Getting your venue right

Stuart Harris, of Team Building Asia, shares his team’s experience of locating venues and ensuring they meet the event’s requirements

IT CAN be quite tricky to find a venue that has exactly what you are looking for, especially in areas like Hong Kong where indoor space is limited. Hong Kong doesn’t have the best climate for outdoor activities either so if you want to play it safe, you’re better off with an indoor venue (potentially with access to an outdoor area).

1/ Estimate the budget
To determine the type of venue to choose, the budget is the first thing you want to look at. If you’re on a tight budget, compromising on the material, quality and location is unavoidable. Reach out to the government to reserve a free (outdoor) area or to NGOs for a basic room.

But if your budget is rather high, the options are endless. Venues dedicated to hosting special events such as weddings and the large hotels will be able to provide you with all the help you need, from furniture to F&B to servicing staff, plus this will bring you peace of mind.

2/ Determine the size of the room you’ll need
The number of attendees is probably the second thing to think about. If you’re expecting over 50 people, you’ll want to check out venues with experience hosting big events. For our teambuilding events, we suggest you use well-known hotels because they already have everything in place, they are flexible, and sometimes they can even resize rooms.

If you’re expecting under 50 people, organisations like chambers of commerce often rent smaller spaces with basic equipment.

It’s also important to consider the set-up of the room because this will have an impact on the minimum size you will need. For example, for a cocktail party you can make use of the maximum capacity of the room, for banquet rounds you’ll need double the space.

3/ Decide on the location of the event
The location and easy access to the venue are other important factors when considering different venues for your event. If your location does not matter, you could opt for co-working spaces, they are located all around Hong Kong and have spacious rooms with basic equipment. If the location does matter, you can go with any type of hotel, restaurant, bar or even sports clubs around the neighbourhood you would like to host the event.

4/ Determine the equipment you need
It might save you a lot of trouble if the venue has tables, chairs, catering services, AV equipment, and other material available.

As mentioned before, hotels and other large organisations (for example, amusement parks or members’ clubs) are experienced with events and have everything you might need, including staff to help you set everything up. Co-working spaces, however, typically provide basic material and may not have AV equipment designed for large group presentations.

Keep an eye open for venues with pop-up events. For instance, the Hong Kong Observation Wheel’s event space at the Central Harbourfront can be rented for unique events like corporate days, staff days and client functions – perfect for a teambuilding activity.

Finally, here are some of Team Building Asia’s dos and don’ts to keep in mind when organising an event in Hong Kong:

DO:

  • If you’re engaging the venue’s crew to help you out, request for one to have a valid first aid training certificate. Anything can happen, especially in heat outdoors, and if anything, you would rather have people talk about the first-aid hero than about the panic and wait for an ambulance.
  • Review any requirements for your event – before booking the venue and especially before the start of your event. If you need to move tables and chairs around, signal/time for breaks, crew meals, etc., arrive approximately an hour early at the venue but also take additional time into account for the clean-up.
  • When you arrive to the venue, introduce yourself to the Banquet Captain and other primary staff as they will be the people in the room helping you most throughout the day.

DON’TS

  • Before booking a venue make sure you receive good, recent pictures of the actual room you will be using. A pillar in the centre of the room can be very hindering if you’re going to be speaking or showing visuals on a wall.
  • Try to find venues where natural daylight comes into the room. Especially if you’re hosting an all-day event, spending it in a basement can be quite tiring for the crowd.
  • Don’t leave a mess for the staff to clean up, tidy up after yourself throughout the day and especially at the end of the event.

Stuart Harris is managing director and co-founder of Team Building Asia




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