Selecting the right venue is crucial for the success of the event.
Once you have the conference objectives clearly established you will need to find a suitable venue. Don’t take it for granted the dates you want will be available. A good place to start is the preferred dates; flexibility by even a day may be beneficial in negotiating with venues.
Referring to your conference objectives and budget, you should also consider the attendee profiles - age, gender and level within organisation. You will need to allow for program design, meeting format, social and recreational needs, previous conference history and internal organisational policies and how your attendees are getting to and from the venue. There’s a lot to consider.
Start with a list of criteria prioritising your needs. Once you have your venue criteria firmly set, you can then start matching venues to your needs. For the novice this is the hard bit.
If you prefer to go it alone a great deal of information can be found from:
- The web
- Business telephone directories
- Regional meeting and conference bureaus
- Hotel chains
- Trade directories
- Your own work colleagues referrals
Keep in mind that the more venues you contact, the more time consuming the task will become. We suggest getting proposals from 3 venues and site inspecting each. The range of service, help and assistance you receive will vary greatly. But this will give you an idea of what you can expect when the actual event takes place. Matching delegate profiles and conference objectives to your shortlisted venues requires sensitivity and careful judgement. The venue with the most suitable facilities will not be the right one, if the service levels and staff attitudes are inadequate.
A personal inspection of your proposed venue will enable you to assess how appropriate the venue will be for your group. Before you even consider taking the time out to undertake a venue property inspection, you need to be confident it is going to be appropriate for your group and requirements. Before you go you should have made a general assessment of each venue on your shortlist
Here are some important questions that may need to be answered before arranging site inspections.
- How far is the venue from our office/airport?
- Does the venue specialise in the conference market?
- Name three comparable conference groups that recently met at the venue?
- Do conference rooms provide ergonomic chairs for all day comfort?
- Do the meeting rooms have good natural light? (some conference rooms are like working in a dungeon).
- Are all the bedrooms required on site?
- Are all meals and refreshment breaks included?
- Is private dining available?
- How many meeting rooms are available to the group?
- Are they soundproof?
- Do conference rooms have pillars that obstruct views?
- What equipment is provided as standard?
- How long has the General Manager been at the property?
- Are there any other groups on site at the same time?
- Who are they?
- What type of security is provided?
- Parking space available and what are the parking costs?
- What is the policy on varying numbers of attendees?
- What are the venue’s trading terms and conditions including cancellation policy?
- Does the venue offer an all-inclusive rate per day?