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How to Choose a Venue for a Conference

Choosing the right venue for a conference is an important part of the planning process. It forms the foundation upon which the rest of your event will be built. Get it wrong and you may end up with a space too small for the number of guests, or unsuitable for the type of event you are looking for. When choosing a venue for a conference, there are a few key elements you must consider. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to choose the right venue for your conference.

1. What’s Your Budget

Budget is everything when planning a conference. No matter how creative or big your ideas are, if you haven’t the money to pay for it then it’s a huge waste of time. So, before you even start brainstorming venue ideas work out exactly how much of your budget will be given to the venue.

Knowing your venue budget right down to the last penny will help you to make a shortlist much quicker. That’s not to say you should entirely rule out any venue that falls over budget (you can still negotiate). But keeping your budget in mind will certainly help you to rule out venues that fall way out of range and aren’t worth spending too much time on.

Bear in mind that there are some factors that can bring the price of hiring a venue down, such as the day of the week or the time of year. Similarly, being flexible with your dates may help you to get a better price. These things are worth keeping in mind as you move forwards, as they may help you to get a bit more bang for your buck.


2. Location, Location, Location
Location is important because it will influence how many people attend your event. Ideally your chosen venue should be accessible by public transport, near to hotels, and have plenty of parking for attendees. The easier it is for your guests to get to a venue and stay there should they have to, the more likely they will be to attend.

Of course, there are ways around this if your dream venue isn’t located near train stations or airports. For example, you could arrange for guest transportation to take them to and from the venue to make their journeys simpler. However, choosing a venue that ticks these boxes will leave more time (and money) for other things.


3. Size Matters
The size of your venue matters. If your guest list is 1,000 people strong but your chosen venue can only safely and comfortably accommodate 500 people, then you’re going to have a problem.
Similarly, a venue with huge capacity is not a cost-effective choice for a smaller audience.

Simply, size matters. So take a look at your guest list or invitee list and decide on the capacity you’re going to need. Some venues may have several conference rooms suitable for different party sizes. Having a rough idea of how many people will be in attendance will help you choose the right sized venue for your event.

4. Explore What’s Included – And What Isn’t
It is not safe to assume that some features and facilities will automatically be included in venue hire. This could lead to a huge misstep further down the line as you have to plough more money into securing features you thought you were getting as standard.

To avoid this, be sure to ask lots of questions. If you there will be a presentation over the course of your conference, is there AV equipment available you can use? If you are planning on serving food, do the venue have the facilities? If so, do they allow for outside caterers or can you only use their in-house team? What are the different configuration options for a room? How many people does each room seat? How accessible is the venue for wheelchair users or attendees with reduced mobility?

The best thing to do before choosing a venue is to write down all of the questions you can think of. Be sure to explore all avenues so you can feel confident that all bases are covered and you won’t hit any stumbling blocks further down the line.


5. Make a shortlist
When you have taken all the above considerations into account, you should be able to create a shortlist of venues. This consists of all the venues that tick the boxes of the elements you’ve considered above.

Try and keep this shortlist…well, short because you’re going to be getting quotes from them all in the near future. If your shortlist is too big it could make the process more lengthy than it needs to be, which will keep you focusing on other parts of conference planning.


6. Use a Venue Finder
Finding your perfect venue can be a time consuming process. If you’re juggling this task with other areas of event management it can also be quite daunting. For this reason, we offer a handy venue finder and hire service to help you to find the perfect venue to meet your needs and budget.

Having been in the industry for over 30 years, we understand that finding the right venue involves much more than simply ticking boxes. Liaising with venues can also be very time consuming.
The good news is that our team of event management professionals are on hand to help you to find the right venue for your event quickly and easily. Using our online portal, we can access an independent database of over 1,000 venues in the UK and overseas. In addition to offering a huge range of options, we can also manage quotes, bookings and contracts – providing you with quick and easy access to important Procurement and Management reports showing your spend, savings, and booking trends

Finding a Venue With No Hidden Costs
If you choose to use our venue finder, there is no financial cost to you. Our time is covered by the commissions paid by venues to venue finders such as ourselves. This is a standard within the industry and has no impact on the venue’s pricing to you.

In fact, it’s a great benefit to have a professional team on your side with experience of hoteliers to negotiate pricing and contracts on your behalf. Venues are happy to negotiate rates for each specific booking in order to win the business. So, we work hard to negotiate the best deals for you, knowing the current deals on offer, past rates quoted and areas where venues can add value. Put simply, we thrive on getting our clients a great deal!


Speak to our team today 
If you are interested in using our venue finder services, please contact us today. From hotels situated in the heart of bustling urban centres, to large scale conference centres, famous sporting venues, and stately properties, we can help you to select the right venue which will make your event a real success.