The best-selected place makes a huge difference in an event. A conference for customers, partners or a larger conference, can change its experience by just changing a venue. A conference manager can only understand that his to-do list is never going to end. With 36% of event planners spending most of their budget on the venue, choosing an event space becomes one of the most important and challenging aspects in the planning process. To make it a bit easier, here are few tips for choosing a great venue for your next event, conference or a tradeshow.
Before you determine the location as your conference venue, ensure that transportation is readily available to the venue so that attendees can easily arrive by air, rail or automobile otherwise your conference can lose the attendees especially when it is more than 2 days event. Also, confirm that there is ample parking or valet services for attendees who chose to drive to the venue. Make sure that there are restaurants or other attractions nearby that are open either pre or post-event to maximize additional event networking opportunities.
There are times when the venue is not located within a hotel, so you need to always check the accommodation is at a reasonable distance of the event. If the venue is not within walking distance, check to see if the hotel will provide shuttle service. If not, factor in the availability and expense of taxi or car services for participants.
Once you find out if the venue is available, check to see if the twinkle spaces are available as well— considering the 4% growth in demand for non-traditional venues in the last year. Be sure to determine if this is the venue or locale’s peak season. This will impact the amount of traffic in the common spaces and may preclude organic event networking opportunities (pool, VIP lounge, etc.).
Always ensure your conference theme and the image that you want to project among the attendees and target audience as well. Also, ask the venue coordinator for your concern if there will be other on-site events that clash with your event or branding message.
Budget constraints should be conveyed to the venue from the start. However, if you have found the perfect fit for your event, ask if they would consider lowering the cost in exchange for a multi-year contract. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Take time to make and arrange data to check the wait staff, concierge support, and security for your event. Check if there is an on-site dedicated venue coordinator or designee to assist with any issues that arise. Also, see if the staff will help you with surveys or onboarding and promoting your event app to your attendees.
Branding is an essential key to any event. Make sure to use this key effectively in your events among the attendees to attract them for the future developments of your brand. Ask the venue coordinator what signage and branding opportunities are available throughout the facility, not just in the event space itself. Can you utilize an in-house electronic marquee or place signage in the elevator space? These are questions to ask before you sign a dotted line.