Choosing the right venue or space for your event can be critical to the events success however this doesn’t mean that it has to be overwhelming.

Follow our top tips and you will soon become an expert in choosing the perfect venue!

  1. Location, location, location

This will be extremely important for most events, you need a venue that will be easily accessible for all your attendees. Think about how most of them are likely to travel to the event, will they be driving? Meaning you need great rail and road links and lots of parking?

  1. Know your audience and delegate numbers

Another important factor when choosing a venue comes down to the type of people attending and how many of them there will be. The number of guests attending may certainly limit your choice of venue and you need to ensure that the type of venue chosen will not alienate any of the attendees but instead will inspire and create the right atmosphere.

  1. Identify dates and flexibility

Although many different things may influence your decision with regards to the date of your event, you can be sure that the more flexibility you have with dates the easier your venue search will be. Depending on what type of event you are planning, you may find that you either have to be flexible with your event date to get the venue you want or you will have to be flexible with your venue choice in order to get the date you want. Figuring out how important the date of the event is early on before you even start to plan or look for venues is key. Being flexible on the event date can be a great way to negotiate with venues to get a great rate.

  1. Event Budget

Choose a venue that is good value, with great facilities, food and service and take time to read customer testimonials and check their credentials. Be honest about your budget right from the start, this will avoid disappointment in the later stages of planning your event. If working to a very tight budget you may need to avoid city centre locations which are often at a premium rate with less added value inclusions.

  1. Services and facilities

Good venues offer great facilities and services as standard.

The services you need to consider will vary with each event but things you may need to consider include:

  • Catering – what kind of catering do you need and can the venue provide it?
  • Parking – is there enough parking for all of your attendees? Is it free?
  • Wi-Fi – is it included? Will it cope with the demand?
  • AV – does the venue have the AV requirements you need or will you need to bring in external suppliers? Some venues not only have all of the AV included but have on site AV support teams.
  • Do you require overnight accommodation? – Is there enough on site or at very nearby locations?
  • What leisure facilities does the venue have to combine business and leisure
  1. Consider the Venues Reputation for Service

Service can be the difference between a good event and a great event, the delegate experience can often be affected by the service received from the venue and will often be remembered. Think about the following:

  • How has the venue handled your enquiry?
  • Do they have testimonials from similar events?
  • Can they show you photos and case studies?
  1. Schedule a site visit

Once you have narrowed your venue options to a shortlist of 2 or 3 always, always visit the venue prior to booking your event. A site visit will tell you everything you need to know about the venue from ensuring that the space and layout will be right for your event to seeing first hand that the photos and info you have been shown are up to date. It will also be a key indication of the service you and your guests will receive.

Key things to look out for on a site visit include:

  • The welcome you receive from reception and your sales contact, do they greet you by name? Do they make you feel special? (it’s likely all your delegates will be greeted in the same way)
  • How do other staff you encounter behave? Are they warm, friendly and welcoming?
  • Is the venue clean, tidy and well-kept?
  • Is there a car park?  If so is it free and how many spaces are available?
  • Have you been invited to eat there? If possible/necessary, meet the chef, sample the food and discuss possible menu choices prior to booking.
  • Do the training and conference facilities meet your needs?
  • Is there outside space that can be utilised for break-out sessions and team building?

At Wyboston Lakes we love welcoming our potential clients on site.

As you can see there is certainly a lot to consider when choosing your perfect venue but following these tips should make it easier, and of course there are also venue finding websites and agencies that can help should you need it.

Sian Parker