Sarah Halfpenny Events

Venue Sourcing | Saving you time, money & miles!!

by Sarah Halfpenny

Venue sourcing for your next event is crucial to its success. With so many things in play from the location, accessibility, room layouts to venue style, it’s important that the venue search is comprehensive to ensure you get the right venue at the right price.

In this blog, we are going to share our most useful insight into effective venue sourcing, and it all starts and ends with the production of a robust VENUE BRIEF.

At Sarah Halfpenny Events, we have fine-tuned our Venue Brief template. Before embarking upon a venue search for our clients, we use the venue brief document as a tool to establish the main search criteria, or wish list!

The search criteria that we believe needs to be identified within the venue brief include:

Target number of delegate
This is crucial as your proposed number of guests or delegates will all need to be accommodated. Using this criterion alone, you will be forced to discount venues just based on their room capacities.

Proposed Location
Do you need to locate the event near the sector or industry you are trying to attract? Or is it more important to have a venue with easy access to a motorway or train network? By setting your location parameter you will automatically reduce the available venues to consider.

Proposed month, date if you have one
Sometimes you can find a venue then fix a date. Other times you have to find a suitable venue which is available on your event date. Either way, be clear on how flexible you can be.

Event Format
So, are you organising a seminar, talk or conference, dinner, networking reception, exhibitions and demonstrations? Be clear on the event format early on to ensure every aspect of the event can be delivered.

Proposed venue requirements
It’s good to understand what you need from a venue in addition to the event space. This could include things like Wi-Fi, parking, storage, event office and security etc.

Proposed room layout
Although this is often discussed when you do venue visits, it is good to start your search with an idea of how you would like things to be set up. For example, the seating arrangements may be in theatre, cabaret or classroom. You may also require a registration table, exhibition space, and area for displays, catering and a lounge area for your guests to relax etc.

Proposed style of venue
Not always crucial but some events lend themselves to being held in a certain style of venue. So from a traditional house, museum, gallery, modern hotel, café or tourist attraction, it’s helpful to try and set the style and tone of the event early on.

On-site delegate services
Especially important for a 1 day or multi day event, the comfort of your guests needs to be a priority as it will impact upon their overall experience. With the type of guest in mind, you can predict the likely services they will need. These could include hotel accommodation, on-site restaurant or café to a business center which enables them to work.

Catering requirement
From experience the catering for an event is often governed by the venue caterers. It is recommended that you start your search though with an idea of the sort of refreshments and catering you would like to serve your guests. This will at least provide you with a good starting point for discussions with caters down the line.

Equipment hire
From additional portable toilets, furniture, staging to backdrops and table center pieces, it’s ideal to have a list to hand during your initial search phase. For example, you may find quickly that a venue does not permit or have room for staging with the capacity of guests you desire.

By outlining your criteria and requirements at the Venue Brief stage, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance of sourcing a venue that ticks if not all, but most of your boxes.

Even with a venue brief in hand, actually undertaking a thorough venue search can become time consuming, distracting and at times frustrating. Tasks from researching, shortlisting, scheduling and attending venue visits, contract negotiations and supplier management are still all required.

If you would like to save yourself time, money and mileage, then give us your task list and we will do the hard work for you.