Choosing a suitable venue will make or break your event, so it’s vital that you make the right choice. To help guide you in making this tough decision, we’ve put together some considerations that you should bear in mind during the planning stages of your event.
Location, Location, Location
When organising an event, you should already have an idea of the rough location in which you want it to be held. This will likely be dictated by the target audience of the event. For example, a business conference would be best held within a city as it will have many people who live there that will be interested in coming. If you’re expecting people to travel to the event, you’ll want the venue to be easily accessible by public transport.
Parking and Transport Connections
A system that is becoming increasingly popular, especially within the festival community, is the use of offsite parking and then bussing people to the event. This eliminates the requirement for the venue to have a large car park on-site. This will also cut down on traffic in and out of the venue area and lower the impact on the environment.
If you are expecting people to drive to the event and park onsite, then you should also consider implementing parking marshalls to ensure people park in an organised fashion, or for smaller and upscale events you could use a valet service to park attendees’ cars. Also, consider how and where suppliers will be parking; if you have performers, catering or an event crew coming to the venue, then they will need to have close access to be able to unload and transport any necessary equipment to the site.
Knowing the Venue Numbers
If you’re organising an event for the first time, it may be trickier to determine numbers. If your event is ticketed, this should provide an indication on numbers, as you’ll be able to see exactly how many have been sold. Unfortunately, a small percentage of people that buy tickets will not show up for one reason or another, so bear this in mind when allocating the number of tickets to an event.
For free events, you can expect anything up to a 50% drop out rate as people who haven’t paid money won’t have as much of an incentive to attend, even if they have said they will. For ticketed events, this tends to drop to between 15% to 30% as the money people have paid for a ticket will act as an incentive to attend; otherwise, it will be money wasted. For a leisure event, such as live music or sports, the drop out will likely be lower than a business event, as people will have paid with their own money, rather than with the company’s.
When planning an event, make sure you know how many people you need through the door to both make a profit and make it a valuable experience for all of those involved. If you’re having speakers/performers, they will want to know that they won’t be addressing a half-empty room.
Services and Amenities
Depending on your event, you may be looking to take advantage of services offered by the venue. Things such as kitchen facilities, AV equipment and in-house employees that can assist with the event will all be helpful on the day. Rather than assuming that they will or won’t have these options available, check with the venues and get a detailed list of everything that is included in the booking. If you’re a repeat customer, try using this to leverage some extra kit or to get something for free.
The layout of the event is vital to keeping attendees engaged. A poorly laid out event will detract from the event experience, and switch off attendees to what’s happening around them. For a conference or exhibition, think about the flow of foot traffic and how people will move around the venue. Remember to keep the high volume traffic areas open to avoid congestion.
We’d suggest putting together a rough floor plan of your event so that you know in your head where you want certain things to be positioned, and how people should move around the space. This can then be applied to the various different venues that you consider.
Additionally, think about how the planned layout will come into existence. Will you be doing all the arranging with the help of friends and family, or will you need an event crew to construct various aspects such as marquees and stages?
Financials and Insurance
Of course, money will always be an important factor when choosing a suitable venue. Make sure you have a firm idea of your budget and stick to your guns when choosing venues. If your event is a free one, you won’t have the added income of on the day ticket sales to cover any additional overheads, so budget is important.
Additionally, checking to see if the event has suitable insurance and whether any performers or exhibitors have liability insurance will be an important step. This could impact your venue decision if the suitable cover isn’t already in place.
Whether you’re organising an exhibition, festival, conference, or any other event, make sure you have a suitable team in place to set it up. Here at Gallowglass, we have teams located across the UK, with event crews in Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and many more locations. If you’re looking for an experienced and professional crew to help with your event, get in touch here!