A checklist on how to choose a venue for your conference

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Choosing a venue for your conference is one of the most important decisions you will make as an event organiser. The location you pick can make or break an event, and therefore it’s essential to pick a venue that not only aligns with your vision and budget, but also meets the needs and expectations of your attendees and speakers.

A checklist on how to choose a venue for your conference

But what steps do you need to take to find the best venue for your conference? What factors should be taken into consideration and what questions should you ask? To help you on your way, we have prepared a handy guide on how to choose a venue for your conference.

What to consider when choosing a conference venue

Before you start your search, it’s essential you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • What are the main objectives of your conference?
  • Who are your target or core attendees? How many people are you expecting to attend? What are their needs and expectations of the event?
  • Is it a one-off conference or multi-day event?
  • What sort of venue will your budget stretch to? How much money do you expect to make from your conference?

What makes a good conference venue

A good conference venue provides accessible transport links and nearby conveniences such as hotels and restaurants, has plenty of space for your expected attendees and is equipped with essential tech. It should also include additional services including catering and security, have a proactive, hands-on event manager and present an ambience that aligns with your brand image and conference theme.

Conference venue checklist

To help compare and evaluate different venues, the conference venue checklist below covers most of the key aspects you will need to consider. Use this checklist as a guide when you visit potential venues or draw up a list of pros and cons. You can also customise this checklist according to your specific needs and preferences.

1. Location

  • Is the location easy to find and within easy reach by car, train, bus or plane?
  • Is the venue close to hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions?
  • Is the venue in a suitable and attractive location?

The ideal venue is one that's easy for everyone to get to and well-connected to public transport, close to major road networks and, for larger events, within reach of an international airport.

2. Capacity

  • Does the venue have enough space for the number of attendees you expect?
  • Does it have enough rooms and seating for the format of your conference?
  • Is there enough space for networking, catering and breakout areas?

Ensure the venue can comfortably accommodate all your attendees. Cramped spaces can make even the most enthralling conference unbearable, while too much space can make it appear poorly attended.

3. Facilities

  • Does the venue have the necessary audio-visual systems, such as microphones, speakers, screens, projectors, etc.?
  • Does it have fast and reliable WiFi?
  • Is there adequate lighting, ventilation, heating and air con?

From WiFi to water coolers, the facilities provided by a venue are the nuts and bolts of your event.

4. Staff and support

  • Does the venue offer catering services, such as breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, etc.?
  • Does the venue offer cleaning services, such as rubbish removal, recycling, etc.?
  • Does the venue have a dedicated event manager who can assist you with the planning and execution of your conference?

Experienced, proactive venue staff are essential. A good event manager should be your main point of contact, troubleshooting any issues that arise and keeping the day's events smoothly on track.

5. Budget

  • Does the venue suit your budget and offer value for money?
  • Does the venue offer any discounts, packages or incentives for your conference?
  • Are there any hidden or additional costs, such as service fees?
  • Does the venue have a clear and fair cancellation and refund policy?

Budgeting for a conference venue isn't just how much it costs to hire. It's about understanding what's included and where additional charges might be incurred. Transparent pricing and clear communication about what's included will help you budget for your event effectively.

Choosing the right insurance for a conference

Once you’ve narrowed down your search for the ideal conference venue, it’s time to think about insuring your event too. Our Conference Public liability insurance is designed specifically for organisers of conferences, providing everything from single public liability cover to the full package; cancellation, abandonment or postponement cover, equipment cover and employers liability. We can also cover you if your conference is cancelled as a result of unavoidable circumstances outside of your control.

Our conference insurance can cover you for the following:

  • Accidental damage to property
  • Accidental damage to equipment
  • Accidental injury to staff or conference attendees
  • Accidental death of staff or conference attendees
  • Unexpected cancellation of the conference with additional add-on options such as Terrorism Cover or Contingency Insurance (e.g., the non-appearance of the key speaker).

Event Insurance Services offers peace of mind

As a conference organiser, you’ll know that finding the perfect venue is half the battle. Why not take a look at our article How to organise a conference which contains lots of great tips on ensuring your event runs without a hitch.

That said, it’s always wise to expect the unexpected –and be prepared for it. Contact us today to find out how Event Insurance Services can help give you that little extra peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what’s really important – organising a successful conference!

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