You’ve been tasked with setting up a corporate event and there’s a list as long as your arm of tasks to research, plan and put in place. One of the most important – and first – jobs is to find the venue for the event. Until you have this arranged you can’t publicise the dates, know the number of people you can invite or how the event will run.
Start at the very beginning
Compile a list of possible venues which are suitable for the numbers which can be accommodated, the availability of parking, how close it is to public transport, the kind of AV available and elements such as in-house catering facilities. Look at testimonials and reviews but don’t fully rely as them for absolute guides as everyone has their own personal opinion.
If you find the venue of your dreams and start to plan without knowing if it’s available this could lead to huge disappointment if you then find it’s booked so the next step is to narrow the list down with regards to availability. If you’re looking to find a popular venue, find one as far in advance as possible – some places are booked a year in advance or even more.
Visit to see the venue for yourself
It’s important to see the venues on your short list so you can check you are happy with the room size, the facilities on offer, the relationship you’ll need with the staff and which place feels right for the environment you want to create.
When you visit, book a meeting with their events manager to be given a
tour and this will give you the opportunity to ask questions such as:
- What time can you access the building on the day and what time will you need to leave?
- How many toilets are available?
- What are the disabled facilities; ramps, stair lifts for example?
- Do they have AV equipment you can use and is there a charge?
- Do they offer in-house catering? If so, ask to see menus and price lists
- How many parking spaces are available?
- Is any shuttle transport available for collecting delegates from the train station if required?
You need to be happy with the answers to all your questions before committing. The organisation of the right venue will play a huge factor in the satisfaction of those who attend as well as how smoothly the day goes.
Whilst with a member of the venue staff, discuss any package deals or discounts offered; if you don’t ask, you don’t get and there’s usually good offers if you book well in advance or combine room hire with the venue catering team.
Knowing exactly how much you are paying and what you’re paying for means you can manage your budget. It also means you won’t have any unexpected surprises when the final invoice arrives. Ask for a breakdown of every element when you’re given a quote and if you’re not sure of any of the figures, ask. Check out the payment terms to see if you need to pay a deposit beforehand and the terms of payment after the event.
The nitty gritty
Every venue must have liability insurance as well as the correct health and safety provisions such as fire exits. Look for the details of these in the quote or contract and ask to see the liability insurance certificate if you don’t notice it when at the venue. It may seem dull and pedantic and feel overly concerned to look at the small print when you have so much to organise overall, but it’s your event and you need to know the venue has the correct legal and safety aspects covered.
Once you’re happy with availability, the look and feel of the place, the services offered, cost and finer details of the deal, it’s time to make your choice. Imagine you’re a delegate and which one you’d want to spend time at and then it’s just a case of making the call or sending an email to make the booking. You can then cross this off your list until nearer the date of the event and move on to the rest of your planning and preparation.