In this 2nd week’s article we will cover location and dates when sourcing a conference venue. Location and dates go hand in hand as most of the points to note depend on each other.
Part 1 of this series can be found here https://venuepages.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/organising-a-conference/
Should readers want info or articles published on specific areas, please feel free to contact the writer and these will be considered.
LOCATION AND DATES FOR YOUR CONFERENCE
Location and dates
Some points to note when considering the location and the dates of your conference are: –
a) How will delegates be commuting to the conference venue? If delegates will be driving, take into consideration driving time to avoid delegates arriving late. The programme or agenda should take this into account and be drafted accordingly.
b) If the host of the conference will be transporting delegates to and from the conference venue, call for quotes from transport companies or in-house transfers to budget accordingly to get delegates to and from the venue timeously.
c) If delegates will be arriving and departing by air, take into account the frequency of flights on airlines to and from the destination. Some conference venues in South Africa have limited flights which may be more expensive than other destinations. They may also not run on, say for instance a Sunday, which will result in delegates staying an extra night or arriving a day early. Take this into account when setting your dates to ensure that you have a decent turnout at your conference.
d) Check what other conferences are taking place at the same venue or at the same destination as yours. Often delegates need to book their own accommodation and if many conferences are taking place simultaneously at the same destination (i.e. Sandton), hotel rooms may be in short supply and priced slightly higher than normal. Also commuting to the conference centre may be difficult if the conference overlaps with others at the same time in the same destination or venue.
e) It is always advisable to view the venue before confirming a reservation. Most hotels or conference venues in South Africa will gladly invite you on a site inspection to view their facilities and experience their service first hand. You should take up this offer in order to see, first-hand, what the food, the facilities and the service is like to ensure that your delegates will be comfortable and that the venue will work for your conference.
f) Take into account the time of year your conference will take place and the climate at that time, in that region, and advise delegates accordingly. You may be planning a lot of outdoor activities and it won’t help if it is the rainy season. Or you may be planning to do some white water rafting and it won’t help if it is cold.
g) Take into account school holidays. The venue may be a popular holiday destination and you may find that it is noisy and very busy with holiday makers. Rates may be higher too.
h) Some venues, in some areas, insist that you book for the whole weekend as they are primarily a leisure establishment. Try and change location or ensure that you are not setting dates over a weekend if this will cause a problem.
i) At the end of the day it is common sense, but I hope that this article will have given you at least one point to consider that you had not considered when setting dates and location for your conference.
In next week’s article we will cover catering for your delegates. In the meantime please feel free to comment and ask questions which may not have been covered in this article.
- How To Get It Right When Choosing A Conference Venue (zabble.wordpress.com)
- Organising a Conference (venuepages.wordpress.com)