9 Tips for Choosing the Right Event Venue

When you are organizing any type of event, there are a lot of decisions that you will have to make. One of the biggest decisions that will impact your event in a huge way is where you are having the event. The event’s date, the options for catering and the experiences of the attendees will be affected partly by your chosen venue.

If this sounds somewhat intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Below are some tips and guidelines that you can use to help you with making this important decision, what you would consider, and how to make the right one.

When You Should Start Your Search

It’s important to start looking sooner than later. After you have a decent understanding about your budget, estimated size of your event, and the amount of space that you need, you can begin looking.

The venue should be booked at least 4-6 months prior to the date of the event. This will ensure you have ample time for planning other important things like event brochures, websites, and catering.

What You Should Consider When You Search for a Venue

1. Location

This is probably something that you have already thought about. For an event that is local, chances are that you want something that is fairly close for most of your attendees to travel from work or home. If you have a lot of people who are coming from a distance, you want to choose something that’s close to hotels or the airport. Also remember to consider parking and transportation options.

If you want to reduce the possibility that you are going to have late attendees? An app for their mobile phone for the event will be great. With driving directions, GPS maps, and shuttle/parking information that they can pull up quickly and easily, they are going to feel really relieved that your venue is in a huge institute or campus, make sure that there are maps that have pins on them. For events that have posters, parallel sessions or exhibitions, indoor maps that are interactive are going to help the attendees navigate easily.

2. Parking

Is there valet parking at the venue or does it have a lot? A venue that has its own lot is something that a lot of people look for. If it doesn’t have one, you want to check and see if there are lots close to your venue that the attendees will have access and use of. If there isn’t an available option for parking, there are several alternatives that you can use.

  • Reserve parking lots that are nearby for those who are attending and you can either include that cost in the price of the tickets or have your attendees pay when parking.
  • Look at discounts from Lyft and Uber that are offered when you have an event. You’ll be able to negotiate with the chosen company and set it up, then distribute that code to attendees.
  • Give attendees a way that they can share a cab or ride with one another. It’s going to be a good opportunity for some interaction. There are apps that you can use for this to help facilitate it.
  • Offer event valet parking, even when your venue doesn’t. Giving people a valet could be essential if you are having an upscale event like a gala.

3. Minimums and Capacity

What is the capacity of the venue? You’re going to need to ascertain the venue’s room capacity for a variety of reasons. If you are inviting 500 people, they aren’t going to fit comfortably into a room that can only hold 250 people. You also have to remember the codes for safety and fire that your venue must follow.

What are the venue’s Food and Beverage Minimums? If there is food and beverages offered by the venue and they have a minimum for this, called the F&B minimum ensures that the records from events in the past are the same as this minimum. If you are estimating that you are going to spend a lot more money than what they require, you’re going to be a favorite customer of theirs. Negotiate if they’re willing to offer you a complimentary service such as A/V support or Wi-Fi upgrade if you are spending a certain amount.

How do you adjust based on the feedback from attendees? It’s important that you are able to make an adjustment that is informed for F&B or room size during or right before your event. It’s easy to get a headcount or get instant feedback by doing live polling on one of the event apps. This can save you money and time.

4. Amenities and Services

Is there a kitchen in the venue and can it cater the event? If this is the case, a lot of times venues will waive their facility fee and just charge you the down payment and the attendee’s food costs. If the venue doesn’t have a kitchen, you could partner with food providers that you have to use. It’s a good idea to check out their food ahead of time. If it isn’t to your standards, your attendees may not be happy with the event. So you want to choose a venue which serves food that is great or lets you choose your own vendor.

Are there chairs, linens, and tables for you to use? If there are these items at your venue, you’ll be able to save a lot of effort and time by making use of them, if the items match your ambiance and theme.

Does the venue have a crew for setting and cleaning up? If you’ve discovered a venue that provides a crew for setting and cleaning up, you have found a great venue. Not all of them have this. If the one that you have chosen doesn’t have one, you’ll need to build one.

Does the venue have A/V capabilities? There are venues that have equipment built in that you can use and some of them will say you have to bring in your own.

5. Layout

Although you are going to find a venue early when you are planning your event, you still are going to want to have a somewhat rough idea of the activities that will be included, your attendees and team’s needs and the required amenities.

When you are narrowing your selection down, get the floor plan of each of the venues that you are considering. Then walk through the venues that you like most at least one time, noting the important things like locations of outlets and where their AV equipment’s located.

The floor plan and layout are going to affect several event aspects greatly.

  • Traffic flow – Consider the traffic flow during the event. The type of flow you’re going to want is going to be different based on the event that you are having. Which areas are the ones that will receive the most traffic at your event? The doors to the auditorium? Maybe registration? Remember this when you are choosing the venue, remembering that the way you’re setting up your décor and tables are going to affect this in a big way too.
  • Activities at the event – If you’re planning keynote speakers for your event, you’re going to need to either find a place that has a stage or make sure there is enough room to place a stage that you have rented. Is there a demo area that is required? Will you have a bar?

6. Ambiance

Make sure you’re paying specific attention to the décor that is in the venue. What does the interior of the building convey and what is the building’s architecture style? If you are holding something like a gala, chances are that you want a different type of venue as opposed to the one that that you’d use for something like an expo. In other words you want to choose one that has the ambiance that is matching the feeling that you want for your event because that means that you will have less decorating that you will have to do.

7. Accessibility

This refers to everyone who wants to attend your venue be able to enter it and have access to the amenities that it offers, particularly those people who have special needs. That is why it’s important that you understand who is going to be attending and the needs that they have.

Chances are that you’ll know if there are going to be children at the venue, but one thing you may not understand or know, is if there is going to be other people who have special needs. It’s a good idea to review the events that have been recently hosted by the organization so that you have an idea.

8. Acoustics

If you have gone to an event yourself in a venue that was so extraordinarily loud that you had a hard time hearing other people and made you strain to listen and shout to be heard all at the same time? That was because of bad acoustics. Acoustics just means the way that sound is traveling through a venue. If the ceiling is low, it’s going to make your venue feel cozy but it’s also going to make it really loud if there are a lot of people in there. But if you have a venue that is huge and looks like a warehouse, you’re going to have echoes due to reverberation.

9. Cost & Flexibility on the Date of the Event

Having some flexibility on the date of your event is a great way that you can have some negotiation with the venues. There may be open dates in their calendar that they’re looking to fill. When you give the venue 2 to 3 options for dates, chances are that you’ll be more likely to get a discount.

Tips for Searching for Your Venue

Finding the best venue for the event can eat up a lot of time. Below are some shortcuts that you can use to help with saving you some time.

  • Contact your area’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and ask about the venues that are going to suit your personal needs best.
  • Contact the area’s local Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to inquire about venues that best suit your needs.
  • Use a tool online like EventUp, Unique Venues or Peerspace. These tools can help you with parsing through a lot of venues so that you can find the one that is best for you.

It’s easy to see there are a lot of things that you want to consider when you are choosing the venue for your event. But if you remember to take these tips listed here into consideration while you are researching, you’re going to find the venue that is perfect for your needs.

Remember these tips and you will have a much better chance of having an enjoyable event for everyone.

Contact All Event Party Rental

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