When it comes to hosting an event, the venue IS the wow factor.
It is the first impression that sets the tone and mood for everyone attending.
If you don’t get the venue right; nothing else really matters.
With so many things to consider – location, distance, facilities, capacity and accommodation requirements, the selection process can be daunting.
But there are definitely a few ways to be more efficient in scouting the perfect venue for your event.
Tip #1: set up a comparison list of all the venues to make sense of your options
To save time in researching possible venues, because we know this can be never-ending, tap into free online resources:
1. venue finding agencies – My Venue Finder
2. venue directories – A List Guide or Event Birdie
3. local destination bureaus – Melbourne Convention Bureau, Business Events Sydney
4. official state sites – Visit Victoria, Visit NSW
5. trade shows – AIME
Once you have narrowed down the possible venues, make that phone call to request a proposal.
Tip #2: hone in on the specifics; create a spreadsheet of your must-haves and nice-to-haves
The venue proposals that meet your must-haves criteria will make the first cut.
Those with nice-to-haves will follow.
It is most likely that you will end up with 4 – 5 options.
For most organisations, the budget is a major deciding factor in the selection process.
But we should also consider the overall value of the venue i.e. free Wi-Fi, complimentary break out rooms or AV.
Tip #3: a site inspection is always necessary
Physically viewing the venue and doing a walkthrough gives you a different perspective on the size, environment, ambience and vibe.
Make the most of your site visit by asking the important questions.
If you are thinking of including an all-night dance party, make sure you check the venue’s noise restriction policy.
Wanting alcohol to be served in some areas like outdoors where the venue’s alcohol license do not cover is another thing to note.
A site visit will usually determine the suitability and right fit for your group dynamics.
Final word: be clear about your expectations
Venues are competing for your business and will be accommodating to your requests but make sure you always read their contract terms with a careful eye.