The best way to plan an event is to place yourself in the metaphorical shoes of your intended guests.
First determine who is coming and why they will be there. Then take some time to consider how they will experience the event. A few basic considerations will help ensure the smooth running of just about any event. These apply to a professional conference in the same way that they do to the most intimate of celebrations.
Is the invitation clear?
The first your guests will hear of your event will be via an invitation. It doesn’t matter whether this invitation is electronic, verbal or printed, they all need the same clarity. Your guests need to be clear on the time, the date, the venue and any other relevant details.
Make sure to pre-empt as many questions as possible. Do they need to bring anything in particular? How much will the event cost them? What time will it finish?
If you have planned the event, it can be helpful to have an outsider look at the invitation for you as they will see it as your guests will.
How will guests arrive and depart?
Start by considering how your guests will be getting to and from the venue. Once you have determined the likely options, consider whether there is anything you can or should do to make it easier to find or get to your venue.
If you are holding your small corporate retreat, for example, could you afford to provide a mini bus to take your guests to and from the venue or can you supply clear instructions on how delegates can get there using their own transport or public transport? Venues will have this information already, so work with your venue to get as much information as possible to your attendees before the event. If your venue is in town could you provide details of the closest station or where to park their cars?
By making your event easy to travel to you are helping your event run smoothly on the day. Clear directions and simple travel facilitate prompt stress-free participant arrival.
Are basic amenities clearly signposted and easily available?
Now that your guests are at the right place at the right time, can they get around the venue with ease? There’s nothing worse than arriving on time but being late because you couldn’t find where you were meant to be.
Are the toilets clearly signposted? If the venue is large, is it easy to locate the part your event is being held in? If the event has a long run time, is it clear where attendees can find or access regular refreshments?
Don’t forget to double check ease of accessibility at this point, and alternative options for guests with impaired mobility. As the event planner, you want everyone to experience the best event possible.
In conclusion, by taking the time to consider these questions you reduce the chances of overlooking something important, like a lack of public transport or the reminder to bring practical shoes. Indeed, if you contemplate the experience from a guest point of view before booking your venue, you may even avoid a costly mistake!