How to Select Your Venue

Site selection is a pivotal moment in the development of an event. After all, the difference between a hotel ballroom and a tented outdoor celebration will affect everything from your event budget, to signage, to audio visual and the number of attendees you are permitted to have at that event. All of these factors, then, must be considered when making this important decision. Below are 5 considerations when selecting your venue.

  1. The goals and objectives of your event. Anyone who has taken the CMP Study Group or Practice Exams is probably laughing right now, but it’s true. The goals and objectives of your event should be examined way before you select anything or sign any contracts for your event. If the goal is to allow your attendees to open up and have a good time, a collegiate or overly ‘corporate’ setting may not facilitate that properly. Similarly, if you are looking for your attendees to buckle down and pay attention to the presentations, speakers and program, holding your event in an arcade or bar probably is not the best idea. So, number one: What are your goals and objectives?

  2. The amount of attendees and the setup you desire. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the middle of the planning process, with the venue already selected, and then been told by the client that either we’ve oversold, or the room setups we discussed need to be changed. 70 people in 72” rounds is vastly different than 70 people theatre style, in space, execution, purpose, and attendee experience.

  3. Where your attendees will be coming from, and how they’ll likely be arriving. Are many attendees flying in to a local airport from out of town, or are most of them local and going to drive? Is there onsite parking? What about public transportation, is that an option? It’s important here to also put yourself in your attendees’ shoes - especially if they are largely paying out of pocket to attend your event.

  4. Who your attendees are. If your attendees are high-powered executives and used to a certain type of venue or experience, it’s important to deliver on, and/or manage, those expectations. If you are planning an event for young entrepreneurs, the expectation for a location may not be the same.

  5. Weather. This may seem obvious, but I have seen a number of events planned in Florida and the Caribbean during hurricane season. If your event is one of them, have a backup plan. When will you call the event? How will you ensure that your attendees book their flights in a smart manner, with insurance, to make sure they are not left with a bad taste in their mouths from an un-refunded ticket? If you don’t want to deal with those factors, consider another location or another time for your event. But what if you really want an outside event, and it begins raining? Make sure that you, or the vendors and team that you have hired, have a solid backup plan in place that has been communicated to all stakeholders.

As I mentioned, budget should be a top consideration when searching for a venue. I didn’t include it as a bullet point, because the event planner as the expert should be considering that with every piece of your event. Don’t get caught overpaying for a venue and then skimping on food.

Need help deciding what venue you’re going to use for your next event? Fill out a contact form and we’ll be in touch!