Selecting the right venue for a conference is much more than just booking a large room. Finding a space that embodies the essence of your event, where every corner speaks to your attendees, can make the difference between hosting a mediocre event and an unforgettable one.
A well-chosen conference venue can enhance focus, encourage networking, and set a tone that resonates with your event’s attendees.
Why trust us?
At OVATION, we’ve been in event production and creative services for over 30 years. We encourage everyone to include an event production agency in the strategic planning of their venue to get advice on what to expect, where to get concessions, and how the venue standards impact your bottom line.
The earlier you partner with an event production agency, the more time you have to create an unforgettable attendee experience at the association or corporate event venue of your choice.
Without further ado, here are the factors you must consider to find and book your ideal conference venue.
5 Factors To Consider When Choosing the Best Association or Corporate Event Venue
1. Infrastructure and Layout
When selecting your association or corporate event venue, you need to find a space with the right size and layout. You want a venue that doesn’t feel too large and overwhelming for a smaller audience but also not too small to accommodate all your attendees comfortably. Think about the event’s flow, from networking to presentations. Many event agencies consider where to put wayfinding so that fewer people get confused or lost. Ask yourself, “Where is it going to show up the best, and is it going to make sense to the most people?”
We recommend walking the space the exact way an attendee would experience it—consider factors like agenda, event flow, and even the walk from the hotel space.
In addition to walking the space as an attendee, walk the space from a vendor’s perspective. Practical aspects like freight elevators for equipment, ample power sources, and high ceilings for screens and lighting are also crucial. These factors affect your event’s functionality and contribute significantly to creating a comfortable and engaging experience for everyone involved. These elements can also impact your bottom line.
Here is Matt Bashore, Technical Director at OVATION on why prioritizing infrastructure and layout is so important when choosing your association or corporate event venue.
“We had a client who wanted to do a big LED wall at their event. The venue didn’t have enough power services to fully power the wall. Most venues will have the infrastructure for that, but there’s not a standard that’s the same for everyone. However, if you involve an event agency early on, they can prepare the venue with the infrastructure necessary to run the event to your exact specifications or caution you on choosing a venue that might not have the infrastructure you need to execute your vision.”
2. Budget and Costs
Event venues have differing costs. Setting your budget before moving forward will help you determine how far you can make your money go to afford expenses such as:
- Event design
- Equipment rentals
- Food and Beverage
- Scenic Design
Involving a production partner to help navigate these conversations while on a site scouting visit can prove helpful in both uncovering costs, as well as negotiating them.
3. Choosing the Right Event Agency
Event agencies often have relationships with venue managers and suppliers that they can leverage for access to better deals, exclusive venue perks, or value-added services that might not be available directly or within your budget otherwise.
Here’s Zac Chandler, Executive Producer at OVATION with his thoughts on how event agencies can help businesses find the perfect association or corporate event venue:
“Part of the agency’s job is to work directly with the in-house providers. What they produce has a direct effect on what they charge our mutual client. However, an event agency will often work with a client to make sure that the bill looks in line with the industry standard before it’s sent to the client for approval. With this service, you can ask for concessions, negotiate fees, and save large sums of money. For example, negotiating free attendee Wifi can save you around $50,000.”
Additionally, the right event agency can provide invaluable insights into the suitability of a venue based on their past experiences. They can identify potential issues you might overlook, such as logistical challenges, space limitations, or technical constraints. They also bring a creative perspective, suggesting ways to optimize the space to align with your event’s theme and objectives.
4. Venue Location
A well-chosen location not only influences the cost of your event but also contributes to the ambiance and attendee experience. A location in a vibrant area with nearby attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options can enhance the overall experience for your attendees. This is particularly beneficial for multi-day events, where guests might appreciate the surrounding offerings during their free hours.
However, there is a definite cost consideration for whatever city you choose. Here’s Matt Bashore, Technical Director at OVATION with his thoughts on choosing the right venue location for your event.
“Some cities themselves might be union, which means locations like Chicago or venues like Mccormick Place may have different rules. Doing a show in Dallas and doing a show in New York City with the same technical equipment can have a 30-40% difference in cost just because of the city your association or corporate event venue is in.”
In terms of factors to consider in venue selection, understanding your hybrid or live stream capabilities in the location is huge. Why? The virtual and hybrid event space is growing post-COVID, expected to expand by 21.4% from now until 2030. So, it’ll be important to ensure that the location you choose has good internet (although most already do) and power capabilities. We always recommend negotiating any associated costs up front, as it has a big impact on the planners bottom line.
5. Parking & Accommodations
Adequate on-site or nearby parking is a major convenience for attendees driving to the event. In cases where parking is limited, consider arranging shuttle services or partnering with local transportation companies to facilitate easy access to the venue.
Additionally, a venue that accommodates all attendees’ needs reflects positively on your event. Your chosen venue should be accessible to differently-abled persons, with features like wheelchair ramps, elevators, accessible restrooms, and appropriate signage.
At some association or corporate event venues, the ballroom or event space is higher than the ground floor. Often, the event space will have a freight elevator for accessibility considerations. The time it takes for the freight elevator should be considered in your event itinerary to ensure that all attendees can make it to the event on time.
Create a Corporate or Association Event To Remember
When looking for a corporate event venue that will wow your attendees and leave them with an experience that creates a lasting memory, utilizing an event production agency can make all the difference. OVATION specializes in all aspects of event execution, including creative strategy, content development, and sourcing.
OVATION’s expertise and experience can help you choose the perfect corporate event venue to make your event a hit. Contact OVATION today to learn more.
Corporate Event Venue FAQs
What factors should I prioritize when selecting an event venue?
When selecting a venue, the attendee experience should be king. Focus on ambiance, accessibility, amenities, and everything necessary for a memorable and engaging event.
How does the venue’s location impact the overall event experience?
The venue’s location not only shapes attendee convenience and enjoyment but also influences costs, affecting both your budget and the overall ambiance of the event.
What amenities should I look for when choosing an event venue?
Look for amenities that align with your event’s needs, such as A/V capabilities, internet and Wi-Fi access, and the capability to handle catering.
How do I confirm the venue’s availability on my desired event date?
You can contact the venue directly as early as possible to inquire about availability and make a reservation. However, if you’re working with an event production agency, have them contact the venue about availability.
What role does the budget play in choosing the right event venue?
Your budget dictates the scope of what you can afford in terms of location, size, amenities, and additional services.