If there is one thing that delegates really dislike it is being lost and being late. Give them as much help to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It is one of my pet hates when, as an event delegate I discover that little care has been taken with helping me get to the venue. If not enough attention is shown for the simple issue of directions what does that say about the rest of the event? Will it also have a lack of care and attention to detail?
How hard is it for event planners to issue clear directions to delegates? The planner can go to the venue website and find the information there. Well that would be brilliant if it was that simple. But, time and again a number of venues seem to make it a challenge. I am sure they don’t intend to make it difficult after all they want people to come to their venue and spend money. However, the critical directions information is not always easy to come by.
My advice to event planners is that it is always best to do your own homework. Here are my three tips to help you:
Follow the code
This is fairly simple. Just find out the full postal address of the venue including the postal code.
Then ask the venue if the postal (zip) code when plugged into a Sat Nav will lead a delegate to the venue reception? Or will the delegate end up in a field some distance from the venue? This is where the venue knowledge is invaluable.
Some postal codes cover large areas and a Sat Nav may deliver the driver to an unlikely final destination. This happened to me about a year ago.
I had just enough time to get to the venue according to my Sat Nav and it delivered me to the back of a retail car park. The venue was nowhere to be seen. I jumped out of the car and found myself asking for directions from one of the shop assistants. Armed with new knowledge and directions I drove for a couple of moments and then arrived at the venue. I was just on time but my pulse rate had gone through the roof. It wasn’t the best of starts to my event experience. I later discovered that the venue management knew all about the Sat Nav mis-direction but for some reason hadn’t added correcting information on their website to help people find them. My advice before issuing your information to your delegates is to have a chat with the venue staff and ask about any inconsistencies in advance.
Allow enough time for travel
Be realistic in the time it will take delegates to drive or be transferred from either a rail station or airport. Is it really just an hour or is it more likely one and a half hours? Delegates will value your information and you, if you are straight with them.
Outline the options
Some delegates will drive, some will take a plane, some will take a train and some may even arrive on a bicycle. But whatever their choice is, it requires you to be able to give them relevant information on the choices available to getting to the venue. If I fly in, I want to know what to do next. Am I best taking a bus, train or taxi? I also want an idea of pricing to help make my decision and I want to know if there is anything else I need to be aware of. For example, when I flew into Stockholm I was told by the event organiser to take a taxi but not get into one that had a yellow stripe. I found that knowledge to be very useful and avoided the yellow cabs on offer.
By putting care and attention into your directions for delegates you will set the tone for the rest of your event and you should have a great time. If you don’t you will be dealing with stressed delegates with soaring blood pressure levels. It’s your choice but I know the path I would go down for a successful event.