Our best gala ever!

It takes a lot to arrange a memorable gala evening. Only one thing was missing from the Association of Finnish Travel Industry’s 2022 gala: last minute panic.

“What a wonderful night, it was so great to meet people again!” 

Event organiser Jenni Kemppainen from the Association of Finnish Travel Industry (SMAL) knew that the evening was a success when positive feedback started to flood in. The road from event planning to post-gala praise was long and certainly not straightforward.  

SMAL arranged a travel industry gala for the fourth time. Last year’s gala was the first one after the pandemic, and people were excited to attend it. 

The goal of the event was to bring travel industry people together to celebrate industry achievements and to network with other professionals. The dazzling gala evening was also a great opportunity for participating companies to thank their personnel or partners. Travel industry people arrange holidays, adventures, or relaxation for their own customers, helping them to escape the hectic routines of everyday life. SMAL’s gala was a similar chance to take a break, but this time for everyone working in the travel industry. 

SMAL wanted to offer a memorable and positive night full of good vibes and with plenty of opportunities to spend time together and to meet friends and colleagues. 

Organised with great care 

Kemppainen says that the most important factors for creating a festive mood were Idea Group’s thorough work in organising the event, good messaging, and creative solutions. 

First, the goals of the event were outlined. This way the theme of the gala could be linked to both bigger outlines and small details. Little Finlandia was chosen as the venue: everyone there was also quick to point out how well Idea Group had organised everything. 

Managing an entire event includes giving directions to people, delivering goods to correct places, and making sure that information reaches the intended destination. Deep understanding and experience of event management is a must to ensure the fluency of the entire process. With good awareness of the most common oversights, it is easier to take pre-emptive measures to make sure everything runs smoothly. One mantra should not be forgotten when making sure everything is in order: better to double-check. 

Triumph of communication 

Communication worked perfectly during the planning and preparation stages. A dedicated Teams channel was created, and all the necessary info and contracts were gathered there for everyone to access. Regular check-ups ensured that the exchange of information between Idea Group and SMAL worked seamlessly, and the check-ups also helped in coordinating work. A WhatsApp channel for the most relevant organisers was created to be used during the event. 

“Good communication is one of the cornerstones of a successful event. Our last meeting together proved this one again. So-called obvious things should be said out loud: for example, we wanted all the screens in Little Finlandia to show the gala night’s main stage. After all, we wanted to make sure that every guest could experience all the high points of the evening,” Kemppinen says. 

Touch of creativity 

Imaginative solutions were needed more than once when the event was planned. Kemppainen notes how the restrictions of a changing budget or the organiser’s own goals and concepts can often limit the creative process. Creative problem solving is needed whenever new elements and practical restrictions meet. 

“Idea Group showed the same ability for creative thinking both on concept and practical level. For example, thanks to their idea the waiters at the gala were able to easily serve wine without blocking the view to the stage. But I’ll keep this genius insight a secret,” Kemppainen chuckles. 

All in all, the SMAL team considered the event to be a great success. Many of the best practices from the gala were adopted into regular use. Kemppainen says that the expectations for the gala were high, and they were certainly met. 

“The two last weeks before the event are also worth mentioning. This year, we didn’t need to worry. There just was no last-minute panic.” 

Pictures: lllusiaPhotography



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