Posts tagged event management
A Little Organization Goes a Long Way: Sara's first event planning role
Event planning

Our intern, Sara, played an integral role in organizing the ever-popular Chefs’ Showcase at this year’s Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Here she shares her takeaways on making it a success:

On April 13th, we helped Vancouver Magazine celebrate its 27th Annual Restaurant Awards. Hosts Gloria Macarenko and Stephan Quinn from CBC handed out nearly 50 awards ranging from Restaurant of the Year to Best Food Truck. A panel of 18 judges spent the past year preparing for this event, tasting more than 2,000 dishes all over Vancouver and BC, narrowing their list down to 150 restaurants in 48 categories.

Elettra Communications (and its principals) has been the producer behind the event for 14 years. Their work includes everything from organizing the event set up (alongside the Sheraton Wall Centre, the host venue), to getting key influencers within the community to participate.

The Chefs’ Showcase is an opportunity for all nominated restaurants to share their work with their peers and local influencers. During the first couple weeks of my internship at Elettra, I had the responsibility of planning and executing the Chefs’ Showcase. Before my internship at Elettra, I had never planned an event. I had help organized events but I had never executed one from start to finish.  Looking back at the event, there are a couple tips that everyone planning an event, either big or small, needs to know that make your job easier:

1. Details are huge

People say that the details really make an event. Once the big things are booked, the details have to be taken care of. This could be everything from double-checking that the sponsors have everything they need, to making sure the flower arrangements are exactly how the client envisioned them. Having the details thought out before the event ensures you deliver exactly what the client wanted and frees you from worrying about any unexpected hiccups.

Before I called a restaurant to ask them to participate, I found out a little bit about the restaurant. The simple things such as who their Chef and General Manager is and how long they have been open. Just having a quick browse around their website before calling helps to get a feel for the restaurant and how best to approach them.

2. Organization is key

You may have a vision as to what the event should look like, but without having a plan, it makes the vision hard to accomplish.  Being able to put together a plan of what the event will look like will make it easier to connect with different vendors and have contract and contact available to you. Having this information will make the weeks running up to the event is less chaotic, and if there are any issues, the information is right there to access.  

Starting with just an Excel spreadsheet listing the restaurants who were nominated, I had to craft a system to keep participating restaurants and their information organized. If I received an email or a phone call from a nominated restaurant, I would have to input it right away otherwise I knew it would just get lost or forgotten about. Having this information printed out made the registration of the showcase go more smoothly.

3. Be a problem solver

Things will never go exactly as you planned. If something comes up, being flexible will help you think on your feet and solve problems in a creative way.

With 36 different chefs (and restaurants) with over 46 dishes there will always be some issues. Despite requesting otherwise,  of the dishes arrived on site the same time which made matching up the dish with its label challenging. Having critical information printed out before hand allowed me to match the dishes to the information. If something didn’t match up properly, I got creative and figured out ways to match the dish to the restaurant.

A big thank-you to all of the participants in the 2016 Chefs’ Showcase at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. You can check out all of the winners here. From having seen their work up close, I highly recommend you pay them a visit. 

Calling All Student Volunteers - Event coordination opportunity
Awards show event planner

Volunteer Opportunity – Event Coordination

Event:         Vancouver magazine Restaurant Awards

Date/Time:  Wednesday, April 13 10:30am – 6pm (required)                             


Elettra Communications is looking for student volunteers to assist with Vancouver’s premier restaurant industry event. This opportunity will appeal to students who have an interest in public relations, publishing, marketing, or event management.

Now in its 27th year, the Vancouver magazine’s Restaurant Awards event is the biggest of its kind in North America. Nineteen of the city’s top food critics form the judging panel and vote on the best dining experience in more than 40 categories. The event includes a reception and awards show. The annual extravaganza welcomes more than 900 restaurateurs, chefs, sommeliers, suppliers, and food and wine critics.

Elettra Communications is the producer of Vancouver magazine’s Restaurant Awards. Elettra is a public relations firm that specializes in event management, media relations, and marketing communications.



Volunteers will assist with a range of activities including:

·       Event set up

·       Guest check-in

·       Awards presenting/backstage coordination

·       Coat check

·       Event wrap-up


Benefit to you:

·       Event coordination experience

·       Exposure to the behind-the-scenes workings of a large event

·       Opportunity to build contacts in the PR, marketing, and publishing industries

·       Lunch will be provided


How to apply:

If you would like to volunteer for this opportunity, please contact

In your email please provide a brief introduction of yourself, and include a description of your current course of study, why you are interested in this position, and your contact information.

What to Consider When Choosing a Gala Venue
BC Aviation Council's Silver Wings Awards at YVR's South Terminal

BC Aviation Council's Silver Wings Awards at YVR's South Terminal

The critical first step in planning a gala is selecting the right venue. To help take anxiety out of venue choice, here are some tips from Elettra’s event team.


Decide whether you prefer a traditional or non- traditional venue

Traditional venues include hotels, conference centres, and restaurants. A non-traditional venue can be anywhere, really – a farmhouse, an airplane hangar, or an outdoor plaza to name just a few. The appeal of non-traditional venues is obvious – they tend to be more interesting, creative, and unexpected than the (often) beige four walls of a hotel ballroom. Start by asking yourself if this element of surprise is important to your organization and your guests.

While the cost of hosting at a hotel or conference centre may seem high at first glance, remember that a non-traditional venue is usually a blank slate. That means you’ll need to consider the cost of bringing every single spoon, glass, and chair to the event site. Not to mention the audio-visual and décor required to make the space come alive and the extra event planning and labour hours required to pull it all together.

But when it comes together…wow, you can truly blow your guests away! Elettra worked with the BC Aviation Council (BCAC) on their Silver Wings Awards. For their 20th anniversary they didn’t want the typical hotel ballroom, so we turned YVR’s South Terminal into a gala awards show venue, complete with staging, AV, and a dinner buffet. It was so worth the time and effort to create something unexpected for BCAC’s guests.


Venue size

A half-full room, no matter its size, suggests that an event is not a success. Before booking your venue, do some serious thinking about how many people will attend. Is your invite list 500? Consider realistically how many people will come at the ticket price point you are setting.

Hotel and conference spaces offer a bit more flexibility on room size as ballrooms often have air walls that can divide up the space. This means you can often make adjustments to your venue footprint once you have a sense of how ticket sales are going. In a pinch you can also use pipe and drape to section off a space, but this isn’t ideal and it’s much better to choose the right size of space in the first place.


Location & accessibility

How easy is your event to get to? The answer to that question has a direct bearing on RSVP numbers. Is your event in the downtown core and starting right after work? Great. Have you chosen a far-flung spot that’s not easy to get to via transit? No problem, but you’ll need to budget for shuttles or taxi vouchers to facilitate guest transport.


Atmosphere & décor

Oftentimes hosts treat décor as a “nice to have,” but it’s every bit as critical to the event’s success as food and drink. A good event manager will insist that this is part of the plan. When choosing your venue, consider what it will take to create the desired atmosphere for your guests. If you choose a beautiful spot like Vancouver Art Gallery’s Rotunda, it might not take much more than a bit of lighting and some florals, but if you choose a windowless ballroom or a warehouse, be prepared to devote some serious budget and effort to creating an atmosphere worthy of your event.


Have an event you need help planning? Contact Gwen or Simone at Elettra Communications. We have a combined 30 years' experience in creating successful events of all shapes and sizes

Elettra's new Account Manager

Cassandra Parsons_ElettraA hearty congratulations to Cassandra Parsons, who has been recently promoted to Account Manager at Elettra. Cassandra officially joined Elettra in August 2012 as Account Executive (with previous stints as an intern in 2010). The promotion recognizes Cassandra's hard work and stellar achievement in media relations and event production over the past year.