Event planning often includes planning for social functions. And, quite often, social functions will require that the group be transferred to an off-site venue. While this aspect of a program is not necessarily a main component, it’s often considered vital to attracting delegates to a meeting. Quite often venues are selected based on their reputation, or their connection to the city where the meeting is held.
There Are Many Costs Components to Consider When Selecting Venues
Truth be told, many meeting planners initially place social functions low on the totem pole compared to other components of the meetings program. Naturally, the educational sessions or general meetings are the priority. Unless of course we’re talking about an incentive program. Then the focus of the event planner would be the social elements.
As many seasoned meeting planners will tell you, costs can escalate dramatically when considering an off-site venue. So why, then, don’t meeting and event planners just have a meal function within the hotel? Well, many times they will. However, the appeal of an off-site venue is attractive to delegates when registering for particular conferences. Especially if they are bringing spouses along for the meeting. It’s also an ideal way for the meeting planner to expose their delegates to the local flavor and cuisine of the city.
On our directory, Connect in the City, the goal is to match meeting planners with perspective venues. As part of the refine search, the goal is to assist the planner with determining the style of venue which would be appropriate for their group. This is one way where online event planning directories do offer guidance and assistance for a meeting planner.
Some Tips to Consider That Will Help Keep Your Costs in Check When Selecting Venues:
Does the venue have in-house catering facilities? This one aspect can have a dramatic impact on a meeting planner’s budget. If the venue is not equipped with proper kitchen facilities, for example, the caterer would be required to bring in the necessary equipment for the group. As you would expect, this can increase the overall budget.
Does the venue have an in house caterer? Like the catering facilities, whether or not the venue has an in house caterer can also have an impact on the function’s cost. For those venues that do have an in house caterer, quite often their overall costs would be lower than an outside caterer. The reason for this is that the equipment is already on site for the in house caterer to use. An outside caterer would be required to rent and transport their equipment to the venue.
Does your group require exclusivity? Try to ascertain this question early on with your client. If you find that exclusivity is not a high priority, there are many restaurants that could be appropriate for your group. And, as restaurants are already equipped to deal with meal functions, there are not a lot of additional cost that a meeting or event planner would incur.
What type of meal are you planning on serving? Of course the type of meal you are serving will be dependent on the time of the function. However I’ve guided many meeting planners towards food stations or heavy hors d’oeuvres (10 to 12 pieces per person) to help them shave much needed dollars off their budget. Especially if you’re hosting your event in a venue such as a museum or art gallery. If that’s the case, then the venue itself becomes part of the function (i.e. guided tours, etc.). And you may find that simply offering heavy hors d’oeuvres, that are circulated by the serving staff, may be ample for your function.
Selecting the right venue for your meeting may seem like a daunting task at first. However, by simply sitting down and thinking about the various components of the function, the meeting planner will be helping themselves by narrowing down the fields. In event planning, it’s crucial that you are aware of what areas can drive up venue costs.
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