Even if you run a small team that operates in a casual work environment, ticking through conference planning checklist is an essential step toward maximizing the potential of any offsite company event. Both before and after choosing a venue, having a detailed plan can not only help you avoid oversights but ensure you’re asking the right questions before you book. Don’t forget about these basics when you’re putting together a corporate event planning checklist for your remote conference.
Have a parking plan.
One of the quickest paths to getting your conference off to a bad start is by neglecting the parking situation, which can leave employees fending for themselves in terrain they may not be familiar with. Ideally your venue would have plenty of onsite parking to make your job as easy as possible, but it’s possible you won’t have that luxury. With an assist from sites like Best Parking and Google Maps, or just thoroughly scoping out a location in person, you can easily overcome most parking problems that arise – even if onsite parking is always preferable. If you’ll be relying on Uber/Lyft or public transportation, you’ll also want to see if there are suitable pickup/drop-off spots. Dedicating only a few minutes to the parking logistics is all it takes to make sure getting in and out of your conference is pulled off without a hitch. It’s also a highly advisable to go over the parking plan with your team beforehand.
Is it a practical location?
No matter how nice the venue, a location that’s difficult to get to is almost always a red flag. If possible, a centrally-located spot near an airport or train station can help make transportation a breeze, although you’ll also want to consider the proximity to overnight accommodations if your conference will be lasting multiple days. An extra few minutes in the car, train or bus is well worth it if the conference site is right down the street from the hotel. When putting together your meeting planning checklist and conference plan, thinking from the perspective of the team members is a critical part of getting your event headed in the right direction, especially when looking at the location practicalities.
Don’t forget about comfort in the seating arrangements.
A team leader can easily fall in love with a venue before fully considering the seating arrangements, which is also exactly why you need a great conference planning checklist in the first place. Once you’ve determined the venue’s capacity will work for your event, objectively envisioning how your conference’s program will work with the seating arrangements is a simple step that often is overlooked. Does the venue have enough flexibility to fit your team? Is your team better suited to a round table seating arrangement or a classroom setting? Does the furniture reflect the type of atmosphere you’re hoping to cultivate? Even though seating may not seem to be one of the quintessential parts of selecting a venue, an uncomfortable or inappropriate seating arrangement can undermine the entire conference.
Companies can easily get used to their own technology at meetings and conferences, which is why team leaders need to pay special attention to the AV components of a prospective offsite venue. Some of the factors to consider when planning an event include projector capabilities, the sound system, the strength of the Wi-Fi, and the services that are a part of the rental. Knowing exactly what’s included in the AV setup – along with the specific costs – is a fundamental part of evaluating a venue’s capabilities and a central component of any conference planning checklist. If you don’t happen to be especially tech savvy, including a more seasoned tech guy/gal in the planning process is also a must if you want to make sure you’ll have the right equipment and tech setup for your event.
Finding the flow with the right breakout spots.
There’s a reason companies all over the world devote a decent break area to employees, and the same holds doubly true when you’re putting together an offsite conference. No matter what type of conference you have planned, having a great breakout space is an easy conduit to organically increasing socialization and encouraging team engagement writ large. Breaking up your conference with some down time in an excellent – preferably scenic – space can not only help make it a nice change-of-pace but help increase productivity during the more formal portions of the conference. The right breakout spot can also help you capitalize on possibilities that rarely present themselves when you’re doing a conference in-house, letting a team leader or manager highlight the features of a carefully chosen venue.
Don’t forget the refreshments.
Team leaders should look at refreshments as an excellent chance to show off the local scene, as they can be both a perfect complement to down time and a conversation starter. Sure, picking up coffee from an international chain is rarely frowned upon on an average day, but finding a local gem is likely to be much more appreciated by the rest of the team. If you’ll be heading out for meals or having a catered event, are there good options nearby to accommodate you? A wise team manager with a conference venue checklist will also look for food that is both delectable and nutritious, helping to keep team members sharp and focused throughout the entire conference. For teams that would like to include alcohol, asking your hosts and/or searching for information about relevant alcohol restrictions and required permits will help you avoid any potential problems and let you focus on enjoying the event.
Setup and teardown logistics.
One area where you’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page as your venue host is with the logistics surrounding setup and teardown, making it a valuable entry for any conference planning checklist. Most importantly, you’ll need to know whether setup and teardown time is included in the reservation and how much overall time you’ll have for the process. A miscommunication or a team leader who doesn’t read the fine print could end up with additional charges if teardown goes beyond the allotted time for the event. But it’s worth remembering that your venue hosts also want you to have the perfect conference, which is why all it should take is the right questions and attention to detail. While it can be easy to rush ahead to the main components of your conference, taking a little time to figure out the setup logistics and ask relevant questions is always well worth the effort.
If you are looking for somewhere to host your next conference The Point team is happy to help! Just send a message over to our team and we will be happy to help plan the perfect event!