If you run an annual event, then it can be a good idea to keep the same venue year after year. Knowing your venue means they can anticipate some of your needs. Your past attendees will remember where things are which makes everything flow smoother. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you will have even signed a multi-year contract with your venue to help cut down on the cost of moving your event.
No matter how you look at it, there are plenty of perks to staying in the same place. However, whether we plan on it or not, sometimes, it becomes necessary to change things up and move on to a different event space.
As they say, when it comes to venues, it’s all about location — so if you know you need to make a move it’s best to take the opportunity and take your event to a whole new city.
And moving your event into a completely new market can be exciting from a business standpoint. With a new city comes an entirely new market for your event to explore. There are new local audiences for you to expand your reach to, and new local vendors and sponsors to make connections with.If you know you need to make a move it’s best to take the opportunity and take your event to a whole new city. Click To Tweet
Unfortunately, moving venues within the same area can be difficult enough let alone if you hope to transport it to a brand new city!
But luckily, like most things event-related the key is to have a well thought out plan. That’s why today we’re diving into some simple strategies you can begin using right away to easily move venues.
Deciding if it’s the right time to move your event
Sometimes, due to a natural disaster, a change of ownership, etc., the decision to move your event venue isn’t something you can control.
However, if the choice to expand is within your control then the more time you can give yourself the better. Because in many ways, moving your event to another city is a lot like starting your event planning process over from square one.
If the vendors or sponsors you’ve worked with in the past were local and don’t come to your new area then you’ll need to find new people to partner with.
Maybe even the city you’re moving to is bigger — and ergo more expensive — so your budget will need to be adjusted.
Not to mention the city you’re moving to has even more potential audience members, and your local marketing efforts will need to be up to snuff.
Therefore, the more time you give yourself to think through all the elements of a move before pulling the plug on your old venue, the more you’ll lay the groundwork to make everything afterward a whole lot easier.
Choosing a New Venue From Afar
Moving can cause a lot of hiccups for anyone who has attended your event in the past. Make it as seamless for them as possible by choosing a new venue that is still as convenient for your existing audience as it is for your new one.
Before you make any sudden changes to your event’s location, take a look at where the majority of your attendees were coming from in previous years. If you see that many of them travel from a specific region or city, it could be a good indicator not only that it’s time to move, but also where (Eventbrite).
However, if a large portion of your attendees are from the surrounding area, which would mean they will now have to travel to your event, it would be worth expanding your marketing reach into your new area to help compensate for those attendees who will not be willing to travel this year.
Finally, a good deal more care needs to be made when choosing a venue outside of the city you’re based. While picking any venue can be a difficult process in and of itself when you’re not there in person all sorts of mishaps are bound to happen.
The most important thing is to take some time and travel to the area you want to move to and personally walk through each potential venue. In doing so, as Whova suggests, “You’ll want to have a rough idea of what types of activities you’ll be including, the amenities you’ll require, and the needs of your team and the attendees. While narrowing down your selection, get an illustrated floor plan of each venue, and walk through your favorites at least once, making note of important things such as where the outlets are and where AV equipment is or can be located.”
While it may seem just as easy to take a digital tour or delegate these tasks to another key (or even local) staff member, the value of going through the venues in person cannot be overstated.
Giving Everyone Adequate Notice
Once you’ve officially decided to move, and the venue for next year’s event has been picked, it’s now time to share the good news with all those involved.
Keeping clear lines of communication open during this phase is key to helping everyone feel like they’re being addressed, heard and understood. Or as Everwall puts it, “You need to tell everyone about the change. Let anyone who has attended know what’s going on and make sure you’re not leaving anyone in the lurch.” This goes for sponsors, speakers, vendors, registered and potential attendees. No one can be left out of the loop. It can even be a beneficial idea to appoint a member of staff specifically for this job so that no one is left with a lingering question.
But how you choose to deliver notice of your move will change based on their relationship to your event. Let’s look at two of the big ones:
On the attendee side of things, as always, some attendees will be more reticent about the move than others, especially if your new venue is in another state. Therefore, providing adequate notice that you’re switching cities can mean sending out multiple email reminders and social media posts so that no one is caught unaware.
Switching locations also means that some attendees will need to factor in travel costs and bookings in their decision to attend. So not only make sure you give them more than enough time and warning to make those arrangements early, but plan on some of your previous audience not being able to attend.
However, much of the annoyance of moving can be avoided by having a plan in place ahead of time to deal with any annoyances caused by the move.
For example, you can offer an ‘early bird’ promotional deal just to previous attendees to help them compensate for potential travel costs. Or you can do some of the legwork for them and have a list of nearby hotels that would alleviate them having to find one on their own.
Like attendees, switching cities can also be difficult for any repeat speakers you plan to have back at your event. Click To Tweet Perhaps you have some great speakers in your lineup that were all local to your previous venue. Now instead of being a shoe-in, you must also consider travel costs in their agreement to speak at your event.
Letting all your speakers know about your move before you send out speaker requests or call for papers will be extremely helpful for letting them know exactly what they’re getting into. Make sure you include whether they’ll be compensated for travel expenses, and how long they’re expected to stay before/after the event.
Depending on the size and frequency of your event, it can even be nice to notify those regular repeat speakers in a 1-1 email so that they don’t feel overlooked.
Making the Move
Now that everyone knows the venue is changing you can plan your event as you typically would.
However, when it comes to the week before the event, it’s always a good idea to give yourself a little extra time at the event space to get acquainted.
While most event venues won’t let you get moved in until your contract starts the day or so before your event, being able to get a feel for the space, be present for any deliveries that may come through early from vendors or sponsors, and setting up a game plan with your staff members can make your day-of run much more smoothly.