Businesses book venues for events of all kinds. From small meetings to international conferences, organisations require the venue of their choice to be able to meet the specific needs of each occasion. The majority of larger locations assist those organising events by providing the services of trained planners who are familiar with the way in which things are run and have contacts with local providers of additional services that may be required.
One important area to consider when selecting an event venue is the provision of food to delegates. Conferences are often attended by people unaccustomed to the area in which they are held, and those who have travelled will benefit from pre-arranged transport, accommodation and catering. Most venues will be able to provide some form of food to attendees during the day (at lunch time), but may not provide breakfast and evening meals unless they are also providing sleeping rooms. It is vital that organisations planning an event start to investigate catering options before making their final location selection. Below, we explore the information needed to make the right decisions about venues and catering:
- Will the venue be able to organise catering during the event? If for more than one day, can they do this for all days whilst providing some variety for attendees?
- How many meals will the venue be able to provide per day?
- Can the venue cater for formal meals, if so, how many can it seat? (This may be less than the seating capacity for larger auditoriums)
- What kind of meals can be provided? To some extent, this may be governed by the size of the event, but buffets and set menus are often options.
- Can the venue cater for special dietary requirements? This will also require delegates to be asked whether they have any food allergies or beliefs which will prevent them from eating certain food types.
- How much choice will there be in terms of dining room table layout?
- The quality of food provided is important – of course, there may be a set event budget, but ensure this is in keeping with the impression you wish to make on those attending.
- Try to ensure that there are both healthy and more indulgent options and that menus are neither too adventurous nor too bland.
- Ensure that you have an approximation as to how long each dining option will take. Seated meals are potentially much longer than buffets, which could impact on the timing of the rest of the event.
- Cost – find out how much each type of meal will cost and choose the best quality options within budget. Do not forget to include the cost of any beverages.
- Remember to explore options for the provision of breaks during the day/s as well and whether light snacks and drinks can be provided in a timely manner.
- If delegates will be staying in nearby hotels, check whether the hotels in which delegates are staying provide breakfast or evening meals.
From choosing the right speakers to organising accommodation, there is a lot to do when organising events. To ensure an occasion is as successful as possible, it is certainly worth utilising the experience of event planners within venues. No matter how large or small your plans, we wish you every success!