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How to host a successful secret event

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Secret Events are becoming ever more popular in the UK, with companies such as Secret Cinema and London’s Gingerline seeing roaring success in recent years.  In a world where global communication is accessible 24/7 at our very fingertips, promotion has never been easier – but what do you do if you want to keep your event a secret?

Big brands up and down the UK are setting a new trend of secret events, exploiting the lure of the unknown and creating a new wave of clandestine shindigs that seem to have a kind of excitement and element of surprise about them that your average party distinctly lacks.

It’s a tricky business – you need to get your balance of promotion and secrecy exactly right to maintain an air of mystery while still drawing a crowd.  We’ve put together a list of handy top tips for making sure your event goes off with just the right amount of a bang…

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Once you have finalised all the details of your event, e.g. the venue, entertainment, guest list and other essential elements, it’s important to analyse the overall value of revealing each element to the people attending.  The things that will draw your crowds are music, fancy dress, special guests etc. You need to reveal just enough information to get attention for the event, and the best way to do this is to drop hints and clues as to what’ll be going happening on the night.

Map out a PR campaign timeline that covers the months leading up to your event, and on that timeline, detail what elements you will share with your audience and when. This enables you to get a clear idea of how everything is shaping up in the countdown to the big day, and also allows you to time to amend/correct any online leaks or false trails in the run up to your event.

The best and safest way to ensure that your guest list stays exclusive and your info stays accurate is to create a dedicated website for your event.  It means that you can ask your guests to sign up to your mailing list via a secure site, and don’t forget to launch a social media campaign for reliably widespread word of mouth if your event is open to the public.

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Remember that it will be easier for you to manipulate your audience’s expectations simply because they are at your mercy – they quite literally have to just believe what you tell them – but this can be both a blessing and a curse.  Never promise anything (such as a DJ or a drinks promotion) unless it’s 100% certain to happen.  Nobody likes the Secret Event Who Cried Wolf.  You have a licence to be a little more creative, yes, but make preparations to ensure that your event is everything your guests expected and more to turn your first guests into regular attendees (all signed up to your emailing list, of course…!)

Create a dedicated Facebook page/group and update it around twice a week with teasers, hashtags links to blogs, LinkedIn and Google +.

Once the event has finished, your most important marketing tools need to come out.  Encourage people to share their experiences and photographs across Facebook and Twitter – perhaps offer prizes for photos of the best costume, or some other in of competition to get people posting their images.  Word of mouth is the best tool you have at your disposal – and once the event is over, you should be pulling out all the stops to make sure your event is suddenly about as secret as the BBC News headlines.

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The venue is a really important aspect of hosting a successful secret event, as it needs to have the right balance of mystery and blatancy to the kind long-lasting chatter. you want. You’ll need to provide some details as to where it is and what the prices on the door etc will be like, just so your guests can organise themselves properly, but generally speaking, the more cryptic your clues the better.

Naturally, the most important thing to do is to keep you event top secret.  This means keeping performers, staff, even the venue in the dark (as much as you can) – you never know when someone will accidentally leak something on Facebook or use something as simple as a postcode to discover details about the venue you’ve worked so hard to keep hush.

We at Function Fixers have a wealth of marvellous and mysterious venues up and down the UK (and a fair few in Europe) that are ideal for hosting secret events.  You can contact us here with your budget, requirements and specifications, and use our free service to find the ideal venue for your needs!

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