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Welcome to BDI’s Tip of the Month, where we share lessons learned about field marketing events. We’ve been at this since 2001 and have learned most lessons the hard way, so you don’t have to! This month’s tip is all about choosing the right venue for your event.

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So you figured out the best location for your field event (see last month’s post on how to pick a location). Marketing and sales are aligned on producing an event to attract new logos and position your company as a thought leader. Next step is to select a venue.

[push h=10]At BDI, 99% of the venues we use for our clients are private rooms, located within best restaurants in town. These are the restaurants with strong local brands that senior leaders already know and in many cases, love. They dine at these restaurants with their significant others, as well as business colleagues. Having an attractive venue is one of the several main ingredients to producing successful field events. While throughout the years we have built an internal venue database in just about every major metro area, we find Yelp to be the best publicly available tool to perform location-based research of the best quality restaurants with private rooms to meet our venue requirements.

[push h=10]The next step is to reach out to the list. Most restaurants have a private event section on their website with an online form and contact information for event managers that specialize in corporate events. If they don’t, that’s a red flag that often disqualifies them. While we complete their online inquire forms when possible, we also send them an email with our own form, asking questions that are often not covered or addressed on their websites and/or their common responses. The list of questions we ask is quite long but here’s a taste:

  • Do you host multiple events at once?

  • Are you open to the public at the same time as our event?

  • Is the room truly private separated by walls and doors? Please provide photos and dimensions of the room.

  • Are there any obstructions within the room that may block line of site during a presentation?

  • Is there any renovation in progress at the time of our event date?

  • What is the location of the kitchen to the room selected?

  • Where does the serving team exit/enter the room from?

  • Does noise filter into the room when this occurs?

  • What is the maximum seating/capacity of the room?

  • What type of tables do you offer and what is the maximum seating per table?

  • Can you offer a three-course plated meal? Please provide lunch menu options.

  • What A/V is built into the room?

  • What type of parking is offered at lunch? Valet? Self-park? Street parking? Third party lot?

  • What is the food/beverage minimum and is there a room rental fee?

[push h=10]After you select the best venue, it’ time to move into contract with them. I can write a separate blog post about contract negotiation best practices so I will save that for another time. Once signed, we send the contract back to the venue and ask for them to complete a Venue Prep Questionnaire. This document has additional information needed for the planning stages, such as the need for barstools for the panelists, table numbers, printer on-site for name badge printing day of, if needed, shipping information, address to use for parking, printing of menus with logo, and more details specific to the room selected. We are proactive throughout the planning stages about communicating with the venue when needed. Two-three weeks prior to the event, we provide a menu selection to our client. Once confirmed, this and the logos for the menu are shared with the venue. At this time, you begin to work on AV needs as well.

[push h=10]As you get closer to the event date, a final count and room set up is required. Be mindful that each venue has their standard requirement of time when this is needed. When providing this, we also include pertinent information necessary such as the amount of barstools needed, room set up with amount of tables with specific number of place settings, pre-poured water in glasses by 12pm, request a registration table, ask for table numbers to be provided (when applicable), provide the flow and timeline of the event with number of panelists so their entrees/desserts be held until after the presentation, parking solution decided upon, and a reminder to use client logos on the printed menu. This is requested to be on the Banquet Event Order (BEO) to be received and reviewed for accuracy. Things like the menu, non-alcoholic beverage options, if AV is set up by the venue are also listed on the BEO. Every venue offers their version of a BEO, so have your own checklist to compare and confirm information. The BEO is more important than the original contract in making sure everyone is clear on the expected needs for the event.

[push h=10]On the day of the event, we arrive no less than 2 hours prior to the start of the program to give ourselves plenty of time to make any last minute adjustments to the room setup, meet with the A/V staff, and perform set up activities. Remember that the entire venue staff is part of the success of your event. Work collaboratively and enjoy the event!

 

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ABOUT BDI

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Business Development Institute (BDI) is an award-winning ABM event marketing agency specializing in producing custom, thought leadership driven, client acquisition roadshows called Accelerate Events. Using an ABM approach, we are able to successfully brand our clients as thought leaders in their industry while simultaneously generating qualified leads thorough our Accelerate Events. As a turnkey partner, BDI handles all of the heavy lifting from conception of the program content, to recruiting our client’s qualified buyers, to executing the event day of.

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