James Cassar gets a rush from organising uncommon, ambitious, large-scale events, that would get anyone else scratching their heads to figure out where to start from. In fact with a portfolio of past successes spreading across multiple countries, servicing various industries, James’ brainchild Event Planner Ltd knows no limits to what can be offered to their clients.
“To us, solving a seemingly impossible challenge is the ultimate part of the job, as it allows us to think outside of the box, and truly put our skills and talents to good use,” admits James Cassar Founder and CEO of 242 Group.
James describes himself as a natural event organiser, having organised events all of his memorable life. From parties back at university days, to more challenging events later down the line, James says there is absolutely nothing about getting the logistics and detail of an event to a perfect tee, that he doesn’t enjoy.
In fact, coming from an academic background, James even obtained a PhD in the very subject, underlining his passion for the field. Given his passion and knowledge of the job, setting up his own shop was only a natural progression.
In fact, since 2013 the company has offered A-Z event planning solutions supported by a team of experienced event planners, suppliers, and venues. The company further distinguishes itself from the competition since it opts not to charge an event-planning fee to its clients, as it operates an alternative business model that keeps customers intrigued and coming back for more.
“242 Group doesn’t operate like any other event planning company. We have grown steadily from a small start-up to the current compliment of 30 today by investing in the areas of the business that allowed us to offer a superior service to our clients,” James says as he explains the workings of the company’s business model.
“Firstly, we know that we are in the business of building strong relationships which are the basis to a fruitful collaboration with our clients. It is useless to have the best tech in the world, if you don’t understand what your clients’ goals are, and what they want to achieve. With this in mind, we make sure that clients are at ease, and that their ambitions find fertile soil to flourish,” he expounds.
“Furthermore, over the years, we invested handsomely in a full range of equipment typically required to organise large-scale events. This means that we can provide most of the tech needed for a great majority of the events we organise, in house, without going to external suppliers. The economics of this model has proven to be extremely advantageous both for our clients, as well as for us – and that is why we are proud to say that we do not charge an event-planning fee.”
Naturally, if the event so requires, the company has a long list of professional service providers it relies on for specific requirements, so clients are always covered, no matter what they can dream of.
The company has organised large scale events in Malta as well as several other destinations including Canada, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Serbia, Spain, Italy, Abu Dhabi, and as far as Manila in the Philippines.
“With every event, it is a different story, as it will offer its own set of challenges related to the location you will be working in, the kind of client, the nature of the business sector and by extension the guests who would be in attendance – all these elements contribute to a very different mix of ingredients that essentially determine the outcome of the event,” James continues.
James’ enthusiasm for the job radiates with every word he says, as he is confident of the quality service 242 Group offers.
“We have come a long way since we started, and we did face some serious challenges along the way. Probably the hardest yet was the pandemic lockdown which forced us indoors, together with the rest of the world for some time. We tried our best to keep our staff with us throughout as we had the foresight that the pandemic couldn’t last forever. And as far as we were in control, we managed to keep everyone on board without making any redundances. This allowed us to emerge from the pandemic in stronger shape and more energetic than ever to build more fruitful relationships with new clients,” James recalls.
Asked what important lessons he learnt through his career, James shares that mistakes are a part of the learning process. “Have fun making mistakes, as they are a part of the journey. Things will not always go the way predicted, and they will not always fall in the right place. However, make sure to learn from every misadventure, in order not to repeat it.”
“Another piece of great advice I have received and try to live by – and which I feel confident to dispense freely, is to surround yourself by good people. They are a very important source of energy, so the people who surround you will also necessarily determine your outlook on life.”
Looking to the future, 242 Group has some exciting prospects ahead, which also include internationalisation.
“The sky is the limit, and we want to continue building on the great experience we have built along the years. We want to consolidate our activities and create a cohesive cross-brand marketing strategy that will serve us better, and tell our narrative more comprehensively. More importantly we want to continue expanding into new markets, taking on bigger challenges, and ultimately providing an excellent service to clients,” James concludes.
This interview forms part of the 50 Business Leaders project. The new online serialisation on MaltaCEOs.mt will feature 50 distinguished business leaders, CEOs, and emerging business minds to create debate and encourage business leaders to share their journey with our readers.
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