Choosing an event venue
Top tips for helping you find the perfect venue
Planning an event can be a confusing thing to do at the best of times, but choosing an event venue can be very tricky, particularly if you’re new to the process. Whether you’re planning a small meeting for staff or are throwing a gala dinner, making sure you find the perfect venue to fit your event will go a long way to ensuring it’s a success. We’ve wrapped up some of our top tips to help you find the right match for your event.
One of the first things you need to consider when running any event is your budget. Having a concrete number in place at the beginning of your process will help you work out your limits and where you can (or can’t) be flexible. Venue hire will be one of your biggest expenses but don’t forget that there are many components that go into a successful event and short changing any of them may affect your final product.
You’ll need to have capacity in mind from the moment you start enquiring about venues. This means knowing how many guests you expect to be in attendance and then considering what seating layout is going to be right for your event (link to previous article here).
A room that can comfortably hold 200 for a reception style event will be hard pressed to fit in 100 in a cabaret layout for an awards dinner. Understanding how different seating arrangements will impact the space you are interested in can make all the difference between leaving your guests comfortable or leaving them cramped.
One final point to keep in mind is whether there are any minimum requirements from the venues side. This will typically be in terms of whether there are enough people attending for a full catering package.
One of the most important things to do when planning an event is to get into the mind-set of the guests that will be attending. One of the key factors when guests (or whoever is making the decision) are making up their mind on whether to attend an event or not is always going to be location so you really need to be considering a venue that is easily reachable.
This typically means you’ll want to be on the lookout for somewhere with great transport links that suit your audience. Being on the tube network is always a big plus as it makes life easy for your guests to get around, but it’s also worth considering whether you are close to any major rail hubs or even airports for events where your guests are likely to be travelling in from further afield. Similarly, a venue with parking can make all the difference to guests who would like to travel in via car.
Lastly, for events that finish late or that span multiple days, it’s worth investigating whether your preferred venue has nearby hotels and whether they can arrange preferential rates for your delegates. Saving hassle on accommodation can make a big difference to attendees and make going to a multi-day event a rather less stressful process.
Atmosphere & Décor
You’ll want to consider the look and feel of the space carefully. This means evaluating how the architecture and style of your venue will affect your events feel. A modern function room might tick your space requirements but may lack the wow factor of a space with more heritage and history for a dinner. Similarly, an old hall may feel prestigious to walk into but may lack the acoustics, AV tech & comfort required for a major conference.
It’s also worth investigating branding opportunities. Most venues will want you to be able to brand your events as you require but in some cases, there may be restrictions on where and how you can place your artwork.
Always consider what the venue offers you. This means finding out about their catering options (or whether you need external caterers), it means investigating their AV capabilities, it means finding out if they can help you out with arranging additional extras, and it means finding out how staff work.
When you’re doing your initial planning make sure to work out roughly when you want to be having the event but try to allow yourself a couple of dates in mind around that time. This will give you room to work with venues you like who may be already booked up in advance on your desired dates or potentially give you a bit of room to haggle around not taking your preferred date.
Outside of the actual date of your event you will also want to investigate the venue’s opening hours. This is vital to know both for set up on (or before) the day and for what time proceedings need to wrap up at the end. In some cases, venues may be able to offer an additional late opening licence if required.
Our expert team here at ILEC has years of experience running very successful events. If you’d like to know more about holding an event here and how we can help yours be a success then please get in touch today.