5 Tips on Matching Event and Venue

event selection

Participants at PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2019 enjoy the large arena space used for the opening reception. EMG Event Management Group Founder and Director Peter Jack says strategists must understand what their clients want when choosing a venue. (Jacob Slaton)

EMG Event Management Group Founder and Director Peter Jack says destination selection takes patience and a clear vision of the event — and of the client.

By Peter Jack

venue selection

Peter Jack

Before getting into the rhythm of planning an event, it is important to first understand your client’s objectives and expectations. Here are my top five tips for choosing a venue:

  1. Location, Location, Location

To kick-start venue research, you need to ask yourself (or your client) key questions that will determine the location. 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. They will want to be central to the action and close to accommodation, so these requirements might form part of your scope.

  1. Good Vibes

Think about 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.

The level of sophistication, from an aesthetic perspective, is also imperative. 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.”

  1. Opportunity to Create

Finding opportunities to get creative is often the driving force behind many professionals in the events industry. 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?

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.

  1. Price vs. Value

You mustn’t only consider hire price, but 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’s operational team is going to be. Having good relationships onsite will make the experience better for all involved.

  1. Access

Access is a big consideration and one that often determines the guests’ final impressions.

Access will encompass guest experiences on arrival and departure, as well as bump-in and bump-out for the events team. Don’t forget to question 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 on the loading dock will affect everything and everyone on the production schedule, so make sure you look at this piece of the puzzle early on in the project.

Based in Melbourne, Peter Jack is the founder and director of EMG Event Management Group.

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