Event planners are master jugglers, balancing multiple tasks at once. Above all of them is perhaps the task of choosing an appropriate event venue, which can make or break your event. According to MPI’s industry outlook report, 36% of event planners spend the majority of their budget on the venue.
The hunt for a venue can be a long and exhaustive process, but we’ve got you covered! These eight tips will help you find the most suitable venue for any corporate event.
Start well in advance.
Most event planners recommend to start looking for a site at least six months before your event. This will give you ample time to source out and book a venue that best fits your needs.
The audience comes first.
You need to give your audience the love they deserve. Whether you’re organizing a conference, banquet or trade show, it’s important to ensure that the venue captures the needs of your attendees.
It’s important to consider accessibility, which refers to the possibility that everyone, including people with special needs, can access the venue and its amenities. Knowing as much as you can about your attendees and their needs is imperative.
Scope out multiple locations.
Shop around until you find the venue that checks everything off your checklist. Some event planners suggest expanding your search to include unconventional locations, such as public libraries, museums or art galleries.
Keep geographical location in mind.
You’ve likely already considered this, but it’s important to ensure that your attendees can easily reach the venue. Consider traffic, transportation and parking options. A venue with a parking lot is what dreams are made of. As an alternative, you can take a look at Uber and Lyft, which offer discounted rates for events.
Find the right type of space.
Make sure that the space reflects the theme of your event. For instance, a convention center would be an ideal fit for a large-scale conference, but a children’s fundraiser likely wouldn’t be held at a brewery. The size of the space should be flexible, depending on the scope of your event. If networking will come into play, the last thing you want is a tight squeeze!
Consider the venue’s logistics.
When scoping out a site, find out the venue’s offerings, such as audio-visual requirements, furniture rentals and catering. For instance, most hotel venues have their own in-house AV providers. Some venues may offer a blank canvas, allowing you to personalize your event. However, costs add up and sourcing out vendors takes time, so prepare yourself in this case.
Schedule a site visit.
A picture may certainly tell a thousand words, but that won’t suffice for event managers! Any event planner will tell you the importance of visiting the space prior to your event. It will give you the opportunity to meet the event’s in-house team and to get a first-hand glimpse of how the venue will look and function during the time of your event.
Location is king.
In any case, your venue should reflect the event itself and your audience’s interests. After all, it’s the first thing attendees see when they walk through the door! But don’t despair in your search for the best venue. With enough planning and research, it’s certainly attainable. There are plenty of resources available, including:
- BizBash venue directory
- Trade Show Executive report on North America’s largest convention centers
- TSNN trade show venue directory
- Smart Meetings venue finder
- IACC’s venue directory
Do you have any tips for choosing a venue for your events? Let us know! We want to hear from you.