Blogger: Jason Popp, Executive Vice President, International – GES

Wowing your crowd with a successful event is a journey paved with thousands of decisions. Many of them are small, but some can make or break your event — particularly when it comes to venue choice. I’ve attended events throughout the world, and I’ve seen it all.

Avoid these four common venue mistakes, or your party will be a bust before it even starts:

  1. Poor Venue Layout

As a service provider, I can say this with confidence: Multifloor venues are tough to navigate. Nothing complicates setup more than a dozen vendors trying to shove packed dollies into an elevator. Carefully study the floor plan of any venue you’re considering, and make sure it accommodates good traffic flow for attendees and easy setup for vendors.

  1. Complicated Travel Logistics

Attendees have to reach your venue easily. Nothing ruins a potentially great event like a lack of parking or a disruption of public transportation on event day. Having robust public transportation and lots of close parking is invaluable.

Avoid booking your event during planned public transportation stoppages by working with local officials. If parking lot availability is a problem, consider offering valet options or partnering with Uber or Lyft for special event deals.

  1. A Lack of Accommodations

Vendors and attendees from out of town will need a place to sleep. I’ve attended events in the middle of nowhere, with the one or two nearby hotels booked solid. Everyone had to book rooms two towns over. A hotel crisis can also occur if your event coincides with another big show in town. Work with the locality to avoid those headaches.

  1. An Inflexible Venue

Every event has a variety of needs, and the job of the venue ownership is to find creative and proactive ways to accommodate your requests. If a potential venue can’t help you achieve your vision, it’s time to take your business elsewhere. Any event worth investing in is an event worth doing right.

Keep these common mistakes in mind when considering venue options. Before you make the final decision, put yourself in the shoes of each person who will attend your event — guests, vendors, and service providers. Only once you’re sure that the venue will serve everyone’s needs can you start planning to make your event epic.

During the upcoming UFI Congress in Milan (4-7 November 2015) the Special Interest Group on “Large Venues” will review alternative ways of filling exhibition space to the traditional trade show, explore ideas on how to increase revenue, and look at ways of decreasing costs. If you are interested, join us www.ufi.org/milan2015