One great way to launch your brand-new business (or perhaps new location), is to host a grand opening event.

It can help you connect with the local community in a truly personable way. It’s a chance for you to gain customers, gain exposure and introduce your brand in a way that makes you stand out!

With that in mind, the grand opening shouldn’t be an afterthought. Here are our tips for planning and hosting the most successful grand opening event.

 

Set Goals and Plan Accordingly

Think carefully about what you hope to achieve from this event. It could be:

  • Brand awareness
  • Gain information from potential customers
  • Gain sales

Some of these goals are more tangible than others, for example gaining information from customers. This can either be done via the booking system for the event or via a survey or sign in system on arrival.

This can help you understand your audience in greater detail and give you valuable insight on how to appeal to them.

Increasing brand awareness, however, is less measurable. You may be able to track this by providing those in attendance with vouchers for them and a friend, meaning you could see how many people have passed on your business information to someone they know.

 

Set your Budget

This is something you should do straight away, taking into consideration all the aspects of your grand opening event. Including, advertising, marketing collateral, decorations, food, drinks and possibly entertainment.

Think carefully about how much you would like to spend and plan which areas are the biggest priority. But remember, you don’t want to spend a fortune on promotion for those who attend to be bitterly disappointed by the event itself.

 

Promote your Grand Opening

There are lots of ways you can promote your grand opening, some will be relatively cheap (or even free) and some will have an associated cost.

Social media is a free way to get the word out there about your business and your event. You can offer a promotion to the first guests that sign up to attend (for example free goody bag) and encourage people to share with their friends online.

Flyers and posters are another way to market your event. You can display these in your own windows and ask other local businesses like coffee shops or community centres to also put up a flyer.

You can also arrange for direct mail to all the relevant post code areas, this can be a bit more costly, but it means it will arrive directly in the hands of your potential customers.

 

Offer a Demo or Workshop

An interesting way to introduce guests to your business can be through something interactive, like a demo or workshop.

This adds another layer to your event other than just talking and sipping champagne.

If you’re a restaurant a tasting could work well, or a demo from one of your chefs. Opening a beauty salon or spa? You could offer complimentary hand massages, or make-up demonstrations.

For businesses that sell products you can start by doing a demo of the product and then inviting guests to try it for themselves.

Provide Entertainment

As we mentioned, a demo or workshop is perfect for engaging your guests but once this has finished it will be time to keep the positive mood going.

Music is a popular choice, which could be a band, singer, or a singular musician. Or you could choose something more family friendly – depending on your clientele, like a bouncy castle or face painting.

Be sure to plan the evening to provide a good balance between entertaining your guests and allowing them time to mingle, relax and have a bite to eat or something to drink.

 

Food & Drink

This may be an obvious one but it’s one that can be tricky to get right! Think carefully about how many people are in attendance and how long they will be there.

We suggest allotting 1.5 drinks per guest per hour, however, this may be an expense you would rather not have. If so, it may be worth providing guests with vouchers for the number of drinks you would like to provide them with for the event.

Food can add another expense to your event so, consider the time of day or evening you choose to host. If you would prefer not to cover the expense of a meal, choose a time where guests will have likely eaten. Also, if you cover on the invite/ event information that ‘light canapes’ will be provided, guests will know not to arrive hungry!

 

Once you’ve hosted your successful grand opening event, it’s time to start thinking about how to continually promote your business. For advice, read our blog post.

Sarah Gerken
Author: Sarah Gerken