After reading the previous blog post, you now know why you need to plan this event. You understand its purpose. You have dates in mind. (Flexibility is important). You have the reason for and type of event, basic content of your meeting or event and have estimated attendance. Remember, if you don’t know how many will attend and what will happen within the confines of your event, you won’t know what type or size of venue to search?
Searching and selecting a venue is a critical component to the event planning process. Where to begin that search? You could bring on a site selection consultant to do this for you, or you can do it yourself.
What is the best type of venue for your purpose? Would it be a hotel, a restaurant, a conference center, a landmark or historic venue, a warehouse, a yacht, the huge conference room in your company’s office? Now you need to drill down to one of two of these types. Check your local CVB website, or a website like BizBash. Ask for suggestions from meeting planners, colleagues, etc. Google Event Venue+the name of the City. You’ll be absolutely amazed how many choices there will be, to the point of possibly being overwhelmed
Next step, look at the website of some of those venues. Then call three to five venues that seem like the right fit to you and request a site visit. They’ll ask you some questions prior to the visit, but you should have those answers as a result of finishing the previous steps.
On your site visit, besides the pretty rooms, suites, etc., that they show you, ask to see where guests would arrive, where your vendors would load in, check service elevators proximity to where your event will be and the size. This could be critical, depending upon what is being brought in to your event from vendors. Where will your vendor truck and vans park? Where will guests park? What is the public transportation situation?
Check how the flow of your event will work in that venue? If it seems at all awkward, that’s not the venue for you. Find out what other events are scheduled to be held the same day as yours. Will those other events conflict with yours as far as traffic flow, guest arrivals, noise level or possibly a competitor to your company or client?
You also need to ask about fees. What’s included, What’s not included?
If you like what you see, either go back to your office and submit a request for proposal (RFP) or hand the hotel representative your RFP and they’ll send you a proposal. Give them a specific date to send the proposal so they have a guideline. This prevents their being unsure about a deadline and prevents stress on your part.
If you know that your event will include staging and audio visual, discuss the needs of your production company regarding load in, ceiling heights and sight lines, to name just a few. The production folks will know whether your vision and theirs works in a particular venue. Using a production company to help you with an event with staging, video, lighting, sound, projection will be extremely important and can make a huge difference to you. Your production company will handle all the vendor details for you as well as make sure the your event flows perfectly. The end product should be outstanding and free you up to concentrate on all the other many details of planning.
In every step of the way, good clear concise communication is extremely important from the very beginning through the post conference meeting.