Heather Herrig, CMP, is the President & Chief Event Strategist of Every Last Detail, a full-service corporate events and meetings firm dedicated to high-touch, seamless, and strategic events. For Heather, it’s all about bringing people together, and helping organizations achieve more as a result.
Every Last Detail offers clients a comprehensive array of services, including but not limited to strategic events consulting; site/destination/venue sourcing and contract negotiations; full event/meeting/conference/incentive design, planning, management, and execution; event-related technology including registration, app, and session engagement (polling, Q&A, ARS, gamification, etc.); and onsite support.
Heather and her team support local, domestic, and international destinations; small, medium, and large attendee sizes; virtual, hybrid, or in-person events, and numerous types of events and meetings from tradeshows to board meetings and from conferences to incentive trips.
Heather is deeply committed to the meetings and events industry and seizes every opportunity to give back. She has previously served on the Board of MPI Georgia (Meeting Professionals International) for multiple terms, contributes to the SPIN Small Business Community, and is on the teaching team for Emory University’s Continuing Education Certificate in Event Planning, where she has discovered a deep passion for teaching and supporting the next generation of event professionals. Most recently, she has joined the Board of Advisors for the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals.
In addition, she has co-created The Business Bootcamp for Independent Planners, which builds on her passion to support this industry’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Heather’s achievements within the hospitality industry are recognized by BizBash, as she was named to their list of the Top 1000 People in Events.
How long has your company been producing events? What is your main focus?
We have been producing client events as an agency since 2009, and I have been designing and producing them since 2005. Our focus is on corporate clients and helping them accomplish organizational goals (related to leadership, education, sales, relationships, team building, et. al.) simply by bringing people together. We firmly believe in the power that events have on accomplishing organizational goals.
What do you enjoy most about your role in corporate event planning?
I am passionate about designing experiences that last beyond the time our attendees and participants are together – like creating memories that continue to strengthen organizational connections long after the event has concluded, or sharing education that increases profitability far into the future. When an attendee is still talking about an experience (like a team-building activity, keynote speaker, or awards celebration) years after the event has concluded, that’s amazing. When leaders continue to leverage best practices learned at a conference, we know we’ve been successful.
How do you keep up with the constant change in the industry?
I am extremely involved in our industry in multiple ways. I am a member, current committee chair, and past Board member of MPI Georgia (Meeting Professionals International). In addition, I am a member of and contribute to the Small Business Community for SPIN (Senior Professionals International Network). And most recently, I joined the Board of Advisors for AIMP (the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals). These communities, along with my related leadership involvement, the dear connections I have made, and the valuable education I receive help me to stay on top of (if not ahead of changes), advancements, and opportunities in our industry. I am also an avid reader of multiple industry publications and participate in industry webinars when possible.
Do you have any advice for a company having a hard time choosing a theme? Is a theme necessary?
A theme can be very powerful if strategically created and developed fully throughout the event. The theme will help connect stakeholders to the event’s purpose and their role in it. As a result, the content and experience will be more memorable, and the effects longer-lasting.
However, a theme is certainly not a prerequisite for a successful event, and when forced, a theme can actually have a counterproductive effect. All events – and all organizational event hosts – are different, so the decision on whether or not to have a theme must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Will a theme further the core goals of the event? If the answer is yes, designing one makes sense.
What do you see as the corporate event industry’s greatest challenge, currently?
I am completing this interview survey in April of 2020, while our world is facing unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19. Currently, our greatest challenge as an industry lies in the uncertainty of when we will be able to gather again in person. In the meantime, we are working to better understand how we can leverage technology to meet virtually, first determining if an event is a good candidate to shift into a virtual space. Information still needs to be shared, teams brought together, and connections fostered. So in essence, our key role as event and meeting planners has not changed – the challenge is figuring out how to accomplish what we do in virtual ways.
How do you leverage event technology and what would you consider the biggest game-changer?
Right now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, events are technology. That is the game-changer. As event planners, we are charged with the awesome task of creating personal, meaningful, and engaging events with technology as a substitute for personal interactions. Platforms are emerging as leaders in this space, but like other technologies, you must determine the right option to meet your needs (functionally and financially).
What are some practices to follow that will help you to create the Wow factor that attendees seek with a limited budget?
I find that often the Wow factor can be achieved in attention to detail and adding special touches to your event. These complementing elements can be achieved with additional work in the planning phases as opposed to added costs. Be personal. Be meaningful. Be intentional. Really take time to consider the goals of the event and the stakeholders to deliver what’s essential and what will add value. If you do this, often you can eliminate efforts that are not contributing to the ideal event experience, saving money that can be spent on elements that are more significant to your event.
How do you measure the success of an event?
First and foremost, we are a strategic events agency. Our primary goal is to create events that deliver measurable value to our clients and their stakeholders. In order to understand if an event is successful, we must first determine an event’s goals and its key stakeholders. Then, we define how we will measure the accomplishment of those goals.
Planning can then follow this path we have charted, and we will be able to create a process for measuring that success, whether through onsite interviews and assessments, post-event debrief meetings, attendee feedback surveys, etc. All of this data (both quantitative and qualitative) is put into a post-event analysis report and reviewed with our clients, so we can utilize the information effectively for future initiatives and events.