From corporate showcases, trade displays and expos to weddings, festivals, and the old fashioned office social, events of all kinds need careful arrangement and planning. To help you when it comes to making sure you’ve thought of every last detail, here is the lowdown on the six most things to consider in the planning stage. Whether you’re planning an executive event in Exeter, or Nepalese-Styled Nuptials in Nottingham, these seven items will always be applicable.
Space – How much space do you really need, and how much is being offered by the various potential locations you are scouting? Is there a kind of par acceptable rate your will find acceptable in terms of cost per square metre.
At this point it is extremely important that you have a clear distinction between square metres and metres square. The difference is that the latter is the maths you would theoretically do in order to work out the former. That’s a little technical so let’s break it down some more.
A room with four walls that are each four metres long would be four metres square, and sixteen square metres.
Four metres square EQUALS sixteen square metres.
The best way to remember it is that the word ‘square’ in this case can be either a noun (a square – a shape with four sides of equal length and four corners of equal right angles) or a verb (to square, to multiply a number by itself once). When square comes first, square metre, it is a noun. When it comes second, it’s a verb. Noun begins with N, which comes alphabetically before V, which is what verb begins with.
Be sure to double check with any venue manager that mixes these terms up, exactly what is meant when they quote you how big the space is, especially if you cannot go there yourself personally prior to hiring.
If you are organising a show or other sort of event where you’ll be hosting lots of other smaller businesses looking to display their wares to the wider world, you’ll also want to be clear in your communications exactly how much space they will be getting for their booths/stands/display spaces.
Location – This is such an important element to not just event hire, but any business transaction involving swapping money for space that it gets listed not once, not twice, but thrice as the key ingredient of all real-estate related transactions. Exactly where the event will be held is crucial to all kinds of potential client impressions, visitor perceptions, and generally the overall level of success you can expect the event to have.
Location is such a broad term that it needs delving into further to get a full and sensible grip on what exactly it means, and what you should be looking for when considering it.
- Impressions – Be careful to choose somewhere that won’t leave a bad taste in the eyes of those examining their surroundings as they approach. Tolerance levels for certain kinds of environs will of course vary depending on your event – people travelling to a car show will be more accepting of nearby industrial activity than visitors for an upcoming wedding. Where possible, you want to put your best foot forward, and give your visitors the kind of impression befitting of what you may want from them, or for them.
- Links – Is your location easily accessible? Do you need a car to get there, or can it be reached by public transport, and if so, how frequently do the busses/trains/trams come? How far will your visitors need to walk to get from the drop off point to the place where the magic happens, and where the show is about to begin. If cars are the only option here, how much parking is there? Will it spill out onto nearby residential streets? Are there any regulations about that kind of thing? If there’s specific advice you need to give to invitees about parking and other such things, best to be able to answer all their questions in the invitation emails or other such documents.
- Proximity – How near to the city are you? This isn’t just a question about transport, but also about the local amenities that you can make use of. Are there local hotels or other kinds of accommodation facilities that guests can make use of, should they need to? What about nearby entertainment facilities? If this is a trade show, but you want to keep guests entertained afterwards, is there somewhere an afterparty can take place? If you aren’t providing food, are there nearby vendors? This last question brings us neatly onto the next very important point…
Catering – This question is extremely dependant on the kind of event you are organising, but even in it’s absence it needs to be considered. Does the event you are planning need catering, and if so what kinds of facilities are on offer in the places that you’re considering? Do they offer their own catering options, or is it something you will have to source externally?
Will you need to be making time for guests to be getting their own food from nearby providers? Does the location you are hiring offer people the option of fridges or other appropriate spaces to store their own pre-bought food? Depending on how long the event you’re planning will be, this could be a much bigger consideration than you might initially think.
Some events have a more casual vibe, where you would want to let vendors provide food all day, and people can just come up and get it as and when they need. Others are more regimented, and so you could need space specially assigned for a timed sit down meal. Which means in addition you’ll need tables, chairs, tablecloths, cutlery, and so on. It is quick and easy to see how these kinds of issues can balloon into reems upon reems of tasks, issues, and concerns. That’s why it’s important to think about all this well in advance.
Amenities/Equipment – Many event hire locations will regularly host a multitude of events, many of which have overlapping technical and equipment requirements. Everything from digital projectors, display stands, sign frames, self-assembly booths, free wifi, and much more.
This is often a case of “don’t ask, don’t get”. While many location providers will aggressively advertise all the amenities and equipment on offer, a carefully placed additional inquiry can get them to push their service that little bit further. Especially when they know their co-operation in this area could clinch them your custom.
Season – Depending on where you go and what you’re planning, there will be a set of seasons to consider, and we’re not just talking about the weather. Conferences go into a lull in the US around January. Weddings hit their peak in Whitsun. Chinese new year is the other peak time for parties that you might not normally think of. All this can affect pricing, availability, and offers provided by the kinds of external support services you could well need. Investigate just what the seasons of your event are, and see how, if at all, you can fit around them.
Reputation – Is the location you are selecting widely known? Has it hosted other events of this kind before? If so, you might want to find out what they offered to the people that arranged those events. If not, look into the broader reputation that this place has. Has it been reviewed poorly before? Did the service offered give other event organisers pause for thought?
While it’s perfectly possible that you’ve chosen a location that has had a renovation, a revamping, or a change of management that has brought about a change since some less than favourable reviews were published, this is always something good to confirm. If nothing else, making your awareness of bad reviews known can encourage an events hosting business to up their game.
Style – If you are hosting a classic motor-show, you might not want to pick a location with a sleek, futuristic, Apple-products kind of aesthetic. Similarly, your virtual reality technology expo won’t perhaps make the most sense in the main visitors hall of Lord Grantham’s stately home. Of course, these are the standard expectations, and rules are made to be broken. But if you are going to be breaking style rules and event conventions, the best way to do so is because you know you’re doing it, not because it accidentally happens.