If you are planning on holding a business conference, there are plenty of reasons to choose a hotel for your venue.
For starters, most of the things that you will need for the event are already available in the hotel, from tables and chairs to WiFi connection and projector screens.
Plus, your chosen hotel’s staff are experienced in meeting their client’s conference needs as they probably have had their fair share of similar events. You can leverage their experience and expertise to bolster your success.
Hotels are conveniently located and accessible, allowing event participants to access the venue from multiple points. Plus, hotels have a professional environment that enables you to boost your company’s reputation within your industry.
Finally, you’ll have plenty of food and beverage options that you can customize to suit your budget and your guests’ dietary requirements.
Setting up for success
Business conferences differ slightly from other business events in a few key areas. As a large-scale event, you will need to start your planning months or even a year ahead. You will also have to arrange a few things, from choosing a suitable venue to planning your menu to creating an online registration system.
Planning this type of business event entails the use of outstanding organizational skills and keen attention to every detail. Any missed area can undermine your and your team’s effort.
But how do you get started?
Draw up a plan
Start with the necessary information, including your planned date and time, potential event venues, estimated number of guests, and the purpose of the event. Make sure that you have alternative options for the first two.
After that, you can move to other critical ingredients for success, including speakers, program, audio-visual requirements, menu, and workforce requirements.
Choosing a venue
Before starting your search for a hotel that will serve as your event venue, it is critical that you have with you all your event requirements. Having these in mind will allow you to narrow down your search and enable you to make efficient use of your time and effort.
Start your search by knowing the services and amenities offered by each hotel on your initial list. Ideally, the venue you select should be able to provide most, if not all, your event requirements.
Factor in the location of each hotel. The ideal venue should be in a central location and easily accessible. This allows your attendees to come to the place on time. Additionally, a short travel time enables guests to arrive at the venue relaxed and ready for what is about to be presented to them.
Customer service can make or break an event, and you should factor that in your decision-making process. Does the hotel have a reliable staff that can carry some of the burden involved in organizing a conference? How about their expertise? Talk to your peers and check out online resources, including hotel reviews, to gain insight into the quality of customer service each venue on shortlist offers.
Establish a robust system for registration
Early on, you should determine the best platform for attendee registration. For smaller events with a small number of guests, you can get away with name tags and badges. But for larger events with a sizeable amount of expected attendees, you should strongly consider using an online platform that combines different functions, from payment processing to providing attendees with relevant information.
Set an area for exhibitors
If you are planning on inviting exhibitors for your event, it is a good idea to factor that in when you are looking for a venue. Know well ahead of time that exhibition areas can bring in additional income for you, but that also translates to extra effort and resources from your company.
Your partner exhibitors will require a few things from you, including badges, a map of the exhibit area, instructions for booth set-up, and a contract.
Tackling the remainder of your to-do list
Now that you have eliminated the significant tasks off your to-do list, you can now focus your attention on other critical tasks. The planning stage is the perfect time to make additions or slight modifications to your original plan.
As you look at your to-do list, take note of the things that you need to accomplish before the event, as well as the people involved in each of these. Next, create a schedule for the completion of each of these, preferably in chronological order.
Such tasks include booking a block of hotel rooms, drafting a marketing plan, reserving the exhibit hall, and finding the right online registration platform.
Tackle your list from start to end so you won’t miss anything important. And as the conference date gets nearer, you will end up with minor tasks that can be easily accomplished.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Unless you have an in-house team of specialists in different fields, you will surely need some assistance in some key areas. Do not hesitate to ask help from third-party vendors like event planners and audio-visual specialists.
Habib Khan is a seasoned Hotelier, currently the CEO of Planet Hospitality and General Manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Khan has more than 30 years of diversified international experience in the hospitality industry. He is an expert in developing, transforming, and managing hotels, with an ability to analyze and solve problems in a challenging work environment.