Last year I went to an exhibition in London. I was looking forward to it. Especially the workshop I had signed up to beforehand. The problems started when I arrived on site and I couldn’t find the room where the workshop took place. Staff members were unable to point me in the right direction. Long story short, I missed the workshop.
How difficult can it be to provide a clear and easy to understand layout of your event site? It’s almost as if some conferences and exhibitions have become such mammoths that even the event organiser is losing track of what is going on. Event planners need to keep their audience in mind when designing the site and the layout of the site.
Choosing a location for your event requires you to think carefully about your event. What do you want to achieve with your event? It doesn’t matter whether your event is a conference, a music festival or a wedding: what do you have in mind for your event?
Perfect location for a perfect event
Let’s talk about wedding locations first. Your wedding is all about you. Well, to a certain degree. If your guests do not have a great time it will reflect on you and your wedding day. You need to make sure your guests have the best time of their lives. When you pick the venue for your wedding day you need to think of:
Atmosphere. Quite often couples choose a venue with multiple rooms. An old stately home with a room for the bar, a room for some food, a chill out room, and a room for the DJ. Historic British homes look amazing but the problem is that your guests will be all over the place, literally. And with a dispersed crowd it is hard to create a party atmosphere.
Accessibility. How accessible is your venue to your guests? When you choose your location you need to think of guests that cannot use stairs or those that require an accessible toilet. A beautiful green lawn can turn into a muddy, inaccessible field, quite quickly. How easy is it for your grandmother to move around?
Geography. You have found a location in the middle of nowhere. It is beautiful but it is also really hard to find. Does this mean that most of your guests will have to book a hotel room (extra costs for your guests) or will they drive back home (guests leaving early). Choose wisely when picking a location. Think of your guests!
The location and your audience
Larger events such as festivals, conferences or exhibitions also need to look at accessibility and geography of their event location. But that’s not all. When searching for the perfect location you need to keep your audience front of mind. When picking the right venue for your event you should think of the following with regards to your audience:
Audience profile. I can only assume you have some kind of idea about the demographics of your attendees. Knowing your audience means that you can cater for them. And I’m not just talking about food. It also means you can figure out how to communicate with them. When you know how to communicate with your attendees you can convey to them the layout of your venue. Opening times, car parks, public transport, time tables, programs, etc.
Audience behaviour. Knowing what you want to organise leads to whom you want to organise it for. Profiling your audience can give you a better overview of the behaviour you can expect at your event. The behaviour of your crowd will impact the layout of your venue. Does your community fundraiser need a mosh pit or will you serve apple pie instead?
Audience personality. I’m sure your home matches your personality. You made it your own as you made sure there is some kind of natural flow in your home. Well, the same goes for the layout of a venue. It needs to match the personality of your event and therefore the personality of your audience. There needs to be a fit between them. So don’t just settle for any old location or venue. Check whether the layout is the right one for your attendees.
Last but not least is the issue of logistics. Can your audience easily get to your event? Some events organise bus transport or create car parks. Look carefully whether you have the capacity to do this. Depending on the size of your event you might want to speak to public transport providers. And there is the issue of building up your event site. I’ve been at event sites that featured small creeks. It looked beautiful but logistically it’s another story. Conducting a site survey is a must!
A beautiful event location doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a perfect location. Just remember when choosing a venue for your event that it needs to work for you and your audience.