewing of a more traditional form of advertising.

Events are an important marketing tool?  Consumers today are looking for specific products or services… An event facilitates face-to-face discussion with your consumers, helping them to establish a much more personal and intimate relationship with your brand than what is possible in the digital space.

The mystery to being a successful event organiser, is a case of being really organised and systematic in your approach, listening (at least) as much as you talk, and always looking for ways to improve.  For me every day is bringing the enthusiasm and passion to my job which is easy because I love what I do and I enjoy partnering with my clients.

It’s also vital, as the scouts say, to always be prepared and never assume to presume.   Anticipating the needs and wants of your customers and nurturing those relationships is very important.  Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve all learned major lessons in being adaptable and having back-up plans, researching new ideas & trends in the changing environment.  These skills along with flexibility, eye for detail, leadership, organisational skills, a creative brain are super important for event managers because things can change at the last minute, whether there’s a global pandemic or not.

Finally, as an event planner you get to explore your creative vision and see an idea be turned into reality, from concept to execution.  Those who get to express themselves creatively tend to be happier and have a more balanced life, so as an event planner you get the best of both worlds!

Tell us some fun facts about you?

A heavy dose of stress and pressure are and unavoidable aspect of being a planner.

While it takes some people a lifetime to learn stress management, I have maintained balance in my life by incorporating yoga and sea swimming into my routines. Walking my Maltese Bailey and Belle on the beach is also a great head clearer; I have also done the Camino with pals back in 2018 which I highly recommend.

I love to travel and experience new cultures.   I also love catching up with friends and family particularly my 2 nieces Sienna & Kate who are 9 and full of fun and energy.

Your favourite quote?
‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur’