Venue Selection: It’s All in the Details
Location, location, location. Real estate agents live by this rule and so should event planners. The location/venue you choose can easily make or break your event. For example, you could be in a tropical island paradise, but if the hotel is more like purgatory, you’re doomed.
Follow the tips below and your next event should be a smashing success.
1. Get Ahead of the Game
Don’t wait till the last minute when selecting a venue; start thinking about it well in advance. The more proactive you are in your planning, the more room for error you allow.
2. Visit the Property Yourself
Before you sign any contract, make sure YOU visit the property. Do not let the local salesperson do the scouting. A flight and overnight stay is well worth the investment when you are spending tens of thousands of dollars on an event. As an event planner, you know the right questions to ask; a salesperson might not.
3. Build A Rapport with the Venue Manager and Staff
It’s essential to have a good working relationship with the venue manager. He/she is not just a vendor but a partner on your event. Make sure to ask all your questions while you’re onsite. Gauge how attentive and timely he/she is with answers. The venue manager should know the property inside and out. If they don’t, the lack of communication and knowledge could jeopardize your event.
It’s also important to meet the staff members who you will be working closely with over the coming months. It will help you get a feel for your on-property support network.
4. Take Pictures and Take Notes
Pack a camera and a note pad. Be sure to take pictures of the ballrooms and meeting areas you will be using. Have multiple options in case some rooms are already booked. The more you have on paper, the better, because you won’t remember everything!
5. Match Your Needs with the Venue’s Benefits
When you return to the office, consult your notes and pictures. Ask yourself, does the venue meet my needs? Will it accommodate my headcount? Are there appropriate catering and A/V services? If so, contact the property and begin negotiations.
6. Go Over the Contract with a Fine-tooth Comb
Read every single page, and word, closely. Once you sign the contract, you are held responsible for all terms. That room block charge could come back to haunt you and wreak havoc on your budget.
Those are the keys to choosing the venue that’s right for your event. Good luck and take no prisoners!