Event and meeting planners go to great lengths to ensure their events are not the same cookie-cutter gatherings that everyone is used to attending. Most planners want their events to stand out and be a truly enjoyable experience for all of their attendees. This is especially important for non-profit associations, which might be using the event as an opportunity to attain new members and increase revenue for the organization.
Attendees who are engaged and having fun are more likely to support your organization. One of the most important aspects of planning a successful and engaging event is selecting the right venue. Here are a few things to consider when looking for an event venue.
Space & Configuration
Choosing the right space and configuration for your venue is very important. You want to be sure the space is the right size for your group and that it provides enough flexibility to accommodate more or fewer guests than planned. Pay attention to the layout of the space to be sure you can set up an open flow without separating your guests.
AV (Audio/Visual) & Lighting Capabilities
Lighting, microphones, music, video, and other sight and sound productions can make any event even more or less memorable. Check to make sure your venue can accommodate all of your needs, see if they use in-house vendors or if they outsource to other local vendors.
Location & Ambiance
Take a moment to review photos of other professional events that have taken place in the venue. If there are no photos on the website, ask your contact to send you some. Get a sense of the ambiance and make sure it is appropriate for your program. You also want to make sure the location is convenient for the majority of your attendees. You need to have an idea of the needs and goals of your group and choose a venue that matches up with those specifications.
Quality of the Food
Food is critical to the success and memorability of an event. Be sure to select a venue that has a reputation for serving delicious food that meets your budget. You also want to check for variety to be sure the venue can meet the dietary restrictions your guests may have.
Parking & Accessibility
On-site or nearby parking is important when you are trying to host an event for a large number of people. Attendees want convenience when parking, which also includes free parking if possible. In addition, you want to be sure the venue is accessible for guests who need additional mobility support.
Accommodating Event Staff
Planning a large event is challenging enough, so it is vital to choose a venue that has exceptional staff. Effective event staff can take a great deal off your shoulders. Try to confirm that your venue staff is knowledgeable, experienced, and efficient. It is a great idea to ask for references and see how others would rate the event staff.
Selecting the right venue is possibly the most important decision an event planner can make for an in-person event. It has a profound effect on the outcome of the event and sets the scene for the entire program. The venue can influence the experience of your guests, so consider these helpful tips when searching for your next event venue.