Unlocking the Potential of Unique Event Venues: From Airplane Hangars to Mountain Tops, Make Your Event Shine

Venues come in all shapes and sizes, they range from the typical; ballrooms, meeting rooms, and restaurants to the truly unique and captivating; Airport Hangers, Outdoor Spaces, and even Chicago Elevated Train Cars.

The typical venues are pretty straightforward when planning your event as they usually come with all of the fixins required to make your event a success, they have kitchens, are ADA compliant, and have plenty of parking, so on and so forth.

Unique venues are another story.

Whether we choose to plan an event in a unique venue, or the venue is thrust on us by forces beyond our control (The boss or the client) there are certain things that we can do as event planners to make sure that any event goes off with style, grace and a place to use the restroom.

Believe it or not, in order to create a successful event in a unique venue, almost anything on the planet can be carried in, trucked in or dropped from an airplane ensuring that you can choose almost anywhere on the globe to have your event. In fact, we once created a themed event on top of a mountain in Utah where all of the kitchen equipment, décor, entertainment, tables, seating and food had to be brought up to the summit in a gondola hours before the attendees arrived. Easy no…….memorable, absolutely.

When planning an event at a unique venue, let the venue and your imagination set the theme. Our mountain top excursion was themed Starry, Starry Night. Lot’s of stars on a mountain top so it fit perfectly. Airplane hangers are great for sales meetings, award celebrations, and events where soaring to new heights is the central theme. We have used “up and away” and “flying higher” for hanger themes in the past.

Making a unique venue work takes the skill of an event professional doing what event planners do best by being flexible, creative, and practical to achieve all of the stated goals for any event.

Be realistic about what you can and can not do with your venue. Sit down with your staff, or maybe you, and a pencil, and determine what you will need from your venue and event theme to ensure success.

An art gallery is a great space for an event, but do not expect your caterer to be able to feed 300 people using a kitchen designed for the gallery staff to make microwaved popcorn on slow afternoons. An outdoor site overlooking one of nature’s wonders can be an awe-inspiring spectacle and will have attendees talking about your event for years to come, but good restroom facilities, nope, not a one.

Knowing the unique attributes of your venue going in will allow you to plan ahead for success. For example, in the case of the art gallery, you can work with the caterer to bring all of the equipment necessary to feed your group and they can help with the arrangements as to where they should set up, even if that place is somewhere off-premise.

In the case of a National Park or other outdoor site, you can work with a company that supplies elegant mobile restrooms, including cloth hand towels to ensure that the comfort needs of the group are addressed.

Regardless of the location and type of your unique venue, the most important factors to ensuring success is understanding its strengths and weaknesses, planning to the venues strengths, understanding the needs of your attendees and the goals for the event itself.

Understanding these seemingly simple items will ensure that you can concentrate on the most strategic aspects of your event and will allow you to see your unique venue as an asset rather than a liability in planning your next amazing event!

From 1/08

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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