I’ve now attended around 25 welcome functions for AIME and like all events there are a few simple things that make the successful ones stand out.
Arrival – a few visual clues for the guests that they have arrived, usually in the form of colourful signage and walk around entertainers.
Entry into the venue – do not line up waitstaff with drinks at the entrance. It might look good but guests just grab a dink and then create a bottleneck by not moving on.
If people are there to network give them the opportunity to move freely and to not have to shout over the background music to be converse.
Make the food and drinks easily accessible. If guests see a bar or a food display they are like sheep and will immediately start lining up. So make sure you have waitstaff moving through the crowd with food and drinks.
If you have a media wall for the guests – make sure it is lit – because guests will take photos with their phones and invariably appear in silhouette – this does not help your brand.
Build up to a memorable highlight and wind down after that.
Cater to the age range – eg don’t put on a band or DJ that plays doof or house that only millennials are into when over half your guests are old enough to be their parents (or grandparents).
And a recent necessity – don’t cram people into an enclosed space that can become a COVID spreader.
So which of the more recent events met these criteria? There have been quite a few (and mostly held outdoors).
2013: South Wharf Promenade
2015: Strictly Melbourne at Central Wharf (that year AIME opted for a dinner rather than a welcome function)
2017: The 25th anniversary event at The Carousel
2018: The Ormond Collective in St Kilda
2020: Port Melbourne Yacht Club
The AIME 2023 Welcome ticked all my boxes.
The venue was Marvel Stadium, home to AFL games and music concerts. At one end of the ground was the shell of stage that had been used for Red Hot Chilli Peppers the previous week and then Harry Styles coming up. The roof was open and it was a glorious Melbourne Summer night.
Guests were greeted by colourful entertainers outside the venue.
Drink and food waiters were lined up in front of the stage (opposite the entrance) so guests moved into the venue quite freely.
A DJ played for the first two hours. It was loud directly in front of the stage but it was easy to move away to the sides to easily converse. And the sound was not reverberating around an enclosed space.
To celebrate 30 years of AIME guests were led onto the grass and formed a giant 30 which was photographed from high in the stands. Once the photo was distributed the following day it was fun to watch guests trying to find themselves in the crowd – a very shareable shot.
Then the highlight act kicked in – Hot Dub Time Machine is a DJ with a difference. Tom Lowndes is known for creating a mix of music and video from a particular decade. Tom was asked to do a three decade mix for AIME. OK, so out of the nineties, noughties and teens I recognised Kylie Minogue and Florence Welch, but I was in my element when as a finale Tom did a 10 minute mix from the eighties, I knew all those songs. Which takes me back to my point about providing music for all ages.
He nailed it. And a brilliant choice by Peter Jones.
Peter Jones joined ASE to preview the event.
Then scroll down for the production credits.
And the social pix
- Event Director and International Business Development: Silke Calder
- Melbourne Convention Bureau
- Director, Partnership and Events: Rebecca Eagleson
- Peter Jones Special Events
- Managing Director: Peter Jones
- Event Producer: Ashlee Brazier
- Audio Visual Dynamics (AVD)
- CT Group
- Get Rigged
- Resolution X
- Production Manager: Mike Hall
Food and Beverage:
- Delaware North
- Event Manager: Kasey Burnham
- Marvel Stadium
- Marvel Precinct Commercial Lead: Sam Buckley
- Functions Manager: Anna Purdy
- Dann Event Hire
- Décor It Events
- The Cardboard Mill
- Wacky Creative
- Song Division
- Feature Performer: Hot Dub Time Machine