When planning an event which is targeted at a professional body of individuals within the hospitality industry, there are several questions which need to be answered, not least where the best venue to host such an event is likely to be located. In this case the “Roof Garden” is seen as a particularly appropriate choice, as it offers the state-of-the-art facilities necessary to deliver a seminar on social media and is centrally located, from geographical point of view. It is also an innovative new venue which is looking to raise its own profile and is therefore more negotiable when it comes to budgetary options. All of these factors are considered in the report below.
Introduction and Aims
It is proposed that a training session and networking opportunity event will be hosted in central London for approximately 50 delegates, all of whom are relatively high up in the management scale, in hotels across the UK (Berridge, 2007). Several different parameters have been laid out for the chosen venue and the structure of the event and these will be taken into account when looking at the ultimate choice of location which is “The Roof Garden”.
The purpose of this report is to identify why this venue has been chosen and how the event will be managed, as well as looking, in more detail, at issues associated with the activity, such as food and beverage options that are available and their final selection, and how the event will be evaluated, so as to make improvements for any future events, as well as scrutinising the budget and control measures that are required in an event of this nature (Allen et al. 2008).
Several factors are deemed to be particularly important when choosing the venue and type of event to be managed. Whilst there is no intention to make a profit on the trading day, there is still a budget which needs to be maintained, as each individual delegate will pay just ?15 per person and there will also be ?1,500 which was obtained through sponsorship. Other relevant factors include the fact that the event needs to be relatively centrally located, as delegates are travelling from a broad range of different geographic regions. Consideration will also need to be given to the precise content of the course, in order to ensure that the chosen venue has the relevant facilities available (Catherwood & Van Kirk, 1992). Therefore, while the actual content of the course will be for the client to determine, having a detailed understanding of these issues will, in fact, be critical, to ensure that the appropriate venue is selected, so that all of the needs for the course can be facilitated.
Chosen Venue and Event Management
Before looking specifically at the chosen venue, it is helpful to gain an understanding of the key aims and objectives of the event, so that the chosen venue can be looked at, in more detail (Eriksson & Hjalmsson, 2000).
The main aim of the event is to encourage those within the hospitality industry to make better use of social media for their marketing; therefore, it is going to be essential that any venue chosen has state-of-the-art technology to enable the trainers to display the best options available to the delegates and for the delegates themselves to be able to experiment with technology to which they may not have access, in their own workplace. Secondly, the event aims to offer networking opportunities to those attending the course, and this again requires certain physical attributes to be present within the venue. Bearing this in mind and the stated budget, the venue which has been chosen, namely “the Roof Garden” has several key attributes attached to it which would make it the ideal venue for this event (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2002).
Given the nature of the delegates likely to be attending the event and the fact that these are from the hospitality management sector and are therefore likely to have very particular expectations regarding an invent venue, choosing a venue that is well versed in hosting this type of event is seen as crucially important, as the delegates are unlikely to tolerate any form of naivete or lack of professionalism. Furthermore, the aim of the event is to put forward new ideas to those involved in hospitality management; therefore, if the event itself is hosted in a non-forward looking venue, it will not gain a large amount of credibility (Tum, et al. 2005).
It is recognised the chosen venue has state-of-the-art technology facilities as part of its business centre and this is one of the key reasons that this venue immediately came to the forefront. Having the necessary facilities in place is absolutely fundamental, given the primary aim of the event.
Although it was possible to host the event anywhere within a 50 mile radius of London, the chosen venue is, in fact, extremely central to London and a short walk away from High Street Kensington tube station. This is important for several different reasons. From a practical point of view, making sure it is centrally located means that it is more readily available to a wider range of delegates, but by being centrally located, also assists in gaining credibility (Wagen, 2005).
As well as having the technology available, this venue was seen as ideal, due to several other factors which made it the perfect choice for this event. As part of the venue, there are three themed gardens which have a panoramic view over central London. This means that the vast majority of the delegates will not been working in a hotel or venue with similar attributes and this will make the entire training day a novel experience for the delegates (Wagen, 2007).
The venue is actually part of the Sir Branson Empire and is therefore also renowned for the quality service which is provided by staff members. All of these factors were seen as important, alongside the physical attributes of the venue, as the whole experience needed to stand out to the delegates, all of whom already have preconceived ideas as to what hospitality should offer.
Food and Beverage Options
The second main aim of the event is to host the networking session which will be undertaken as part of the working day lunch. With this in mind, the food and beverage options that are made available to delegates are also considered to be an important aspect of the choice of venue. The budget, particularly for central London, is relatively limited and therefore a buffet seemed to be the most practical option. Furthermore, as the intention is to establish a networking session as part of the lunch hour, it is necessary to ensure that individuals can eat relatively quickly, so that the networking event can take place in a timely fashion (Silvers, 2008).
The registration will take place before 9 a.m., with the main body of the event happening between 9 a.m. and mid-day, meaning that there will need to be coffee served midway through the morning and again this needs to be done on a relatively tight budget.
The working buffet lunch has been selected to involve both cold and hot items which are likely to appeal to the majority of individuals, as well as being sufficiently interesting that those within the hospitality industry will appreciate the quality of the food. As part of this service, the venue will be providing its own freshly baked cookies, during the break, which is a further opportunity to show how advanced the venue is and again to prove itself as one of the best venues of this type for a professional meeting (Tarlow, 2002).
It is anticipated that this type of event may be replicated again in the future; therefore, evaluating the course from every aspect of the delivery will be essential, in order to make sure that any future courses are popular, while also improving on any of the shortcomings (Arcodia & Reid, 2002).
All delegates will be asked to provide a brief evaluation of the event and this will look at every aspect of the event, including the quality of the venue, the quality of the food provided, as well as considering whether they believe it will be useful for them in the future (Shone & Parry, 2001). The main aim of the evaluation is to use questionnaires to be filled in by the delegates on the day, as this is the quickest and most efficient way of gathering the data and is most likely to be fresh in the minds of the individual delegates. However, as well as using questionnaires, a random set of individuals will also be selected and asked to participate in a more detailed evaluation, after the event, in the form of one-to-one interviews, either in person or over the phone. This will enable a much more open discussion to be had (Goldblatt, 1997).
Evaluations that are relevant to the venue will also be provided, so that any changes can be implemented with future events or potentially a new venue located if there seems to be a reason that the venue is not performing in line with the original requirements.
The budget for the event is ?15 per person, plus ?1,500 sponsorship. With fifty anticipated delegates, this means a total of ?750 from the delegates and ?1,500 from sponsorship and a total budget of ?2,250. However, with a budget for a venue of this nature in central London, it may be necessary to compromise on issues such as the type of buffet and the date of the actual training event. By negotiating with the venue as to which days it is not likely to be particularly popular, the budget can be adhered to (Saunders, 2007).
Consideration will be given in the future charges that are made to the delegate, as ?15 is an incredibly small amount of payment for a training course, as well as a networking opportunity. Therefore, once the event gains a degree of following, it may be possible to charge separately for the training elements and the buffet element, to allow individuals to mix and match their experience and also to ensure that all tastes are catered for (Goldblatt, 2000).
The venue itself is also offered at a reasonable discount, as it is felt that this will assist its positioning within the market and will be a good marketing tool, thus allowing it to host other events, in the future (Silvers & Goldblatt, 2003).
Budget and Control Measures
In order to manage an event of this nature, several specific controls and budget measures need to be put in place, so that the management team can keep track of the planning of the event and also on the event date, so as to ensure that the promised services are delivered and that any shortfalls are identified, at the earliest possible opportunity and mitigated, if possible (Arcodia & Robb, 2000).
Bearing this in mind, the control feature associated with this event will be looked at in two distinct ways, firstly in the planning of the events and secondly in the running of the event. Budget control needs to be done primarily with the venue itself, although it is also important to ensure that a sufficient number of delegates are recruited and that these delegates make all payments, prior to the date of the event, as any no-shows or non-payers could be extremely detrimental to the overall budget of what is already a very tightly run event (Silvers, 2004).
A meeting will need to be held with the venue, in the few days prior to the event itself, to ensure that all aspects of the events are planned appropriately and that the technology being used is working properly and compatible with anything that the clients may wish to use as part of the training. The very essence of the training is to show the delegates how media can be used to optimum advantage and any technology failure would be extremely embarrassing and go to the core of the event. Therefore, controlling this aspect of the event is critical (Arcodia & Reid, 2005).
As it is expected that this type of event will be run in the future, maintaining accurate records of all individuals who are in attendance will be important to the ongoing marketing of future events and these need to be checked, both at the booking stage and as the individual attends (O’neil et al. 1999).
It is concluded that the chosen venue for this event is particularly appropriate, given its central London location and its state-of-the-art technology which makes it crucially important for delivering an event of this type. Budget is a really key issue and the fact that the venue will also gain from hosting this event enables a tighter budget to be maintained. Strong evaluation is also necessary to ensure that future events are popular and that these types of events go from strength to strength.
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