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Event Planning & Management
25 May 2022 

Event Types: A Guide to Private Events

Bizzabo Blog Staff
Bizzabo Blog Staff
Event Types: A Guide to Private Events

Although event professionals put most in-person meetups on hold during the pandemic, today more people are becoming comfortable with the idea of seeing other folks in the flesh at private events.

As more private events roll out, you’re probably wondering: What are private events? Can private gatherings take place virtually? What are some examples of private get-togethers? We’ve got you covered in this continuation of our event types series.

What are private events?

As the name suggests, private events are smaller, more exclusive get-togethers often held in intimate settings. Unlike conferences, trade shows, and other events, they are not open to members of the public.

Private gatherings enable organizations to develop deeper personal connections with attendees because they’re not jam-packed like large conferences. Depending on the nature of the event, attendees may feel privileged to be a part of something that most people won’t experience.,

One more thing about private events: These events don’t have to be standalone. Sometimes, private events take place during a larger event. For example, you might want to set up a VIP lounge at your next user conference and invite veteran customers into a swank space for drinks and a company roadmap update.

people sitting at a large table and eating while talking

Who goes to private events, and which formats work best?

All kinds of individuals go to private meetings, including the following:

  • Executives
  • Contractors
  • Marketers
  • Business development reps
  • Sales reps
  • Employees
  • Shareholders
  • Influencers
  • VIPs
  • Investors
  • Media

Although many private events take place in-person, organizers can also facilitate these gatherings in virtual and hybrid formats. For example, an organization might invite 20 executives to attend an hour-long virtual professional development workshop and send each attendee a virtual gift card to DoorDash so they can order lunch.

What is the organizer’s objective for a private event?

For the most part, organizers put on private events to build relationships with and create exclusive experiences for attendees. For example, private events are perfect for rolling out a new software feature exclusively for top-tier customers. If you want to celebrate your top-performing sales reps, a private event is ideal.

Although some organizers focus on engaging and educating VIPs and executives, others are more interested in retaining customers and getting feedback about specific products and services. At events like shareholder meetings, event organizers aim to inform investors about the company’s current finances and how it might perform over time.

What is the attendee’s objective for a private event?

At most private gatherings, attendees are interested in learning new things and connecting with similar-minded folks. In some cases, they are eager to share their feedback and insights on products and services to help the companies they love improve. Additionally, private event attendees often want to feel part of an exclusive gathering, so they may want to feel pampered or catered to.

4 Examples of Private Events

Private events come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, sales kickoffs (SKOs) are technically a type of private event, but they’ll get special treatment later in this event types blog series.

To give you a better idea of what your next one might look like, let’s briefly explore four of the most common private event types:

1. Networking Events, Meetups, and VIP Summits or Retreats

Let’s say your goal is to deliver a small, highly curated event for a specific group (e.g., fintech professionals), role (e.g., C-suite executives), or interest (e.g., developers who love Ruby on Rails). Explore hosting networking events, meetups, or VIP summits.

Organizers of these events are usually interested in building relationships with attendees and educating them on products, services, and ideas. Attendees go because they want to network with like-minded individuals.

A good example is the Gartner Evanta New York CISO Inner Circle, a VIP summit that gathers executives to discuss significant business challenges and best practices over dinner.

2. Customer Advisory Board Meetings

Are you wondering whether your business is on the right track? A customer advisory board meeting can help you gain the data and insights you need to determine the best way forward.

A customer advisory board meeting is a small, hand-picked counsel of customers who come together to share insights and feedback on the company and its offerings to help improve the business strategy and product roadmap. Organizers of such events want to learn more about their operations from neutral parties while strengthening customer relationships and boosting retention. On the flip side, attendees are interested in meeting new people and helping improve the products and services they regularly use by sharing their feedback and experiences.

Last year, we hosted Bizzabo CAB, our inaugural customer advisory board meeting. We’re looking forward to building off this experience with similar events in the future.

3. Shareholder or Investor Meetings

To clue investors and shareholders into the state of the organization, publicly traded companies and investor-funded startups schedule meetings to educate stakeholders about the company’s financial performance and outlook.

At a high level, these meetings help educate shareholders and investors about the state of the organization to encourage them to keep their capital where it is. Of course, investors and shareholders attend these meetings to gauge the performance of their investments — and meet other investors, too.

One of the most famous examples of this event type is Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholders Meeting. This year, the event took on a hybrid format, with some attendees participating in-person in Omaha, Nebraska, while others attended virtually.

4. Team-building Events

Team-building events help organizations improve employee morale and encourage employees to develop stronger bonds with one another. A company might decide to have a private dinner or do something fun — like going bowling, doing a community service project, or watching a baseball game in the lap of luxury in the company’s box.

For example, Zapier, a fully remote company, hosts an annual retreat each year that brings employees together and aligns them on goals and objectives. SmartBug Media, an inbound marketing agency, also hosts a yearly SmartBugaPalooza retreat for its fully remote workforce, taking employees to a high-class location and treating the team to unique activities and next-level dining.

people sitting at a conference table with laptops open

Get the Most Out of Your Private Events With Bizzabo

Making the most of your next private get-together starts with event management software that gives you complete control over access to your event website. We might be biased, but we believe Bizzabo is the ideal private event software solution for organizations like yours. If you want to create special breakout rooms or offer attendees other engagement and networking features, Bizzabo is tailormade for what you need.

Request a demo today to learn more about how you can make sure your next private meeting goes off without a hitch.

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