How to Choose a Venue for Your Event
Looking at venues for your next event is one of the main tasks for your role - you do it day in, day out. So, you probably have an idea of what you need to keep a look-out for when selecting sites, visiting them and deciding which would be the best option for the event you’re planning.
Have you been doing it correctly, though? We all make mistakes, but to make sure you make as few errors as possible when managing events, you should always be thinking about certain items. If so, you will be well on your way to having a brilliant event that clients and visitors will be talking about afterwards.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE AND YOUR GUEST LIST SIZE
Before you even begin to look at venues for your event, you will need to know who will attend it and how many people will be going. You should know how many people you will need to accommodate for the event and whether it will be suitable for your audience.
This also includes knowing the demographic of the people who are expected to attend the event. You could, for example, find out the average income of the people looking to go to your event, what their likes and dislikes are and what they’re accustomed to. If your audience is a group of CEOs, for instance, then your venue should reflect their needs and tastes.
Choosing a venue that’s close to where attendees work and live will be reflected in the number of guests that will turn up. You will also need to think about transportation options as well as alcohol consumption. You won’t want guests to drink and drive, so you could consider free transport options for after the event (so they can get home safely), or make sure there are taxis available for when people leave the venue.
YOUR EVENT DATE
There are several factors that can influence your preferred date for the event you’re planning. You can hope to have a warm, sunny day for an outdoor party in the summer, for instance - although the weather isn’t always certain - and a cozy room with a fireplace will always be welcome in the winter months. If you do have an outdoor party planned, make sure your venue has a plan B in case it starts to rain.
Peak seasons mean you will have to book a venue in advance. You should hire a venue as soon as possible, so speak with the venue manager about when to book and do so before you run out of options - this is true for events such as Christmas parties or New Year’s dinners. If you can’t plan in advance, then you could make the most out of last-minute bargains that venues may have to offer. However, you shouldn’t rely on this course of action.
If you want your venue to provide the catering, don't hesitate to give them your requirements. You can also ask about menu tasting and have a look at the reviews from previous events to see if the venue’s food was good.
If you want to do the catering yourself, ask about what options are available to you. Many venues will already deal with external caterers, which could come in handy. Ask the venue manager for all the options before searching yourself.
SERVICES AND FACILITIES
Make sure your venue will be able to cater to your specific needs when booking your event. Have a list of these needs and compare it to what’s provided by the site. This may include:
- Kitchen facilities
- Equipment (e.g. AV items)
- Extra space (e.g. cloakroom or breakout area)
- Licences (e.g. alcohol)
- Restrictions (e.g. photography, noise)
- Extra fees (e.g. overtime or cancellation)
When going on site visits, you could consider having your own inspection report. That way, you can make a list of what you need to check before you go, and then assess the venue during your visit. You can also manage client relationships and share details with your teams.
You can manipulate a space with decorations fairly easily, but there are some things you can’t change, such as the architecture and style of the venue itself. You’ll want different things for different events; a corporate event will need to be different to a gala, for instance.
It’s crucial to sit down and plan a budget to which you can stick to. The cost of the venue is important, so you have enough money for food, entertainment and decorations. You may want to book the most glamorous venue, but you may also have to compromise and be flexible.