Every meeting starts with a venue. But where do you start? There’s a big difference between finding a venue that might be right for your event and finding the one that’s a perfect fit.
There are lots of potentially suitable venues out there. Our starting point is always to understand the objectives of the meeting. From overall goals, to how the success of the event will be measured. Once we know the ‘why’ we can then focus on the ‘how’ and the ‘where’.
Who is attending?
We profile every event’s audience on multiple levels to ensure that the venue meets the needs of all delegates regardless of age, gender, status or seniority.
Different people will have a different view of what represents an ideal venue for them. Get it right and the productivity of the event will be maximised. For example, millennial's prefer venues that are unconventional, showcase new forms of tech, have fast, reliable WiFi, provide plenty of opportunities for social media engagement and are proven to be environmentally responsible.
Where are they travelling from?
On average, travel accounts for £223 of the £316 cost per delegate, so how and when delegates travel can have a big impact.
We consider whether attendees will be travelling by air, rail or road transport - and the attendant risks around road access, traffic and parking. Asking them to set off in the middle of the night to travel 200+ miles for a meeting that starts at 9am isn’t going to get your event off to the ideal start. Would a venue that enables delegates to walk or cycle be viable?
What are your requirements?
With a clear idea of how much you have to spend, how many delegates to spend it on and how many delegates will need overnight accommodation, we can build up a profile of your needs. Then we look beyond the traditional methods to find conference environments that are memorable and inspiring.
Then there’s the meeting space itself. The ability to network is the second biggest motivator for event attendance. Planners want flexible spaces that can be easily reconfigured to accommodate both group learning and peer learning; delegates want venues that are Instagram-worthy. This explains the big rise in popularity of non-traditional venues like urban rooftops, art galleries and rural venues.
Does it represent your brand?
A venue not only has to meet practical specifications, but also needs to accurately reflect your brand and organisation’s culture. For example, a technology provider’s meetings are best suited to vibrant and contemporary venues, whereas a more traditional environment might be better suited to a gathering of legal professionals.
Food is another facet of brand fit. Catering is now ranked the third-most important factor in choosing a venue, driven by demand for health-conscious cuisine. 57% of attendees admit they struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle at events.
What’s happening externally
As we’ve already pointed out, successful events are memorable for all the right reasons. So we take what’s happening in the outside world into account when choosing a venue.
For example, Veganuary and Dry January had a big impact on the dietary requirements of many who attended meetings and events during that month. So we ensure that the venue can cater for this or any other specific need.
There’s a lot to consider but it’s our job to get inside the detail and marry that understanding of the minutiae with a sound grasp of the strategic. The result should be a venue that optimises the outcomes of your event.