Should hotels eliminate “Do Not Disturb

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Pittsburgh Wedding Transportation

Guest Blogger: Pittsburgh Limousine Bus

Pittsburgh weddings are beautiful events, and it takes some work to create a seamless event! There are many pieces of the puzzle, and everybody has their own strategy in putting them together. Each wedding is a completely unique ceremony, and this is why planning one takes much time and effort. When you find yourself at the beginning of the important task that is vendor research and hire, it seems like it’s hard to know who to trust! This is especially true when it comes to transportation.

24bus2[14298]There is a diverse array of charter, limousine, and party bus companies to choose from in Pittsburgh which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s pretty easy to pull up a listing of companies with great reviews across the internet, but it’s getting harder to know who to trust! There are a few points that you’ll specifically want to look out for when searching for Pennsylvania Transportation.

How does their website look?

If you’re perusing transportation companies and their website is outdated and unresponsive on mobile phones, you might want to look elsewhere. Technology is such an important part of business competency these days, and this especially goes for transportation. A great company will have a easy to use website with clear directions on how to get the information you’ll need! If a company lacks on their website, they will probably fall short of state of the art traffic tracking and customer service

Can you come view the vehicle?

22bus2[14297]Many couples overlook this step when choosing a vehicle for their Pittsburgh wedding, but visiting the office or garage to view the vehicle you’re looking to rent will certainly bring you closer to finding the best choice for your wedding. It give you the closest look into how they conduct business face to face before the big day, and it’s very helpful to see what you’re working with before it shows up.

Is the contract transparent?

The contract is the final step in securing your wedding day transportation, and arguable the most important! It’s not out of the norm for a company to sneak in some hidden charges at this stage under the guise of fuel or tip to the driver. However, this is the last thing you’re going to want to deal with right after getting married!

Pittsburgh Limousine Bus

232 Taylor Street #2

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

(412) 385-4412

The 4th Quarter

Somehow Summer flew by us once again and we find ourselves in the 4th quarter of another year. It’s been a awhile since we did a blog post, so let’s catch up.

20170923_095915We have a been all of the country and working with new people in new places since we kicked off the year with the Zac Brown Band in Mexico.

In 2018, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Pierce Events, we return to Riviera Maya for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration like no other. Sun, Sand, live music, great food and people from all over all at the Hard Rock Hotel. You can read about the 2017 trip here

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In July we returned to NJ for the largest Hot Air Balloon Festival in the nation. With over 100 balloons launching at once it’s a sight to see. We rocked the stage with George Thorogood and Pat Benatar and saw over 175,000 people attend.

August took us to Washington state. We opened an exclusive theatre for guests 21 and over with full menu and bar in Seattle, created a presentation video for our client and then travel cross country down to Texas for the next event.

A stop in Memphis brought us to Sun Studios, Graceland and made a new friend named Memphis Jones who told use the history of Memphis and gave us 50 cents. (Don’t ask)

ileaWe have been growing our national production teams and connecting with partners from ILEA (International Live Events Association) across the country and around the world.

We teamed up with Pop Star Katy Perry on her world tour to present exclusive content and and an interactive display for fans attending the show. Fans created their very own album cover and could submit their photos from the show via social media to be included with tour photos.

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Very soon we hope to announce another national tour that will take us to several cities and more exciting events happening right up till the end of the year.

We would love to talk to you about your next event. Big or small, give us a call.

 

Pay to Play – Facts on Music Licensing

bandI recently heard from a number of bands that were lamenting how many venues were now cancelling music performances. The reason behind it all, music licensing fees.

This comes as our home base city of Pittsburgh, PA is actively trying to encourage live music.

It’s the responsibility of any venue that plays any form of copyrighted music (live or recorded) to obtain and pay for the proper licences. The problem is many venue owners are either uneducated or simply think they can ignore the rules. Either can be very costly when a group that collects these fees comes calling and these days they are cracking down on everyone from small bars to restaurants.

Performing rights organizations (“PROs”), such as BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, act as intermediaries between restaurants and songwriters to protect intellectual property. Venues pay a fee to the PROs for a blanket license that grants permission to use all of the music each organization represents. This applies to everything from live music to background music. Each PRO represent certain songwriters and songs. Many venues decide to only pay fees to one of the three PRO. That can be dangerous. If you play music licensed by a PRO you do not have a license from, you can be held liable for copyright infringement. I have seen legal action taken over one single song the repeatedly played.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in places that are streaming music. Pandora’s “terms of use” specifically prohibit businesses from streaming music without setting up and complying with the terms of a paid DMX/Pandora business account. If a bar or restaurant has a business account with Pandora or SiriusXM and the music is used only for background, the establishment does not allow dancing to the music, or charge a cover fee to enter, then the provider of the music such as Pandora or SiriusXM, should be paying the public performance fees to BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Should the business have any additional music, live bands, DJs, or Karaoke, they need to license with the PROs directly for those uses.

How bad is it if you get caught? Federal penalties for using music without permission can be high, with each musical composition used without authorization entitling copyright owners to damages between $750 to $30,000, or more. That’s for every song!

Rumor has it PRO’s are now turning to monitoring advertisements in local cities for cover bands, karaoke nights and DJ’s. Why the sudden tough enforcement? The PRO’s aren’t bringing in the money they used to with music being constantly copied, streamed, downloaded and outright stolen.

Many people think because they purchased a song on CD or through iTunes they own it and can use it as they wish. Wrong. What you actually purchase is not the song but a license to use that copy of the song for your own personal use. It can not be used for public purposes.

Everyone should be compensated for their work. Venue owners should be knowledgeable and play by the rules, however the rules need to be fair and applied in a way that promotes music and not scares people away from the music.

For more information:

ASCAP

BMI

SESAC

 

 

 

 

Castaway Take Aways

After a successful 2016, we kicked of this year in Rivera Maya, Mexico at Castaway with Southern Ground. It’s nice to soak up some sun and talk about business plans for the year ahead. This year though we gained more from that trip than we have from a number of professional conferences we have attended.

While we certainly did our share of relaxing, we also learned about lighting, staging, marketing, production, customer service, live music production, recording, DJ work, catering, photography, logistics and a whole lot more.

You see this was no ordinary sun & sand get away. We had the opportunity to learn from a number of very talented people in entertainment and event production including the Grammy Award winning group the Zac Brown Band. Along with Zac was Jamaica reggae group Toots & The Maytals who invented the word “reggae” and genre in 1968. Best New Artist Grammy nominee Maren Morris, Margo Price who recorded her first album at Sun Studios, JJ Grey & Mofro, Drake White & The Big Fire that are launching their first headlining tour, Rodrigo and Gabriela, Muddy Magnolias, Corey Harper, Brian Collins and all the incredible musicians in the groups were there. We spent time with Zac Brown’s personal Chef Rusty Hamiln learning about food and drinks with people from all over.

The event took place at the Hard Rock Hotel. Normally I would have avoided such a place as I would have thought it was too touristy. Boy was I wrong. From the moment we arrived we were greeted and offered a drink. Quickly we were given our credentials and escorted to our room. From that moment on every need we could possible have was catered to. 24 room service, buffets set up for each concert, tray served drinks everywhere, even for the live shows and the most incredible staff I’ve ever encountered.

The main stage could have hosted just about any band in the world. Lighting, sound, and video projection were top notch and with variety of styles of music and the needs of each artist, it is a challenge to say the least.

The event staff for this production was amazing. Despite long hours everything from charity auctions to safety and security was taken care of flawlessly. Event professionals understand what it takes to meet everyone’s expectations for just one event. This was 12 plus events in just a few days!

When food were ordered was just a few minutes late, we received an apology from the food and beverage manager that was not needed or expected. The ultimate in customer service.

Normally I can walk away from an event having seen even minor flaws. Maybe something that did not quite go as planned, or something I would have done differently. I’m hard pressed to come up with one thing to list. It was that good.

There were multiple teams that made it happen. Staff from the Hard Rock to the production staff and that makes it all the more challenging when you are dealing different groups with language and cultural barriers. My hat is off to the production teams on this one.

We came back to Pittsburgh recharged and with some great new inspiration for events ahead. All too often we find ourselves locked in our own little bubbles and blind to the world around us. It’s easy to do. This trip has changed that at least for awhile.

A Look Forward (and back)

 

It’s hard to believe next year Pierce Events will celebrate our 10th year in business. The hopes and dreams we had when we launched the company have come to life.

We hoped that someday we would be able to do national events. Most said that would be impossible to do for a little startup company in Pittsburgh to do. That quest has taken us to places from coast to coast. We have been so fortunate to work on incredible events from Los Angeles to Dallas, New York to Chicago.

Along the way we have met and worked with some very talented people, discover exciting places, made great friends and have built a reputation as always going above and beyond for our clients.

It hasn’t been without challenges. We’ve had to compete in the event industry and sometimes you don’t always win. There have been times we have poured hours of hard work into a project only to see it not happen, or be given to someone else. Once you realize that failure teaches much more than success, those moments can be motivating and you move on. 

We have from day one sought out and surrounded ourselves with great people. From our staff to our production partners. Planning and producing an event is like conducting an orchestra. Each person has to play their part correctly or the whole thing is off. Over the years we have found people that love what they do and we have parted ways with those who don’t. 

There have been moments in events that have amazed me and times I thought “There’s no way we can make this happen” and then it does.

We been up early and worked late. We have been in the stinging cold and blistering heat. We have driven thousands of miles, been in and out of airports and hotels, have eaten at fast food joints from coast to coast and all to get to that that moment at the end of an event when we ask the client, “Were you happy with everything?”

To play a role in creating moments that people will always remember is an honor. Be it a wedding celebration or the culmination of an entire company’s hard word. We get a front row seat to milestones in life. 

We could not be more grateful for the opportunities we have had, the friends we have made and the experiences along the way. There are so many exciting things ahead and we look forward to sharing them.

Wishing all of you many blessings in 2017.

Making Your Event Rock!

Music DoodleThe crowd is up dancing, clapping, singing along. For that one moment they are one group, sharing an experience. It’s happens at every concert and people pay top dollar for the experience. Can you have the same experience at your gathering. YES!

Music is powerful and should be used as part of any production plan. Walking though the mall the other day a I saw 3 DJ’s playing in stores. Lights and music draw much more attention than any old “Sale” sign. Retailers are getting the idea and so should you.

Event planners are really in show business and it’s our job to create effective shows that do more than just entertain. The goal is to appeal to people in ways that help convey an essential message that it is distinctive and memorable.

Staging and lighting are tools, but the real show is the emotion. Think of every great show you’ve attended.  You got involved, excited, it stirred something in you. That’s what made it work.

In most cases music should effectively be used from the moment guests arrive. It sets the tone for what people are about to experience. Upbeat music get people energized but it can also be used to build suspense, drama or direct audience attention.

Music is an important part of your content beyond just entertainment. Music beds in videos, bringing people on and off stage, sound effects, building reveals, pre-show music and more.

Music is often the first impression an audience has. Have you ever heard something in the distance as started seeking the source? Often before a person sees something, they can hear it. Your eyes look ahead but your ears go far beyond. That subconscious experience begins.

When planning an event we always consider not only what guest will see and learn, but what will they smell, feel, taste and how they will react? How can we capture their emotions and lead them on a journey that creates a wonderful lasting memory?

 

We all have personal connections to certain music and songs. Different era’s have their own defining sound. Big Band recalls a wartime era, disco and your are instantly in the 70’s. A song can bring back a memory or a feeling and that is a powerful tool that is often overlooked.

Like any event element, there are trends and styles when it comes to music for events, but classics always return. You have to know and understand your audience to make the right choices. We often help clients do just that.

If you are inspired to start considering the use of music in a broader sense that’s great. It also comes with a word of caution. Make sure you have legal use of the music. You can’t use just any song in a video or on a website and you should always make sure the use of music in any setting has a proper license. Your event planner can assist you.

Contact us if we can help build the soundtrack for your next event.

 

Connecting Beyond Your Event

Social media provides a powerful opportunity to connect your event and messaging beyond your guests in attendance. Social media can expand your event marketing efforts and your onsite attendee engagement. Here are some ways to make social media a part of your next event.

  1. dsc_1093Visual Focal Point – Give your attendees the perfect backdrop for their photos as well as a reminder of your event hashtag. Providing something that attendees will what to take a photo of that is branded with your logo and hashtag will increase engagement. Include your hashtag on signage branding and throughout the event.
  2. Selfie Stations – Fun and eye catching stations throughout the event with your event hashtag, quote bubbles, or emojis encourage people to snap and post there experience to social networks.
  3. Make Your Guests A Star – Moderated social media feeds displayed on screens or projected in your venue allow guests to see posts from the event and spur additional posts.
  4. Social Swag – Ensure all promotional items are branded with your hashtag and logo. Great promotional items can encourages additional social media.
  5. Good Food – Food and beverage are integral parts of your event and people love to take photos of food. Incorporate your event hashtag on napkins, glassware, or even on the food itself.
  6. Reward Your Most Active Influencers – Give away prizes for those who post from your event. You can set up a Twitter activated vending machine that dispenses items when someone posts using your hashtag.

We have a number of other ideas and tools available to connect events, marketing, messaging and engagement with attendees and social media audiences. Make your next event more impactful with our team of event and social media experts.

 

 

Why Do You Charge That?

cheapdjedit (2)Over the years we have been a part of many weddings, providing entertainment and planning services for couples with different tastes and different budgets.

When it comes to providing DJ entertainment, one of the questions we are most asked is why some DJ’s charge $200 and some charge $2000. I can’t explain what other people do or why they do it, but I can explain why we charge what we do.

It’s not some random number we pick out of the air. In order to run any successful business you must have a solid cost analysis of your services. You have to weigh the cost of equipment, time, labor, expenses and compensation. Because we take what we do very seriously and don’t approach one of the most important days in a person’s life as just a “job” we could not charge $200 and stay in business.

For a typical wedding we bring about $10,000 worth of equipment. We have equipment most people will never see such as equalizers and lighting controls, plus back up equipment just in case something fails. All that has to be maintained and replaced from time to time. If you were to go out and rent the equipment we bring it would cost you about $1500. In our pricing model we provide clients $10,000 worth of equipment for about $500.

Then there is the cost of music. We update our music library at least once a month. That annual cost is over $1000. That does not include the purchase of special songs our clients request. The cost is spread out between the number of DJ events we do each year. This allows us to always have to songs that are important to you.

Then there is transportation costs. All that equipment has to get to and from events. That requires time to check equipment, load and unload equipment, update new songs, maintain a company vehicle, insurance and fuel costs and time spent meeting with clients.

To maintain an office, website, phone line, liability insurance all are additional costs that must be factored in to pricing.

Then of course we have to make a living as well and we do this full-time. It’s not just us playing some songs on the weekend for a few extra bucks.

When you add it all up, we charge what we believe is the lowest price possible in order to provide our clients with the highest level of service.

 

Modern Event Security

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Event Security Is A Growing Concern

The recent attacks in Nice, France, Orland0 and Dallas have event professionals questioning safety where large crowds gather. High profile events with a large amount of people attending are sadly an attractive target for terrorists.

With the attack in Nice, as well as recent attacks in other cites, every event producer is forced to review security measures and develop a plan of action should something occur.

We always plan in case things go wrong. What if the power goes out or the weather is bad? It’s heartbreaking to now sit in a planning meeting and talk about what to do if there is an active shooter. How do we respond if there is an attack? Have we consulted police and first  responders for an action plan?

“Expect the unexpected.” said Professor Jason Draper who studies event planning and tourism at the University of Houston.

“We live in a free society and we have to do the best we can to protect ourselves when we travel and go to events an have a plan in place if something should happen, how to help the people who are injured and stop it as quickly as possible.” he said.

For events large and small, event professionals must always plan for the worst case scenario. The problem is that scenario gets worse every day. Every attack, every circumstance teaches us to be even more prepared.

A few years ago one of our clients suffered a shooting at their venue. Security procedures changed from that moment on. Sadly, one of the police officers recently shot and killed in Dallas was part of that security team.

It’s truly a sad day when we can no longer gather to celebrate without concern for the lives of those attending.