Blog, Ideas & Inspiration

How to choose a conference venue

December 15, 2021

Choosing the right conference venue should be right at the top of your list of priorities. But how do you know what to look for when searching for the perfect conference venue? There are lots of factors to consider – we’ll give you a run down of some of the most important. But first:

Make a list of your conference venue needs

…and prioritise them. As your about to discover, there are lots of factors to consider when selecting a conference venue. It’s unlikely that there’s a single venue out there that ticks every box, so making a list and prioritising each element from non-negotiable to those you’re willing to compromise on will help you see the wood for the trees.

Location

AGM conference venueProbably one of the most important consideration is the location of your conference venue. Your attendees need to be able to get to the event easily and with as little disruption and difficulty as possible. Make sure that there are good transport links locally, nationally and, if relevant. Internationally too.

Is there ample parking on site? A number of guests are likely to want to drive themselves (or possibly car pool) and will need to be able to park close to the conference venue. Make sure that the venue has its own dedicated car park and check whether the venue is exclusive or shared. There might appear to be ample parking space, but that could soon change if another conference books in or if the only parking available is a public car park nearby.

Is your conference venue centrally located? It can be difficult to find a space that is ideally located for all. But if your teams are scattered across the country, try to find a location that isn’t too heavily biased towards one region or the other. Think about travel times, accommodation costs, carbon footprint and any other potential knock on effects of a poorly located venue.

Accommodation

Does your conference venue offer accommodation on site? Or do they have ties ins and discounts negotiated with local hotels? Either way, you’ll want to make sure that there’s accommodation of a suitable standard close by.

A short drive or taxi ride is fine but walking distance would be perfect. Networking and socialising is a huge part of conferencing and that could include a few sociable drinks too.

Facilities

conference venueWhat facilities does the venue have or offer? Every conference is different and every venue is unique. Check that there are break out rooms, meeting rooms, dining spaces and catering facilities available. And make sure that they are suitable for your attendee numbers.

Additionally, does the venue provide technical equipment and support? You’ll probably need projectors, screens, AV equipment and more. Make sure that the venue offers Wi-Fi and that it is available in the spaces in which you need it. Do you need stages or staging equipment, podiums, seats or anything else? Make sure that the venue can provide – or at least source these items for you.

Is your conference venue on brand?

No matter how many other boxes a potential venue ticks, if it’s not on brand then it’s a no go. Your company has an image, reputation and brand values to protect.

Ask yourself whether potential venues match your company values. Is the venue premium enough? Will it send the right message to attendees? Does it truly represent your brand and/or the purpose of your conference?

Does the venues layout suit your needs?

Conference venueConsider the types of activities that you’ll be carrying out. Will there be multiple activities happening at once? Does the venues size and layout support this?

You’ll want to offer your attendees break out spaces and meeting rooms, areas where they can grab a coffee or just chill out. You’ll also want to ensure that there’s a buzz about the place.

If your spaces are small, spread out or disjointed your conference could lack a cohesive feel. Your attendees might find themselves wandering about a confusing and unfamiliar maze of corridors and rooms in search of their next appointment, meeting, talk or when in search of the toilets.

Consider a bespoke, flexible conference venue

Marquees are ideal spaces for conferences of all sizes. They can be designed bespoke to suit your needs. You’ll be able to define the spaces that you need, create break out rooms and meeting spaces, catering and dining areas too.

The beauty of a marquee venue is that you can choose your location too. Marquees can be designed and built bespoke to fit company premises, or for use at hired venues. The grounds of a country hotel are a great choice for marquee based conferences for instance. All of the facilities, including restaurants, bars and accommodation will be on site too.

Marquee providers are also able to provide all of the facilities and equipment needed to turn the space from a simple marquee structure into a full conference venue. Stages, AV equipment, stages, heating, lighting electrics and all of the furniture that’s required too. A good marquee supplier will even be able to assist with elements such as IT infrastructure.

If you’d like to find out how we can assist you in creating a marquee conference venue please call 01372 459485 or email sales@inside-outside.co.uk

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