Connecting the Dots: Part 3
Connect With Your Venue Conference Planner
One of the most important members of your event planning team is your venue conference planner. He or she will help you navigate the event planning process, from developing a theme to finding the right menu and décor. So how do you develop a relationship with your venue planner that will ensure a smooth, hassle-free event?
The first step is to keep your venue conference planner in the loop throughout the planning process. When a change is made to your event, it not only affects your direct team but may have an impact on the venue team that you wouldn’t be able to predict. Keep everyone on the same page with weekly emails, phone calls, or meetings. Another helpful strategy is to give your venue conference planner a timeline of the planning process and of the event itself. If you give the planner this information in the beginning of your working relationship, they will have a bird’s-eye view of what to expect and be able to identify ways they can help you pull off a successful event.
Connect with your venue conference planner and get to know the venue’s event team. Learn as much as you can about the role of each member of the venue’s event team to create efficiency in planning and execution. You’ll be able to contact the appropriate person without spending valuable time going through multiple channels.
Creating a relationship with your venue conference planner is an important dot to connect while planning any event. This relationship will allow you to get the most out of your event space and allow your venue conference planner to assist you to the best of their ability.
Courtesy of Q Center, the largest conference facilities in the Midwest, located in St. Charles, IL.
Connecting the Dots: Part 2
How to Determine the Right Venue for Your Event
Once you have established your ideas and action items, it’s time to find the perfect venue. The venue sets the tone for your event, and after generating your ideas, it’s one of the first steps in planning a meeting, conference, or event.
Considering the number of attendees, location, and accommodations are crucial first steps in choosing a venue. Take into account the following factors:
Type of event
The type of event will play an important role in your venue. Will dinner be served? Then you’ll need a venue with top-notch catering services. If your event is a trade show, you’ll need a large event space for booth set-up. For an event that will span over a few days, you will need to consider transportation and accommodations.
If this is an annual event, learn from your mistakes. What about your venue worked well before? What didn’t work? If you are searching for another venue, look for these attributes or solutions.
When you first walk in to a potential venue, you may not be impressed. Be flexible and think about how else the room can be set up or what lighting effects can be added to create a “wow” factor. It may be a little extra work, but it will really make your event unique and memorable. Talk over your ideas with your team or venue conference planner to make sure they are feasible.
If you plan to integrate audio visual and technical pieces into your event, look for a venue that is accommodating. Be aware of the placement of the screens to ensure they can be viewed by seated guests. Talk to your venue conference planner about the sound system and who will run videos and sound during the event. Another key factor is the accessibility to power outlets.
A venue with exceptional service will be accommodating to your needs and be there to assist you in your event planning process and execution. Once you find a venue that meets your needs, you’re one step closer to event success.
Courtesy of Q Center, the largest conference facilities in the Midwest located in St. Charles, IL.
Connecting the Dots: Part 1
Channel Your Brainstorming into Actionable Ideas
As most event coordinators and conference planners know, the process of planning an event can be stressful. However, by connecting the dots throughout the planning process and using those connections during each step, you can execute a successful event. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing details for each step of the planning process and tips for connecting the dots.
Whether you’re brainstorming individually or with a team, the free flow of ideas is an important first step in the planning process. But once you have these ideas, how can they effectively get put into action?
Here are a few tips to steer your brainstorming into a useable line of action:
Get the big picture
Make a list of what needs to happen for your end result to be successful and use that outline as a reference when brainstorming. Then, when it is time to put the plan together, you’ll find you already have half the major headaches sorted out. Connecting the dots starts at the very beginning of your planning.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but taking notes of every idea, including the ones that seem insignificant, is a great jumping off point. Even if the ideas don’t seem beneficial at first, you’ll have a few backups if a change has to be made. Remember to never judge or throw out ideas as they are created.
Wrap it up
Don’t fall into the brainstorming twilight zone. Set an end time and when that time comes, evaluate your status. Create tasks and action lists to determine aspects that still need to be sorted out. This will help you see what needs to be put into action now and what still needs to be resolved. Then, set a timeline for the next item that needs to be completed.
Most importantly when putting your ideas into action, don’t forget about the great ideas, plans, and action items you just established. Take those ideas and act on them to deliver the next step of your planning process.
Courtesy of Q Center, the largest conference facility in the Midwest located in St. Charles, IL.
The Ins and Outs of Planning an Outdoor Event
Who doesn’t love a little fresh air? Breathe new energy into your nextcorporate meeting or event by selecting an outdoor venue. During the spring, summer, and early autumn, you can capture the delightful weather, long days, and relaxing nature of the outdoors by taking your attendees beyond the standard four walls.
Planning Your Outdoor EventChoosing a site can be the most difficult part of the whole planning process. When planning for an outdoor event for a corporate group, here are things to consider:
• What are your objectives for the event? Knowing your agenda helps set the tone for the type of location, décor, and other amenities needed.
• What type of budget are you working within? There are many environments that you can make use of in an outdoor setting, such as pavilions, tents, gazebos, athletic facilities, picnic areas, patios, rooftop decks, and more. What is difference between booking your location and support services separately versus selecting an all-inclusive venue? Explore your options to see if cost efficiencies can be found while still achieving the same result.
• Are restrooms, parking, guest rooms, and other amenities located within a comfortable distance? Pick a suitable location to meet the needs of your guests. If guests must move from one location to another, are there shuttles or other transit options available?
• What is the seasonal weather like in the region? Are you working in a covered space, such as a pavilion, or with an open area such as a tennis court or golf course? Mother Nature can be unpredictable. If you are working with an open area, it may be possible to arrange for a tent or other back-up facilities in case there is inclement weather.
• How will your menu support the theme or objectives of the event? If you’d like people to be able to mingle easily, finger foods may be the best option. Or, if you’d like a more formal vibe, it’s possible to create an elegant dinner setting with three-course meal within a partially enclosed or semi-covered space.
Case Study: Spring Solstice Outdoor EventIn the spring of 2012, Q Center hosted a “Summer Solstice” themed corporate event in its outdoor pavilion for over 500 people. It was an opportunity to chase away the winter blues on a beautiful spring evening.
The tables were dressed in bright spring colors – blues, greens, oranges and yellows. A spring floral bouquet or beautiful pot of vibrant wheat grass was placed on each table.
Daisies were draped from the ceiling of the pavilion and highlighted using accent lighting. The buffets were dressed in fresh sod with the chafing dishes placed on top, so the event took on the look and feel of an outdoor picnic.
The bar served fresh lemonade and signature “Springtini” drinks from under a gazebo. At the end of the evening, the path that walks the guests back to the sleeping rooms was lined with candlelit luminaries.
The event went off flawlessly and created a memorable night for the group. The guests had a wonderful time from the moment they got there until the moment they left.
In ConclusionOne of the biggest benefits of an outdoor space is the energy and freshness it lends your event. Whether you are looking to create a productive networking or team building environment, fashionable dining experience, or energizing meeting space, open-air venues can help take your event outside the box by keeping people active and social.
Be creative in highlighting the character of the outdoor setting and you can create a truly impactful event.
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