PEC Plans: Operation MOVE

In early December, the staff of PEC planned and executed Operation MOVE, a 4,000+ person public event dedicated to battling childhood obesity. Nearly 4,000 children from area Milwaukee schools poured into the seats of the US Cellular Arena on December 11, 2012 to learn about the importance of staying active throughout life. Students danced and moved around all day with various entertainers, speakers, and local celebrities as they were educated on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Screams, cheers, and laughter filled the arena when Green Bay Packer, Greg Jennings, arrived on stage to tell his own story and to motivate the audience. Jennings even managed to do the Cha-Cha-Slide with a group of eager students on the floor of the arena. Joining Jennings to motivate kids were several local professional sports team mascots, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the FigureHeads, The Zoological Society, The Ability Center, and several local nutritionists, pediatricians, and health professionals.

Operation MOVE would not have been possible without the support of its sponsors. PEC extends a special thank you to United Way of Greater Milwaukee in partnership with GE Healthcare, CommunityConnect HealthPlan, and Educators Credit Union for your support in bringing Operation MOVE to life.

We hope you enjoy a brief video highlighting the best moments of Operation MOVE 2012.

[vimeo id=”60101299″ width=”600″ height=”350″]


Negotiating a Hotel Contract

Reviewing and negotiating a hotel contract can be time-consuming, confusing, and down-right frustrating. You are seeking a fair agreement that accurately and comprehensively covers your meeting arrangements, keeps financial risk to a minimum, and protects your company assets. Often times the contract you receive from the hotel may be one-sided in favor of the hotel, vague in many places, missing essential language, and difficult to interpret.

Hotel contracts have gotten increasingly longer and more complex in recent years.  One reason is because hotels are trying to protect themselves from previous mistakes that have cost them money. Secondly, they are seeking good fortune reigns. Convention hotels have experienced increased occupancy, profits, and annual rates. Due to this fact, performance-related clauses are now the rule rather than the exception.

As a meeting planner, you are entitled to agree to a hotel contract that is written in the best interest of your organization that not only gets you what you want at the right price, but is also clear, easy to read, written in laymen’s terms, and is unambiguous.  Did you ever consider the fact that it’s time for the hotel to sign your contract?

Rule number one in your contract: everything must be in writing.  A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.  When parties fail to live up to an agreement, written proof of the negotiator’s intent is critical.  It eliminates the “he said, she said” confusion.  What if the original hotel general manager or kind sales executive you negotiated with is no longer employed at the hotel? A written contract ensures that everything agreed upon is in writing to avoid points of contention upon the arrival of your meeting.

What are your obligations for room nights?  Room block, rate, and reservation method are quite standard in a contract, but have you provided a clause that allows for a room block adjustment without penalty and one that flows down to attrition/cancellation penalties? The hotel might have offered the lowest room rate possible, but given this detail, does your provision include rates that are published and may be booked on the internet?  If a lower rate is discovered, does your clause include a must-match for the entire group?

Avoid hotel form contracts.  Hotels can take a brilliant negotiation and reshape it into something ugly that is not in your organization’s best interest. Your hotel contract will be strait forward and 100 percent reflective of the negotiation in addition to being completely understandable.

PEC specializes in Site Selection and Hotel Contract Negotiating. Not only does PEC have a hotel contract that can be presented to the hotel on the client’s behalf, but we have an arsenal of clauses that can be included in a hotel contract that benefits both the client and the hotel. PEC will work to find hotel contract clauses that best apply to the needs of the client and event.

PEC Employee Spotlight: Meet Jean

Employee Spotlight
Each month, we like to recognize and highlight an internal employee on our blog. PEC wants you to know the names and faces behind our walls, since these are the people that work daily for the betterment of our services for our clients. In today’s PEC Employee Spotlight you’ll meet Jean.

Name: Jean Lynch
Position: Account Executive

What point in the event planning process is your favorite?

On the public event side,  it is when we secure our sports/celebrity spokesperson. The rest always falls into place after that moment!

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

I enjoy working out and watching my kids in all their activities.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? (Given that your family would be there too).

My parents were both born in Ireland. Growing up I spent my summers there visiting relatives. I would love to live in Ireland for a period of time with my family!

What cooking or baking dish are you known for?

Rigatoni pasta with mushrooms, heavenly!

If you weren’t working in events, what would you be doing?

I would be working for a child protective agency.

Name one interesting fact about yourself!

I actually worked at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport while I was in college and parked the planes after they landed.

Fun Feature: Valentine’s Day Ideas

Valentine's Day Ideasimage

As event planners, we’re always keeping our eyes and ears open for unique and thrilling ways to provide hospitality to event guests. Because of this, we have a working knowledge of activities around Milwaukee that will provide a good time and leave visitors smiling when they walk out the door. This week, we thought it would be fun to share a few Valentine’s Day ideas for couples in our area! These can be done with friends as well.

Splash Studio

“Chocolate. Painting. Drinking” is the tagline for Splash Studio‘s February 13th and 14th session. What more do you and your special someone really need? Splash Studio is located in the heart of the Historic Third Ward in downtown Milwaukee, and offer an unique (and fun) bar experience.   My girlfriends and I went a few weeks past, and I am not exaggerating when I say we had the time of our lives. Artists are there to help you through the session’s painting, or if you are like us, there to help you paint whatever you want! Valentine’s Day or not Splash Studio is a must do! Sessions range from $28-$33 a person.

Red Arrow Park

The necessity of hand holding makes Red Arrow Park the perfect spot for you and your valentine. Nothing says romance like accidently or not so accidently slipping into the arms of someone you love. It’s fun, romantic, and very affordable. It’s free if you bring your own skates, or just $8.00 to rent. Red Arrow Park is walking distance from a wide array of bars and eateries on Water Street, and sells coffee, bakery, soda, beer, candy, and snacks in their Warming House. It was voted the Best of Milwaukee Best Place to Skate for a reason!

Music Under Glass at The Domes

February 14th 2013 is Valentine Sweetheart Night at Music Under Glass with FREE PHOTO BOOTH PICTURES. Need I honestly say more? Enjoy a concert, lightshow, and the beauty of The Domes for only $6.50 a person. With food and beverages available at The Domes itself, it’s the perfect Valentine’s one stop shop.

Romancing the Stars at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Want to give your honey “a romantic tour of the universe” but don’t know how? At the Milwaukee Public Museum’s Planetarium, couples have the opportunity see and learn (this is a museum after all) about all the constellations of love. The museum is also giving each couple roses and chocolates with admission. How cute! Admission is $20.00, and shows the 14th will be at 6:30pm and 7:30pm. I can’t image anyone actually wanting to lay out in the cold snow and star gaze, so stay warm and check out the Milwaukee Public Museum’s Romancing the Stars.

Stay at Home

A romantic night in can be just as good as one hitting the streets of Milwaukee. Find a cool new recipe on Pinterest and try your luck at cooking together.  (And if it doesn’t turn out Pizza Hut still delivers on Valentine’s Day!) Pair it with some wine, and a board game or cards. I personally love cribbage. It’s fun, competitive and easy to teach if need be. If you and your beau are feeling adventurous, try your hand at some chocolate fondue! YUM!

This post was written by one of PEC’s Event Coordinators, Sam Dobrzynski 

Event Decor On A Budget

Budget, Budget, Budget. This is the one concern that every client of mine has in common, no matter what type of event it is. It is my job to give every client the most bang for their buck and everything they wish for and more while staying within their budget. While the economy may be slowly rebounding day by day, budgets are still one thing that has remained tight… especially in the meetings and events industry. Here are some of my ideas for impressive event decor on a budget.

Start with an attractive venue

A venue that contains preexisting style and class can serve as event décor in and of itself. Start with a venue that is full of color and life already, and use that to your advantage in your décor budget. Choose color schemes that complement the theme and feel of the venue or room.
Event Decor on a budget 1(image)

Not everything has to match

Long gone are the days of matching centerpieces. This is not to say that thought shouldn’t be put into making sure centerpieces and décor complement each other, but having the same item on every table is no longer necessary to complete a room. This can impact a budget by allowing you to utilize some higher end décor pieces in particular parts of the room while simultaneously balancing that out with some budget friendly pieces. This combination will not decrease the value of the event, but will give the event space more variety.

Event Decor on a budget 2(image)

Choose one large statement

If your budget does not allow adding smaller décor elements throughout the room, you can still make a large impact with the use of one large ‘WOW’ factor showpiece. This is a strategic move because the piece can double not only as décor, but a great photo opportunity for your guests to enjoy. Your guests will go home with pictures they will share with family and friends after the event, thus keeping the event alive long after it is over. PEC has the ability to create these pieces for you in whatever shape, object, logo, etc. that you desire.

Event Decor on a budget 3(image property of PEC)

Use your network

It still reigns true today that you get to where you are because of the people you know. Your network and relationships can have a profound impact on your budget if you utilize them appropriately. This could apply by using items and décor pieces that other groups have already used (go green!), maximizing your negotiating power with those that you have solid relationships with, or forming new relationships (with a third party events company, for example) and benefit from their already solidified relationships.

Keep it simple

Décor does not always need to be extravagant floral arrangements or over the top centerpieces. Choose the items that work best for your group and for your budget. This could mean flooding the room with uplighting, gobos, and color instead of putting physical décor elements into the room. This could also incorporate LED light shows, lit bars and tables, or acrylic décor pieces that will leave your guests in awe of your creativity and attention to detail. Use what is already necessary to your event and turn it into décor. Request creative Food & Beverage presentations instead of a typical buffet style layout. Bring your Food & Beverage elements or attendee giveaways into your centerpieces so that your table décor doubles as something that the guests can physically enjoy or take home.

Thinking outside the box is something that I have learned to master as an event planner. This not only gives my clients the unique event they are looking for, but will also ensure outstanding event decor on a budget.

This post was written by one of PEC’s Event Coordinators, Nicole Putchel.