Photo credit: PJSE

With over 25 years in the events industry, Peter Jones AM, Managing Director of Peter Jones Special Events (PJSE), has established himself as an industry leader, with over 1200 event executions entrusted to him and his team.

Whether organising an intimate dinner for 20 or a lavish charity ball for a 1000, Peter understands the importance of being at the forefront of the everchanging world of events. Peter believes that arenas, in particular, present unique possibilities to create unforgettable, high impact moments. Here are his top insights on how to make an arena event a success.

1. Dream big, plan big

When it comes to choosing an arena, for it to be a success, you need to make sure you can clearly envision your event dream coming to life in the space in front of you. Planning a successful arena event requires either using all of the large space available or cleverly enhancing a smaller portion of space with big ideas. For me, arenas act as a blank canvas for creativity – and I’m often drawn to them with events that are driven by the desire to dream big and deliver big!

2. Getting the most out of your budget

When we have a client that has the budget for the scale, size and vision for an arena, the realisation can become very exciting. To get the most out of your budget, a cost-effective tip is to maximise what’s already available in- house, such as using any great catering services and by rebranding pre-existing structures or signage. Furthermore, you can also ask the arena whether they offer hospitality options, such as sport or entertainment packages.

3. Create the unexpected

When planning an event, we always start with thinking about what the guests are expecting to see. Expectation of an event isn’t always positive. Many people dread going to industry events because they’ve been to them a hundred times and seen it all before. Arenas offer something different. In 2004, during the Athens Summer Olympic Games, we held a dinner in Melbourne & Olympic Parks (M&OP). The reason we chose the venue was because it had a velodrome and we wanted to host a special event right in the middle of the steeply banked oval cycling tracks. Guests were in complete awe – it was a wow moment that was completely unexpected, and people still talk about it to this day.

4. Embracing location

With arenas in most major cities around world, they are perfect venues to cater for both national and international guests. Nationally, you’re transforming an event space that they might have visited before, for a sporting match or a concert. Internationally, if based in a prime location, you’re showcasing the best the city has to offer. In 2004 we organised an event for Visit Victoria where we had over 2000 guests in M&OP’s Rod Laver Arena. As the brief was Melbourne the Major Event Capital we thought, why not have the opportunity to host our event on one of the four Grand Slam tennis courts in the world. For our international guests, having a dinner on the court of the Grand Slam was iconic – it was unforgettable for all involved, including myself.

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.