When you're busy scouting for a conference location that meets all your criteria, it's easy to get caught up in minor details and overlook something critical for your meeting's success. Especially if this is a new conference for your company or you're not entirely familiar with venue sourcing, it's important to move forward with a plan in place. Before you speak with a venue's sales manager, you should make a list of your requirements. This ensures that you will ask the right questions when you visit a venue (plus you will be able to compare the venues more effectively). Below are 10 key questions to get you started:
1. Is the space available on your selected dates?
If so, can the venue provide you with rooms, AV equipment, and everything else you need on those dates?
2. Is the venue accessible from the airport, highways, or public transit?
Think about how your attendees will travel to the conference. If most of them are coming from the airport, ask if the venue offers a shuttle service. You should also find out if ample parking is available.
3. Does the venue offer accommodations?
If many of your attendees are from out of town, you may want to hold your conference at a hotel or a venue that is walking distance to several hotels and restaurants.
4. What kind of atmosphere does the venue offer?
While you can save money with an outdated venue, your attendees may complain about conference's "feel".
5. Is the venue large enough for your event?
Attendees should have comfortable seating in all the sessions and space to relax between sessions.
6. Does the venue offer the right facilities?
You might need a theater, ballroom, meeting rooms for breakout sessions, and space for exhibits. You may also be interested in on-site restaurants, lounge areas and outdoor space.
7. Does the venue meet your technical and business needs?
Can the facility provide AV equipment, computers, and wireless Internet? Some venues offer on-site business centers with faxing, printing, and mailing services so attendees can conduct business while they're away from their offices.
8. Does the venue cater events?
If so, can the caterers provide vegan, diabetic, and other dietary options?
9. Does the venue provide any freebies?
Little things like complimentary stationary, shuttles to the airport, or beverage service can add up to big savings and provide your attendees with a better experience.
10. How much does the venue cost?
The venue should fall within your budget and offer incentives to get your business. You should also be aware of liability issues, payment terms and the fine print.
Written by Rachel Foster.