Event Professional Blog

How to Source the Right Venue for Your Next Event

As in-person events return to our clients’ schedules, many event producers are looking for the perfect spaces to plan upcoming gatherings of all kinds. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to source great venues – sometimes, the best options can even be determined before ever stepping inside a space. As we seek to create what matters at Redstory, online resources are invaluable tools in our venue sourcing. Here are our go-tos: 

 

  • Websites + social media accounts are always one of our first check-ins as we scout potential locations. Typically, we’re able to get a feel for the space and even check availability online — so we don’t waste time on a space that’s unavailable or unable to provide what we’ll need for our event. Virtual venue tours are another great way to assess the space and determine if it’s a good fit for our client’s needs. 
  • Feedback + reviews tell us a lot about a venue. Reading what other event planners and clients have shared about a space can help us decide if the venue will work for us, avoid potential issues, and highlight important features we might want to utilize. 

 

After conducting online research, we send out Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to our top few venues. Typically, these proposals can offer much more detailed information about the venue and its capabilities than an online search could, and it helps us narrow the field even further until we land on the perfect spot for our clients’ next event. Whether we’re searching for a venue online or sending an RFP, we use four main pillars to determine which venue will work best for our needs. 

 

Location

 

This is the first and most important determining factor for any event we produce at Redstory. Whether we’re hosting a conference here in Nashville, or setting up a private corporate event states away, location is the driving factor behind countless logistics. If you’re searching for your next venue, make sure to consider these questions: 

 

  • Capacity: How many attendees will be at your event? Does this venue accommodate them comfortably? Does the space have adequate parking, or if not, transportation to and from the event? Are there enough meeting rooms or separate spaces for every aspect of your event? 
  • Accessibility: If attendees will be coming from other locations, is the venue near an airport? What modes of transportation are available in the city? Is the venue easy to find and navigate? Is it ADA-accessible?
  • Comfortability: We want our events to be enjoyable for every attendee, so we always consider amenities. Are there local attractions and restaurants that might interest guests? Are restrooms close by and easy to find? Are food and beverage vendors allowed, and will they be able to provide a seamless experience in this space? 

Pricing

 

Of course, a client’s budget is an important factor to consider in event planning and production – but sometimes, that price tag isn’t as simple as it seems. As you look over quotes or RFPs from venues, make sure to do a side-by-side comparison to see what’s included! Two of the biggest variables are accommodations, a must for multi-day events, and food and beverage, which can range widely based on menu and serving style (a buffet has a different price point than a multi-course, table-served meal). As you read over your quotes, make sure to check for the following list of less-obvious inclusions or exclusions:

 

  • Technology: Make sure that WiFi is readily available, and gather details about its speed and strength, as well as who can access the network. Also, determine the venue’s in-house technology options. If you’ll be renting all of your audio visual equipment separately, it’s important to factor in that cost. Some venues require that you source audio visual equipment exclusively through one of their partners, which may not always be the best option for your event. 
  • Outside vendors: Are there restrictions on which types of vendors are permitted, and if so, are set up and tear down hours included in the event cost? 
  • Security: Is this provided by the venue? If so, do they charge per day or by the hour? 
  • Permits: Depending on what kind of event you’re planning, you may need a special permit. Does the venue allow this? What is the cost to secure that permit, and how long will it take to obtain? 
  • Add-on fees: This category can range from using in-house tech equipment to having tap water available for attendees. Make sure to ask if there are any additional costs you’ll need to factor in. 

Production

 

You’ll likely be producing every aspect of this upcoming event for your clients, from aesthetics to technology. It’s important to consider how you’d like your guest to interact with the space – and with each other! To source the right venue, consider the flow of the space, deciding how each part of it will be used during the event. Will you have smaller meeting rooms for breakout sessions? Will you need coat rooms for storage or lounge areas that promote conversation during down time? Where will attendees eat, and how will they enter and exit the space? Having a clear plan for the space will help you find a venue that can truly accommodate that plan with ease. And when it comes to technology, be sure to get specific answers from the venue before signing on the dotted line: 

 

  • CAD file for the room(s)
  • Power
  • Rigging
  • Load in and load out space

 

As you’re deciding which venue is the perfect fit, don’t forget to consider the personnel you’ve interacted with. After all, venue staff can make or break your event – or at least your experience creating it! If your venue contact is friendly, accommodating, and knowledgeable, you’re in luck. Make that person your best friend, and your event will go much more smoothly. 

 

If you need help creating a unique, immersive experience for your next event, we’d love to hear from you and see how the Redstory team can bring your dreams to life. Email michael@redstory.co to set up a conversation today.