You’ve got the plan sorted, know who you are going to invite and which date you want your meeting on but you haven’t found the right venue – one that is fit for purpose, in your budget or maybe you haven’t even started to look yet. Well we have put together a few tips to get you started.
1. The Right Location
Thinking about where you should hold your meeting can be the most difficult part. You need to think about the needs of the meeting and your attendees. Location is a really important part of making sure your meeting is a successful one. Transport for attendees is crucial especially for those that rely on public transport or parking costs for those that are driving from out of town. You also want a nice environment so your attendees feel relaxed.
Set your budget before looking at venues. It is worth calling round the venues you like and seeing what they can do with your budget rather than ask for a standard rates card. Think carefully about any additional costs like use of eating facilities.
3. What is included
Ask for a visit to the facilities before you book your meeting. What do you need to make the meeting go smoothly. Make a list of things your require for the time such as projectors and screens, telephone line for conference calling, power points for laptops and phones. Does the venue have wifi should you need to use it and are there make it yourself drink facilities. Also ask what happens in terms of any overrun of time.
5. Visit the facilities
To make sure your meeting is a success why not go to your venue for a site visit. Make a note of anything you need to ask before you go and ask for a demonstration of any equipment that you may want to use on the day. When discussion your needs with the venue staff think about the following
- How will the reception staff great your attendees? Will they take/direct them to the meeting room?
- What parking do they have, do you need to book space and if so is there an extra charge?
- Are there catering/drinks facilities or would they book an outside firm to provide this for you?
- Ask about the inclusions in point 3.
As mentioned in tip 5 you need to think about whether you need catering for your meeting or not. Make sure about whether this is included or an additional cost. You will need to make sure that all of your team are catered for and it is appropriate for you to check with your meeting guests as to any particular requirements they have. Ask for a sample menu and costs as well as whether there is a set space for you to eat outside of the meeting room.
8. Seating and table setting
Ask the venue what they can offer in terms of seating and table space. You need to know exact room capacities before you make your choice and book. I sit appropriate to book a bigger room rather than be left with little or no room for last minute confirmations. The room is one area where you can’t do any cost savings. It needs to be the right room, right size and have the right equipment.
10. Additional extras
If your meeting is likely to run late into the evening you may want to ask your venue about stay over possibilities and rates. This way you can weigh up your budget or the cost implications to others. Ask your venue if they have meeting/conference deals and if they are purely a venue ask if they have any collaborative prices with local hotels or bed and breakfasts.
We hope that this has helped you think about your perfect meeting venue and provides you with a great checklist to get started in finding it.