One of the most important aspects of planning a corporate event is choosing the venue. Finding the right location can be a time consuming process, especially if you are not prepared with the right information ahead of time. The number one thing to know is how many people will be in attendance. That is single handedly the most important piece of information and will dictate just about every aspect of your decisions regarding spacing, food, and overnight accommodations. Once you have those figures, it’s time to go venue hunting. The following ideas are things to consider and questions to ask before or during a venue walk through while planning for your next corporate event.
Space – Be sure the venue has enough rooms available for meetings, breakout sessions, awards dinners, and so on. Check that the rooms are spacious enough to fit all your guests, but not so big that people will feel disconnected. Also, find out about any capacity limits the venue has.
Location – If having the corporate event locally, choose a central location or one near the office to ensure better attendance. If the event will be thrown out of town or state, choose a location close to the airport for easy access. Be sure to note whether the location is near restaurants and activities for guests during their down times. And of course, choose an area where people will safe.
Transportation – If you hold your corporate event at the same place guests will be staying, transportation can be a simple issue. However, you should still consider whether people should rent cars, take cabs, or if you will be providing a shuttle to and from the airport.
Parking – Are there enough spaces for guests who will be driving? Is there a self park option or will it be valet only? Will attendees get parking permits or will parking be validated?
Accommodations – When planning out of town corporate events, it’s a bonus to choose a venue that also has hotel accommodations so guests don’t have to worry about getting to and from the event. Be sure the venue has enough rooms available for all the attendees.
Services – Ask what is included with the venue rental… tables, chairs, wifi, and so on. Then find out what can be added on a la carte. This will usually be things along the lines of catering, stages, sound equipment, etc. Discuss which staffing options are complimentary and which need to be added on.
Catering – Decide which meals you will be providing for your guests and if you will be providing them at the venue. Maybe you will provide breakfast and lunch and let attendees do their own thing for dinner. Plan all this out ahead of time. Also, find out if the venue has a minimum food purchase requirement.
Audiovisual – Will you be doing powerpoint presentations, showing slides, playing videos? Do you need things like microphones, projectors, screens, or special lighting? Have a clear idea of your AV needs before booking your venue, so you know if they can meet your needs or if you will have to rent from another source.
Fees – Get an accurate quote with taxes included and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Find out their policies regarding the deposit, cancellation fees, and payment procedures. Get the price in writing, as well a clear outline of what is included before placing a deposit.
Restrictions – Most venues have some sort of restrictions on their rentals. It usually involves things like decor, alcohol, and outside catering. Be clear on these so you do not violate your contract or have to scramble last minute to fix the issues in violation.
Setup and Cleanup – Find out when you can access the event space to begin setting up for your corporate event. Can you come the night before? Early morning on the day of? Will you be able to use loading zones? And of course, when do you need to be out by?
Hopefully this will help when you start planning your next corporate event. Pick the right venue and you will be on your way to creating a great atmosphere and in turn a great event.