Planning a corporate conference or meeting involves managing not only the logistical considerations of event planning but also keeping in mind both your organization's goals and the needs and preferences of your guests. Choosing a venue that offers meeting packages can lighten your planning responsibilities and allow you to focus more on achieving your meeting goals. To help with this decision, we've put together a list of things to consider and actions to take when evaluating what meeting packages will work best for your next event and allow you to save time as you plan.
Determine Your Exact Needs
The first step in planning your event should always be to develop an event plan that specifically details every need that the venue can help with on event day. Once you've narrowed down the right venue location, amount of space needed for your guest count, and overall aesthetic of the desired space, start to consider the logistical needs for your event. Will you need catering at the event? Are you looking to have a post-meeting reception? What type of A/V and lighting needs do you have? Are you looking for the venue to help you with decorating the space or installing signage? Don't make the mistake of thinking of these questions as afterthoughts - they are all important elements in the look, feel, flow, and ultimately, the success of your event.
Determine What the Venue Offers Without a Package
Venues in New York City range from those that ask you to bring in all services to those that are completely full service. Most venues lie somewhere between the two extremes. When looking at venues, see what they offer without a package. Is there any furniture included with the rental? Is there in-house lighting or A/V? Can you make use of their signage opportunities, both inside and outside of the venue? If you have a trusted vendor or sponsor for the event, are you able to use them for catering, production, or tech? Ask the venue whether they have exclusive venues and whether they are union. Often, the answer can vary depending on the service/s you need. For example, rules regarding liquor service may be more strict than rules for bringing in your own caterer.
Get the Details of What the Packages Include
Venues create their packages based on what the typical meeting will need for their event and what they've seen work most successfully in their specific venue. As a result, packages will vary between each venue depending on the space layout, they type of venue, and the type of clients that host events there. Since all events are different, it's important to look back on your event needs and compare them with the package that the venue offers. To make a true comparison, make sure you fully understand what is offered in each package. Ask the venue about anything that is unclear or seems to be missing. Often venues can provide you both with a summary as well as specifics about what's included like a full technical inventory, furniture list, or sample catering menu. At this point, ask for the cost associated with any of your needs that are not included. You may find that it is far easier, less time consuming, and more affordable to have the venue manage many of the logistics than to coordinate and contract with a number of different vendors.
Ask What's Possible
Venue's know (and should embrace) that each client has different and unique needs. If you find that a package doesn't quite match your event needs, ask the venue what adjustments are possible and what they will need from you to make this happen. A good venue staff can deliver almost anything if given a “heads up” and a little time.
Take Advantage of Venue Relationships
If a venue can't offer what you need, ask them to recommend you to a vendor that can. Venue's that are dedicated to working with clients and offering a more full service experience will have a number of vendors they can recommend for you, whether it be an expert event planner, florist, videographer, graphic designer, or rental company. These referrals are most likely based on long-term working relationships with vendors who've proven to be reliable and deliver results that keep clients coming back to the venue year after year.