THE LANDSCAPE OF ANY EVENT!
When planning an event, no matter how big or small choosing a venue can be the most daunting yet, the most important decision you will probably make. The venue you choose will serve as the landscape of your event, so here are a few tips to make sure you choose the right one!
How Inclusive Is All Inclusive?
There are so many factors that can impact the rental cost of the facility you choose, from catering, equipment rentals, office services to parking.You need to know what is included in the venue rental offer, and how all inclusive the initial rental fee really is. Sourcing your own vendors can save you money but for someone who may not know how or who to hire this can be an unnecessary burden. The question to consider when thinking of the all inclusiveness of a venue is – How much am I willing to do or find on my own?
Be Flexible to Keep Your Budget
Budget does not have to be a scary word if it is coupled with the world – flexible. Consider holding your first event in the off season or on a weekday instead of a weekend for better rates. Have 2-3 date options in mind and be flexible on the date. Try booking a brand new venue in exchange for promoting the venue in your marketing of the event. Be flexible in how many guests you want to accommodate. Instead of a 200 person seated dinner maybe a 75 person passed hor d’oeuvres with an open bar. Bring open minded can give you a lot more options.
In House Catering VS. Outsourced Catering
The most reputable and well seasoned venues tend to either have in – house catering or a list of preferred caterers they restrict you to working with. The pros of using an establishment with In – House catering comes when a venue waves the pricey venue rental cost and instead offers a food & beverage minimum. Meaning they wave the facility rental if you buy enough of their catering services. This can be a great arrangement, however the per person price for these packages oftentimes came at a premium rate. If a venue allows outside caterers, you may find wiggle room in pricing if they are willing to simply provide the food and leave the set -up & serving to you. When choosing your venue, the difference between these two choices can be very important because most venues lean strictly one way or another.
Transparency is Key - Ask Questions!
You don’t want to hire a space for a live concert party only to discover too late that the venue’s noise restrictions prevent you from turning up the music. Make sure to double check the venue’s list of rules before booking it for an event, and then ask questions!
Will your event require a dance floor? Will you need a PA system? What about a speaker’s podium or a projector screen? Where can you display of signage, banners and direction signs, shipping and receiving services, any restrictions on event information displays and pretty much anything other questions that come to mind. The venue personnel is not your enemy be clear to them about your needs
Align the Venue to Your Vision
Whether you want your guests to feel pampered and sophisticated or educated and well advised, each event has a vision and a mission. Aligning your venue to this vision is the first step in creating perfect backdrop for your event.
Creating this type of alignment is all about finding the underlying undertones of your mission in a specific location. For example, hosting a networking event for local business owners at a popular small business or hosting a football league awards at a Varsity Club inside of a stadium. The best part is rates are much lower at unique venues like a new museum, an aquarium, an art gallery, a public garden or a restaurant. Your attendees will be drawn by the novelty of the venue, and the attention taken to bring out your theme.
Consider Your Guests' Experience
From the time your guests receive your invite to the moment you are bidding them farewell and handing out swag bags, your venue selection effects your guests. The location you choose should be easily accessible to them and enhance their experience in the most seamless way. Consider things like, where your guests will be traveling from, will there be traffic, where will they park, when they walk in how easy it for them to find registration, where do they sit, what do you want them to see how many restrooms are there, is it kid friendly. Whatever you are trying to convey with your event can easily get clouded by the inconsideration of the overall guest experience.
Psssst! Here's An Industry Tip:
Send out an RFP (Request For Proposal) to the venues you’re interested in. Include all your requirements (food, beverage, equipment, conference and room accommodations, etc.) in a concise document request form so the proposals they send are to the point of your needs. This saves you time when when examining the proposals they send you.
Overall, have a solid game plan before venue hunting & you will find what you’re looking for!