EMEA Conference: Local Arrangements

The Local Arrangements team helps coordinate the local activities for the conference, including off-site entertainment and information about the local area. Ideally,  members of the committee will be located in the local area and able to provide advice and input based on the local environment,although that isn't required of every committee member.

Conference Hotel

CSEA utilizes an Event Assistant based in the EMEA Region to assist with local hotel activities, serving as the primary negotiator for all hotel transactions. She/he works closely with the Executive Director regarding all contractual obligations regarding the hotel. The Local Arrangements Committee assists in the following ways:
  • Provide the Executive Director and Event Assistant with suggestions for meals based on the conference food and beverage menu, if applicable.


  • Develop a list of local things to do, including activities, restaurants, entertainment, etc. to be displayed on the web site prior to conference. 
  • Prepare general information to help the Marketing Committee promote the locale to conference attendees prior to the conference, including weather information.
  • Secure a local printer for conference printing needs, including the printed program, signage and other items as needed. Communicate the printer contact information to the Executive Director.

Gala Event

The gala at the EMEA Conference is a opportunity for attendees to network in a relaxed setting outside of the traditional conference environment. It also provides an opportunity for attendees to explore the unique culture of the conference city and country.  
Venue Research Criteria
The first step to plan the Gala Event is to research possible venues, typically via phone or email. The following criteria are considered when researching venues. A worksheet will be created in Smartsheet to track the information for each option. Note: The Event Assistant can be utilized for some of the initial research, depending on budget and availability of local committee members. 
Criteria Preference
Date availability The gala takes place on the evening of the second full day of conference programming
Budget The Executive Director will provide the maximum budget for the event, which includes the venue, catering, transportation and entertainment.
Minimum capacity
(seated and standing)
200 minimum capacity is needed. Food can be served buffet or reception style, or as a sit-down dinner if budget permits. Note that we may not have a full 200 attendees, but the capacity should be 200 in order to allow for enough space. 
Entertainment options Entertainment can sometimes be arranged (if budget allows) to show off the local culture, but this may not be necessary depending on the venue. Examples include: music, artists, interactive pieces, DJ/dancing.
Indoor vs. outdoor space Is all of the space inside, or would the group be outdoors as well? If outdoors, what considerations need to be made for the weather?  
Catering Is catering done in-house or external?  Do they provide a wide range of food and drinks? A wide selection of food is preferred, as well as beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks. Request the catering menu in advance to do some initial calculations to determine what the food and beverage costs will be.
Cost structure What is the cost to rent the venue for our event’s date and time? What is included in the cost? Be sure to ask about furniture, tableware, server fees, service fees, taxes, cleaning fees, etc. Is there an option to waive the rental fee if we guarantee to spend a minimum amount in food and beverage?  What is the food and beverage minimum spending requirement?  Does that include alcohol? 
Food structure options Will the food be served reception style, buffet or a plated dinner?
Privacy Would the venue be open to our group only, or shared with other patrons? If shared, how would they keep other our meal service separate?
Distance from conference hotel How far is the venue from the hotel, and what type of transportation will be needed? How long is the typical drive using a coach bus (taking into the consideration the time of day)?  If it’s walking distance, how far is the walk, and how safe is the area? Ideally, the location would be no farther than a 30-minute drive from the hotel (taking traffic into account). 

Venue Selection
Once the initial research is conducted, the Executive Director will help narrow down the list. The Local Arrangements Committee then conducts site visits to venues that meet the minimum criteria. The Executive Director will communciate directly with the venues to obtain the following additional information before or after the site visits:
  • Are there restrictions on the type of entertainment or decorations that can be brought in , including glitter, pinning things to walls, changing the layout, etc.? 
  • Are there any noise restrictions?
  • What furniture is included in the space? 
  • Do they have a list of preferred suppliers/vendors or an exclusive vendor list?
  • Is there a deposit required upon agreeing to the terms?  Is the deposit refundable? 
  • What staffing is included in the venue rental and/or for special events?  Is security required and included in the rental fee?  
  • Do they include any freebies or services with the venue rental fee?
  • Are there hidden costs like a service charge, gratuity, cleaning fees, or overtime charges? 
  • What additional insurance, if any, does the venue require for private events?
  • Are there accessible locations for busses to drop off and wait for return trips to hotel? How far will attendees have to walk from the bus drop-off location to the venue, and back?
  • How many hours do they allow for set-up?  How early can we access the venue to decorate?  Are there any costs required to gain access earlier in the day?  Can we ship to or drop things off at the venue beforehand?
Once all of the information is obtained from the site visits, the committee narrows down the options to the ones they prefer and sends the short list to the Board Liaison and Executive Director for review and approval of the final decision.
Once the decision is made, the Executive Director works with the venue to develop a contract using the Conference Contracts outline.
Event Planning
Once the venue is selected, the planning process begins, which includes the following activities:
  • Transportation - Depending on where the venue is located, the committee arranges for transportation for attendees. Typically, transportation is secured if the venue is more than a 10 minute walk from the hotel, and/or if there are concerns about the safety or area where attendees would walk to the venue. Coach buses are typically used. Arrange for a contract with the bus company. Find out from the hotel where attendees should meet for bus pick-up. Arrange for pick-up and drop-off times, and make sure this is communicated to attendees in the printed program and through announcements during th event. If transportation is not used, provide attendees with walking directions to the venue.
  • Food and beverage selection - The ED will work within budget and the menu provided by the venue to create a food and beverage menu for the committee to review and the ED to ultimately approve. Food typically includes dinner or heavy hors d'ouevres, as well as beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks, keeping in mind dietary restrictions. If guests have to select their food item in advance, the question can be added to the registration form, and/or the Executive Assistant can follow up with attendees to gather the information. 
  • Entertainment - The committee will work within budget to arrange entertainment, if needed. Typically entertainment includes something highlighting the local area (music, artists, dancing, etc.). Note that some venues may provide entertainment, or it might not be needed if there is enough embiance such as a nice view, etc. 
  • Tickets - Tickets are provided to attendees in order to secure entrance to the event. Some venues provide their own tickets; in other cases the committee secures them. Tickets can be designed and printed locally, or standard tickets can be purchased from an office supplies store. 
  • Headcount - The ED will let the venue know the final headcount within their deadline, as per the contract.
  • Marketing - The committee creates verbiage to promote the event to conference attendees. This is included on the web site, as well as emailed to attendees in advance. The venue may have specifications for what can and can’t be used for marketing purposes (i.e. logos, pictures, etc.). This information is typically included in the contract.
  • Volunteers - Volunteers are typically needed on-site to collect tickets at the door. The commtitee can be utilized for this, or the ED can solicit volunteers from the conference attendees. Volunteers also assist with transportation, if needed (meeting the buses at the hotel and assisting with loading, and doing the same when the buses return to the hotel at the end fo the event). Depending on the venue and entertainment, there may be additional volunteer needs.