There is a comical saying about event planners in the events industry that we often see floating around on social media:
“I’m an event planner. I solve problems you don’t you have in ways you won’t understand”.
Have you ever wondered that means?
Let me tell you. It means that event planners are a special breed of people. One small change to your event often means several other changes you did not anticipate. We have a natural ability to see, analyze and assess potential problems before they even happen.
I’m an event planner. I solve problems you don’t know you have in ways you won’t understand.
Let’s use a simple floor plan change as an example.
You have an event that hosts on average 350 people. You always host your event at half rounds (that means using round tables and only putting about half the number of chairs that can fit at the table so that no one has their back to the stage). At half rounds your space is sold out, limiting the growth of your event.
This year you decide that you are going to seat everyone theatre style. Great idea! Definitely way more room for your attendees, you can continue to grow the event with this simple seating fix.
Event growth problem solved, great news! Or is it? Here are the questions that we start asking immediately;
Overall flow of the event
- Will the entrance to the event be through the same doors?
- Where do the coffee stations go?
- Where do the water stations go?
- How will we identify the specific seating arrangements that are usually in place?
- We need 5 chairs along the left side of the stage, where will those go now?
- Do we like the big open space in the back of the room now? Can we use that for something?
- If we exceed our expected attendance how will the seating impact the exhibitor tables in the room?
- Where are we going to put the silent auction table? Can we put that in the open space in the back of the room? That would actually be great for drawing attention to the auction items. But if that space fills up with chairs because of additional attendees we won’t have a space for it.
- The AV table is now going to be in the middle of the seating, how will that affect site lines?
- With the AV table in the middle of the room how will the movement of people to and from the table affect the attendees sitting in that area?
- The people that sit in the very back seats, will they be able to see? Do we need to add screens halfway down the room so those at the back can see better?
- The awards table has to be moved, how will that affect the flow of the awards ceremony? Can the person passing up the awards to the stage hand them up fast enough? Will we need more people to help with that now?
- We usually clear out a section of tables to set up the VIP area for the awards ceremony, how will we differentiate the VIP area now?
- During the awards ceremony the bar can only be located in 2 locations in the room because of access required for staff of the venue. We are now set up in that space so where will the bar be moved to and how will that impact the flow of people going to the bar during the ceremony?
- Will it impact bar sales?
- Will it impact our mandatory bar minimums?
- During the awards ceremony, people usually buy drinks but now they won’t have a place to put them down. Will that affect bar sales? Will people be uncomfortable with holding their drinks?
- Maybe we can use the space at the back of the room to put some cruiser tables so people can stand?
- Are cruiser tables an additional cost or does the venue include them? We’ll need linens for them, that’s an additional cost. Are those tables a sponsorship opportunity?
- Where will the awards photo area go? Usually as recipients step off the stage they go right to where the photographer is to have their photo taken. How will that work now?
Do you see how a small change in seating affects so many other things? Many of those questions can be answered easily and the problems can likely be solved without too much effort however those are all now issues that need to be managed because of one small change – half rounds to theatre style seating.
What seems like a simple change can easily be a big change that will affect many areas of your event that you haven’t thought of.
The good news is, your event planner will see those potential issues immediately and will address them so that your event can continue to grow and the event will still run smoothly.