As if planning an agenda isn't tricky enough, you've then got to worry about where on earth you'll hold the event. Fear not, our experienced conference advisers have come up with 7 top tips for choosing and booking the best venue.
First things first, the location of the venue should be easily accessible to delegates. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be nearby, but it should be reachable by car, with some public transport options. Remember, we want our delegates to arrive in a positive frame of mind, so you should aim to make their journey to the venue as stress-free as possible. Always provide travel directions to the venue – most venues will be able to help you with this. For example, Beaufort Park Hotel offers this information on the contact page. Also, remember to check car parking availability and costs! Some inner-city hotels don’t have parking facilities and those that do usually carry charges.
Choose a setting that reflects the mood you’re hoping to set for the meeting. If you’re hoping delegates will be relaxed and at-ease throughout the conference, it is a good idea to choose a location that aids this. A quiet countryside or seaside venue can work well.
It’s important to think about whether you’ll need to provide accommodation for your delegates. Whether or not you’re intending to cover the costs of staying over, it is important that you find out about availability and, if necessary, offer options or suggestions. You’ll often find that hotels offer special accommodation rates if booked in conjunction with conference facilities.
You already know that price is of paramount importance, so you’ll want to shop around and find the best pricing options. Remember that some venues will be flexible on pricing and may offer you the opportunity to pick and mix services and facilities in order to match your budget. Remember, most good venues will be happy to go the extra mile to ensure your event runs smoothly, regardless of your budget.
What facilities do you need as a minimum to deliver your conference effectively? Think about refreshments, WiFi, digital screens, projectors, seating and reception rooms. Not all of these facilities will be included as part of a standard package, so always check before you make a booking.
6. Food and beverages
How long will the conference last? Happy delegates are well fed and watered delegates! If you want to maintain their attention and ensure they leave without a bitter taste in their mouth, make sure there is adequate food and beverage provision. Most full-day conference packages will include refreshments and snacks, but do check what the provision is and be sure to order more if you want to keep tummy rumbling at bay!
Avoid any unplanned additional charges by giving the venue as much information as possible at the time of booking. Things to think about include special room layout requirements, table formation, number of seats and break-out areas. Also, be clear on the number of delegates, the dates and start and finish times. Remember the clearer you are about your requirements, the more power you’ll have to negotiate and secure the best possible deal.
For more help planning the perfect conference, get in touch with our conference team.