Moving In: Making the best of your venue set-up

Prepping for an event can be daunting. And while booking the venue, crafting the itinerary, and arranging guests are all essential steps, so too is ensuring that the move-in day goes off without a hitch.

“A lot of upfront planning goes into a conference or meeting, but without considerations for how you’ll actually get through the doors and set up at your venue, you’re leaving a lot of chance,” says Luis Ribeiro, General Manager for Centre Mont-Royal in Montreal, Quebec.

To that end, planners are encouraged to visit their venue’s loading dock in advance to get a sense of how many are available and if they will be used by other parties during the event. It’s also good practice to confirm the exact measurements of all elevators and loading docks, particularly within venues that offer more than one elevator to access the event space.

“The last thing you want to find out on the eve of your event is that your 45-foot truck doesn’t fit in the loading dock or that the material doesn’t fit in the freight elevator,” warns Ribeiro.

The timing of move-in activities is also an important consideration. Many venues charge load-in / load-out times by the hour, and going over one’s allotted time because of unforeseen issues can not only generate extra charges but create conflicts between other events.

Therefore, it pays to know how long you’ll need to get your show set up and to share those details with your venue partners so they can avoid overlaps and provide a more accurate cost estimate.

“This can be an expensive detail if not taken care of correctly,” notes Ribeiro. “That’s why we collect forecasted times from all of the vendors and suppliers entering and leaving Centre Mont-Royal so we can coordinate traffic and make sure no one is getting in anyone’s way.”

It’s a lot of prep work, but working closely with venue representatives on all of these move-in considerations goes a long way towards starting an event on the right foot. After all, says Ribeiro, that’s everyone’s ultimate goal: “We want to coordinate this aspect of the client’s plans very meticulously because the last thing we want is for our clients to incur stress and additional fees on the eve of their event.”

“We take pride in assuring that timeframes are respected and that there aren’t any hidden costs associated with this timeframe and what it would cost to change the times if needed,” he adds.

When it comes to pulling off a successful event, it’s the details that count. As such, taking the time to strategize your move-in with your venue can mean the difference between a smooth launch and a costly headache.

“It can be a bit chaotic on move-in day, and there are a lot of moving parts,” says Ribeiro, adding, “Nailing down all those move-in details before you arrive can make day one much less stressful.”

Luis Ribeiro is the GENERAL MANAGER of Montreal’s Centre Mont-Royal. For more, visit

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