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Don’t Get “Left out in the Cold” – Helpful Tips for Planning Your Winter 2024 Events

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It’s hard to believe that fall is already in full swing, and the holiday season and winter are fast approaching. So is the new year. Do you have events in mind for 2024? If so, it’s a wise idea to begin planning them now because space at The Conference Center is already beginning to fill up for 2024!

Here are some helpful things to consider when planning your next event with us:

Do you have an agenda to share with your event planner? Even if it’s not finalized, sharing a draft as soon as possible in the planning process can give them a much better idea of details, such as how the space should be arranged to best suit the “flow” of your event, when catering should be set and ready, and what type of audio-visual assistance is needed. Keep in regular contact with your planner – and consider periodic “check-in” meetings to discuss any urgent matters, such as changes in attendance, audio-visual/technology needs, or changes to the agenda that might require a different room setup.

Will you need to have a check-in or registration area? Make sure that you allow ample time in your agenda to accommodate this process to ensure everyone has arrived before your meeting begins. Think about what this area will need to include: check-in rosters, nametags, programs or other handouts, giveaway items. Will you have banners or other displays that need to be placed around the check-in area? Have you made sure to communicate with your participants regarding the agenda start times and directions to The Conference Center?

Will your participants have any special dietary restrictions that need to be addressed? If you have a need for gluten-free or vegan options, or have participants with food allergies, it is extremely important for you to communicate these things to your event planner more than two weeks in advance of the event, so that our caterer will be able to accommodate the request and create an appropriate menu.

How many presenters will you have at your event? We want to make sure that your sessions are informative, well-organized, and engaging, and having advance notice of your presenter list, along with the type of presentation they’ll be giving will assist our Technology Support Specialist in making sure everything flows smoothly.

Will you have moderated panel discussions? Panel discussions typically involve multiple presenters speaking conversationally and will require more microphones. You’ll also need to consider how you would like your panel configured – think about high back stools, a “fireside chat” with lounge-style seating, or a more formal panel with a skirted table and chairs. Will your moderator stand or sit alongside the participants? If you plan to have a question-and-answer session, will you have a “runner” who will take the microphone to the audience members, or would you prefer a microphone on a stand, so that audience members may walk up as they feel comfortable?

Will you be hosting a “hybrid” session? In order to assure that the session flows smoothly, it is critical that you work closely with the event planner well in advance of your event to provide detailed information on how the session will flow, such as how many virtual presenters you will have, whether or not the in-person participants will need to have microphones and be captured on camera. It is also extremely important that the person hosting the session have an account for the platform they wish to use and be well-versed in how to run it. Also, discuss your hybrid needs in the very beginning of the planning stages, as extra charges will normally apply for hybrid meeting components.

Will you have vendors at your event? Please let your event planner know the number you plan to have, and how they will be configured into your agenda. This will assist in determining the most appropriate space to place them. For example, some clients have had 6-8 vendor tables set up near the catering area, so that during lunch and breaks, participants could easily mingle and visit the tables before going to the next session. Will your vendors bring their own table covers to proudly display their logo? Or will you need to rent linens from The Conference Center? Be sure to get the table measurements from your event planner to communicate to the vendors how much space they must work with.

Are you prepared for the possibility of inclement weather? It is no surprise that North Carolina weather is unpredictable, so making sure you keep in close contact with your event planner, as well as establish an effective way to notify your participants, will help to assure that the day goes without as little trouble as possible. Also, make sure to read your Facility Rental Contract closely – The Conference Center at GTCC reserves the right to cancel or postpone an event, due to inclement weather that results in the closing of the College and/or The Conference Center. In the event a closure becomes necessary, Conference Center personnel will notify the client’s named contact (noted on the Facility Rental Contract) and assist with rescheduling, if desired.

Have you looked closely at what is happening in the greater community when selecting your event date? The Piedmont Triad area often has events that draw large attendance and affect traffic and lodging needs (for example, although the High Point Market is usually held in mid-April and mid-October, it results in local hotel space being at a premium). You may wish to ask your event planner about other events taking place at the same time you wish to schedule yours. Also keep in mind that many clients prefer January and February for their “kickoff” meetings, so our spaces for 2024 are filling up quickly.

We hope these helpful tips will make planning your winter 2023 (or any other) event flow more smoothly and with as little stress as possible!

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