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David Sonntag
CEO
07 Oct 2013

6 Must-Follow Tips For Selecting an Event Venue

Finding just the right venue for your event has often been compared to buying a house, given the methodical preparation needed. Hopefully though, finding a venue involves fewer encounters with realtors and solicitors. Here are a few tips to follow that should make the selection process easier.

Specifics, specifics

Check the venue’s ability to display advertising and banners. Verify prime advertising spots around local roads. Can venue staff work your event for catering and security or do you need to bring people in? Will the business center stay open a little later to accommodate guests should your event run long? Don’t hesitate a second to run these venues ragged with questions, that’s what they’re there for.

The right hours: putting the space through its paces

Be sure to check out your venue at the same time of day (and ideally, time of year) that your event is scheduled to take place. Little things that go unnoticed during an ill-timed inspection can turn round and bite you during your event. Visiting a venue at 2pm, for example, will not give you an accurate idea of how much outside noise will filter in at rush hour. Visiting in the evening will not tell you how well the curtains will block out daylight. Countless little details that can thoroughly disrupt an otherwise meticulously planned conference can be done away with early on.

Ahead of time

Conference centers are usually fielding inquiries from a dozen companies at a time, all of them looking to book floor space. The closer you are to the date of your event, the less TLC you’ll receive from any venues you have chosen to scout. Starting your search a year or more ahead of time is not something that most people do (and not always possible), but it is very effective in securing prime locations at excellent prices.

Bargain

This hardly needs to be said. Venues are not put off by those seeking to drive a fair bargain, especially a long way out from the event as mentioned above. Entire package deals are the best option but negotiation on single pricier elements are more common. And don’t forget, play venues off against each other to drive that bill lower.

Layout and supporting spaces

The actual area in which the main event is being held is not the only consideration when it comes to layout and floor plan, and it’s likely that you’ll need more space than you think. Trade shows, for example, will require one large open space, like an easily converted ballroom, to place tables – that’s the easy bit. But you’ll also need to ensure the venue you select has space for guest registration, a first-aid area, and potentially a press room. Wedding reception venues may need separate changing or storage areas for the bridal party.

To ensure your venue has all the facilities you need, go through your event itinerary from the perspectives of all comers – guests, clients, event staff and venue staff. Mentally plot out what each attendee type may need to do during the course of the event.

Event Organizing blog: How to choose the perfect event venue
Graphing out the layout might help ensure you’ve got the space you need

Best Way To Get There

Much as a soon-to-be father practices the drive to the hospital to find the best route for his wife, make sure you know the best ways to access your venue by car, bus and subway. This is particularly important for out-of-town participants if you cannot put them up on site.

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