Finding the right event venue can be challenging, even for the most seasoned event organizers. In a recent report on the event planning industry, surveying nearly 500 professional event organizers, we found that the majority of planners spend most of their budget on the event venue.
Since event venues are often expensive, and because the venue has the ability to dramatically impact the overall attendee experience, organizers should brush up on a few basics to finding the right event space.
1. Understand your goals
Whether you are planning a conference, tradeshow or a meetup, it is always important to begin with a goal in mind. Is this event designed to educate attendees, provide them with amazing networking experiences, introduce attendees to new service providers, activate a product or something else? Thinking about the reason for the event will help you to select a venue that aligns with your overarching event goals.
The event venue should support the results you want to achieve. If one of your goals is to increase exposure for your sponsors, then selecting a venue that features a welcome area that can accommodate a sponsor booth would be a great idea. The event space chosen should provide sufficient visibility for your sponsors.
For more information on goal setting, readers can get a copy of The Smart Event Playbook. It covers the step-by-step guide on how event organizers can set goals with the SMART framework to measure event success. Grab the eBook by clicking the button below!
2. Review existing data
If you’ve used event planning software to organizer other events, you should have enough data to help you understand what was successful and what was not. If for example you know attendees had a great networking experience, then the venue you chose last year might be good enough to use again. But if data shows that attendees were disengaged with each other, then consider choosing a different venue.
Hopefully you’ve surveyed event attendees during previous events, and have data about how they liked the event venue you chose. If you’re planning a similar event, you can use this polling data to determine what venues might be best.
If you didn’t survey attendees, or didn’t ask them about their thoughts related to the event venue, feel free to reach out to past attendees to ask them what they thought about the venue to see where you can improve for future events.
3. Create an Interior Design plan
Steve Jobs once mentioned that innovation and progress are sparked by spaces that inspire and encourage collaboration. If the key to success for an event is audience participation, event organizers should be inspired to find and create spaces that spark creativity and interaction between attendees.
Here are some interior design tips you can consider when designing and customizing your own event experience:
Try Using Pinterest
Pinterest, a virtual photo-sharing website that lets users make and manage photo collections, contains hundreds of inspirational interior design ideas for event organizers. After keying in the topic of choice, you can create idea boards to gather and organize interior design ideas.
Lighting can make or break the mood of an event. Lighting can also be deployed to help drive event networking, or to focus attendees on a particular part of your event - be it a stage, an exhibitor or a centerpiece. Effectively managing colors and different intensities of lighting can help highlight the important elements of your event, while supporting the theme and ambience.
Pin spot lighting is a technique that is designed to shine directly onto an object and is used most commonly to highlight focal points of the decor. If your event goals are to increase exposure for your sponsors, employing pin spot lighting is a great way to focus the attention of your audience.
When placing furniture, consider how you want your guests to interact. For example, if you are organizing an event in an outdoor space, bar tables and chairs can encourage mingling, while small seating areas can encourage more intimate conversations.
The design approach you adopt will also have an impact on the mood of the event. A growing number of event planners are adopting minimalist design approaches that can improve traffic flow and interactivity among attendees.
This is especially beneficial for events with large gatherings of people. Put yourself in the shoes of your attendees by visualizing the main path of traffic from individual entrances and exit points will help in ensuring that all furniture placed allows for unobstructed movement. If the space and look allow, you can even hide flaws in paint and floors by strategically placing furniture to cover or draw the eye from imperfect aspects of the event venue.
This may seem obvious, but accessibility of the event venue is key to providing attendees with a positive event experience. Your event attendees should be able to focus on the content of the event, rather than worry about getting to their destination. Fortunately, there are a few ways organizers can help attendees access the event more easily.
UberEVENTS is a great tool to use, as it allows event organizers to purchase guest passes for their event attendees. Event planners to set the date, time and location parameters for pick up and drop off of attendees. By simply registering at www.uber.com/events, guests receive a pass that they can use when they take an Uber to and from your event.
Once attendees arrive to your event, it’s a good idea to make sure they can find their way around the venue as easily as possible. To ensure that attendees can do this, the best idea is to create a pre-event video and email it to registered attendees. The video should highlight major landmarks associated with the venue. The check in area, the keynote stage, and the exhibition hall are some examples of major landmarks attendees should know about.
During the event, organizers should be sure to include signs to direct attendees as they walk around the venue. Monitors are preferable to printed signs because monitors can easily be updated as the day’s agenda progresses.
Always remember that the choice of your event venue should be aligned with the goals you want to achieve. Use past event data to your advantage as this can provide you with key insights can show what event venue would be best for your next event.
Once an event venue is selected, organizers should focus on how they can employ interior design elements like lighting, to provide attendees with an unforgettable experience. You can download our Ultimate Design Handbook for more tips on how to create an impeccably designed event. Just click the button below to grab a free copy of the 40+ page eBook!