The perfect venue has long been the secret to a successful event. If you get the perfect venue, then you are well on your well to making an event successful. Of course, you need meticulously planned logistics, but the finding of the perfect venue can make or break an event.
There are now many online venue finding tools which claim to take the stress out of venue finding. Many large agencies will use venue finders. They will enter their venue preferences via a quick and easy form. The system is online and requires little to no venue interaction. Sounds great in principal, but often clients get pushed into a venue that’s not ideal. They may even miss out on the perfect venue because the Event Manager has relied on the tool’s database.
Added to this, certain large agencies charge venues for supplier status. By charging, they guarantee enquiries are sent to them. This may be a clever revenue stream, however it is the client who loses, as the venues offered are beneficial to the agency rather than the client.
Personally, I find the tools cumbersome and limited. I believe in picking up the phone and speaking to a venue, asking questions and thinking outside the box (which an online tool cannot do). On paper, a venue might feel right but after talking with the venue, we often find a solution that ticks all the right boxes and more. Building a valued relationship can almost guarantee a better deal is often negotiated. As one famous telecoms company has always said… It’s good to talk.
Delegates are now event savvy. They have grown tired of the standard buffet, the non-descript meeting rooms and the mundane bedrooms. Although these may be the perfect venues for certain event types, there are other times when real imagination is much needed.
I like to think outside the box and offer delegates a chance to experience something out of the ordinary when attending events. By thinking outside the box, you can find the perfect venue that positively impacts the delegate’s experience.
We have long been advocates of events at sea. Cruise ships, after all, are floating hotels with ready-made, high capacity event spaces. If you can fit your event within a cruise schedule, an event at sea offers stunningly good value, a very different experience and the chance to be that perfect venue with a twist.
Per person, the price includes your cabin, all-inclusive food and non-alcoholic beverages. During the day, the main theatre can be used for events with audio. Cruise ships visually offer you more than you could dream of and there are plenty of spaces that can be used for breakout sessions. Entertainment wise you’re spoilt for choice, with private group activities easily being arranged, often at no additional cost.
Two night cruises are great value for money. They are perfect for combining meeting time and social activities. Previously, we have been quoted less than £300.00 per person for a two night cruise from Southampton, which offers amazing value. You are not only providing a perfect venue but an unforgettable experience.
Another example of a perfect venue and experience is Centre Parcs. It offers a fantastically good value events package coupled with some of the best customer service in the industry. Once you have grouped delegates to villas, the experience is brilliant with great value meeting spaces, outdoor activities and plenty of fresh air. The ‘In-house’ experience means there is no need for extra team-building companies.
For small groups in the warmer months, Warwick Castle offers a ‘Glamping’ package, which could be a perfect venue option if you’re looking for something which is exciting and stylish. Yurts combined with a spectacular castle make it a perfect incentive retreat.
How about a private house for your perfect venue? A private house comes with all the luxury of a hotel but with a lot more independence and flexibility. With in-house staff, delegates can be looked after whilst meeting – perfect for team brain storming and incentives.
There are so many options out there which could be your perfect venue. Some are often dismissed at the first hurdle due to lack of knowledge, reliance on technology and workload pressure. Often, if a venue finder has 15 briefs on the table, they rely on preferred venues combined with online venue finding tools. It’s a shame as clients potentially miss out on a possible hidden gem and that perfect venue.
It’s a frustrating dilemma. Clients often gravitate to the larger agencies as they feel their experience, knowledge and ability is better than that of smaller agencies. Yet, often it’s the smaller agencies that can offer the knowledge and experience to help you find that perfect venue.