The venue you choose for your event sets the mood and tone before your audience even steps inside. Its geographical location and reputation convey meaning to your invited guests before they RSVP. The process of getting there is shaping your attendee’s experience before they’ve experienced your message. Then there’s the myriad of practical considerations such as seating capacity, economic factors like equipment inclusions, and intangibles such as quality of service from its administration. With so much to take into account, where do you start?
Your event venue location
The first is location, where are your audience and what is going to work best for them? Bear in mind that closer isn’t always better – you might want to take them far from their usual places of work or residence to set your experience apart.
Remote locations such as holiday resorts are great if you have the budget and would like everyone’s attention completely to yourself for a few days, but these kind of events are only practical with large budgets, and are generally used to reward loyal customers or excellent sales staff.
Back in the metropolitan areas, there’s a huge variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces to consider. For meetings, conferencing and staff training, the hotel function rooms and other dedicated event spaces have a solid offering that you’re probably already familiar with. Packages are standard, they understand the corporate market and they’ll provide a reliable service.
Space Is The Place
Will the venue you’re considering accommodate the number of guests you expect?
Seated or standing, attentively listening or actively networking, you need to realistically assess if your audience will be too tightly packed, look lost in a cavernous space, or fit comfortably.
Think of their physical comfort as well
- Is the venue adequately heated or cooled, depending on season?
- And what’s their physical experience of accessing the venue going to be like?
- Are there any likely bottlenecks in parking, pedestrian access, doors or lifts?
- Is there a disabled access?
Your event venue should match your message
Each venue, whether convention centre meeting room or abandoned warehouse, has its own character and meaning inherent in its architecture and utilisation.
The meaning and purpose of your event are best known to you, so choose a venue that can enhance that. Are you trying to get a workforce or group of consumers excited about something new? Then take them somewhere new.
This can also work if you’re trying to get them to reappraise an existing product or idea; put it in a new context. If you are going to present material or processes that could be difficult, like how the company is about to be restructured, a familiar and conservative environment is advisable.
A proximity thing
When considering events with a large amount of attendees, like a major industry conference or exhibition, centrality, access and a well-serviced locale are essential.
The venue must be reasonable to commute to from the nearest airport, accessible by multiple modes of public transport and close to multiple hospitality options, including bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels. This enables both exhibitors, sponsors and attendees alike to get the most from their investment of time and money.
There are also downsides to well-serviced central venues. They can attract attendees who are there for curiosity only, diluting the value to serious participants.
Their proximity to many of your audience’s places of work can also make it more likely for them to either be called away on urgent business or not make it at all due to last-minute time pressures.