The Most Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Planning a Central London Event. At 8 Northumberland Avenue it’s our mission to make your life easy. We know all too well the stresses of putting on an event in central London, and we are dedicated to making this as simple and successful as it can be. To that end we felt it would be useful to document for you, our advice on how to avoid the most common pitfalls that can plague the event manager, making any central London venue hire plain sailing. Of course, if you fancy removing the strain entirely then our talented Events Team are here to take your call.
This is critical, and it’s all about securing the best central London venue hire you can. We all know how hard it is to secure attendance for you event. Months of planning, marketing, publicity and press, all at no small cost, and still it’s difficult to guarantee optimum attendance at the event.
Well, very often there’s nothing amiss with your event content, the list of speakers or the quality of the topics, it’s the location. If you’re not easily accessible by road, rail, underground, bus, or on a simple transfer from a major airline then this very often is enough for people to discount or decline your event. Your location might be quirky, but if it’s difficult to reach then you immediately put yourself at a disadvantage.
Consider what will happen in the event of industrial action on the railways / underground. Are there plenty of other choices guests can make in order to reach your venue?
Be sure to choose a central London venue hire with excellent transport links.
Planning a sizeable event is a lot of responsibility and requires a great deal of plate spinning. Whether it’s a large corporate dinner, and awards ceremony, a wedding, a fashion show or a Christmas Party, you will have dozens of different elements that all need to come together to spell success.
Very often, very capable people will feel as if they can handle these things themselves and will attempt to manage the event planning without support. Very often these people will succeed, but some people will realise that this is a full-time job that requires dedication and a lot of soft and hard skills that only come from experience and training.
Using an experienced and well-connected event team is not just about off-loading some of the labour of an event, although that much is true. But it’s about having a team on-site at the venue, to help advise you as to the tone, creative direction, food service, drinks, entertainment, lighting, health and safety and legal requirements that any such event introduces. They have the connections, the time, the experience and infrastructure to help your venue hire transform into the vision you need to deliver success.
At 8 Northumberland Avenue we have just such an events team that offer their support to anyone hiring our venue.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time a successful event will require of you!
Ask anyone what he or she looks forward to the most at a Central London event and the chances are it’s the food and drink.
Very often they are coming to an evening event directly from work and this might be their dinner. Or at the very least this is their after-work drink.
Very often it’s a conference where they have travelled long distances and this might be breakfast. Very often it’s a full day’s programme followed by dinner and drink reception afterwards and you are feeding them from 08.00-midnight.
Either way events are often demanding of people’s energy levels if they are taking in large amounts of information / networking / representing their company on stand and the food and drink is vital to refresh and refuel.
Well, firstly ensure your venue hire has an exceptional creative catering team that can help you with your food and drink service. Having talented resource on site is an enormous help, removing from you a huge number of logistical obstacles that bringing in outside caterers often presents.
Firstly have plenty of tea and coffee. Secondly provide a great breakfast to ensure the day is off to a good start. With a reception you should have imaginative and original reception food as this always helps to break the ice in conversations and typically gets people snapping pictures on their phones. Signature cocktails served by charismatic and well-trained serving staff keeps your guests attended to which keeps them positive, happy, energised and on side.
Shortlist your venues based on those hires offering you help in this area and be sure to consult as to what has worked well in the past!
Whilst you can be sure that your guests will document your event if it’s impressive enough, don’t rely on that. You’ll want a photographer of your own to circulate and ensure that you get good quality images of everything so you can not only report back to any and all stakeholders, but also so you have content to circulate as part of your post-show activity.
Equally there is always something to be said of providing a sense of ‘look what you missed’ to those parties who weren’t able to attend your corporate event this time, but you hope will make it next time.
The sense that anyone can take great pictures on a phone now so ‘let’s ask the events assistant to take some when they’re not doing something else’ always results in one of two things: rushed images that don’t get used, or no images at all due to that person being busy on other duties.
An event set in Narnia? An event under the sea? An event set in a House of Clues?
All of these are examples of a powerful and creative vision that we helped deliver for an event.
The benefit being that once you have your overall vision, most of the creative decisions that then follow become so much easier. And once you can communicate your vision you’ll find that your enquiries, attendance and enjoyment will increase tenfold as you are providing an experience that your guests will likely never have witnessed before.
Take the time to give this some serious thought. Or better still be sure to rely on your venue hire and their creative events team to assist you with that process. The right venue in Central London will be sizeable and flexible enough to allow you to realise any vision, and the right venue hire team will have all the connections required to welcome your guests in to the ‘Lost Palace of Atlantis’ for an evening they will never forget.
No matter how much you circulate, or how much you market to your attendees in advance of the event, you will still never make half the personal impact on your guests as your event staff will. At least, at any sizeable event that is. Most central London event hires will be big venues capable of holding high hundreds and so in most instances you will require help.
Whether it’s serving drinks, helping to orientate your guests, registration, serving food or helping with the general business of making it all run smoothly, there are a lot of duties that involve interaction. Which means that typically your guests will have more interaction with event staff than with you or your team. Which is why making the right impression through your staff is so critical to any successful event.
They must all be briefed well both in the simple business of their responsibilities, but also in the brand of the event. They must be the personal, physical embodiment of your event or your product. You will get a very different experience when you talk to an employee at the Apple store, compared with the employee you meet in your bank. One is a lifestyle brand that is fun, often recreational and aspirational, and the other is someone you trust with your money. Both behave differently because you expect them to.
Be sure your staff are on message with your event and what feeling your guests need to be left with at each stage of the proceedings.
It’s easy to breath a very big sigh of relief after an event. You’ve worked day and night to make it a huge success and you just wanted a few weeks to decompress.
Let’s imagine you’ve run a large trade show with lots of exhibitors, lots of guests, vendors and the like. There may be a couple of hundred people who all came together to make your event the success it was, and you’re about to disappear once the event has ended.
All the exhibitors should be thanked for their support, as well as asking them what their booking experience was, whether the event was a success and how could you make the booking / exhibiting process easier for them next year? Are they likely to exhibit again next year?
All the same could and should be asked of your delegates / attendees, and all the data collated and crunched to see how the event can become bigger and better the following year. The worst outcome would be to have a group of exhibitors or guests experience an inconvenience (difficult vehicular access / slow lines at registration etc.) and not to have been made aware of that and repeat it next year.
Very often these feedback systems are simply deployed by your events teams, or if you don’t’ have experience of these then speak to your venue hire team who can advise the best way to turn this tech to your advantage. Often in Central London we’re dealing with large number of people through the doors of our venue and these large numbers are all influencers in their own way – they are journalists, bloggers, social media influencers, CEO’s or purchasers – they all have a voice and they are all keen to be heard.
You always need a Plan B. Despite the most meticulous of planning and the most stringent rehearsals, there will be something that wasn’t anticipated by anyone. But it’s happened and it’s now your responsibility.
Fortunately, being in Central London means we’re well connected with services, shops, suppliers and the likes and therefore most eventualities are easy resolved. That said, there is always going to be something.
A sound Plan B is an essential part of event planning and a contingency required at every step of production.
What is the plan B if your venue hire isn’t available on the dates you require?
What’s the plan B if your event is weather dependent?
What’s the plan B if the AV doesn’t work?
Whilst we can see why this might be a tempting prospect, this is something that we would strongly encourage you to avoid.
Attending an event often takes a lot of planning. Just one day out of the office, or away from whatever the normal routine of your guests is can often take quite a bit of organising. So your guests want to be stimulated, and they certainly don’t want to feel like it’s just more of the same.
Your guest will want to anticipate something new, and something that will give them a reason to make the effort to attend again.
We’re often spoiled to be working in the venue hire business in London, but we sometimes need to remind ourselves that often a great deal of attendees aren’t from London. Even for those in commuting distance, a trip into a grand venue in London is an occasion, and one that we want to make as enchanting and exciting as possible. The best venue hires in London are those that are adaptable to any imagination, and the best events are those that constantly evolve and make the most of the environment and the material to ensure that not only are guests encouraged to come back year after year, but that new attendees are converted due to the buzz.
8 Northumberland Avenue is a wonderful mix of the old and the new, and is a Central London venue hire that is constantly doing this. Each year our Christmas Party themes change to entice guests back year on year with new and exciting concepts. The same is true of those who choose to spend their New Year’s Eve at London’s most central venue hire.
It’s the same space. The same four walls. But the experience is new every time you walk through the door at an 8 Northumberland Avenue event.
Let’s assume that you’ve taken all the aforementioned advice. The food, drink and environment all look fantastic and the guests are all having a great time. The likelihood is that they are on social media posting pictures and comments about all of this. Here’s where a sensible social media strategy can be deployed to great effect.
Firstly, have a hashtag to collate all the event activity. Those who can’t make the event will want to experience it virtually and feel like they were there. A blend of activity from the event plus the guests makes for a nice combination of ‘official’ and ‘user-generated’ content.
Equally you will want to ‘like’ ‘favourite’ ‘retweet’ as appropriate those guests that are posting great comment about the event, both to thank them, but also to encourage further people to do the same. All this activity is amplifying your message to your advantage. Think about perhaps giving away a free gift to the best tweet of the evening or the best photo. Keep users engaged with a tweet wall on a large screen so users can see how others are experiencing the event and see what pictures they are posting.
This buzz helps others learn about your event which in turn will help you to gain more interest in subsequent years and to build your following. And what’s more, all of this is expected these days from events, and without a high profile presence on social media from the organiser, guests and attendees will take matters into their own hands.
Conversely, too much social media activity can do you a disservice. Pre-event marketing works hard to build up a buzz around an event and to encourage engagement from prospects or attendees. Very often the first step from a prospect it to follow you on social media and to get a feel for the type of event this is proving to be, and in time if they like it they will sign up to attend.
At that point there might be a considerable amount of time between signing up and the event, and if they feel their timeline is inundated with messages they may simply get tired of hearing from you. They may simply feel as if they know enough about the event already to even warrant attending. It’s a tough balance to strike but good social media analytics from an enterprise system can help.
As ever, a good central London venue hire with a talented events management team can advise you as to how to strike the right balance in these matters. How to pique the interest of your prospects without overdoing it.
This brings us to end of our article. Hopefully some sage advice from our team, built over many years of helping make events in our great capital a huge success. Venue hire, especially venue hire in central London is often a big decision. There are a number of excellent venues to choose from, and the hire is no small investment, so we appreciate you wanting to make this not only an easy process, but also a rewarding one. Whether you’re welcoming guest from abroad into London, or whether it’s friends and family at a grand wedding; whether it’s a corporate event to reward staff, or it’s a product launch where you are all about creating hype around a product or service – the same rules apply.
A great central London venue hire, with the right team, food and drink and tech, along with some good advice will make the event go with a bang and have your guests leaving feeling valued, entertained, fed, and looking forward to the next time they visit.