10 Tips for Planning the Perfect Event & Venue in Addis Ababa

Are you hosting a meeting or event in Addis Ababa? We’ve all been to amazing events. An event where you met new people, learned a new skill, or received information about an upcoming grant.

But have you ever attended a program that you wanted to leave halfway through because it was so boring and poorly planned?

Do I need a venue for my event?

Whether you are planning a large event, a small business conference, an accelerator program interview or a final presentation for a project, here are our top tips for ensuring an amazing meeting in Addis Ababa.

A picture of a woman in a red sweater sitting at a board room table looking like she is interviewing someone for events or venue in addis ababa
Reserve one of our small boardrooms for accelerator interviews, presentations, or other professional events

1. Pick the Best Event Venue in Addis Ababa

The venue is the most important decision. Pick a place where you know the staff are trained to ensure your event runs smooth.

Also, make sure the place is central and well known. Pick a place with a nice building and reputation. That alone will entice more people to come. 

If many of your guests will be driving, it’s also preferred to pick a venue that includes free and safe parking. When guests come to Best Western Plus for example, their car will be safe in our parking garage. 

2. Pick the Best Room

Most venues offer multiple rooms. For example, at Best Western Plus, we have 4 different rooms for business meetings and venues. This includes:

  • Ardi Boardroom | 12 people |This is perfect for accelerator program interviews, final presentations, small business meetings
  • Selam | 60 people | Great for small meetings and conferences
  • Lucy | 150 people | Perfect for conferences and events
  • Abyssinia Hall | 250 people | Great for large gatherings

You don’t want to choose a place too small or too large which means you need to find out how many people are coming before you book the room. 

A picture of a u shaped long table at best western plus addis ababa events and venue in addis ababa
Selam Conference Room at our hotel can be set up in a U-Shape to help create more dialogue even in big groups.

3. Sign-in Sheets

On the day of the event, make sure you have sign-in sheets. The sheets should include name, company name, email, and phone number. 

This allows you to follow up with the attendees after the event. 

4. Name Tags

Nametags are often overlooked, but very important. Especially if your event if multicultural with Ethiopians and “Forengi” (people from outside countries) attending, name tags will be helpful for people to properly learn each other’s names– which are most likely a bit harder for people to remember or pronounce without seeing the spelling. 

Go to any stationary or printer store, and you can find white label paper that you can cut down into smaller sizes. 

5. Test the tech before starting

It’s important to prepare a PowerPoint, videos, and other visuals for your event. This will keep people’s interest and make the event look better. 

But it’s also important that you understand how to set up the projector and use the electronics.  This includes the microphone too.

The hotel staff, like ours has dedicated IT personnel to help you. Show up at least an hour early, ask them to show you how it works. Also keep their desk phone and cell phone with you so that you can easily call them if you need more guidance once the event starts.

A man speaking at events and venue in addis ababa
Make sure you produce a good slideshow or video and set up the projector & mic correctly

6. Plan for people to be late

Addis isn’t a city known for being on time. To help, plan to start the event a little before or after rush hour. For example, start the event at 8 am or 10 am–not 9 am.

Regardless, plan for attendees to show up at least 30 minutes late. If your event starts at 8 am, many people won’t arrive until 8:30 am. 

Offer coffee and small pastries to those who do arrive on time, and encourage them to mingle with each other until the event starts. 

7. Plan lots of activities

It’s hard to sit still. That’s why you need to plan lots of activities in your event that gets people moving around. 

Studies show that you’ll lose half your guests attention if a session lasts more than 45 minutes. 

A break of 15-20 minutes long should be taken every 90 minutes. 

A good structure for events & venue in Addis Ababa: 

8:00 am: The time you request attendees to come

8:30-9:15: Introduction & 1st session (45 minutes long)

9:15-9:20: 5 minutes to stand up, stretch, and say hi to people around you

9:20-10:05: 2nd session (45 minutes long)

10:05-10:25: Break (coffee/ small snacks)

10:25-11:10: 3rd session (45 minutes long)

11:10-11:15: 5 minutes to stand up and stretch

11:15-12:00: 4th session (45 minutes long)

12:00-1:00: Lunch

(Repeat the same structure for the afternoon) 

a picture of 2 men at a meeting talking at events and venue in Addis Ababa.
Before a break, give your guests an ‘icebreaker question’ question like, “What makes you passionate about your work?” to make the conversations more lively.

8. Always provide lunch

Even if your event is only half a day, it’s still a good idea to provide a free lunch afterwards. Especially in a country like Ethiopia where everything is community centered, people need to get to know each other through sharing meals before great things can take place. Lunch also allows you to have more brainstorming and fun getting to know the attendees.

9. Book a guest speaker if possible

This will add variety to the event. You can even advertise that the guest speaker is coming before the event to attract more people to come. 

10. Get people excited for the event before it even begins

Announce it on a blog and share it on social media. Having a great web design in Addis Ababa is really important– this way people learn about your company naturally.

Also, call the people you want to attend several weeks before the event and give them a reminder a couple days before. If it’s a large event, you can even get the media like What’s Out Addis to feature it.

Post your event on social media and a blog before and after the event

Extra tip:

Or ask the venue to write about it and share it on their social media. For example, if you book an event at Best Western Plus, we are happy to write a blog about your event either before or after to bring more awareness to your program. We can even post it on our social media.

We hope you have any amazing event! And please call our Event Coordinator at +251 116-671-414 or email eventcoordinator@bwplusaddisababa.com to visit our event rooms & get a quick & free quote!

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