Alright, so I don’t really get to chat much about what it means to host events, as well as the thought process behind it. When I started up GeekOut South-West at the tail-end of 2013, I had no idea how many venues would actually be asking me to take our business to them. Now in 2019, we’ve been at the same venue for a number of years now (since 2015, would you believe?) But what do you need to think about when hosting your own social event?
Choosing A Venue With Purpose
When I first started running GeekOut South-West, I choose somewhere that was pretty easy for me to get to. The events also started from about 5-6pm, until midnight. The venue was small, it wasn’t the most pleasant of places and the drinks weren’t the best. However, for our small group at the time, it was fine and it suited us perfectly. The pub was a great place for us to start, but we very quickly outgrew the venue.
I thought back a couple of years, when I first went to the Old Market Tavern and knew it’d be perfect. But I wanted to ease them into having us as a group. So, I went to the OMT after work one evening and I approached the owner, Richard. I told him about our group, how, at the time, 30 was a big group and that we’d like to come to his venue for a monthly event. Naturally, Rich was happy with the custom and wanted to see how it would go.
The first event at our new venue happened – The venue enjoyed our group and our custom, so we kept it up. We slowly got more and more interactive with the pub, to where I think of them as much part of the GeekOut family as I am sure they do us (the ‘proudly supports’ sign above should show as much, in fairness). So, other than our first meeting with the venue, there were a few things we’ve had to do along the way.
Before we even set out what our social event would do at our venue, I had to scope the venue out for myself. I mentioned how I went to the Old Market Tavern before taking GeekOut Bristol Meets there. This is because, whilst I in my head liked the idea, I didn’t know if the venue would truly be suitable. I walked in, grabbed a drink (for ‘Dutch courage’) and then went to the conservatory area. I walked around, getting a feeling for the size of the venue, the number of customers and where things would be placed. That was when I knew it was the right venue for us.
Social Events Etiquette
Social events of all kinds need to behave in ways that are appropriate to the event they’re running, as well as their venue. I’ve heard of an instance where a social group were meeting at train stations, which caused massive problems for ordinary commuters. This meant the police had to move them along, which isn’t the best image for an event. They meant no harm, however this type of planning does affect attendees as well as venues.
If you’re planning to get your own event together, then seriously chat to a venue first. Even if you’re only getting a group of 10 or 20 people together, that’s still a big group of folk that you’re bringing in. If you’re going to a typical pub, they might not be able to move tables and chairs around for you. Understanding the venue is a huge part of the problem, which is why I firmly believe in building up a relationship and indeed friendship with your venue.
If the great staff of the Old Market Tavern read this article, I just want you all to know you’ve genuinely been awesome people to work with. I hope that anyone who’s reading this gets an idea for a venue in their head and I hope their events go well. As ever though, if you’re reading this and want to add your two cents in, then drop us a line in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.