Deciding upon the best space or venue is critical to any event’s overall success. While venue decisions take time, it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. For many professional event planners it can actually prove to be a fun challenge.


There are many factors that must be considered as you begin the process of selecting the venue itself. When venue planning for an event, one of the most important pieces of information you must know is who your guests will be and how many are expected to attend. While the type of event will certainly impact the venue choice, one of the largest limiting factors for an event space is capacity.


Beyond your guest list, it is best to keep in mind the special criteria of your program and to always consider the type of audience going to be in attendance. These are factors that matter just as much as basic parameters for space, technical and catering expenses.


Following these thoughtful considerations below will help guide you through steps beyond food and beverage minimums and acquire ‘big picture’ thinking in choosing the perfect event space.


Different Location Options – Once the guest list numbers and possible event dates are narrowed, it’s important to identify the type of locations where the event could be held. Hotels and conference centers are some of the most popular event spaces for corporate events, but they are not the only options. This is a time to be creative in your thinking. Other than a hotel, what unexpected locations could increase the RSVP rate? Perhaps a renovated barn in a sustainable winery, a stripped down loft with a rooftop city view, an art gallery with play space or a vintage car museum could all present themselves as viable and worthwhile. Consider the following: what will be most convenient for your guests and based on the theme of your meeting, what locations come to mind to achieve the goal?


Schedule a Venue Visit – Every event planner should schedule and conduct a physical site inspection prior to contracting any venue. Pictures can be extremely helpful, but there are many aspects that can be manipulated online and only effectively evaluated in person. Your tour of the venue should include everything from the valet parking to the entrance and the actual event space to the bathroom options. Does the condition of the facility reflect the high standards of your organization?


Consider Venue Reputation – A venue’s reputation for service is critical. This is often the difference between holding a decent event and producing a great event. The way a venue manages its facilities, staff, and clients will always be remembered. Found out how long the tenure has been of the conference manager, catering manager, and executive chef. To get a real-world sense for a venue’s reputation value, look at reviews online and also contact previous clients for their honest testimonials.


Incorporating Client Preferences – At the end of the day, event planners must present their venue recommendations to their client and obtain approvals. The only question to ask yourself with regards to the client during the venue planning phase is – will the client approve my recommendations? Be sure that the venue reflects not only the event itself, but the client’s tastes and expectations. To answer that question with confidence, you must make sure that you understand the client’s expectations and preferences from the beginning.