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Choosing the location for your International event

international event, business travel tips, Clarity events

It seems like the world is shrinking these days. Global business travel is easier and quicker than it used to be, and popping over to another country for face to face networking is not out of the ordinary. It seems that international meetings and conferences are on the rise, as our Clarity Events Team will testify.


Business travellers often ask us for suggestions on where they should hold their event or incentive. We recently delivered an international conference in just 4 weeks, where our client was deciding between 5 different European cities. Deciding on a location is usually one of the first and one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning an event, so we thought it might be useful to share some questions you should be asking when making that important choice:


Who are your guests?


Think of your delegates - they are the most important part of any event. It is their experience that will be recorded in the feedback forms and their attendance can make or break the success of your project.


Have you considered the accessibility of the location?


Where are your delegates coming from? Their experience begins from the moment they leave home, so it’s important to know how can they can get to the event location and what means of transport are available to them. Choosing a location with a variety of public transport options may satisfy most needs, which means that you will not have to spend additional budget on private transport like coaches etc.

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Most European countries are really well connected and direct flights to a variety of cities are a fantastic advantage. Low cost airlines cover most of the main cities in Europe, so why not utilise the budget rates on a group basis? The team at Clarity Events can make all the arrangements and even provide 24/7 support with the Clarity TwentyFour out of hours team on hand at all times.


Whether you choose a central location or a secluded rural area will depend on the objectives of your event and what you want your delegates to focus on. We recently delivered an event where two merging companies (one American and one European) wanted to appreciate the European cultural heritage during the conference and meet in an iconic European location, such as Barcelona or Monte Carlo.


If the client had wanted delegates to focus on being together, network, share knowledge, learn and bond, then we would consider a less distracting location - for example a resort where the group can focus on their objectives and do not have to leave the area.


Have you assessed the political climate and security?


When considering the country for your event, it is important to know what political situation is likely to be at the time. Ideally, we want a peaceful, stable climate, with no upcoming elections or changes in the government. I know it is impossible to foresee certain situations, but we can do all we can to make the necessary checks and risk assessments.


As an example, a referendum in a region of Spain taking place a week after the planned event, could affect a client’s decision, as we might need to consider potential protests and stress within the community. All of which can have a negative impact on the location and how your delegates will see the destination.

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How big does the event need to be?


Concerts, local festivals or cultural events and large sporting events can provide a ‘wow-factor.’ They can also present a variety of risks and challenges to the event logistics. If your group is relatively small, you can include a planned event in the programme of activities, giving your group a truly memorable experience. However, the location can be much more crowded than usual, traffic can make the transfer times much longer, and the rates in local hotels are very likely to be much higher than on any other date - with the accommodation availability being just another challenge to consider.


Regardless of where you plan on going, it is important to check the calendar of local events planned in any country you are considering.

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Is it the right cultural fit?


It might be useful to consider whether there are any cultural or religious differences that might occur in the location. I have recently worked on an event for a large group of Muslim doctors, and although some Eastern European countries were fantastic locations from an activity point of view, access to halal catering was not widely available in all venues.


Similarly, a period of Ramadan in Abu Dhabi might also not be the best time to organise an event, due to the closures of various businesses and tourist attractions.


What is there to do?


Again, consider your delegates and their demographics. It is worth thinking about what activities would fit their preferences, but also support the event objectives and key messages of the client.


Our team of event experts can advise on a plethora of team building or entertainment programmes that could meet the client’s requirements. Is it a waltz class in Vienna, James Bond Rally in Monte Carlo, Dog sledding in Iceland, a balloon flight in Cappadocia or a sailing regatta in Croatia that would be the chosen highlight of the event?

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Consider the time of the year and the temperatures in the potential destination, as they might limit your options or, on the other hand, present the easiest solutions. The world is your oyster, it is just best to make a fully informed decision.


Is there a team on-the-ground?


We strongly rely on our team on the ground for their skills and experience. Speaking the local language and having local supplier relationships is often essential in solving challenges which may arise on the way.


When using a DMC, apart from the usual public liability insurance and other checks, it might be useful to obtain a couple of references from other event organisers in UK. Business culture and standards can vary from country to country, so it is always worth finding out as much as possible about the suppliers and to manage expectations from both sides.


The above list is not exhaustive and there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a location for your international event. The good news is that you, as an organiser, are not alone. Industry press, colleagues, other organisers, social media and event experts like the Clarity MICE team will be able to help and share their experiences and recommendations.


The perfect event location awaits you!

Author: Marta Woronowicz, Clarity Events Business Development Manager

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