Choosing the right hotel for your event or function is vital if it is to run smoothly and be the success you hope for. As Rebecca Doyle of leading hotel management company Then Hospitality says, “The first step to a well-managed event is a well-managed hotel.” Finding that hotel can be a challenge but these key considerations, which you should check by visiting the hotel in person, will help you reach the right decision:
The location of the hotel is considered by event planners to be one of the most crucial factors affecting the success of an event. The hotel should be in a place where your participants will feel comfortable, be easy to find and have good transport links. Parking may also be an important consideration.
- The type of hotel
Your hotel should reflect the type of function. For example, a function for computer wizards might best served by an ultra-modern environment while a function for Charles Dickens enthusiasts might merit a period location. Essentially, you need to get a feel for the hotel to ensure that it matches the type of function you are planning
The size of the hotel is a consideration that is sometimes overlooked. But, if the hotel is too big, it looks empty and makes people think that not many are interested in the function. If it is too small, it will be overcrowded and uncomfortable and will place undue pressure on the venue spoiling the experience for everyone – the venue operators, organisers and attendees.
- Facilities and amenities
You should have a good idea what facilities you require – conference rooms, seminar rooms, audio-visual equipment. Check that the hotel is in a position to provide everything you need. You will also need to check if the hotel has a business centre, an information desk
For a successful event, good food and catering is essential. Before choosing a hotel you must ensure that it has a good catering service that can satisfy the needs and palettes of your guests. You should discuss possible menus with the catering manager and, if you have the opportunity, sample what the hotel has to offer
If your event requires the attendees to stay in the hotel overnight or for several days, you’ll need to have a look at the accommodation on offer. If numbers dictate, you may also have to consider other possible sleeping accommodation in the vicinity. You should take a look at the rooms to see if they are clean and comfortable and to find out if there is a risk of guests being disturbed by noise at night. Room facilities are also important to establish.
As you check out potential hotels, take careful notice of the staff. Do they greet you with a smile? Do they go out of their way to help you or make sure that your needs are met? Are they knowledgeable about the local area? Do they appear to be happy in their work?
You should ask yourself these questions before deciding on a venue because staff attitudes can make or break your hotel experience. Great staff will make your guests or delegates feel special and make the experience memorable for all the right reasons.
Whatever your function, you have to consider the question of entertainment. A wedding, for example, may require a function room suitable for dancing and other wedding entertainment. A major event that lasts several days, however, may require other activities to be available to participants when the formal activities are finished for the day. You should, therefore, not only find out what entertainment the hotel has to offer but also what is available in the local area to establish if suitable entertainment is on hand.
Keeping to your budget is essential if you are to avoid risking financial difficulties later on. But while you should compare costs, you need to ensure that you are getting value for money without compromising the quality of your event. Don’t be afraid to ask the hotel about package deals and discounts for large numbers. The hotel’s events manager should also be able to give you advice.
- Security and privacy
For the safety of your event, you will need to establish what type of security precautions the hotel can put in place. You will want to keep possible gatecrashers away and may want to shield participants from public view. You should raise the issues with the hotel management to ensure that your requirements can be met.