10 Tips for Choosing The Perfect Venue for your next conference
When organizing a conference, a lot of effort must go into the planning and execution part. Choosing the right venue must definitely top that list because without the right space, there is no point in holding an event. Your to-do list is never ending, agreed; but choosing of the right venue tops it all. Whether you are conducting a small event for your customers, or a huge gala involving all the investors or sponsors, it is the venue that makes all the difference.
Given below are some pointers that would help you in choosing the right place to conduct it:
1. The right location
Location is one aspect you have probably considered, but you must definitely give it some serious thought, and make no compromises. If it is a small local event, you would probably want to hold it near most of the attendees’ homes or offices. On the other hand, if the attendees are mostly from other cities, then ensure the venue is near the airport/hotel where they will be staying. While planning the location, make sure there are lots of parking spots, as you might have attendees coming down in their own vehicles.
While planning for the event, circulate your event app around the attendees, so they will have all the details of the location at their fingertips, complete with maps, GPS locations, parking locations and so on.
2. Space at the venue
Consider the number of people attending the event, and the activities they will be participating in. If they require a lot of space, then you might need a larger venue to move around comfortably.
If you are just having a simple, classroom session, then you might need a smaller venue. If you are planning to have different kinds of experience for different kinds of visitors, then you might need a venue with distinct floors, or rooms. This would be particularly useful when you are planning concurrent events/workshops where different categories of people would be attending.
3. Suitability of the event
Choosing the right venue or having it near the airport is not the complete answer. The place should be apt for the event. It should be able to enhance the event’s purpose, and reflect the image you are trying to project/create. For example, the area needed for the event must appeal to the participants. Hygiene and maintenance is crucial, followed by seating comfortability, proper lighting and ventilation. If there are sports activities planned at the time of the event, the venue should provide enough facilities for changing rooms, shower areas, public address system, etc.
4. Branding within the venue
The internal goal for every event conducted by an organization is branding. Plan every move with that key in mind, so when you decide on the venue ask the coordinator what kind of branding opportunities are available there. You need to promote your brand through signage and other branding opportunities, so make the best of what is offered at the venue. As soon as the attendee enters the venue, he/she should look around and get the brand name imprinted in their mind and memory. Good event management branding will prompt people to attend the event each time you host one.
5. The costs and fees typically demanded by the venue
Budget preparation is an important part of the venue planning too. You need to have all the expense for various categories on your tray. And a good chunk of this goes into the venue too. It will cover the room rent, security deposit, parking, insurance coverage, and if you have an event covering an entire day, then the cost for the food, beverages, server labor fees, expenses for the audio visual equipment, internet costs, other specialized equipment, chairs, staging, decor expenses, lighting equipment and a hundred other things. And we have not yet covered the expenses for the speaker's transportation back and forth.
6. Staffing at the venue
Apart from your own team, you need to have a whole lot of people helping out during the event. Arranging for volunteers to manage the online meeting registration, guest registration, technical support, catering, and other aspects of holding an event. Seek out a venue that would help provide you with some volunteers too.
7. Technical facilities on offer
It is important to check the technical facilities offered at the venue. You don’t want the attendees wandering around checking for charging stations, Wi-Fi availability, a stronger Wi-Fi signal, etc. Technical accessibility is also very important when you need to need to use audio-visual equipment. Test the venue for mobile phone reception because nothing can be more frustrating for an attendee than a poor mobile network.
8. Proximity to accommodation
Accessibility and proximity to accommodation almost goes hand in hand. People might want to stay somewhere closer to the venue, but then you can interact with your attendees through the event app and get a clearer picture of what kind of accommodation they prefer. Ideally, you can choose a venue that provides several decent, budget-friendly hotels.
9. Ideally, book when the demand for venue is at the lowest
The rental fee for a venue mostly depends on the season. So if your event is being held when lots of other companies are conducting theirs, the prices can be exorbitant. So if low rental fee is a crucial point for you, then choose a time and day when the demand is less. This could be days from Mondays to Thursdays or during the monsoon, winter, etc.
10. The service quality provided at the venue
Professionalism and friendliness of the staff at the venue is an important point to consider. Attendees wanted to be treated good, and they expect people to be helpful and friendly towards them. You can also choose a venue that provides ongoing support or stay as standby in case of emergencies. If they have a dedicated team, then all wrinkles can be smoothed out, making the entire event experience less stressful.
Whatever venue you choose for your event, make sure it is perfectly aligned with your goals, needs and choices. Hopefully, with these tips, you will be able to choose a venue that people would love coming to. The venue is just one aspect in the planning process but it needs critical attention. Consider all the points mentioned above, and you don’t have to worry about making a good choice anymore.