Many of us love participating at various events, but have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to successfully pull them off? Mark Yuzuik has someone who can answer that question and more. He invites over Gini Trask, Partner at Top Tier Travel, to share with us some of her phenomenal insights that can help us put on an event, do it right, and make the participants extraordinarily happy. She takes us across the process of creating an event from start to finish, whether it is a small one or a destination event, and imparts how you can create raving fans through it. Join Gini and Mark in this episode to discover more about pulling off an event that leaves a unique experience between you and your attendees.
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How To Create A Successful Event With Gini Trask
Do you ever wonder how people put on events? What does it take to put on an event? Have you’ve ever been to an event and you wonder, “I could probably do this?” Maybe you try it yourself and went, “I can’t do this.” There’s so much to put in events on. How much does it cost? Who do you go to? How do you negotiate? What do you need? Who’s going to attend? How are you going to fill it? What are you going to talk about? Who’s going to be your guest? The list goes on and on. I’ve been doing events for many years. The one thing I realized is now I know what I don’t know.
I don’t want to do a lot of events that I don’t know how to be in control of. I went to all women’s events with my wife, Yolanda. She spoke there and we met a woman. This woman is more than a woman. She is dynamite putting deals together and talk about making money. Do you know how you make money at events? You put the right people in place so that you don’t overspend on your event. You don’t overpay for the price of the event. You don’t overpay for all those things. She has nailed it down.
When you try to do it by yourself, it costs you a lot of money, but when you can put somebody that’s been doing it for many years, as well as has the context and books, many events, many people, they have what they call negotiation power. They get the best of the best for the cheapest price. I know we looked at an event. We were in Cancun with her and we went and looked at an event. For us to book that exact same event was about $4,000. If you book it through her, it was $2,000. That’s when the light bulb turned on. I said, “I don’t know who you are and how you got there, but I know one thing. I want to be part of everything that you do.”
What we do is make sure we utilize all of our resources possible to make sure that we take care of exactly when we would take care of it. I want to introduce to you a woman that is phenomenal, the best of the best. She knows the details to make sure when you put on an event, you’re going to do it right and the people that will attend are going to be extraordinarily happy because she goes above and beyond. Gini Trask is the woman. You don’t want to miss this. She is a powerhouse of events. All event planners go to her because of the results she gets.
I said, “You got to tell them your story. How did you get into this stuff?” We need to use you for our events because it makes more than sense. It makes dollars and it gives the end-user the one thing they want, the greatest experience, so they keep coming back to you. This is about creating relationships and I’ve created one with her. I’ve been falling around and I finally trapped her. I said, “Will you please be my guest on my show because many people want to hear about what you have to offer?” I didn’t want to spend any more time. I want to bring on Gini Trask here. Gini, thanks for being here on the show.
Thanks for having me, Mark. I am honored to be on the show. I guess a little bit about me. I got started in the event business many years ago. I started out doing logistics and transportation. I then went to work for a sports travel company, packaging, Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the Masters. I was working with Fortune 500 companies that wanted these over the top experiences. The sky was the limit in terms of, if we could dream it or they could dream it. They wanted these outrageous packages to meet athletes and do things that you’ve never even imagined you could do.The thing about sharing a unique experience is it forms a bond between you and the other attendees. Click To Tweet
I put those together for a long time. I did that for another company then started doing it for myself. I then got into a different space. We still have a sports travel space that we’re in and we do a lot of business still in sports travel. I got into working with companies that didn’t have those huge budgets but still wanted to wow their clients and still wanted to create that sense of community, that sharing and experience creates. The thing about sharing a unique experience, it forms a bond between you and the other attendees. The key and that’s why I got passionate about creating events and retreats is that opportunity to create community and to turn your customers into raving fans of your brand. As entrepreneurs, we all need 100 raving fans.
In my opinion, the best way to create raving fans is to take that relationship beyond the transactional into the experiential, where you’re creating experiences that are shared with your customers. That’s the way to create a community. At the end of the day, what my team and I do is we help our customers to create a community with their customers through retreats and events. What I love about retreats specifically is that people go so much deeper. When you take people out of their everyday lives and you put them in a retreat space, be that on the beach somewhere, in the desert in Sedona, Moab, or a place like that, you take people out of their everyday. You put them in this new experience that is a quasi vacation-like. Not to say we’re not going to do some work on the retreat, but you put them in this different setting. People open up and go deeper. They’re open to more possibilities. The fact that they don’t have to go home and go back to the regular rigmarole at night. The fact that they’re staying there with you in getting that deeper experience is powerful. That’s why I love specifically the retreat side of the business.
That’s what a lot of people don’t realize. You can go to a seminar and then you’re in a hotel room all day. You’re exhausted. You leave there, you go to dinner, you come back and either you go to your hotel room or you go back to the event, but they don’t have time to enjoy it. Don’t we learn more when we’re having fun and we’re enjoying our time? It’s the experience that you remember. I still remember going to Cancun. I don’t know some of the seminars I’ve been to and it was Cancun. I remember every day, how much fun we had, but I also remember the fun is when we learned. We also connected at a deeper level and that’s what people don’t get, like, “Why would I use an event planner? I can plan this myself.” You have no idea of those details.
That’s the other challenge. You can plan it yourself, but that also shifts your position. If you are planning these retreats or advanced yourself, then you’re the one who has to talk to the hotel or the retreat center. When you get there, you’re the one who has to make sure the room is set up right. If somebody has a problem with their room or their name’s not right on their booking, then you’re the one fixing that. That’s taking you out of your space of being the space holder. They’ve all come here to be with you as the guru and you shouldn’t be having to turn around and deal with a rooming issue.
You need to have a staff of people that are doing that for you because it also alleviates those to-do items from you so that you’re focused on going deeper with your tribe and creating the experience and holding the space for the experience. You’re not dealing with those nitty-gritty details. Don’t do that to yourself, especially if you’re not a professional. If it’s not me, find another professional, but find somebody who does retreats, not a travel agent. Somebody who specializes in group travel, retreats, and events because it takes them a quarter of the time that it’s going to take you, first of all.
Second of all, I have a staff of people that are going to come and support the event that are experts at what they do. We have an AV expert, a gifting expert that sources gifts for your event. We have a couple of people on our staff that used to work behind the front desk of the hotel. They know the ins and outs of the hotel systems, how to talk to those people in their language, and all those things. This is not your world. You’re a coach. You’re a speaker. You’re this expert at what you do. Leave that part to the experts so that you can show up as the expert in what you do.
That’s the one thing, people don’t realize, “Is there ever going to be a problem?” There’s always going to be a problem and they don’t know how to handle it. That’s what they don’t understand. The other thing is they’ll settle for less than they can get and they’ll pay for more and get less. Their mindset is off. You have an obligation to owe it to your attendees as an event promoter to make sure that you give them 100%. Leave the details to the professionals. When I went and saw that venue, they took us on and they treated us in a way that we’ve never been treated if we walked in without you. The way they serviced us and showed us things, we want to do a relationship event with you. For us, to put on ourselves as twice the money, if we went through you. It blew my mind and the details.
We then get upgrades that we would never get because we don’t know what we don’t know. To try to do this on you, you think you’re saving money. You are saving nothing. You’re spending your time, your money, and you’re not getting upgrades. The gifts, all that makes a difference. I do a lot of events. I always want to use a promoter. Creating a relationship with you is like we’ve got a friendship and a promotion business. We both make money, but we all also have an experience that is going to blow people’s minds. Regardless of the event, you do women’s events, couple’s events, and big events. We had a conversation that you do the Super Bowl every year. You have events going around that but you don’t discriminate. At first, I was intimidated, thinking, “I can’t do it because I don’t have that big of events,” but you don’t discriminate against anybody. You make sure you make whatever it is that they want. You have the need and you have the destinations already in place with the relationships to give them experience.
I’m sorry that you felt like maybe you were too small to work with us because we have worked with some Fortune 500 and we work with a lot of large MLMs, but we even created a product for smaller guys who are afraid that maybe they don’t have enough of a fan base to fill a retreat. We have an amazing product, even for that small group. If you only think you can bring 2 or 5 rooms to a retreat, we have a product that may work for you, if it’s a fit because we saw that there was a need at that level to provide an opportunity for people that want to dip their toe in the water of doing their retreats. We have a great platform for that, that you can use as a starting out point to then later build your own exclusive retreats. This is a different program where you can partner on some retreats with some other experts. That way you are leveraging each other’s audiences, you’re able to only commit to bringing 2 to 5 rooms. We want to help people even at that level.
That’s the one thing that attracts me to you because some event planners were like, “We only do a big event.” You do big events, but you also cater to anybody who has a need because you know that through the experience and the relationship that they create, they’re going to become a big event. It is because they’ll talk about that experience and that’s how you’ve grown your business. It’s all referrals. I know how much you’re booking. It’s seven figures plus and you get those deep discounts because of that. You don’t say, “You don’t have to be this big event for me to do it.” When you told me that I was like, “I have got to tell everybody how you do this.” How would somebody go about if they want to create an event? Let’s say they want a relationship event. What would be the first step? Get ahold of you somehow and talk to them about their goals? What is their outcome? How would that start? How would that look like?The best way to create raving fans is to take that relationship beyond transactional into experiential. Click To Tweet
The first step is that we have an initial consultation. What we try to find out is, who are your attendees? What’s important to them because the event is about them and creating a transformation for them. We have to start with them in mind. That’s even how we help you to determine destinations because one of the things in the travel industry you consider is Lyft. If you’re not having it in the destination where your customers live, then you have to think what’s their cost to get here besides the cost of the retreat or the event. What are the other barriers? We want to help you to eliminate as many barriers as possible. We also want to help you to create as many appealing aspects as possible.
If it is in a major city, we’ve got to think about parking. Like in Atlanta, one of the big things is we don’t use a lot of Downtown Atlanta hotels. In general, people don’t want to go Downtown and fight the parking. They’d rather be out by the airport or in another location where it’s easier for them to get to the park. The same thing with Downtown Houston. People don’t necessarily want to go to Downtown. In Houston, it makes a huge difference on which side of town your people are on. Those were all the things that we want to consider. We’ll have an initial consult and consider who your audience is and then we’ll offer up suggestions that would be appealing to that demographic and then we take it from there. That’s step one.
It’s like the event we did. You like to do all-inclusive events too when your destinations because that makes more sense.
In general, especially for your first event, it’s lovely for people to feel like that once they spend this money, they don’t have to spend another dime other than their airfare. I don’t package airfare. It can get you into a lot of trouble. If you feel compelled like you have to package airfare, package an airfare credit, not an actual ticket. You could do a $250 airfare credit, that’d be fine. You can lose all the money that you would make on the retreat by packaging airfare if you’re not careful. For some people, they want to be out in the middle of the desert or something like that. Even then, when you can do it all-inclusive, it’s more expensive. I love to use all-inclusive resorts when possible if that fits with the vibe and what people are doing because it is simple. It’s that one price and they know that they’re not going to spend another dime and people love that. They love the comfort.
What if somebody put an event on and they want to have other speakers? Do you have recommendations for other speakers that you would say, “I would recommend this speaker because of this event and this is why?” You have recommendations for that as well, don’t you?
We are connected to a lot of speakers on a lot of different topics. Even if you did need speakers for your event, we can help with that part. We do want to turnkey the entire thing for you. Whatever it is that you’re afraid that you don’t have, bring us that fear and we will help you conquer it because we have seen all the fears and overcome all the obstacles and all the fears. At some point in the many year histories of my business, Top Tier Travel, we have overcome those opposites.
That’s the one thing that stopped me from doing some events is because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, how would I put together all this. When I came to you, it’s like, “Don’t worry about it. Let me handle it all.” I remember walking in the last event you had these custom t-shirts for people. It was detailed, so depth that before I even checked into the hotel, my experience was, “This is a great event without even getting to the content yet.” The content talk will blow your mind. You pick out the best speakers. You take the ones that are going to be the most beneficial for that event. Not who you like, who’s going to be more influential. That’s what I liked about who you are. You got more integrity than anybody I’ve ever met in this business because they want it for the money. You’re in it for the relationship and the experience.
We then talked about, “How do we make money? How do we keep our costs down?” You’re always concerned and considerate about everybody involved. It’s not just the person putting on paying you, but also the people that are attending it. You’re aware of that. That was what blew my mind. I couldn’t have done that event for less than $5,000. I think we’re in it for $2,000. The experience was better than I ever thought. Let’s say, “I would like to talk about this.” Stop letting fear, hold you back from doing an event, whether it’s a women’s and men’s event, a couple’s event, an entrepreneur event, whatever event it is, whatever topic, whatever discussion I don’t care what is, bring it to you? How do they get ahold of you so we can start creating this worldwide venture with you as well?
The easiest way to get in touch with me is simply to email Info@TopTierTravel.com. That goes to our general box and then from there, we will move your quote into whoever’s hands makes the most sense. If you are on Mark’s show, if you are a reader on Mark’s blog if you will mention that, then I will be sure to follow-up with you personally because I would love to meet any of you personally that are fans of the show.
That is incredible. Don’t let anything stop you. You have no excuses. The whole reason for this show is we’re taking excuses from people that want to succeed and that’s what I love about it. You’re part of our team. Our team is broad. We pick the people that are the best of the best to make the experience the highest impact. That’s what I love about you. We had a phenomenal time in Cancun and we’re looking to do many more events with you. Make sure you check out TopTierTravel.com. Gini, thank you. Continue to read these episodes. There is going to be great value in every single one of them. What’s the one tip you could leave for somebody that’s saying, “I’m thinking about doing an event. What’s my next move? What should I do?”
Your next move should be to pick a date. If you’re going to do your first retreat, make it at least eight months from now, but pick a date, put it on the calendar, commit to doing it, and then get in touch with a great event planner.
She doesn’t even try to promote herself. That’s the kind of woman she is. She’s powerful and wants you to have an experience and not about, “Pick me. I’m better than anybody else.” Never she said that she’s better than anybody else, even though she is. Get in touch with her to TopTierTravel.com and subscribe to more episodes. Go to my website, which is GetYourMindsetWithMark.com. Get my free book and I’ll see in the next episode. We’re going to keep rocking so rock on.
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