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3 September 2015

The Real Estate Pro’s Guide to Hosting an Event

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As real estate professionals, it’s important to have an active role in the community and give back to the neighborhoods we know and love. There’s no better way to pay it forward and show your community how much you care than by hosting an event to support a cause that benefits the local area. Hosting or sponsoring an event is an excellent way to connect with your neighbors, demonstrate your company culture, and encourage team building.

Learn how you can help others with this step-by-step timeline for coordinating a successful event.

Six Weeks Out

Identify What Type of Event You Want to Have
First, you need to decide what type of event to host. There are several types of events, from talent attraction to community engagement. Some examples of great community engagement events are having a bake sale to support a local sports team, or hosting a night of guest speakers to discuss topics of interest from professional workshops to advocacy projects. You can also partner with a charitable organization such as Rebuilding Together to help families in need by holding a fundraising event.

Keep up with local on-goings like grand openings of businesses, countywide events, and regional scholarships funds. By appealing to your existing community culture, you are building the foundation for a successful event.

Set a Budget and Stick to It
Agents know a good deal when they see one. But what about outside of real estate? Throwing an event doesn’t have to be a budget buster. Get multiple quotes from various vendors and find a venue that will cost little to no money to utilize – be sure to explain that this is a community or cause-related event to help negotiate costs or encourage donations of products/services. Also, stay focused on the purpose of the event. Determine what selections are truly necessary to the experience, whether it’s food, speakers, etc. so you can concentrate on the elements that will really make a difference.

Identify a Target Audience and Think About How to Communicate
The more you know about your audience, the more successful the event. Construct a client and prospect list.  Write a press release or email pitch to send to and reach out to, local media like newspapers, magazines, and websites and invite them to attend. Shoot for the stars by inviting key community leaders and relevant local business leaders. Take advantage of your resources by getting involved with the town website or local chamber of commerce.

Conceptualize the Experience You Want to Create
The kind of experience you create is dependent on the type of event you’re hosting or sponsoring, but there are different elements you can incorporate. Consider putting together a main stage presentation, focus group discussions, or even interactive stations. If you’re hoping to hire a guest speaker, look both within and outside of your company to make your choice.

Source and Secure Venue
Choose an easily accessible location. Ensure the space accommodates the maximum size needed. Check for conveniences like air conditioning, parking areas, and proximity to highways depending of the size of your event.

One Month Out

Create and Distribute Invitations
It’s time to send out the invitations! Consider using email invites with an image, design, or digital services such as Evite or Cvent. This will save you the trouble of sourcing costly printed invitations. Be sure to keep track of the guest list.

Bonus Tip for Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Affiliates:
If you are a member of the BHGRE® network, show your BHGRE pride by providing promotional items like signage, branded giveaways, company collateral, or décor. Just make sure to follow brand ID guides and ensure compliant designs.

Two Weeks Out  

Finalize your program of events. If you have speakers, prep them on expectations and align on talk tracks to ensure the highest level of content. Identify the roles and responsibilities each staff member and affiliate will have on the day of the event. Reach out to local media to further publicize your event and boost attendance. Remind invitees of the event details and inform them of any updates.

One Week Out

Go over all the details and confirm with venues, vendors, speakers, and any attendees with special roles. If you’ve invited local media, confirm attendance via phone call. Print, prepare, and organize all materials (i.e. signage, collateral, agendas).

Week of Event

You’ve made it! It’s the week of the event and you’re feeling ready to roll, but there’s one last step to check off your list. There’s no better way to set your team up for success than with a run through involving all staff and affiliates.  And don’t forget to send final reminders to invitees!

Keep track of who attends the event by planning to have an in-person site check, and hold on to the sign-in list for future invitations, and a thank you follow-up.

Bonus Tip: 

Bring your camera to the event and snap photos of guests participating. They’ll be perfect to display in the office, share along with a caption to local media outlets, share on social media, and encourage participation at future events. Be sure to ask for permission to share before you post.

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