The two most important questions when organizing an event are ‘What is the purpose of the event?’ and ‘Who is it the event aimed at?’ When you know the answers then you are in a position to start organizing the event.
When you have decided upon the type of event, you’ve chosen your speakers and you’ve even got a date in mind, your next decision is the venue.
Getting the people you want attending your event is all-important so identifying any obstacles that could prevent their attendance and overcoming them is an important part of the event planning process, especially when it comes to a venue.
- At which locations would your guests most like to attend an event?
- What is the most convenient location for the majority of your guests to get to?
- Are there several alternative ways to reach the venue? (after all, you don’t want your event to be ruined by a strike or delays!)
To determine this, consider:
- How far will the majority of attendees travel from?
- How will they be arriving – by train, car, bus?
- Is there enough cost effective accommodations near by, if required
How many people do you want to attend your event? Once you have that magic figure in mind, you can then start to narrow down your venue options further but don’t choose a room that is just big enough- always allow enough space for last minute, un-announced attendee arrivals!
Once you have a shortlist of event venues that meet your basic criteria, arrange to see as many potential venues as possible. The quality of the venue and the level of professionalism with which it is run will impact upon the success of your event and in turn your organization.
When you are visiting each venue make sure you cover off everything you need to know – take a list of questions or have a checklist with you so that you have all the details you need to make your decision.
These questions should cover the following points:
Accessibility: Ensure that the venue is accessible for all guests – is the venue fully accessible for those with restricted mobility?
Layout: It is important to visualize your event and determine how you will utilize the event space. Walk the route your guests will take, consider if you need directional signage and any other dressings.
- Do I need breakout spaces and are they located close to the main room?
- Do I have the freedom and space to adjust the room layout on the day if need be?
- Will I have VIP speakers or performers? Will they need a Green Room?
- Do I need coat room facilities?
- How will I display any signage, banners, running orders, promotional boards?
Ensuring that you have the necessary equipment, the people to operate it and ensure it is fully working on the day is essential. Make a list of required equipment, cross-reference it with what the venue provides and look into hiring anything that is missing. Allow sufficient time to set-up and carry out tests before the event and dismantle after the event. Consider:
- Do any of the speakers/performers require special equipment?
- Will I need to hire someone to operate the equipment?
- What microphones will work best?
- Is there Wi-Fi that can be accessed by all delegates and is it free?
- Will guests have access to power sockets?
Food and drinks are very important when it comes to putting on a successful event. People that are hungry and thirsty are not happy!
- How much time is available for breaks and how many people do I have to serve in that time?
- What format will the breaks take: just refueling or a chance to network?
- What is the best catering provision for the event and how innovative are the solutions offered to me by the venue?
- Do any of the guests have special dietary requirements and how well can the venue meet these?
Keeping on budget is always a challenge when it comes to event organizing. It is therefore vitally important to keep a full and comprehensive list of all expenses. Closely monitoring expenditure is essential for any event so ensure you know all of the costs associated with your event and the venue in particular. These may include:
- Additional staffing costs, especially “overtime” costs
- Speakers’ Fees
- Equipment Costs
- Catering Costs
- Linen and glassware costs
- Additional security costs