Choosing a Conference Venue
Choosing a business conference venue can be a tough decision. There are a lot of considerations, and you don’t want to end up in some cramped, dilapidated building because you didn’t bother to do your research first. Conference facilities, meetings rooms, and other venues for hire can be critical to the success and productivity of your meeting. Here’s how to choose a business conference venue that will help keep you motivated and focused.
Choosing a Conference Venue
Before you start looking at business venues, decide what location would work best for your business conference. Will it be more laid back and casual, or do you want a high energy meeting with surroundings that inspire you to get motivated? Once you’ve decided what kind of a venue you need, you can start looking into specific venues that meet these requirements. You should also make sure the venue is easily accessible for those who are traveling from out of town.
Look At Cost
This should be done before you’ve considered any particular venues. Much like shopping for groceries when you’re hungry, budgeting for venues when you’ve toured more expensive places might lead you to stretch your budget a bit too far, so lay out a budget before anything else. Stick to what you can afford. Granted, this doesn’t mean that you have to choose the cheapest place available, but you should still be frugal and cut company costs as much as possible.
When considering costs, ask about the venue’s refund policy. This will be helpful if you need to cancel, as some venues only offer partial refunds. Ask if you need to make a deposit and when full payment must be received.
Review The Facilities
Depending on what kind of business conference you’re having, hiring a venue without checking the facilities first could mean disaster. Not every venue is upfront about what “meeting facilities” entails. Many a company has been disappointed when they show up to a venue and don’t have the facilities they need. Necessary business conference facilities can include:
- Projection screens
- LCD televisions
- Readily available electrical outlets
- Heavy duty cables
- Adequate lighting
- Clear, unobstructed views for the entire room
Ask yourself what you need for any presentations, speeches or demonstrations and plan accordingly. It helps to have a thorough checklist before making an enquiries to a possible venue.
Pay A Visit
Once you’ve selected a list of possible venues, it’s time to pay them a visit. Touring the venue not only helps you make sure all amenities and facilities you need are there, but it also gives you a chance to see how the staff treats you. Take note of how you are greeted by both the receptionist and sales representative; it’s most likely how the rest of your conference attendees will be treated.
Unprofessional or rude representatives mean you should chalk that venue off your list immediately. If they treat you poorly upon your first meeting when you haven’t even given them money yet, how do you think they’ll act once they’re paid? Some things to consider when visiting the venue are parking arrangements, cafeterias or nearby restaurants, and so on. If there’s a cafeteria, try some of the food to see if it’s quality enough for your business conference. If it’s not, it may be best to spend lunch elsewhere.
Speaking of lunch, make sure your attendees have enough to eat and drink! It’s your responsibility to make sure food and drinks are available, and if that means you have to hire a catering company, then do so. Have options for any attendees that have food allergies or different diets (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.) if at all possible.
Let’s say that your business conference will last for more than a day. Where will the conference attendees be staying? Is there a hotel nearby, or is it reasonable for attendees to commute each day? You’ll most likely need to book accommodation for conferences that last several days, but you can make things easier for you and your company by booking at a venue that has both a hotel and conference center.
Of course, you’ll need enough room for all of the attendees, so if the hotel/conference center doesn’t have enough space, you may have to book a separate hotel. Most hotel/conference centers will have adequate space, however, and finding enough parking space shouldn’t be a problem (plus parking is free for those staying at the hotel!).
Choosing a business conference venue depends largely upon what is available at the time of your conference. Some venues may not have all dates open for conferences that last several days, so you’ll want to check available dates before settling on any particular venue. If you’re booking separate accommodations, they will, of course, need to have the same dates available as well. Ask the venue beforehand what their policy is if you need to change dates. You don’t want to get stuck with the bill for two different venues because you couldn’t make it work with one of them.