When choosing a venue for your next meeting, conference or event, consider more than the number of participants and the budget. Your venue choice needs to take into account who is attending and from how far when considering the following about your potential venue:
Is the venue easily accessible to those attending?
Does the location offer the necessary road/rail/air links?
Is the venue location suitable for any extra events/shows/excursions that have been planned?
Is the location in a safe area/
Is the location close enough to accommodation of required
Does the location offer nearby off-site activities if required for your event?
Is the venue available on the dates required?
Are any extras such as equipment, accommodation, etc available on the dates required
How flexible are they if you have to change the meeting date?
Is the seating capacity suitable?
Are the meeting rooms large enough to provide a comfortable experience for those attending?
Are the meeting rooms well laid out?
Do the meeting rooms allow for good views of the speaker or performers without any obstruction?
Does the venue space allow the attendees to move around without bottlenecks and delays?
Is there adequate space for registration including possible queues?
Does the venue fit the organisations image and brand?
Does it give the correct impression for the type and goals of the event?
Will it appeal to the target audience?
Will the venue's staff add to the attendees experience in a positive way?
Does the venue have a variety of rooms if required? e.g an auditorium, break-out rooms
Can the venue offer a projector, electronic whiteboard, stationary?
Do they offer a range of AV options? Do you have to use the venues AV? Can you add use external AV providers?
Does the venue offer wifi access? Lap top or mobile charging points?
Do they offer business services like photocopying or hot-desks?
Does the venue offer parking? How many spaces?
Are the rooms well ventilated and temperature controlled?
Will disabled delegates have easy access and their needs be catered for?
Can the venue provide accommodation of required?
Do they have gym/leisure facilities? (if delegates are staying at the venue)
Is there a restaurant or bar for post-meeting networking and entertainment
Does the venue provide catering?
Can they offer refreshment packages i.e. tea/coffee/biscuits
Do they offer catering options for within the meeting rooms if required?
Do you delegates need to move to alternative paces for catering ? if a restaurant of break-out area? How far is this from your meeting room and will delegates have sufficient time to move back and forth to these areas?
Does the venue offer menus to suit your meeting needs? I.e. buffet, canapés, retail outlets
Are vegetarians, vegans, and those with specific dietary requirements catered for?
Do you have to use the venues catering services? Can you use your own caterers if preferred?
Does the venue fall within the budget for this meeting?
What type of rates do they offer? i.e. 24 hour delegate rate individual room hire rate?
Do they offer any discounts? i.e for low season, certain days of the week etc
Can the price be negotiated?
Does the overall costs, al extras included, compare favourably with other options i.e. hotel accommodation at a seperate location to the meeting, or delegates dining elsewhere
Are there any hidden costs? i.e. for cleaning services or cloakroom charges, for overruns etc
When is payment required?
is there a deposit required and if so ho far in advance?
What is their cancellation policy? Will you receive a full or partial refund?
While many of the above questions can be answer by viewing the website, making a phone call or email - if you seen that venue before, is always advisable to arrange a venue site inspection and to view the venue personally. This will give you first hand impression and knowledge of the layout, suitability, and importantly, the attitude and service levels offered by the management and staff. If you cannot view the venue, ask the opinion of other companies, event managers or colleagues who have held meetings there to find out what their experience was like. The venue you choose should add rather than detract from the experience of those attending the meeting or event, so take the time to research and choose carefully.