Even the best-conceived and well-planned event will go badly if the venue is not up to scratch or has the wrong ambience. Not only does the venue have to be the right size, have the right facilities and suit the purpose but it also has to look and feel right. By following these seven tips for booking an event venue, you’ll stand the best chance of ensuring that your event goes off without a hitch.
1. Match the venue to the event
Before considering any venue, you must first decide the type of event you want to hold, you’ll need to have an accurate estimate of numbers expected to attend and you’ll need to know what you have to spend. Venue size is crucial: too small and the participants will feel uncomfortable, too big and it will feel empty unless you are prepared to decorate the premises to disguise the unused space. You may also need to have rooms available for small group meetings.
You’ll also want the venue to be appropriate for your event. For example, if you’re a promoting a hi-tech business you’ll probably want a to be in modern surroundings rather than an ancient hall. For the best outcome, the event has to be in a location that has, or can be adapted to create, the atmosphere that you want.
2. View the venue
No matter how good a venue sounds or looks in the brochure, nothing will give you a better feel for the place than a personal visit. You’ll be able to check the size and layout of the rooms, the type of lighting available and the acoustics and to check the décor and cleanliness. You’ll also be able to get a feel for the venue to judge if it suitable for your purposes.
A site visit will allow you to assess potential problems - if kitchen noise or traffic noise is likely to be an issue, for example. Or, if others are using the venue you’ll need to establish if there is any possibility of a clash or interference.
Just as important as the venue itself is the location and surroundings. You’ll need to make sure that it is easily accessible and that there is adequate parking or suitable public transport options for guests.
It’s also a good idea to visit the venue at least once without an appointment. That way you’ll be able to see how it’s run and observe the staff in action under everyday conditions. Check for cleanliness and noise levels and have a look in the toilets to see if they are up to standard.
3. Check the amenities
You will need to check with the venue manager what amenities it has to offer and what you will be allowed to do:
-What on-site promotion is permitted?
-Are there any restrictions on displays?
-When can you enter the venue to setup and when do you have to leave?
-Are there adequate security and safety measures in place?
-What level of staffing will be provided on the day?
4. Check audio-visual facilities
Depending on your event, you’ll almost certainly need audio-visual facilities. You should therefore check what microphone systems the venue has (and test them for clarity and effectiveness) and establish if it has projection facilities, screens, monitors and so on. If Internet access is important, then you’ll also need to make sure that it is available and meets your requirements.
5. Catering options
Refreshments can sometimes prove a headache so you must find out what catering facilities your chosen venue has to offer. Can it provide the type of catering you want? Will you be able to bring in your own caterers? These are the type of questions you should be asking. And, if your venue does provide its own catering, you’ll need to establish what it can supply and its reputation. Ask for references and follow them up.
Budgeting for an event can be tricky. You have to consider the following costs:
-Hiring of the venue.
-Advertising and promotion, including giveaways.
-Extra facilities – WiFi, office services and so on.
7. Use an event planner
You can handle all this yourself or, once you have decided on a venue, let the venue events manager organise everything on your behalf. But you can relieve yourself of all the stress and remain free to get on with your business by putting matters in the hands of an event planner. An event planner will work with you to find the best venue and then make all the necessary arrangements to ensure that your event goes off smoothly while you can sit back and take all the credit.