If you’re planning a conference, meeting or other sort of corporate event, then you need to know how big a venue to look for. How big a venue do you need for 100 people? Or for 50, 150, or 200 people plus?
Here at Venue Finder Pro we like to think we know all about calculating venue capacity. And the truth is, it’s not as simple as how many people a room can hold. It depends on how the room is set up, for starters, and whether or not that may change as the event progresses.
An event without sufficient space spells disaster. Not enough seats makes it look like you haven’t put any effort into planning at all. Even when standing, there has to be room enough for everyone.
Having the right size event space can also affect health and safety in a big way. Overfilled rooms are a fire risk, and could mean that the venue and/or organiser isn’t compliant with fire regulations.
If you would like us to find you a venue for your next event contact us and learn more about our free venue finding service.
Less serious – but important – risks also exist. Imagine a member of the waiting team trying to navigate a room with a tray of piping hot canapes or a pot of freshly brewed coffee? Having enough space to get through without trips or spills is crucial. No one wants their event to be the one that’s remembered because someone’s face was scalded. It’s not good PR – and could even lead to a claim being made.
At the other end of the scale, no one wants to attend an event with no atmosphere either. A space that’s too large could make attendees think that few people have turned up. Again, not great PR – and not conducive to creating a friendly ambience either!
With health, safety and giving a good impression in mind, here are some pro tips to use when working out what size event space you need.
How to work out the right venue size
What does the law say?
First and foremost – no one wants to fall foul of the law. Many spaces will be subject to a maximum capacity that’s enforceable by law. If that’s the case, know these limits first so you can ensure you stay within them.
The venue should be able to tell you about this. If they can’t, then our advice is to steer well clear! Safety first. Always. If people can’t escape from a burning building quickly, lives could be at risk. Enough said.
What activities does the event involve?
The first step in getting the size of the space just right is to consider what kind of activity the event involves. Will attendees be sitting around a table, boardroom-style, for an important meeting, or is the room to be set up like a large theatre for a visual presentation?
Perhaps it’s a breakfast meeting, or the room will change purposes between the daytime and the evening. Think of a wedding, for example. The same space might be set up for a sit-down meal after the ceremony, before being transformed into a disco – complete with dance floor – for the evening party.
Don’t forget, also, that there may be ‘dead space’. Awkward corners, the bar, the area by the door, the stage… These are all places that may not be suitable for standing or sitting. In fact if you are using a stage or putting a presentation on a screen, you also need to make sure that everyone can see!
How much usable space is there if you set the room up theatre-style? Or as a boardroom, or a dining room? How about if it’s standing room only?
The best people to answer these questions are your professional venue finder or the venue staff. These folks should have the facts at their fingertips. It may all seem confusing to you, but trust us, they’ve done it all a million times before! (Well, a few hundred or thousand at least.)
Calculating a venues size according to activity
So once you’ve pinned down what the event’s all about, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. How much space do you need, per person, for each kind of set-up?
Standing room only
Minimum: 6 square feet per person
If attendees are to stand for the duration of the event, then you need around six square feet per person as a minimum. Don’t forget to omit any unusable spaces!
Standing and sitting
Minimum: 8 square feet per person
When some will sit and some will stand – or they switch around during the course of the day or evening – then you need at least eight square feet per head.
Standing, sitting and dancing
Minimum: 10 square feet per person
If there’s going to be an ever-shifting mix of people standing, sitting and taking to the dancefloor, then fabulous. Sounds like a great party! But seriously – people need more space to get up, throw some shapes and sit down again, so go for 10 square feet per pair of dancing shoes.
Minimum: 8 square feet per person
To accommodate people sitting theatre-style, hotly anticipating the presentation that awaits, you want at least eight square feet per head.
Sitting at desks
Minimum: 18 square feet per person
If everyone will be sitting at a desk, such as for a training event, then you need a minimum of 18 square feet per person. But this does depend on the size of the furniture!
Sitting around a conference table or as a square
Minimum: 40 square feet per person
Again, the size of the table/s comes into play here. As a general rule of thumb, allow 40 square feet per head for a conferences-style set-up – or a table set up with an empty square in the centre.
Venue sizing | Final thoughts
As you can see, the size of event space you need varies dramatically. And these are only estimates based on averages and experience.
To find the right place for your event, a professional venue finder can help with matters like this. They’re well used to sizing up spaces for all sorts of set-ups – and have seen far more venues than the hotel staff will have.
For free help with finding the right size venue for your next corporate event, why not contact us?