Making the right choice of venue can make or break an event. If people cannot reach it easily, is unappealing and has the wrong type of facilities then your chances of success are minimal.
Take time to investigate several potential venues before making a booking. Physically check them out to make sure there is sufficient parking and that there are suitable public transport connections. If you are anticipating attracting people from overseas, a good airport and rail connections are essential. Make sure that the dates you require are available.
Inspect the rooms under consideration. Are they clean? Are they big enough for your event? What type of seating is provided? Is it comfortable? Can people move around without experiencing bottlenecks or delays? Are there enough toilets?
Find out what extras can be provided on site. What about catering? Can the catering facilities cope with any special needs such as vegetarians or vegans? Are there any meeting rooms available if participants need to break up into smaller numbers at any point in the event?
What type of equipment is provided? Is there any audiovisual equipment available? If so, does it work? Check out the performance of any audiovisual equipment before finalising a booking. There is nothing worse during an event than finding that the computers, projectors, whiteboards do not work.
Make sure that Internet access is available. Participants in conferences and other events have their own laptops and will expect to be able to access the Internet easily at any point during the event. It may also be that some speakers may need to have an active Internet link. Sometimes speakers can find themselves prevented at the last minute from attending, and have to use a videoconference link. Making sure that these systems are fully operational is essential. Discover too how far in advance your audiovisual company and any other facilities organisers need to prepare the rooms.
Before making a final decision, talk to other organisations that have used that venue. Find out what they think about the service and facilities. Talk to your audiovisual provider and discover whether they are familiar with the venue, and what their experience has been in the past when using the venue. Seek their advice about equipment, facilities and the timescale needed to set up and remove equipment.
Then there is the cost – make sure it falls within your budget and that there are no hidden extras. If you are using outside companies such as audiovisual providers ensure that their costs are covered within your overall budget.
Careful preparation beforehand will ensure that your event is totally successful.