ChatGPT – Design this event: Why the human touch is important in event planning

With near-constant news stories about how technology will change the future workforce, it got us thinking about the parts of our event planning process that are intrinsically human. In September 2023, the World Economic Forum looked at the impact of generative AI and large language models on jobs as part of its ‘Jobs of Tomorrow’ series. The report found that roles where AI posed the least threat, were those that involve human interaction and complex thinking skills – sound familiar?


1. Being a critical friend 

Our clients often tell us that one of the things that they like most about working with BeaconHouse Events is our ability to act as an extension of their internal team, offer sound advice based on years of experience in event planning, push back on ideas that don’t add values and be an arm around their shoulder through what can sometimes be a stressful process. By building relationships with our clients we understand them inside out and can form a truly collaborative partnership that goes much deeper than a client/agency transaction.


2. Logistical problem solving 

While Chat GPT has many benefits, we’ve yet to see it solve a last-minute problem with the sound equipment, track down elusive keynote speakers, or collaborate with partner organisations to create a sustainable event programme that doesn’t greenwash. Our clients know that in the lead-up to an event, and on-site, they don’t have to worry about the logistics being taken care of because our team has it covered, instead they can concentrate on speaking to delegates and enjoy the experience.


3. Building relationships 

Event planning doesn’t happen in a silo and we rely on building high-quality relationships with our clients and our network to make sure that we are delivering the best experience possible. Over the years we have worked in tandem with venues, AV teams, photographers, and speakers and built genuine friendships that have seen us through when the going gets tough and allows us to keep developing new ways to bring our client briefs to life.


4. Creative thinking 

Creativity isn’t just the nice fluffy stuff. Strategic creativity is born from client conversations, an appreciation of their brand and vision, and an understanding of what they are trying to achieve through this experience. Crafting innovative and engaging event concepts requires an understanding of our client’s brand, values, and ambitions, and true creativity is born from collaboration. With every new brief, we work with our colleagues, clients, and partner organisations to come up with ideas that surprise and delight delegates and push our clients to be brave and bring personality and purpose to everything from the signage to the snacks. Call us cynical but we don’t think AI is quite there yet.


5. Negotiating contracts 

90% of the work that we deliver goes on at our desks, and while negotiating contracts might not be the most glamorous part of event planning, it is an essential element that needs time, experience, and dedication to do well. By understanding each event brief and client individually we can find the best way forward when it comes to event insurance, venue hire, catering, or speaker fees rather than adopting a one size fits approach.


6. Emotional intelligence 

A big part of event planning is the ability to predict delegates’ wants and needs, how they may feel about certain choices, and how they could interact with different aspects of the event experience. We are experts in making the intangible, and tangible and put people at the heart of every experience – and people are complex creatures!


7. Adapting to the unexpected 

Any event planner worth their salt keeps their cool under pressure – ask any of them and they’ll have an event story that starts with ‘oh you’ll never guess what happened…’ and AI would just not be equipped to handle some of the things we have seen!

Every event and experience that we create is highly tailored and based on months of collaboration, conversations, idea generation, and strategy and despite its sophisticated algorithms, AI has a long way to go before it can navigate the intricacies of human beings that the best event managers have mastered.

At BeaconHouse Events we love to create event experiences that people at the heart. To speak to our team about bringing your next event to life email or call 0191 691 3456


How do you select the right charity partner for your next event?

By being strategic about your chosen charity, you can forge a partnership that is both beneficial to the charity and your business rather than being a transactional experience that lacks value on either side.

More and more people want to work for and do business with organisations that have a clear sense of purpose, and who are using their platform for good. There are lots of ways that you can leverage your event to raise funds or awareness for your chosen charity partner – that could be anything from allocating a percentage of ticket sales to their cause, holding auctions or raffles on the day, giving free sponsorship space with donation links or inviting a representative to tell their story as part of the proceedings, it just takes a little creative thinking so that any activities fit naturally into the proceedings and don’t seem shoe-horned in or out of place.

With so many non-profits delivering amazing work, how do you manage the process of finding who is the best fit for you?


1. Define your values and goals

Understanding your business’s purpose and values, the goals of the event, and what you aim to achieve through your CSR efforts makes it much easier to find a charity or cause that aligns perfectly. Consider what causes resonate with your attendees and the theme of the event, or where you can have a positive impact on the future of your sector or workforce. Whether it is environmental, conservation, social justice, mental health, or education there will be issues that disproportionally affect the people who live in your area, or work within your sector. By establishing what you care about as a business, you can use your events programme to make long-lasting and meaningful changes.


2. Ask your team for input 

CSR activities are a fantastic way of engaging your people and giving them pride in the place where they work. Ask for ideas for local initiatives that they care about, or to submit ways that you can get attendees excited about supporting your chosen charity. Involving your team in the decision-making process helps you to embed your values across the organisation, gives them a way to get meaningfully involved, and creates excitement for what’s possible. If there is an authentic connection between your team and chosen charity it will be much easier to communicate how and why you have chosen to partner together, rather than it coming across like a PR stunt.


3. Build a partnership 

Choosing a charity or cause to partner with shouldn’t be a one-hit wonder. Striving for a longer-term relationship that outlives the event allows you to consistently communicate what matters to you and have a golden CSR thread that runs through everything that you do. By consistently communicating how and why you have chosen to support a specific cause, you can have a much more authentic conversation with your delegates than you could if you simply hand over a cheque.


4. Do your due diligence

When you are looking to work with a particular charity, make sure you take some time to do your research and seek transparency about how funds are allocated, the governance structure, and the impact of their programmes. Most charities will have annual reports and financial statements that are available online for you to browse and independent reports evaluations are a great way to assess credibility. By making sure that your chosen charity is reputable you can be confident that your efforts are directed towards trustworthy and effective organisations.


5. Ask the charity what matters to them 

Speak to charitable organisations in advance of your event and ask them what would be most beneficial for them. It could be that they need funding for a specific project that aligns with your business values, or maybe they would like the opportunity to engage with your cohort of delegates to raise awareness for their mission or would really value being part of the event’s digital presence. Have conversations about where you can add the most value before, during, and after the event and you can build a relationship that makes sense for both parties.

At BeaconHouse Events we love to create ‘good’ experiences for our clients. To speak to our team about bringing your next event to life email or call 0191 691 3456


What being a ‘good’ place to work means to us

The Good Work Pledge recognises businesses’ efforts to be a fair employer, their commitment to staff health and wellbeing, and their demonstration of social and environmental responsibility in the region. Since we were founded in 2014, our vision has always been to drive positive, lasting impact both in our sector and across the North East, and we are always looking at how we can build a thriving culture built on a robust business model and financial resilience. 

Everything that we have planned works in tandem with our growth plans for the coming years and allows us to support our clients to achieve both their business ambitions and to allow our talented team to grow and develop with the business, in a supportive environment in which they are proud to be a part. 

Alongside offering a living wage and working with our team to communicate our vision and build a thriving culture, we have been working hard to show what being a Good Work Pledge employer is. Here are just some of the things we have been up to recently… 

  • Supporting The Children’s Foundation to carry out their vital work with children and young people in the region. To give the next generation the best start possible, we funded a school to take part in the Fuzzy Subjects mental health session, which encourages children to talk about tricky subjects with colourful puppets. 
  • We donated the carbon credit equivalent from twelve months of business operations to local environmental charities, including Groundwork North East and Cumbria. The donation will go towards supporting the charity to deliver its nature-based Solutions portfolio of environmental community initiatives, including the continuation of Revitalising our Estuaries, (RoE), a pioneering programme of river estuary restoration across the North East.
  • Working in events can be a stressful career, and we take that seriously. In early 2024, we took the full team offsite to Ouseburn Farm to learn more about mental health in the workplace, with the full team now mental health first aid trained. 
  • We continue to deliver against our four-year ESG strategy that aims to deliver considered, achievable actions, help us reach responsible carbon neutrality, and drive sector-wide change from inside our organisation.
  • We know that having time to do something you are passionate about is important, so every member of the team has 2 days per year to volunteer or learn about a cause that is important to them. Our co-founder Sarah sits on several non-profit boards, and Katie M and Sophie completed an afternoon of tree planting at the Children’s Foundation community allotment.
  • We have signed the Net Zero Carbon Pledge for the event industry. Engaging now means being a part of a global collaboration for action and is part of our commitment to lead the way in making our sector more sustainable. 
  • We developed and launched the first in a series of Sustainability Supply Chain round tables. In January 2024, we welcomed 10 local suppliers to the conversation, a mix of experts working in AV, venues, catering, and print, to discuss the issues they are facing in creating a sustainable supply chain and start positive conversations to make real change in the industry.

We have big plans for the rest of 2024 to continue, and expand our commitment to promote health and wellbeing, valuing and rewarding our current and future workforce, stepping up our social responsibility, and ensuring we are giving back to the local region that we love. 

To find out more about working with BeaconHouse Events and to speak to the team about engaging your workforce in 2024, email