When you’re planning an event, where you host it is a big consideration. From the time you start exploring your venue options, to the time you complete a site visit, there’s a lot to think about to ensure your venue is supporting an excellent delegate and event experience.
As you consider your venue options, take time to connect with the venue’s team. Think about what it takes to create a great delegate experience, and ask your venue how they can help you build that solution. Ask tough questions, ensure they’re ready to sweat the details, and challenge them to demonstrate why their venue is the right fit for your event.
Here are five things you should expect from modern venues.
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A Flexible Menu
Five years ago, menu choices would have been relatively straightforward—a meat protein or vegetarian option. These days, creating and managing a menu can be a challenge for you and your venue. From vegetarian, to vegan, to gluten-free, to lactose free and other sensitivities and dietary considerations, venues should be able to accommodate delegates’ diverse lifestyle and dietary needs, without compromising on taste. Look for workable menus that incorporate and identify dietary considerations.
Delegates are also looking for non-conventional options. Gone are the days of formal, sit-down meals. Events offer an opportunity for delegates to network and meet new people, and meals should be no exception. Rather than traditional seated buffet breakfasts or dinners, look for menus that feature grab and go options that keep delegates moving and engaging throughout the event.
With an action-packed agenda planned in the run of a day, you’ll want to have a diverse set of spaces that can be easily converted to accommodate a number of session types, including breakouts, workshops, galas and trade shows, with minimal work and minimal cost. Column-free halls, divisible ballrooms, studio kitchens, smaller breakout rooms and ample natural lighting are just a few of the features that modern venues must provide to bring your vision to life.
The versatility and adaptability of modern venues means you can really consider which room configurations will lead to the best delegate experience, and it’s important to be able to easily build the right room configuration plan online. From the time you start planning—your digital experience should be about easy access to room configurations, capacity and layouts, and variety.
Delegates don’t want to miss a beat of the digital conversation while attending an event, and having the right technology solution is a critical consideration. When it comes to WiFi, it’s not enough to be able to check your email—delegates want a seamless WiFi experience, available in multiple spaces, for multiple devices, for all event attendees. Group WiFi services, custom networking solutions, branded user login pages and built-in video broadcast systems are all things to consider when choosing a venue.
From tablets and cell phones, to laptops and smart watches, delegates are increasingly tech-savvy. With all those devices, delegates want an easy way to stay connected and powered up—figuratively and literally. Delegates look for many easily accessible plugs in locations that make sense so they can stay engaged during long, stimulating days.
Digital signage has come a long way, and it creates an opportunity to support and engage delegates throughout the venue. Digital hubs and signs outside each room make it easier to direct delegates where they need to be, when they need to be there. With always-changing room configurations, and potential for itinerary changes during an event, ensure digital signage can be updated regularly and on the fly with minimal effort. Modern venues are providing digital walls and wayfinding, with interactive signage that can provide information on local attractions, flight information, and weather updates and event details, to name a few.
Access to Culture
Venues should have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in their city. Look to your venue to have a point of view on what to do, where to stay, and what to eat. Your venue can provide you with the tools and platforms to create carefully curated cultural experiences and recommendations for delegates by leveraging local partnerships, from destination tourism partners to surrounding businesses.
From digital signage, to their website and social platforms, the best venues offer value by regularly showcasing all that their city or region has to offer.
Planning an event is a lot of work. There are so many considerations, and selecting your venue is just one (very important) piece. Your venue, and specifically your primary contact with the venue, should anticipate your needs, be available, and be supportive through the highs and lows of planning your event. Your venue contact can provide a lot of useful knowledge and industry experience, which can be used to create an exceptional event experience.
Ask your venue to provide a consistent relationship with one venue contact so that person gets to know you and can be accountable for the relationship from initial conversations to the event’s end. Streamlined communications to a mutual understanding of the big picture are ways your venue should provide a consistent planning experience.
When you consider a venue, think about the ever-changing delegate needs and expectations. A great event experience often comes down to the smallest of details. From menu design, to room configurations, to technology services and convenience, finding the right venue team means having a partner to help you check-off your always growing to-do list and ensure your event goes off without a hitch. The right venue sweats every detail so you don’t have to.