The dos and don’ts of planning a corporate event

Louise Herron, meetings and events sales manager at The Bristol, offers her advice for organising a successful work-related event

Planning an event: image of Louise Herron

Planning an event? Here, Louise Herron, meetings and events sales manager at The Bristol, offers her dos and don’ts when organising a corporate event or function.

Do check prices, packages and availability of venues in the area
Gather as many quotes as possible so you can compare what venues are offering. The price may look good on paper, but may not include important factors such as Wi-Fi or parking. Ask for a detailed proposal so that you can compare like for like.

Don’t over-estimate numbers
Set yourself realistic, achievable targets. When it comes to estimating the number of guests attending your event, always tell the venue a figure that’s at least 10% lower than you expect. Often you’ll agree to a minimum number of attendees with the venue and discover later that you’re unable to meet the requirement. Also, make sure you don’t agree to a price that could push you over your budget. If numbers are not hit you may still be required to pay for them.

Do visit the venue and meet the team
Most venues will offer appointments so you can visit the space and meet the team involved in your event. If you need to visit more than once, then do. It’s a good opportunity to get a feel for what the venue is like. It’s also a chance to sit down with your event coordinator and set out clear objectives – and explain what is important to you and to the success of the event.

Don’t leave anything to the last minute
Keep talking to your event coordinator and venue. The venue may not require final details until two-to-four weeks before the actual event, but should you need to change or cancel anything, and you leave it too late, this may become an issue.

Do use social media and other tools
Social media is useful for gathering information about the venue that you might not be able to find out directly. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram should give you a better insight into the venue’s priorities – and whether it is suitable for your event. TripAdvisor is a good way of learning about people’s experiences and how the site compares to other places in the area.

Don’t give yourself too much to do
Delegate tasks to others – colleagues, suppliers and friends – and ask for help. Don’t try to do everything yourself as this will inevitably overload you and cause unnecessary stress. It’s a good idea to check with the venue to find out if they have included anything in the package that you can take advantage of.

Do offer feedback
This can be done at the start and end of the event. It can be helpful to discuss previous events you’ve organised and what you want to avoid. Always have these conversations with everyone helping with the event planning as it can be vital to success – and a learning curve for all involved. No feedback is bad feedback as everyone wants to learn and improve.

Don’t sign a contract without reading it
It may sound silly, but it happens a lot. When a venue sends you a contract with terms and conditions, take the time to read it thoroughly. Highlight the key dates for providing information and make sure you know the cost implications of any cancellation charges. If you’re not given a contract, ask the venue to provide you with one, including detailed terms and conditions.

The Bristol is one of the south west’s leading event hotels. For more information about booking an event, visit

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