TOP 10 TIPS FOR BOOKING THE PERFECT VENUE FOR YOUR EVENT
There is so much to consider when starting your search from location and cost to food, room options, parking, facilities just to start with! So, to help you in your quest to find THAT perfect venue for your event we have provided out top 10 tips for you to consider.
This is usually the most difficult if you have people from various locations attending, select somewhere venue for all or near a head office or where most people attending are based (if you want to limit costs for travel) if this is not a consideration. Widen your search net to ensure you capture those wonderfully unique venues that you may not have heard of!
2. Entrance and pre-event spaces
This is what creates the first impressions for your guests on arrival to the venue. You want them to be impressed and at ease. Meeters and greeters can help this so they see a familiar face on arrival and also many venues have screens you can display your own branding and messaging.
Use the space wisely and help to build branding and show the theme for your event.
3. Room Size/Capacities
I’ve been to so many conferences and events where the room size wasn’t right – I’ve felt lost/disconnected from the speakers in rooms that were simply to large but also been squashed on tables in rooms to small – fighting for elbow room throughout ;)
Getting the balance just right is difficult but is extremely important so ensure you have a really good estimate of attendees before starting your search.
The shape of the room also matters as if its long and thin you will require more speakers and screens to ensure the audience further back can see/hear this can lead to much higher AV costs.
The same goes for wide rooms as the audience can feel disconnected if out in the wings.
Does the venue have an in-house AV team, what is included in the conference/event costs and what is recommended for your size of event/audience. Let the AV experts guide you as they have done hundreds if not thousands of events and will have a really good knowledge of what works, what doesn’t and make recommendations based on your needs. Check if an AV technician is also included in the package to be on hand for ensuring the AV and technical side runs smoothly. This leads me in to my next top tip…
5. Rehearse, Rehearse and Rehearse!
Ensure all speakers have had several runs throughs – individually and together. This can prevent repetition (you’ll be amazed at how often speakers cover the same points as they were not aware what each other was covering, content wise!).
Send any presentations to the AV company do they can check everything works ok n there equipment well in advance of the event.
Also include a full AV check with the venue (usually the evening before or early on the day). This is the final chance for everyone to run the whole event together and you can check timings and adjust accordingly at this point to).
It’s also a really good opportunity to get to know the AV team at the venue and work our what works best for each speaker – who presses the buttonsand when, would a timer work better? All the presenters along with the technician will need to work together as a team, to ensure smooth transitions throughout. Remember the presenter will only get one opportunity to make a fantastic first impression with the audience.
6. Practical things
Imagine getting to the venue on the day of your event to find your conference stand or flag banners are too tall for the room or that there are cables running everywhere that look unslightly and are a health and safety risk. It is worth also thinking about power and extension leads etc at this early stage but again the venue should have this all covered.
That the number of chairs you have on your table plan don’t fit around the tables provided. The list of potential problems is long BUT the venue’s event planning team will cover all this – they just need to be aware of everything you will be bringing including heights etc.
It is a great idea to go and see a similar event to yours set up at your venue too – this gives you a really good impression of your own event and will put your mind at ease.
As the majority of venues want to maximise their event spaces as much as possible, it’s not always possible to get early access to set up your own event in plenty of time. The access times before and after an event can completely dictate what kind of AV/production you can use as erecting large complicated staging, lighting, screens etc can take quite a while and if you only have a one hour window from a morning booking to an afternoon booking you may have to rethink your plans or even cause a delay to the start of your event.
Most venues consider this depending on the event type and the complexities – so communication is key and ensure you include as much details in initial enquiries/meetings and briefs as possible.
8. Delivery/loading area
This again can make an event set up really easy or really hard. Imagine having to carry equipment, goody bags, flyers, programmes, stands etc through the front doors and along miles of corridors, several times to get to your event space before you event starts! Finding out if the room has easy access makes it so much simplier for everyone (especially at the end when you will be exhausted and just ready to head home!).
The loading dock is not the most glamorous area of a venue, however this is the point where the production elements start the journey on their way through to the function space. The ease of access through the loading dock, will determine what and how many production elements can be utilised in the communication process of an event.
9. Event Goals
Have a really clear idea of goals for the event and message you want to communicate.
Think about what a successful event looks like – how do you want your audience to feel, what do you want them to leave with and remember?
Sounds simply but again this is an area that can often be forgotten. The events team know what the plan is, along with all the timings, but what needs communicating and when. Have a plan for communicating all stages such as an initial save the date, then a more detailed invitation with RSVP details, dietary requirements etc can also be managed early. Be clear on dress codes for the day/evening and if lunch/drinks are included.
Also extra such as if an overnight event can they use the hotels leisure facilities – again the venue will be able to advise on this and will have their own deadlines for food orders etc.
We hope that helps when you are looking for the perfect venue for your event.
AVS have a wealth of expertise and knowledge across all our member venues, so why not give us a try next time you require a venue – you won’t regret it!