When searching for a new venue for your next meeting or event, it’s important to consider these 4 areas when making your decision:
Beyond the meeting space, a venue will typically also have control of a few key pieces of your event puzzle, such as catering, technology (including WiFi) and audio/visual. Is WiFi included or can the price be negotiated? What’s the strength and coverage of the wireless network? Regarding audio/visual (equipment, lighting, etc), what’s included, (i.e. stage, and podium)? Is there any installed equipment? Is there a fee to use it? If yes, can it be negotiated? Is there a cost associated with bringing in your own event production company? This can be a negotiated point that hotels are willing to eliminate to earn your business. No matter what type of event you’re planning, these items can have a major affect on your budget.
Is the venue a hotel, and does it have enough sleeping rooms for all attendees? Are there a range of hotel options nearby? Will attendees have to determine transportation to/from the venue? How easy is it to get around the venue area (on foot, in traffic, by public transit)? Are there other events happening nearby at the same time? These are just a few of the things you should consider when calculating the overall cost for the site.
If your event can be flexible, that helps to get you the best possible deal when negotiating with venues. If there are several events happening in town at the same time, or if it’s high season, venues are more reluctant to discount any aspect of the overall offer because they know that demand is high. This will also affect the time your event production team has to load in and setup for the event. Conversely, venues tend to be more flexible in price or other areas when they feel pressured during slower times. This can help you negotiate free WiFi for your attendees and free breakout or war room space.
Hopefully you’ve kept accurate event data from past years. Registrations, attendance totals, food and beverage consumption, and total sleeping room nights are all vital information when it comes time to negotiate with your selected venue. It’s also valuable information to have when talking with your top few venue choices, to get the best price at the best venue.
Different types of events require different venues. Is it a quick business meeting or is it a multi-day experience? One might require being close to airports or other transportation, while the other might allow for shuttles or even access to activities and entertainment by foot. Once you understand what the event requires in their venue, it can help narrow down the choices so no matter which one you choose, it will be just right.
Article written by Mark Steinmetz, National Account Manager at IMS Technology Services