Choosing a venue is usually one of the first stages of event planning. The real planning can’t really take off until you have a designated facility. Of course, choosing a spot for your conference is easier said than done.
There’s a lot of logistics that go into it. Here’s a few tips to help narrow your search. There’s a few elements that should be in place when securing a location for your next event.
Every venue has a specific aura or vibe. When you tour the place, you’ll know whether the location is “the one.” Not all venues may be suitable depending on the nature of your event. If you’re hosting an event catered towards millennials, for example, then you should consider a venue with contemporary architecture as opposed to, say, a venue located in the countryside.
You know your audience and your industry better than anyone else, so use your best judgement when determining whether a venue has the right ambiance and/or layout.
Venue fees often include outsourcing of the facility’s own staff. This includes janitors, security personnel, and administration staff. If the venue does not include staff, then you may have to designate your own staff or hire a third-party service.
Keep in mind that it will reflect poorly on your company if the trash overflows, or if there’s a safety liability and there’s no one to address it. If the venue does provide staffing, will the personnel be present for the entire duration of the event?
If you’re expecting a hefty turnout, then there will likely be a small handful that will require special accommodations, such as wheelchair access or braille. Scout the venue or ask the administrator about these accommodations. You should know, for example, whether the restrooms have grab bars, or if an elevator is available if the venue has more than one floor.
You should know ahead of time whether you’ll have guests that need such accommodations. If certain accommodations aren’t available, consider adding your own. If the venue contains auditorium-style- seating for instance, then perhaps you can set aside a foldable chair at the very front as a makeshift handicap seating.
When there’s a lot of people congregated in a single area, it’s very possible for something to go wrong. The floor can get scratched, an equipment can get damaged, or worse, a guest can get hurt. Your company can be held liable for any of these instances. Should the worst case scenario happen, you want to be backed up by insurance; otherwise, you’re looking at huge financial ramifications.
Most venues have insurance that is already factored into the rental fee. Don’t assume such, though. Read the fine print to ensure insurance is indeed included. If not, then turn to a third-party insurance supplier.
Contrary to popular belief, catering is not a separate component from the venue. The reason is because most venues have their own catering department that you’re required to use. Should you elect for outside catering, there may be a surplus charge. This is routine practice for most venues as a way of maximizing revenue.
On the subject of food, you may also want to look into the venue’s availability of a fully serviceable bar. Grabbing a cocktail at any time during the event is likely something guests will appreciate.
Some venues offer a few extras that, while not necessary, are certainly nice to have. Amenities may include massage chairs, a spa, swimming pool, pool table, darts, or anything that guests might appreciate.
Amenities also include things that your staff may find useful, such as access to a copy or printing machine, or a coffee maker, which comes in handy if staff is pulling overtime. It wouldn’t hurt, in fact, to enquire whether your staff can access the facility’s “employees only” area.
One of the most common yet avoidable planning mistakes is opting for a venue that’s too small or too big. Your venue choice will be limited depending on the facility’s occupancy limit. Some venues are only designed to accommodate 30 guests, while others can hold upwards of 2,000.
If you have, say, 200 guests, then venues with that limit or less is definitely out of the question since there’s a major safety risk. By the same token, though, it doesn’t make sense either to opt for a venue designated for 1,000 bodies when you’re expecting a turnout of 100 guests or less. Having all that open space gives off an illusion of a low turnout or dead vibe.
Venues aren’t cheap, and the price goes up the more upscale and high profile the facility is. While a memorable venue is important, don’t be so eager to please your guests that you take out a gigantic loan to finance the rental. At the end of the day, the venue still has to be within your budget.
On the issue of cost, some venues do alter their fees depending on time of day or year. Discounts may also be provided for multi-day rentals.
The venue does have a direct influence on how the event is perceived. Pick wisely, but at the end of the day, the venue isn’t the be all end all, so don’t fret too much over it.