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How to choose the right conference venue for your event

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Finding the best venue for your business conference, corporate training day or other company event can be tricky. Whether you’re in London or the provinces, the sheer choice of venues available can be overwhelming, which is why you’d be well advised to get a good venue finder to help you navigate this crowded market place.

At Function Fixers, we know the events industry like the back of our hand and can guide you through the array of venues that you can choose from. Why not let us take the lead – all totally free of charge – starting with some key questions that you should answer to help define your brief:

What type of business event are you organising?

Before you’re ready to book any corporate events venue, you need to know what the event actually entails. Are you looking for professional surroundings for a day-time executive meeting or media briefing? Perhaps you need a venue for a corporate outing that can accommodate an element of fun and relaxation? Depending on the occasion that you’re catering for, a formal conference venue with plenty of office support may be more suitable than a venue with a relaxed, off-duty vibe.

Which location is most suitable?

Finding the right location for your next business conference or meeting is key to any event planning. Not only does the location have to perfectly fit the requirements of the event, the logistics must work for your delegates. Think of whether a modern conference centre, a vibrant night club or a unique historical venue would be most appropriate. Do you want to be in the centre of town with plenty of amenities close by, or in a serene country venue where there are no distractions?

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What’s the budget?

Having a realistic budget at your disposal for your event planning needs should be one of the first things to put in place. While it is always possible to stretch your budget to deliver maximum value for money, your financial clout will largely dictate the kind of venue that you’ll be able to consider. Go for the best quality venue that you can afford within your budget, then focus on getting the most from the venue you have committed to.

How big is the event? How many participants?

Have a firm idea of the number of guests of delegates that need to be accommodated, then tailor your choice of venue accordingly. This is important – a small business meeting of, say, 20 people, will get lost in a large conference theatre seating 300, however perfect the venue may be in every other regard. Equally, trying to squeeze 200 guests into a small but perfectly formed function room will make your event suffer on account of something that could easily be avoided.

What are your catering requirements?

Are you planning to serve simple refreshments during break times in between training seminars or workshop session? Or does your event revolve around a lavish gala dinner and perhaps involve other entertainment such as an awards ceremony? Many venues offer a choice of in-house food and drinks options, work with outside caterers or let you customise your events menu and bar choices or even bring in your own chefs. Don’t forget to ask about dietary requirements too.

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What facilities are needed for your business event?

Every meeting or conference has specific needs. To assess whether the venue can meet them, first take a look at the room itself in terms of size, table layout, availability of additional breakout space and refreshment areas. Next, consider technical facilities such as IT/AV equipment, WiFi access, projection screens, LCD TVs, lighting, power sockets, computer cabling. For more elaborate events, you may need stage lighting and a sound system, plus a resident support technician to make sure it all goes well on the day.

Have you eliminated any potential transport and logistics problems?

Even if the venue seems perfect for you event, it’s not a match if your participants or suppliers can’t get there. Is the venue easy to find? Can it be reached by public transport? What about car parking for your delegates and access for delivery vehicles? This may be less of an issue in a dedicated conference centre or a rural venue, but could influence your choice of venue in urban areas, particularly London where parking is both limited and expensive.

Do you need accommodation?

Finally, whether you’re planning a day or weekend event for your staff or a residential teambuilding event, overnight accommodation may be of interest. Whether people make their own arrangements to stay overnight on account of a late finish to the conference, or you offer hotel accommodation as part of the event, it’s a good idea to look for venues with accommodation – and perhaps with good leisure facilities too – where you’ll be able to negotiate an event discount.

Posted within: conference venues, Venue finding

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