Choosing a venue will likely be one of the first tasks you, as the coordinator of your event, will undertake. In some cases, the availability and cost of the venue hire may even influence the date, style and size of your event. Therefore, choosing your venue is of the utmost importance.
It is essential that you physically visit potential venues. This helps you to get a very realistic sense of the space available, the style it portrays and the mood it emanates. When visiting these venue prospects, you will need to have the criteria for your ideal site clearly in mind. Do not hesitate to communicate these criteria to the person with whom you meet, so that they are better equipped to help you and better informed regarding your needs and desires. The following items should form the basis of your criteria:
- Will the information desk be open and available to you throughout the event in case of an unexpected need arising for you or your guests / delegates?
- An office or business centre on location may be essential. What are their costs and availability during the time of your event?
- What are the requirements for despatching and receiving of any goods?
- Are there phones, plug points, and so on in the meeting rooms?
- The condition of the parking lot and gardens or grounds should be excellent. You have the right to ask that these be cleaned and neatened before your function.
- If the carpets, curtains, upholstery and paint are not up to scratch, will the venue rectify this before your event?
- Your venue should be flexible enough to accommodate a few different seating plans, if necessary.
- Can you display necessary signage or banners in and around the venue?
- Check that the kitchens and bathrooms are close enough to be convenient, but far away enough not to disrupt the flow of your event.
- It is a major advantage if the lights can dim and brighten according to your needs during the course of the event.
- Are you able to close curtains or blinds to block out sunlight, if necessary?
- How sound-proof is the venue?
- Ensure that medical help is nearby and accessible in case of an unforeseen emergency.
In terms of audio-visual equipment, ensure that the following is available for your event and that there are personnel to assist should any of it fail:
- Microphones (standing, roaming and / or lapel)
- High-speed internet access
- Projectors and handheld remotes
- Television(s) with DVD or VHS player
- Sufficient plugs and outlets
The food and beverages form a very important part of your venue’s offering. Confirm the following:
- Is the kitchen close to your event venue?
- Do they have enough serving staff available?
- Only confirm the menu once you have seen it written in detail and, if possible, tasted each dish.
- Vegetarian options are a must, while Kosher or Halaal dishes may also be necessary.
Ensure that your final venue budget includes the following items:
- Meeting rooms
- The actual venue
- All audio-visual equipment
- Secretarial or office services
- Complimentary services
- Payment options and plans
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