Step 1 - What is the brief? (Who & What)
This might seem obvious but you cannot find a venue without finalising your event details first. Things such as number of attendees, room layout, workshop room requirements etc will all determine if a venue is suitable or not, and if you agree these details at the start it will save you a lot of time.
Maximum capacities are key at this stage. No one wants to be in a situation where you either have half the room empty, or everyone sat on top of each other!
We work with our clients to find an answer if they are ever in this situation, draping to make the room smaller, or changing the room layout to theatre style are the simplest solutions to these problems.
Also, don’t forget about your AV requirements. If you want a large set and stage this will impact how many people you can fit in the room, so it’s good to agree this now.
And finally, what’s your budget?! Knowing how much you have available to spend will help to narrow down your options and determine whether you can consider 4/5* properties, or perhaps more moderate venues.
Step 2 - Location, location, location (Where)
If you’re running an internal event, then your business location would usually determine this. However, if your event is for prospective customers then you need to ensure your location is within easy reach, and has appeal to draw guests there. Make it a wow location/venue so that your dropout rate is low.
Access is important, will your guests be arriving by public transport or driving? If everyone is driving, then having a train station close by but no motorway or onsite parking is no use to anyone.
Step 3 – Do you have a date in mind? (When)
If you have a specific venue in mind you can bet your bottom dollar they will already be booked if you're enquiring less than 12 months in advance. So, the earlier you can enquire the better! The peak season for conferences is Jan/Feb & Sept/ October, so if you’re interested in those dates then get the process started early!
Being flexible about your dates will help a lot! Mid-week are the busiest times for corporate events, and Mondays / Fridays are usually avoided. So, you can often get better options if you’re flexible about the day of the week.
Step 4 - Analysis of venue options
Great, so you've got some proposals and venue options, now you need to narrow it down. Use the detail from steps 1 – 3 to help fine tune your selection by checking which venues tick those boxes the most.
Budget is usually a key deciding factor, but don't let it be the only one! Most of the time there is a reason somewhere is offering a lower rate compared to similar venues. Do they have renovation work going on, is there another larger event happening at the same time which will overshadow yours? These are somethings to check when you’re enquiring.
Also, don’t forget!
- Wi-Fi - many venues still charge for this unbelievably so make sure it’s included!
- Is parking chargeable? And do you need to include that in your budget, or would your guests pay for that themselves?
- Is there phone signal? Some venues have very thick walls or rooms underground which stop signal from getting through, so check this on a site visit.
Step 5 – Site Visits
Walk the delegate routes as if you're arriving for the first time. Even if you're familiar with a venue it's always worth visiting to check if anything has changed or if you need to bring in extra signage/ staff at any pinch points so you don't lose anyone!! Read Stephs blog for more information on why site visits are important!
Once you’ve completed all the above, you should have found the perfect venue to host your next exciting event!
If you need help with your venue searching, then give us a call!