There’s a lot to consider when planning a corporate event, but few things are as crucial to every element of success as the event venue. Finding the perfect venue can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult! We’ve put together a few tips to help you choose a venue that meets your event goals and needs.
1. Start with Your Goals in Mind
Whatever the nature of the event you’re planning, your best path to success is to start with clear goals. What do you want your event to accomplish? Perhaps it’s designed to:
- Educate attendees
- Allow vendors to showcase products and services
- Provide networking opportunities
- All three!
You might also have supporting goals related to sponsorship or marketing. For instance, if you have a number of event sponsors, sponsor visibility might be a supporting goal. With this in mind, your ideal venue might have a welcome area or foyer space that can prominently display sponsor booths.
Different teams may have different goals. Your sales team, for instance, may want to score a certain number of leads, while your social media team is aiming to hit a new level of engagement on all platforms. Speak to all of them to ensure your venue choice takes what they’re shooting for into account.
Once you know what your primary and supporting goals are, you can focus on finding an event venue that helps you meet them.
2. Be Clear on Your Needs
With your goals firmly established, the next phase of finding a venue for your event is to determine what your needs are for the space. You first need to have an accurate estimate of the number of event attendees you’re expecting. Early ticket sales can help you get an idea. You also need to know how much space you’ll need, and the kinds of amenities your event requires. Do you expect many of your attendees to be on their computers? Then you need easy access to enough outlets, or you need to set up charging stations.
Your space needs depend in part on what kind of event you’re planning. The amount of space needed per person is different if you’re planning a sit-down event, such as a day of motivational speeches or seminars, than it would be for a trade show where there’s a large amount of foot traffic as well as stationary booths.
3. Consider Your Target Audience
Who is your event meant for? Is it for a group of CEOs in the fashion industry, for instance, or for a group of travel agents in the corporate travel industry? Your target audience will help dictate the kind of venue you choose. If you’re looking to appeal to those in the ever-changing tech industry, a traditional conference center venue might not appeal as much as a more unique venue—something out-of-the-box.
Consider factors of your audience such as:
- Their average income
- Their tastes and needs
- What they’re likely to be accustomed to
4. Choose a Great Location
No matter how well a corporate event venue meets your goals and needs, if it’s not in a convenient and easily-accessible location, it may be a bust because attendees can’t—or don’t want to—get there.
The ideal location is a central area that’s easy to find and get to using all forms of public transportation. It should provide plenty of parking and, if possible, be located near the kind of accommodations event attendees are likely to want.
Pro Tip: Boost attendee experience by providing city guides, so they can explore their surroundings when meetings aren’t in session. This gives everyone a unique way to network and unwind.
5. Prioritize Size
Choosing a venue of the right size is important to ensure you have plenty of room for attendees. While it’s important that a venue not be too small, it’s also important that it not be too large. A too-small venue feels crowded, but a too-large venue it may feel empty even if the event is well-attended. A successful event should be buzzing and full of energy, but that’s hard to accomplish if you have a few hundred people milling around in an event space with a capacity of several thousand.
6. Make It Accessible
Accessibility is a key issue that, if properly handled, can help ensure your event is a success and can prevent unnecessary problems both for you and for attendees. Everyone at the event should have a good experience without being distracted by details such as lack of accessible ramps or restrooms, and similar issues. Doors, hallways, and aisles should be wide enough to comfortably fit a wheelchair. Ideally, there should be no areas that are too difficult for people with physical disabilities or limitations to find and use. Be proactive about accessibility, and you can ensure these problems don’t arise.
7. Pin Down the Details
Venue size helps you narrow down your choices considerably, but there are still many details to consider in finding a great venue for your corporate event. For instance:
- If your event includes meetings, seminars, workshops, and other such events, does the venue have enough separate private meeting spaces to accommodate them all? If any of these events need special facilities or fixtures, does the venue have them?
- What amenities are provided? Check for restrooms (including accessible and gender-neutral bathrooms), electrical outlets, Wi-Fi, and whatever audio-visual equipment is required for seminars and other events.
- If the event includes a meal, are there facilities for handling, storing, or cooking food, and for serving and eating food?
- Is there enough seating, or room for seating, to accommodate the number of attendees you expect?
- Is the venue flexible enough to accommodate if you end up with a much larger number of attendees than you expected?
- Is security likely to be an issue? If so, what secure facilities does the venue provide?
- Does the venue provide any additional services, like on-site or valet parking, catering, or audio-visual or event tech services?
- Does the venue have any restrictions that might impede on your event? Some venues may restrict alcohol sales or restrict alcohol altogether. If the venue has on-site catering, it may not allow the use of an independent catering team. Some restrictions are unstated on venue websites, so it’s always important to ask.
Make Attendee Experience a Priority
Corporate events are most successful when attendees have great experiences, are able to meet their own goals, and remember their time with you for positive reasons. Make attendee experience your top priority when looking for the perfect venue for your event, and your chances of finding something great increase exponentially. Finding the right venue—from the point of entry to the event floor—helps you ensure positive experiences for every attendee. They’ll meet their goals, and you will too!