ISES Quick Tips For Event Planners: July

The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world's largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide.

Large, multi-day conferences are a different beast than one-and-done events. Instead of being concerned only about serving a single meal in one room, the challenge is to think about multiple spaces and an interested crowd that will be looking for scheduled and free-time activities and resources. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when selecting a venue for these multiple-day events:

  • Keep it accessible: Unless every guest is from the area, most multiple-day events require both meeting spaces and a space for people to sleep. Look for a property that can offer the right mix of these spaces to match the crowd you are hosting.
  • Logistics, logistics, logistics: The bigger the crowd, the less likely you will be able to find one venue that can host both the meetings and sleeping space. When spread out over multiple properties, transportation will be a key part of your budget as you move people from one place to another. Look for a variety of properties closely congregated or connected together to reduce transportation expenses. Another perk of having your spaces close enough to hoof it: It’s better for the environment and attendee health.
  • Don’t be afraid to present creatively: Not every meeting requires a standard room set (general session with theater seating, dinner at rounds, etc). Sometimes you can get more creative by offering different setups: What about a free-flowing networking hub in the center of the conference space that incorporates food and beverage, learning opportunities, tech help, etc? Or a general session format where guests sit on sofas and beanbags instead of chairs. If you want to get more creative, just ensure that there’s enough space. The same can be said for A/V, entertainment, décor and special effects: If these elements are important to you, make sure your venue has the room to properly executive the designs you’ve dreamed up.
  • Keep people close: Do you want to own the space or make your guests be one fish swimming among many? It’s an important question to ask. Look to venues that allow your block of meeting rooms to be closely congregated in a wing or on the same floor. This is helpful so attendees will be less likely to wander off. For organizations that want to have their logo or event them embodied in the environment, the more confined the space, the easier to make a custom message clear.
  • …But not too close: While it is nice to be in a confined space that fits your group, you don’t want attendees to feel trapped.  Look for unique locations for dinners, happy hours, volunteer service projects or free-time activities that can get your guests exploring and engaging in the destination of the meeting.
  • Give your guests what they want: Attendees have come to expect a lot of amenities, including easily accessible and free internet access, abundant power spots to recharge devices and access to good food and drink 24-7. When considering a property, think about the amenities most relevant to your attending demographic.

Ryan Hanson, CSEP is the chief creative producer and founder of BeEvents – an award-winning event strategy, design and production agency based in Minneapolis, which challenges clients to go for what’s next as they make their events matter, by design.  He is also the founding curator of BeThings, a rentable collection of social furniture, bars, and scenic elements.

The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world's largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide. The Minnesota Chapter of ISES is comprised of leading professionals in every aspect of the event products and services industries. For more information on how an ISES professional can help you with your event, please contact