As an event organizer, one of the earliest (and most important) decisions you’ll need to make is the venue you’ll be using to host your next event. While an indoor venue protects you from most weather-related concerns, there are still plenty of other factors to consider when making your choice.
Read on for our event experts’ list of five key factors to research before making this important decision!
If available, be sure to use historical attendee data to estimate your event’s attendance numbers as accurately as possible. You definitely don’t want to book a venue that’s too small to house your attendees, potentially leading to a premature sell-out (read: missed opportunity for additional ticket revenue!), extra crowding, and increased queuing. But you should also work to avoid booking a space that’s too large. Not only will you find yourself straining your budget, your event may end up appearing under-attended, even when you brought in as many attendees as you planned to.
When surveying potential venues, consider the building’s layout in relation to the general flow of foot traffic during the admission process. Depending on your expectations, the location and number of entrances can play a big role in the first experience your attendees have on event day. Your top priority should be admitting attendees quickly, safely, and efficiently. If you anticipate a gradual flow of attendees over the course of a few hours, a single entrance with a lean team should work, but if you expect a big admissions rush right before showtime, you’ll want multiple entrances with enough room to set up plenty of staff with ticket scanners, cash boxes, and stanchions. And, though it may be easy to overlook, managing your attendees’ exit can be just as important as their entry; a chaotic rush out of the venue could give an otherwise amazing event experience a less-than-stellar ending! Take the venue layout into consideration when planning an exit strategy that fully utilizes each exit by mapping out which sections of your venue should be directed to which exit doors.
Accessibility to Transportation
Transportation and parking availability can be a major factor in the ultimate success of your event. Be sure to take into account the type of event you’re hosting, the demographic of your attendees, and their likely transportation methods when choosing an appropriate venue. If you’re organizing a beer festival, for example, assume that attendees are going to be looking for easy access to ridesharing services, taxis, and public transportation to avoid driving themselves. Or, if you’re planning a family-friendly event that will attract parents and young children, plan to have access to ample and affordable parking.
How many restrooms does the venue have? Can they provide any necessary audio/visual equipment or will you need to arrange this with a third party? Does the venue have its own cleaning crew, or will you be responsible for organizing cleanup? Before setting your heart on a specific location, determine whether your potential venue will be able to provide the features and equipment necessary to make your event a success, or if you’ll need to outsource to other providers. Be sure to keep your budget in mind: venues that provide these services may initially look more expensive, but utilizing multiple third parties can add up!
Picture it: your event is next week, your ticket buyers are excited, and your special guests have done a great job hyping up your event. Then, out of nowhere, your venue is forced to cancel your booking! It’s important to be prepared for all possibilities to ensure a scenario like this doesn’t derail your event. Before you make any commitments, be sure your venue contract clearly lays out the terms and consequences surrounding a cancellation (damages owed, etc.), limiting the scope of reasons for cancellation (emergencies, flooding, etc.), and discuss placing a backup date on hold as a plan B.