Choosing the right venue for your training event is crucial. Imagine that you have now shortlisted several venues that you really like the look of online, the proposal seems to be ok and costs are within your budget. You need to organise a site visit but you are unsure of what key things to look out for before you make your final decision. This blog post will cover 5 key elements you should focus on when performing a site visit to assist you choosing the right venue for your training event.
Location is paramount. Depending on where your delegates are coming from, consider how convenient is it for them to get to the venue. You do not want to exasperate them before they even arrive at the venue. If they are travelling by car, what is the venue’s onsite car parking policy? You may want to negotiate the rates as these can be excessive. It is also a good idea that there is disability access especially if this is an issue for your particular group. Depending on your programme’s requirements too close to the office or too far away from the office may be a factor. Ask your programme director what is their preference.
If this is a residential programme or some of your delegates have to travel afar to the venue, bedrooms may be required. Reviewing this element is very important when choosing the right venue. Do a thorough check of the guest rooms. Are they spacious, bright and clean? Do they have the customary perks such as tea and coffee making facilities and in room wi-fi? Does the hotel provide mineral water? Not all do. If they do not I suggest you negotiate this. Are the rooms female friendly? Some hotel rooms make it difficult for ladies to complete their makeup because there are not enough mirrors or they are in the wrong place. These things matter to some guests so make sure the rooms are functional. Check the location of allocated rooms and ensure they are not adjacent to noisy areas. Are rooms sufficiently sound proofed? This will be a concern for many guests.
Examine the security measures around the venue. For example, what security is provided in and around the meeting rooms should material and equipment be left unattended? How secure is access to bedroom floors and car parks? Can meeting room doors be locked if desired?
I always think it is a good idea to have a look at the menus when choosing the right venue. Personally, this is a good indication of what the venue has to offer. Have a look at the size of the breakfast area. This is especially important if you have a large group attending the event. Would it be better to have a separate room for your group due to size? Review where lunch will be served. If you need private dining, is the room appropriate? If you just need a reserved area in the restaurant, how will this be managed and is the area separate enough? If you require a hot buffet lunch in the meeting room or outside the meeting room is the area big enough? Get an idea of how flexible the management at the venue will be toward changes in the menu and timings. It is very important that they are willing to meet your needs.
When choosing meeting rooms, it is crucial they are fit for purpose. Ideally, they will be airy and spacious with plenty of natural daylight with no pillars, other obstructions or distractions. Can the room accommodate the set up you require or a team building activity?
If you require breakout rooms, what is the distance from the plenary room and are they sufficiently well lit? I have managed events where tables are not required in breakout rooms so please ensure your furniture requirements can be met and items added or removed as needed. Do check the acoustics in the room. Check on how the heating and air conditioning is controlled and that the system is not too noisy. Check that the chairs are comfortable and the right type and number of tables can be provided. If Wi-Fi is required, ask if this can be accommodated in the appropriate rooms. If you need multiple power sockets, have a look at where these are situated.
Finally, just as a bonus point, when choosing the right venue, do make a check on the facilities. If you have 50 females attending, two stalls for toilets are not going to work!!!
These are my top 5 tips that I employ when performing a site visit to support me in choosing the right venue. I recommend that you view at least 3 venues before making a final decision. I always try to imagine that I am a delegate arriving for an event. I start to check on everything as soon as I arrive at the local train station, if I am taking a train, or at the venue by other transport. I try to gauge the experience of my delegates to make sure I get things right.
If you have any other suggestions that you find significant when you are performing a site visit when choosing your venue, I would be delighted to hear about them. Please put your comments below.
Psst… I have covered a previous blog post on securing and managing logistics at your event, if you missed this, you can catch up on this reading right now.