If you’re hosting a conference the biggest decision you’ll have to make is where to host it. The venue has a direct impact on the success of any function. If you have the right venue or conference center, you’re more than half way there.
Here are all the things you should consider before booking your event…
The best venues are located in the vicinity of local landmarks. This is especially useful for out of town guests. You can position the conference as an opportunity to check out the town and its attractions, restaurants, museums and entertainment. Make note of any nearby areas worth a pre or post-event visit. For local conferences, consider a location fairly close to the majority of the attendees for easy access.
It’s important that the venue is easily accessible for everyone. If it’s difficult to find or too far off the beaten track, you may find that guests are late or arrive frustrated, which is not a great way to start a conference. Speaking of accessibility, be sure that the venue is wheelchair friendly as well.
Convenient, secure parking should be readily available for all guests arriving in their own vehicles. Take note of how many parking spaces there are in relation to the number of attendees. If parking is limited, you may want to advise attendees to carpool or make them aware of the next nearest parking lot or garage.
You also need to enquire if parking permits or passes are required. Venues usually hand out a limited number of permits or passes for staff members. See if you can negotiate a few additional permits for your guests, especially your VIP attendees or consider offering valet parking for locations or venues where parking is a bit challenging.
Ensure that the size of the conference room suits the number of invitees and your required seating arrangement. Don’t be tempted to force people to sit theatre style when they need to take notes and want to use laptops and iPads. Likewise, a conference room that is too big for the number of guests will lose the intimacy required for interaction and sharing of ideas. If you are going to divide people into smaller groups for brainstorming sessions or smaller presentations, make sure that there are suitable break-away rooms. The ideal venue is one which offers a variety of different sized conference rooms.
Setting up a conference can be stressful and tiring, but if you choose a venue which has professional support personnel, they can help ensure a successful event. The right staff can help with everything from check lists and menu selection to agenda setting.
These days high speed Wi-Fi at the venue is a priority, as is good audio-visual equipment. If your event requires the standard data projectors, screens and white boards, ensure that the venue is equipped. Otherwise, look into renting or hiring a specialized technician to handle the equipment for you.
Always inquire about the venue’s Wi-Fi before booking a venue. If guests are struggling to use their devices, you can bet that it will be a factor in their overall critique of the event.
Ensure that all items are taken into account when budgeting for your conference so that when the final bill is presented, you do not receive any surprises. Some venues offer all-inclusive conference packages which make budgeting much simpler.
Most venue prices vary depending on demand. Flexibility in date and time will help you reduce your cost by moving your event to low season, or times where the venue may be less booked, or may even have short term availability.
If you’re planning a meeting, event or conference in the Kansas City area be sure to check out the Kansas City Conference Center. Our nine artfully appointed spaces accommodate meetings of many sizes with a wide range of custom features.
From a casual brainstorming session to company board meetings, KC Conference Center is designed to inspire productivity and collaboration. We also offer a number of amenities such as food and drink options, TV’s, projection, A/V, full kitchen and receptionist. Book today!