I hope you enjoyed my first blog (its not too late to comment!) on what to expect from me over the next six months. In todays blog I would like to focus on the 8 golden rules when booking a venue for a conference. Most of this will be simple common sense but for those of you perhaps starting out in a marketing or events role it doesn’t hurt to cover a few of the 101 elements.
- Numbers. Know how many your event is likely to be for as this will help determine which room you hire if shown multiple rooms
- Lay out. Know how your speakers would like the room laid out (theatre style, cabaret style etc.). This again will help you to choose the room that will best accommodate your event. If you know you have a delegate with certain needs ensure that the venue can accommodate them
- Parking! Parking is key. If you’re asking people to give up their time, it’s your job to make sure they don’t waste precious time trying to find somewhere to park
- Price. Most people will have a budget. Most venues are flexible so don’t be afraid to haggle
- IT. Make sure that the room you choose will allow you to work your required IT needs. See if extension cables are needed and look at it from the view point of the speaker. Check who they use for their external AV needs (if you need them for a larger conference) and ensure you factor this in when doing your budgets
- Day light. Personally, I like to book a room with lots of natural light. If it’s an evening event, ventilation and ambience are still important
- Staff. Make sure you build a good rapport with the staff at the venue as you will need their help on the day to move things around. Also, if things go wrong they will be your first port of call. If you adopt a ‘them’ and ‘us’ approach then they may be less well disposed towards you and your team
- Catering. After years of organising events, it’s clear that food is still top of the agenda for delegates. You can run a great event but if you get the catering wrong that seems to be what they remember more than anything else. If you don’t know the venue it pays to eat there in advance or sample the menu on offer for your event
As I said previously this is a new way of communicating with you, my plan is to run the blog for a six-month trial period to see if we are getting it right. We will post regularly (at least once a fortnight) and you can expect posts on a wide range of topics, ranging from event management, sponsorship, PR, branding and possibly touching on other subjects that come across my desk that I feel you may wish to hear about.
The blog is here for you to express your views direct to me and my team and we in turn will listen. I welcome any comments you may have.