Choosing a venue is usually one of the first stages of event planning. The real planning can’t really take off until you have a designated facility. Of course, choosing a spot for your conference is easier said than done.
There’s a lot of logistics that go into it. Here’s a few tips to help narrow your search. There’s a few elements that should be in place when securing a location for your next event.
Every venue has a specific aura or vibe. When you tour the place, you’ll know whether the location is “the one.” Not all venues may be suitable depending on the nature of your event. If you’re hosting an event catered towards millennials, for example, then you should consider a venue with contemporary architecture as opposed to, say, a venue located in the countryside.
You know your audience and your industry better than anyone else, so use your best judgement when determining whether a venue has the right ambiance and/or layout.
Venue fees often include outsourcing of the facility’s own staff. This includes janitors, security personnel, and administration staff. If the venue does not include staff, then you may have to designate your own staff or hire a third-party service.
Keep in mind that it will reflect poorly on your company if the trash overflows, or if there’s a safety liability and there’s no one to address it. If the venue does provide staffing, will the personnel be present for the entire duration of the event?
If you’re expecting a hefty turnout, then there will likely be a small handful that will require special accommodations, such as wheelchair access or braille. Scout the venue or ask the administrator about these accommodations. You should know, for example, whether the restrooms have grab bars, or if an elevator is available if the venue has more than one floor.
You should know ahead of time whether you’ll have guests that need such accommodations. If certain accommodations aren’t available, consider adding your own. If the venue contains auditorium-style- seating for instance, then perhaps you can set aside a foldable chair at the very front as a makeshift handicap seating.
When there’s a lot of people congregated in a single area, it’s very possible for something to go wrong. The floor can get scratched, an equipment can get damaged, or worse, a guest can get hurt. Your company can be held liable for any of these instances. Should the worst case scenario happen, you want to be backed up by insurance; otherwise, you’re looking at huge financial ramifications.
Most venues have insurance that is already factored into the rental fee. Don’t assume such, though. Read the fine print to ensure insurance is indeed included. If not, then turn to a third-party insurance supplier.
Contrary to popular belief, catering is not a separate component from the venue. The reason is because most venues have their own catering department that you’re required to use. Should you elect for outside catering, there may be a surplus charge. This is routine practice for most venues as a way of maximizing revenue.
On the subject of food, you may also want to look into the venue’s availability of a fully serviceable bar. Grabbing a cocktail at any time during the event is likely something guests will appreciate.
Some venues offer a few extras that, while not necessary, are certainly nice to have. Amenities may include massage chairs, a spa, swimming pool, pool table, darts, or anything that guests might appreciate.
Amenities also include things that your staff may find useful, such as access to a copy or printing machine, or a coffee maker, which comes in handy if staff is pulling overtime. It wouldn’t hurt, in fact, to enquire whether your staff can access the facility’s “employees only” area.
One of the most common yet avoidable planning mistakes is opting for a venue that’s too small or too big. Your venue choice will be limited depending on the facility’s occupancy limit. Some venues are only designed to accommodate 30 guests, while others can hold upwards of 2,000.
If you have, say, 200 guests, then venues with that limit or less is definitely out of the question since there’s a major safety risk. By the same token, though, it doesn’t make sense either to opt for a venue designated for 1,000 bodies when you’re expecting a turnout of 100 guests or less. Having all that open space gives off an illusion of a low turnout or dead vibe.
Venues aren’t cheap, and the price goes up the more upscale and high profile the facility is. While a memorable venue is important, don’t be so eager to please your guests that you take out a gigantic loan to finance the rental. At the end of the day, the venue still has to be within your budget.
On the issue of cost, some venues do alter their fees depending on time of day or year. Discounts may also be provided for multi-day rentals.
The venue does have a direct influence on how the event is perceived. Pick wisely, but at the end of the day, the venue isn’t the be all end all, so don’t fret too much over it.
The benefits of an event app are clear for attendees, sponsors, planner and everyone else involved. However, how can reap these benefits everyone is buzzing about? You’ll need to market your event app! Here are a few key reasons why:
- Attendees will not find it on their own. The truth of the matter is, regardless of how awesome the app is, attendees will not download it unless you ask them to. The onus is on the planner and marketers to show the value of the app to the attendees. Highlight features that they can’t find in the print guide and ways their event experience will be improved if they use it.
- As you market your app, you’re marketing your event. A good marketing strategy includes messaging the attendees (and prospective attendees) via many channels. As you spread the word about the app, they’ll also hear about the event. It’s fantastic brand exposure for the event.
- Sponsors will be impressed. There are many ways to incorporate and highlight sponsors and other key partners in your event app. A high adoption rate is very beneficial to them in getting a better ROI. Additionally, if you’ve featured them on the app cover, their brand automatically gets exposure as you market the app with images of the app.
Marketing your event app doesn’t have to be difficult. You can leverage existing tools, tips, strategies resources such as this Event App Marketing Guide. It has a 6 channel marketing strategy as well as a 3-month event app marketing plan and editable templates so marketing the event app won’t be yet another daunting task on your event planners checklist.
Even the best event planners are only as good as the staff that makes the event possible. The staff aren’t just the people that set up the venue and register the attendees.
These are also the people that help with the preplanning phase, help stir up social media interests, and so on. It goes without saying then that you need to carefully select your staff to include the people best suited for the demanding duties of event planning.
Attitude Is Important
Obviously, skill and experience are the vital points to look for. However, don’t forget that the prospect employee’s attitude and mannerisms count as well.
You can pick up cues about the person’s general personalities and traits during the interview. Is the person naturally articulate? Does he have a sense of humor? A person that has a ton of experience may have a stiff personality. Likewise, someone that lacks experience could have a go-getter persona that could resonate really well with guests.
How Well Can the Staff Work Together?
Event setup is all about teamwork. Just because your team consists of highly experienced and professional individuals does not mean they will work well together. If you already have a partial staff, then you need to evaluate whether new employees can form a solid working relationship with your existing team. If your budget and time allows, consider a corporate team building exercise to gauge how well members work together.
Ultimately, you want people who are natural leaders but can take a back seat to a follower role when necessary. The last thing you want is two or more people with clashing personalities.
Consider Staff with Industry-Specific Experience
The person may have event planning experience, but does he have a background in your industry? While it’s not absolutely mandatory, it certainly helps if the person knows a thing or two about your niche.
If you’re hosting a video game exposition, for example, is the employee an avid gamer himself? This is important because guests might be asking that person industry-related questions. Will the staff, in this instance, be familiar with the latest Call of Duty release, Or the current landscape of MMORPGs?
Look for Someone That’s Social Media-Savvy
With that in mind, does the employee have a strong social media following across various networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? Does he even have a social media presence at all? Browse the person’s social media activity. Does he have a lot of posts that generates a lot of likes, retweets, and comments?
Consult with Your Team
While the final decision is yours, you should have a powwow with your existing team to discuss prospect candidates. Your team, after all, will be the ones working with the new recruits, so it only makes sense that you factor their input into your decision making.
Consider having your team take part in the interviewing process even if only as observers. This way, they’ll form a solid impression about the candidates they believe are coachable and can follow directions.
Offer a Fair Compensation
Hiring a staff as unpaid interns is a possibility if you’re operating on a shoestring budget. Keep in mind, however, that most of your applicants will be inexperienced candidates. This doesn’t mean they’ll be low-quality staffers, but you should be aware that to attract the cream-of-the-crop candidates, you have to offer a fair pay rate.
You can also sweeten the deal by throwing in several freebies, such as a free meal, employee discount, etc. Ultimately, though, candidates want to be compensated fairly, so be willing to pay what you feel the staff’s experience is worth to you.
Look into the Candidate’s Availability
If an employee does a stellar job, then you want to keep that person on board for future work. This saves you the trouble of having to scout for new work recruits every time an event approaches.
With that in mind, is the candidate open to future opportunities, or is he only looking for one-time work? If the former, is he generally available during the times you hold your event?
Ask Oddball Questions
If you attended multiple job interviews, then you may at some point been asked a strange and seemingly unrelated question. This might be something like identifying your favorite Disney character, or what do you think of lava lamps?
The purpose of these questions is to gauge how well candidates can respond when thrown off with a question that’s very left field. Come up with a few weird questions of your own to assess how applicants hold up when presented with an unsuspecting situation.
Your staff is the people that makes the event what it is. It only makes sense then to assemble a crew that can work cohesively to achieve a common goal; choose wisely.
Monday, July 25, 2016 at 3:00pm ET
Bobby Sain from Waitron
Bobby began to produce stage productions and films in 2011, finding his niche as a Producer when he co-founded The Dominion Group in 2012 to innovate financing in the film and theatre industry; he is credited as Associate Producer on the acclaimed movie THE BUTLER, Executive Producer on MR. PIP and has co-produced multiple shows on Broadway including AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU and ROCKY. Being in entertainment, many of Bobby’s close friends were actors that supplemented their income via catering jobs and were always frustrated with the inherent flaws in staffing on-demand. Bobby researched the ecosphere and found a need to solve the problem which prompted him to found Waitron in 2015. Bobby has been requested to speak in cities in the US for global job innovation, hedge funds and financing reform. He has raised millions of dollars across technology, entertainment, and hedge fund industries, led teams of 30+ people through multiple product development, production and distribution iterations; he has built intricate creative solutions to problems for over 10 years. Projects in which Bobby has been involved have grossed over $200MM with multiple award wins, global exposure and profitability.
Check out this blog I wrote for Eventoozi about one of techsytalk.com’s favorite subjects – Event Planning Tools!
Planning an event, whether it’s a corporate event, networking event or fundraiser, is a cumbersome process. Let’s face it – there’s a reason why event planners make the list of most stressful jobs every year. Logistics are a bit hairy, even for the most seasoned event professional. But, there are a few tools that you can make use of that will help planning your next event a bit less stressful.
Event management platforms
One of the great things about the way that event technology has developed over the past few years is that there are many new event management tools. These platforms have been put together to allow an event planner to plan all the different logistical aspects of their events from a single platform. While Excel is great, these neutral programs really make a difference in the planning process. I like several event management platforms, but my top choice is Bizzabo.
Great corporate or brand sponsors are the backbone of any fundraising event. We spend a large portion of our time trying to make sure that we connect with new sponsors, and keep old sponsors engaged. There is a lot of innovation in the space as well and one of the companies that I really like is called SponsorMyEvent. Simply list your event, including all of the sponsor opportunities, and allow the sponsors to use the platform to find you. Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true? While platforms like this are amazing, they should only supplement your sponsor outreach plan. They cannot fully replace it.
Event Marketing Platforms
Once we’ve planned a great event, it’s time to get the word out. But doing interesting things with our event marketing is another struggle for many event planners. I really like tools like Splash – that make developing an attractive and mobile-ready event website very accessible. I also really like the concept of affiliate marketing and influencer marketing – leveraging people in our network who have an audience of their own. Let’s say you can offer an influencer in your audience a free ticket if they bring 10 other paid tickets to the event. Or, recognize someone who shares the event in their network by giving them a sponsorship title at the gala. There are a lot of registration platforms that allow you to track affiliate marketing – Eventbrite, Splash, Bizzabo, among others.
Liz King – firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Kaufman – email@example.com
Dahlia El Gazzar – firstname.lastname@example.org
28 July 2016 — Yesterday morning, via various outlets, a heavily promoted industry conference scheduled to take place 22-24 August announced it is cancelling the show just one month before the conference.
The Coming Together of Event Minds
This conference was posed to be the ultimate brain date with the best minds and personalities in the live event industry that continue to disrupt and help shape the future of events and experiences. What was unique is the compilation of these voices that are not shy or hesitant to push organizers out of their comfort zone, with opinions often considered controversial. While many, if not all, of the invited speakers and delegates have lost time and money, their knowledge will not go to waste.
[CTRL] +[ALT] + [DEL] : A Collaborative Global Event Reboot
It is important that these conversations take place, and that we as an industry are all tuning in to have our say. Three well-known international event professionals have come together to keep the spirit of this conference alive—in just a few hours notice.
On August 23rd 2016, the industry, worldwide, will be VIRTUALLY treated to an all-star line up of event professionals at NO COST so that we all can take part in what will now be known as [CTRL] + [ALT] + [DEL].
Liz King, Aaron Kaufman, and Dahlia El Gazzar are proud to be leading the charge and are working on the details of this new event.
[CTRL] + [ALT] + [DEL] : A Collaborative Global Event Reboot
- Complimentary registration for either the face-to-face or virtual conference.
- There will be a choice for event professionals to attend the same great content that was planned for the original event.
- You can bring your own beer!
- Tuesday, August 23 worldwide
10 AM – 4 PM ET
The confirmed cast of speakers include:
- David Adler – BizBash Media
- Julius Solaris – EMB
- Andrea Michaels – Extraordinary Events
- Alex Plaxen – Little Bird Told Media
- Nick Borelli – Borelli Strategies
Will Curran – Endless Entertainment
- Stefania Conti-Vecchi – Eventagist
- Liz King – Liz King Events
- Aaron Kaufman – Fifth Element Group
- Dahlia El Gazzar – DAHLIA+
Sponsors & Product Spotlights
Pop-up events are already confirmed in Amsterdam and New York!
We welcome supporters, sponsors, and more. Contact us for more information.
Want to be part of it? The #CTRLALTDEL team is ready to talk!
- Liz King – email@example.com
- Aaron Kaufman – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dahlia El Gazzar – email@example.com
Join us on Facebook for updates!
Aaron Kaufman from Fifth Element Group
Aaron Kaufman, CSEP works hard – and with extreme passion! As the President of Fifth Element Group, it is safe to say that Aaron is a rising international resource in a very competitive industry. With his finger on the pulse of creativity in both event design and business, whether it’s new trends or developing strategic partnerships, Aaron always stays ahead of the game as a leader and trendsetter.
With multiple award wins and nominations nationally & internationally, including a Special Event Gala Award, Aaron has been recognized for his creativity, originality and ability to push the envelope each and every time. In 2015, Aaron was named to the prestigious “Top 25 Young Event Professionals” list from Special Event Magazine and sits on boards for Visit Scotland, SEARCH Foundation, Events Uncovered and SEPA.
Building 5th Element Events & Fifth Element Group from the ground up was no easy task, but Aaron’s driving nature and competitive edge always inspires his team to think differently.
As an active member of ISES and Past President of ISES Toronto, Aaron Kaufman, CSEP, believes in learning from the past and leading the future. Always reaching out for guidance from top professionals who lead the way, it’s important to Aaron not only pay homage, but to also leave a mark that will inspire future event professionals as well.
James Spellos from Meeting U
James Spellos is the President of Meeting U., whose mission is to help people become more productive and comfortable with technology. Jim delivers over 150 seminars annually on how to use technology more efficiently. In 2015, Jim was named one of the Meeting Industry’s trendsetters by Meetings Focus magazine. He is a faculty member at New York University, teaching in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies since 1990. He has been honored with both their Award for Teaching Excellence and their Outstanding Service Award. In 2014, Jim joined the Board of Directors for Rock and Wrap It Up, an anti-poverty/hunger think tank, which supports over 43,000 agencies in North America. Jim co-created for them the Whole Earth Calculator app, which helps organizations to identify the quantity of food donated and carbon footprint reduced from food recovered at meetings and events. He also speaks about food recovery and sustainability in the industry.
Outside of the meetings industry, Jim is an accomplished musician and songwriter, playing guitar, keyboards and singing for the New York City rock band Contraband. They released their first CD, “Welcome to the Neighborhood” in late 2008, and is back in the studio recording new songs for a new release.
Check out a recent post I shared on EliteMeetings.com:
Event planners and venues. Venues and event planners. The two go hand-in-hand. Venues are one of the first things that event planners look to secure when we are hosting an event. And, in doing lots of the new research over the years, there are a few things I think venues could do to provide a better experience for the planners looking to book them. You may recognize a few of these observations yourself. (Feel free to pass this on to your friends on the supplier side—especially those who’d like to win more business.)
From my experience, a lot of the websites were created with the venue in mind, not the planners who will be booking them. When doing online research, it’s often hard to find information about various rooms available, capacities and good shots of the rooms so I can see how they would be used for an event. It’s also very difficult to get a sense of pricing, and while I understand that pricing can change based on the day and time of the event, having no pricing on your website leads to a lot of excess work. Not only are venues filling RFPs that will not go anywhere, but planners are having to reach out to way more venues that they would typically have to, just to get a sense of budget range. I recommend listing some pricing information on venue websites, even if it’s a price on a menu or a range on a room rental. Give planners something to work with.
Because venues are getting so many RFPs, the delay in response time is simply too long. Often, we are working for clients who are looking to make a decision quickly, and the faster a venue gets back to us, the more likely it is to be included in our options for clients.
Have you ever asked for a quote from the venue only to be told that it really depends on a thousand different factors? I know that by the time I understand from the venue what factors are needed, it’s too late. If a venue’s booking process is really complicated, it would be helpful if they’d make it as simple for the planner to understand as possible. Perhaps they could have a document that outlines all the different factors and allows a planner to see what is included and what is not included. If your venue rental is for the space and a hundred chairs and two tables, they should make that very clear from the beginning so we know what other vendors we will need to bring in to make it work. Don’t make us ask a million questions to get to that point.
In short, event planners reach out to venues because they want to do business. The easier suppliers can make it for them, the more likely they are to win the business. By updating websites and creating comprehensive, all-in-one quotes, they’ll be able to paint a very clear picture of how an event can work at their space. If an event planner has to do 10 times more work for one venue over another, guess who’ll win the business? Venues that improve their pipeline and demonstrate personalized service will undoubtedly see their sales rise dramatically.
Photo credits: Shutterstock.com