organisational skills

Why Me?!

Here’s the latest Blogspot from our lovely blogger, Holly Brailsford, all about how to embrace being given the task of sourcing and organising any event….

 

So… since you’d been chosen to plan the office Christmas get-together which was a huge success you’ve drawn the short straw to book an off-site 2 day meeting for all of your senior management or… “bestowed” the honour of organising and running the company’s annual conference!

Inside you whisper… Why me??

When this planning malarkey isn’t part of your main job role, and you’ve never organised anything larger than a dinner for 30 at your local pub for your Christmas Do’, where on earth do you start!?

The whisper of “Why me!” has now grown to a scream!

First of all, there is a reason you have been given the job of planning, implementing and heading up such an important date/s in your company’s calendar so “hurrah” is really what you should be thinking.

How many people will be attending? Find out will the event be compulsory, invite only or do your delegates sign up to attend? You’ll need an idea of minimum and maximum numbers you expect, as well as an idea of room layout. If you’re unsure what would work best, the venue will be able to advise you.

Location of this event is your first point of call, find out what is important to the big bosses. Who is attending and where are they coming from? Do they have a preferred location, such as near Head Office or a flagship site. This will help you narrow down your venue search.

Are they looking for the buzz of a city centre that is easy to access by everyone attending by car, rail or plane, or the peace of the countryside with free parking in abundance? Do they want your attendees to go free into the city in an evening to explore, or keep them in all in one venue for networking and relationship building?

Do you need to think about being near an airport to accommodate your international guests? If so, there are now almost micro-cities on the doorstep of major air links so you can literally watch the planes take off during your event which can add a really quirky edge to the day.

Budget – What do they want to spend on this shindig and how much will be included for the each person attending? Are delegates paying to attend or is this one “on the house?”

Once you know the answers to these questions you’re on the right track to start looking at potential venues.

A Conference & Events Agency is always a great help when venue searching, they will have a list of varied and preferred suppliers at their finger-tips ready and eager to accept your new enquiry. You can also go one step further and choose an agency that can assist in the planning and logistical side of your conference.

Just like buying a new car or house, you’ll know which venue is right when you get there. You’ll get “that feeling” that the atmosphere and staff will create, if you can picture yourself behind their registration desk ticking off names and see your delegates eating their lunch then this is the venue for you. However… You need to look with your head as well as your heart.

  • How easy is it to get from the main plenary room to your break-outs?
    Are your break-out rooms split up over different floors?
    How good is their signage and can you provide additional?
    Do you need the venue to be DDA compliant?
  • Where is lunch & is there room for an exhibition if needed?
    Do you require seating for lunch?
    Will your delegates be queuing for lunch if you’re planning a buffet?
    Is the buffet self-service or will staff be on hand to assist?
  • What is the standard of the food & can you try some?
    Do you need a bespoke or themed menu and is there an extra charge for this?
    Listen to the venues recommendations regarding food and how to fuel your delegates.
  • Is there WIFI for everyone?
    Is the internet key to your event for streaming or video link? Find out the bandwidths  and do some testing if you can.
  • Are you able to provide pop-up banners, uniformed staff and “brand up” as much as you like?
    This will help create the delegate journey, from arrival they’ll  be seeing your logos and company colours making them feel at ease straight away.

The list of questions is endless and this is where your C&E Coordinator at the venue will help and so will your chosen agency. So don’t feel like a rabbit in head lights, it’ll all come together!

Also listen to your Coordinator at the venue too, they know the building and how to make it work best for you. Their advice will come from experience and if you’re ever unsure you can ask for past examples of how something worked or didn’t work for a previous client.

When it comes to signing the contract for your venue, make sure you read all of the terms and conditions. They can differ from venue to venue so ensure you’re fully aware of all the minimum number charges, cancelation policy should you need it and any other important points they may have failed to mention on confirmation.

The most important part of planning any event is to enjoy it!

As long as your open with your communication, ask questions when needed and you’re organised it will all go swimmingly and you’ll feel an immense sense of achievement when it all comes together.

Event planning isn’t for everyone, but anyone can do it.

 

About the Author

Holly Brailsford is Sales Manager at The Midland Hotel 

Category : Blog
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Event Management of Fieri’s Frontline Event

Fieri - Frontline Event

A couple of weeks ago saw Top Venues & Events undertake the running of an event called Frontline – An evening of inspiration. The event saw five men injured during their time spent in the army give motivational talks to a room full of people with the view to inspire them to be the best that they could be. Part of the money made from the event went towards the charity Walking with the Wounded but the main reason for the event was to help the injured war heroes market themselves as professional speakers and provide them with a means of living in the future.

We faced a number of challenging issues from the moment we decided to take on the organisation of the event right down till the evening of the event itself. The initial problems were largely due to the fact that this was the first time the client had done an event such as this, up until now the whole thing had just been an idea and so there was a lot riding on it going well. Having never done the event before the client didn’t know how many people were likely to attend but they had already booked the event space and chosen The Point at Old Trafford cricket ground.

In the weeks leading up to the event we had numerous meetings with the clients in order to successfully establish how they wanted the event to run. We were sent signage by them which we in turn edited and finalised and we also helped out with the marketing of the event specifically the social media aspects.

Top Events - Event Management

Thus is the nature of venues we discovered the week before that there was another event being held in that room on the same day and so we had to be moved to another room, it also meant we would only have access from a couple of hours before the event was due to start and this meant an all hands on deck approach to the preparation. In the days leading up to the event we prepared everything from floor plans to running orders to receipts and it all began to come together nicely.

On the evening of the event we welcomed the guest speakers, went through what would be happening and explained how the night would be planning out. We liaised with all the volunteers as well as our own staff and the venue staff such as the sound engineers and the caterers in order to ensure that everybody knew what they should be doing. We successfully set up the venue space in the short time we had before the doors opened and got ready for the arrival of the first guests. Over the next hour the guests arrived where they were greeted at the reception, checked in and directed to the bar where they could purchase a drink before the first speaker began. The event ran smoothly from start to finish, everything from the videos of the men in action during wartime to clips of them at the top of a mountain or flying round a velodrome. The night ended at around 11pm after a Q&A session with all five of the speakers on stage at the same time and by this point it’s safe to say that all 200 people in the room were unbelievably inspired.

The event was a complete success especially when you take into consideration that the whole thing was done with only a month’s worth of planning.  You could tell just by looking around that everybody from sponsors to guest speakers were ecstatic with how it had gone, we received this message from the client a few days after the event:

You have all been absolute stars, we cannot thank you enough for your commitment and exceptional organisational prowess. We hope to work with you again in the future.

Category : Blog
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