Other Event Venues
How to plan a successful event – Things you need to know

Events are complex, yet (with a little creativity and lots of careful planning) can become memorable, successful and enjoyable experiences for everyone, including you – the organiser. The Executive Traveller event-planning tips are designed to help events organisers to focus on what they must do to deliver consistently great events.

You will need to think through a logical process which will include research, design, planning and production tasks.
Do your research: Before you get stuck into organising your event, do you know whether anybody else (other than you and your team) considers it to be a good idea? You must first conduct some formal or informal quantitative and/or qualitative research, to identify needs, and then find an event to match.
Ultimately, you are trying to reduce the risk which you are taking, through delivering an event which your customers actually want. At this stage, too, you must decide what the purpose of the event is – why hold an event? This information will inform all of your decisions from this point forward.
It’s design time: Having established that it’s a good idea, it is now time to create a blueprint for your event: what is it going to look like, feel like, the programme, theme, activities, promotion: in other words, the ‘how’ of delivering an event which will meet your intended audience’s expectations.
After you have created your outline event design plan, it is always advisable to do more market-acceptance research: do potential audience members like it? Recheck the figures and see whether it is still feasible, given the available resources.
You simply cannot spend too much time planning your event. With definitive answers to why, who, what, when and where, it is time to source and contract everything you will need to make your event a success.
What services do you require? What sort of expertise do you need? What type of organisational structure do you require? Your event project plan will identify critical dates; these will dictate the tempo of your decision-making.
Place. Your Event’s Venue:
When selecting the venue, know who your guests are. Wealthy guests require a five star hotel or resort and all the services provided during the event must be of very high quality. Do not despair, there are some fantastic venues available, so do think creatively about your venue choice. A great venue really sets the tone and sense of occasion for your event. A thorough evaluation of the venue and what it has to offer must be undertaken, to determine whether it is a good match for your event and organisation.
How many people can it accommodate? Will the proposed audience like it? How flexible and accommodating do you think the venue’s staff will be? What services and facilities can the venue offer you?

The programme can make or break an event. It is one of the vital components of your event – it’s the reason why your audience is there, so it must be good. The programme outlines what the audience is going to do, listen to, watch and take part in.
It has to be interesting, engaging and enjoyable. If you want your audience to remember your event, for all of the right reasons, you need to establish how your audience is really going to get involved in your event.
Audience members always want to feel part of the events which they attend; when they do, they can get a very real sense of engagement – something stirs inside! When this happens, they leave events with great memories and a strong impression of the host organisation.
Events managers must think about how they are going to involve their audiences and what they are going to take part in, learn about, experience, try out and problem-solve.
Your planned event may be the next big thing, but, if your promotion misses the mark, your event will fail. Your promotion must seek to draw people to the event: to excite them to buy, enquire, to talk to you and/or to join.
Your promotion must provide a compelling reason for attending, promising a rewarding, entertaining, informative, exciting and not-to-be-missed event. You will undoubtedly have to use a mix of promotional media to get the message to your audience.
Do you know how your audience typically finds out about events; if you don’t know, don’t guess - find out.
Making it happen. Event managers must understand what needs to happen on the ground to ensure a successful event. Operational plans must detail all arrival times, staffing levels/roles, contractors’ build times, arrivals’ sequence, event-opening times and, of course, must not omit the all important risk assessments and event management plans, plus health and safety.
Your people, your team and you: Events are hard work, so you will need a committed team around you. Consider also your external team members: what qualities do you require from them? Match talents to tasks.

Events are a service, so the attitude of your team members, all of them, will be instrumental in creating that high-quality event experience which your audience will remember. What do you know about your audience: Who are they? What do they do? Where do they come from?
If you don’t know who they are, how can you provide for them? Events managers require bags of energy and a real passion for their work; if you spread infectious enthusiasm, your staff will respond and guests will really enjoy being around those who love what they are doing.

Fine Tuning
Venue Size

Check the venue to make sure that your venue can easily accommodate your expected target audience. It should not be too small or too large for your guests. If too small, then your guests will feel discomfort. If it is too large then you will unnecessarily end up paying more for the venue
Know how many people are attending
Know how many people are attending your event with R.S.V.P clearly printed on the invitation. The term R.S.V.P is a French acronym. Its meaning in English is 'Please Respond'. If R.S.V.P is printed on the invitation then the invited guest is expected to tell the host whether or not he/she is attending the event. Since many people don't understand the meaning of this term or don't bother to reply back, it is advisable to individually call and ask your guests about there plan to attend the event. In this way you can get quite accurate idea of the guest size which will help you in deciding food and beverage quantities also
Your venue should not be very far from the place where majority of your target audience live. It should have proper lighting and ventilation. It should not be in a noisy or polluted area. It should be absolutely neat and clean and free from any type of infestation. It should also be able to manage all types of climatic conditions. Always try to organize indoor events if possible as there production cost is lesser than the outdoor events.

Research your venue
Find out how many events have been organized in the venue so far; whether or not venue and the staff there is event friendly. If venue has noise ordinance problems in the past like neighbours calling the cops to shut down the event, then it is not a good idea to organize event there especially outdoor event.

Parking facility
Make sure venue has its own parking space. It should be big enough to accommodate your guest's vehicles conveniently. If parking space is not adequate then look for other venue. Never compromise on parking space especially if you are organizing event on a large scale.

Security Arrangements
Security of guests, service providers and target audience is a very important issue which should never be neglected or compromised at any cost. Make sure that your venue has adequate number of fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency escape routes, sprinkler system (a system consist of overhead pipes designed to control or extinguish fires), security personals, handicap ramps, security cameras, first aid kits and power backup (like generator, inverter, UPS). Your venue must have separate entrance and exit gates and it should not be more than 30 minutes away from the nearest hospital. If your venue is at a remote location then presence of doctor and ambulance is a must. Also make sure your mobile phone properly works there. If your mobile phone network area is weak there or doesn't exist then you must have some other modes of communication like satellite phone. For large scale events presence of fire fighters, fire engine, police, paramedical team with ambulance is a must.

Venue Staff
Your venue must have adequate number of staff to serve your guests. Find out the ratio of servers to guests. The venue staff must be friendly, helpful and courteous. It should be decently dressed. Give special attention to there personal hygiene. Nobody likes to be served by someone who is stinking and looks like a pirate of the 13th century. Ask you venue manager whether or not the staff is able and willing to work overtime.
Every venue has some unsaid restrictions like photography and videography restrictions, alcohol restrictions, music restrictions, dress code, decoration related restrictions (like you can not install your own structure and lights for decoration or paste/paint anything on the venue's wall), advertising restrictions (like you can not put a banner on the main gate of the venue) and other restrictions like outside caterer is not allowed or outside security service is not allowed etc. Find out all these restrictions before hiring a venue.
Additional Services
Some venue provides additional services like catering, floral decoration, fireworks, audio-visual aids; Staging, Lighting, props, decor for event production; ticketing, reservation, transportation and sight seeing tours for the guests; DJs, anchors, performers etc for event programs.

Questions you need to Ask
Ask following questions from venue manager before hiring a venue:
Venue Fee
Does it include:

• all other taxes? (Negotiate rental fee to ensure the best deal.)
Is dance floor
• table, chairs and linens
• Is security and liability coverage included in the venue fees?
Q5) What is the price range for a seated/buffet lunch and dinner?
Q6) What are the Corkage fees?
i.e. fees to server liquor. Make sure that venue has the license to serve alcohol. Check the license for expiration date.
Q4) Is there any cost for parking?
Generally parking space is provided free of the cost by the venue but some venues may charge separately for parking facility.

Budget for what is not included in the venue fee?
Q7) What is the cost of sleeping rooms?
Q8) What is your cost per person and per food item?
Q9) What are your bartending and bar set up fees?
Q10) What are your fees and how do you charge for providing additional services?
Such as floral decoration, fireworks, audio-visual aids; staging, lighting, props, decor for event production etc.
Q11) What modes of payments are available?
Q12) What are your payment, refund and cancellation policies?

8) Venue Inspection
If you will go as an event manager to a venue for inspection you will be shown the venue as an ideal venue for organizing your event. So best way of inspecting a venue is to check-in there as an anonymous guest, stay there for 2-3 days and deliberately use all the services provided by the venue.

Make sure Air Conditioners, fans, water tabs work properly, elevators are operational. There is adequate lighting and ventilation. Check out for sanitation and infestation.

Find out how helpful, courteous and professional is the venue staff.

9) Amount of Work Required
Select a venue where lesser amount of work is required to be done. Lesser the work, lesser will be the production cost of the event.

10) Contracting the Venue

Read about other destinations

Abu Dhabi Business Essentials

Other MICE Destinations

< back

Executive Traveller 2003