2015: Finding the ultimate venue

Posted by: Kate Gunn on January 5th, 2015 IN Venues

January, the month when the year ahead comes into focus and those big tasks suddenly seem more pressing.  If you’re planning an event in 2015 and haven’t yet secured a venue, there’s no time to waste.  But do you know exactly what you’re looking for? 

Think of this as a checklist for sourcing that all-important standout venue for your event.  This is about avoiding falling into a safe-bet scenario and stretching your expectations to get the right-fit venue that matches your brief in every way.  Ask yourself the following questions each time and you should be well on your way to the perfect setting for your event.

What do you really need from your venue?

A venue delivers for an event in two ways.  Physically, it gives the space you need for your delegates and provides all the practical requirements.

However, often overlooked is the emotional impact of a venue.  Put yourself in the shoes of your audience – ‘what will my travel experience be like?’, ‘what transfers are available if I need them?’, ‘what will my first impressions be?’, ‘how will the environment make me feel?’.

The emotional delivery of any venue has an enormous effect on the state of your audience, how they will receive messages and their ability to retain them.  The space, surroundings, comfort, noise pollution, colour and décor all have their part to play.  For instance, a greenfield site automatically creates a completely different emotional ambience to a city destination and event organisers need to consider the impact of every element.

When Volvo wanted to get a new, younger audience to reappraise the brand, we found them a series of edgy, underground venues for a pop-up nightclub tour.  These immediately suggested that something new and unexpected was going on.

What does the venue say about your brand?

Unless you are taking a blank canvas space and transforming it, there are going to be elements of any venue that leave a lasting impression and will impact on the messaging of the event.  The overall style and décor of the venue are obvious considerations but everything from the reception that delegates will receive on arrival to the toilet facilities, the bedlinen, and the view will impact on how the audience feels about the brand.  And this is as important for B2B audiences as it is for B2C – brand engagement is not just about your content.

Room for creativity?

However gorgeous your venue may be and even if it already speaks volumes about your brand for you, you are going to want to put your own stamp on it.  Creative considerations are so integral to the choice of venue.  There are the obvious details such as ceiling height but we would always go far beyond that.  Think about how immersive your experience can be in the space.  Messaging is always more impactful if you can get an audience to forget where they are altogether.

Grass and a forest of real silver birch trees were part of the Midsommer scenery designed to immerse dealers at a Volvo event

ERIKA pop-up shop provides first impressions at an Indesit event, revealing behind it an industrial blank-canvas space that hosted the Hotpoint centenary experience

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V for Venues

Line Up V for Venues

Accessibility

A practical consideration but incredibly important.  There may be an airport nearby, but is that airport a good hub for all delegates?  If your event is more local, is the venue in a central location that all attendees can easily reach? Do any delegates have any special requirements as far as accessibility goes?  Always make sure that your venue can cater to every individual.

Flexibility

The very nature of working in the ‘live’ arena means that the unexpected may happen on the day and being able to cope with change is all part of the job.  However, being able to think on your feet is so much easier if you’ve thought about every eventuality in the planning stages.  Have a list of ‘possibilities’ when looking at venues and make sure that there is space to build in some flexibility if you need it.

At a Wonderland-themed family day big-top canopies, designed to provide shelter from potential rain, gave shade on the hottest day of the year

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Good management

Yes, a venue is about physical structure and its environment, but a great venue is only a great venue because of its management and staff.  It’s a good idea to really get to know who you are dealing with since they potentially have the power to make or break your event.  Good management usually means good staff and they can not only transform your experience as an organiser but the experience of your delegates too.

Exclusivity

Exclusivity can often be the cherry on the cake.  Always check what else is going to be going on in your chosen venue if you haven’t secured exclusive use.  Another corporate gathering could really rain on your parade.  Negotiate with the venue to ensure that your delegate experience will be seamless and at least feel exclusive if total exclusivity is out of the question.

This list is by no means exhaustive – we could go on and on – but if you have these questions top of mind when looking for a venue, you’ll be heading in the right direction.  Better still, let the experts do it for you.  If you want to talk to us about sourcing a venue, Kate Gunn, our Head of Logistics and resident expert, would be happy to take your brief and take you on a tour of her short-list.

 

 

Kate Gunn

Kate Gunn

As Line Up’s Head of Logistics, Kate is a multi-tasker extraordinaire and expert problem solver. Her knowledge of destinations and venues is second to none – the walking, talking Google of the event and incentive world. Her passion for food is right up there with her passion for travel and she claims there is nothing she won’t try!

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