If you’re tasked with event venue selection for a conference, meeting or other kind of corporate get-together, then what is the most important factor in selecting a venue? Clearly when choosing an event venue you need to consider the budget and the location, but there are various other factors that come into play too.
As a professional venue finder we have found more than one or two (hundreds and thousands) of venues in our time. This guide to looking for a venue for your event will outline the things we’ve found to be important when finding the ideal venue. Why tick just one box when with a few professional pointers you could tick them all?
Here are half a dozen of the most important factors to look for when you’re choosing an event venue. This is presented as a rundown – from the least to the most important. Though the exact order to place these factors in is a matter that’s open to debate!
6 key factors in selecting your venue
This might well be last on the list – but if you own or work for a company with a firm focus on design, for example, then the style of venue could be seen as crucial to the event’s success.
If you’re hosting clients you want to impress, for instance, then selecting a venue that reflects your organisation’s branding or ethos could be crucial. Does the venue look modern or traditional, and does this fit with the image you want to project?
The exact location of the hotel might come into play here too. Are you thinking of a slick, cutting-edge bolthole in the city to reflect a contemporary, forward-thinking organisation? Or would a classic country house hotel be more in keeping with the impression you want to give employees or clients?
It seems simple enough, but can the venue cope with an event like the one you’re planning? Many factors come into play here.
Firstly, does the hotel have rooms that are big enough to hold all the people who will be attending? The layout can be key here – a room may seat more people theatre-style than conference-style, for example. Is there enough accommodation for overnight guests?
Also, can the venue supply any equipment you need for the event? Sound, lighting or audio visual equipment may be costly and time-consuming to hire, as compared to when it’s included in the hotel’s rates. Simpler equipment such as stationery may also be required.
If you need catering, can the venue cope with the numbers? What are the options regarding a buffet or sit-down meal? How about hot drinks and bottled water throughout the day, and perhaps snacks?
It’s generally easier to go with a venue that can cater on-site than one using an outside supplier. This is because the catering is tried and tested, and things should run seamlessly. If an outside caterer is used, then the event running smoothly will partly depend on the communication between the venue and the caterer.
Is the sort of venue you want to use likely to be available? When planning a meeting between just a few employees or business contacts, you’re more likely to find plenty of hotels and other venues that can supply a small room.
If you’re planning the annual conference, however, then you’re probably going to need a lot more space. When attendee numbers are in the dozens, scores, hundreds or even thousands, you need a venue that can cope with these numbers.
Advance planning is key. The later you leave it, the less likely you’ll be to get a decent venue for your event. Good venues may be fully booked months or even years in advance, so get in there as soon as you can.
You could, for example, start planning the next annual conference as soon as this year’s one has drawn to a close. It would be a good idea to get into this habit. Sooner is even better – if you can cope with thinking about next year’s event before this year’s conference has even taken place!
This could have snuck in and stolen the top spot, but we decided to put this in third place. The truth is, the number one factor needs to be decided before you even start to set a budget! And the number two factor is also critical.
To make a decision about a spending limit, you do really need to know what the costs are likely to be. If you’ve never booked a venue for an event before, a little advice here wouldn’t go amiss. Ask whoever booked last year’s conference venue, for instance, or get in touch with a professional venue finder who can provide guidance.
It’s no good booking a venue that doesn’t have the capacity to hold all the people that will be attending the event. You love that little boutique hotel you just spent the weekend at, but if it cannot accommodate all the attendees then it’s definitely a no-no.
So once the budget has been decided, you need to work out the number of people who will be attending and choose a venue accordingly. Don’t forget extra attendees such as motivational speakers – they may also need to be fed and watered and might also require overnight accommodation.
Location has to be numero uno. Where you hold the event has huge connotations for those who will be attending. It’s no good inviting an awesome keynote speaker, for example, if they turn down the gig because getting there will simply take just so darned long!
The location may already be fixed – such as when all employees are based in London. But if it’s more fluid, then what to think about is how everyone will get there. Where do they all live? Are they driving or using public transport? Do they need accommodation for staying over?
So when looking for the ideal venue you may need to check out whether the venue is close to a major train station. Does it have enough parking? What about accommodation for a set number of attendees?
Location is the number one concern among our clients, so we suggest getting to grips with that before you even begin to think about any other factors when choosing between venues.
For professional help with venue finding at no cost to you whatsoever, why not get in touch with Venue Finder Pro?