If you are organizing a corporate event, you likely have dozens of questions on your mind. Typically, the first thing you will need to find is a venue or location that suits everyone. Some common questions include: whether it should be close to the company’s office for convenience or further away to feel more like a retreat; will you have entertainment or a prominent keynote speaker, and how will the venue accommodate your program? To help you work your way through these critical questions, we have compiled some factors to consider when looking for that perfect venue for your corporate event.
Every event is planned for a reason, whether it be a conference, training seminar, major announcement, or any multitude of reasons. Your event must stand out, and a huge factor in achieving this goal is choosing a great location. An inadequate venue will not only cost you, but it may not deliver the same impactful experience you envisioned. Primarily the venue must be able to fulfill your overall vision for the event, so begin by listing the central objectives you hope to accomplish with your event. Armed with these goals, filtering through the numerous location options will become much more apparent.
Event Length and Travel Time
The duration of your event is a crucial aspect to consider when determining a location for your corporate event. For example, shorter business meetings, such as a half-day, should be near the office so everyone can easily attend and make the most out of their time. Also, when planning a shorter event, parking time is especially important to calculate so you can be most efficient with the time you have.
On the other hand, if you are planning a full-day event, then a certain amount of travel is acceptable, especially if you want an out-of-office feel. Nevertheless, it is usually best to choose an event location within an hour of your offices to avoid any unnecessary hassle, expense, and loss of time your attendees could experience.
The day of the week that your event will be held is a significant factor to keep in mind when scouting for the best venue. Hotels, for example, often charge more for events that are hosted on Fridays and the weekend. These are also the days that are generally booked long in advance. If you can hold your event midweek, you are likely to have more venues to choose from, and it will be less expensive. However, cost should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a site. If you find a perfect location that is slightly over your budget, it might be worthwhile to look for other ways to save on your budget without impacting the overall experience.
There are many types of corporate events, and you want to ensure your venue can comfortably accommodate whatever you have planned. During your search, focus on the functionality of the space with your event activities in mind.
For example, here are some event activity requirements you may need to consider:
- Team-building exercises/breakout sessions – these would require a venue where you have access to separate, typically smaller rooms.
- Larger spaces are preferable for meals, entertainment or presentations.
- If you are hoping to demonstrate products or have multiple smaller demonstrations, you will need to consider any special set-up needs.
- Interactive activities and audience participation are often part of events. How will the venue accommodate this?
- If there are outdoor activities or people need to go offsite, how will this be managed and arranged?
Number of Attendees Expected
Often the final numbers of attendees for an event do not become clear until closer to the date; however, you will need to ballpark how many people you expect before you can select a venue. You will also need to consider how many people will be taking part in any specific activities you have planned. Try not to overestimate, but make sure you do leave yourself some wiggle room if numbers turn out to be more than you anticipated.
Do Your Research
Most venues that host corporate events have a website and are happy to send out a sales packet or brochure. These are a great starting point, but your research should not end there. Collect information from multiple sites before narrowing down a shortlist of potential venues. From there, you need to narrow the field down further:
- Always visit a possible venue yourself, preferably with a member of your AV team. If you want top-quality audiovisual content, this starts with a proper venue, and this is critical when it comes to making or breaking an event. If you are looking for standout AV content, then an AV professional will be able to advise on ways to impress your audience without breaking the budget.
- Arrange a personal meeting with the venue manager. Work on developing a good relationship with them, so they are eager to help you reach the full potential for your event.
- Be clear about what you are paying for. What is included, what is extra, and what is optional? This way, you can customize the event and keep within your set budget.
- If your event requires the attendees to stay overnight, try to check out the service by staying there yourself. Ask the hotel for a complimentary night to check out the facilities. Are the rooms up to your standards? What are the amenities like?
The more thorough your research is before the event, the more likely everyone will be happy with the venue. This is a key factor when pulling off a memorable event and getting yourself and your company noticed.
Preparation is going to be the stronghold of your event. The quality of preparation directly translates to the quality of the event, and being properly prepared is often as simple as putting together a detailed checklist. If you can take care of these factors we’ve laid out, you’re well on your way to an excellent and stress-free corporate event!