Corporate Event Organisers
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5 Steps to Find Your Perfect Corporate Venue

5 Steps to Find Your Perfect Corporate Venue

Selecting the right location

 

If you’re searching for a venue to hold a corporate event, all you need to do is follow the simple steps in this Guide and consider the stated questions. Finding a corporate venue can be easy once you know what you want and need, without having to shop around too much.

  1. Begin with your Budget

Before even going on a venue visit, you must establish your budget. Venues generally charge an upfront fee for hire, which you can work on roughly £10 per person (unless this is an all drinking event). By using this, you can build your pricing strategy and figure out the breakdowns for each unit of expenditure. Coordinate the budget with your guest list to keep figures in check, and review regularly so as to not miss any costs. Use contingency costs to keep yourself prepared and be slightly flexible with your budget in case one feature is slightly extra than planned.

Recognise additional costs such as staffing. As well as helping through the night, there might be staff available who can attend to the event specific needs, such as Audio Visual. Catering costs should be fairly easy to work out and plan around as generally there is a set price per head. However, also be on the lookout for any charges that aren’t obvious as when it comes to the final payment you do not want to be caught on any hidden fees.

Try to book at least six months in advance as availability can impact rates and remember that your first offer may not be the best in terms of money or functionality. If you know the event will be repeated, you can offer a multi-year deal, where many venues offer a discounted rate for guaranteed business. Nevertheless, keep in mind that a deposit is needed to secure the location – agree with the venue the cancellation terms based on this deposit and the overall budget.

  1. Think about the Capacity/ Functionality/ Location of Corporate Venues

You first need to figure out the target market for your event. Knowing your demographic will help you understand how many guests will be invited, and therefore what sort of ceiling capacity you are looking for. Once you understand the size of your audience, you can begin to look at dates. Think of when your target market is most likely to be available, keeping in mind peak holiday seasons. To keep track of numbers, you can create a guest list with who has been invited and who has accepted or declined. Remember, when looking at a corporate venue, to accommodate numbers you would rather go slightly too large rather than too small. You do not want your guests to be squished and uncomfortable; Keith Still suggests that there should be two people per square metre, to accommodate safety factors. Include this reasoning in your working out for capacity spacing.

Next you need to think about the functionality of the event and venue. Will your event be indoors or outdoors, and is it a sit down event? What equipment will you need to run the event, and will the hotel supply this? If so, will this be an extra cost to consider? Think through AV systems, staging, and chair linens. Catering is also an important factor to contemplate. There are many different types of food and beverage that can be supplied at an event – deliberate if you will want a formal sit down, a buffet, or standing finger food. Does the venue have high quality standard food or will you be outsourcing? Some corporate venues have F&B minimums, so keep an eye out for this when visiting and when coordinating the budget. As well as catering and room layout, there is the production aspect to deliberate over. Each venue has its own character, which can make or break an event, depending on the chosen purpose and theme. You want the ambience and décor to be tailored to the event, so you can either choose a corporate venue that already has a good base for this or one that is completely bare and will allow you to build the whole theme up yourself.

When it comes to the corporate venue, it is all about location, location, location. You have to choose somewhere that has great transportation links – trains, airports, buses, taxi ranks. If a venue you are looking at is nowhere near transportation links, stop debating its value. As an organiser, you should be thinking of the out of the box questions –  think about if the audience were to drive themselves, is there a car park at the venue, or even a public one nearby? Is it free of charge, or of additional cost? If this is at an additional price, will you ask your guests to pay on the night or include it in their ticket charge?

  1. Contemplate the Corporate Venue Style

Within this step, you have to consider both the overall venue type that you are looking for, as well as the room layout you want to achieve.

Venue Type

Below is a short list of different types of venues you can look for when searching for your perfect corporate venue;

Conference Centre This is a purpose built venue for conferences which will have the necessary equipment needed for a corporate event.
Convention Centre A corporate venue that is well suited to a larger group of guests, good catering and is best for industry functions.
Retreat Venues that are tailored to more relaxed events, allowing the guests time for leisure.
Hotel Most hotels are now available to hire for conference rooms or general event function rooms. As a hotel, accommodation and catering can easily be provided, as well as a mixture of room layouts.

 Room Layouts

Below is a list of all the different layouts available when holding an event, also do not forget open-plan;

Title Description Positives Negatives
Theatre Chairs are aligned in consecutive rows. + Maximum seating capacity

+ All chairs face the front

– Interaction is limited

– Audience is somewhat squashed

– No easy access for plated food or note taking

 

Classroom Trestle tables in consecutive rows. + All chairs face the front

+ Note taking and plated food easy

– Interaction is limited

– Audience is somewhat squashed

– Seating capacity reduced

 

Herringbone Consecutive rows of chairs and trestle tables angled in. + Seats angled towards the podium

+ All chairs face towards the front

+ Note taking and plated food easy

– Audience are closed in

– Seating capacity reduced

– Interaction is limited

 

 

U Shape Tables and chairs are arranged in an open configuration.                 + Allows for a focal point

+ Presenter can engage with the guests

+ Interaction is enhanced

– Seating capacity is reduced

– Guests face inwards and seating is side-on

 

 

Horse Shoe There are no tables; the chairs are arranged with an open end. + Allows for a focal point

+ Presenter can engage with the guests

– No easy access for plated food or note taking

– Seating capacity is reduced

– Guests face inwards and seating is side-on

 

Hollow Square Tables and chairs arranged around four sides with no open end. + Audience interaction is fully enhanced

+ Note taking and plated food easy

– Seating capacity reduced

– No focal point

 

Boardroom Large elongated table with guests sitting inwards. + Encourages audience interaction – Restricts focal point  

Banquet Round dinner tables, audience faces in around the edge. + Audience interaction is fully enhanced – Closed in, difficult for the audience to exit  

Cabaret Round dinner tables with an open end so audience are seated in an arc facing forwards. + Allows for a focal point

+ All chairs face the front

– Seating capacity reduced  

Cocktail No tables or chairs, all standing. + Most efficient use of floor space

+ Audience interaction is fully enhanced

– No opportunity for resting

– No easy access for plated food  or note taking

 

You will need to trust your instincts when it comes down to choosing somewhere to host a corporate event. In order to know if it is the correct corporate venue for you, try to visualise the event in that space and look at it from the customers’ perspective. This way, you will keep the event vision in mind and know if that will be the space that will fulfil the guests’ expectations. Do not forget, the guests will most likely want an experience that is away from their workplace and homes, for the event to seem like a different occasion.

Become familiar with a venue before sending out your Request For Proposal (RFP) and make a database of every corporate venue you visit. List the pros and cons of all, and what each venue offers – this way, you can refer back to this checklist when you need to find another corporate venue.

  1. Reflect on the Layout

Does the venue have syndicate rooms? If so, looking at these meeting rooms will be useful to get to know the layout of the corporate venue better. Ask the staff if the syndicate rooms can break out into boardrooms or larger rooms with higher capacities. Is there a pre-function room in which networking can take place or will the whole event just take place in one given room?

Take some time to deliberate over people flow. You should anticipate the traffic movement and design your room around this, and avoid safety issues such as bottlenecking. This may be in the layout of the rooms supplied by a corporate venue rather than your production equipment. Bear this in mind, as well as thinking about supplementary space for a stage and entertainment.

Be driven by the experience you want your guests to have – associate the ideas of the theme with the purpose of the event to find a suitable location. Take your guests somewhere new if there was to be a product launch, as this is exciting and familiarises the ‘fresh’ aspect in their mind. If releasing necessary information about the company, or presenting long-standing material, take your guests somewhere familiar so they have the sense of homely comfort.

Ponder what the building should look and feel like – a low ceiling might make the ambience seem cosy and relaxing, whereas a high ceiling or a warehouse will create reverberations in noise which may seem more impactful. Selecting the right corporate venue is all about creating the sense of comfortability with your guests within the correct setting for the situation. Is there heating or A/C available, and will there be too many guests to make the space feel crowded, or too little to make the space feel empty?

  1. Consider the Extras

If this is a repeat event, keep a log of previous numbers and the space you have used in the past, take this with you to prospective venues so they can know what you are looking for. With this, you should understand how many guests should definitely show. This makes for a better budget planner as guessing guest numbers may lead to being charged for some that did not show. Remember to get insurance for any liability cover.

Check that the venue is in good condition when you go, as well as asking the question of staff. Will there be a set up and clean-up crew or will you have to do this by yourself? Also consider the reputation of the corporate venue. Read reviews on TripAdvisor or on their website and look at how the venue is run when on a site visit. Some things to note are of the staff are good at handling customer requests or complaints, and if they actually provide a good service. You may even want to do a risk assessment whilst you are there and take time to note what is where, what might be a safety hazard and where the fire escapes are. Alternatively, ask the venue for their in-house risk assessment. Keep in mind fire and safety codes for the amount of guests that will be attending.

The facilities are a big extra to remember. When on your site visit, walk around and locate the toilets, take note of the size of the room, ask if there is storage you would be able to use, as well as chair linens and where would be best to put up displays. Are their rigging capacities up to speed with what you are looking for, and will audience sight lines be affected by using the in-house rigs or will you need to outsource? Look for the points of access. Is there a separate entrance for guests and staff and are there loading bays capable of getting your production materials inside? What would be the exact timings of hire, admittance and evacuation, and will this work with the schedule of your event?

One little extra is the electricity and power of the event. This is easily overlooked but can become a big problem on the night if not previously considered. You should either ask the in-house staff or ask specialists to go into the corporate venue and advise you on the power requirements, and to help you decide if you will need to bring in an external provider. You should also check the Wi-Fi capabilities, how strong and fast it is.

 

So there are the five simple steps. There is a lot on content to remember within each, but if you write a checklist of what you want and what area you want the event to be in, it should be easy enough to follow through with finding a corporate venue to suit your budget.

Should you like help finding a venue straight away, do contact CL Events on enquiries@cl-events.com or click here to take you to a list of venues we have previously found. Good luck with finding your perfect corporate venue.