How To Balance Guest Expectations and Brand Expectations to Create an Ideal Event Experience

Welcome to How To Be A Host podcast, hosted by Charles Ewudo. The show features experts, veterans, movers, and shakers in the nightlife and hospitality worlds here to show you everything you need to know about hosting a party.

Meet Stacey Louise Grant, she is the Guest Experience Manager at Mars Hollywood and also working simultaneously as the Social Media Director at Relevant Group – a Hospitality Group with properties including Mother Wolf, Citizen News, and a new venue called The Brownstone along with Mars Hollywood being one of their properties. In this episode, you’ll hear how she balances guest and brand expectations while meeting their venue’s business objectives.  

During our conversation, we touched on the balance between business expectations and creative vision in event planning, emphasizing the need for flexibility, compromise, and resource allocation. Stacey talks about both sides of the spectrum of how on one side clients with no understanding of business can be frustrated because of the lack of know-how or skill gap required to produce a profitable event. On the other side, some clients are driven by money and can under-invest in the guest experience. “You have to strike a balance. And I think the key to that is being able to compromise and be flexible. And just remember at the end of the day that it is a business and you know not to get too full on about everything going right. Just try and deal with things as they come.”

We also discussed the challenges and opportunities in catering to changing consumer behavior and adapting to social media’s impact on party culture. “I think the biggest shift I’ve seen over the past 10 years is the addition of social media to the space because when I was going out when I was young, you could go get messy, do what you want, and there was no one taking photos, no one’s making videos, if you did something sloppy, no one knew about it” Stacey said. Social media is a great free promotional tool, and the integration of this channel is inevitable for growth. However, the side effects of the “always-on” nature of social media can not simply be ignored. Stacey points out the drawbacks of how social media has created a sense of nervousness around drinking in public and letting loose with friends among Gen Zers.

" I see a lot of Gen Z kids, you know, having a lot of fun and doing their thing. It does seem like sometimes, the way they have fun feels more performative."

Stacey emphasized how important it is to have the right teams in place and get staffing right. Venues are built on strong teams and Mars Hollywood was very particular with who they hired, and all their staff are really wonderful and have different strengths. These are the elements that make a good service and product.

“If we didn’t have an amazing team, we wouldn’t have what we have.”

Highlight: Direct communication and clear needs/expectations are key to successful events. It’s about being on the same page. Understanding everyone’s needs, being crystal clear about it, and being able to communicate that message across so your teams can internalize it and prepare for it.

In this episode, you’ll walk away with insights on marketing strategies, including aesthetic cohesion, understanding market trends, and staying inventive to appeal to different crowds. Check out more thought-provoking conversations on How to be a Host hub.

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