10 Tips for choosing a conference venue
Make sure that the venue is easily accessible for all delegates, taking into consideration that they may have to negotiate rush hour traffic to get there. If it’s difficult to find or too far off the beaten track, delegates may be late or arrive harassed and irritable.
Secure parking should be readily available for all delegates arriving in their own vehicles. Also check that there is coach parking, if you are providing transport, and that it is close to the venue.
3. Peace and tranquility
A venue which is away from the bustle of the city will help to promote more creative and productive thinking. Being cooped up in a windowless room all day with no access to fresh air is not conducive to a receptive audience Some out of town venues also offer the option of alfresco dining and outdoor teambuilding events.
4. The right size venue and break-away rooms
Ensure that the sizie of the conference room suits the number of delegates and your required seating plan. 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 will loose the intimacy required for interaction and sharing of ideas. Make sure that there are suitable break-away rooms close to the main venue. The ideal venue is one which offers a variety of different sized conference rooms.
There’s nothing worse than breaking for tea and finding a tray of limp, soggy sandwiches and wilted lettuce in the hallway, or being served a stodgy heavy meal at lunch time. Choose a venue that is know for supplying fresh, healthy food so that delegates return after the break refreshed and ready for work again, not overfed and lethargic. The catering at the venue should also be able to meet the special dietary requirements for your delegates, including vegetarian, Kosher and Halaal meals.
6. Professional staff
Setting up a conference can be stressful and tiring but if you choose a venue which has professional support personnel, they will assist to make your company conference a slick, impeccable, successful event. The right staff can help with everything from check lists, menu selection and agenda setting to entertainment and team building.
High speed Wi-Fi at the venue is a priority, as is good audio-visual equipment. If your event requires more than the standard data projectors, screens and white boards, ensure that the venue is able to hire specialised technical equipment for you.
8. Good accommodation and facilities
Unless your conference is a one day event, you will need to provide comfortable accommodation for delegates. Ensure that the venue has the sufficient number of bedrooms and that where delegates are required to share, for budget purposes, twin beds are supplied. Your delegates will want to relax and unwind after a day’s conferencing so choose a venue with a hospitable bar, a good restaurant, and possibly a spa with facilities like saunas and Jacuzzis.
9. Wheelchair friendly
It goes without saying that the venue should cater for disabled delegates and have easy wheelchair access to the conference and breakaway rooms, accommodation, bars and facilities.
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 nasty shocks. It’s a good idea to limit bar expenditure so that delegates pay for their own alcoholic drinks. Some venues offer all inclusive conference packages which make budgeting much simpler.
This information is provided by Kievits Kroon Country Estate Hotel & Spa – recognised as one of the top conferencing venues in Pretoria and Gauteng and was recently nominated one of Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Hotels by the internationally recognised World Travel Awards.