Delivering successful events. Don’t bring me problems – try solutions instead.

The other day, I had a meeting with the lovely people at ExCel. The venue has a great reputation for delivering successful events, so I was hopeful that it would work for one of our long-standing clients who plan to hold a pan-European technical training and networking event there later in the year. But could Excel deliver on the brief? Not surprisingly, there were lots of questions, variables and ‘what-ifs’, as you’d expect at this stage of the proceedings. But what struck me most was the great attitude of everyone I met.  Nothing was too much trouble.  No-one batted an eyelid at any of the – sometimes outrageous – requests I made.

There was none of the usual head-shaking or sharp intakes of breath we’ve come to expect each time we approach a prospective venue for this particularly challenging annual event. Instead, there were creative solutions for each of the potential problems we discussed. And a ‘can-do’ attitude that rose to every challenge we identified along the way. But what immediately won me over was the team’s cheery enthusiasm. Indeed, it got me thinking about the importance of personal relationships when it comes to delivering successful events.

Good people to work with

At JB Events, we have several long-standing clients who come back to us time and time again.  We’d like to think this is not just because we do a great job for our clients (even though I say so myself) but because we’re good people to work with.  We absorb the potential complications of each client’s event on their behalf. We provide them with solutions to any problems that arise.  And we’re able to do this because we choose our venues and logistics partners carefully. We only work with like-minded people.

I know this sounds like common sense, a logical step in the process of engaging an event manager and checking their credentials in the same way that you’d check out a venue or event space.  But, sadly, that’s not always the case. Just as choosing the wrong venue can scupper your event’s ROI, so choosing an event manager based solely on cost and credentials can be a disaster waiting to happen.

The importance of communication

Communication is key at every step of the way. Firstly, there’s engaging a partner like JB Events to project manage and deliver an event that meets and even exceeds the expectations of its stakeholders. But it’s also essential that everyone at the chosen venue understands what is required and is committed to delivering their particular piece of the jigsaw puzzle in a timely and effective manner.  

Each step of the process calls for the kind of ‘can do’ attitude that so impressed me at ExCel.  In my book, this can make or break the deal.

How to choose a venue

Out of interest, and in the name of research for this article, when I returned to the office after my meeting, I Googled ‘how to choose a venue’.  I was immediately inundated with sensible information. The following check points are definitely a priority:

  • understand what’s included in the price
  • be confident that the location is easily accessible for delegates
  • be clear about what services and amenities are available, F and B facilities, AV and technical support.  And so on…

But rarely did I come across any advice about assessing the attitude (and capabilities) of the venue support team. And I’d encourage everyone to make this a priority too. 

  • Have they understood the brief – and do they demonstrate their understanding by asking intelligent questions? 
  • Do they have a ‘can-do’ attitude?  
  • Are they quick to grab tricky challenges by the horns and work them through to find sensible solutions? 
  • Do you trust them?  
  • Do they bring you problems or solutions?  

It’s not difficult to work out what the right answers to these questions should be, so make sure they’re part of your criteria when assessing potential venues (and event organisers!).  It might mean the difference between success and failure.