SELECTING YOUR VENUE
One of the most important decisions when planning a business event is the venue. Assuming you do not have suitable in-house facilities, you will likely be faced with a range of venue options and these must be evaluated early in the process.
The following are factors to consider when you are deciding upon the venue for your next event
(1) Location – The venue should be easy to get to for participants and attendees. It is usually good to be located close to most of attendees to minimise travel time and increase attendance. If you think many will use public transport then these links should be evaluated. If most will be driving then close-by parking facilities will be an important consideration.
(2) Venue suitability – Obviously the venue must be large enough for your proposed event but on the other hand it is not good to be excessively large or it may feel quite empty and dead. If the venue is not airconditioned you should consider ventilation or heating options, particularly if the event is being held in summer or winter. If extensive setting up is required, such as in an expo or major product display, then ease of access to the venue can be important. The venue also may need to be available for ample time before and after the event. Wheelchair and invalid access may also be a consideration.
(3) Facilities & services – The available facilities and services provided by a venue can be of major benefit in the quality of an event, the total cost of an event and the ease of organisation. Check there is sufficient chairs and tables (if required). These days microphones and audio visual facilities are essential for many functions. If food and drink facilities are not available, or not available to the desired quality, then there are a number of excellent caterers available in the Hunter that can help.
(4) Availability – The venue does of course need to be available.
The earlier the venue is locked away, the better the chance of having it for your desired time. You will also have more flexibility in settling on a date if you start early.
(5) Cost – Cost is always a factor to consider, particularly if operating on a tight budget but make sure you are comparing oranges with oranges.
For example a more expensive venue that provides additional facilities at no charge may well work out cheaper in the long run than a cheaper venue that provides little and you need to arrange additional facilities.
(6) Image – The venue also needs to reflect well on your image. Any event is a reflection upon your organisation.
(7) Venue staff – The quality of the venue staff is sometimes overlooked. Good venue staff are a major help both in the organisational phase and on the actual event day. Alarm bells should start ringing if you find them disinterested or they fail to respond to enquiries.
(8) Other help – Don’t be shy to ask other organisations that have had similar types of events about their experiences.
Event organisers can take away most of the venue selection work. They also have more detailed intelligence on possible venues and the range of options available.