Oh BEOs… a treasure trove of information that translates all the intricacies of an event to a service team. A BEO (banquet event order) is a break down of event details agreed upon between the host and the planner. The information helps all parties involved learn the who, what, why and how of the event at hand. For planners who can’t always be on site for events, a BEO is nothing short of a bible for a management team. However, this leaves room for SO many small details to fall through the cracks… and the small details are what separates good planners from GREAT planners. Many of you reading this may already have a version of a BEO, but does it have the right details? Not all BEOs are created equal, which is why I’m breaking down the 4 items you MUST have in your BEO to make your event a success (especially when you can’t be there to make the magic happen).
1. An AGREED point of contact. Back in 2013, I planned a bar mitzvah and it ended up being one of the most challenging events I ever produced. Why, do you ask? Because 5 people at the event considered themselves a decision maker. All 5 had different demands for food location, food type, how much food and when the food should come out…. and that was JUST the food portion of the event. All these details had been discussed prior with the host, but many important players (parents, others paying for the event) felt their opinion was also to be considered. Make sure it is clear in writing who is in charge that evening and who will make the ultimate call on last-minute decisions.
2. Extension and Add-on Pricing. We’ve all encountered an event where a host wants to extend hours, bar package, add food or even bring in more guests. In our industry, it is so important that we not only welcome these changes (hello, bottom line), but that we are prepared to provide pricing on these additions when they come up. Be sure to discuss with the host any type of fees that will surround a considered ‘extension’ and add it to the BEO and/or contract. THAT way, the host won’t be surprised the night of and the on-site event manager won’t be scrambling to find an answer when they’ve got a party to run.
3. Details on closing the bill. In all my years working as a hospitality event planner, I received the MOST calls from my management team regarding the bill at the end of the night. While this can be very simple, some parties can request unique ways to pay. They could want to split the bill or choose to settle up with a different form of payment that evening. Also, is it clear whether or not a deposit was put down? Is it clear that a gratuity is being added on? Or what about a cake cutting fee? Nothing can sour a customer’s experience more quickly than being cornered by management to discuss a payment. Decide ahead of time how a bill will be dealt with, what will get charged and have ALL those details listed clearly for your team.
4. The teeny TINY details. Look, I know a BEO is ALL details, but I’m talking about the small details that set you apart from the rest. The secret sauce, if you will, to making your client think you and your team are truly committed to providing an unforgettable experience. It is so important to make a habit of listening to your client’s interests during conversations so that you can use that information to form a curated experience. Has your client mentioned how much she loves tea? Make sure your head server knows this and has a tea box set up ready for them when they arrive. Say a client mentioned that her biggest fear is that people will have to wait for drinks when they arrive. Make sure the management has servers with passed drink trays in hand when guests walk through the door. As hospitality professionals, your team has an innate desire to host and please, so give them the tools to make someone’s night SPECIAL.
What types of details are in your BEO that really help your team deliver a great event? Are they mentioned above? Would you like to see more ways to customize a BEO for your team? Let us know in the comments below or subscribe to www.shesaidcelebrate.com for more ways to enhance your experience for your guests!