Planning an event? One of the first things to consider in the long list of things to do is finding a venue! As a central component of your event, the choice of venue should be made with your goals, your vision, the number of guests, and the type of event in mind. Here are some key things to consider when choosing your perfect venue.
If you are expecting few guests.
If your event is designed for a small audience, it is easier to find a venue with a warm, quirky or unique atmosphere.
The type of event as well as its time are the first relevant elements that will help you choose your venue. The venue will certainly not be the same for a morning event or an evening event: For a day event, consider a cafe, a loft, a meeting room, or an art gallery while an evening event can be held at a bar, a club, a music venue, etc. Make your choice in accordance with your chosen atmosphere, the setting you wish to be in and the type of event you’re planning (e.g. concert, office party, party with friends, workshop, etc.).
Access to the venue and set-up of the space also matter. Sometimes, it’s useful to have several rooms or a space that will meet the requirements of the event’s programme. For a presentation, it is generally advised to provide seats for your guests, or enough space to move around easily, while a cocktail party will require a space allowing people to stand around without being too crowded. The furniture on-site can also be important. In most cases it’s easier to use the furniture already on location. Depending on the time of the year, you may want to use an outdoor space, enjoy the warm weather, allow for a smoking area, etc.
The question that arises then is the following: should you privatise the entire space or part of it? Think about defining the time frame of your event, including set-up and disassembly.
Here are some other questions you should think about: How many people will there be? Would you like to include entertainment? What kind of equipment will be necessary? Should you plan for food and/or drinks? So many elements to list in order to get an accurate quote from a venue hire or a venue manager.
Keep up with the trends, if you are looking for a unique or unexpected venue. For instance, we see an increasing number of pop-up venues. Now, there are also “co-meeting spaces”, and lofts and flats can be rented for a special event.
If you are expecting many guests.
Whether you are planning a conference, a large student event or a concert, looking for a venue is just as important and can even be made more complicated by the number of guests. You will need to find a venue large enough to welcome all your guests. An outdoor space – depending on the weather – can be a good option. Otherwise, you can look into public spaces in your city, for instance you can check with your city hall or local art venues, conference rooms, exhibition centers, etc. Be careful not to hire too big a space so as not to create an impression of emptiness when all your guests are here.
Access to your venue is important. You should choose your venue based on criteria defined ahead of time: parking spaces, disabled access, several entrances, fire exits, etc. Your guests have travelled from far away? Don’t forget the surrounding areas. It is good to opt for a location close to train stations, airports and public transports to make it easier to reach you. For any large party, such as a corporate event, think about a location that makes it quick and easy for your guests to get home.
These are services you can include in your online ticketing or registration platform. Attendees can purchase their ticket then add a transport option for instance, or choose a special price that includes entrance and transportation.
In any case, whatever the size of your event, it is critical to think ahead. Make a list of your requirements ahead of time, take the time to visit the venues, compare them and define the number of guests you expect, the purpose of your event and how you want the event to be remembered. Plan you budget carefully and think of a plan B! No one is immune to something going wrong, a cancellation, a change of date or poor weather on the day.
Once you have found your venue, send your invites, sell your tickets, manage your registrations, communicate and welcome your guests!