Picking Your Events Location

I grew up working at a Christian bookstore that was owned by my parents.  Every summer we took a family vacation to what was called Christian Booksellers Convention, now International Christian Retailing Show.

CBA, as we always called it, was always held in a family-friendly location like Dallas, Atlanta, Orlando, just to name a few.  The event planners for CBA knew that most of their attendees were owners of “mom and pop” bookstores, and would be bringing their families as a vacation.

As you start to plan your event, picking a location is a very important factor.  But how do you go about choosing a location?

Part of choosing a location has to do with the type of event you’re having.  Is it all lecture?  Do you need a big banquet hall?  Is it purely a convention type event?  Or does it need all of the above?

Types of restaurants around your location are important as well.  The event location you’ve chosen is great, and you’re really excited about it.  Only problem is fast food restaurants are the only thing close by.  To some that might be ok, but others might prefer healthier options.  Pick a location with a variety of places to eat.

Recreational things to do.  If your event is family-friendly, you’ll want a location with those types of things like amusement parks, hiking, zoos, museums, etc.  I remember my brother went on a tour of Cowboy’s Stadium one year in Dallas.

If you’re event is more for networking, then maybe you’ll want a location that suites that.  You’ll probably need lots of lobby type sitting area, or places were large groups can gather.

The bottom line is to know your audience.  What are their likes and dislikes?  What do they want to get our of your event?  Why are they coming to your event?  Answering those questions will go a long way towards helping you pick your events location.

Deciding "Where" To Have My Event Is Easy, Right?

Today’s post is the 4th in a 5-part series on the 5 W’s of planning an event. Those 5 W’s are Who, What, When, Where and Why. Previous posts have addressed Who, What and When. (If you have not already, I would encourage you to go back and read each of them.) Now it’s time to take a look at what should go into determining “where” to have your event.

How many of you think choosing “where” to have your event is all fun and games? I mean, come on. Don’t meeting planners get to travel to great places and enjoy being pampered by hotels and CVB’s anxious to get their business? Well, yes, that is probably true for those planning large events, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Whether you’re planning a conference for 2,000 or a retreat for 20, choosing where to have the event is serious business. You can do a great job with the who, what and when questions, but drop the ball on where to hold the event and you’ll run the very real risk of watching all those efforts go spinning down the drain. Definitely not something we want to see happen!

When planning where, the first thing you must decide is whether to hold the event on-site at your church or ministry, or take the event off-site to a Christian conference/retreat center, hotel or convention center. While I would always recommend holding your event off-site, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. It really comes down to the type of event it is and what it is you hope to accomplish.

I’m sure you’ve all heard it said the 3 most important words in real estate are location, location, location. What works for real estate also works for events. Once you’ve determined to take your event off-site, choosing the location/venue is the next step in the “where” process. It’s critical you select a location and venue that fits your group and their needs. Here are some sample questions you should consider when deciding where to hold your event:

  • How far from home are people willing to travel for this event?
  • Where will my attendees be coming from?
  • Will the majority of attendees be driving or flying?
  • What levels of service do my attendees expect?
  • How much can my attendees afford to pay?
  • Where was the event last year and how did that impact attendance?

Choosing where to have your event should not be taken lightly. Take the time to select a location and venue that best fits your group’s needs, pocketbook and objectives. I promise you won’t be sorry!

What has worked best for you in the past?