Choosing the right venue for your corporate event
We all know the great excitement of going to the new restaurant everyone is talking about. What an invite to crack!
But on the other hand, the prospect of revisiting a trusted, favourite venue, where you know the food is good, the parking easy and that there will be a great crowd also brings joy.
Events are a very important aspect of an organisation’s marketing and PR platform. It is therefor important for the whole event, from the invitation to the menu, the programme, food and entertainment, to speak to and add to the organisation’s brand value.
So much depends on finding that perfect venue. Farm Design Events is often tasked with this important first step – choosing the perfect venue for you to entertain your clients and guests.
Ten important considerations when deciding on the perfect venue:
1. Position of the venue
Can guests get to the event easily, and how long does it take?
Often an event is the networking part of a multi-day conference, and it is important to retain your delegates. Your event must be easy and quick to get to. As much as we love the idea of a wine farm, guests fall away if they have to sit in traffic for an hour.
This venue at Cavalli Estate in Stellenbosch is well worth the drive.
2. How many guests can be accommodated, and in what format?
Can the venue accommodate the number of guests you are planning for, and in what format? From informal network, to cinema style seating, to formal dining, the space available should be able to accommodate and enhance the event.
See the stunning first-ever dinner in the Crystal Court of Sun City’s Lost Palace.
3. Parking for guests and buildup teams
Is there parking? Coach access? E–hailing allowed?
Cape Town offers many stunning spaces with incredible views, but often parking is an issue. And in certain areas UBER is not allowed. The event designer will need to take these points into consideration.
4. Cost of venue
Venues typically either charge a flat rate for the day or days, or if there is catering and bar on site a minimum spend per head.
There is no golden rule about what percentage of the event budget the event cost should be – some venue packages include a lot of extras that add real value. Savings can be made on kitchen hire, crockery and cutlery, glassware and basic furniture.
The ballroom at the Westin comes with catering, crockery and cutlery, security, parking, accommodation, power, and a grand location. Farm Design Event designed the event around a Cape Town food market and just brought in the conference and networking furniture and decor.
Good event planning often means you can save a client the cost of a set-up day.
5. Infrastructure and services on site
Is there a kitchen, water, toilets? Any furniture on site?
Setting up a marquee and catering kitchens, as well as bringing in mobile toilets, obviously gives you the potential to use unbelievable sites and entertain many hundreds of guests. But, it is expensive and often takes up most of the budget.
See the conference infrastructure we set up for the Competitions Commission.
In terms of furniture, a good event designer will be able to build on what is included in the venue package and make the venue stock work.
Often the venue is the very same space used for the conference during the day. This saves costs, but really challenges the event designer to turn the ‘work space’ into an inviting, relaxing space for the evening’s social event. These two-hour turn-arounds, from a conference to a dinner, require precision planning and strong methodical team work.
See the result of a two-hour turnaround for Hyve events – from symposium to the Chevron gala dinner.
6. Accessibility for all
Can you get furniture, a stage, a piano, and everything else you will need into the venue? Is there access for delivery trucks and coaches?
It is also important to ensure access for disabled guests.
There are venues with incredible city views and who claim to accommodate 200 guests, but only has one slow and small elevator. Not only a safety risk, but it will take an hour to get all the guests up into the venue.
7. Electricity – our new nightmare
You cannot just accept that a venue has power anymore. Backup power systems are essential. Loadshedding aside, is the power supply and system big enough for your event?
Electricity is not only to keep the lights on. You should calculate the kW/h needs of the whole event, including audio visual (AV) and kitchen, to make sure that the system can cope with spikes in usage.
A picnic in the gardens at Fancourt with glittering fairy-lights and uplifting music from Freshly Ground.
8. Sound restrictions might apply
Is the venue in a residential area? What are the sound restrictions?
Not every event will have sound as a restricting criteria, but if you are going to have AV or live music or dancing, this becomes an important consideration. No event organiser wants the police to turn up or the brand sullied by allegations of noise nuisance.
9. Safety and security of the event and guests
There are two ways to look at safety: Will your guests feel safe, and is everything installed for the event in fact safe?
Health and Safety officers in any organisation carry a big responsibility to double check that all the risks have been mitigated. Their sign-off is critical and gives you confidence in a safe event.
To ensure that your guests feel safe, evaluate the route your guests will take, where they will park or be dropped, their path into the venue, how secure the venue is, and their route back home.
10. Aesthetic of event with furniture and decor
Always a big one for me. Is it beautiful, and if not, can I make it beautiful?
People underestimate the power of great decor. Great decor makes guests feel special and underscores your organisation’s appreciation.
At Farm Design Events we want our guests to feel delighted that care has been taken and that everything has been considered to ensure their experience is extraordinary.
If you are still in a quandary about the right venue for your event, brand and budget, contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.