For many finding a date for an event that is convenient for all is the biggest event organising challenge. Here are some tips to help you to choose a date that is likely to suit the majority of your delegates.
Avoid school holidays as you will lose parents due to their family holidays and other commitments. If your company is located on the edge of a county, holidays may not be at the same time, so you may need to check a couple of different local authorities.
Some companies may want to avoid major sporting events. If you search online for a sporting event calendar you can avoid the big dates;for example major matches, Wimbledon and so on. Sometimes companies will arrange for a large screen to be set up so people can still watch the event but you do lose some of the focus, particularly if your group has a very sporty culture. From past experience sales teams are likely to be more like this than, say, IT teams.
By this stage you will have a selection of possible dates. You then need to work from the most senior attendees down, or those who it is most important attend. People do tend to look at who will be there and draw their conclusions about how important it is that they attend. Sometimes losing a key influencer is followed by others dropping out. This all needs to be considered.
It is less common these days to have conferences over a weekend. A decade ago Friday was the most popular day, but there has been a change and today Thursday is the most popular day of the week.
Having dates that are best avoided causes ‘hot dates’ in the calendar. These are dates of maximum convenience and event companies can find themselves with three or four times the usual number of events in those periods. Companies are giving 3-4 weeks’ notice on events on average, but the sooner you can book the better.
Finally, check the availability of the hotel and activity provider. Some people take this as the first step. If it is particularly important that you use a specific hotel or activity provider then this needs to come earlier in the list. In any geographical location there will be various hotels of a broadly similar standard and there are many activity providers. This part of the decision may not be as important as it first seems, so do consider whether a specific venue or activity is an essential consideration.