Event Operations

How to Find a Venue for an Event

Reading time: 17 min

Finding the perfect venue for your event is like finding the missing piece to a puzzle. It's the complete foundation upon which your attendee experience unfolds. But hold on a second! Selecting an event venue is about more than aesthetics and ambiance; it's a strategic move that sets the stage for future decision-making. Think about it: picking the right venue can make or break your ticket sales, determine the rest of your budget, and influence the other factors event organisers need to juggle. So, how about we help you out? In this guide on how to find the perfect event venue, we've got step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and plenty of inspiration to ensure that your event stands out from the crowd. Let's get started!

Importance of venue selection for an event

When it comes to planning your event, booking the right venue is crucial. It's oftentimes your largest cost and the backbone of your events, setting the tone of your attendees' overall experience. Whether you're organising an annual festival, a head-banging concert, a thrilling holiday party, or a heartfelt charity fundraiser, every event is unique in its own way. Thus, tailoring your venue selection to your specific event is key. Depending on its convenience, ease of parking, and other factors, your event's location can play a huge role in whether people will show up or not. 

When should you start booking event venues?

Booking a venue for an event depends on a few factors. First, getting the ideal date depends on your event date's flexibility. The more flexible you are with your event date, the better chance you'll have at securing a sweet deal. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it depends on the venue's general availability, especially if it's a high-demand location. Event venues often have varying rates depending on the day of the week or the season, so exploring alternative dates might just save you some money, which you can reinvest back into your event. 

The key here is to plan your event as far in advance as possible. By doing so, you not only increase your chances of securing that perfect date, but also you can ensure you'll get the best rates for it. Rushing into booking a venue can end up costing you more money, since last-minute availability tends to come with a premium price tag.

Additionally, it's always a good idea to add buffer time before your event day for unexpected accommodations or adjustments. This way, you'll be prepared for any surprises that may arise during the planning process. So, remember to plan ahead, consider flexibility, and give yourself ample time to secure the right venue for your event. Your wallet will thank you, and your attendees will be impressed with your well-planned event.

How would you go about searching for the right venue?

When it comes to searching for event venues, it's important to utilise all your available resources. First and foremost, consider any venue options that your organisation may already have. Reach out to colleagues, friends, and industry contacts in your network to see if they have any recommendations on suitable venues. This could include leveraging existing partnerships, like reaching out to your sponsors who may have access to potential venues.

Additionally, take a look at other venues that have been used for popular events in your area. These venues are likely to have extensive experience hosting events and may offer attractive packages. Of course, don't forget the power of a simple Google search and online venue search platforms. These platforms allow you to filter and compare potential venues based on factors like size, location, and amenities. Social media can also be a helpful tool here for you to check out events similar to yours and see where they're hosted.

Finally, consider public venues managed by your town or city. This type of venue offers unique spaces and amenities, but keep in mind that special permits or permissions may be required. By utilising these various resources, you'll be sure to find the perfect venue that aligns with your event goals and budget!

Schedule site visits

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential venues, it's time to schedule site visits to examine their suitability for your event. To begin, reach out to your top choices and set up appointments for the site visits. During these visits, prepare a list of questions and needs that you want to discuss with the venue representatives. This could include inquiries about capacity, available amenities, catering options, technical capabilities, and any specific venue requirements for an event. You can also give the venue space (i.e. lobby, bathrooms, meeting rooms) a quality check to ensure it meets your standards.

By having a prepared list of questions, you can ensure that all your concerns are addressed upfront and that you gather all the necessary information to make your final decision. Distinguish between your "must-haves" and your "nice-to-haves" when looking at your venue. That way, you can determine which factors are non-negotiable for your event versus which are preferences that would be great to have but are not deal-breakers. This distinction will help you prioritise and evaluate the venues based on how well they meet your specific needs. 

15 factors event planners should consider in venue selection

When narrowing down your venue options, there are a number of factors to consider in venue selection for your events. Getting clarification on these upfront ensures you're setting yourself up for success with a smooth event day. Now, let's dive in!

1. Venue cost

When selecting an event venue, cost is one of the largest factors. This goes beyond just the flat rental fee for the venue too. It's important to inquire about any extra fees for rentals that may apply, such as charges for extra services or amenities. Ask the venue manager upfront what is included in the price and what is not (like taxes or add-on services). Additionally, it's important to ensure that the rental time includes sufficient venue access for both setup and breakdown. Moreover, it's crucial to budget for additional costs outside of the venue rental fee. These costs can include expenses such as catering, audiovisual equipment, decorations, staffing, and permits. By accounting for these costs upfront for your overall event budget, you can avoid unexpected bills later!

2. Event date availability

As we mentioned earlier, the flexibility of your event date matters! In particular, seasonality can play a significant role in determining the availability and the cost of certain venues. If your event falls around popular holidays or peak seasons, a venue's business may be in high demand, meaning higher prices. Moreover, weekend events are typically more popular than weekdays, and venues may have limited availability or at least cost you more. If you have some flexibility, venues may even offer discounted rates for off-peak dates or last-minute availability. However, if you have a preferred date in mind, you may need to pay a premium price for securing that specific date. Evaluate what your budget is and how much you're willing to spend in order to secure your ideal venue at your preferred time and date.

Booking for multi-day events

Another aspect to consider is whether you require multiple dates for your event. For instance, corporate events or multi-day festivals may need consecutive dates. In such cases, ensure that the venue can accommodate your schedule and discuss the possibility of discounted rates for booking multiple dates.

Inclement weather accommodations

If you plan to have an outdoor event, it's crucial to have a contingency plan for inclement weather. Inquire with potential venues on whether they provide options for rescheduling or if they have auxiliary event spaces available indoors. Having the ability to schedule a rain date ensures that your event can proceed smoothly, even if the weather is a bit unpredictable.

3. Ideal location

This will really help put your event on the map (literally)! The ideal location takes your target audience into account. Being in proximity to where your attendees live makes it convenient for them to reach the venue's location, increasing the likelihood that they'll come. It should be an easy-to-find location, and ideally one close to transportation like buses or airports with nearby hotel accommodations. Depending on your budget, picking a memorable venue type to host events (like at a rooftop garden, winery, or historic house) can seriously elevate your experience as well and give attendees lasting memories, so they want to come back for your next event. 

4. Comfortable atmosphere

Coinciding with the general location, you'll also want to prioritise guests' comfort once they're inside your venue space. First impressions of your event are important, so you'll definitely want to impress attendees from the start! Not only is your venue the foundation of your attendees' experience, it's also the background to all your event photography and promotional materials. So, make it count! Find a place that fits the style of your event, whether that be a cosy, homestyle feel or a more sleek, modern look. The more you like the interior of the building, the less decorating you may have to do. That said, there's something powerful about a blank slate as well! Additionally, consider scheduling your site visits around the same time as your event will happen so you can assess how the natural lighting might impact how your venue looks.

5. Event venue capacity

Make sure you carefully consider the capacity of the event space. One must be mindful of how the number of people will navigate your venue. Ensuring that the chosen venue can legally and comfortably accommodate the intended number of guests is essential to create a pleasant experience for everyone. Triple-check whether the event space requirements account for seated or standing room only when researching options. This will be important to avoid overcrowding and make sure that seating doesn't get too tight, as well as to follow safety protocols. You'll also want to have enough space for any preferred vendors and sponsors' booths too. Depending on your expected number of people, there can be value in selecting smaller event venues that have the potential to sell out faster, creating an atmosphere of exclusivity and excitement!

6. Floor layout

Hosting a successful event ensures every person feels comfortable, engaged, and has an unforgettable experience. The floor layout of your chosen venue plays a pivotal role in achieving that. From the seating arrangement to table placement, every detail contributes to the overall ambiance. Use clear and obvious signage that attendees can easily read, ensuring a hassle-free experience. But it doesn't stop there! Whether you need a stage for performances or a dance floor for vibing, confirm that the right venue has the elements you need to fulfil your vision for the event.

Consider where to place your event's registration table for check-in and how you'll accommodate the flow of people entering and exiting. And let's not forget about foot traffic throughout your event. By strategically setting up multiple stations, multiple check-ins, and catering areas as needed, you'll eliminate bottlenecks and keep the flow smooth. Safety is paramount, so verify that it's easy to get to emergency exits too. To help with this, lay out an illustrated floor plan that both staff and attendees can reference.

7. Accessibility

To make your venue accessible to all attendees, verify that there are elevators and ramps as needed so individuals with mobility aids can navigate the space with ease. Ample seating should be provided, especially for an older crowd, to ensure each person is comfortable throughout the event. For families with young kids, ensure there are changing stations available and other potential accommodations like certain rooms dedicated for kids. By taking these accessibility measures into account, event organisers can create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all attendees.

8. Food and drink suppliers

A fantastic event is one where great food, drinks, and memories come together! If you're planning to have food at your event, clarify whether you'll need to arrange this separately or if the venue will take care of it. If the venue is in charge of the food, remember to consider the minimum number of guests they plan to serve and make sure to invite at least that many people. If you're providing your own or recruiting other food vendors to do your catering, check if the venue has a kitchen available to store and prepare the food. Should you want a bar at your event, ask if the venue has a designated bar area or if they can arrange for bar services. By addressing these aspects, you'll ensure that your guests are well fed and hydrated!

9. Additional services

Depending on the size of the prospective venue and your available budget, you may want to ask about services that are included in your contract versus what the venue will provide for an additional cost. Some areas may include:

  • Traffic control

  • Security

  • Waste management

  • Furniture rental service (e.g., tables, chairs, linens, silverware)

  • Transportation (e.g., shuttle services)

  • Tents, fans, and/or heating units for outdoor events

  • Additional event staffing

Your needs will vary depending on whether your event is indoors or outdoors, what size it is, and more. Share your complete vision with the venue manager to ensure you've got all your bases covered, allowing you to determine additional services to secure.

10. Parking availability

Parking is a critical aspect of selecting a venue that you should also strategize at a given venue (your guests will have to put their cars somewhere!). Is there ample parking space onsite or nearby? Are there any restrictions or additional fees associated with parking? By addressing these questions, you can give your event attendees peace of mind about finding a parking spot, especially if they can avoid street parking or paying for it. Easy access to a parking lot not only saves time but also enhances the overall experience, allowing attendees to arrive smoothly and let them focus on enjoying the event. If your budget allows for it, you may even consider offering valet service so it's one less thing your attendees need to think about.

11. Quality of acoustics

When considering a venue for your event, it's important to assess the quality of the acoustics. Wondering if the sound is up to par? Don't hesitate to ask the venue owner about typical comments they receive regarding the sound quality at previous events. It's worth noting that venues with low ceilings tend to amplify sound, while open spaces can create excessive reverb, which may affect clarity. Finding a good balance is key, ensuring that the sound is neither too quiet nor too loud. 

12. Insurance needs

Insurance requirements will vary depending on the nature and size of the venue. Many times, the venue will have liability insurance covered, so be sure to ask. Some larger venues may have stricter requirements, mandating that event organisers have insurance coverage in place even before negotiating the terms.

It is important to communicate with the venue and inquire about the specific insurance requirements and who is responsible for providing them. If a larger venue does not require any insurance or if the coverage seems inadequate, it could be a red flag. Adequate insurance coverage ensures the protection of both the event organiser and the venue, offering peace of mind and safeguarding against unforeseen circumstances. 

13. Ample technology

Your technology needs depend entirely on what kind of event you're organising. Do you need a projector for presentations? How about a sound system for your entertainment or keynote speakers? Check with the venue manager regarding what resources they have available versus what equipment you'll need to bring yourself. This could include anything from additional lighting to audio-visual equipment. And don't forget about WiFi! Check that your selected venue has strong WiFi available for your attendees to connect to. 

14. Cancellation policy

There's always some uncertainty when organising events. Because of that, you'll want to know the venue's cancellation policy to avoid any unwanted surprises. Should you need to cancel your event, ask the venue if they have a percentage refund policy based on how far in advance you cancel. Clarify whether you'll still be charged a cancellation fee if the event needs to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances (like inclement weather). By proactively addressing these questions based on how they've handled past events, you can ensure that you are well informed about the cancellation policy and make decisions with confidence. 

15. Ticketing protocol

You'll need to check if you should sell your tickets through their venue's provider or if you can use your own. Many venues will let you use a do-it-yourself system like , while others may have a set contract with a specific ticketing service already. 

Voilà! You've got all your bases covered on what to consider when booking your next event. Every event's needs are different, so communicate them as clearly as possible with your venue manager. And once you're ready to host your event, TicketLeap's user-friendly system is fully prepared to sell your tickets. In the end, you'll look back with confidence knowing your selected venue is the best fit for your event!

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