“Sorry, where?!” How to Plan Events in Unusual Locations
Organising an event in an unusual location ticks all boxes when it comes to attendee engagement and making a name for your business. But, what about the realities of parking, public transport, wifi and catering? We help readers strike a balance between fun and functional when it comes to the venue.
We’re all guilty of automatically saying no to ideas that fit into the ‘weird and wacky’ category, especially when it comes to event venues. In this blog, we’re asking you to step back, look at the aspects that are especially complex, and see if you can find a way of making them work.
Is it right?
First things first, you might have had an amazing idea for a venue, but is it really a good fit for your client? If your client is using the event to rebrand or to bring to market a new product, the venue will be especially important.
Make notes of everything that would need to be organised. This means all the things that come as standard in your local ever-so-slightly boring but convenient hotel / restaurant / event space. As a starting point, we recommend making enquiries about:
- Water that’s safe to drink
- A power source for cooking
- Your ability to bring furniture, sound system, lighting, decorations and large amounts of food (which will most likely need chilled) into the venue
- The number of guests that can safely be accommodated
Once you’ve thought about everything that might need attention, ask yourself if it’s really worth it to sort out these amenities. As unusual and exciting as your event location might be, the guests will still complain if the food isn’t hot, or if they feel cold. You’ll have to be able to get everything perfect to really wow people. Will it be an event that’s career-making? Will your client be over the moon? Or, could it put your business at risk of a very embarrassing (and public) disaster?
Can guests get to the venue with minimum hassle?
If the venue is remote, you’ll have to take action to ensure that guests can get there easily and safely (and don’t forget the return journey). If public transport is available, great – your life just got a lot easier!
You’ll also have to check with the venue owners whether private transportation – coach, minibus, taxi, car- is allowed. Be sure to ask what type of vehicle is permitted, paying special attention to any restrictions placed on size and weight. If you intend to hire transport, it should be wheelchair accessible.
Guests might not be able to park reasonably close to the venue. In this instance, it is your responsibility to make sure they are aware of this. (Don’t forget to advise them to wear sensible footwear.) Depending on the time of year, the paths might need treatment to ensure guests do not slip (icy paths and guests don’t make a good combination!).
Is it accessible for all guests?
During your site visit, you’ll have to bring some props to test for accessibility. We want you to put yourself in the position of guests with limited mobility, hearing and sight difficulties. Use a mobility aid, earplugs, and an eye patch with dark sunglasses to help you appreciate some of the obstacles that some of your guests might encounter at the venue. Experiencing the location in a different way might give you a valuable new perspective with regards to the suitability of your choice.
Be realistic about the measures you can take with the time and budget available to you. If this venue can’t be made to work for all guests, it’s best to reconsider the location.
How will I communicate with my team?
Effective communication with your staff during the event is the key to quickly solving any issues that arise. If mobile connection is patchy, you’ll have to come up with another failsafe solution for making contact with your team (and the outside world). Test and re-test it and you’ll be confident that you will be able to run the event efficiently, whatever happens.
Choosing an unusual location for a big event can mean a lot of extra work. Whether you have the time, budget and experience to handle it means some serious thinking before you commit the the venue. If you decide to take the plunge, then the sky really is the limit for your event!
Have you ever hosted an event in an unusual location? We’d love to see your photos! Share them with the Get Invited community on Facebook or Twitter (and don’t forget to let us know a little about the event!).