How to source the ideal venue.
So, the scenario is this…you have been tasked with planning an event. You need to sort everything from when and where it is going to be right down to what the theme is. You don’t know where to start. So, professional opinion… start at the beginning.
Finding the right venue is key. You need to get this right to make the event work for you and your delegates. It is not as easy as looking for a local hotel, or conference centre. For one thing there are so many venue options available from the usual to the unusual so it is hard to narrow down what works best.
Sometimes you might know a venue either from working at it previously or attending something. But, sometimes you don’t have a clue.
Here are a few hints and tips to get you started…
1. Firstly consider your key requirements. What type of event are you having, is it a conference, gala dinner, fashion show, product launch, exhibition? Different events require different things from the venue, so from the start have a clear idea of your event and the requirements you have.
2. What are your ‘Must have’s’ Prioritise everything you need from a venue and work out which is the most important – is it location, parking, space or accessibility for example.
3. Work out your dates and how flexible they can be. To get an accurate cost you need to give the venue your dates as different days and months often mean venues fluctuate in price. It is also worth checking whether your dates conflict with any other industry dates that could affect your attendance.
4. Consider the venue’s suitability for all of your guests from arrival point to the close of event. Think of everything – parking, toilets, catering locations – all can have an effect on the delegate experience – both positively and negatively.
5. Think about the timings – will your delegates be able to get there on time. If you are starting at 9.00am consider rush hour, public transport and the cost of peak travel for your delegates. If it is an evening event will there be enough time for people to get home and get changed if they need to? Having a clear idea of timings from the start will help with all planning and all communications.
6. Consider how flexible the venue will be and if there will be any hidden costs such as security, electrics or even staffing. Ask all of these questions before you sign a contract so that you can ensure you have every cost included in your budget and to avoid any nasty surprises when the final invoice arrives.
7. Always check on the minimum numbers that you are being contracted for so you do not agree to anything that you are not likely to achieve. Negotiate with your venue to get it to the lowest minimum possible – it is easy to add numbers nearer the date than take them away!
8. Always conduct a site visit. Photographs and floor plans can be deceiving so it is always worth the extra effort to go to the venue and see it all for yourself. As well as confirming the space is right it also helps to give you ideas for your event.
Venue sourcing can be a time consuming process and requires good attention to detail. Always consider whether you have the time to dedicate to getting it 100% right. There must be nothing worse than booking a venue that you later realise is not what you thought or needed so plan to spend a good bit of time researching, negotiating and working with your venue to get it right.
And, if you don’t have the time, ask someone to help. Clear Presentation offer a full venue sourcing service for our clients, providing a complete package including research and negotiation. We have produced many events over the years, in all different types of venues so we know our stuff.
When venue sourcing we consider the following as priority:
1) Does it meet our clients brief?
2) Does the venue work for the event?
Clear Presentations can help with sourcing venues in any location, and for all different events – large or small.
So with my best ‘happy to help smile’ I will leave you with a quick note – if you are looking for some help in sourcing the right venue, or just want to chat through some ideas then please drop me a line on email@example.com or give me a call on 0161 448 2424.
Otherwise – happy hunting!