Picking the Perfect Venue for Your Event

From size and capabilities to location and cost, here’s how to pick the perfect venue for your event …

From traditional convention halls to outdoor parks, event venues come in all shapes and sizes – which can make selecting the perfect venue for your event feel like a daunting task!

While the use of unique and unusual event venues is becoming increasingly popular, most events still take place in one of three locations.

Organization-Owned Facilities

Corporate lobbies, auditoriums, manufacturing floors, and call centers are the perfect locations to engage a small, local audience, while broadcasting to a larger remote audience. These locations not only reduce venue related costs, they typically provide an interesting and relevant backdrop for the event. However, the spaces usually aren’t built with event production in mind, meaning docks, access to outlets, and rigging capabilities are often limited, if they exist at all. Event load in, rehearsals, and strike can also be disruptive for employees who typically work in the event space.

Hotel Ballrooms and Small Event Centers

These mid-sized venues are some of the most commonly used event spaces, and with good reason. Designed specifically for events, these spaces have most (if not all) of the technical capabilities your event will need.

Resorts and Arenas

Large scale events require locations that not only have flexible production capabilities, but will truly “wow” attendees and presenters alike. From pre-event function areas, indoor / outdoor spaces, interesting layouts, and a comfortable backstage area for presenters, these locations give you plenty of options – but have a price tag to match.

That being said, how do you pick the perfect venue for your event? While there are many elements of an event venue that are simply “nice to have”, there are some considerations that should not be ignored.

Venue Size

It goes without saying that your event venue needs to be large enough to accommodate all of your attendees. While most venues provide a capacity limit, these numbers usually assume that attendees will be seated throughout the entire room. This does not take into account the space taken up by the stage set up, any event related equipment, or the show crew. Make sure the event space is large enough to comfortably accommodate not only your attendees, but everything that will be in the room.

In addition to general sessions, consider what other meetings you may have, and what kind of space they’ll need. If several breakout sessions or smaller group meetings are taking place at the same time, it’s important that your venue has the space needed to accommodate them.

Capabilities

When it comes to event capabilities, not all venues are created equal – and not all events have the same needs.

It’s easy to assume that a venue will be able to accommodate any stage set up, entertainment, lighting, or sound needs you may have, but that isn’t always the case. From unusual structure limitations to local zoning regulations, every venue has its own intricacies, and with them may come production limitations or additional costs.

It’s always a good idea to engage your technical production partner prior to selecting a venue so that they can help identify potential challenges or limitations you may face.

Location

Location, location, location – it doesn’t just apply to real estate! 

Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you know not only what city the venue is in, but what the immediate surrounding area is like. The ideal location is not only safe, but easily accessible for both local attendees and those who may be traveling in for the event.

If a large number of people are coming from out of town, make sure there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and activities to accommodate attendees and event staff within a reasonable distance.

Additionally, consider the needs of your event, and whether or not this location will likely be able to accommodate them. If your heart is set on using local entertainment, make sure there are plenty of options in the area. If you want to source local vendors, staffing, or equipment, make sure the event is in a location that has all three.

Cost

When it comes to planning an event, this is usually top of mind! It’s easy to assume that the cost of a venue falls within your budget. However, if you don’t understand what is included in the venue rental fee, and what other costs you may incur, you may get hit with unexpected or hidden fees.

Before booking a venue, make sure you know exactly what costs are included in the rental. Are there extra charges for rigging? Are there any preferred vendors that the venue requires you to use? Is union labor required? Are a limited number of set up or strike hours included in the contract?

These costs can quickly add up, so make sure you know what is included in your contract to avoid any surprises later on.

Pro Tip: always include extra setup and strike time in your contract with the venue to get a negotiated rate.

Picking an event venue may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! By focusing on what matters most for your event and working with an experienced production partner, you’ll be able to find a venue that not only fits your needs, but gives your attendees the best experience possible.


At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.

We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much that’s beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!

If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up here to receive our updates (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).

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