July 01, 2014

10 essential event planning tips whether you’re indoors or out

Summer is here. It literally is, at least calendrically. Whatever you see outside, that is, by definition, summer. It may get more “summery”, of course. Perhaps we’ll experience weeks of the heat and sun we so desperately long for but which is, in reality, far more than we can comfortably cope with. On the other hand, we probably won’t. So, what does that mean for your event planning?


Whether you’re lining up an event in the next couple of months, or even later on into autumn and winter, you’re either going to need an indoor venue or to be thoroughly prepared should the heavens decide to open. Possibly both, even.

Yes, the Glastonbury just gone was once again a rather ruddy muddy mess this year, but we’re not just talking gigs, concerts and festivals.

For success, any show, fair, exhibition or convention will need the right venue and/or provisions for that pesky precipitation.

Pick your spot

Location location location. Plaats plaats plaats. Lage lage lage. The venue needs to be in just the right place, but it also needs to meet some other criteria:

  • Budget: make sure you know what your budget is before starting the search for a venue. There’s nothing worse than finding your ideal venue only to discover it’s out of your price range once your heart’s already set on it. Get an overview of what it would cost to hire a venue in a given location by doing some background research before booking viewings.
  • Transport/access: You should choose a location which is easy to get to for your attendees and is the right fit for your event to take place. Make sure you check out the transportation links and car parking facilities, and whether the area is safe to host your event.
  • Capacity: Before you start your search, you should have a clear idea of how many attendees will be at your event. Having this in mind will help you determine what capacity venue you need to look for. Remember, if it’s one of your first, don’t get too greedy with your capacity expectations! You want the place to feel full and buzzing; it’ll be a better experience for those that do come and help you build your reputation long-term.
  • Layout: Make sure the layout of the venue works for your event. If you’re planning on having a VIP area, would the venue be able to accommodate this? It would also be beneficial to check if the venue layout is suitable for disabled access so you can inform your attendees.
  • Facilities: When looking at venues, check to see the quality of the restrooms and whether they have storage facilities, ie cloakroom or bag storage. You want to give your attendees the best experience possible, so it’s important you’re aware and reactive to these basic needs. Also make sure you specify to your buyers if facilities, such as the cloakroom, are an additional charge.

And more… 

Beat the rain

“A little rain never hurt anyone…” said the lady in Jumanji. “Yeah but a lot will kill you”, countered Robin Williams. Dramatic? Maybe slightly. Still, any amount of rain *can* reduce your event and to a watery disaster if you don’t plan properly. So, here’s our view:

  • Provide free ponchos: It might sound a bit wacky, but a free poncho goes a long way for event attendees. Not only will they be kept dry, but they’ll feel that they’re being properly looked after. Remember – little touches.
  • Plan for additional ‘dry’ areas: When you’re setting up the site plan of your event, make sure you account for additional canopied areas in case it rains. Perhaps you could even create different site plans which cater for rain or shine! If you’re using tents or canopies for these purposes, don’t forget to book them in advance.
  • When it rains, pour: Make sure you provide your attendees sufficient facilities to purchase a beverage and/or food under dry conditions. Providing a free beverage might keep attendees spirits going, and remember to provide both cold and hot beverages.
  • Keep staff updated: It’s important to make sure your team is aware of what the procedures are in adverse weather and to keep them updated if anything changes.
  • Communicate site conditions: Likewise, provide your attendees with as much information on the conditions of the event site as possible, for example which are the best walk ways to use or particularly muddy areas to avoid.

And more… 

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By Dominick Soar