Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Are you in the process of booking a venue for your next event? As you compare your options there should be several key questions rolling through your head. Like many, the first factor you are likely to focus on is money. While you need to secure a venue that fits your budget, if you don’t consider other details you may find yourself making a poor decision.
Here are four key factors, other than cost, to consider.
There are venues of all sizes, ranging from small hotel conference rooms to large convention centers. Obviously, the more square footage a venue offers the more people it can accommodate.
Before you ever choose a venue, you must have a basic idea of how many attendees you are expecting. To protect against problems down the road, make your best estimate and give yourself a little bit of “play.” In other words, if you are expecting 1,000 people you should find a venue with a capacity of 1,200 or so.
Size and capacity sound interchangeable, however, there are some key differences.
Capacity is based largely on the type of event you are planning. Two venues of the same square footage don’t necessarily provide the same space you need.
A single hall may fit 1,200 people seated for a speaking engagement. That same venue may not be configured to house 30 vendor displays, or provide adequate space for a lunch break and networking session. A great venue coordinator should provide capacity and then help you make adjustments based on the type of activities your event involves.
Layout & Function
The layout and functionality of a venue can make or break its success. Layout is incredibly important with larger events that utilize venues with multiple rooms, and potentially span multiple levels of a building, or even multiple buildings. Think about whom your audience is and what you need to accomplish in what time frame. Does the potential venue best support your needs?
Here is an extreme example, but it helps make the point. Your attendees are in the 55-75 year age bracket and the venue will spread your event out over three floors. There are large stairwells, but limited elevator capacity. This venue makes it too laborious for many of your attendees to get from point A to point B. We suggest you keep searching.
It can be challenging to find a venue which functions perfectly for your needs. Before you start you search, have an idea of what will happen at your event. Are all attendees staying in the same room throughout the day? Do you envision a separate lunch break and bar area as a means of promoting conversation? Do you need one large area for company displays and another area for speaking engagements? A single venue may not best support each of your planned activities. Think about where you can implement creative solutions compensating for what a potentially perfect venue may lack.
Tip: ask for what you need! You may be surprised to find venue coordinators can make adjustments to suit your ideal layout and function.
Regardless of the city, you know that some locations are better than others. If you are expecting a lot out-of-town guests, a location in close proximity to an airport may be best. If you are planning a multi-day event in which people will want to participate in extracurricular activities, a downtown location could be the perfect choice.
Think about the following details:
- Proximity to the airport (as well as other modes of travel)
- Availability of hotel rooms
- Ease of access
- Proximity to other activities, such as bars, restaurants, shopping opportunities or the outdoors.
It is easy to get so caught up in the financial factor of booking a venue that you overlook what is most important. Focus on the four areas above, as well as your budget, and you will know you are making the right choice in the end.
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