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Company Conferences: Tips for choosing the right venue!

Have you been tasked with finding the perfect venue for your company conference?

It can be difficult to know where to start can't it?

There is so much to consider; from the location of your venue, to its size, the facilities available and those  all-important 'extras' that make a conference truly memorable.

Having planned and managed a multitude of conferences and events of all shapes and sizes over the past 25+ years, we wanted to share with you some of our key points to consider when sourcing the perfect venue.

Conference Style

Think about the style of conference you wish to put on, as this will lead you in your initial research. You will want to choose a venue that 'fits' with your company image and projects the right impression - whether this is to employees or external delegates.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s the objective of the conference?
  • Would you like to encourage networking at the event?
  • Will you require break-out areas for meetings or workshop sessions?
  • Does the building and interior match your company persona?

Location of your Venue

The location of your venue is of course one of the first things you will need to decide on, as this could significantly impact on the number of people who are able to attend. This is especially true when it comes to national conferences that will be attended by people from across the UK or even abroad.

Points to consider:

  • How convenient is the venue for those attending by car or public transport?
  • Is there ample free parking at the venue and if not, is there parking nearby that’s convenient?
  • Is there accommodation nearby if not on-site? Again, asking the venue for advice may yield a special relationship with an outbreak hotel that could work in your favour.
  • If guests are likely to be staying overnight, are there any activities or attractions nearby for them to make use of?

Building a relationship with your venue

To you and your group your event is a special day. To the venue, often as not it’s just another booking – so complacency can take the upper hand, even if it’s not meant to.

Ask the venue sales team for their ideas, what’s worked well for other customers – make them feel valued as part of your success. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with the lunch, the space or the flow of the event is a good conversation to have – and may soften the response when you’re also seeking concessions.

Ask:

  • To sample menus ahead of agreeing to what is offered. The demographic of your guests will have an influence on catering
  • About the handover process from sales to the people operating your event on the day
  • To see the banqueting order ahead of the day and check it absolutely thoroughly to ensure that your instructions have been taken forward

Company conference venue tips

Conference Venue layout

Many venues offer a range of room types for hire, with the suitability of these depending on the size, style and agenda of your conference - another reason why it's important to work out what you want from your conference before your go venue-hunting.

Ask:

  • What is the comfortable capacity of the rooms you’re looking to hire? Maximum capacities can sometimes be over-stated by venue sales teams.  You'll want to ensure there is enough space to do what you want to do, whilst maintaining comfort levels for your guests
  • Can the venue offer you a better deal if you hire a number of rooms and/or spaces at the same time?
  • How much 'floor space' is needed and do you require additional space for storage, dressing rooms or staging areas?
  • Is the venue accessible for wheelchair users and those hard of hearing?
  • Does the venue have an outside space? This can be especially important for summer conferences.

Facilities and equipment needed for your conference

When sourcing a venue for your company conference, this is often the hardest area to navigate. Not having the right equipment or having to make use AV facilities provided by the venue that aren't quite up to scratch, can ruin all of that hard work you have put in to producing your videos or presentations.

Think about:

  • What audio visual (AV) equipment might you need?  And can the venue or their preferred supplier provide these for you? Can they also provide technical support?
  • Do you require any podiums or stages to enable attendees to see and hear any presenters clearly? Venue stage blocks can often look tired – so make sure you see them in advance.
  • The quality and bandwidth of the wifi – and how many people may be sharing it with you at the same time. You'll also want to ensure the network is secure and consider having your own SSID if you’re going to be a demanding user.

Venue availability and time of year

If your conference is seasonal or taking place at peak times of the year, you may need to book it considerably earlier than you think! There is nothing more disheartening than finding a venue that ticks all the boxes, and then discovering it is fully-booked. Once you have determined availability, there are still some factors that may impact on the success of your event at the location itself.

Consider:

  • If you are flexible on days of the week? You may save if you opt for the beginning or end of the week.
  • If venue has multiple room options or additional space for hire (including outdoor spaces), are these going to be occupied at the time of your event?
  • If so, is this likely to have any detrimental impact in terms of parking, crowding, traffic etc?
  • Are there any other events going on in the surrounding area that will likewise impact on your conference – a competitor company perhaps, or a big local event?  

This post is by no means a comprehensive look at everything you need to consider when looking for a conference venue, but we hope it will get you off to a good start.

Even after you have chosen a venue, there is plenty more for you to think about including: who will be responsible for ensuring the conference runs smoothly on the day; if using multiple rooms, how will guests be 'moved' from one to the other; and who will ensure that any videos or presentations are set up and ready to go?

This is when hiring a professional events management company can often come in handy. It's then up to people like us to answer all the questions you haven't even thought of yet and to ensure that the vision you have for your company conference is going to match, or exceed, the reality.


Our events management team is here to help you source the perfect venue for your upcoming conference or event.

Taking time to fully understand your requirements, we will not only scope out all of the potential pros and cons of selected locations, but ensure that we ask all the right questions to ensure that your event is a huge success!

Call us today on 01787 378422 to sound us out or leave some details on our contact form and we'll get back to you! 

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