Conference Venues – What To Look For In A Conference Venue

If you want your next conference to be memorable for all the right reasons, take a deep breath and choose your conference venue wisely and well. Your choice of venue speaks volumes about your professional and business identity.

Poorly chosen conference venues have the potential to permanently and negatively affect your reputation and standing in industry circles. Your delegates’ experience of your conference can only work in your favour if you turn your attention to the most important details.

Here’s how you can sort the wheat from the chaff when choosing conference venues.

Find conference venues that are a great ‘fit’ for your conference style

Picking the right conference venue is a process of careful distillation. Having a clear vision of what you hope to achieve and finding conference venues that are reflective of that ‘vibe’ is key. You really need to know your audience well, recognise their needs and cater for those needs to the letter. You also need to have a strong sense of what kind of atmosphere you hope to create.

Are you hoping to achieve a retreat-like experience for conference delegates? If so, you should consider a range of conference venues that cultivate that sense of escape from the rat race: a luxurious venue in a peaceful country setting, free from distraction, for example.

Perhaps you’re striving for a sense of the dramatic or a dynamic, cutting-edge experience for conference delegates? If so, go for a venue in the heart of a bustling city with plenty of extra-curricular activities to enjoy before and after the event. Hire a bus or limousine to help showcase your city!

The conference venues you shortlist have a dramatic impact on the atmosphere you ultimately create.

Proximity

It’s important to consider the amount of time conference attendees will be travelling to and from your conference venue. Consider conference venues that are reasonably proximate to:

  • airports
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • entertainment venues
  • major tourist attractions and spectacular scenery.

If you’re anticipating a lot of delegates from out of town, ask your venue to provide an information pack with key local features.

Accommodation

Many conference venues offer accommodation on-site. This can provide greater convenience for delegates. In deciding between different conference venues, consider those that offer a wide range of accommodation options. It may be stating the obvious, but if your venue offers accommodation it should be clean and spacious, with quality in-room service, wi-fi and ample room for guests to work and relax.

Seating capacity and configuration

Venue size is everything. The capacity of your conference venue should dovetail perfectly with the number of conference attendees that you’re anticipating. Selecting too large a venue means the empty seats will leave conference delegates with the impression that attendance levels were low. Too small a venue and you risk overcrowding, leaving people standing up in lectures or wasting time on frustrating queues for the toilets.

Accurately predicting the number of attendees is crucial when you’re faced with hundreds of conference venue options ranging from intimate or boutique venues right up to stadium-size mega-venues. It also makes good business sense when you consider the cost of hiring conference venues normally correlates to seating capacity. Get this wrong and you’re wasting money on empty seats and food that will go to waste.

Your conference venue’s configuration should also facilitate the type of sessions you’ve scheduled. Consider whether you want ample room for large-scale presentations, or smaller, more intimate sessions or workshops.

Getting the basics right

It’s essential that the conference venues you look at should be well-ventilated and provide participants with access to good natural light, particularly if you’re scheduling lengthy sessions or if the content is particularly taxing. There should be ample space for delegates to get up and stretch their legs, mingle and network during scheduled breaks.

Wired for sound…and vision

Your conference delegates are attending your conference for a reason. They’re not going to be happy to pay for sessions they can’t adequately see or hear. You should ensure that your conference venue is set up with the necessary equipment for each session. Look for conference venues with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and check for its compatibility with the equipment and software you’ll be utilising.

Also, find out ahead of time the extent to which your conference venue offers assistance with setting up and dismantling equipment. Will they have a customer relations person available to ensure your conference runs without a hitch? Some conference venues offer an in-house conference organiser to take care of the smallest details so that you can focus on what you need to.

Catering

There’s nothing worse than attending a conference and being served second-rate food. You must provide a wide, plentiful range of fresh food that helps delegates feel refreshed and ready to continue with the day’s events. Food should also encourage social interaction; avoid ‘finger food’ that’s awkward to hold or formal dining options that make it hard for people to mingle.

In choosing catering options for your guests, consider showcasing local, seasonal produce and always consider allergies and food intolerances.

Accessibility

A great conference venue is an accessible venue…for everyone. Accessibility’s about ensuring that the needs of all conference participants are adequately met so that their experience of your conference isn’t overshadowed by difficulties accessing the venue or session content. It’s estimated that up to 1 in every 5 Australians lives with a disability (Australian Bureau of Statistics - 2015). Obviously, some disabilities are more visible than others, so ensure that you consider accessibility issues when choosing between different conference venues. Your choice of venue should be adequately equipped for those with a hearing or visual disability, as well as those with a physical impairment.

Making life easy for your conference participants

The venue’s just a small part of the picture when it comes to creating the right impression for your conference delegates. There are other ways you can win them over! By far, the best is to make their experience of your conference as smooth and hassle-free as possible. You can do this from the moment they collect their bags at the airport by arranging discrete, reliable and luxurious transportation to the conference venue. Freeing them up from having to worry about navigating an unfamiliar city gets their conference experience off to a great start. You’re also more likely to have them at your event on time.x1

Hughes Limousines offers a premium chauffeur-driven limousine service and impressive range of door-to-door driver services. We’re perfectly placed to cater for all your transportation needs, big and small, for your next conference. Create a memorable conference experience that speaks volumes about your business with hassle-free transportation to conference venues.

Organising a conference and need professional chauffeur services? Contact Hughes Limousines today on 1300 615 165 (within Australia) or +61 2 9317 9000 for impressive transportation from the airport to your conference venues.