Venue selection is absolutely vital to your event’s success and is the most critical decision for an event planner. This decision will likely make up the largest portion of your budget and will be the vessel used to deliver exciting and quality content to your attendees. The venue location, facilities, and atmosphere are critical to ensuring your event’s success. Your event venue should be a draw and help move the potential attendee dial from interested to registered.
To be an effective vessel, the physical location of a venue including accessibility for travelers, nearby attractions and restaurants, and a variety of accommodations is essential. Understanding the demographics of your attendees is important when identifying critical location necessities.
Will guests be driving in or flying in? How far away is the nearest airport? What is the traffic like near the venue and is there adequate signage to direct attendees to right place? Do you need more nightlife or family friendly entertainment options nearby? Will participants require high-end restaurants suitable for entertaining clients or more casual dining choices? Do you have mostly single attendees or guests traveling with families? What types of accommodation amenities will be most important for your visitors?
A poor venue location with long travel times, insufferable traffic jams, lack of suitable accommodations to meet their needs, and inadequate entertainment/dining options can obstruct potential attendees from registering for your event.
Attendee comfort is crucial. A venue should provide adequate space and facilities for your group so having a realistic anticipated attendance number is imperative.
Are you having a general session? Will the space accommodate your audio visual requirements, seating and still allow for attendee flow without stepping over other guests? How many breakout rooms will you need? How far away from each other are the various meeting spaces? What is the distance from the parking area to the meeting space? Will attendees be lugging lots of equipment or collateral? Will attendees all be breaking at the same time? Are there adequate restrooms?
Attendees will likely be annoyed if they spend half of their time traipsing from one end of a venue to the other multiple times per day, are cramped into ballrooms that are too small for the number of guests, or endure lengthy waits for restrooms during scheduled breaks. These annoyances will end up diminishing the amazing content being delivered.
This is where an event planner’s gut really comes into play and requires a site visit or a trusted recommendation. A clean space is an obvious necessity but how does the space make you feel?
Is it bright and airy or cramped and cold? What will be the impression from your attendees entering the venue? Is the venue inviting and comfortable for guests taking a break between sessions or stepping out to get a breath of fresh air? Is the venue staff warm, friendly and helpful?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Attendees that feel welcome and secure are more likely to register again for future events.