When selecting the location of your next event it is important to consider the logistics before making a decision. You may have found an excellent hotel in a great city but is the airport served well from the locations your delegates will be travelling from? Read on for four key factors to consider before making that final selection.
Distance from airport to city
You have sourced the hotel, you have the social programme in place, the flights are booked… but what happens when you land at the airport? How long will it take your delegates to transfer from the airport to the city? If you have time to do a site inspection this will give you a chance to eliminate any such concerns.
In cities such as Amsterdam the city is only a 20 minute train ride or a 25 minute car journey away. In places such as London where rush hour traffic can be extremely busy the journey can take well over an hour. When organising an event last year I was advised to allow 3 hours for a private transfer to take delegates back to the airport in rush hour.
Be aware of strikes
This is a tricky one! After a summer of unexpected strikes causing disruption to travel plans across Europe, it’s impossible to plan for especially if you’re organising an event months before it’s going to take place. This year we saw strikes in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Greece. Usually the strike is only on one day and sometimes only for 2-4 hours therefore it doesn’t always mean travel plans will be affected. In instances where the strike lasts a full day the airline will usually permit you to change dates however this can not only upset your event programme with late arrivals, it can also be extremely challenging if you have several people booked on the same flight or airline. Your Travel Management Company will be able to help you navigate any flight disruptions and will always check for any airline activity that would hamper your travel plans.
If you have delegates travelling to your event from far and wide it is important to consider the availability of direct flights and frequency of flights. If delegates are travelling to a major hub such as Frankfurt or Dubai there will be numerous route and airline carrier options from across the world. If you are choosing a smaller city in a more remote part of a country such as Seville or Venice then do consider your delegates may have to get connecting flights, which makes their journey longer (and don’t forget to factor in that transfer at the other end). Choosing an event for example in the remote south of Ireland is a glorious destination for delegates however if they are flying in from across the US, for example, it makes for one very long journey! If you have a packed event and social programme lined up you don’t want your delegates to be too tired to participate.
Check the weather
The time of year an event takes place is crucial when choosing a far flung destination. It may seem obvious but if you are planning an event in advance you may not always consider what the weather will be like. We all know that extreme winter conditions can severely affect air travel and lead to airport closures in places like North East America and it was only 5 years ago when the UK ground to a halt with excessive snow.
Holding an event in May initially sounds like a great idea, but if your event is taking place in the Middle East somewhere like Dubai or Abu Dhabi then your delegates are going to have to cope with 40+ degrees! This is manageable in air conditioned hotels and meeting rooms however your group won’t be able to take part in fun social activities like the desert safari!
In summary, there is of course no way to look into the future and to avoid travel disruption however taking into account these considerations should help you plan as best you can and ensure your next event runs smoothly.