Event planners briefly swapped conference and event venues for virtual platforms during the COVID pandemic. Yet, with in-person events quickly coming back, it’s time to think about key considerations and must-have amenities for finding the best meeting space to support your next event.

A good venue directly contributes to the success of your events. It might not seem like as big of a deal as choosing keynote speakers and enlisting sponsors, but if attendees leave with a negative impression of your event venue, it could adversely impact your future events, no matter how well-planned. 

Your venue should be easy to access and close to hotels, restaurants, and public transportation. It should also provide ample parking and plenty of space to fit the number of guests. As a bonus, your venue should come equipped with modern A/V capabilities and Wi-Fi, among other features. 

Keep reading to learn about six key considerations for choosing an event venue.

How to choose an event venue: 6 top considerations

1. Venue capacity and room size

Image of a conference that takes place in a large conference room, workshop for young professionals, training in a large conference room, adult training

Finding an appropriately-sized venue to match your guest list is critical for executing a perfect event. You might not know your total headcount before booking your venue, and that’s okay. Just make sure to take capacity and estimated attendee count into consideration. 

It’s important to ask about room size, especially for your keynote addresses and top programming. A venue may advertise its capacity as a total headcount, but that could prove problematic if the exhibition hall or ballroom falls short of your attendee count.

Also, look into food and beverage minimums. You risk exceeding your event budget if you overestimate the attendee count or running out of refreshments if the count falls short.

Finally, consider the flexibility of the venue. What happens if your estimated attendee count doesn’t reach or exceeds expectation?. Will they allow you to move to a bigger room or downgrade to a smaller space?

2. Venue availability

Securing your first choice of a venue can be challenging, so make sure to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. In many cases, popular venues book up months and even years in advance. But, as the saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm.”

Also, consider additional factors that could impact venue availability. For example, you might find a venue you love in downtown Indianapolis, but if the city is hosting the Indy 500 that weekend, attendees will struggle to find lodging and face gridlock with traffic and crowds.  

If you can’t change your event date, you may be better off choosing a venue in a different location.

3. Location is key

While considering how to choose an event venue, think strategically about how location influences attendance. Don’t let the venue become a barrier to registrations. 

Instead, your venue should be easy to access both in town and from the airport, provide plenty of on-site parking and transportation options, and reside close to hotels, restaurants, and fun attractions.

Also, think about how attendees will spend time during breaks. Does the venue make it easy for attendees to pop outside for a breath of fresh air? Does the venue include walking paths and green spaces?

How MAD//fest became a hybrid event trailblazer

Case Study: Check out how MAD//Fest transformed their event venue into a virtual pub. 

4. Set the vibe

Consider your brand and the vibe you want to portray when choosing an event venue. For instance, if you work for a modern brand or B2B tech company, a dated event space with 1970s carpet and wood paneling definitely won’t create the look or vibe you’re going for.

Think about how the event venue will mesh with the type of event you are planning. You’ll want a different venue for an upscale, black-tie event versus a trade show for farming equipment.

When your event venue matches your brand, it saves you time and additional costs like decorations and other props.

5. Venue features

Audio & Visual Backstage Equipment and Operator

Each event space offers different features and services, so think about your specific event’s needs, especially technology requirements, and choose your event space accordingly. Your needs will also depend on whether you host an entirely in-person experience or add a digital component and make it a hybrid event.

Some considerations include:

  • A/V equipment: Does the event venue supply equipment like PA systems, microphones, and video screens? What about needed hardware like speaker cables and HDMI cords? If so, make sure to inquire about cost and rental terms.
  • Wi-Fi: Access to the Internet is a must-have for powering successful events, especially when using event technology like mobile event apps and lead retrieval software. 
  • Accessibility: It’s important for your event venue to promote inclusivity and provide accessibility for attendees with mobility challenges and other special needs. 
  • Staffing: Does the event space provide staffing, including servers, cleaning crews, and guest support? Choosing a venue that provides staffing can save you time and money, since you won’t have to hire and manage a crew on your own. 
  • Furniture: Check if the venue offers key furniture pieces like tables and chairs. Having furniture already on site makes setup faster, easier, and more affordable!

6. Event budget

It should come as no surprise that event venues account for a large portion of event budgets. Therefore, it’s essential to consider how much the venue will cost before you begin selling tickets to your event.

If you fall in love with something outside of your budget, it can be hard to settle for less. To raise additional funds for the budget, you may be able to enlist sponsors to cover the added expenses or lower rental costs by leveraging partnerships or agreeing to host future events at the venue.

Ready to dive deeper? Learn how to set (and meet) your next event budget.

How to choose a conference venue: making the decision

Audience at the conference hall venue listens to lecturer, people on a congress together listen to speaker on stage at master-class, corporate business seminar

As with any major financial decision, consider multiple event venue options and narrow down a shortlist based on the criteria mentioned above.

  • Tour the venue: Walk the venue grounds and put yourself in the attendee’s shoes. Would you be delighted to attend? Is it easy to move around the venue? Are there enough bathrooms? Will the individual meeting rooms and exhibition halls provide adequate space?
  • Do your research: Ask your network and check popular review sites to see what other event planners say about working with the conference venue. Look for recent reviews as well as the total number of reviews. Take special note of any negative reviews and enquire specifically about the issues when you talk to venue representatives.  
  • Take inspiration from other events: If you’re still on the fence, take inspiration from other corporate event organizers. Check out recent examples of successful events and reach out to your network about their favorite venues.

Power engaging conferences with Webex Events (formerly Socio)

Webex Events is an end-to-end event management solution that equips event organizers with the best tools and features to host successful events. And when you need to pivot to hybrid or virtual events, Webex Events becomes your event venue.

Schedule a free demo today to see how Webex Events (formerly Socio)can help you level up your events like never before!

Nolan Ether
Nolan Ether

Nolan is a Content Marketing leader at Webex Events (formerly Socio). He’s passionate about helping brands connect with their customers through engaging storytelling and immersive experiences.