Choosing a venue for your forthcoming event can be a minefield with a myriad of options and questions to answer even before you’ve picked up the phone to the venue you used last time or fired up Google to see what new options you can find.
With over twenty five years experience of event management across the UK we won’t begin to pretend that we know every venue there is, but we can tell you that we’ve a pretty good idea where to look and who to talk to.
Type in venue finding or venue sourcing to your preferred search engine and you’ll see a host of options, many offering you a genuinely free service. Most venue and events agencies receive a commission from the selected venue based on the value of the booking to compensate them for their time spent in liaising with you.
In our experience there are a number of questions that frequently don’t get asked that can affect the effectiveness of your event. For example:
- What are the objectives, purpose and key messages of your event?
- Is your event going to have a set and staging installed? This affects the capacity of the room.
- Does the room have any pillars or other barriers to obstructÂ sightlines?
- Is the space available for setup and break down times?
- Is there an additional charge for the setup and breakdown periods?
- Are there any known planned works that could interfere with the staging of the event?
- In addition to the conference or meeting space where will catering be provided?
- Car parking – where is it and how much?
Whilst the above, when read in black and white, appears obvious you’d be surprised how many times at least one of the above, when overlooked, can become a major headache, either logistically, financially or worse become the most memorable factor for your invited audience!
It is always better to focus on selection rather than finding. There should be an active commitment to identifying a venue that has an exact fit for your event. You should be asked lots of questions to fully understand what you want to achieve. Potential venues should be asked lots of questions too, then you can produce a long list of options.
Working towards a shortlist of options will involve further conversations with preferred venues, arrange a series of onsite inspections and meet the people that will be managing your event. After the inspection visits select your preferred options, ideally just two or three, tell them your decision and negotiate a deal that works best for you and the venue.
Conference organisers and event management agencies will all agree that the right choice of venue is a critical component to the success of all events so be sure you are asking all the rights questions and getting answers that you understand and are happy with.