In the hospitality industry, we are involved at all levels with function planning. Whether it is designing venues, creating function rooms, developing function offers for venues, managing events and booking external venues for our own events… we have done it all!
Whether it is a birthday, kids party, business event, engagement or wedding; when organising an event, you are confronted by many decisions. These are some tips and considerations we have learned along the way when booking a venue for events.
Choosing a venue is the one decision that will have the largest impact on your event. The date of the event, catering options, and attendees’ pleasant experiences … are all impacted by the venue you select.
Does this sound a bit intimidating? You don’t have to feel that way. Here are some guidelines about when to make decision, what to consider, and how to do better.
When to Start Looking for a Venue
The earlier the better. Once you have a good understanding of the following 3 things, you can begin your search for a venue: budget, estimated attendees, and food requirements.
Book a venue in advance. If you are booking something as important as a wedding or engagement, book it a few months out to ensure you get the venue you want and have time to get the attendees you want!
What to Consider When Searching for a Venue
Make sure the location is central with lots of parking. Most venues will have maps so get one off the venue and send it out to attendees and provide a guest list to the venue
2. Capacity and Food and Beverage Options
- What’s the capacity? Work out how many attendees you are aiming for and make sure the area you are booking is at the right capacity.
- What are the F&B Options? Most venues will have a variety of options for food and beverage packs. From platters, to grazing boxes to sit down meals. Work with the venue to ensure you get the right amount of food for your attendees Bar tabs can be a package deal or open with a cut off amount.
- Does the venue offer entertainment or workshops? These days it is all about the experience. Ask what entertainment is on or can be organised and the workshop options for your guests.
- Table and Chairs options? If a venue has these items, you can save a great deal of money and effort by using what they have, assuming it matches your theme and ambiance.
- Does it have a setup/clean up crew? If you’ve found a venue which provides a setup and clean up crew, rejoice!
- Does it have AV capabilities? Some venues have a built in audio-visual equipment for you to use, and others will require you to bring that in yourself.
- What theme are you going for? Most venues can assist with the theming. Discuss what theme you are looking to achieve.
Even though you’ll be finding your venue early in the event planning process, you’ll still want to have a rough idea of what types of activities you’ll be including, the amenities you’ll require, and the needs of your team and the attendees.
While narrowing down your selection, get an illustrated floor plan of each venue, and walk through your favorites at least once, making note of important things such as where the outlets are and where AV equipment is or can be located.
The layout and floor plan will greatly affect a few different aspects of your event:
Accessibility refers to the possibility that everyone, especially those with special needs, can access the building and its amenities. Before you can answer this question, you’ll need to understand who your attendees are and what their needs are.
You’ll probably know whether there will be children at your venue, but you may not know if there will be individuals with other special needs. In this situation, reviewing recent events hosted by your organization may give you a sense of this.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your event’s venue. Work with the Functions & Event Manager to get the perfect event you are after.