Event Management: Venue Sourcing / Selection
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 other new options you can find.
With over twenty five years experience managing events 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 event management and specialist venue sourcing 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.
They are five key factors to consider when researching locations:
- Location of the facilities – this is especially important in relation to the ease of access for your target market segment for patrons who can attend the event
- Cost of the facilities – whether the cost of hiring the facilities can be met within your budget constraints.
- Size of the venue being hired – whether the size of the venue is adequate for the type of activity that is being planned for the facility.
- Facilities available on site – the availability of adequate facilities for the event that is planned, such as parking and toilet facilities.
- Personality of the venue – it is said by some that venues have a voice that speaks to people arriving at that venue. Perhaps the best illustration of this is to recall how you feel when you enter a place of worship. The calm, solemn, peaceful feeling is the venue’s voice.
In our experience of event management there are a number of other equally important 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 clear sightlines?
- Is the venue available for setup and break down?
- 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?
- Whilst the venue can accommodate your target audience numbers – how will catering be handled?
Whilst the above when read in black and white may appear 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 about your event for your invited audience!
It is always better to focus on selection of the right venue rather than finding one that fits with your specification. 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 venue 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.
The right choice of venue is a critical component to the success of all events so be sure you asking all the rights questions and getting answers that you understand and are happy with.