One of the most important features of the venue you choose is the space it provides. That may sound very simple, but spacing issues are one of the earliest problems that event planning teams have to tackle. How do you know that a location has enough space for your attendees? Here’s where to begin.
Know the Numbers
This may seem like an obvious place to begin, but sometimes the other details of the event and its requirements get so much attention that the team waits too long to step back and ask 1)how many people will be showing up at this event, in total, and 2)what is the exact capacity of the location that we will be using? Those two questions must be asked and answered correctly. This single step can save a whole lot of trouble, so don’t forget it!
Consider Venue Requirements
Remember to take a look at what fire safety codes say about how many people can be in a certain room. This is rarely a problem with auditoriums and other rooms with built-in sitting, but if you are doing standing-room events or setting up chairs yourself, you need to know the official restrictions on how many people can be inside a room.
Start with Seating, But Don’t End There
Sure, having the right number of seats is important, but that’s only the beginning. For example, what about layout? Are you trying to fit a crowd of people through a small hallway to move toward a presentation – because opening up a couple alternative routes may be a good idea. Also think about accessibility – is there enough space for kids, if necessary, or those with disabilities? What about enough outlets well spread along the walls and floor for those with devices to plug in? These are all important space questions to ask.
Think About Visibility
Another factor to consider is how well people can see the stage/presentation focus. Take a little time to look out from multiple points in the room and make sure that people can easily see no matter where they are (especially after equipment has been set up).
Remember that Space Isn’t Just About the Inside Venue
Specifically, we’re talking about parking and exits here. Does your venue have enough parking for all the attendees that will be driving? Avoid a major headache by checking out parking options and letting your attendees know where to go – and how to get there.
Understand Larger vs. Smaller Options
Is your event smaller, say under 100 attendees? Those events currently favor a smaller, more intimate spacing that encourages group discussion and team building rather than an impersonal seating arrangement. For larger events, focus more on wide spaces that provide clear views and rooms that are designed for presentations.
Plan Well Ahead for the Largest Events
If your event is particularly large (say, more than 300 people) you need to start venue spacing very early. Not only do you want to make sure a venue has enough room for so many people, you typically have to book large venues – think hotel conference centers or concert halls – far in advance to ensure you have enough room.
For more tips on sizing up your venue and other event planning tips, visit McVeigh Global Meetings and Events today!