Hosting a meeting is a large task that’s not easy and finding the perfect meeting venue is crucial. The right choice of venue can mean the difference between a successful meeting or one that’s a failure.
With so many types of meeting venues to choose from, it can be difficult to find the best space for your meeting. There are also many things to consider when it comes to choosing the best venue.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you focus on choosing the right meeting venue for your next gathering. These will help make it easier and ensure you’re getting the best option available.
1). Budget: the first thing you’ll need to do is to consider your budget. Once you’ve determined the budget, then it’s important to make sure you stick with the budget. Avoid the temptation of going with an expensive venue just because it will impress those coming to the meeting. In addition, be on the lookout for hidden costs. Many great facilities offer a good price, but then hit you up with hidden charges later.
Look for a venue that offers good value along with great facilities. Ask if they include food and services when you rent their space. Also look to see if they’ve recently won any industry awards, and research customer testimonials that are fairly recent. Once you’ve done all this and the venue seems to be a good fit all the way around, then be sure to read through the terms and conditions before you sign the rental agreement.
2). Location: is one of the most important considerations when choosing a meeting venue. A great location should make it easy for attendees to find the facility. It should be located near major transport hubs such as highways, subway, bus stops, etc. Also check to see if the facility offers free parking for your attendees.
3). Date: you’ll need to find a venue that’s available on the date of your event. This is a great way to quickly eliminate venue options. If they’re not available, then they’re off the list.
Even so, it can be helpful to keep the event date flexible if you’re only exploring venues but haven’t yet settled on a specific date. With several tentative dates to work around, it could make it easier to book the right venue, especially if the meeting or conference is being held at a busy time of the year.
4). Space: make sure to hire a meeting venue that fits the size of your meeting. You’ll need to consider the number of attendees who will be at the meeting. It will be necessary to hire a smaller room for a lower number of participants, or a bigger space to accommodate a larger number of people. You may also need to ask if the venue offers catering services. If not, are there restaurants, breakout rooms, outside spaces and leisure facilities nearby?
5). Layout choices: whether you’re holding a more intimate meeting or a large conference, you’ll need a venue that can accommodate your specific event. For instance, consider if you’ll need additional meeting rooms, flexible seating arrangements, if you’ll need tables as well as chairs, etc. Be sure to ask what can or cannot be done to accommodate your needs. Knowing this information upfront will help you choose the best meeting venue, and ensure you stay within your budget.
6). Facilities & services: again, these are important to consider when looking for the right meeting venue. Look for venues that offer packages that include the main meeting room, adjoining rooms, meeting equipment (projectors, screens, Internet connectivity, etc.), refreshments, and even meeting toolkits (this may include an app for the meeting, local maps & travel information, an agenda and exhibition hall map, etc.). If you have attendees traveling long distances, can the venue provide accommodations for them? If so, then what are these accommodations like? What do they include, etc.?
7). Features & amenities: you’ll want to book a venue that can meet the needs of your event. For example, will you need A/V equipment, microphones, wheelchair access for those with special needs, etc. If the venue provides catering services, it’s always a good idea to ask if they can accommodate food allergies. There will generally be more than one attendee who has food allergies or sensitivities. Being able to accommodate their needs, too, will give a good impression of your company.
8). Staffing: it’s important to determine if you will use volunteers from your business to work the venue, or if the meeting facility can supply staff. Staffing to consider includes:
- Concierge support
- Wait staff
- Clean up crew
- Dedicated coordinator (who can assist on-site)
If the meeting venue can supply the staff, ask if there’s an extra charge included for their services. If there’s a charge, and it puts you over budget, you’ll need to find volunteers to help with services during the event.
9). Branding: when choosing the meeting venue, be sure to choose a facility that is in line with your brand and your industry. Consider the image you’d like project. If the venue doesn’t fit in, then move on to the next venue.
When a venue looks promising, ask these questions:
- Is it possible to put signs for the event in places such as elevators, advertise on in-house screens, etc.?
- Is there another event taking place at the same time that might clash with your event and branding message?
10). Rental: when you’ve found a promising meeting venue, then it’s time to consider the rental fee. This is usually the biggest expense of holding a meeting. Keep in mind that venue prices do vary; at busier times of the year, the rental fee is generally higher. During times of low demand, the rental feel will be lower. Consider that your venue will more than likely not only be cheaper during the slow months but will also be available.
Make sure to ask about any hidden fees and then read through the terms and conditions of the contract before signing the paper. You don’t want to find that some unexpected fees put your over budget.
Searching for and booking a meeting venue can be a challenging job; however, by following these tips, you’re more likely to stay on budget and find the perfect venue for your meeting.