“I want us to host a major conference, including all our stakeholders, to address that issue,” says the Chief Person-in-Charge. “Immediately.”
If you’re in the meeting, which reaction do you have? “Yes! Fun project! I’ll handle it!” or “Please… please… don’t put me in charge of it…”
Whichever camp you fall in, if you got the ball, there are some immediate orders of business: establish a date, create at least a high-level agenda, and then find a venue.
It’s tempting to first run out and grab a venue that’s available and affordable. But if an agenda isn’t established first, at least a rough one, you may commit to a venue that doesn’t work for the event purpose and content. Adapting your content to the venue is backwards.
But when it’s time to select a venue, here are some key considerations:
• Walk in your guests’ shoes. Pretend you’re an event attendee when you inspect potential venues. Does the space match the personality of your organization, the event theme and purpose? Are there appropriate amenities for attendees?
• Ensure adequate capacity for all activities. This one sounds obvious, but it gets overlooked. I was once called in to take over a conference where the organizer had booked a venue with capacity for 100—with an expected attendance of 250. It took some fancy footwork, but I scoured the city and booked a new venue. Make sure the main meeting space meets your needs and that there are appropriate spaces for activities like receptions and breakout sessions, if necessary.
• Know which services will be provided. What will the venue provide and what will you have to arrange independently? Audio/visual equipment and support staff are important details to nail down early.
• Check for deals. Are there seasonal deals you can take advantage of? Meeting in Phoenix in August or Helsinki in January might be worth the savings…
• Scrutinize the terms and conditions. Read the fine print. Don’t hesitate to ask for additional provisions and perks. Negotiate creatively and firmly.
If you’re an experienced contract negotiator, you know how to scrutinize terms and come to win-win arrangements with the venue. But if arranging a venue isn’t your strong point, consider engaging an event management resource. A seasoned event planner can save you a lot of money and headaches through shrewd negotiation with venue management.
Stay tuned for more keys to planning and conducting successful, memorable corporate events. And if you need guidance or hands-on assistance in hosting the perfect leadership conference or corporate event, please connect with BECAUZ.