How to find the best venue for your event

A new event brief is handed to you; you need to find a venue that will both accommodate and enhance your event. Where to start?

Author: Buz Ross   |   Date: 26th March 2018

The Event Brief

Before you start looking at venues and moving forward, you need to confirm several key elements in your brief, as without these you will be unable to be able to select the best location for the event.

These include;

Objective and Aims of the Event

What, Who and Why? What do you want to achieve by the end of the event? Who is the event for? Why are you running an event to achieve your goals?

Type of Event

Is it a conferenceproduct launchaward dinner, breakfast meeting?

Number of Guests

You need a clear minimum and maximum attendee number to ensure a comfortable experience for your guests when they are taking part in the event

Location details

Your brief could be extremely specific i.e. central London or at a golf course, or it could be based on the location of your guests

Date of event

The more flexibility you have the easier it will be to get the venue you want

Length of event

Is it for an hour, or for 3 days?


Does the venue need to be able to provide accommodation, or have it nearby?

Catering requirement

This is normally led by the type of event


The most important aspect part of the brief and will drive all your decisions!

If you have all of those, you can now start looking for the perfect venue, and another checklist to work through!

Location, Location, Location

As we’ve already mentioned, the location could be a specific request outlined in the brief, or it could be that it needs to be convenient for all people attending the event, so let’s look at those two different options.

Option 1.

Your brief has specified that the event is held in at a Golf Course, with the key speaker at the event being a professional golfer, plus within the event, he will be taking a selected group of guests on a round of golf.

This is perfect for you; not only do you have a very specific and essential location, you should easily be able to satisfy the requirements of your event guest. You must ensure that your decision maker for the event agrees to any additional requests that you receive as these may not have been agreed to as part of the initial deal.

Option 2.

The brief does not contain a specific request for venue type or location, however, the list of guests to be invited covers attendees from Surrey to Somerset and Hampshire to Oxfordshire.

Looking at the locations of the attendees, choosing a venue along the M4 corridor would be the best fit – this should enable good travel access – both for drivers and those using public transport.

With plenty of parking options and good links to the towns such as Reading, you would potentially be able to choose a location such as a conference centre with built-in facilities, such as hotels and restaurants too.

These, of course, are just two examples of the considerations you will have to make for the location, and of course, the location always needs to be taken into consideration with the transport links and facilities that the venue can offer.

Getting There

Depending on your number of guests, you need to consider how they will be reaching the venue and giving them as many options to reach you as easily as possible.

Of course, this is tied into the location; if all your guests are travelling locally in central London, to a venue on the Southbank you can feel confident that all will be able to find numerous ways of reaching you.

If you are choosing a remote Scottish Castle, 20 miles from the nearest town with a railway station, you might find that people will be unable to make it to the event depending on the start and end time of the event.

However, if the facilities at the venue offer you a practical solution to making the perfect location work for you, you need to establish that next.

Facility Provision

Practicalities often are the decision maker when finding and booking a venue; it might be perfect in every way, but if it is missing one vital ingredient that results in the event being more difficult for you at the start of planning, imagine what it will be like when your guests are arriving!

The facilities you need to be sure of can be as simple as;

• Parking for guests

• Delivery and collection of event resources

• On-site Accommodation

• On-site Catering

• Built-in Audio Visual Equipment

You should be able to find out most of these via a venue’s website, or by speaking to their event team, but often the real issues and solutions will emerge during your site visit.

Some of these are things that you may need, such as parking, and others you may not want to use the in-house options, such as catering and AV.

You might want to use your own supplier and not rely on the venue options. Often this will give you the opportunity to negotiate on the price of the hire, as the venue will include it in the price, or will have a preferred supplier.

Delivery and collection of your event resources may not seem important in the planning stages, but it could be something that will create additional costs if you are looking to bring in staging or sets that can only be delivered at certain times of the day and the venue does not have suitable lift access – this is something that is essential within our own site visits.

On-Site accommodation will be hot topic dependent on the type of event and location.

Rest your weary head

Depending on the length or type of event you may need to organise accommodation for your guests. Often this is most cost-effective and practical to have within the venue that you are holding the event at.

If you are holding a conference for 150 attendees, using a hotel with built-in conference facilities offers a much better solution logistically than transporting those guests from a conference centre to a hotel at the start and end of the day. Not only are you probably saving money, you will also give your guests a seamless and less stressful experience and will leave them with a very positive experience of the event.

If you don’t have the scope for this, when looking at venues they may have offers or deals with nearby hotels. Not only will this make your life easier, but if the venue and hotels are used to working together they are more likely to be able to work with you on logistical issues such as overrunning sessions, and delaying meals etc.

While considering this, you may also want to consider the accessibility for your guests.

Open to all

Most venues will be fully accessible to people with physical disabilities, such as wheelchair users, and the blind, deaf or hard of hearing. However, accessibility goes much further than that and you could well need to consider people with learning or mental disabilities or people with food intolerances. It may seem a bit dramatic to include the latter in a section on accessibility, but considering that some people’s allergies could kill them, collecting as much information at the start of the planning process could have an influence of the venue environment and how you plan to move people around the venue and location, plus catering too.

Small things can make a big difference to your guests and by creating an easier experience for a smaller group of guests who need further assistance it will potentially have a positive knock-on effect on your other guests by making everyone experience better and feel more valued.

By choosing carefully, considering your audience and practicalities, you don’t necessarily have to compromise on the style and atmosphere of the venue.

Setting the Scene

Dependent on your event type, the atmosphere of the venue could be extremely important, and we’ve looked at this in our post on Award Dinners.

If you are creating a simpler and maybe lower key event, the décor and atmosphere of the venue may not be so important. It might be that you want a very plain environment in which to run the event, as you want your audience to concentrate on the content being delivered to them, and not distracted by the environment in which they are in.

If you are considering a themed event, you might be able to save on set design and dressing, by using the style of the venue, for example, if your theme is the roaring twenties, using an Art Deco venue full of original details would add atmosphere and save costs elsewhere.

Another consideration is using a venue which would not normally be considered, for example, a museum. By using this type of environment, you can tie it into the company you are creating the event for, such as a Science Centre with working exhibits for a company that works with computer-based technology.

Of course, you could find the perfect venue and then you need to calculate how to get all your guests into it and feeling comfortable.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Depending on the type of event you are running, venues can be set to many different configurations and therefore their capacities can change dramatically.

For example, a venue with space for 260 guests for a Dinner Dance, could hold 600 for Reception Drinks, and for a conference could have 180 attendees, so knowing your event type and potentially using the venue and its space for different parts of an event can have a large impact on your choice.

The venue should have clear guidelines on capacity, and many of these will be led by Health and Safety guidelines, plus fire regulations. If you want to have different types of sessions within the same event, you might want to be looking at finding a venue with multiple rooms, as this might be most cost-effective and result in your guests having a better experience too, rather than waiting for a room to be moved around.

We finally find ourselves at the part which could make or break the venue for your event.

Cost and Flexibility

If you have flexibility with your dates you probably have a better chance of keeping your venue costs down. Many venues will have high and low seasons and will be happy to share that information with you, as they would rather have hire of the facilities all year round, rather than just certain congested times of the year.

As we’ve already discussed you may be able to negotiate on some of the items they have within their package price, or you might be able to swap the listed something they would have as an add-on.

Also, consider that you might be able to strike a deal where you can book in a series of events at a discounted rate; they might not have to all be of the same size, but by developing this relationship you are more likely to get a bigger discount at the start and going forward form a strong relationship where they might be happy to add on items/services for free instead of charging for them.

You should now have everything to choose the best venue for your event, do you think we’ve missed anything?
Do you need some help with your event production, or are a venue looking for help with AV services?

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