Over the years we’ve worked with some truly fantastic venues with outstanding customer service. The thing is, they can only offer fantastic service if they have all the information they need in order to provide everything for your event!
Although many venues have similar policies and ways in which they work, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ and its best not to assume that the venue you have chosen understands everything you require. It is vital that you disclose as much detail about your event as you can so they can ensure that they can provide you with the high level of service and understanding that you would expect. So, here are our top 10 things to make sure you tell your venue:
- The reason for the event: Often you will get asked by a venue the purpose of an event; this is not the person on the other end of the phone being nosey! This is so that they understand who your attendees are and what type of event it will be. If the event is a loud party, they won’t want to allocate you in a room next to the spa! Equally, if your event is a serious conference, then they will know that staff need to be discreet when they are working in the area and to ensure the room you are in is private. The venue may also ask you this so that they can advise you of any potential competitors or conflicting events which are taking place in the venue at the same time that may have an impact on your event or guests.
- Event timings: This seems obvious but it is really important that the venue knows not only the start, finish and break times of your event, but the times in which your suppliers will arrive to set up and take down the event. The venue need to know who is going to access the conference room and the loading bay or other areas and at what time. The last thing you want is to assume that the room will be free and available only to find that your suppliers or exhibitors arrive and they are not able to get in and set up, having a massive knock on affect to your agenda.
- Final numbers and rooming list: It is so important to ensure that your attendee numbers fit into the allocated space and the venue have catered for the correct amount of people. Be honest with your venue: there is nothing worse than running out of food at the buffet because less people dropped out than you had planned for! If you are providing accommodation, ensure you provide the venue with the full rooming list in plenty of time, along with any details of VIP’s or how the account will be settled for each room.
- Room Layouts: If you want your rooms to be set in a certain way, be sure to get floorplans drawn up beforehand and share these with your venue – they will be able to point out any problems, such as fire exits, before you arrive on site so that you are aware of any compromises in advance. Space for movement of your delegates, interactive presenters, wheelchair access and waiting staff to deliver food to tables should all be considered during layout design. If your room needs turning around to another layout for a later session, then your venue will need to know so they can ensure they have the staff in place to change this quickly for you. If you are having an exhibition, then providing the venue staff with a drawing of the stand numbers means that they can assist your exhibitors when they arrive by pointing them in the right direction.
- Signage: Not all venues will provide signage throughout and if you are directing attendees to breakout rooms, it is wise to ask the venue if they are able to provide additional signage. Don’t assume that this will be done automatically. Be sure to let them know the exact wording to put on the signage if branding is of concern.
- Deliveries: If you are having any props or collatoral delivered to your venue, make sure you let them know, along with the date, expected time and the courier. This will help them to locate the package and ensure you receive it in time. They can also give you any specific instructions for the delivery, such as ensuring clearly labelled deliveries with the event name, date, contact and meeting room. Larger venues receive so many deliveries each day that it is easy for something to become lost if you don’t do this.
- Giveaways: Are you planning on giving your attendees anything when they arrive? Many venues have strict policies on food items, so it’s worth checking with them first. You may also want to put gifts or a welcome letter in your guests’ hotel rooms – let the venue know beforehand and they can allocate a staff member to complete the door drops before the guests check in for a personal touch.
- Details of your suppliers: If you have a supplier on site to assist with your event (for example, an AV company, photographer, exhibitors or entertainment), make sure you let the venue know who they are, their contact details and what they are providing. The venue can then liaise with them ahead of the event to iron out any concerns or questions such as health and safety and insurance.
- Special effects: Use of any special effects such as a snow machines, fog, haze, balloon drops or confetti canons must be approved by a venue. Not all venues allow them, so it’s worth double checking before ordering!
- Special requirements: Tell your venue about any special requirements for your event; whether it is dietary, accessibility, someone with a specific medical condition, a prayer room or perhaps even a celebrity guest who requires a private entrance or added security. The more information you can share, the easier it is for venue staff to meet requirements.
(Example floor plan from MCS)
Ultimately, our advice is share as much information as possible! No doubt you’ll have spent many hours ensuring that your event is a success, so don’t be let down by your venue because you didn’t tell them that half way through the day you’ll need all the tables and chairs clearing for a spontaneous team building session! Your venue will want to help you, so do let them.
And if all that seems a lot of work, then give us a call and we’ll manage your event and venue for you!