The sky is the limit when it comes to venue choices these days. A good or bad venue choice sets the tone for the entire event; price although important, should not drive your decision. Venue should not be an after-thought, but rather should be considered based upon the overall desired “feel” of your event.
Criteria for vetting a venue for YOUR event:
Location: Consider what location makes the most sense for the experience you are trying to achieve, as well as what is most convenient for your attendees. Consider things like parking, proximity to hotels/restaurants/shopping. Will you need a shuttle to transport attendees or can they walk? Logistics like that.
Size: Can the venue support your desired attendee headcount, while also supporting your event logistical needs—(stage, food, bars, sponsor tables, registration…etc.)
Logistically Effective: Does your venue support your program? Do you need a separate area for cocktail hour or a certain sized stage? Or maybe a green room space or breakout area? Thinking through your event program in terms of space is one of the first thoughts in the venue vetting process. Also keep a pulse on the ease of loading items in and out. Difficult terrain, could increase cost.
Uniqueness: As a thought leader in the Financial industry, it is important you present yourself as such. Straying from the “same old” hotel & conference world is not a bad thing; attendees actually find it refreshing!
Cost (and hidden costs): Make sure you do your research and know your all in cost for the venue before you decide to pick it. Look for hidden cost add-ons, like gratuity, tax, internet, AV add ons…etc.
Quality and Availability of service & amenities: Ask the right questions to determine what is included with your rental: internet, tables, chairs, linens, AV. Is there onsite food and beverage, servers? Or do you need to bring all of that in? Oversights on these will cost you in the end!
AV capabilities: Take inventory on all of the AV offerings of each venue you research. Do they have screens & projectors, will they provide staging, microphones, lighting? Will they provide a laptop, or will you? Who is providing the wireless slide advancer? Do we need/have a confidence monitor? Make sure expectations are clear, so you know you are getting what you want!!
The world is your oyster when choosing a venue…so think creatively!