5 Mistakes To Avoid When Booking A Corporate Event
A predictable mix of management clichés, flipcharts and teamworking exercises involving wooden planks in an uninspiring conference room…hardly the most dynamic environment to invigorate your team.
And whilst traditional ‘away days’ can be useful in some contexts, studies have shown that it’s actually very difficult for your employees to gain any benefit from them, because they are inherently artificial.
Translating your learning points into real result back in the workplace, without embarrassing or patronising your employees in the process, is not easy.
There are a number of pitfalls that corporate event organisers can fall into, and as experience providers ourselves, we spend most of our time trying to help potential guests arrange a day that your staff will dream of instead of dread.
So – if you’ve been placed in charge of organising the next works-do or Christmas party idea, here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid – and some useful tips on how to avoid them in the first place…
1. Choosing the wrong activity
It should be a no-brainer, but you need to choose an activity that is likely to engage your group and suits your demographic. A day’s basket weaving for a tech startup full of mid-twenty year olds probably isn’t going to be the inspiring experience you were hoping for.
“Look for activities that will excite and captivate your team”
Don’t rely on the weather. Whilst many activities are year-round, some are definitely more seasonal (even if they are available throughout the year). Paintballing in winter can be cold and painful: spending the day in a stuffy conference room at the height of summer will have your team wishing they were out doing something else.
Firstly, look for activities that will excite and captivate your team. Then factor in the variables – time of the year, weather, event duration, capabilities of your group – to eliminate unsuitable activities.
As indoor go karting providers, we reckon we have a slight edge over many activities. Karting is popular to a broad range of ages and group types, and is a fun, exciting, easy-to-learn and universally popular activity.
A big, well-ventilated arena with abundant natural light mitigates against all the extremes of the British weather, making for an experience that’s comfortable all year round.
2. Choosing the wrong venue
So you’ve got an awesome activity lined up. Everyone’s buzzing. Only trouble is, there’s a 3 hour drive to get there. When you arrive, you find there isn’t actually any parking outside, so you have to pay for parking and walk another 10 minutes to your destination.
You finally reach reception, and – bad luck chaps – there’s no café or vending machine on site, so you’re without food and drink for the day, and you didn’t bring a packed lunch.
This might be a radical example, but it highlights the important part venue selection plays when booking an event.
Ideally, you’ll want somewhere that’s easy to reach within an acceptable time for all of your guests (bear in mind not everyone will be travelling from the same location), with any on-site specifics taken care of. For many groups, coach parking close to their destination is essential.
The facilities for the venue itself also need to be considered. If you’re mixing work with play, you might want to find somewhere with conferencing facilities for a meeting beforehand – and you’ll want to make sure they are fully equipped.
We aim to tick all the boxes. Conveniently located go karting in Milton Keynes, Formula Fast is highly accessible from London, Birmingham and beyond via car or public transport. We have ample free parking immediately adjacent to our venue, and with good accessibility for coaches.
Our onsite café ensures there are snacks and drinks available all day, and for those looking for something a little more substantial, we offer also onsite catering, with conferencing and meeting facilities kitted out with all the features and technology you’ll need.
3. Prioritising cost over quality
It’s an old saying, but ‘you get what you pay for’ absolutely applies to booking a corporate experience. A low-budget will get you a low-budget experience – raise the amount you can spend per head, and you’ll probably have a more exciting and rewarding experience that will have people talking for weeks.
And in the end, that’s what you’re trying to accomplish.
On the other hand, if you book the cheapest possible experience, you’ll sacrifice an awful lot of your team’s time and respect for what could be an unfulfilling day out.
“Some things are ‘reassuringly expensive’”
It’s a bit like buying a car. If you’ve got the budget to buy the car you really want from a quality manufacturer, you wouldn’t choose the cheap ‘imitation’ option just because they look similar.
They might both get you from A to B (this time), but you’ll get less satisfaction, poorer and cheaper features, and a higher risk of something going wrong with the cheap option. It just hasn’t had the same time and care spent on it as the more expensive but proven alternative.
As one famous advertising campaign put it, some things are ‘reassuringly expensive’.
As for ourselves, we’re not ashamed of saying we offer a quality experience that is priced more at the higher end. However, we truly believe the service and experience you’ll get is second to none – and we’re still competitively priced. For those on more of a budget, we’re still happy to try find you the best possible event for your money.
4. Not doing your research
There’s nothing worse than an experience failing to meet expectations. It’s a hard one to judge in advance, but luckily nowadays there are tools at your disposal to help you make an informed decision and avoid any potential disasters.
Review sites like Tripadvisor be a useful indicator of the performance of any potential destination. Recent trends and the overall balance of good/bad reviews are the key statistics to look for, and delving into the specific feedback can show you where a venue is particularly strong or weak.
Beware that this only gives you a small snapshot based on the opinions of someone else – we would always recommend a pre-booking visit to your destination (where practical) to take a look around and chat to the people responsible for your day.
“There are many first class independent destinations out there that are hungry for your business”
Don’t assume that big brands will always deliver the best experience. There are many first class independent destinations out there that are hungry for your business, will go the extra mile, and will give your day that personal touch.
Don’t be afraid to ask others for their recommendations – you’ll be surprised how many ‘hidden gems’ there might be on your doorstep, who don’t always have the marketing budget to appear on your radar at first glance.
We actively encourage our guests to share their experiences online and first-hand, and are fortunate enough to have a great track record in delivering first class events. We’ve also worked hard to prove our creditability as the best go karting in Milton Keynes by entering (and winning) several business and industry awards. Not bad for a small business!
5. Not having an objective
OK, so you’ve had a great corporate event or Christmas party idea, but have you thought about why you want to do it in the first place?
If you don’t tailor the event around your requirements, at best you could be looking at a missed opportunity – at worst, the event you book won’t be appropriate for your group.
It might be as simple as treating your team to an awesome day out, but it’s important to think about why you’re booking a day out it start with. This allows your experience provider to tailor the event around your group for maximum impact.
For example, if you’re looking to promote teambuilding, you’ll want an event that will require realistic interaction and problem solving. Out to impress clients? You could have the venue branded and your product out on display to focus your guests on what you have to offer.
You might have guessed it already, but we offer events to suit all requirements, from team building endurance races, to product launches, to go karting Christmas parties for your staff. The advantage of a karting event is being able to combine excitement with first-class hospitality, and a corporate event truly tailored to your exact requirements.
It’s tough being given responsibility for organising a corporate event, but with a little research and some basic planning, you should be well equipped to avoid these common pitfalls.
Want to see how a corporate event should be done?
Book a multi-award winning experience with Formula Fast Milton Keynes.
We’re one of UK’s highest-rated indoor motorsport facilities, and as a passionate, family-founded business with a proven track record in delivering a quality experience for companies big and small, your next corporate event will be one to remember for all the right reasons.