Finding the perfect venue for your corporate event is a critical decision that needs to be made carefully and well in advance.
Your company event reflects not just upon your organization or your clients, it reflects upon you! Here are some basic guidelines for choosing the right venues for your corporate events.
Your Venue Choice Can Make or Break Your Corporate Event
According to Sofia Bogunovic, Brand Content Manager at TravelPerk, of the companies she surveyed regarding 2022, about 90 per cent are planning in-person events and team gatherings, while almost 80 per cent of employees are excited to see colleagues and grow physical relationships (as opposed to virtual ones). Most companies are also including a budget for corporate events and gatherings.
While virtual events are still popular, in-person events are valued for networking, socializing and relationship-building. There is a connection between people in a shared space that is impossible to replicate via video.
This is especially difficult if there is a home office involved, which could include distractions from spouses, partners, children, pets or outside disruptions from traffic, construction or landscaping, and of course, internet and wifi connections are notorious for sudden interruptions in service.
On the other hand, trade shows and product releases allow clients to experience demonstrations and interact with salespeople, technical advisors and industry experts. All while gathering samples, and literature and bonding over a bagel or a cocktail.
A well-run corporate event has numerous moving parts, from the initial stages of clarifying your objectives, planning a budget, identifying key stakeholders, creating invite lists and getting them out on time, etc., to discussing improvement opportunities and congratulating your team on a job well done.
One of the most important aspects of event planning and success lies in choosing a proper venue. If it is your job to ensure a successful corporate event, remember that selecting the perfect space and locale represents the single choice with the largest impact on your event.
While certain aspects of your event can be fixed on the fly, your event venue can’t be changed once the big day arrives, so make sure you consider this aspect carefully.
If it is your job to choose a venue and run a smooth show, corporate event planning software can be a lifesaver, offering a one-stop platform for booking, staffing, transportation, careering, photography and videography, guest speakers, etc., but understanding the basics of choosing the perfect space for your event will make the booking of that space much easier.
Corporate Events Guidelines For Choosing the Perfect Venues
Your venue choice can make or break your event, reflecting upon your company or the clients you represent, as well as your professional reputation. Your venue will dictate scheduling, speaker availability, dining options and the overall guest experience, so your initial research is crucial.
Some aspects of venue choice are self-evident: once you ascertain expected attendance numbers, (Micro: 100 or fewer attendees, Small: between 100 to 250 visitors, Mid-sized: approximately 1000 attendees or Large-scale events up to 10 thousand convention attendees), you have a much better idea of the space you’ll need (always assume you’ll need more space than less).
But that is just the beginning, other important considerations include:
Will attendees require airport or public transportation, will guests need car service and if so, what are traffic conditions? Are there garage facilities, and valet services or is the surrounding area suitable for street parking?
2. Food Service
If your budget and scope include food, does the venue have a kitchen, tables, chairs, linens, etc.? Do you need to cater and does the venue contract with particular caterers? Do the venue supply wait staff and cleaning crews, and do they allow alcohol? Are there sufficient bathroom facilities?
Policies cover the building and operations and refer to everything from service animals to freight moving, decorations, signage, contractors and associated workpeople, i.e., electricians, carpenters as well as lighting, personal transporters (i.e., scooters) electronics, telephone lines, plumbing, janitorial services, room set up and general safety guidelines.
Saving money on a venue with poor sound quality is no savings at all.
When exploring venue options considerations include movable panels, called operable walls, movable walls, airwalls or sliding walls, used to partition large spaces and create multiple room setups, such as a hotel ballroom holding dual wedding receptions, which can bleed noise from one event into another, a problem if your speaker is interrupted by a noisy heavy metal band on the other side of the wall.
Make sure you inquire about noise insulation and competing events. Other issues include high ceilings, exposed bare walls, concrete floors, etc, which can affect sound quality.
Consider rooms with carpeted floors and acoustic ceiling and wall panels to dampen and absorb sound energy and reduce echoes.
All venues should have good wifi, pushing enough bandwidth for potential VR and augmented reality applications and supply current and well-maintained audio/visual gear, but there are new and emerging possibilities for event technologies including:
- Crypto: Does your venue accept crypto for entrance and other sales?
- Contactless Event Check-In: Speed up onsite check-in and badge printing and keep the lines moving. Features can include attendee tracking and real-time accounting, payments and instant registrations for walk-ins.
- Chatbot Kiosks: Chatbots are interactive helpers to answer questions. While many attendees may access your customized event chatbot through hand-held apps, others can approach help stations and kiosks for any number of questions including speaker and activity schedules, bios, product information or wifi access.
- Disinfection Tech. UVC protection quickly sanitizes surfaces without chemicals, while air purifiers can mitigate Covid-19 and other air-borne illnesses, but also dust and odours. Wall or stand-mounted motion-activated hand sanitisers offer protection against touch-transmitted illnesses with some units equipped for temperature taking.
The event you run can rise or fall upon the Ambiance (character and mood) the venue’s physical space imparts.
Ambience denotes atmosphere, impression and exceptional quality that can drive creativity, productivity and focus. Find areas that appeal to comfort and openness, not sterility, overt elegance or stressed professional acumen.
Big and plentiful windows allow for lots of natural light, fomenting a calm and healthful environment, better event photography, less eye strain, and, depending on the location, can offer stunning cityscapes or panoramic views. It is just a better vibe! As a counterbalance, consider a casino, which has no windows and only artificial lighting, and purposely so!
Some venues may require you to have event liability coverage, while many venues include liability insurance with the rental.
Check with your venue to see if your contract includes insurance and what that insurance covers. All it takes is one inebriated guest or a clumsy vendor to put you (and your company) on the hook for thousands!
Though unpleasant, security considerations are a must. Your venue may supply security though depending on your guest speakers, attendees or products showcased, you may wish for additional peace of mind by contracting additional security personnel.
Other considerations include potential protestors, media attendance and alcohol availability. If contracting additional armed guards, check with the venue for proper procedures.
If it is all in the fine print, make sure you clearly understand what you are getting into:
- Ensure that all financial responsibilities and obligations are spelt out, particularly cancellation and refund policies.
- Understand any restrictions, such as noise policies for outdoor events.
- If you are expecting wheelchair users, ensure the contract specifies all areas that are and are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. While new construction should be, older and historical sites may not be.
- Damage policies should be clearly stated and spelt out.
- The contract should state all assets included with the venue rental such as sound and lighting systems, kitchen equipment, and HVAC gear (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
Importance of a Good Venue For Corporate Events
The success of your corporate event rides on numerous factors. Some, like weather and other natural occurrences, are out of your control, and so, ultimately, is guest attendance, but both can be mitigated with proper venue choice.
Beautiful, trendy, highly reputed or historical locations, particularly those located conveniently near public transportation and major roads and highways will help bring folks through the door.
Careful preparation and research will help you find the perfect venue for your corporate event, so give yourself the lead time and resources to thrill your attendees and ensure they come back for future outings!
I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.