By Alex Bean
Over the years, we have held many events in different locations, from our recent event in the ultra-lush New Hall Hotel and Spa in Birmingham, to other lavish locations such as the Malmaison in Liverpool and Rudding Park in Harrogate.
But what did we consider when choosing these venues?
Most people will tell you the obvious points on how to find the right venue, such as setting a budget and writing a list of essentials beforehand.
However, here are our five top tips that will make you really think and narrow down your search until you find that perfect venue for you.
1) Proximity to public transport
When finding the right venue, you need to consider how your guests will arrive. If some are likely to opt for public transport then make it easy by minimising the distance from train stations, bus stops and taxi ranks.
Luxury locations can often be a little bit inaccessible, so although there may be parking on site, you really need to do your public transport homework (or lay on a transfer service) for the clients who aren’t driving.
2) Ring the venue first to get a feel for the level of service
If you ring the venue first and they aren’t helpful over the phone, it is unlikely that they will be in person. Organising an event without a supportive venue team is possible, but it’s so much easier if you all pull in the same direction. This really is a case of first impressions being important.
3) Has a competitor held an event there previously?
To make your event stand out, have a look at where your competitors have held events, and cross them off your list.
You want to hold an event somewhere new and exciting, somewhere that will make your clients remember every detail.
By holding it in the same place as a competitor, what you are essentially doing is making them remember a previous event, which kind of defeats the objective.
4) London is expensive – but free venues are anything but
Although London may seem the best place in the UK to hold an event, it will cost you more than places in the surrounding areas.
Unless you have a budget that can accommodate London prices, look elsewhere. We like Oxford and Birmingham for good prices and easy accessibility.
You’ll be surprised what 100 miles can do to the price tag.
A word on free venues: our experience is that free can be a headache requiring a lot of extra preparation hours (and hours are not free). Also, catering costs at free venues will rack up – and can often result in a similar cost to a paid for venue. Except you don’t have any on-site support. Our advice – proceed with free venues with a heavy dose of caution.
5) Look around 4/5 venues before choosing
It is essential that you look around the venues before booking, because sometimes pictures flatter to deceive.
I like to call these “catfish-venues.”
When you visit, remember your must-have list and really get a feel for the place, even down to the little details that you wouldn’t have previously thought of. Everything counts when searching and comparing venue locations.
You now have some more tips to think about when looking for your dream venue!
Happy hunting! 😊