Tips for Creating Unforgettable Event Experiences

Guest Blog | Steve Bayliss, Head of Sales and Events at Arts Centre Melbourne

When it comes to creating an event, you’ve got a million things to think about. There’s the date, the venue, the suppliers, the guest list. But every element, every detail, is working towards one thing – making sure your guests experience a truly unforgettable event. From the moment they arrive, you want to wow your guests, and ensure that when someone asks them the next day, or even the next month, “How was that event you went to?” they don’t squint, and try to think back. You want their eyes to light up, and for three minutes of pure praise to come pouring out. 
Easier said than done.
At Arts Centre Melbourne, we’ve put on more events than you can possibly imagine. Each event, and each brief, is unique. So, how do we ensure that every event is a happy memory for our guests? By following a few golden rules.

Create an entrance

They say first impressions are everything. And the absolute first impression a guest gets from your event starts at the entrance. Make your guests feel truly welcome and special. Roll out the red carpet. Have someone at the front greeting them. A signature cocktail or glass of bubbly is a great welcoming gift, and puts people in the cheerful spirit.

Set the mood

You can’t just set up a couple of pretty displays and expect to nail it. Ambience plays a huge part in creating an overall feel for your event. At Arts Centre Melbourne, we’re lucky enough to have not only top-tier lighting setups, but also an industry-leading team of lighting designers and experts who know how to make a space pop. From colourful projections and designs, to creating the perfect colour balance for presenters on stage, lighting plays a crucial (and often overlooked) role in setting the tone for an event. For our annual Ovation fundraising gala last year, our in-house lighting team created a constellation of stars on the roof, blanketing the room in a soft sparkle, perfect for a black tie gala dinner.

It takes a village…

It’s the lighting technicians, the suppliers, the AV specialists, the kitchen and the wait staff that are the backbone of your event. Make sure you choose the best. One of the reasons Arts Centre Melbourne is so renowned for hosting incredible events is because we have the best teams, across all departments, especially our AV and broadcast specialists. Having the best AV team possible is crucial for ensuring corporate events go smoothly. Conferences, awards nights, product launches, even meetings – all of these events require reliable, smooth-running AV. Don’t skimp on the equipment, or the people in charge of it, and you’ll reap the benefits five times over.

Food that sticks

It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting a meeting, a wedding, a cocktail party for 400 – the food, its quality and quantity is undoubtedly one of the primary things that will stick in the mind of your guests. There is nothing worse than having guests leave your event hungry, and have to make a detour to the nearest convenience store for a late night snack. It’s about balancing quantity, quality and creativity. Creating a menu that’s new, different to what everyone else is doing, and most importantly, delicious, will make a huge difference to your event. Our in-house culinary team at Arts Centre Melbourne know this better than anyone else, and spend their time between cooking developing, tasting and testing.

Real entertainment

The average event, be it a corporate cocktail party or social gathering, lasts about 3-4 hours. You don’t want guests rocking up, staying for an hour, and then leaving. That would result in your chosen space or venue being empty for the majority of your event, which is never a good look. Incorporate engaging, top notch entertainment into your event. Interactive, roving performers are a hot trend in the events industry at the moment, such as character actors, acrobats or modern magicians. These entertainers can move through the crowd, creating a personalised experience. Hosting your event in multiple spaces is also a great option. This combines the idea of a tour with an event, where guests get to experience multiple spaces, styles and setups throughout the night.

Final note...

In an industry that’s saturated with different events, you want yours to be the one that is truly unforgettable. Follow these tips, find the perfect venue, and you’re already on your way to creating a truly unforgettable event experience for your guests.

For more information about hosting events at Arts Centre Melbourne check out their website or Event Birdie page

Arts Centre Melbourne | Dinner on stage

Arts Centre Melbourne | Ovation Gala Dinner

Header: Exclusive Dinner backstage at Arts Centre Melbourne
Above #1: Gala Dinner on stage at Arts Centre Melbourne
Above #2: Gala Dinner in their unique round function space, The Pavilion 


Guest post by Steve Bayliss | Head of Sales and Events at Arts Centre Melbourne

As Head of Sales and Events at Arts Centre Melbourne, Steve oversees all facets of the events business at Australia’s largest performing arts centre. Working with his talented Conferences, Meetings and Events team in a fast-paced, diverse environment to maximise venue utilisation across 10 unique function rooms, four theatres and dedicated pre-function areas.