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8 Helpful Tips for Selecting an Event Venue

A lot goes into planning a successful event, but paying attention to the fine details in the planning process will help ensure that things run smoothly when event time comes. Let’s be realistic here – no event marketer sets out intending for their event to be a bust, but if you overlook the details in the planning process, you run the risk of things falling apart. To improve your chances for success with your next event, consider these tips:
  1. Oceano Hotel & Spa: BallroomIf your event must be held on a specific date, you’ll want to begin scouting venues at least one year prior to your target date (two years out is not unreasonable), especially if you are planning for a large group and lodging will be required.
  2. Don’t be afraid to evaluate a number of venues, time and budget permitting. The more options you have, the better your chances of getting the best deal possible on the venue that best satisfies your event objectives and guest expectations.
  3. Before you begin scouting venues, consider all of your event needs, from audio/visual to menu options and possible dietary needs to special accommodations for people with disabilities – you will need to evaluate how every potential venue measures-up for your event’s particular needs.
  4. Audio/visual costs vary greatly from venue to venue and many locations will charge you more if you bring in your own AV team instead of using their in-house AV team. It’s important to consider that the venue’s AV team knows the location and equipment (better to avoid an AV disaster!) and may be more cost-effective than bringing in an outside vendor.
  5. Nowadays, it is very important to consider attendees’ special dietary needs due to food allergies or personal choices.  When planning meals and breaks, be sure to ask about the venue’s alternative menu items, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc. This will help your attendees not only enjoy the meal selection, but actually be able to eat what you provide (and pay for!).
  6. You can negotiate deals on food and/or lodging fees. Remember, venues want your business, and in most cases will offer reduced rates or package deals to land your event.
  7. Onsite visits are critical – I don’t recommend visiting every location, but definitely visit your top-tier choices. Though adequate square footage is important, the venue’s layout is also critical, particularly when hosting an event which requires additional space for exhibitors and breakout sessions. Bring a camera and take lots of pictures that you can refer back to when making your final selection.
  8. When speaking with event sales reps, let them know you’re evaluating a number of venues. If they ask about the offers you’ve received from their competitors: TELL THEM! Remember, they want your business, so if a competing venue has made a better offer, the rep may be motivated to beat it in order to win your business!
Be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into your planning and scouting efforts and the payoff will be well worth it when the event time rolls around. Don’t let the numerous fine details of event planning discourage you from doing what it takes to help your event succeed!   Image Credit: Jennifer Bullock, PRx Inc.
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