Taking the plunge to organize a corporate event is daunting, to say the least.
Right away, there will be millions of different choices to make for each aspect of the event. Whether it’s deciding which services to choose from, which suppliers to pick, or what you’ll offer attendees — all the choices can leave you feeling overwhelmed once it comes time to plan.
But regardless of the number of decisions, you’ll need to make, not all decisions are created equal. In fact, one choice for your corporate event is exponentially more important than all the others — choosing your venue.
While there are countless places you could host your event at, finding just the right one to suit all of your specific needs is a challenge if you don’t know just what you’re looking for.
The one you choose will a make or break how you…
- Budget for your event,
- The vendors you choose to work with,
- The amenities you can offer,
- How your team will work together to put it on,
- Even the overall feeling your attendees are left with.
And with so much riding on the venue and so many different factors to consider, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start.
However, while finding just the right place is never as easy as just saying ‘that one,’ here are a few tips to help you feel confident choosing the right venue for your next event, so you can hit the ground running.
#1 Know what you want
The first step in setting up your corporate event is getting crystal clear on what you want and what you want the venue to provide. Click To Tweet In fact, just getting their heads wrapped around their wants and needs is the first place many people get stuck when figuring out their venue.
Before you even get started, It’s important to ask yourself:
- What dates are you looking for?
- What types of amenities would you like to have access to?
- What type of setup you’d like to have in place in terms of production, A/V, sound and technical production equipment?
- How would you like to organize your space (does it need to have room for tables or just rows of chairs?)
Often times venues have preferred vendors, people for setup, catering, etc. so it’s good to know what you’d like to be responsible for and what you’d like the venue to offer.
To make sure you come away from each venue tour with all the information you need, make sure to ask a lot of questions to the venue’s booking director, to make sure that the spaces you are looking at will fit all of your requirements.
#2 Calculate your budget
Next, figure out the budget you will have for your event is essential.
While this will probably be done before you go looking for a venue; as one of the biggest and most expensive parts of hosting an event, it is imperative you keep your budget front and center so that the choice you make about your venue aligns with it.
A good way to get yourself started calculating the right budget for your event is to research the estimated costs of everything you’re hoping to include, to give you an accurate starting place.
Secondly, it’s important to get clear on which sorts of fees and services potential venues charge if you use their vendors for your services. Call ahead to some prospective venues and just ask questions about their rates and services to get a good base number. During this research phase, you can also do some of the leg work and keep an eye out for venues that might work for your specific dates.
Finally, you’ll also want to keep in mind that even with the best planning, everything won’t always work out exactly as you originally thought. To keep yourself within your budget it can be really beneficial to give yourself a contingency budget, for all the things you didn’t plan on or that may surprise you along the way. “Depending on the size or complexity of an event, you may want to give yourself as much as up to 20% of the event budget here.”
With a solid budget in place, you’ll be able to confidently pick a venue and know you’ll be able to include everything else you’d hoped for.
#3 Mirror company values with your venue
It’s vital that the venue you choose is the appropriate space for the type of event you’re planning.
As a corporate event, you’ll want to make sure that the environment will reflect the values of your attendees and the culture of your work.
For example, the venue a start up would choose is probably significantly different from the one a traditional corporate organization would choose. This is because the attendees going to those events are in different demographics.
When it comes time to finding your venue, choosing one that’s in line with your attendees’ preferences will help them feel at ease and allow them to have a better time.
(This is especially true if you’re wanting your event space to stand on its own and not need to be heavily decorated for the event.)
#4 Amenities and location that are on-point
As we’ve discussed, when it comes time to pick your event there are a lot of different amenities and services that you’ll need to consider. But some amenities have a greater impact on your attendees than others, for example:
- Parking: If people are traveling far for the event or are commuting each day, parking can be an expensive, and unforeseen, add-on for attendees. Choosing a venue that has close, cheap (or free), and safe parking, even if your event goes late into the evening, is going to be a great comfort and plus for attendees.
- The Location: The location of your venue can make or break people’s lasting feelings. Making sure your event is in a good part of town, close to public transportation, and near off-site amenities is a must. And if you have attendees traveling from out of town, you’ll want to make sure that the venue is close to a variety of hotels and accommodations. You’ll also want to ensure that there is safe and reliable transport to and from the event so that your participants feel well taken care of.
- Venue’s Size: Nothing is worse than feeling crammed into a space that’s too small. Keeping your estimated headcount front and center in your choice for a venue will be key to determining if a venue is a good fit for you.
When it comes time to choose a venue for your event there are a lot of different factors to keep in mind. But if you keep your audience front and center, grab a space that reflects your values, and stay in line with your budget, you’ll pull off a great event that’ll make a lasting impression on your attendees.