When organizing an event, you will be faced with a lot of tough decisions. But choosing the best venue and location for your event is the most important. The venue and location of your event will affect everything from the date to the speaker lineup to the catering options and the experience for attendees.
This sounds a little intimidating. This doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some guidelines on what to look out for, what to consider, and how to improve.
When to start looking for a venue
When looking for a location, a good rule to remember is The earlier, the better. Once you are clear on the three main factors of budget, event size, and space requirements, you can start your search.
Book your venue at least eight months in advance. This will give you time to plan for other important things like securing speakers, creating a website and event program, beginning ticket sales, engaging attendees, etc.
Services and Amenities
Does it have a catering service? In this case, the venue will waive the facility fees and charge only a deposit, as well as the cost of the food per attendee. You may be required to use a partner food provider if the venue does not have kitchen facilities. Check their food ahead of time to ensure that it doesn’t contain any allergens. Choose a platform with great food or one that allows outside vendors to provide food.
Does the venue have linens, tables, and chairs available to use? Using what a platform has, you can save a lot of money, provided it fits with your theme and ambiance.
Does the venue have a set-up/clean-up team? It is rare to find a platform that has a dedicated crew for both. You’ll have to create your event team or recruit volunteers if these services are not available.
Does the venue have audio-visual capabilities? You may be able to use some venues’ equipment, while others require that you bring it in.
Not a tech geek? You can create and manage event agendas on the web & mobile without any tech skills.
You’ve probably already thought about the location of a venue. You may want to find a platform that is within reasonable distance of the homes or workplaces of most attendees for a local event. If any of your attendees are coming from outside the city, it would be better to choose a venue that is near an airport or hotel. Don’t forget about traffic, parking, and transportation options.
You can reduce the likelihood of attendees being late by providing them with an event app. This is an industry-standard these days. Your attendees will be more confident when they have access to maps, driving instructions, parking, and shuttle information. Maps with pins can be very helpful if the event is being held on a campus or in an institute. Interactive indoor maps are useful for events that include exhibitions, parallel sessions, or posters.
Take whova for example. Whova is the recipient of multiple awards, including The People’s Choice Award at the Event Technology Awards. Also known as “the Oscars” of event technology, it has a rating of 4.8 on G2.
What is the room capacity? There are a number of reasons why you’ll want to know. If you estimate that your event will be 500 people, then a room’s capacity is 250. This would not allow for a comfortable fit. It may be wise to invest in a capping program for your sessions to ensure that you do not overcrowd certain rooms. Whova’s Session Capping is a great tool for managing attendance. There are also fire and safety codes which the venue must adhere to.
What is the F&B Minimum? When your venue provides food and drinks and has a minimum amount for food and beverages (known as an F&B minimum), make sure that past F&B spending records are comparable to the minimum. You are a great customer if you spend more than the venue expects. Negotiate if they will provide a complimentary service, e.g., Upgrade wifi and A/V support if you spend a certain amount.
How can I adjust based on feedback from attendees? You need to be able to make informed adjustments for the size of your room or F&B before or during an event. Live voting on an event app allows you to count attendees or get instant feedback easily. This saves time and money. These 64 survey questions are ready to use.
Internet and wifi Access
Is the venue able to provide internet and wifi access for your event? Do they also offer wireless internet in their hotel rooms and conference rooms? In today’s world, it is important to stay connected. It is not only useful for attendees and staff; it allows them to connect and check the event schedule.
Is there a parking area or valet parking at the venue? It is best to choose a platform that has enough parking spaces. If that is not possible, check if there are nearby parking lots that attendees can use. You’re not out of options if there’s no parking.
You can either charge attendees for parking or include it in your ticket price.
Check out the discounts that Uber and Lyft offer for events. You can set up a promo code with them and then distribute it to your attendees.
Share a taxi or ride with other attendees. This would be an opportunity for attendees to get to know each other. A Conference App such as Whova offers a Community Board and a Group Chat feature that can help. Click here for more information.
Even if your venue does not offer valet parking, you can still provide it. If the event is a high-end event, such as a Gala, a valet service may be necessary.
Contract flexibility and force Majeure
Negotiating flexible contract terms is also a good idea since your event may be postponed due to unforeseeable factors. A lockdown or natural disaster, for example, could prevent attendees from attending even if they have already registered. You can ask the venue if it has a clause that covers force majeure. This will protect you against losing your entire deposit.
Flexible Dates for Events
It is important to be flexible when it comes to the date of your event. There may be open dates in their calendars that they are looking to fill. You are more likely to get a discount and to find a venue quickly if you provide 2-3 dates.