When planning a conference, awards ceremony or another corporate event, there are numerous things to consider. Although of vital importance, the choice of an appropriate speaker is only one of these. It goes without saying that the location of events is paramount as the quality and efficiency of a venue can either be of benefit or detriment to company reputation. In order to choose a suitable venue, organisers must first know roughly how many people will be attending and the event budget. Below are some important factors to consider when selecting a venue.
Whether near to organisational headquarters or in a strategic location elsewhere, deciding where an event is to be held is one of the first steps in choosing a venue. Another matter which ties into this is the proximity of potential venues to infrastructural hubs. If a number of attendees will be travelling nationally or internationally, there must be easy links to the venue from airports, train stations and motorways.
Size and specification of conference facilities available
In most major cities, there are likely to be several potential venues which are readily accessible from main infrastructure links. Once aware of the approximate number of attendees, an important question to ask venues is the capacity of their meeting and conference rooms and the dates of availability for any that are suitable for your needs. Asking about the layout of such rooms and the audio visual equipment available is also vital to plan presentations and speeches. Internet access, climate control and lighting also require examination, as does seating arrangements, disabled access and fire safety procedure.
It may be that numerous attendees are travelling long distances in order to be at a conference or awards ceremony. For this reason, determining how many rooms the venue has available (if it is a hotel) or whether a conference centre has a suitably sized associated hotel is necessary. Asking how many rooms can be reserved and how many are already occupied on likely dates is also essential.
If it is likely that large numbers of attendees will be driving to an event, it is essential to ask a venue whether they have on-site parking facilities, whether they can accommodate the number of vehicles likely to be required and whether there is a parking charge. If a venue appears to have insufficient parking but appears otherwise suitable, asking whether there are other secure parking facilities nearby is advisable.
Large groups of people attending an event may well require feeding – especially if it is an event which spans a whole day, or even a couple of days. It is important to ensure that the venue can cater for the amount of guests who will be present, and in a suitable manner. Buffets, breakfasts, evening meals; all kinds of meals can be considered depending on time and budget. Making sure that specific dietary requirements can be met is also a must.
Extra facilities and entertainment
Although not essential, many guests attending events utilise additional facilities within a venue if the opportunity arises. For this reason (as well as to determine value for money) it is worth asking a venue to list the additional facilities that they offer. Many will have gyms, swimming pools and spas, allowing attendees to enjoy their visit and to feel they have gained the most from their experience. Of course, checking whether extra activities incur additional costs is vital.
All corporate events should aim to adhere to a budget. Asking potential venues how much your event is likely to cost with them is an important step in narrowing down options. If a venue appears ideal but exceeds a planned budget, it is always worth mentioning your desire to use their facilities and asking whether there is any way to arrange a reduced price. This may prove fruitless, but it is always worth discussing.