Developing The Medium and Small Scale Events

May 01, 2018
Editorial Staff

On the eve of 26th March 2018, I was invited for a session on Rwanda.  The meeting, according to the invite was at the consulate offices.  In my mind, I envisaged a meeting in the boardroom or similar venue.  However, the meeting was set up like any other business meeting, all set up with presentations, clear audio and refreshments.  The interesting part is that all this was took place within the compound.  How does one go about developing and executing such niche events in the face of increasing competition?

The UAE and especially Dubai has long played host to various global events.  Kenya is also trying to market itself as an events destination in Africa, amidst competition from countries such as Ethiopia, South Africa, and Rwanda among others.

However, this article looks at the small and medium size events that may not hit the limelight, but play a crucial role in marketing a destination.  Discussions with players within this sub-category also help to bring to light the challenges players have to face in the midst of still competition and high expectations from their clients.

I talked with Bridge Events based in Dubai.  This is an events management company with a skew towards corporate, round-tables as well as customized events.

Just slightly over 3600Kilometres lies Jordan Garden along Karen south road.  The garden hosts various events from social such as wedding to corporate training and seminars.

While these are just two examples of players small scale events, they play a significant role in developing the events industry.  However, how do you market such services?  What are the key elements to consider in developing such services? These are heavily skewed towards meeting the demanding clients.

The events sector has grown over time with tremendous development in both quality and quantity of events.  The large scale global events, while usually on the limelight, it is the small and medium scale events that play a major role.  These events create the foundation and building blocks for the large scale global events.


In developing the marketing plan for this business, relationships play a key role.  This is a service industry, and having effective relationships with all stakeholders play a key role in developing the business.

“Relationship, relationship, relationships,” says Saumyadeep of Bridge Events, when asked for key elements in developing markets for this business.  The web of relationships across clients, participants, suppliers at all levels.  This is very important as the

While this is core, it is also important to know the expectations of clients, as every event has different set of objectives.  For instance, corporate events are usually tied to some ROI.  Hence, demonstrating the returns a client will get from a small event is important.

However, how do you measure ROI for a round the table event?  To address this, it is important to look at all the possible outcomes – immediate, in the short term as well as medium term impact, direct returns, as well as potential leads and referrals generated from such a discussion.

The small and medium size events also help to generate trust.  These small gathering invited for such events also form the first group to spread the word about the events, product or any follow ups.  This creates a foundation for a good turnout in case of any bigger follow up events.  Unlike a large event, a small event brings a one-on-one and closer interaction between participants. This helps to further deepen relationships.

Executing these small events is very critical for the industry as a whole.  This helps to scale the industry.  Being a trust based industry, scaling in most cases happens from existing relationships.


Having concise content is a key challenge given the size of the participants.  Unlike large events whose time can be filled in with not only presentations but also aspects such as prolonged entertainment, small events cannot afford such.  Most small group events happen with a given objective in mind.

“Content has to be catchy, precise and convincing, especially small corporate events.  One has to be sure and on top of things as far as content is concerned’, adds Saumyadeep.

However, this is an area the client, more than the service provider is in-charge.  To help in this area, one can help clients by offering to upload the content beforehand, helping with rehearsals (politely insisting!).

This will help to meet the objective within a short time.  In most cases, people participating in these events are either coming to learn something, for networking – an investment of their time, rather than socializing.

Taking participants out of the boardrooms or out of station should provide a relaxing atmosphere to educate.  It should be a pull content.  Push content or sales pitch moments, though important, should be subtle.

The quality of equipment is also a key challenge.  Jordan Gardens for instance relies on suppliers to provide equipment.  However, getting the right quality is sometimes a challenge, especially when an event is outdoors.

The same applies to Bridge Events in the UAE.  This is mainly due to fact every event has a set of expectations.  The nuances in executions can either build or destroy ones reputation.  Some of the nuances are technical elements, which a marketer may not be aware of.

For example as a provider, one may request for a large LED screen.  However, a P3 and a P2 screen vary in quality, the glare and effect on the audience.  Such minute differences even for small events have started to make a difference.

To stand out, one should minimize the risks with suppliers by going for reliable and good quality ones.  This is a key area in the web of relationships as mentioned above as suppliers form another cornerstone.  One should seek a supplier who is also an adviser.


Small and medium size events will continue to grow across the region as businesses reach out to their stakeholders.  This ranges from roundtable discussions, training and development, product to business reviews.

This implies the sub-sector will continue

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