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Choosing the right venue

place, advises 1300 Venues client relationship manager Elissa Roberts. VENUES

As strange as it may seem, when choosing a venue, work your way back- wards –consider what you actually want to achieve fromthe event before starting your research. Meet with the decision makers to dis-

cuss their expectationsanddecideondate options for the event. These are basics, along with location,number of attendees, budget, and extra considerations such as accommodation and catering. Also important is defining the actual

nature of the event: is it a reward, is it train- ing, is it to build team morale, is it going to be more of a workshop or discussion group? Armed with all this information, you can start to build an event brief and anagenda.Besure the keypeople involved have the agenda in advance, as well as ensuringthat the venues quotingalsohave this information as this will help ensure you receive an accurate proposal. Here are factors you need to consider...

Suitability Does the venue reflect your corporate image, your brand and your event objec- tives? If you want to build morale, being locked up in a innercity venue with four wallsandnonatural lightwouldnotbeideal.

Amenities Does the venue have themeeting rooms you need, including plenary, breakouts and secretariat? Is there natural light or obtrusive pillars? Does the venue have a dedicated staff member available for

Before searching for a venue, have your aims and objectives firmly in

meetingrequests?Check yourAVrequire- ments can be met and if there is Wi-Fi internet access, office services and com- puter hire if necessary. Is catering pro- vided and does it allow for special dietary needs? Are there enough parkingspaces? Are disabled delegates catered for?

Availability Is the venue available on your required dates, are your dates flexible for the right venue? Allow for contingencies such as running over time or needing to change the agenda.

Accommodation A venue that can cater offer accommo- dation as well as venues is probably ideal. You need to decide if you are book- ing accommodation for the delegates or if they are doing it themselves.

Location. Is the venue easily accessible to all those attending (take into account parking and/or airport transport)? If delegates are coming fromafar, ensure that their accom- modation has been booked.

Size Have a seating plan that ensures there is enough space for all delegates with clear

sightlines for screens and speakers. Ensure there are signs between both plenary and breakouts, and be aware of the capacities for each room.

Costs Be clear on the budget you need to work within.Where applicable, share this with the venue so it can tailor a proposal for you. Be clear about your expectations and check to make sure there are no hidden costs. Be aware of when the deposits and final payments are due.

The contract Read the contract carefully before sign- ing. Key points to check are minimum and maximum attendee numbers, and any penalties that apply for exceeding time limits, defaulting on payments, cancellations and postponements.

Accountability To continually improve the effective- ness of your meetings and conferences, it is imperative to collect feedback from delegates later about all aspects of the event, specifically the venue andameni- ties. Make the survey fun (include photos of the event) and anonymous.


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