In This Issue:

 

Keys to Planning the Best Summer Outing

Entering its 16th year of planning and executing summer events, WCF continues to provide large and small businesses with the best summer picnics throughout the city and suburbs.  Whether your event is in the city or suburbs, at a picnic venue or on your company grounds, WCF’s team of expert planners provides you the tools to plan your best summer outing ever!  Listed below are some key points for clients to consider when selecting the best event for your next summer outing.  These key points have been developed over the years through client feedback and WCF’s experience from managing and executing over 2,200 summer outings.  Please use these tips below to help identify the event that best matches your mission and objectives while maximizing value, participation and fun.

Mission & Objectives
The first step in the decision-making process is defining the summer outing’s key mission and objectives.  Without determining these elements, it is virtually impossible to plan and select an event that maximizes participation, fun and value for employees and guests of all ages.  Here are some key questions to ask your boss or committee before moving on to the next step: 

• What is the budget for the event? 
• Is a focus of the event to build camaraderie and goodwill amongst employees
  and/or employees and their families? 
• Is the event focused on enhancing relationships amongst employees? 
• Is the event strictly to reward employees? 
• Is the priority on younger employees (generally without families) or those 
  employees with families or both? 
• If the priority is on both, how will the needs of the different groups be addressed? 

Once your event objectives are determined, the planning and selection process for the ideal summer outing begins. 

Weekday vs. Weekend Events
The next step in the decision-making process is determining if the event is to occur on a weekday or weekend.  With benefits to either option, the mission and objectives determined by the client drive this decision.  For instance, a company looking to provide a highly engaging and entertaining event for employees and their families would prefer to host a weekend event to ensure family members are able to attend.  However, clients who want to guarantee a high employee attendance rate and want to focus on building relationships amongst employees are likely to choose a weekday event.  In addition, weekday events are typically less expensive since family members do not attend.

Day vs. Evening Events
After selecting the day of the week, clients must choose the best time of day to hold the event.  Traditionally, summer picnics are held in the afternoon taking advantage of the warm weather, time off work during the week and the optimum time for family members of all ages to attend, just to name a few.  However, a recent trend towards evening picnics held from 5:00-9:00 PM has proved popular with many companies.  Evening picnics are a good choice for many companies for a variety of reasons such as cooler weather, lower costs, larger range of available dates and more! 

Whether selecting a traditional afternoon picnic or opting for the newer evening picnic, your team must make sure to match the advantages of each option with your event goals.

Exclusive Interactive Event vs. General Admission Event
With the day of the week and time selected, the next step is choosing the type of event:  an exclusive interactive event vs. a general admission event.  Exclusive interactive events are private events strictly for the company, such as private summer picnics, company softball tournaments and interactive receptions.  These events provide a great environment for internal networking and enhance relationships between the company, the employees and their families.  On the contrary, general admission events take place in public environments such as amusement parks and zoos.  These events focus less on the relationships between the company, the employees and their families and more on providing free admission to a destination. 

More and more companies are selecting exclusive interactive events as the best return on investment.  Both event types are intended to reward employees, however exclusive interactive events are much more likely to also motivate employees while enhancing employee morale and camaraderie.  In addition, exclusive interactive events tend to develop goodwill with the employees’ families since the entire group is together (or in the same area) throughout the event as opposed to being spread throughout an enormous public area. 

"I wanted to tell you how wonderful the Kraft picnic was yesterday.  Your team was outstanding, they were all so nice, professional, coordinated, and just on top of everything.  We received so many compliments from the food, to the games, to the overall atmosphere that Windy City provided. Thank you so much.”

- Kraft

Activites for All Ages 
Find a vendor who provides activities for all age groups attending the event. A key element of a great picnic package is separately targeting each age group to meet its specific needs.  For example, to ensure each group has entertainment, find a company who divides the entertainment into four main categories: "Interactive Relays", "Facilitated Traditional Sports", "Passive or Walkup Entertainment" and "Entertainment Add-ons".  Regardless of each attendee’s interests, you must provide an array of activities capable of entertaining everyone.

Premier Venues: Location! Location! Location! 
Location is the key to an event and an element that requires a planner with access to the right venues.  Find a planner with access to the best private venues in Chicago – CITY & SUBURBS.  From incredible facilities at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), located within blocks of the Chicago Loop, to locations throughout the suburbs, find access to the premier picnic grounds in the Chicagoland area.  If desired, you also have the option to transform your company’s property into your own private picnic grounds.

Book Early
Now that you’ve selected the details of your event, it is imperative to start the process of booking your event early.
  Certainly one of the key ingredients to a great event is booking the location and date of your choice.  With thousands of proposals sent each year, you must request your proposal early – no later than February of each year and preferably sooner.

While there are many other question and issues to address, finding a vendor with the experience to pull off an event at the right location, at the right cost and with the benefit of hassle-free planning for you is the final key to booking a great summer outing.

For more information on summer planning tips, contact your sales representative at 773.486.7403.  With a useful guide for planning summer events and other tools gained from 15 years of experience, WCF is a great source for information and event ideas.

Make sure your employees have something to look forward to again this year and book your 2013 summer outing now.  The sooner you book, the more value you receive on your investment throughout the year.  For more information, contact your experienced event planner today at 773.486.7403, Request a Proposal or visit WindyCityFieldhouse.com/picnics.

- Murrel Karsh                       773.486.7403
- Alexa Wierzbinski               773.486.7436         
- Shuva Brodley                    773.537.7523
- David Jackson                    773.537.7524

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