No matter the type or size of your event, the venue is a major piece of the planning puzzle. Your venue will shape your attendees’ experience and house all of the other details of your event. Your venue has to be practical, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing. Because of all this, picking the right corporate event pace can feel overwhelming. Follow these tips for how to choose a corporate event venue, and you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and memorable event.
Find a space that fits your agenda
What type of layout does your venue offer? It’s easy to see when a space is too small, but a space that’s too large is equally problematic. Even if you have 100% attendance, it will feel half empty, and your event will lose its mojo.
As you scout spaces, bring a copy of your agenda. Give yourself time to explore the space visually, and imagine where each of your activities will take place. Can the space accommodate all of your activities? Are there breakout rooms for separate sessions? Are you able to arrange a special section for sponsors? Are there any elevated stages or presentation areas for your speakers? Be sure you leave with at least a loose idea of where each activity will be stationed. If you find that the site you’re visiting isn’t a good match, you haven’t wasted your time. Getting a feel for a space, in general, will help you generate additional corporate event venue ideas.
If a venue isn’t accessible for all, it’s a lost cause for some. Consider all of your attendees, sponsors, guests and staff and be sure that everyone can navigate the space with ease—this includes those with special needs. Most event spaces have already taken this into consideration. As you check out each venue, be sure to have the venue rep show you how their space is accessible to everyone.
Don't forget acoustics
The acoustics of your space can affect your event more than you might realize. Aesthetics are important and tiled floor, for example, might look cool but can impact sound. Once the music starts playing and the chatter begins, your guests may find themselves shouting in order to hear each other — needless to say, such a situation would be uncomfortable, frustrating and exhausting.
While scouting the venue, ask to hear music played over the speakers and keep in mind that a bunch of people and props will affect the sound. Talk to your contact about the acoustics during past events — they may be able to share audio and/or video clips as an example.
Ask around for testimonials
Do your research. A venue’s marketing materials and website is a good start, but it’s always helpful to ask fellow planners who have hosted events in the same space. Talk to your colleagues about their events and if they’d recommend the venue. What worked well and what could have gone better? Input from a trusted planner is as good as gold.
Understand all the fees
Some venues offer a flat rate, with all incidentals are rolled into one price. Others tack on additional fees. Before booking your space, make sure you have a clear understanding of each line item. Open a dialogue with your venue rep and explain that you don’t want any budget surprises. For example, are taxes included? How about WiFi? Before handing over your deposit, create a checklist of everything the venue is willing to offer and be sure to understand the price of each, and when and how the costs will appear on your invoice.
Choose a location suited for transportation
For a local event, a venue that is within reasonable distance to your prospective attendees’ homes/work is your best bet as it will likely generate more ticket sales. If a large number of your guests will be traveling from out of town, accessibility to the airport and hotels are important. Is your venue close to public transportation? If so, do your guests consider themselves urbanites who are accustomed to using public transportation? Maintain a goal of keeping your attendees comfortable. If public transportation isn’t their norm, consider arranging shuttles or car services, and be sure to provide all relevant information beforehand.
Make room for a green room
Celebrity, professor, C-Level executive or fellow planner—we all need a place to collect ourselves before presenting. While a green room isn’t always critical, being able to offer your speakers a quiet and private space is certainly a nice touch. Keeping your speakers happy will make them more effective, and that’s a big plus for your event.
Choose a venue that fits your brand
Your event should be an extension of your brand, and the venue is no exception. When you tour a venue, imagine where the check-in area will be, where signage might be displayed, or where an interactive social media wall might be placed. Even with the best event app and event content, a stodgy, uninspired space will deflate the experience. Make sure the venue is the right space to make an emotional connection with your attendees so you can build brand loyalty and keep them coming back year after year.
Food & beverage accommodations
People love treats! Yummy food and special drinks appeal to the senses, keep people comfortable and can serve as conversation starters. Food and beverages are usually an important part of an event, and you want to be sure that the space can accommodate your needs. It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you’ll serve as you tour venues. Will the venue provide a kitchen and staff so that food and drink can be included in your total package? Or, will third party catering be your best bet? If you’re planning to serve alcohol, don’t forget to ensure that the venue has the proper license.
Make a sustainable effort
Our planet is getting more and more love in the event planning industry, and it’s up to us to keep this momentum going! If sustainability is important to you, talk to your venue managers about their green practices, including recycling, energy and water conservation. Chances are, your attendees care about the environment, and they’ll appreciate a venue and host that share their values. Read more about our advice for green event planning here.
How can MeetingPlay Help?
There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to event planning and selecting a venue. Keep these corporate event venue tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the best fit. To learn more about planning a memorable event, check out other useful articles on the MeetingPlay blog. Or, if you’re ready to talk directly to an expert about event tech, contact us for a free demo.