If you’ve been tasked with organising a business event, there’s a surprising amount to consider. Gone are the days when you could assume a standard boardroom with a large table and plenty of chairs was all that was needed. Now your business meeting could include a retreat, an outdoor active team-building activity, all kinds of training as well as… you guessed it… the traditional meeting in a boardroom!
First, decide on your budget. There are so many options available that it will save you time to eliminate those venues that are beyond your budget early on. That said, some venues are open to negotiation on price, so it’s worth calling to see if they can offer you a discount. While it’s important to say within budget, be cautious about venues that are well under budget as they may not give the best impression to your delegates.
Once you have your budget, consider the content of the meeting itself. What will the participants be doing at the event? This is followed closely by ‘how many participants are there?’ With this information you’ll be able to decide how many rooms are needed, the size of the rooms and the facilities available, for example will you need a projector and screen, flip chart, outdoor space, breakout rooms for group work? It can be helpful to check with the speakers, trainers or presenters at this stage to make sure you know exactly what they need to lead the event. Obviously, you need a venue with enough space for all the delegates but be cautious about choosing a venue which is too big as this can give the impression that many of the delegates failed to show up!
Now you know the features the venue needs to have, consider the location. Does it need to offer peace and quiet away from the city? Or does it need to be in a city centre so it can be accessible for people travelling long distances and staying in city hotels? If many delegates are staying overnight, look at business meeting venues with accommodation. This reduces travelling time for the delegates, decreases the chance of delays starting the meeting due to traffic and encourages networking over meals and in the evenings. Alternatively, if it’s a short meeting where delegates are travelling on the same day, it may be more important to pick a location which is easily accessible by road and rail.
Try to match the style of the venue to the purpose of the meeting. A peaceful location in the country may be a good fit for a business retreat, whereas a more standard business conference may be better suited to a city hotel with conference facilities. Take a look at Partyhouses.co.uk for inspiration. A short, relaxed meeting could even take place in a café.
Don’t forget to consider the refreshments available – will you need a sit-down meal, buffet, snacks? Are their options such as vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free? It’s also important to consider the accessibility of the venue. Often people consider accessibility to mean ramps for wheelchairs, but there are many other ways of making an event accessible including making sure lifts are working, that there is accessible parking close by and there are facilities such as induction loops in meeting rooms.
Good luck and I hope you find the perfect venue for your event!