When you’re holding events, it’s easy to rely on familiar suppliers; you’ve partnered with them before, and you know what they can deliver. But what if you’re working further afield? Companies seeking to expand and establish networks in new locations will often stage events to gain exposure in the area, and this can take you out of your comfort zone as an event planner for your company.
You could bring your old suppliers on board, or you can take the time to seek out and vet new ones. Here’s why it pays to go local as much as possible when it comes to choosing your vendors.
Building new relationships
Sourcing your event needs to any supplier is a means to an end; other factors will determine the success of your event itself. Yet at the same time, working with a supplier can provide intangible networking benefits. If you’re operating in new territory, building a new relationship with a local vendor can provide information and benefits that add to your overall return on investment (ROI) for this event.
Think long term; if your event is a success and your company establishes a foothold in the new location, you’ll now have a go-to supplier for future events – and possibly at a discount, too. They may also offer insider knowledge; photo and video professionals can recommend the best venue for a specific look or overall acoustics, as an example. You may even end up getting business referrals or networking with potential sponsors by working with the right local supplier.
Light on logistics
One of the most apparent benefits of partnering with local suppliers is transportation. Having to cover shorter distances and work with reduced travel time allows the vendor to charge less. It can also let them bring more workforce on board. This translates to greater flexibility and creative wiggle room. Stage designers can bring in more props and have more hands to operate creative lighting setups, for instance.
Local vendors also have a great working knowledge of the area and the community. For example, if you’re holding an event in Salt Lake City, catering companies from the area can have the advantage of familiarity with your venue, having worked there before. Knowing what’s available in the kitchen, and what to cover for themselves, can make a world of difference in the quality of food and service – which in turn sets the stage for a great event as opposed to one that falls flat.
Companies can have various goals when holding different kinds of events, but when you go out of state, you can always use the support of the local community. Again, it may not be the kind of thing that comes up in immediate ROI analysis, but when you work with local suppliers, you’re already spreading awareness of your brand and generating a positive impression that comes from demonstrating a willingness to take a chance on local businesses.
In the long run, this fosters the goodwill of the community and improves perception among consumers, as you’re generating work and revenue for locals. It might not be the short term objective of your company with this specific event, but it is a step towards future visibility and lead generation for your brand.
Organizing events is tough, and in that situation, we’d all like to work with people we know and trust. Still, you can embrace this as an opportunity to forge new relationships with local suppliers and set the stage for your company’s future success in the area.