Your first visit to a venue is, naturally, an important one. But while first impressions always matter, we encourage event teams and decisions to go beyond their general feelings about a venue, and actually look at the details. While it may be easy to get overwhelmed during your first visit, take a little bit of time and focus on the signs that this is the best venue for your event.
Yes, the first thing you should look for in a venue is open spaces. That may seem a little odd, but trust us, it’s incredibly important. When you see a venue that has plenty of wide open spaces, you can do anything there. You can divide it into areas, turn it into a dining room, set up chairs for a conference, and practically anything else. A wide open space means that you can make the venue work. Dedicated spaces with furniture that can’t be moved are less exciting because you can’t easily customize them if necessary.
As you walk around, note who helps you and who is available. Look for staff working on scheduling, cleaning, and more. A venue that has staff around obviously cares about upkeep, and will have a person around that you can go to with questions or help during the event. If a venue is silent as the grave and no one is really around to help out, it’s probably not worth your time. This is also one of these things that you can ask directly about, but people can say anything – walking around a venue will give you a much more accurate idea about the sort of staffing provided.
This is a large category, but we’ll narrow it down for you: Look in the bathrooms. Are they clean? Are they well-supplied with the necessary towels and toilet paper? How do they smell? You can do this exercise with any on-site utility, but it’s easiest with bathrooms, and everyone has one. This tells you a whole lot about what happens behind the scenes and how attentive the venue really is. It’s hard to hide how competent you are – or aren’t – when someone can walk right into the bathroom, so take advantage of it!
Bandwidth is a little difficult to see, but remember to glance at your phone and check your bars. Are there any spots in the venue that don’t get great reception? Also, ask about total bandwidth – how many mobile devices can the venue comfortably support? The answer – even if the venue doesn’t know – will tell you a lot about how easily it can host a business event.
Yes, this sounds strange too, but remember to look at the doors. Doors can tell you a lot about a venue: They tell you what rooms were originally designed for, what sort of furniture or partitions can be moved in and out of a room, how easily a stream of people can enter or exit, and a lot more. Remember the doors!
Do you have more questions about finding the right venue for your particular event? Contact us at McVeigh Global Meetings and Events and we’ll be glad to help you out!