Finding the right venue for your event

Whilst businesses quieten down for summer, it’s the perfect time to do some much needed planning. If you or your business runs events, a fundamental part of that planning is your venue – but where do you begin?! Norfolk has so many great venues, each offering different spaces and abilities. Here are five of the most important questions you need to be asking when researching:

  1. Where is it?
    Often potential attendees can be put off the idea of having to travel far to get to an event. You have to consider that it’s not just the time for the event they have to factor into their diary, but also the travel time. Where is your main audience based and can you find a venue central to them to give easy access?
  1. What is the scale?
    Event bookings can be unpredictable at times, so you need to check the maximum capacity your venue can hold, and what are the options if you need to scale up – or even down. Remember that seating can play a huge part in your capacity, you will fit a lot more attendees in a room doing theatre style than round table. These may be decisions that need to be made once the bookings start coming.
  1. Catering?
    If you want to provide catering for your event, or even just basic tea and coffee, check that the venue are able to provide this and how the catering will be served. Make sure they can adapt to dietary requirements with everything from gluten free to vegan.
  1. What equipment do they have?
    Review what you need before going to view a venue. Will you need a microphone, projector, screen etc.? It may sound silly, but even check if they have cables to plug in your laptop to a projector! If you don’t check these could end up being nasty surprises later in the event planning process.
  1. Costs?
    Make sure when you meet with the venue that you know what your budget is. Some venues will work everything into a cost per head, whereas others will charge room hire, equipment hire, catering etc. as separate amounts. I find the easiest way is to do a cost per head which includes everything, this will then help you to adjust ticket prices to cover those costs depending on your expected minimum numbers. Make sure that if your chosen venue is missing something like a PA system that you will need to hire in, that you don’t confirm anything until you are sure of all costs involved.

Don’t forget to make sure everything you’ve agreed and discussed with the venue is in writing and agreed by both parties. This should include all equipment being used, room set up, catering and costs. An agreement like this will back you up should any issues arise.

When going for a site visit don’t be afraid to take a checklist of things you want to look out for. Below you will find our basic site visit checklist, please feel free to download, use and add to this for all your future site visits!

This blog has been brought to you by our Conference and Events Manager Sam Brown. If you would like any advice on running your own events, or any venue recommendations then please get in touch with Sam on 01603 625977 or at sam.brown@norfolkchamber.co.uk

 

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