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How to Organise A Secret Event


With a tendency to reveal more and more across a whole host of social media channels, it seems that nowadays we have fewer and fewer secrets. As a culture of too much information (TMI) and an omnipresent camera lens recording what we experience, we have lost much of the secrecy and mystery in our lives.

Conversely, as we share more and, as a consequence, know more about each other, it is exhilarating to find those areas that remain firmly in the realm of the unknown. There is something special and liberating about the unexpected and not being able to prepare fully for all eventualities.

As a result of this, many businesses have harnessed the power of the secret in recent times to their advantage. Secret bars are ever-popular with the lure of the illicit drinking den drawing in new customers all the time. This has expanded into pop-up restaurant events like those organised by London’s Gingerline and immersive cinema experiences with the likes of Secret Cinema enjoying huge success.

It is perhaps unsurprising then that innovative event planners working with big brands are utilising secrecy to create a buzz and deliver memorable experiences. The relatively new trend of secret events exploits the unknown and unexpected to create a genuine sense of excitement and deliver the surprises that cement a brand or product firmly in the attendee’s memory.

In order to organise and run a successful secret event, there are a number of pitfalls that must be avoided. This article will help event organisers and brands reintroduce mystique and create an unforgettable experience.


 Organising a Secret Event


What’s the Secret?

Once you have the details of your event sketched out, you must decide which aspects of it to keep secret. It is important to appraise the value of revealing each element, weighing up the pros and cons. You do not want to undermine the air of mystery but you need to reveal enough to hook potential attendees and get their buy in.

Is there a special guest? A DJ? A performer? Do you get people interested by revealing their name? Do you reveal the wider geographical area but hide the majority of the actual details of the event? You need to ask yourself these questions and think about what elements will have most impact and when.

It’s also a good idea to plot a timeline, covering the months leading up to your event, detailing what elements you will share and when. This will feed into a wider social media and PR campaign.

Combination Lock for secret event planning


Promoting Your Secret Event

As mentioned above, what you reveal and when is crucial to maintaining a balance between generating a buzz and retaining the element of surprise. If you can distill the essence of your event into one strapline, marrying intrigue with a killer hook, then this will help guide your whole promotional campaign.

Think about all of the communication channels that you will use to reach, promote and then serve information to attendees– will there be an email list? will you text people? will there be a unique website? a social media group? will there be a hotline to call? will you develop a mobile app?

It is vital to build buzz in the run up to the event. With a secret event, you have more ammunition that most events in that you can manipulate your audience’s expectations, revealing details as and when you want. You have licence to be creative and not just push out the same event details over and over and hope people bite.

As with any promotion of an event in today’s digital world, you need to utilise social media and available technology. Depending on the type of event and audience, Facebook and Twitter can be great channels for viral exposure and starting conversations. Creating a dedicated Facebook page for your event or a Facebook group and regularly update it with teasers makes sense. When it comes to Twitter, decide upon a pithy hashtag and attempt to make this trend and start conversations around it. LinkedIn and Google + can also be effective for some target sectors.

It is also important to think about the amplification of your message. Target key people to help spread your message across social media and via word of mouth. You want to be a topic of conversation around the water cooler and in bars and restaurants, people speculating wildly over Friday night drinks.

Secret events are en vogue and with this comes the opportunity to do more traditional PR – use contacts within the press to talk about your event, but remember to only reveal enough to keep people interested.

Once the event is over, encourage people to share their experiences and photographs across social media – visual platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr work really well for this. You can then use this to further promote the brand and the success of the event.


Choosing a Secret Event Venue

The venue is a crucial aspect of any event and keeping it a mystery will help spark the kind of chatter you want. In many cases, it is advisable to keep the venue a secret until a couple of days before the event. It is best to provide some details so that people are confident that they will be able to attend but keep it vague and intriguing. For example, ‘A forgotten subterranean wonderland beneath the City of London.’ ‘A disused cotton mill in East London.’ ‘A dark, secluded crypt on the Jubilee Line, long forgotten until now…’

When it comes to choosing the venue for a secret event, make sure it is interesting or with some defining characteristic that will make it memorable or deliver a surprise. An unusual space breathes new life into your event by adding an additional layer of context. It goes without saying that it is essential to ensure the venue can cope with everything you want to achieve and at the right budget.


Alice in Wonderland illustration discovering secret event in london

Alice in Wonderland illustration by John Tenniel


The Event

Now we come to the event itself. There is nothing worse than creating hype and then failing to deliver on it. Your event has to be meticulously planned, have a genuine impact and offer an engaging and ultimately memorable experience. Make your event immersive, push boundaries, and keep the surprises coming. Continue the playful manipulation that you implemented in your social media campaign into the event itself. There is no type of event that cannot benefit from a secret aspect, be it comedy, theatre, film, art installations, performances, cabaret, and product launches so get creative and pull out all the stops.


And finally…

Above all else, keep it a secret! It may seem obvious but it is difficult to actually keep your event a secret. The buzz and eventual success hinge on it remaining a secret. Everyone involved needs to keep quiet – from performers to staff. So ssshhhhhh!

secret event planner london

20 Bedford Way Secret Event Venue London


20 Bedford Way is a brutalist masterpiece located in Bloomsbury, Central London. From the imposing concrete lines of the exterior to the wide range of unique rooms located inside, it is an ideal secret event venue in London. Our blank-slate spaces can be transformed to help you achieve an immersive and surprising experience that will live long in the memory. Our central London location and excellent transport links also mean that we are easily accessible even at short notice. For more information call us today on 020 7612 6143 or complete an enquiry form.


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