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Paul Casement, Brighter Events: Taking your event from page to stage

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PA Life talked to Paul Casement, Director of Brighter Events, about bringing the best of event management together with event travel services. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven!

Brighter Events is the full meeting and events agency division of Clarity Business Travel which provides travel management services for the events sector.

Paul-Casement-Brighter-Events-at-Business-Travel-Show-2023

Paul Casement, Brighter Events at Business Travel Show 2023

How and when did you ‘marry’ event planning with event travel?

I have been working in travel and events all my career and I still think it is the best industry in the world. It has changed a lot from the days of OHPs (the younger readers may need to look that up!) to amazing technology. It is still, however, very much about people and relationships because technology can enhance an event but it requires a creative mind to come up with the ideas.

How do the two divisions work together?

Travel has always been part of events but often it is a service that is outsourced by event companies. We have that capability to handle all travel requirements in-house. We find, with sustainability high on a client’s agenda, where the event is held and how you get there being very important. When considering a location, travel options are key deciding factors. Whether delegates will get there by rail, air or road, the environmental impact has to be considered together with the time element. Another advantage of having our own in-house travel team is our ability to manage disruption. This could be  weather, strikes or operational disruption may have an impact on an event.

The Clarity Group has recently joined forces with Agiito, a TMC. What does this mean to your customers?

We operate in perfect harmony with Agiito! At the brief stage the Event Manager may be looking at suitable locations and the travel team would look at times, CO2 and feasibility. It would take into account where people are travelling from and the time it takes. Sometimes a location looks perfect but logistically it is difficult because delegates have to arrive the day before which may cause an increase in costs.

Brighter Events is known for delivering outstanding events and are proud never to let a dull event take place under their watch. What’s unique about your service?

We always look at why an event is taking place and what the behavioural outcomes you want to achieve are. It might be motivation, bringing teams together, creating a sense of community, all manner of outcomes. From this we match everything to the outcome from the venue, the food, the content and the follow-up. It is important that everything is cohesive and fits what you are trying to achieve but, ultimately, does not detract from ‘the message’.

Taking an event from page to the stage is what you specialise in. How do you do this to the brief and budget, often exceeding expectations?

We always want to exceed expectations! It is always important to be realistic with the budget and ensure what is being planned is going to achieve the objective. It is also important to use the budget in the areas that will have the greatest impact. Don’t fill the event with expensive bells and whistles if it does nothing to enhance what you are trying to achieve. Take care of the small details – a great event can be spoiled by poor food service and menu – how many times have you forgotten the content but remember awful food?

PAs and EAs are often tasked with managing an entire event process from venue finding to catering to travel. What advice would you give to Assistants who are new to events?

I think that is a tough ask for PAs and EAs because not only will they be organising the event, they will often be having to deal with the demands of internal stakeholders. We will often work with clients but only do part of the process, especially where there is an internal event or comms team and we are required to support them. That is not unusual and we always say that we can take away a lot of the stress in planning while the PA or EA ultimately directs the process. We can also be called upon in those sometimes awkward conversations in rehearsals where it is easier to have us advise on the content and presentation, hence avoiding tense conversations for the client!

Which of your events are you most proud of? And why was it such a success?

I have been lucky to have been involved in many memorable events and sometimes you have to pinch yourself about them. There is one event, however, that stands out and that was a lunch for Queen Elizabeth II and around 200 guests. It was meticulously planned from the invitations to the security and the royal household were so easy to deal with and accommodating. It was very high pressure, it had to be right, but we all did it and the feedback was fabulous.

More about Brighter Events.