Creating the perfect experience for your guests at an event begins by selecting the right venue. Here are a few pointers for choosing the perfect space:
Consider the size of your event.
First, consider how many guests you would like to attend your event. Once you’ve determined a number, limit yourself to venues that will accommodate that number of people. Let the number of guests you invite determine the venue you choose and the room set you select. An aesthetically pleasing location can lose its luster if it isn’t the correct size.
Do you plan to host breakout sessions during your event?
If you plan to have smaller sessions during your event, make sure the venue you select can accommodate these small groups. Avoid using one large room for multiple sessions meeting simultaneously. The noise alone will create distractions that will take away from the experience.
Keep the sessions in the same building, if possible. Valuable time is wasted with guests moving from session to session; especially if they have to travel between buildings.
Make sure you provide appropriate signage or people to direct guests to their sessions. Once again, valuable time is lost when guests are wandering aimlessly looking for a particular room.
Consider your budget.
When setting your event budget, consider the target audience of your event. How much can you charge attendees without asking them to overextend their budgets? This is important to consider when you select your venue since you’ll most likely be passing the venue costs down to your attendees.
Will guests need lodging if they attend your event?
Even if your event does not span multiple days, registration may begin early in the morning or may end later in the day. With this in mind, select a venue near or connected to a hotel where you can set up a block for your guests. Mention the available rooms and special rates on your registration site so that guests can call and reserve a room.
Consider the location of your event.
It is true that most guests will attend your event for the content. It is also true that even more guests will attend your event for the content if you hold the event in an attractive location. Every summer my husband’s family travels to Panama City, Florida for a convention that my father-in-law attends. This year is the first year they have chosen to host the convention at a campground in Georgia rather than at the beach. As you may guess, attendance is much lower this year. Guests are drawn to the attractions that accompany their experience at your event.
Also consider from where your guests might be traveling. If you host a nationwide event, always select a venue near an airport. Convenience is important for attracting attendees.
Selecting the perfect venue is a primary building block in creating a positive, memorable experience for your guests. Take your time and consider all the necessary details before making your decision. Most of the other planning aspects will fall into place around your venue decision.
Photo credit: Ali Marsh