It’s a big responsibility running a conference or meeting. These events can be quite costly when you add up all of the expenses – time away from work, facilitator costs, travel, entertainment. So, if it’s your responsibility you had better get it right.
Here are three things you should try to avoid in your planning for a successful event.
1. Failure to visit
If you are not familiar with the venue make sure you pay it a visit. No doubt you will be looking for a venue that has the conference experience to add value to your event. Seek reassurance of their focus on conferencing. Some venues focus on weddings or tourism. Not what you will probably be looking for. Ideally you will want a venue that has conferencing as its main focus.
Consider the needs of your delegates. They may have a different view on what the ideal venue looks like. Placing a delegate in an uninspiring environment for days on end, will lead to uninspiring results in terms of retained learning.
2. Not negotiating the right package
A good venue expects to mould its product around a Meeting Planners needs. (It's called being Flexible!) No two meetings are the same and a good conference venue allows their staff to be flexible and creative to provide the best meetings experiences. An experienced Conference Planner will want to know about any challenges that you may be having from a services or budget perspective, so don't be afraid to challenge what is not working for you!
3. Not asking for advice and ideas from the venue
Specialist conference venues will have loads of experience is managing successful conferences across a wide range of businesses and organisations. They will be happy to suggest configurations and activities that have worked well for others. They will be passionate about meetings.
Not many Meeting Planners are afforded the luxury of arranging a meeting without a budget and their job is normally to create a miracle each time they organise a meeting. Conference Centre teams realise this and are happy to help you find the best way to exceed delegate expectations. For example, if you are down to your last $300 in your budget and you are planning a dinner for 30, perhaps adding a fourth course to your dinner would have more of an impact than four $75.00 centrepieces. Ask for help. A good venue loves to share advice and help.
Of course, there are many more things to consider before you select a venue. That’s why we have put together our Conference Venue Inspection Checklist to help you ask the important questions of each of your short-listed venues. It’s FREE. And it’s available now.