Whether you’re planning a team-building event with activities spread out across the day, such as workshops and a dinner, or you’re planning more of a larger-scale conference or exhibition for multiple companies to attend, finding the perfect venue to cater for everybody is vital.
Locating a venue that has enough space to host multiple activities can be quite a task, which is why we’ve shared our eight steps to finding the perfect venue for your next conference or event.
Step 1: Cost and availability
Firstly, work out an overall budget, as this will help you figure out how much you have to spend on a venue and you can start shortlisting your favourites. When it comes to choosing a date, we advise picking a few. Finding a perfect venue is one thing but making sure it’s available is another. Offering a range of dates gives a higher chance of your venue being available.
Step 2: Find the perfect location
Location is everything. Opting for a venue with nearby transport links is essential for those who will have delegates travelling in. What train stations are close by? Is there an airport within a reasonable distance? Better yet, can you walk or cycle? Ideally, there’s accommodation on-site or nearby so anyone travelling from much further afield can stay overnight. The better your location, the easier you’ll make it for more delegates to attend.
Send out an email prior to your event with clear directions to your venue by car and public transport routes. If possible, create an app for your event, where you can include all of this information so that your visitors have easy access to directions if necessary.
Step 3: What’s the maximum capacity?
Does it hold your capacity? A multi-purpose event could consist of a variety of activities, from fashion shows to award dinners to a conference, meaning you’ll need a range of set up options and seating arrangements. You could run separate activities at the same time in different rooms, meaning you’ll require diverse types of spaces. You need to ensure that your chosen venue can cater for everything you have planned.
Step 4: What services does the venue provide?
Delegates at any event, no matter how big or small, will expect to be fed. Does your venue provide on-site catering? If not, do they partner with a third-party food supplier that you could use?
It’s a good idea to check with delegates about any dietary requirements beforehand to ensure you’ve catered for everyone. Does the venue provide a set-up and/or clean-up service? If not, do they have any suppliers to recommend? Otherwise you may have to request help from dedicated staff on your team.
Step 5: What facilities are available?
An engaging event will require audio-visual equipment for you and your speakers to use. Ask your venue what technical equipment they can include or offer, otherwise you’ll have to hire these yourself, which will be an added cost to bear in mind. If you have conferences, meetings and workshops planned, does your venue provide tables, chairs and linens?
Step 6: Is accommodation available?
For those hosting a multi-day event, you will more than likely have delegates staying over and will therefore need a venue that has accommodation on-site or nearby.
Step 7: How will your day be laid out?
Especially when hosting a multi-purpose event, the layout of the venue is important. You want your visitors to be able to move easily from each activity and in plenty of time. Organising activities next to each other in the schedule but on opposite sides of the venue could cause people to be late and feel stressed, making the whole experience less enjoyable.
Speak to your venue about this and ask to see floor plans, as this will help you plan where you’ll host each activity and enable you to organise a clear schedule. Many venues will have an events co-ordination team that will assist in the overall logistics.
Step 8: Do you need insurance?
Finally, once you have everything sorted, check whether you need insurance. Some venues won’t allow you to host an event without it.
Whilst this process can take time, it’ll be worth it when the day comes and it’s a success. Simply follow our eight steps and you’ll soon find the perfect venue.