Keeping the Plan in your Floor Plans
Your floor plans are just like any other planning process. You start with something basic and simple. Then as your needs begin to take shape, so do the details of your event planning. Simple, right?
But one of the most important details of your convention or meeting starts to take shape months, if not a year in advance, and that is the event meeting space. In this case, we’ll take a look at a typical ballroom floor plan and see the differences between a well laid out space and one that has issues to address, so you don’t learn the differences too late.
The meeting space is critical to so many facets of your event, and planning how it is to be occupied is something that your production partner will help you understand, plan and ultimately design.
The Right Plan
When you first select a venue, you will typically receive a very blank and generalized floor plan from the hotel or venue. Shown below is one of the most popular destinations in Orlando, Florida, and represents what you typically get on their website.
Additionally, you might receive audience capacity data, along with ceiling heights and general room dimensions. At this stage, you’re doing well. You have the basics to start thinking about what you can do, and how many people you can fit in this room.
Now, you start thinking about attendees, chairs, tables, stage size, screens, and more.
You may look to the venue to help you lay out your room, but you must be careful. The venue may not take into consideration all the important details you need to sort through to get it right.
Often times, they fill the entire room to capacity with chairs and tables and forget many critical details like the stage size, the front of house tech area, screen projection throw distances and possibly even alignment with rigging points (if you are hanging lighting or projectors).
Again, your experienced production company partner can step in here and draw your room with all the details you need to not only maximize the space, but also pass the fire code requirements. This drawing looks better now, focusing on only the rented space booked and exploring stage and seating configurations. But what is missing?
Let’s compare. The above drawing is the very same space but has much more important details you need to move forward successfully.
- Note the reduction of chairs in accordance with local fire marshal regulations.
- Look at the lower data bar with identification data and indications of who has drawn this plan.
- Note the addition of a tech/front of house area in the top right.
- Note the indications of foyers, terraces and detailed measurements that help orient the space.
It’s important, detailed information like this that make the difference between a basic floor plan and a well thought out design layout.
The room diagram or floor plan is your first, last and every point in the middle reference for understanding how best to use the square footage in your ballroom. When this is well-executed, you are positioned for success.
And as a final note to this look at floor plans: Remember, bring a technical representative from your production company, preferably the Technical Director, to your site survey. Chances are, he’s worked in that room before, and can bring important insights to planning and laying out the ballroom experience.