One of the biggest challenges all Event Managers will face when working on the logistics of a new conference is, no doubt, to choose the perfect venue for the conference sessions, but also for the networking sessions.
Choosing becomes harder when you are looking to a new destination, a city where you have never been.
That is the scenario we faced when organising the Manufacturing Pricing Excellence Conference 2016 in Prague. Prague is a magical city, a destination we knew we would love – but also a place we had never visited before.
We spent long hours researching, gathering as much information as possible about the city as a conference destination. Looking at the outcome of our research, we decided to host the conference in a modern design venue, located near Andel Metro Station, one of Prague’s busiest business districts.
An ideal location for this conference – a big shopping mall nearby with excellent public transport connection. At the same time, the city centre was reachable walking – twenty minutes stroll by the river can take you to the impressive Charles Bridge.
Consciously, we choose not to be in the city centre to first, avoid big organised tourist groups; and second, to get easier access to the premises.
Once we had the conference venue, the next step was deciding what to offer to our guests during the networking breaks. We had a jogging club scheduled early in the mornings, and also a meet-up at the local pub to watch football. But what to do for the conference dinner? Should we play safe and stay at the hotel or, instead, going somewhere else?
In this occasion, we all agreed that one of Prague’s many charms are food and the traditional beer breweries; we also wanted to make the delegates comfortable with each other since making friends with new people is not always easy.
So, we decided to take a leap of faith – we arranged dinner for our delegates at the Staropramen Visitor Center, located just a few minutes walk from our conference venue.
We choose a delicious buffet based on the Czech cuisine. Obviously, we had plenty of Staropramen beer for drinking (alcoholic and non alcoholic options).
We opened the dinner with a beer tasting. Staropramen staff guided us through four different crafts beers. This beer tasting gave our delegates the opportunity to interact with each other, addressing subjects not only related to the conference or work issues.
The stroll from the hotel to the dinner venue was also welcomed – everybody had the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air during that nice spring evening in Prague.
All in all, the decisions we made were right. The conference had a great review. Our guideline during the whole process was just to think what would be the best experience for our guests.