Before getting into the rhythm of planning an event and choosing a venue, it is important to first understand the objectives and expectations. Researching and sourcing venues takes time, patience and a clear brief.
- Location, location, location
To kick-start venue research, you need to ask yourself (or your client) key questions that will determine the location. Think – where are the guests coming from. Are they local, interstate or international attendees?
If guests fall into the latter, you will need to consider geographical location as it will mean guests are likely in town for a few days to enjoy the sights of the city.
They will want to be central to the action and close to accommodation, so these requirements might form part of your scope.
2. Good vibes
AKA the atmosphere of your event. Ask if the venue is visually in line with what the client needs and wants. The space must reflect the type of event you are looking to create.
Consider the levels of sophistication from an aesthetic perspective – a ballroom may not be the most viable option for a conference, just as an event with performance elements may not suit a space that has no stage or back of house.
Understanding the key elements of the event and your client will dictate the type of venue you need to consider. At EMG, we always say, “To succeed in events, you must think like a designer”.
3. Opportunity to create
This tip is often the driving force behind many in event planning – finding opportunities to get creative!
During this point in the process you may consider:
- Is there the option to scale the venue? (either up or down)
- Is the venue a blank canvas that you can modify as needed?
- Is there access to multiple spaces – both inside and out (catering to all seasons)?
- Is the space able to be branded? Think laying artificial grass, creating an indoor beach, building a 40-metre screen or setting up 10-metre grazing tables.
When venue scouting we always work with venues that have great ideas and are willing to collaborate with our vision to reimagine the traditional event space.
4. Price versus value
You mustn’t only consider hire price, but the overall value of the venue. Ask, does the venue come with free Wi-Fi, staging and lighting or kitchen spaces? An events manager should be looking for ways to create more value for clients by sourcing a venue with infrastructure in place that comes as added value to the venue hire cost.
You might also consider how involved and supportive the venue is going to be. Having good relationships onsite will make the experience better for all involved. Event managers will never forget venues that jump in to help when things go wrong onsite (which they often do!).
Access is a big consideration and one that often determines the guest’s final impressions.
Access will encompass guest experiences on arrival and departure – and also flow into the event preparation for the events team. Consider the bump in and bump out process, if there are other events loading in and out at the same time as you, how big the loading dock is and if there is enough space for multiple trucks.
A traffic jam in the loading dock will affect everything and everyone on the production schedule, so make sure you look at this little piece of the puzzle quite early on in the project.
You can read more about the EMG’s event experiences at www.emgevents.com.au