The other day while visiting a venue to consider for a client’s event, not only was I considering the space, layout, parking, flow, etc., but I was listening for the venue to “speak” to me. Speaking to you, you say? How can a venue speak to you???? No, there’s not a ghost hiding in some coat closet saying “go away” or “pick me.” Sure, there are the basics to consider when doing a site visit like I mentioned before, but there are some things to consider and feel when looking at venues that could potentially hold your event. Here are some things a venue will tell you.
1. I’m not going to fit all your attendees, even though the occupancy number says I will.
Many venues will provide you a max occupancy number but in reality, it’s what they can actually accommodate based on your sitting arrangements. For example, an occupancy of 250 may only be realistic if 250 guests are standing and they are the only things in the room. If everyone will be seated at rounds of ten to eat and the space can only accommodate 10 rounds, this will only allow 100 attendees. Knowing how you want your attendees to be seated and how that venue can accommodate that in the space is very important when it comes to the number of attendees you’re hoping to have and be comfortable.
2. I need a facelift, which is why I’m inexpensive.
This was an actual experience I had with a potential venue. The size of the space was wonderful and the view with the windows was magnificent, however, it needed some serious TLC to make it comfortable and not gross. Budgets really come into play here. We’re all attracted to a deal or saving money in one place so more can be used somewhere else, but you’d be surprised how much people comment positivity and negatively regarding the event’s location/ venue. People like to feel safe, clean and comfortable. They don’t want to have to worry if the ceiling tile that looks like it almost got washed away by a leak is going to fall right on top of them. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll blow a ton trying to cover up the grossness. Ask if the venue management has a plan to refresh or update. If not, then move on. There are lots of fish in the sea.
3. My audio-visual is rockin’ but I really can’t do two things at once.
Many newer, upgraded venues have some great audio visual capabilities and let you manage in a lot of ways straight off an iPad, phone or tablet. However, many in-house A/V systems can’t handle more than one thing at a time – like a looping presentation and music playing in the background while people are arriving. Two different things right? Yes, but you’d be surprised. This is where an A/V specialist comes in handy. They have their own equipment and/or can work with the onsite team to get the most out of your audiovisual needs.
4. I’m a blank canvas for you to do with what you please with me.
This can be a good or bad thing depending on your event objectives and budget. If you have the budget to get creative and really create the look and feel of the room, this is exactly what you’re looking for. But if your budget is limited (who’s isn’t?) or the format of your event needs a little bit of a skeleton structure that you can work with and cut down decorating costs, then something with a bit of in-house décor and structure is probably a better fit for you.
There really are so many things to think about when considering a venue for your event, but if all your basic needs are being met, it’s also a feeling or vision that you get around what you can do with what you’ve got. If it’s right, a venue will “speak” to you about what works best with it.
What have you learned when visiting different venues?