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Iain’s top ten tips for conference venues

If you hold events regularly, this is well worth a read!*

*Warning, contains some very tongue-in-cheek humour! 

10) Nobody in the world uses an OHP!

9) Crew catering – lasagna is not the only dish! And you would be lynched if you tried to charge £9 for a pot of lukewarm coffee (or is it tea?) in your hotel restaurant, so why do you think you can charge it during set-up?

8) If you don’t have a functional goods lift and practical access to the room from a grown-up loading bay, somewhere in the same county, you’re not trying hard enough. Flight cases don’t like steps.

7) Don’t put out all the tables before we arrive, you’ll only have to redo them cos the first thing we’ll do is kick them out of the way. An empty room is a happy room.

6) If one show is scheduled to end at 5 o’clock, don’t take another booking for 6 o’clock the same day, you greedy buggers! All you’ll get are two agencies who want to kill you. Inflatable sets and feather-lite flight cases are still a way off.

5) The weight loading on your hanging points – every production company who’s ever used the room asks you the same questions guys, so how about you draft up a ‘useful bits of information list’ for all staff tasked with showing people around?

4) Current health and safety regulations require a bit more than a piece of paper between tables during a Gala dinner. And those fire exits work so much better when you can open them.

3) When you quote a meeting room’s capacity, why not work on the basis that someone will probably want to put some form of staging in? Maybe even have a control point? Quoting 600 people standing festival-style is NO use… unless we’ve proposed a festival.

2) Do you have plans for ALL the meeting rooms in your venue? Do you have them in a digital professional AV format that production companies recognise and can actually use? Yellowing A3 photocopies are not acceptable. And no, when we’ve redrawn all your rooms for you, you can’t have a copy.

1) Have you got an accurate set of floor plans for the room? No, not that abstract sketch on your website and not a ten-year-old piece of parchment with measurements in ‘chains’ and annotations in Latin! Have you got a proper CAD drawing of the room you’re charging £6,000 a day for, showing all doors, columns, power sockets, heights and widths?