There are many aspects that need to be considered when choosing the conference venue and sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of the most important components that need to be part of your conference venue to make your event a complete success. Read through these 13 tips and ensure your next event is unforgettable!
Before we dive in, let's take a quick look at some of the most asked questions when it comes to getting ready to engage your venue.
What is an event venue and what makes a great event space?
Simply put, your event venue needs to be somewhere that suits your event and number of attendees. There's nothing worse than arriving at a venue as a delegate and watching the place erupt into chaos over things like seating and power issues. Before you lock in your venue, be sure to check off the basics such as capacity and location. This doesn't mean your event venue needs to be a run of the mill corporate venue, we’ve seen our clients put on exciting outdoor events, as well as choose more unusual spaces such as museums, aquariums and even Opera houses!
Where can I find potential event venues?
Oh! The age old question. From our research, event organizers tend to find a venue one of two ways; by looking back at past conferences they have attended or the business has put on or the classic ‘ event spaces in ‘x’ Google search. When thinking about past conference venues, if you have access to the after event breakdown or costs it can be really helpful in finding what venues will be suitable from the outset so is an avenue certainly worth exploring rather than taking a shot in the dark on Google.
How to decorate your event venue?
Decorating your venue is of course an added extra, but certainly does add a level of professionalism to your event. How to decorate your event venue really depends on the type of event you are holding, but for more corporate style events you could look into printed marketing materials that can also be used after the event or that delegates can take away. Branded balloons or balloon displays in company colors are a great way to make a big impact on a budget. At any type of event, goodie bags for your delegates are a great way to make an impact and can also double up as decoration if you make the collection area a point of focus.
How to book an event venue?
Once completing the event venue search process, it's really important to get in touch with the right people at the venue. If it's not obvious, do some digging and shoot off an email outlining your plans and see what comes back. The venue manager will most likely get back in touch to answer questions and ideally invite you into the venue to check out some of its features. While you are there, this is a great time to mentally cross off some of the points given below to guarantee complete conference success from the get go.
A conference venue could either make your event unforgettable or ruin the whole content. There are many aspects that need to be considered when organizing the event. Some of them are necessary and obvious to take into consideration, but some of them are just nice-to-have elements that complete the overall impression and make your attendees feel great. That's why we have interviewed our current clients and came up with these 13 tips which make the best conference venue according to their experience.
Oftentimes, you should aim for your location to be as central as possible because of public transportation. This aspect could differ according to the city, where you organize the event, and you should also consider the attendees and the type of transportation they use. If you expect that your attendees are going to arrive in their cars, you should think about the parking places or choose the venue which has its own parking spots. If you are expecting attendees from abroad, you need to consider the transportation from the airport. Besides transportation and parking, you should consider whether there are hotels and restaurants around to make it more comfortable for your attendees. Don’t forget to take into consideration disabled access and any additional support that may be needed once inside the venue. This can sometimes mean ruling out older venues with difficult staircases or lack of disabled toilets.
Even if you have your own technology, you will still need to think about the technical capabilities of the venue. As you begin your venue search it’s a good idea to understand the type of support on offer for sound and visuals. For sure, check the number of microphones and whether it is sufficient (if you have more than one conference room), and the availability of a Wi-Fi not just for you as organizers, but also for the attendees because nowadays it is almost required and certainly expected. Some venues have on-site ‘tech guys’ (and gals) that can help you with any audio visual work on the day but it's best to scope this out and get an idea of what is on offer when you visit the venue.
One thing every event organizer must think about before they book any venue or event is event insurance. While we don’t like thinking about what could go wrong it's a necessary part of the planning process, and if there is anything 2020 taught us it was ‘GET THE APPROPRIATE EVENT INSURANCE!’ Of course you can find plenty of brokers or your company may be able to make changes to their own insurance policy to cover the event but whether or not this is your area of expertise, make sure you are covered to avoid catastrophe.
Make sure that you have optimal seating capacity - not too big and not too small. No one likes being squeezed into a venue shoulder to shoulder in much the same way that it’s a total buzzkill filing into a large airy venue only to find you are one of only a few delegates attending. Each of the attendees should have a chair and some space to relax or network during breaks. If they need to use laptops during sessions, make sure they will have a space in front of them. Moreover, each of the attendees should have kitchen equipment secured - and if not, ensure a human capacity to clean the dishes during the event.
Besides the capacity, you should take into consideration a seating layout. Depending on the kind of interaction you want your attendees to have, you can choose from a boardroom to cabaret style seating ensuring every delegate gets what they need from the event.
Catering and staff
Catering is an essential part of a conference, because let's face it, part of the day is always about what the catering team has served up, especially when you plan a long, whole-day event. Some of the venues don't allow the event organizers to hire their own catering firm and you need to accept their in-house catering service. This is an aspect which you need to find out and consider in advance. The same works for the staff. If you have your own conference team, you should coordinate them with the venue staff and properly set the responsibilities.
If you have the catering secured, make sure you know all the diets and allergies of your attendees. Send the registration form or a questionnaire where you can find out these restrictions and be properly prepared. Don't hesitate to ask also for the drinking preferences. If you plan for example a networking party, ask your attendees what they want to drink so it’s on hand before the event starts.
Often overlooked but never forgotten is hydration! Always organise for water to be easily accessible for those attending. Bottles of water, or karafs laid out on tables for delegates to help themselves. This can be easily organised beforehand with the venue.
Lastly, always think about the target group of your event. If your attendees are for example millennials, they will probably prefer good coffee. Ask for the cooperation some of the small mobile coffee stands and make them satisfied.
An event management system
Alright, alright, We know what you're thinking, but you have to give us this one! Do you remember those conferences that you attended as a delegate where the organizers are stood around looking panicked with a clipboard in hand? Well you, as the event organizer, want to avoid that at all costs! It looks unprofessional and feels stressful. By engaging a professional event management system like Eventee you will find things like planning your event schedule and feeding this information to guests a breeze. Even things like attendee feedback is covered. If you want to find out how this small piece of technology can have a big impact on your event and even get to try out some of its features then get in touch with the Eventee team.
Many conference venues will have connections with nearby accommodation. This can include hefty discounts and early and late check out agreements. If you are unfamiliar with the area or your event is running over more than one day, be sure to ask your venue about this as an easy way to please delegates and make the conference run even more smoothly.
We’ve covered the big ones but be sure to make sure you quickly scope out things like air conditioning and heating. Most modern conference venues are pretty good at ensuring things like this are in place, but if you are planning your conference in a more unusual venue then it would be a shame to overlook such a key part of the day. This also applies to checking for things like having enough electrical sockets and providing good WiFi.
Think about cleaning at the venue. Do they have enough recycling bins? Is the cleaning secured from the venue staff or do you need to do it by yourself? Also, what type of company are you? Have you made a commitment to waste or sustainability that needs to be thought about when planning an event for your delegates?
Especially when you plan a large event with more than one conference room, you need to think about making the orientation for your attendees as easy as possible. Ensure to display the names of the rooms on visible places and ensure all of your attendees have maps and know where and when they need to be. An awesome tool that helps you with this is the mobile event app Eventee - where you can place maps for your attendees so that they won't be confused. The attendees can create their own schedules and choose from parallel lectures and before every lecture, they will get the notification. Check it out!
Relax zone and Networking space
A nice relax zone can help the attendees to clear their heads during breaks and prepare them for the following lectures. You can bring bean bags, pillows, books, whatever makes them feel comfortable. The room should be silent and separated from other rooms. Besides that, you shouldn't forget about a networking zone. Some open space where the attendees can gather and talk during the breaks.
Having a photo corner is almost a must-have at every conference. Attendees can enjoy fun there and share some cool pictures from your event on social media pages (which means the easy promotion of your event 😊). Besides paper props, you can prepare funny costumes, signs, etc. In addition, you can hire a support company like for example Printka, which secures a printing machine at your event so your attendees can take away all the cool photos and create nice memories.
Accompanying program at the venue is an added bonus that helps you to create the overall impression. You should adjust the program to your target group and come up with something that your attendees will really enjoy. It could be virtual reality, a game console connected to a large screen where the attendees can compete with each other, educational workshops, reading space, etc. Imagination has no limits!
The right venue with all the accompanying goodies is vital for your event success. Keeping all these aspects in mind ensures a great experience for all attendees. And satisfied attendees are the ones who will participate again. So take your time and choose the place and the accompanying program wisely. We wish you good luck!
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