On top of their “day job” of managing offices, diaries, travel and more, PAs, EAs, office managers and administrative managers alike are increasingly being called upon to organise corporate events.
Oona Macdonald and Holly Jones, set up the PA guide for this very reason (the PA guide is a venue guide and PA network in Birmingham). Here are their tips on finding the perfect venue.
Firstly, you’ll need to establish the tone of your event – are you aiming to entertain, inform, or impress your guests? Will your event be informal or formal? How many attendees are you aiming for? This should hopefully help you narrow down what kind of venue you should be looking for.
Draw up a shortlist of venues that you think might be suitable. It is always worth asking your friends or colleagues if they have recently been impressed by a particular venue and keep an eye out for newly opened venues as they can increase interest in your event. If you haven’t already been to a venue, arrange an appointment to have a look at the space and facilities before you book, website photos and review sites can sometimes be deceiving.
Start organising your event as early as possible, it will give you time to plan more thoroughly, more venue and date options and the chance to get a good quality attendee list. It is also advisable to check that your chosen date doesn’t clash with any other corporate events, major sporting events or even school holidays.
Establish how much you have to spend on the event, without a set budget it is easy to overspend. Talk through your requirements and budget with potential venues to make sure that holding your event there is feasible. Ask if there are any deals to be done, if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Make sure everything relating to costs is agreed before your event too, you don’t want any surprises when you get the final invoice.
When planning the details of your event imagine you are one of your guests. Walk through the details of the event as they would and not down all of the little details that you need to cover off. Things like reserved parking spaces, clear signage, a welcome desk and cloakrooms are all small details but important details to think about.
Can your venue cater for any food or drink requirements and, if not, do they restrict you to working with specific catering companies? Consider whether they can cope with specific dietary requirements. It is also sensible to establish early on whether your venue has the correct equipment for your event – are they able to supply microphones and screens etc? Or, will you have to hire them from an external source.
Finally and most importantly, create an event plan detailing all of the aspects of your event and make notes as and when tasks are completed. This saves you having to scroll through emails or scribbled notes later. A week or so before your event, set up a meeting with your venue to run through everything, this should highlight any outstanding issues or areas that can be improved and give you plenty of time to deal with them.
This post was published to show the IAM’s support (partners & supporters) for EventWell17 week. The Event Industries first national wellbeing week.