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If you’re looking to book an event space for the first time, are new to events in general or are an established planner keen to refresh your check-list, then this quick read is just for you.
Conferences and events come in many shapes and sizes and whilst securing a suitable meeting space is high on the list of priorities, how is ‘suitable’ defined? Regardless of the proposed event type, size and budget, the ‘check list’ remains fairly consistent and this short guide is designed to help with planning – a level of attention to detail will help achieve against objectives and avoid last minute snags.
Setting objectives and key performance indicators (kpi) is a good way to define what success looks like.
From a B2B perspective, this could be generating awareness and/or sales for a brand or product, engaging with x number of customers and/or meeting new, networking, training or for charities especially, it may be fund raising – the current pandemic is driving change at a pace; it could simply be the need to hire additional space that’s safe and secure to meet a specific business need – if this is you, then the ‘date and venue’ section may be all you need to read!
For consumers, be it brides or social organisers, capacity, location and affordability will be high on the key consideration list.
Simple answer is no, however, 6-12 months isn’t unheard of especially if those being invited, be it speaker, delegate or guest have busy diaries.
The more notice given, the more likely you’re to secure a positive response. That said, especially if there’s flexibility in the brief and deliverables are simple, booking a space and holding an event can be achieved in a matter of days and weeks.
Knowing which line items are needed and chargeable, and doing some research on price indications, is the first step in setting a realistic budget – creating a simple incoming and outgoing spreadsheet is a good discipline to get into, especially if fund raising/profit is an objective.
Most venues will offer a ‘daily delegate rate (ddr)’ which is fully inclusive of venue hire, food, beverages and basic audio visual (and this could be a 24-hour rate if overnight bed and breakfast is a delegate need) - Wi-Fi may, or may not be a standard inclusion. A ddr is likely to be the minimum cost per head and prices/package inclusions should be easy to find on the venue’s website.
Depending on the event type, other considerations could be:
The date, venue and location are required in order to secure suppliers, speakers, sponsors and to start the invitation process. With your target audience front of mind, take into consideration their pain points before finalising a date.
Inviting event planners to an event in the middle of their busy season is a sure way to achieve a below average acceptance rate. Further, inviting teachers or family-oriented audiences to a gathering in the middle of half-term will have a similar effect.
Knowing the school timetable is a quick win. Before securing the venue of choice, and signing a contract, asking the right questions will stand you in good stead:
It may sound obvious, but it’s worth taking some time to create an on the day guide for those involved (and share a copy with your venue as if there are any anomalies, they can be ironed out in advance). The sorts of points to think through:
Relax, take a deep breath and … what you do next will depend on the event type, but a few things to consider. Take the time to say thank you – to supplies, speakers, staff, guests and delegates.
Ask for feedback; people are more responsive if asked real-time and questions don’t have to be lengthy or complicated – were expectations met, what worked, what didn’t work, what could be improved upon (and for B2B audiences looking to expand a database, consider including an opt-in box to capture details of those that want to keep in touch).
Cross-reference budget vs actual to ascertain the overall spend – and if applicable, return on investment (ROI) - and document whether objectives and/or kpi were met – if not, why not. Some attention to detail now will help in the future (and could support justifications to do more of the same)!
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