The Elements of Event Success
By: Matt Bradford
The speakers are booked, the guests invited, and the gift bags packed. Now that everything is coming together on your end, what is your venue doing to make your event a success?
Surely, there are many venue elements that contribute to a memorable event; some common sense, and others that can go overlooked. If you're planning to put your meeting or conference over the top, here are some considerations to keep in mind.
Comfortable furnishings are critical to a guest's ability to sit, enjoy, and absorb event programming.
“When people come to a venue for a conference or meeting, they're doing so to learn, listen, or celebrate something and they're expecting to be comfortable while doing that, whether it's for a couple hours or the entire day,” says Luis Ribeiro, Director of Sales and Marketing with Montreal's Centre Mont-Royal.
As such, ergonomic chairs and effective lighting can go a long way towards keeping attendees alert and engaged, while clean and clutter-free tables can set a professional tone.
“You have to remember that these meetings are working environments, and you don't see a lot of people at work putting a table cloth on their desk or conference table,” says Ribeiro, noting, “If you're walking into a room for a conference, you want it to look like you're about to learn, not eat.”
A roll-up TV and VCR doesn't cut it anymore for presentation. To really capture an audience's attention, and keep it engaged, presentations need to incorporate cutting-edge audio and visual equipment run by experienced technical teams (either in-house or contracted). That means working with venues that have invested in HD projectors, high-fidelity speakers, and tech-savvy professionals who can roll with any requests or technical hiccups.
“Guests spend a lot of their time in a conference room watching and listening to content. That means the audio equipment needs to be reliable and clear, and managed by people who know what they are doing,” stresses Ribeiro.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Traditional offices can get by with recycling the air a few times a day, however venues that host hundreds – if not thousands – of guests in the same room must do so at greater quantities to maintain a high air quality.
“You need a great quality air system to keep these people alert,” says Ribeiro. “Your ventilation system has to be pushing out clean, recycled air constantly; for example, as much as 40 times a day for a venue like ours, which is 50 per cent more than the average”
Food is one of the most important ingredients to an event's success. Tasty and high-quality snacks and refreshments can give a group the energy it needs to stay focused through the day; while delicious and nutritious meals can serve up memorable occasions before, during, and after scheduled sessions.
Notes Ribeiro: “We do surveys after every event, and our clients consistently tell us that food is one of the most important details. So as much as you have high air quality, ergonomic chairs, laminated tables, and great lighting, if your guests haven't eaten well, chances are that's going to have the biggest effect on their impressions of the event. That's why we prepare all our meals in our in-house kitchens under the careful supervision of executive chef Yves Malenfant.”
The Human Element
Naturally, one of the most important factors to a venue's success is its people. That includes expert hosts, technicians, chefs, and support staff who can work as one to turn a planner's vision into a reality.
“Everyone needs to be in synch and on the same page. Not just the frontline sales people, but the event coordinators and on-the-floor staff who are taking care of the client from as soon as they walk in to the moment they leave,” insists Ribeiro.
Luis Ribeiro is the Director of Sales and Marketing with Montreal's Centre Mont-Royal. For more, visit centremontroyal.com/en/.