Event Planning Part 1: How to find the perfect Venue


Recently I have put together a few venue searches for a client and I thought it may be helpful for others to know some of the key things to look out for. Of course, you want to check price and space but there are also the small details like where are the power plugs, is a fruit bowl included, where will my branding work in this room? Or bigger things like what should I look out for in the contract and how will minimum numbers affect my bill? I’m going to write a mini-series focusing on all these things.

First up, Chapter One: finding the right venue

(this can work for wedding venues too)

Firstly, what is the type of event you are hosting:

  • Wedding

  • Party

  • Conference

  • Small meeting

  • Gala Dinner

  • Training

This will then help you narrow down the style of venue you want. I would always suggest looking at all types of styles as you may be surprised what fits your event and what you may like.

Secondly, research:

Here’s some ideas that can help you search:

  • Venue finding search site like https://www.venuefinder.com/ or https://www.venuescanner.com/ (you can google ‘find a venue’ and loads of search tools will come up).

  • Google is always your best friend for searching especially Google maps.

  • Social media – It’s also easy now to put in a hashtag into social media such as #localvenue #conferencevenue etc. You should also ask your networks for any recommendations.

  • Venue finding agency but note they may take a commission from you or charge a higher rate if they are getting a commission from the venue.

  • Magazines – there are a tonne of wedding magazines but also for corporate events your local chamber magazine or newspaper may highlight some venues.

Thirdly, contacting the venue:

Most venues will have a conference and events department, with some even have designated wedding and event planners. A lot of venues now have a page on their website with their room capacities and what they have to offer. Check this out first to see if the venue fits with what you are looking for.

At this point in time you are only asking for details and potentially the chance to go and see the venue. You do not need to worry about negotiating anything. The reason being is that a venue may be booked on the date you want or may not be a suitable space. I’ll make sure that in this series I cover where you can negotiate.

If your enquiry is very general as in – you don’t know your exact dates or even a few dates, or you are unsure of the size of how many people will be going – then I suggest giving them a call to discuss what your ideas are or what you need to know.

I always suggest contacting at least 3 venues so that you can get a good comparison on costs.

TOP TIP

Most venues will be able to provide loads of different types of seating layouts. Here a whizzy little picture that explains what a few of them are and mean.

Source: http://www.harrysmeetingrooms.co.uk/seating-floor-plans/

If you do know what you are looking for then at the end of the article I have put together a handy template on what you could email a venue. Alternatively, you can hire a VA from the Contemporary PA to do a venue search on your behalf. You pay only for their time and no commission is charged. No venue rates are changed and you will get honest feedback from us all on what venues we may have worked with.

In the next chapter I will cover off what you need to know for a venue site visit.

Thanks for reading

VENUE ENQUIRY TEMPLATE

Dear XXX,

I would like to enquire about hosting (INSERT event type) on (INSERT exact date or flexible dates you are looking at)

INSERT ABOUT YOU You could include a section here about your event if it has particulars, for example with my recent client I made sure I explained how this would be a long term contract (which helps influence venues) and the type of audience that would be attending (high-profile guests!)

INSERT SPECIFICS (fill in gaps you require, I have given an example)

Capacity: 50

Seating style (if known): Dinner

Timings: 6pm – 11pm

Refreshments required: Wine and water on all tables

Catering required: 3 course dinner

Technical equipment required: projector, screen and microphone

Please could you check you have the above dates available. If you do, please could you let me have a quote based on the above. Please can you also confirm your cancellation terms.

Many thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing from you.

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