Selecting the perfect venue for an event is always a tricky task. Various factors come into play and affect decisions: budget, location, quality of service, quality of function space, quality of guestrooms, F&B options, venue ambience and so on, depending on event requirements.
Budget is obviously a critical element but possibly one of the easiest aspects to “handle” since it dictates the choice of venues available. The budget automatically eliminates venues that are out of your budget range, and allows you to focus on those that survive the cut.
Location is an important factor in venue selection. Does the group need to be close to the airport or a train station? Would they prefer to be in the city centre, or close to shopping outlets? Or does the meeting have to be held close to the office? These all play an important role in the venue selection process.
Furthermore, a venue’s function space comes under scrutiny as this is where meetings delegates spend most of their time. Some key questions I always keep in mind when doing site inspections are: is there natural daylight? Are there pillars in the room and, if so, how will this affect the desired room setup? When was the last time the function space was renovated? Is Wi-Fi available in the function room? Where will the registration table be located in relation to the meeting space? Does the function space feel appropriate for this particular conference or event?
For me, the chief deciding factor, however, is quality of service. This is something I take note of from my very first site inspection, through all email exchanges and the contract negotiation process.
I want a venue that values and appreciates my business. One that understands the type of event and requirements needed to make the conference a success. Is the sales manager attentive? Is the transition from sales to event management smooth? Will event attendees be well looked after? Can the venue staff anticipate needs and take initiative to solve problems?
All things being equal, I believe quality of customer service is the tipping point in the venue choice of most event organisers.