How to find the right venue for your event
So how do you find a venue for your event? What factors do you need to consider to find the right venue for your event.
When deciding on a venue destination/location there are a few key strategic factors I always consider. If you ensure you cover each of these points when considering the most suitable meeting destination, then you will find you are not only providing a professional and well organised event but you are also applying a consistent approach to the key criteria for selecting a destination.
- Proximity and accessibility for the Attendees – this includes the following: distance to travel, length of travel time, direct link-flights, trains, and travel VISA restrictions including processing time. If possible and the event remit allows, steer clear of long haul travel for attendees. You want fresh alert attendees, not people suffering from jet lag or fatigue.
- Client requirements – You will often be given a remit or brief on location and the client’s geographical preferences. You may want to guide them on locations if there is scope.
- Budget – This is at the centre of all the strategic decisions you take regarding a destination, as it is not purely the venue costs, you will also have to consider the travel, accommodation, visa, catering, event activity/team building and costs for social aspects of the event. A city that is very expensive in one or more of these areas may not be an option on a limited budget.
- Local language – It is important not only you as the organizer but for those hosting and attending an event, are able to communicate with the venue staff and are be able to move around the city/location freely. If there are significant obvious barriers with language, then you will only add to the risk of errors with the event, attendees and generally increased chances of problems occurring. Which would lead to a poor event and poor experience?
- Local factors – such as local customs, religious aspects, political or economic situation. You do not want to pick a location, where your delegates could find themselves in a political situation, due to their nationality, beliefs or the ethos of the company they work for. There are many areas around the world, where it is not advisable for people to travel, due to perceived cultural differences. Therefore, do not put your attendees at risk.
- Venue format – You will need to consider the format requirements early on in your decision-making process. For example, if the client wants a retreat-style meeting, you are likely to look at places off the beaten track, If you are looking for a meeting for a very large number of attendees/delegates, you may have to focus on big cities that have the venue infrastructure to support and host the numbers.
- Attractiveness – You will want to take into consideration a location that can also offer an experience, or new cultures, interesting architecture, etc. It is always an added bonus to a client if you can find a city that will draw interest from your attendees.
- Weather – This factor is so often forgotten about and can have such significant effects. Depending on the time of year you must make sure you do not pick a venue where the weather could significantly impact the meeting. Such as monsoon seasons, very cold temperatures. Make sure the seasonal weather in the city/country of choice is suitable for the meeting and attendees, otherwise you will need to advise the attendees of the expected weather conditions.
The final and very key point is CULTURE:
- Culture – To differentiate the events you organize from others, it is important to consider not only does the venue have the infrastructure to accommodate the group, but also does it have enough interesting qualities such as culture to entertain the attendees. From my experience of organizing meetings/events across Europe and Asia, incorporating local culture into these events is becoming an expected element, as workforces are getting younger and they have more desire to experience something unique to the destination, being able to integrate the local culture is key. This goes hand in hand with the growing demand for more experiential and unique venues. Destinations rich in culture are becoming more popular and replacing the traditional functional options. People want more experience from their attendance.