You Can Have Your Event and Plan it Too – Part II
What makes a great venue and a great menu.
Instinctively we tend to go for the date and then we launch straight into looking at venues online, and unless it’s a celebration with a set date, we start to shift the date around, based on the availability of the venue we LOVE.
But wait, let’s just stop here for a minute and bring ourselves back to our purpose we set from the last article. We came up with a clear idea of why we were holding the event and what audience we thought would like to come to our event. So, let’s keep that audience in mind and think about the date, venue and food, based on their needs and wants, and our purpose. Because you want to sell tickets, right?
You want to get the largest possible audience to your event, right? So, you don’t want anyone saying no, because the location doesn’t suit them, or the date clashes with another major event in their calendar, or in their past experience, the venue didn’t accommodate for their special dietary requirement. And especially, if because they feel you have ignored the purpose by booking an inappropriate venue or choosing an inappropriate date.
Let’s firstly look at your target audience and establish appropriate dates that work for your guests. Check your city’s major event calendars, local “What’s On” guides and association and business event listings to see if your event has any clashes. Once you have some dates in mind, now is the time to start thinking about the food and the venue simultaneously.
Why simultaneously? Well, the venue and the food are integral to each other. Perhaps you have been to events at amazing venues, but the food has been rather disappointing. And the same can be said for amazing food, but the venue décor has been dirty, out of date or just looking tired. You want to find a venue that does amazing food, has the right look and feel for your purpose, is accessible to your audience, and is available in the range of dates you have determined is the right time for the best possible outcome.
When working through these elements of the Event Brief, you might find it helpful to come up with a site selection checklist prior to beginning. This is a list of things that the venue must have, the food and beverage requirements that are non-negotiable, any accessibility requirements that are necessary for your guests, as well as the range of dates you have determined are appropriate. If you create this checklist prior to starting to view venues (even online), you will have the best chance of choosing a venue based on your needs, rather than your wants. You could even give your selections a ranking system.
You choose the right venue from a variety of determinants, not just it’s location or size of room. Once you have selected a few venue options that meet your checklist requirements, it is highly recommend that you do a site visit in person where possible. And if you can’t do a site visit in person, make sure you check a variety of online review sources, as well as customer and venue-produced photos. This will give you a balanced view and set your expectations.