5 things to ask your event manager when organising your next meeting or event
Jessica Dunne spent a number of years agency side before joining the Croke Park Meetings & Events team as Event Manager last September. Having graduated from UCD in English and Film, Jess initially worked in marketing before embarking on a career in the events industry. She brings dual expertise to her events role having a sharp eye for detail and creativity.
When we asked her to list the key questions every organiser should ask their venue contact or event manager, she had these 5 brilliant tips to share.
1. Can I visit the event space?
All key stakeholders in the event project – budget holder, event owner, corporate event manager, event assistant – need to visit the physical event space if at all possible. According to Patti Meister, Senior Hospitality Marketing Manager at Aventri, ''Experienced planners have one thing in common: the level of detail they go into as they tour a property''.
There is simply no substite to a site inspection – real people, in real places, in real time. You meet your contact face to face and undertake at least part of the physical event journey your attendees will embark on. It is critical to experience the space first hand and consider it from the attendees perspective (the welcome, wayfinding, signage, access...)
Jess says there’s no substitution for this: “VR and AR platforms, 3-D mapping (Croke Park 3D tour!) and other technology are all wonderful if you just cannot visit the venue. As with having events, nothing will replace personal contact so always ask to arrange a site visit and experience the space first hand.
"As with having events, nothing will replace personal contact so always ask to arrange a site visit and experience the space first hand.
2. What do you need from me? And when?
The next question you need to ask your venue contact or event manager concerns expectations, particularly around deadlines for food and beverage, AV requirements, final numbers etc.
Busy venues host multiple events simultaneously so, while for you, the event may be an only child, for the event manager it can be one of many! Agree the ground rules with your event manager so that all parties understand the schedule and deadlines. As with your deadlines, event managers have to supply timely information to an event support team so sticking to confirmation deadlines is important for all parties.
3. What vendor contacts do you have?
Your event manager is a professional whose most valued possession is their key contacts list with the number of every possible supplier you'll ever need... or the number of someone who'll get it for you. Rental agencies for steam-punk furniture, uber-cool event florists, amazing jazz bands, they're all there and they can save you a lot of time and money! Again, all you’ve got to do is ask.
You want strolling Mariachi players? Ask your event manager.
You want a model in a long dress with a tight haircut who plays the trombone? Ask your event manager.
You want all white deck furniture and a Jamaican mixologist? Ask your event manager.
4. Is there anything different we could be doing for our event?
Jess says this is a great question to ask on so many levels. “It’s free advice and reliable intel – remember, as an event manager, I get to see lots of wonderful events unfold and see what works and what doesn't”.
Asking this question also creates a sense of collaboration and team work with the event manager joining your creative team as an extra “free” resource.
5. When can we have access to the venue prior to the event?
"This question is so often omitted from the early conversations between organisers and venues and can result in unnecessary angst down the line.
“This question is so often omitted from the early conversations between organisers and venues and can result in unnecessary angst down the line”, Jess says.
Don’t make assumptions about access to the venue. Sometimes clients assume they can have event materials delivered in advance but this will all depend on what else is going on and if set up access has been booked.
Be sure to agree with your event manager, up front, when you can access the venue.
So, to conclude, your venue contact is a valuable resource available to you at no extra cost so be sure to cover these 5 questions if you want to take your event to the next level.
Have you read our meeting and event planner checklist for #eventprofs advice here
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