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The downturn in the economy is forcing companies to examine their costs of doing business. And among the things that often go first, is hiring professionals for jobs like event planning. Big mistake, event planners say: Skipping the experts saves money upfront, but it may actually lead to a more expensive event.

“A lot of the value the planner brings to the table is helping folks spend their money wisely and maximize their return on investment, allocating those resources where they count,” says Melissa Bryan, owner of Lush Parties & Events on Bainbridge Island. read more »


Whether your company is planning an internal event or a public party, the logistics could become quite intricate. Hiring an event planner requires an investment, but professional planners say it is money well spent. Not only does that bring in professionals who know the ins and outs of events, but also allows the company to not dedicate its time, efforts and human resources to making them happen. read more »


Business travel can be a less-than-appealing venture. Early morning flights. Crossing time zones. Days packed with meetings to justify the cost of travel. And, at the end of the day, an anonymous hotel room that is indistinguishable from hundreds of other hotel rooms.

Bed and breakfasts, frequently thought of more as places for a romantic getaway weekend, can also serve as a welcoming haven for the weary business traveler who wants a change from their usual accommodations — and more business travelers appear to be taking advantage of the home-like qualities bed and breakfasts have to offer. read more »


David Doxtater has been behind the scenes of all sorts of high-caliber events: from the World Trade Organization’s Seattle meeting and the Seattle Symphony’s grand opening, to the Tacoma’s Tall Ships festival, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game opening ceremonies and the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Space Needle. Doxtater is not just a privileged onlooker during local presidential receptions or well-known public events — he makes them happen.

Doxtater’s company, The Workshop, has a long list of clients ranging from Microsoft and Boeing to the Mariners and the Seahawks. read more »


Washington hotel rates have been soaring compared to last year, according to the latest Wolfgang Rood Hospitality report released this past February — with January the most recent month for which information is currently available.

In Tacoma and Pierce County, average daily room rates increased 11.1 percent to $72.22. In Southwest Washington, rates increased 7.6 percent to $78.94. read more »


People are frequently less relaxed at company events than at a party in someone’s home, said Nodsle, which means they tend to eat less. Choosing foods that are easy to eat allows people to maintain a professional image among their colleagues, clients and superiors.

“The easier it is to eat, the better,” she said.

The time of day the event will take place is another important factor when choosing food. read more »


Reflections Bed & Breakfast in Port Orchard features Colonial-style ambiance with with some furnishings dating back to the 1840’s According to the Professional Association of Inkeepers International, the Bed & Breakfast industry saw $3.4 billion in revenues in 2004, with about 20,000 inns operating in the United States — vs. 1,000 in 1980. read more »


Your alarm goes off on a Monday morning, but you crawl back under the covers. It’s hard to get excited about work when your calendar is filled with meetings. First you have the requisite 9 a.m. Monday meeting. And then you have to meet with a client downtown on Tuesday. Next, there’s the red eye Thursday to meet with the L.A. office on Friday. You feel that you spend more time at meetings than actually doing work. Indeed, work often suffers when you have to dart in and out of the office to meet with clients or coworkers. read more »


Your company has just won that big contract, or opened a new branch office, and you want to celebrate, and invite your clients and business associates. If don’t want to be bound by strict time frames and a set schedule for your event, why not host an open-house? Here, guests can drop by at your office, a hotel meeting room, a local restaurant or whatever venue is appropriate, when they want and leave at their leisure. The ebb and flow of guests will ensure there’s plenty of room for mingling, quiet business conversation, and networking. read more »

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