Hosting a corporate event takes a lot of careful planning, but the benefits they can bring to a company are priceless.
By Angela Petteys
Depending on the purpose of an event, hosting one could help you strengthen company culture, release a new product to the public, raise money for a great cause, or build a stronger relationship with loyal customers.
Regardless of which type of event you want to host, one of the key steps in the planning process is finding the right venue. A venue can make or break your event, so taking the time to find one that’s well-suited to your needs will go a long way in making your event a success. But finding the right venue isn’t quite as simple as finding a space that looks nice and fits within your budget. Need some help figuring out where to begin? Here are some key things to keep in mind:
Aside from cost, capacity is one of the most significant limitations that comes into play when looking for an event venue. A venue that’s too small will make people uncomfortable, but one that’s too large can feel awkward as well. However many people you expect to attend your event, it’s a good idea to look for a venue with a capacity that can accommodate a slightly larger number. This will prevent people from feeling cramped, but not overwhelmed by the extra space. For example, Funny Business suggests looking for a venue with a capacity of 70 if you’re expecting 50 guests or a capacity of 350-400 if you’re expecting 300 guests.
For some types of events, it can be hard to know exactly how many people to expect. If you’re not sure of the exact number of people who will be attending your event, Display Group recommends erring on the side of choosing a space that might be too big since areas of the room can always be closed off if you end up with too much extra space.
We’ve all heard the old adage that location is everything and it’s certainly true when it comes to event venues. Ideally, your venue should be someplace that’s reasonably convenient for your guests. Of course, you can’t plan around every single person’s needs, but it’s good to aim for something that works well for as many people as possible. For example, if you’re planning an after-work event for your employees, try to stick to venues that are close to your place of business so that nobody has to go very far. Or if many of your guests use public transportation, try to find a place that’s near transit stations.
Take a moment to envision your event in your mind. How would you describe the atmosphere? Upscale and elegant? Modern and edgy? Cozy and intimate? Casual and fun? Every event venue has its own distinct character and you want a venue’s style to be a good match for the atmosphere of your event. For example, black tie gala fundraisers call for more formal settings. Or if your company is all about being innovative and cutting edge, you might want to avoid a location known for its retro charm for an event to launch a brand new product.
Think Outside the Banquet Hall
Banquet halls and hotel ballrooms are great places to host events, but they’re certainly not the only options around. Lately, there has been a big trend toward hosting events in non-traditional venues. Imagine having your event in a place like a museum, theater, arcade, or a warehouse. Rooftop locations are another very popular choice for events right now. Many of these types of places can be rented out for events and if you find a unique location that would work well for the type of event you’re hosting, it would be a great way to create an unforgettable experience for your guests.
Aside from a space to host your event in, what other sorts of things do you need to help make your event a success? Audio/visual equipment? Catering services? Valet parking? Many venues offer other types of services in addition to their available event space, so don’t forget to find out about those. If a venue offers extra services that you need, that will help make managing your event a bit easier.
Once you have a few venues in mind, take a trip out to each location you’re considering. Online pictures are great, but visiting in person can help you get a better sense of a space in ways that can’t be captured in a photograph. Socialtables recommends visiting at the same time of day that your event will occur so that you can get an idea of how your guests will be seeing the space. If your event will be at night, would it make sense to put up outdoor lights? For daytime events or events around sunset, will there be any problems with glare from the sun? If your event involves a presentation, is there anything about the space that would make it difficult for people to see?
When you visit a venue, don’t forget to think about acoustics. Is it the kind of space that’s going to carry every single little sound or do they have a lot of good acoustic control? Nobody wants to go to an event where it’s hard to even carry on a conversation because the room is just too noisy.
By keeping these things in mind as you plan, you’ll be well on your way to creating an event people will remember for a long time to come!
Angela Petteys is a Michigan-based writer who spends her time writing about a very wide variety of topics, ranging from film to small businesses and design.