by Annie Champeau
One of the most important steps in creating memorable events is choosing a venue. Whether it’s a corporate conference or tradeshow, event planners and venue managers want the same thing; a great client experience. I’ve found that managers and planners can make the planning process much easier with clear communication and upfront conversation. Here are few tips that have helped my team and I work more effectively and efficiently with event planners. Take time to consider these thoughts. I have a feeling you, and your clients, will be pleasantly surprised.
1. Inquire with details
I often receive leads for meetings or events with estimated guest counts of 50-200 and preferred dates anywhere within a four-month timespan, which can make it challenging to provide accurate cost estimates and venue availability. Because not all properties are created equal, there may be differing prices for varied spaces, seasonality, and length of service. With a group of 50 guests, I may propose a very different space and menu than a group of 200. Some of the important information needed by the venue include a preferred date, event start and end times, and the type of event. By understanding the details, venues are better equipped to offer custom proposals with more consistent cost structures. If your date is flexible, let your venue know. (For example, if you have a four-month time span with three preferred dates.) There may be a special or creative experience that is not available on another date.
Sadly, every event has a budget. By divulging your estimated spend, your sales manager will be able to provide you with menu suggestions and spaces that fit the budget. It’s frustrating for a planner to find out after the fact that their budget is not large enough for what is wanted or needed because it was not discussed early in the planning process.
3. Be open to new ideas
Your vendors have years of experience and are a great resource for your event. Planners are most successful when they go into a site visit with an idea of what they want to achieve, but allow vendors to contribute to the plan of how to meet or exceed those goals. If no walls are created in the initial planning stages, ideas will flow more fluidly. As the team begins to trust each other and learn each other’s strengths/weaknesses the best ideas and plans will surface. Routine is a natural part of an annual event (i.e., “we’ve always done it like this”), but what works at one venue may not be as successful at another. Your vendors are experts in their fields and are likely familiar with the venue; that’s why you hired them. Allow them to guide you in the right direction based on their specialty and share what limitations exist.
4. Provide honest feedback
Positive feedback is both easy to give and easy to receive. It’s the less positive comments that can create an uncomfortable conversation. We all need to be mindful that it’s not personal, and that everyone’s end goal is to create a better experience for event attendees. When something doesn’t go as planned or is completed incorrectly, it’s important it be brought to your vendor or venue’s attention. By sharing your concerns or constructive criticism, you help everyone become better at what they do and correct mistakes before they happen again.
Annie Champeau is the Director of Sales for the Harley-Davidson Museum® When she isn’t prepping for the next big event, she enjoys time with family and her Bichon-Poodle, Andre.
A walk through the Harley-Davidson Museum is a walk through the history of America. With an unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles and memorabilia, a 20-acre, park-like campus, and a calendar full of activities, the H-D Museum™ is one of Milwaukee’s top tourist destinations for visitors from around the globe. A visit to the H-D Museum is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.