BOOK REVIEW Event Planning

By: Judy Allen, Director, Judy Allen Productions. Wiley and Sons, New Delhi
Pp. 306; Pbk; ISBN 8126511214; Price INR 399; 2007
Reviewed by: Dr Syed Ahmad Rizwan CEMIS, University of Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman
Judy Allen has been a synonym for MICE business. Titles originating from the author are always handy and well re- ceived by the readers. “Event Planning” is no exception to her body of work. The cover describes it aptly as the ultimate guide to successful meetings, corporate events, fundraising galas, conferences and conventions, incentives and other spe- cial events.
The book is divided into nine chapters. The book opens with a very strong preface in which author provides the reasons for origin of the book. The first chapter titled ‘The
First Step: Initial Planning and Budgeting’ emphasizes the usage of Murphy’s law in events; ‘what can go wrong, will go wrong.’ Chapter two discusses about organization and timings. Au- thor sums up it with expression ---- ‘Screen writers have their scripts, song writers their music sheets and event planners their function sheets.’ The importance of function sheet has been discussed to the minutest details. Chapter three is titled, ‘Location, Location, Location’ inspired by Sidney Sheldon the title is to ‘emphasize’ on the location aspect. Author pro- vides cues for out of box thinking and suggests new locales like yachts, roller skating rings or armory.
Chapter four, deals in everything about transportation. The chapter not only discusses the different sets of arrangement but details about parking also. Chapter five titled ‘guest ar- rival’ actually deals with the arrival of the guest. The weather considerations have been given prime importance by plac- ing it at the start of the chapter. Chapter six is dedicated to venue arrangement. A detailed floor plan is handy and is a must. The ‘minimum call’ on labor and proper tabling it in the budget can reduce the overall costing. If budgets strings are tight then overtime has to be avoided at every cost. For multi event/sessions at the same venue the authors suggest soundproofing to make all the events at the venue successful. The chapter develops to discuses the importance of lighting and can have a profound effect on the professionalism of any event and thus ample care should be taken.
The title of chapter seven, “Who’s It All For?” is ambigu- ous. It talks about the guest list, guest profiles, invitation etc. For a good coverage of an event author emphasizes upon the meticulous approach needed for media invitation. An extra step in handling of media can provide a mass coverage of the event. If children are also a part of the guest list then a spe- cial provision and arrangement according to their age group is a wonderful idea. Chapter eight tickles the taste buds and waters the mouth of the readers and reviewer as it discusses about food and beverages which is an integral part of every event. The menu planning has to be kept in mind including the growing fad of vegetarianism. Chapter Nine is the last chapter but the most important as it contains all the topics
and tips which could not be included elsewhere in the book. It is titled, ‘Other Consideration’ and should be considered as the last words by the reviewer/ reader. The chapter says that entertainment is also highly geography specific. What is con- sidered entertainment in one region may be barbaric in other. Parting gift/ takeaway / memoirs may be inexpensive but add to the ‘moments of truth.’ The author recommends personal- ized thank you letters.
The appendix at the end of the book provides sample for all the cost sheet and function sheets needed for different kind of events. The sample function is all inclusive and can be utilized for any event.
The entire book is a comprehensive guide and will help all event managers and planners. The tips mentioned in the boxes between the chapters attract the attention of the reader. Ques- tions and Answers in between the chapters on varied topics keep on answering the developing questions in the minds of the readers. Although, at times (chapter five) too many ques- tion answers give a feeling of a notebook than a text book. Examples are cited from all over the world in each topic pro- viding innovative ideas to the planners. From rank beginners to seasonal professionals, it provides excellent guidelines as well as helpful details. The USP of the book are it’s strate- gically well placed thoughts and user friendly presentations. The book can be used in the classrooms as well as the boardrooms.