HOW TO CHOOSE A VENUE FOR YOUR EVENT? – By Asif Zaidi

 “So much of difference between a triumph and a flop is determined by choice of venue.”
Anatoly Belilovsky

Your choice of a venue for your event is of critical importance in its success for you. Sometimes to choose a venue for your event can be very simple whereas on some other occasions it may entail a highly complex process. You need to establish criteria that can help you select a suitable place. Once you have established the right criteria, following these will be helpful in arriving at the final choice. Do some research around the possible venues and make a shortlist of the ones more likely to meet your expectations. When considering multiple venues, don’t feel compelled to decide right away, instead visit sites to be able to better compare and deliberate.

CHOOSE A VENUE

Normally, you should visit a few different sites before you choose a venue. Some of the aspects you may want to consider are:

  • Does it fall within your budget?
  • Is the venue large enough for your requirements?
  • Does the venue offer the right appearance and quality for the event?
  • Is it conveniently accessible to your target audience?
  • Once you have selected a site, then you undertake a technical inspection of the site. Some of the points you need to discuss with the venue manager are:
  • The suppliers provided by the venue.
  • The staff provided by the venue.
  • Any restrictions on the outside suppliers.
  • Vehicles access, including cargo, and parking.
  • Audience access.
  • Facilities on site. For example, kitchen, backroom, sound, lighting, power, toilets etc.
  • Marketing and branding support.
  • Exact floor space and capacity of the areas to be used for the event.
  • Transport options.
  • Internet access.

Finally, put your agreement with the venue in writing. Read the contract provided by the venue thoroughly before signing it. It must detail all of the plans, deliverables, and costs involved. Keep an eye on any veiled add-on costs like management fees or corkage charges. Establish clear cancellation costs. Clarify any ambiguities before signing.

TYPES OF VENUES

Some of the common types of venues are as follows:

  1. PERMANENT FACILITIES:

You can choose a venue from a usually huge choice of spaces tailored to host your event. Permanent facilities offer you the advantage of existing infrastructure and a trained team on the ground. They are usually also more economical than creating your own event space. Any suitable building can be an event space but some of the types of permanent facilities are:

  • Convention Centres:

    Convention centres normally offer huge floor areas including an auditorium, large halls, and meeting rooms. Convention centres have all the expertise and resources in place to hold very big gatherings as well as smaller events. While considering a convention centre for your event, always find out what other events are taking place there at the same time as yours. There could be certain events you may not want your event to clash with for any of a number of reasons.

  • Heritage Sites and Galleries:

    Venues with a telling story behind them usually make a great event space. Often they can complement the theme of your event. choose a venue for eventNormally such venues are in high demand and their managers can be very choosy.

  • Hotels:

    Most hotels have ballrooms and conference facilities. The benefit of using a hotel is that it can provide you with a host of other facilities like lodging, parking, and catering. Hotels usually offer high quality of service but their setting is often fairly bland. Hence, you may need to add your own decoration and setting.

  • Sports Arenas:

    Sports and leisure arenas can also be used for non-sports events as the infrastructure is already in place to accommodate large gatherings of people.

  • Malls:

    Shopping malls are highly frequented areas with large numbers of peopleSHOPPING MALL turning up in a good mood and already willing to spend money. Most malls have large event spaces and generally make good venues for brand awareness or product launch events. They are family friendly venues. When planning an event at a mall you have to keep in mind its opening and closing hours as well the busier times of the day.

 

  1. OUTDOOR VENUES:

An outdoor venue usually offers ample space to make use of without any pre-existing décor and style. Holding an event at an outdoor venue though may require a lot more work. Most such sites are usually run by local city or town councils and are not too expensive to rent. However, obtaining the approval from the council may take time and, therefore, the process should be started well in advance. Some of the things to consider if you choose a venue outdoors are:

  • Boundaries:

    If there are no natural boundaries then marking your own boundaries can involve cost. Quite often the site may need to be fenced, mainly for the reasons of security and control.

  • Security:

    When hosting an outside event, make sure your area is secure and fun. Make sure the space is large enough for the number of people you have in mind and provide safety barriers where necessary. Also make sure that you have the necessary signage and first aid and safety support on site.

  • Water:

    Availability of water is often taken for granted by guests. Keep in mind the water supplies on the site and make sure to arrange for routing or distribution to different areas as needed on the event day.

  • Power Supply:

    An outdoor venue may not have a permanent power supply. Hence, you may need to arrange for a generator.

  • Tents:

    You will most likely need to rent tents to put up your own structure, meeting your space configurations as well sheltering from sun and rain, at an outdoor event. A wide variety of tents is available to transform your site into an event venue. Some tents have poles with a peak in the middle to create a marquee, whereas others are pole structures using aluminium frames. You can choose whatever best suits the structure you want on the site. When deciding how big a tent you need, allow about 15 sq. feet per person. A low cost option for creating different rooms at your event is the use of shipping containers for the purpose. At an outdoor event you may also need to organize for temporary flooring.

  • Weather:

    Weather is an important factor to consider while organizing an outdoor event. Make sure you have arrangements in place to shelter people from sun, rain, extreme temperatures, and strong winds.

  • Special Venues:

    If you are trying to bring a special theme to life or looking to do something distinctly memorable, you can go for an atypical venue. These can include barges and boats, building sites, museums, night clubs, schools etc. Such venues offer their unique features, both negative and positive.

  • Destination Venues:

    There may be challenges in organizing events at destination venues but meticulous planning can tackle those. If your budget allows, you can also partner with a destination management company to outsource the organization of your logistics as well as the event.

  • Roadshow:

    Sometimes your event may involve several venues if your audience is based in different areas and you need to put up smaller events that are accessible to your audience in different places. You may want to customize your event a little bit to each venue. Such an event, in effect, comprises several mini events. Organizing logistics is an extremely important part of planning a roadshow.

MAKING YOUR OWN VENUE:

In the event you don’t find a perfect venue for your event, you can also create your own venue. Creating your own venue may entail a lot more work but it also affords you a lot more flexibility to create what exactly matches your requirements. The event space you use can be as simple as a tent in a playground or something more elaborate like a warehouse. When you organize an event in a place that is not a usual event space, it may entail more paperwork to have all necessary permissions in place.

Asif Zaidi

Asif is a proven business leader, a business leadership advisor, and an entrepreneur. Asif lives in Toronto and owns and runs Meadowvale Events Management Group - a full service group for planning and managing events of all sizes and styles to create memorable occasions for the hosts and participants alike. He is a Managing Partner of http://www.virtuoso-propertygroup.com/ and is also an owner and director at Cortleigh Properties Inc, a reputable property development firm in Toronto. Previously, as a Managing Director with Citibank, Asif fulfilled leadership assignments across a number of world regions. Asif is a powerful communicator and keynote speaker and has taught at a business school. His personal blog (masrif.net) is widely followed and his book ‘The Stuff of Life’ is due to be released in the US in January 2017.

One thought to “HOW TO CHOOSE A VENUE FOR YOUR EVENT? – By Asif Zaidi”

  1. I personally know Asif Zaidi for a long time. In fact, even before he came to the practical life. He has been a dear brother. Though what ever is written above to define him is true, still it falls far short of what is the real potential of Asif. Allah rewarded Asif with many capacities and he always delivered his best, with all sincerity and honesty. Allah has been generous to bestow success on Asif. My best wishes and prayers for his continued success, health and happiness.
    Nadeem Ahmed

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