You’re holding an event in the capital, and that means you need to explore event venues in London to identify the best one for the job. So what do you need to think about when choosing a venue for your event? Here are 8 tips to help you make an excellent job of it.
Your event’s size and the venue’s capacity
First of all, how many people will be attending your event? It’s no good hiring a venue with a capacity of 900 when your event is going to run to a couple of hundred guests. You’ll end up rattling around like peas in a pod, the atmosphere will feel wrong, you might even get echoes – a proper event-killer – and things will never really take off as a result. It’s also bad to choose somewhere too small, a place that gets too hot and crowded and uncomfortable, and makes your event memorable for all the wrong reasons.
It’s good to set a budget in advance so you don’t waste time exploring venues that cost a small fortune to hire, way out of your reach. Do you have a ‘per head’ budget to meet or a total budget to stay within? Bear it in mind at every stage, and always ask to make sure there are no hidden extras that might give you a nasty surprise. If you can be flexible about the date, the day and even the season, the cost can tumble right down.
The opening times
You want the party to go on until the wee small hours… but it turns out the event venue in London closes at midnight and there’s no room for negotiation. Make sure you’re crystal clear about what time the venue opens and shuts, and that it’s open for long enough to get exactly what you want out of the event without having to cut things uncomfortably short and make a less-than-perfect impression.
The event location, surroundings and accessibility
Can all of your guests or delegates easily get to the venue, or is it in the middle of the ‘burbs when you really need a city centre location? And what are the surroundings like? Will people leave the venue during the day, for example for lunch? And is it easy for people with accessibility challenges to navigate? It’s the law, so every venue should be fully accessible, but it’s still worth checking, especially if any of your guests or delegates have particular difficulties.
Parking and public transport
The Congestion Charge applies in central London, and parking in the capital isn’t always either easy or affordable. Many people and businesses actually recommend public transport instead of driving in the city. Does the venue have suitable parking facilities, or at least great public transport links, transport that’s available when people leave the venue, even if it’s in the early hours of the morning? Is the parking safe, monitored and secure? Is there CCTV? You might arrange for staff to travel in a minibus or coach.
A massive, echoing hall isn’t going to deliver the intimate ambience you want for a special family celebration. A small, intimate room isn’t going to give you that essential corporate event feel, supporting your business aims and delivering cool professionalism at every turn. The ambience of a venue is vital, either making or breaking an event. Make sure the ambience and personality of the venue is wholly appropriate.
You want to install a Bucking Bronco game for delegates. Maybe you need a set of whiteboards plus pads and pens, or perhaps digital alternatives. You might want to run corporate games in teams, in which case you’ll need a couple of private spaces for briefing and debriefing. You might want to track social media reactions to the event live, as it happens, so need a huge screen wired to a laptop. You might want changing rooms, or a reception area, or a stage. Whatever you need, make sure it’s agreed in advance before you sign on the dotted line. Event planners at Good Look Events can help you every step of the way.
Do you need food? Will you provide it, or will the venue? How many people will be eating? Buffet or sit-down? Non-alcoholic or alcoholic? You need to know in advance whether or not your venue can provide everything you need, when you need it, the way you want it.
Roll everything into a site visit and be certain it’s all right
You can explore a venue’s website, talk to them on the phone, do your investigations by email… but the very best way to ensure you have crossed all your Ts is to actually visit the venue, talk to the people, and have a good, long, hard look for yourself. Then you’ll be able to spot if anything is missing.