Possibly the most important decision an event planner can make that will affect the outcome of your event would be the venue that you choose. Yes, cuisine and entertainment are also important factors, but the venue sets the scene; dictates many choices related to the event; and influences the experiences of your guests probably more than any other factor.
In addition, when looking at the thousands of events already planned using the Planning Pod event management software, for a wide majority of events, the venue is either the #1 or #2 expense (food and drink being the other). So not only will the venue influence many decisions and affect attendees’ experiences, but it also consumes a large portion of most event budgets, adding more pressure to making the right decision.
We asked hundreds of event professionals on LinkedIn what they would consider the most important criteria for choosing a venue for their events, and here are the most frequent responses.
1. Budget – Cost is often the main factor people use when considering or ruling out venues, and of course the price tag of renting out the venue must fit within your event budget.
2. Space specifications – This would include things like space/room capacity (including lobby and exhibitor space if you are planning a meeting or convention); load in/out amenities; and technical capabilities (like lighting, electrical, A/V, etc.).
3. Day/time availability – This factor almost goes without saying, but it’s a good rule of thumb to have several day/time options in mind (or at least be somewhat flexible with day/time of the event) before you start reviewing venues so you don’t immediately limit the number of venues you can consider.
4. Appropriateness for type of event and client goals – This may be the most subjective feature listed here, but it may well be the most important. And it first requires you to know precisely the needs and goals of your client so you can match up a venue with those specifications.
5. Security – An often overlooked but very important factor, this includes not only a venue’s security personnel but also things like security doors and limiting venue access to only guests/attendees (because who really needs event crashers).
6. Other groups using the venue at the same time as your event – If you are planning a sit-down conference with speakers, you probably don’t want a loud wedding reception next door disrupting your event. So make sure any simultaneous events at the venue (or even nearby) won’t conflict with or interrupt yours.
7. Customer service – Not only does the venue need to be responsive to your needs prior to the event, but it also needs to have adequate support staff on site during the event to respond to the needs and requests of you, your staff and your attendees.
8. Travel convenience – The location of the venue needs to be conveniently located for your attendees and within a reasonable distance so as not to require excessive travel; otherwise your attendance may suffer.
9. Parking and proximity to transportation options – On-site or nearby parking options for your guests are important (and cost of parking for your guests can be a deciding factor here). In addition, proximity to airports and public transit is also important if you have many guests who aren’t driving their own car to the event.
10. Accessible for persons with disabilities – This would include ramps, elevators and other amenities for those guests with physical disabilities as well as older guests who aren’t as mobile.
11. Nearby amenities and entertainment options – Attendees often need or want to partake in fun activities outside of the main event, so finding a venue that has entertainment and recreation options in house or nearby can be critical to your attendance numbers.
12. Reputation – Ask other event planners and vendors regarding their experiences with the venues you are considering. In addition, look at online reviews in forums and on sites like Yelp, Wedding Wire and Trip Advisor to round out your assessment of a venue’s reputation and track record.
13. Vendor restrictions – Some venues have a list of exclusive vendors that they will allow to perform work in their venue, so make sure if you are using outside vendors that you can bring them into the venue and that the venue will amicably work alongside them.
Track all your venue details – including budgets and amenities – as well as hundreds of other details with Planning Pod’s 26+ easy-to-use event management software tools. Try them free today!