When sourcing venues for conference and meeting venues there are a few basic requirements that you need to know before you start. It is best to put together a plan of your needs before contacting any venues or venue finders so that you are armed and ready for the questions that will follow.
Treat this venue finding exercise exactly the same way as you would any other project – draw up a plan, document it and stick to it and you will end up saving time, money and unnecessary stress.
Here are a few factors to consider when booking a conference or meeting venue:
Accessibility: Ensure the venue is easily accessible by public transport and has ample parking for attendees who drive.
Accommodation: Check if there is any accommodation required and if so how many rooms – do you need twins or single occupancy? This will impact significantly on the venues available to you.
Local Amenities: Consider nearby restaurants, entertainment, and leisure activities for attendees during their free time.
Space Size: Make sure the venue can comfortably accommodate your expected number of attendees without feeling overcrowded.
Layout Options: Verify that the venue can configure the space in a way that suits your event, whether it’s a theatre-style, classroom-style, banquet-style, or something else.
Breakout Rooms: If you do need break outs for your event, think about how many you need, what capacity is required for each one and what room set up style
Facilities and Amenities:
Audio-Visual Equipment: Check for the availability and quality of AV equipment, including microphones, projectors, screens, and sound systems.
Wi-Fi and Connectivity: Ensure the venue offers reliable internet access, especially if your event relies on technology or streaming.
Restrooms: Verify the availability of clean and well-maintained restroom facilities.
Catering Services: If required, ask about catering options and whether the venue can accommodate special dietary needs.
Ambiance and Aesthetics:
The look and feel of the venue should align with the theme and purpose of your conference.
Consider the decor, lighting, and overall atmosphere.
Equality Act 2010: Ensure the venue is accessible to individuals with disabilities and complies with relevant accessibility laws.
Elevators and Ramps: Check for the availability of elevators and ramps for easy movement between floors.
Budget: Determine whether the venue hire fee fits within your budget, and be sure to enquire about any hidden or additional costs. Have an idea of the budget right from the start. In your plan list everything down including AV, WiFi costs if applicable, additional catering etc. This will mean that either you or your venue finder can approach the most suitable venues right from the start.
Deposit and Payment Terms: Understand the deposit requirements and payment schedule.
Check the venue’s availability on your desired date and time.
Consider booking well in advance, especially if your event is during peak seasons.
Reputation and Reviews:
Research online reviews and ask for references from the venue to learn about their reputation and the experiences of previous clients.
Enquire about the venue’s policies regarding setup and teardown times if required, as well as any restrictions on decor or customisation.
Technical Support and Staff:
Assess the responsiveness and expertise of the venue’s event staff, including on-site technicians who can assist with AV and technical issues.
Parking and Transport:
Ensure there is ample parking for attendees or consider arranging shuttle services if parking is limited.
Contracts and Agreements:
Review the contract carefully to understand the terms, cancellation policies, and any liability issues.
Check if the venue requires you to provide event insurance and what coverage is necessary.
Safety and Security:
Ask about the venue’s security measures and emergency protocols to ensure the safety of your attendees.
If sustainability is important to your organisation, ask about the venue’s green initiatives and waste management practices.
Hopefully you will find these guidelines helpful. Sourcing the most appropriate venue for your next meeting or conference should be a piece of cake! If you feel that you need some help in the venue finding process, there are a number of specialist venue finding companies who can help.