Choosing the right venue arguably, the most important decision any event manager will have to make as it can make or break your event. I have experienced both the rigour and excitement of sourcing venues for gala dinners, conferences, networking events, and the list goes on!
Understand this…The venue is your canvas to set the ambience for your attendee experience!
Before visiting any venue I would recommend making a list of all the questions you want to ask as sometimes, important issues might be missed.
- Suitability – You won’t host a children’s charity event in a pub or nightclub…. Or would you? The choice of venue should fulfill your event objectives and purpose. I would always advise to have a few venues on your list. Never just choose the first venue you see. Make sure the dates, size and facilities are what you require.
- Location & Travel Convenience – Always think of your attendees when deciding on the location for you event. If I had to travel more than 40 minutes to attend an event I would probably find a film on Netflix and stay in. Make sure you know your attendee demographic and bear in mind that it’s always best to choose venues that have a variety of transport links nearby.
- Cost – Budgeting and cost is such an important factor when considering your event venues. Always set your budget and stick to it! The cost of venues, in my opinion, should reflect the service and facilities offered. Make sure you know what the cost includes to avoid hidden charges. Many event planners may shy away from some venues that are over-priced but perfect for their event. Remember to negotiate as some venues may be flexible on pricing; so ask before you rule out.
- Service and Quality – I am obsessed with quality and customer service! My attendees’ experience and care is my utmost priority when deciding on the right venue. Check reviews on TripAdvisor or, if you know friends or relatives who’ve used the venue, ask for their opinion on their experience. Did they have to wait unusually long for a response after the initial phone call or or email? Did they get a prompt response?
- Accessibility – make sure the venue you choose is accessible for attendees who require elevators, ramps and other amenities. This would ease the stress and discomfort for these attendees.
- Facilities – does the venue have a bar? Do they have in-house catering or do they outsource? Is there adequate and suitable sanitation facilities? Is the room size adequate? These are the basic questions you need to ask when viewing a venue.
- Venue Visit & First Impressions – When choosing the right venue you must visit it! Pictures online for some venues can be deceptive. I always go to their website to check their previous events and room layout to just get familiar with their facilities before the visit.