What you may not consider when looking for the perfect event city
As a Denver-based company, we’ve had 20+ years to optimize experiences in nearly every venue in town and know what makes our hometown a great place to host an event.
As a traveling production partner, we don’t usually work in Denver, and neither do the companies we work with! Whether your event changes its host city regularly, or you’re looking for the perfect location for your next gathering, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Here are the four top attributes that we think make a city an ideal event location …
Availability of Food
This may seem unnecessary, but it’s more important than you’d think!
Event technicians work crazy hours while on show site, and, although we try, we can’t be sustained by Show Bacon alone! Being able to grab something to eat before an early morning call time or having an opportunity to eat dinner after a late session wraps, is incredibly important for two reasons.
First, event techs work long hours, and our jobs are often physically demanding. It’s important that we’re able to get the nutrition we need to sustain ourselves and stay healthy.
And secondly, we need time to decompress! Having a moment to take a break before returning to our rooms for the night helps us clear our heads, and puts us in a better state of mind the next day.
Food nearby doesn’t need to be anything fancy … a 24-hour diner or a pub with a late-night menu can make a surprisingly big difference to the well-being of a production crew. And nearby grocery stores don’t hurt either!
Proximity to Accommodations
Leaving an event venue at the end of a long day to take a 30+ minute Uber ride back to the hotel can be a bit of a drag. On the opposite end, a 6:00am call time feels even more daunting when you need to leave your hotel room by 5:20am.
Staying within walking distance to the venue reduces not only travel time for the crew giving them more time to relax and decompress each evening but reduces the client’s travel costs too (assuming the room block is large enough to accommodate staff too).
If the venue has onsite accommodations, it can have similar advantages, even if the crew never gets the opportunity to completely “walk away” from the event.
Events require a large amount of gear, and with that gear comes a need to transport and unload it easily. This requires a place to park a car or, more realistically, a delivery truck/trailer. Venues with easily accessible loading docks reduce the strain on your crew, both mentally and physically, while reducing the time needed for load-in and load-out.
When there is no convenient location for a delivery truck to park, it wastes valuable resources. Having 20 stagehands watch a semi-truck attempt to jackknife itself into a narrow downtown garage, just so that they can struggle to unload it in the cramped conditions, is both expensive and frustrating! Not to mention, the crew often has further distances to carry heavy equipment, and without the ease of freight elevators or ramps.
There is no doubt that a venue with a loading dock is the best solution. However, qualifying the loading dock situation ahead of time will allow the crew to make decisions that minimize any loading challenges that may arise. For example, the production team may choose to send multiple straight trucks or rent more equipment locally to avoid difficult vehicle access.
Great production organizations successfully regularly work with union crews but most production technicians know that working within union-controlled venues can be a challenge for multiple reasons …
First, union rules vary wildly in every market. Just because a company is familiar with working with union venues in Seattle does not mean their knowledge will translate to Chicago. This learning curve takes time and money to figure out – and can lead to extra costs down the line.
Second, their rates are typically much higher than most employees and contractors, making the event more expensive. It’s especially difficult when the crew knows their counterparts are being billed at a higher rate or technical conveniences have been eliminated to reallocate the budget.
Finally, most production partners have event techs they work with frequently, and crews that are comfortable working together. When working in a union venue, it’s difficult to request techs you’re familiar with and already have a strong working relationship with.
The Best Cities to Work In …
Through years of traveling and producing events around the country, we’ve developed a list of our favorite and least favorite cities to support events in. Whether it be late-night access to restaurants, union rules, or access to cross-rental support, here’s our list of the best cities to host your next event …
- San Diego
- Las Vegas
- San Antonio
- Kansas City
Picking your ideal event location can have multiple factors, from proximity to attendees and presenters, nearby attractions, or cost. However, when it comes to best serving both your attendees and event team, we think easy access to food, proximity to accommodations, vehicle access at the venue, and finding non-union venues are the top factors to keep in mind!
At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high-end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.
We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!
If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up below to receive our updates (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).