What to look for in a conference venue
A conference is a fairly large event to organise which requires a range of features to be successful. One of the most important features which will influence a conference is the venue. It will be a staple before, during and after the event. Ensure you and your team put time into finding the perfect venue which has the features you’ll need for success. There’s a variety of things to think about and depending on your type of conference, you will have different needs. The venue is typically one of the first things you’ll decide on. You’ll need to have made this decision before organising caterers, advertising tickets and inviting speakers to attend. Ideally, you can do these things as soon as possible, so taking steps to decide on a venue is vital. We’ve created a guide on what to look for in a conference venue, to give you the best start possible for your event.
Accessible is key for a good conference venue
A good venue is easily accessible for your guests. You don’t want delegates to have to jump through hoops to attend and an inaccessible venue has the potential to prevent ticket sales.
Choose somewhere that has plenty of transport links and is centrally located to maximise turnout. If your guests are travelling from afar to attend your conference, having onsite accommodation is really useful. It show’s that you’ve thought ahead about your delegates and have taken their comfort and ease into understanding.
Conference venue with accommodation
If it’s a big conference, chances are local hotels will be booked up in advance, making it tricky to find accommodation. Having rooms to book onsite makes for a smooth trip for guests and a more enjoyable conference.
Even things that seem small such as free onsite parking can make a massive difference to delegates, particularly in a big city. No one wants to pay a fortune for parking and walk miles, particularly if they’ve travelled to be at the event.
All aspects of your event will go towards the image of your event. Your venue especially will be a reflection on your conference and influence the sort of press it receives. Ensure you choose somewhere which reflects the sort of branding you want to achieve. Create a shortlist of potential venues and conduct site visits. This will ensure you get a general feel of the location, staff and amenities before making a final decision. If you’re being sponsored or have well-known faces appearing, consider how they will perceive your chosen venue. You want to ensure it’s appealing for those who will potentially want to invest in your conference.
Staff and team members
Having a strong team of people behind the conference will amplify its success. Prepare a team who have a range of skills including organisation, design, marketing and social media. Have an initial kick-off meeting so everyone can take on a task and has a full understanding of their role. Regular meetings help to ensure everyone is on the same page with their tasks and decisions. When thinking about the venue you’re hiring, always consider staff members. During the site meeting, meet the staff and get a grasp of their experience in holding conferences. You need a team who ideally have held your conference style before and have intimate knowledge of their venue. This can help you make the most of the conference and get the most for your budget. Ask to see any case studies or examples of events they’ve hosted to ensure it’s up to your standard and follows the right image. A sit-down meeting is ideal so everyone can communicate and get what they need. Ensure you prepare so you can give staff members a complete understanding of what you’re asking and what you need from the venue.
During your site visit ask staff for a comprehensive list of amenities which they can provide for you. This includes things like screens, lights, acoustics, sound quality and even the basics such as tables and chairs. Ideally, you need the latest in technology, especially if it’s a business conference. Remember the venue and its amenities will reflect on you, and potentially your organisation/company etc. If you use social media to market your conference, the venue will forever be connected with your branding, so be mindful before making decisions. Depending on the size of your event, you may need extras like security guards. If the venue doesn’t provide them, it means you have to outsource so consider the impact this will have on your budget.
A flexible venue tends to be one that’s easier to work with. If you are considering a few dates, let the potential venues know during the meetings and see if they are willing to accommodate. Everyone likes something for nothing, so see what added extras or features they could offer you. Whether this is certain discounts or freebies, ask in advance what benefits you have the potential to receive. In return, the venue will receive advertising from your marketing campaigns and social media photos.
At Yarnfield Park, we have hosted many conferences and have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. We have familiarity with our venue to ensure you get the most from it. Our team are both friendly and experienced and can work alongside you to ensure your event is a success. We can offer a range of benefits including comfortable accommodation, ample onsite parking and catering options. If you would like further information, to speak to our team or to book, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today. We look forward to hearing from you.