Deciding the correct venue for your event can be the make or break of the success of the event, whether it be a business meeting, a conference, a dinner or a celebration reception. There are a number of elements that need to be taken into account when choosing the all-important venue.

Location

Location, location, location – The location of the venue is crucial. Is it easy for your guests to arrive at the venue at the allocated time of the event? If not, they could be late and the first impression that they have of the event is not a great one, it shows a lack of thought from the outset. Always take into account where your guests are likely to be travelling from and will they have enough time to get there from previous engagements. The venue should be an accessible, suitable location for the type of event.

Appropriate Event Space

The event space should be an appropriate size to accommodate your guest comfortably; therefore you need to set a limit as to the number of guests that can be invited to the event. If you are running a conference that could potentially become over-subscribed then you must ensure that the venue can cater for the extra numbers by perhaps extending the room or moving to another space within the venue. Decide on the set-up of the event at the earliest possibility – is it round tables of 8 or 10, classroom style, theatre, or cocktail reception? Once you have the understanding of which set-up you require then the capacity of the event space can be worked out. Always ensure that other potential elements of the event are taken into account such as buffet tables, dance floor, stage, product display areas or registrations areas. It is also vital to make sure that there is suitable pre-event space available at your chosen location should it be required.

Food and Beverage

A quality food and beverage service is another element of the event that can make or break it. Does the venue offer a wide selection of menus and drinks packages that are suitable to your event? Does the daily delegate rate include food and beverage, if so, what is included? Are they willing to offer a bespoke menu to suit your particular event and the demographics of those attending? Always sit down with the food and beverage manager of the chosen venue and ask them to provide you with a precise and detailed plan of the F&B elements of the event, right down to the timings of each course. It is also important to check with your guests of their food requirement prior to the event and ensure that the venue is informed of any special requirements.

Facilities

The minor things that you may feel unimportant should always be taken care of. Overlook a few of these minor potential issues and the overall guest experience can be effected. Is there plenty of parking at the chosen venue, is there valet parking where you don’t have to wait for an hour to retrieve your car at the end of the event, how are your guests greeted when they first arrive at the venue, is there sufficient event signage guiding your guests to the venue, is there an abundance of restrooms on site? All of these minor issues need to be, and should be accounted for by the venue.

Negotiations with the venue

Once you have selected your final venue of choice from the shortlist that you have put together you need to start you negotiations with the venue. Ensure that you have all the information up front in order to not receive any unwanted and costly surprises at a later date. What are the venues payment terms, guarantees and cancellation policies? What is included in the final quoted figure, is audio-visual included, will you require a technician? All of these elements can cost and you need these costs in order to work out your final event budget.

Choosing a venue seems like the most simplest of tasks, however, nothing could be further from the truth. This is why many organisations decide to work with professional event management companies; companies who have worked with the venues on numerous occasions, companies who can advise immediately whether the venue you are thinking about is suitable for your event, companies who can put together a short list of venues in matter of minutes saving you hours of time in site visits. But, most importantly of all, companies who will run your event from start to finish allowing you to concentrate on the enjoyment guests experience and the success of your event.

Author:
Matt Cashmore – Operations Manager at Global Event Management who has been organising events in Europe and the Middle East for over 20 years.
Email: matt@geventm.com

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