The road to planning a successful workshop or seminar is full of surprises, pitfalls and sometimes even some nightmares. Many first time planners make mistakes have disastrous results for their workshops. Their workshops are costly, don’t make a profit and sometimes the workshop room is even empty. As much as a well planned and thought out seminar can boost your business to the next level, a poorly planned event can set your business back and discourage you from ever trying to host a seminar again. In the next few posts, I will examine some of the mistakes I see workshop hosts make and how you can avoid them.
If you want to book your own hotel or venue, many people make the mistake of overbooking the sleeping rooms. When you do a multi-day event, the hotel or conference center requires you to book sleeping rooms in order to get the meeting space free or at a reduced cost. The biggest mistake you can make is to book too many.
We as entrepreneurs tend to be very optimistic. After all, you need to be in order to be in business for yourself. And we are very confident that our audience needs our services and will flock to our workshop. But it is not easy to fill a large event room. If for some unforeseen reason your event doesn’t sell out, you still have to pay for the rooms you haven’t used. This is called “attrition”.
Another reason you may not fill all your sleeping rooms even if you are reaching your attendance goals is that more attendees than you expect come from the local community and decide to go home at night. You also always have a portion of people that book at the hotel across the street because they have a cheaper rate. If you cater to a primarily female audience, some of them will opt to share a room in order to save on expenses. In addition, they may just enjoy hanging out together, especially if they already knew each other before. Keep this in mind when this is a repeat event, where many of the same people attend.
Anytime, you have attrition it can easily add thousands to your event budget and take a profitable event into the negative. So be very, very conservative when you are booking your rooms. You can always add rooms to your block, provided the hotel isn’t sold, but if you want to drop rooms, it will cost you.
Plan to have a professional event planner, like myself help you with your site selection. It will save you hours in research and you have an expert actually look at the contract and make sure you are not signing anything detrimental to your event. The best thing of all? Depending on the size of your workshop, typically more than 10 sleeping rooms, the hotel will pay your planner for you in the form of commissions. If you are looking for the best venue for your workshop, contact me. I’ll be happy to help.