Tips for Successful Venue Selection

While the focus of judicial branch education is to design and deliver relevant content to judges and court staff, at some point we all get to wear the hat of event planner and must select a venue in which to deliver the content. While selecting a venue for your next conference, seminar or training event, keep the following things in mind:

1) Target Audience Size
This means the number of people you are expecting to attend your event. Make sure that your venue can easily accommodate your expected target audience. Your venue should not be too small or too large for your audience. If too small, then your participants will feel discomfort. If it is too large then you will unnecessarily end up paying more for the venue.

2) Target Audience Convenience
Select venue according to target audience convenience. Your venue should not be very far from the place where the majority of your target audience works, if possible. Your venue should have proper lighting and ventilation. It should not be in a noisy or polluted area. It should be absolutely neat and clean.

3) Venue History
Before selecting a venue, check out the location’s history. Find out how many events have been organized in the venue so far. In this way you can find out whether or not venue and the staff there are event friendly.

4) Venue Services
Before hiring a venue check out the number of services provided by the venue such as:

Parking facility
Make sure venue has its own parking space. It should be big enough to accommodate your target audience’s vehicles conveniently. If parking space is not adequate, then look for another venue.

Security Arrangements
Security of participants, service providers and target audience is a very important issue that should never be neglected or compromised at any cost. Make sure that your venue has adequate numbers of fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency escape routes, sprinkler system (a system consists of overhead pipes designed to control or extinguish fires), security personnel, handicap ramps, security cameras, first aid kits and power backup (like generator, inverter, UPS). Your venue must have separate entrance and exit gates and it should not be more than 30 minutes away from the nearest hospital. If your venue is at a remote location then presence of doctor and ambulance is a must. Also make sure your mobile phone properly works there.

Venue Staff
Your venue must have an adequate number of staff to serve your participants. Find out the ratio of servers to participants if providing a meal. The venue staff members must be friendly, helpful and courteous. In addition, they should be appropriately dressed. Ask you venue manager whether or not the staff is able and willing to work overtime.

Additional Services
Some venues provide additional services like catering, floral decoration, audio-visual aids, staging, lighting, and transportation.

5) Venue Fees
Ask the following questions from the venue manager before signing a contract:

  • What is the venue fee? Are you tax exempt? (Negotiate rental fee to ensure the best deal.)
  • What is included in the venue fee? Are table, chairs and linens included in the venue fee? Is security and liability coverage included in the venue fees?
  • What is not included in the venue fee?
  • Is there any cost for parking? Generally parking space is provided free of charge by the venue but some venues may charge separately for parking.
  • What is the price range for a seated/buffet lunch and dinner?
  • What is the cost of sleeping rooms? Do government rates apply?
  • What is your cost per person and per food item?
  • What are your fees and how do you charge for providing additional services? Such as audio-visual aids, staging, lighting, etc.
  • What modes of payments are available?
  • What are your payment, refund and cancellation policies?

6) Venue Inspection
Inspect the venue in advance of booking your event. Make sure air conditioners, fans, and water coolers work properly, and elevators are operational. Check for adequate lighting and ventilation and for sanitation and infestation. Find out how helpful, courteous and professional the venue staff is.