5 Things to Consider When Choosing your Event Venue
When organizing an event, you are confronted by many decisions. However, choosing a venue is the one decision that will have the largest impact on your event. Critical planning information, such as the date for the event, is dependent on the venue you select. Understandably, making this choice can be a bit intimidating as it can be hard to know what to look for when selecting a venue. Before you begin your search, there are a few things you’ll want to have a strong understanding of:
- Number of attendees
- Type of event (formal, high-tech, etc.)
- Contact the area’s local Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to inquire about venues that best suit your needs.
- Use an online tool, such as Unqiue Venues, to help you parse through the many venues to find the one right for you.
When you’re ready to search for the perfect venue, consider the following 10 important factors:
1. CostC As a cost-conscious organizer, you may want to keep the venue cost down to allow more room in your budget for food and beverages and entertainment. Being flexible on the date can be a great negotiating tool, as certain days of the week tend to cost less. Keep in mind that if you use the Whova event app, your printing cost for programs is completely eliminated!
2. AmbiancePay special attention to the existing decor inside the venue. What style is the architecture and what does the building’s interior convey? If you’re holding a gala, you’ll likely need different venue accommodations than you would for an expo. The less the ambiance matches the desired feeling of your event (upscale, high tech, etc.) the more decorating you’ll need to do to make up for it.
3. Services and AmenitiesIn addition to the appearance of the site, it is also important to take into consideration the services and amenities that the venue offers. Consider the following:
- Does the venue have a kitchen and can it provide catering to your event? If so, often a venue will waive the facility fee and only charge a down payment along with the cost of food for each attendee. Other venues may not have kitchens. Those venues without kitchen facilities may have a partnership with a food provider that you’re required to use, or you may be free to bring in your own vendors. Many venues have an exclusive relationship with certain vendors, typically food vendors. This can be great if the venue has partnered with a fantastic vendor. If not, it can create a huge headache, and negatively impact the experience of your attendees. If you can’t book a venue that serves food your attendees will enjoy, it would be better to select a venue that allows you to bring in outside food vendors.
- Does it have tables, chairs and linens you can use? If a venue has these items, you can save a great deal of money and effort by using what they have, assuming it matches your theme and ambiance.
- Does it have a setup/clean up crew? If you’ve found a venue which provides a setup and clean up crew, rejoice! This isn’t always the case. If these services aren’t available you’ll need to build your event team.
- Does it have AV capabilities? Some venues have a built in audio-visual equipment for you to use, and others will require you to bring that in yourself.
4. LocationA convenient location means different things for different events. For an event with attendees within a limited geographic range, a venue within a reasonable distance from most attendees’ homes or places of work may make sense. However, if many attendees will be traveling from out of town, hosting the event at a venue near the airport or their hotels will be beneficial. Better still, if attendees are being housed at a single location, hosting the event at that hotel mitigates the need for valet parking and the chance that attendees will be late due to getting lost.
5. Capacity and Minimums
- What’s the capacity? If you’ve followed our advice, you already know how many attendees to expect. You’ll need to know the room capacity of the venues for a few reasons. First, for general and practical reasons, 500 people can’t comfortably fit into a room with a 250-person capacity. And second, there are fire and safety codes that the venue has to abide by.
- What are the F&B Minimums? If your venue offers food and/or beverages, find out what the food and beverage minimums, also known as F&B minimums, are and get this information in writing. If you have past attendance records for this event, ensure that those records are in line with the minimums. You may have plans to attract an even larger audience this year, but you also want to make sure that your bases are covered in case attendance expectations are not met.