Selecting the right venue for your next event can be what sets it apart from previous events…..or determine the event’s failure. There are so many components to consider when selecting a venue for your event, it can be a little overwhelming at times. Events Outsourced have compiled a list below of the six elements you need to consider when selecting the venue for your next event.
1. Physical Location
The location in which you would like to hold your event needs to be the first consideration in the venue selection process. There are various factors that need to be considered when selecting the location – accessibility for attendees, specific elements required for your event (i.e. beach location for team photoshoot), previous event locations for this group, budget restrictions, weather considerations, capability of the venues in the area to hold your required number of guests. There is no point in selecting a small rural community for your event if you have no way of accommodating & feeding your attendees. This part of the venue selection process can be quite time consuming if you aren’t already familiar with the locations up for consideration. The first point of call when researching a new area for your event is to contact the local tourism bureau – they are the experts in that particular area and should be able to assist you with your queries much more efficiently than googling all aspects of the area.
Budget is an extremely important step when considering venue selection for your next event. You may fall in love with a 5-star hotel in a particular location that ticks all of your other boxes but is way out of your price range. You need to keep your budget at the forefront while considering your options (unless of course your CFO is open to ever increasing event budgets – we haven’t met many of those in our time). The travel and access is also important when considering budget – when you start looking at multiple transfers, individual transfers and flight routes from your attendees home cities the travel budget can really creep upwards.
3. Nearby Businesses/Suppliers
Rarely do you plan an event where the attendees stay in the one venue for the entirety of the event (especially for multi-day events). You need to take into consideration what is available nearby – restaurants for offsite dinners, tourism attractions for incentive trips, ease of access if a delegate needs to pop down to the local shops, options for attendee free time, businesses for last minute requests (printing companies, stationary supplies, general store, chemist etc). This doesn’t necessarily mean that you want all of these elements at your attendees fingertips – some events & incentives are planned to take the attendees out of their normal environment and immerse them in the content and forming stronger bonds within teams. For this type of event having a venue that is somewhat isolated can be a better option as it forces the attendees to remain together during break times and limits the external distractions.
4. Onsite Facilities
An important part of selecting a venue is ensuring that the venues you are choosing from all have the onsite facilities that you require for your event. We are going to exclude the actual function rooms from this point as they have their very own section below – this point relates to the other areas of the venue.
If you have a particularly active group (or your event goals are to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle) consider whether your venue has an onsite gym, affiliate program with a nearby gym or nearby walking tracks. Is the restaurant large enough to cater for your group – if your entire group are staying in house is the space large enough to cater for them all coming at a similar time (especially applies to breakfast & lunch)? If your group are all arriving on one transfer does the venue offer group check in to avoid lengthy queues on arrival? If you are looking to conduct team building activities does your venue have sufficient space for this? Are there facilities onsite for the group to network following the event? Are they flexible with food options (especially prevalent if you have a large number of dietary requirements)? When attending the venue for a site inspection take particular notice of the staff – are they helpful, friendly and welcoming?
Do they have enough accommodation rooms to cater for your group? Is there a sufficient number of room types? This one can be particularly important if you are running an incentive event where attendees have qualified for different levels of accommodation rooms or if you have VIP’s who need to have a higher quality room than the main delegates. Do their accommodation rooms meet your event requirements (i.e. can mini bars be removed; do they offer sufficient twin room options).
5. Function Spaces
Perhaps the make or break of whether a venue is suitable for your event – do they have appropriate function space for your event? The first consideration here is capacity – do they have function rooms that meet your requirements capacity wise? You also need to consider if there is space should your group size grow – it is better not be at the maximum capacity for the function room when you are booking as this doesn’t give you any wiggle room should your event grow in size.
When looking at the function space for your next event there are many elements that need to be considered. Below are some generic elements however each event will also have it’s own specific elements for consideration:
- If you require more than one function space, do they have appropriate options and are they nearby to each other?
- Is there appropriate soundproofing between the rooms – especially important to consider if your content requires a quiet environment.
- Is the venue wheelchair accessible including access to bathrooms and any other areas your group may need to visit onsite?
- Is there Wifi available in the function rooms and how strong is it?
- Is there an option for upgraded internet access if required for the presentation (never rely on the venue wifi for presentations!).
- Does the room have sufficient natural light and conversely is there the option to block out the natural light if it is affecting the viewing of the projection screen.
- Does the function space have enough space for you to conduct registration without impeding the general flow of traffic in the space?
- Are there bathrooms close by?
- Is the function space easy to find – you do not want attendees becoming lost before they arrive at the event, this will often result in grumpy attendees.
- Does the function space have the appropriate AV requirements (or the option to bring them in)?
- Is there vehicle access if you are arranging an event for a vehicle manufacturer.
- Are the meal breaks served inside the room or in the foyer area (can create incidental noise).
- Are there storage spaces nearby if you have a lot of items (goodie bags etc).
6. Recommendations & Reviews
We all know that occasionally reviews are to be taken with a grain of salt however it is important to look into the reviews of your potential venue. If there is anything in there that concerns you make sure you cover this off with the venue representative as there may be a story behind the review and at the very least it will alert the venue that you will be taking particular notice of that element during your event. If you are planning an event in an area that you have never visited it can be helpful to ask for recommendations. This can be done through the local tourism bureau and also through any staff or attendees who may reside in the area – locals usually know the in’s and outs of the venues in their area and can let you know of anything to keep an eye out for.
Selecting a venue can be quite overwhelming however it is one of the most important elements of the event planning process. Spending adequate time on this step and taking into consideration all of the items above will assist you to ensure that your next event is a huge success!
If you don’t feel confident that you will have the time to spend on these steps we recommend reaching out to an Events agency for help. Often, they will be familiar with the area and if not, they are the experts in knowing what to keep an eye out for. Events Outsourced offer packages which allow you to outsource just a single element of your event (venue sourcing and negotiating for instance) taking away the stress, saving you time and ensuring you have the confidence that you are selecting a venue that will make your next event incredible!