If you want your event to be a success you’ve got to get the venue right. People will only put up with a poor location, difficult transport links and sub-standard facilities for so long, regardless of how amazing the event is. If you choose a venue that’s too big then your event can come across as under-performing, even if turnout is as good, or better, than expected. Go too small and everyone feel like they’re playing some awful corporate game of sardines. So how do you go about choosing the right venue for your conference?
Know Your Event
Before you rush out looking for a venue it’s incredibly important to get a proper handle on the basics of the event. What’s the budget? How many rooms will you need? What kind of footfall are you hoping for? Once you’ve answered those questions they can act as a filter, helping you to refine your list of potential venues.
Location, Location, Location
The estate agent’s mantra works well for event planning too. Think about where the majority of your participants will be coming from. Is your event on a local, regional or national scale? Come to think of it, are you going to have any international attendees or guest speakers?
If your event is aimed at pulling in punters from around the country and beyond then think very carefully about a location in a large city. The transport connections should mean that anyone travelling from outside the local area has a multitude of options open to them.
Is the event held over more than one day? If it is then you need to think about availability of accommodation across a variety of price points. Not every attendee will want or be able to splash out on a two night stay at a Park Hyatt or Hilton. It’s also a good idea to scope out what the local food and entertainment scene is like. Although many people will want to head back to their hotel for dinner, a shower and bed, there will be some looking to have a more entertaining evening out.
Nibbles and The Net
Working through the above should have brought you down to a few venues that are suitable. To make that final decision take a look at what kind of facilities are on offer at each venue. Don’t just go for the swankiest option though, think about what the needs of your conference or event are and find the best fit.
What kind of on-site catering do you need? Just a buffet or a more formal dinner? Can the venue provide this or are you going to have to hire in a catering service? Of course you need to think about how this might affect your budget.
Also, given that everyone is hooked up to the internet virtually 24/7 these days via smartphones or tablets, does the venue have a WiFi network, and can it take the strain of hundreds, maybe thousands of people using it simultaneously?
One other thing to bear in mind is whether or not the venue has technical equipment you may need. If you have ushers and on-site support staff they will probably need walkie-talkies to make communication quick and easy, but will you have to hire a set? And what about tills and debit card terminals for processing payments and tickets?
Hopefully by taking all the above points into consideration you should be able to find your perfect venue. If you get these areas right, and you’ve put together a great programme of speakers and events then you should have a fantastic conference on your hands.
This article was provided by Meetings Four You, who provide conference venues in Bristol and Oxford.