There is one component of an event that everything is built around, and that component is the venue. The choice of conference venue is the first and most important decision that an event organizer has to make. If your venue isn’t appropriate for the function that you are hosting, it can cause the entire event to fail. The venue is most important because it influences your event in various ways.
Here are 5 of the most important ways in which conference venues affect your event:
Audience sizeWhen deciding on conference venues, the number of attendees is probably the most important factor to consider. Know what type of event it is, what seating and setup style they require and in which manner meals will be served. All these factors play a part in knowing how much space is needed. For example; 50 people seated in a banquet style setup will require less space than 50 people seated in a cabaret style set up. The layout will also be based on this with traffic flow in mind. There are also safety precautions that the venue has to take.
Demographics of your audience
Find out who the attendees will be, what industries they are from and what their general dispositions are. Teams from the digital, marketing and tech spheres may be more open to venues that have a fun, light and retro feel to them, as opposed to people from the banking sector; who may be more inclined to a conventional setting. The nature of the engagement will also be a determining factor.
ConvenienceConveniently located conference venues means different things for different events. For an event with attendees who live within a limited geographic range, a place within a reasonable distance from most of their homes or places of work makes sense. However, if many attendees will be traveling from out of town, hosting the event at a venue near the airport or their hotels will be beneficial. Better still, if participants are being housed at a single location, hosting the event at that hotel mitigates the need for parking, transport and decreases the chances that attendees will be late due to getting lost. If the participants need to drive themselves to the venue, be sure to provide them with all the necessary information about the venue. Directional signage is also imperative. Event apps like Whova have interactive maps which will help attendees find the place, find parking and also locate the room within the venue.
WeatherThis consideration is often forgotten and overlooked. In the winter and rainy months, you need to make sure that the venue offers sufficient heat, little or no walking under the open skies from the carpark to the entrance; and if there is a walk, umbrellas should be provided. Warm towels should also be arranged so that guests can dry off as they enter. For outdoor events, there should be an emergency marquee or a plan B if Mother Nature decides to let the rain out. In the summer, the venue should have adequate cooling indoors and cooling mist fans outdoors. There should be enough shade stations and covered areas if the heat gets excessive. A successful event planner will always have an option C in place.
Be sure to know what your event is about; what the needs of the presenters; the needs of the attendees and everyone else involved are. Here are some of the key points to consider:
- Acoustics – what type of sound is required? The venue design has an enormous impact on the sound. A low ceiling will make the venue seem cozy, but it will make it louder if it’s packed. Alternatively, a large warehouse-style venue will result in echoes. Find out what the requirements are.
- Special needs guests – if there are guests with special needs, make sure that the venue caters to them.
- Equipment – some attendees and speakers and hosts of conferences come with their own equipment and technical support whereas others will expect the venue to provide it. Ask your client if they will be needing any technical equipment and make sure that the venue caters for this. It is always a good idea to do a test run the day before.
- Service from the venue – be sure to read up on the venue, ask people who have used the venue before about their experience and look for reviews. These are a great way to gain better insight on who you are dealing with and what you can expect.