Your choice of conference venues can make or break both you and the company you represent.
Choose a conference venue that makes your guest speakers spark with energy, where the catering facilities and staff make your guests feel welcome and well fed and the special considerations are second to none, and you’re likely to get a gold star — or maybe a Christmas bonus would be more to your liking?
But, choose a conference venue that, well…sucks, and your reputation and possibly your job will go down the tube.
So, what are the main points to consider if you are called upon to select the perfect conference venue for your business or company? Let’s look at the ideal conference checklist.
The conference venue you select needs to reflect your company’s culture and ethos. Is it professional and does it set the right tone for the topics under discussion?
Consider your target audience. Will they feel comfortable in the surroundings and does the venue promote an atmosphere where they will feel inspired and excited by what you will be offering them during the conference?
Is the conference room a suitable size for the attendees? If the room is too large, your audience may feel swamped by the vacant space. If the area is too small the attendees will feel cramped and uncomfortable.
Are additional meeting rooms available for discussion groups?
Does the room’s layout make it easy to see and hear the speaker? Is the room well planned so that delegates can move around when necessary?
Is the conference centre easily accessible for all those attending?
Does it have adequate parking facilities or links to airports etc?
If you have planned additional events or excursions, does the conference centre make it easy to arrive and exit?
What facilities does the conference venue offer as part of the package and are they adequate?
Do the basic facilities meet all your needs? An overhead projector, electronic whiteboard, network connections for Powerpoint presentations should be included. A professional conference venue will also include stationery, WiFi connectivity, a water cooler or small refreshments area and a photocopy/fax service.
Is the conference centre well lit, well ventilated and temperature controlled?
Are the seats comfortable and well spaced? Don’t forget: the attendees may have to sit for long periods of time and an uncomfortable chair can result in disagreeable delegates.
Does the conference venue have facilities for disabled guests?
Are bathroom facilities handy to the conference room and easily accessible?
Is the cost for everything you will require to run a professional conference within your budget?
Are there additional, hidden costs for extras that have to be factored into the price? And do you believe you are getting value for money?
Can the price be negotiated or does the conference venue offer discounts?
How does the total price compare with similar conference venues at another location?
Is a deposit payable and if so, how much?
What is their policy on cancellations?
Does the conference venue offer a wide assortment of refreshments during breaks?
Is lunch and/or dinner included in the conference package, and if so, does the menu offer a number of choices?
Does the catering staff seem pleasant and willing to provide attendees with a great conference experience?
7. Attitude and Attention to Detail
As they say, “the devil is in the details” and you probably know from your own conference experiences that it’s the small things that can mean the difference between a mediocre conference and one that is memorable.
In most cases, you won’t know if most conference venues are going to live up to expectations until the actual conference is under way. So it’s important to ensure that every possible factor you can think of has been discussed and organised beforehand.
The attitude of staff at the conference centre will give you a clue as to how you believe they will operate during the conference. If the staff is eager to offer advice and assistance and willing to go that extra mile to ensure your conference goes off with a bang, you know you’re on to a good thing, so go with it!
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