Selecting the Ideal Venue

Last month we talked about how setting clear objectives and knowing your target audience can ensure event success and an excellent return on investment. This month we’d like to share with you some advice about selecting the right venue for your event.

Event venue selection is not as simple as some may think. There are so many questions you need to consider during your conference or event venue search. Of course budget is a key consideration. And you wont’ want to blow your entire event budget on venue alone – especially if that venue doesn’t give your delegates the right impression of your event or your organisation.

When you are visiting a conference or event venue it’s advisable to take a check list with you and you should always try to view the venue through the eyes of your target audience.

Here are some of the key questions you might want to consider when building your venue selection checklist.

  • Does the venue fit with your organisation’s image. For example if you are planning an event for a public sector organisation, would it be suitable to hold it at an expensive hotel, or would an academic venue be more suitable?
  • Does the venue fit with the event theme? For example if you are running a conference about innovation in the construction industry, could you find a cutting edge new building in which to host the event?
  • Is the venue accessible to your target audience? Are there good road, rail and air links, and is there sufficient parking on-site or close by?
  • Does the venue offer on-site accommodation for event delegates or have links to local accommodation close by?
  • Is the main meeting space suitable? Is it large enough when laid out in your preferred layout; is there a stage, a backdrop, good lighting and acoustics; and will there be room for a top table for your speakers or panel?
  • Does the venue offer a sufficient number of breakout spaces to accommodate workshops and breakout sessions and does the venue allow you to make changes to the layout of rooms if you need to?
  • Are the available meeting rooms well-ventilated and temperature controlled and do they offer natural daylight and plenty of space so that your audience feels comfortable throughout the duration of the event?
  • Does the venue offer a catering service and if so what is it like and will it meet the expectations of your audience?
  • How will the venue ensure that delegates won’t have to queue for too long during lunch and refreshment breaks?
  • Does the venue cater for those with special dietary requirements and where will the catering be located?
  • Does the venue have a space for locating exhibition displays and can these be situated in the same place as the catering and refreshments, so that your exhibitors get sufficient footfall over the course of the event?
  • Is the venue big enough for your meeting or event? If delegate numbers increase beyond your expectations, will the venue have sufficient capacity to accommodate your maximum numbers?
  • Does the venue offer AV and IT equipment and support as part of the hire price or delegate rate; or will the services and equipment you need cost extra or need to be hired in from an external contractor?
  • Does the venue offer free WIFI to guests and organisers?
  • Does the venue offer good disabled access to all areas?
  • Are the toilets and other facilities clean, accessible and well-maintained?
  • Are there any other facilities on site that your delegates can make use of?

The main thing to remember when assessing venues for your next meeting, event or conference is to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Walk the site with their needs in mind and try to consider all eventualities. Putting on an event is a big investment of time and money and the venue you select will have a huge impact on its success or otherwise.