By Sean Spencer, head of IET Venues and Facilities
Working in a venue you need to have your wits about you, be ready to go at a moment’s notice, and if possible, be in two places at once.
This has been very apt in recent weeks at IET London: Savoy Place, where we’ve been called upon to host numerous high profile events at late notice. Sometimes an event is planned months in advance as part of a promotional tour, others will come in response to something that has happened 24 or 48 hours before. Either way your team and venue needs to be ready for any eventuality.
Here are my top tips to being ‘venue ready’:
- Be flexible and adaptable. Whether it is part of a client’s agenda or not. This can be anything, from being flexible with timings to offering movable capacities to add additional stages or make room for podiums.
- Know your venue. Ensure your team understand and explore the venue inside out, get to know the intricacies of the building, from AV facilities to room configurations and security points.
- Consult with your team. For enquires with less than 12 hours’ notice, pull the heads of department together to run through the media event and have contingencies in place for power, data, staffing requirements and security.
- Make sure your venue is secure. Clients will want reassurance, especially for high-profile events or speakers. Ensure you have multiple access points to allow for discreet entry into and out of the building.
- Add benefits. Once T&C’s, access, security and capacity has been agreed, there may be little else required. Offering added tech connectivity and accessibility, for little or no charge, will greatly benefit your venue.
- Set the standard from top to bottom. Maintain high speed connectivity throughout the venue; digital fibre core and fast Wi-Fi will encourage guests to post real time online content, in and around the venue.
- Be ready with a contingency. Delays are possible, it may affect set-up or guest arrival, but that is part of the unique challenge. Set-up VIP green rooms and you won’t disturb delegates; lock off lifts and seal off private access to speed up delivery and privacy to the event space.
- Construct your wow factor. Create somewhere that is recognisable, for delegates and television viewers, without having to set foot in the building. Make the most of a backdrop (if you have one), location, utilise your venue history or instigate your own USP.
- Tell people. Reputation goes a long way so share your successes. It’s a good sign when dignitaries, global business and well respected speakers return to your venue; they understand you have the skills and team to deliver their needs.