According to Sophie Imrie, event co-ordinator at Wynyard Hall, the devil is in the detail when it comes to corporate entertaining.
“If you want to create an event that ticks all the right boxes and delivers the ideal result, first and foremost it’s vital to pin down the core objective. Once you know exactly what you want to achieve, everything flows from there,” she says.
The venue is one of the most important elements of your event – it can be the difference between a sell-out event and a flop.
Sophie continues: “It’s important to research your venues and understand what will attract your audience. Location, accessibility and parking are often the most basic elements that you need to get right. But if you want to guarantee maximum attendance you need to look further – what will really impress and attract your guests? Consider the reputation of the venue, quality of service, quality of food, and so on.
“Never be afraid to ask if you have special requirements – a professional venue will pull out all the stops to accommodate you.”
In addition, being realistic about event timings can work to your advantage, allowing the operations team to build tolerance into the schedule.
Sophie also recommends letting the organiser know your budget and timescale up front, so they know their exact parameters. And as far as project management goes, keep the venue informed of you availability, so they can contact you at the most convenient times.
“It helps enormously to confirm all the details in good time, since a venue can only work with the information they’ve been given,” says Sophie. “If the schedule starts to slip at your end, let them know straight away so they can take delays into account. The same goes for payment. If you require specific payment terms, let them know in good time.”
Charlotte Webster, senior event co-ordinator at Wynyard Hall, adds: “Being open with your venue and keeping them informed means they can help with logistical problems and suggest solutions early in the process.
“It’s also important to let your venue know the maximum number of guests, so refreshments don’t run low on the day. And to be generous with running times for presentations, talks and meetings to cut the risk of running late.”
Dietary requirements are also important, advises Katie Land, event co-ordinator, so inform your event organiser of these at the earliest opportunity.
“Whilst we always allow for a few additional dietary requirements on the day, when working on events for more than 600 guests, it can have a real detrimental impact if even just ten per cent of those attending have special requirements that we were unaware of prior to the event,” she explains.
Katie also points out that it’s helpful to be realistic about the equipment available at the venue and the technical support that goes with it – not every venue has a full technical team on hand 24/7.
Sharing further wisdom, Katie continues: “It makes a lot of sense to book a large room rather than a smaller space that might end up crowded and uncomfortable. And spending a little more on décor can make a huge difference to the ambience of a setting.
“If your event is open to the public – for example, gala dinners or charity balls – and you want the maximum attendance, it’s sensible to make sure it doesn’t clash with other events in the area. Harness social media – Twitter is terrific for building a sense of community around a unique hashtag.
“And last but not least, take 20 cool, calm minutes to set yourself up and settle in before your guests start to arrive.”