What To Consider When Choosing Your Conference Space
There are lots of factors to consider when booking any event, however, due to the scale of conferences, there are some key factors that you need to consider when choosing your conference space.
Arguably, the conference space you book will be one of the biggest contributors to the success of your conferencing event. Therefore, it is important to ensure you get it right. From budget to access, amenities to layout, there are many factors that need to be considered.
Organising a conference is a big job and it can sometimes feel hard to know where to start.
As a leading event management agency, we have created and managed all kinds of conferencing events. From virtual to hybrid, creatively themed to conferences created in record time. Therefore, in this blog, we will go through all our tips and tricks of the trade, as well as telling you the all-important questions you need to ask your potential conference space.
6 things To Consider Before Booking Your Conferene Venue
- Location and Accessibilty
- Conference Equipment
- Catering Facilities
Although there are many different conference spaces to choose from, it is important to weigh each of your venues against the above 6 points. By ensuring that these 6 elements are considered when you book your conference space you will ensure that the space will work best for you and your conferencing event.
1. Location and Accessibility
Arguably we would say that the location and accessibility of your venue space is one of, if not the most important factor to consider when deciding your conference space.
As the event organiser, you want to make sure that several different elements are considered in this.
Firstly, you need to think about where your delegates are coming from. By understanding your delegates journey to the conference you will be able to determine whether your venue is appropriate.
For example, if many of your delegates will be travelling by car, perhaps you want to consider a conference space that is close to the motorway.
Likewise, if you know a lot of your delegates will be travelling quite a distance to attend your conferencing event then it is worth considering a venue space that either has hotel rooms to hire or is close to a large hotel. Often if you are booking a conference space within a large hotel, they will be able to offer you concession on the rooms so this is always worth double-checking on your venue visit.
The second thing you must consider is the accessibility of the conference space. It is very important to consider whether you’ve got delegates who may need extra provisions provided for their accessibility. Check with your venue space whether there are ramps for easy access and whether there are lifts.
This may seem like an obvious factor to consider but nonetheless is important to highlight. Therefore, before booking any venue space you need to confirm the number of delegates you will have attending. By understanding how many delegates you will have in attendance, you will be able to decide on how much space you will require.
It is also worth bearing in mind how you want your delegates to be seated at your conferencing event. For example, will delegates be sitting at round tables, or will they be sitting on chairs arranged in front of a stage? By knowing the seating layout options you will be able to make an informed decision.
The capacity of your venue not only includes enough space for your delegates, but also enough space for staff members, crew and potentially any catering space you may need.
Depending on what kind of conference you are hosting you may also want to consider whether there are break out spaces for delegates. As well as any smaller meeting rooms you may require.
Similar to the capacity of the venue, the layout of the venue is equally important. When going for your venue visit you want to understand where the delegates will be entering from, how and where they will be seated as well as what the layout of the main room will look like.
As an event planner, you’ll need to work out and plan the flow of the day. By knowing the conference space layout, you can plan where registration will be as well as other activities, ensuring a natural flow to your conference.
Depending on the kind of conference you are planning to host you may want to decorate and or brand the sections of the venue space. Therefore, having a good understanding of the layout of the venue is important.
Additionally, if staging and lighting aren’t provided you’ll need to understand where this will go. Make sure to take a look at socket placement.
Furthermore, ensure any large equipment can get into the space by measuring up doorways.
4. Conference Equipment
Whatever your conference is about, you will need the right equipment and tools in place to present your event. Whether that’s staging, lighting and AV, rigging, screen hire or even chair and table hire. When going to visit your potential conference space it is important to ascertain what they supply and what will need to be supplied by you.
It is often more convenient to choose a conferencing venue space that already provides a degree of this equipment, however, it is not necessary. If you have your mind set on a venue that does not provide conferencing equipment, conference organisers, like ourselves, can come in and completely transform your venue space.
When searching for your conference space you will find that many venue spaces will offer a degree of in house conference equipment hire. This can make organising your conference more convenient as they already have someone who can take care of the equipment hire.
However, if you want your conference to look a certain way, have particular visual elements or even have a theme running throughout the venue space, it may be worth going with a conference specialist. This is because they will not only provide, install and de-install your conferencing equipment, but they can also provide unique and bespoke elements.
This could include:
- Bespoke signage
- Large scale prop and decoration hire
- Bespoke centrepieces
- Sourcing specific and specialist equipment
- Arranging high profile guest speakers
- Managing delegate travel and accomodation
One of the other important factors you may want to consider when organising your conference is the staffing. Polite, attentive and helpful staff play such a crucial role in creating a great conference atmosphere. Therefore when viewing your conference spaces it is a good idea to gain an understanding of who will be there on the day.
For example, will the person showing you around the conference space be your conference manager on the day. If not it may be worth arranging a meeting with the conference manager you will have on the day to get to know them.
Alternatively, if you are arranging a conference in a non-typical conference space and hiring an external conference manager make sure you get to know them. Ensure that they are not only knowledgeable and able to meet your requirements and expectations. But they are also friendly and good with people.
You may also need to hire additional staff for registration, serving and catering. Again we would advise meeting with these staffing suppliers separately to ensure you are happy with the service they provide.
However, if you do not have the time to organise all of these elements, a good event manager will be able to organise and manage all of these elements for you.
6. Catering Facilities
Whether you’re hosting a conference with a formal sit down meal or just a light self-service lunch it is important to understand what catering facilities your venue has to offer.
Providing good catering services will mean a more attentive and involved audience. By having easy access to drinks and food they will feel more awake, switched on and will be more likely to contribute and enjoy the conference. It will also make them feel that they are valued and their well-being is being looked after.
Depending on the type of conference you’re hosting you may want to consider the following catering options:
- Boxed lunches
- Buffet Style Catering Served By Staff
- Sit Down Meal
- Help Yourself Finger Food Catering
- Food Catering Vans
You will be able to work out what catering option works best for your conference space depending on the style and tone of your conference.
Depending on your conference space, you may be limited on what catering services you can provide. For example, if your conference space does not have a fully equipped kitchen then it may be that a sit-down meal isn’t viable.
Often conference spaces will be able to advise you on what catering packages they can offer in house. This will also give you a good idea of what you can achieve if you were to hire external catering options.
Don’t forget to find out about dietary requirements prior to the event and ensure that there are appropriate options available for delegates who require them.
We hope this article has been a helpful and informative guide on the things to consider when booking a conferencing venue space. If you need any help with organising your next conference then get in touch with our expert conference management team.