What is the aim of your meeting?
It’s important right from the start to establish why the meeting is being held, and what the desired outcome is to be.
Who is your target audience and how many will be attending? Is it a meeting for 10 senior staff with a set agenda and required outcomes or a conference for thousands with multiple options and agendas?
Location and accessibility
Once you know who will be attending, the issue of location and accessibility will need to be addressed. Are you looking for a relaxed country retreat or a smart city setting? Have you though about holding your event overseas?
The perfect location will depend partly on the aims of your meeting and partly on from where your attendees will be travelling. Do they all live in or around a particular city or will they be travelling from across the country or even the globe? Does your venue need to be well served by public transport and so be near a tube, train station or airport? Or will your attendees be driving, requiring your venue to be near main roads or a motorway, and to have adequate car parking facilities?
Accessibility for anyone with a disability may also need to be considered. Is the venue accessible for people with mobility issues, for example, or is there a hearing loop installed? If you are looking overseas, have you though about any cultural issues that might arise?
Size and ambience
The size, character and atmosphere of a place can affect how productive people are and how well they take in information. A venue needs to be right for both speakers or trainers and attendees. No one wants to spend the day in a poorly lit, cramped, stuffy room. The perfect venue should be airy with natural daylight. It needs to be large enough for the number of people attending, with seats in your preferred layout and enough of them to ensure that even latecomers can find one!
Be clear from the start about the facilities you will need to make your meeting work and make sure that your venue either has these on site or is suitable for them to be brought in. Do you need wifi, projection, AV equipment and catering for example? For larger meetings or conferences will sound and lighting and breakout rooms be required?
Careful thought in advance of your venue search is vital for success in finding that perfect place.