How to Choose a Venue for a Corporate Event
Selecting the perfect venue for your corporate event is both an exciting and daunting task. The venue isn’t just a location; it’s an integral piece of the experience you’re offering your attendees. Here’s our detailed guide to help you navigate this critical choice.
Why is Venue Selection Important for an Event?
The venue is more than just a backdrop. It should inspire your event messaging, reflect your company culture and elevate your brand, while being fit for purpose and budget. Whether it’s a conference, client dinner, awards ceremony or charity gala, here are some of the practical points to consider during the event planning process.
Five Steps to Follow When Choosing a Venue
From corporate events to intimate private gatherings, every event is unique, and understanding what you truly need in a venue is the first step. Do you want a blank canvas you can really make your own or want a venue that’ll handle it all for you? These are the factors to consider from the get-go.
Type of Event: Whether it’s a product launch, a team-building exercise or an awards night, your event type influences your venue choice. For instance, a gala might require a venue with grandeur, while a team-building retreat may prefer the intimacy of a cabin or resort. Plus, it’s crucial to pick a venue that’s just right for the size of your party. If it’s too big, the party will feel soulless and empty but if it’s too small, people will feel cramped for space and claustrophobic.
Outdoor or Indoor: Weather can be unpredictable, so if you’re leaning towards an outdoor event, always have a backup plan no matter what time of the year it is, like a marquee or consider making a solid plan B in case a downpour turns extreme. On the other hand, some venues have indoor or covered options which provide controlled environments. Just keep an eye on the forecast as soon as it comes into focus so you can plan as far ahead as possible.
Length of Time Venue Needed For: This isn’t just about the actual event duration. Consider setup and teardown time. A week-long conference may also require added amenities and considerations compared to a half-day workshop.
Location: Central locations are great for local events, but if attendees are traveling, proximity to hotels and airports is crucial.
Transport: It’s not just about being accessible, but also about having sufficient parking spaces, or being near public transportation links. The smoother the journey, the better the initial mood of your attendees.
Budget and Date: Define your financial limits early on and stick to them. Remember, some venues might offer discounts during off-peak times.
Create a List of Venues That Fit the Bill
Now, embark on a treasure hunt. Use search to find venues that could potentially hit the mark, seek recommendations from colleagues, or even posts on social media platforms to find and shortlist venues.
Visit to Explore
This is crucial to the selection process. Think of it like when you’re buying a new item of clothing. It may look great on the screen, but totally different when it comes and you try it on. In the same way, you won’t capture a venue’s essence without visiting it – and creating a good atmosphere is half the battle won when planning your event. While you’re there, ask important questions like do you need a dancefloor or custom tables and chairs. A photo booth or mixologist at the bar can also add a touch of flair to your event. See if these options like this can be added to your event.
Size and Layout: It’s not just about accommodating attendees, but ensuring flow and comfort and acoustics.
Ambiance/Environment: Does the location need extensive decoration to align with your theme, or is its natural decor sufficient? The ambiance contributes significantly to attendee experience. It also can set the mood straight away for your attendees.
Food and Drink: Great food should never be an afterthought. Sample menus, ask about customisation options, see if the venue offers external catering and always consider dietary restrictions.
Does it Have Accommodation: For multi-day events or those with many out-of-towners, on-site or nearby accommodation can be a blessing.
ESG Credentials: A venue’s stance on Environment, Social, and Governance can align with your company’s values, sending a strong message to attendees about what you stand for. A growing number of businesses highlight this as a consideration when finding a venue.
Cost: Beyond the headline figure, ensure there are no hidden fees. Sometimes the extras can add up!
Discuss Price and Terms
Now, play the negotiation game. Most venues expect some negotiations, so don’t accept the first offer. It’s also important to discuss deposit amounts, cancellation policies, and any additional costs like overtime fees.
Choose Desired Venue and Confirm Booking
Finally, the time has come. Armed with all your information, make the decision with confidence. Ensure every agreement point is in writing. A signed contract is your safeguard against any future misunderstandings.
Why You Should Use an Event Management Agency
We’ve just explained what you need to do. Sounds simple, right?!
Considering the intricacies and time involved, finding a venue can be time consuming and overwhelming to do this on your own, so delegating the entire process to someone you can trust is essential.
We’re here to take the admin off your plate and curate you with a selection of vetted venues that will eliminate the risk of booking a sub-par venue – and with our experience and supplier network (which have all been tried and tested by our expert team), Saving Grace Events can streamline venue selection for every budget, style or brief. We can also negotiate better rates due to established relationships and provide insights you might not have considered.
Choosing the right venue is a journey. Always remember, the venue is more than just a place; it’s where memories are made. Let us help you plan an evening to remember.