Warrie Howell is the managing director at the Princeton-Mercer Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau. An experienced event planner and grant writer with a strong commitment to community service, Warrie has volunteered with numerous national and community organizations. In her leisure time, Warrie discovers the fabulous attractions, restaurants and museums in New Jersey’s Princeton-Mercer County region.
Beyond Location and Price: 9 Ways to Choose the Perfect Venue for Your Event
When selecting a venue for your event, many factors exist beyond location and price. Event surveys have consistently emphasized the importance of sustainability, collaboration, wellness and inclusivity.
Meeting planners view these elements as essential when selecting a venue — and are willing to pay a premium for venues that prioritize these practices, surveys say.
How can you best cash in and create a successful event that goes down in history as one of the best your attendees ever attended?
By prioritizing sustainability, collaboration, wellness and inclusivity — as well as foundational necessities like local accommodations and easy transportation — you can easily create a triumphant event attendees will remember for years to come. Here are insights on prioritizing and checking off nine high-demand factors.
In today's environmentally conscious world, sustainability is more important than ever. A venue that prioritizes eco-friendly practices will reduce the event's environmental impact and create a positive impression on attendees.
Look for venues with energy-efficient lighting, recycling programs and water-saving measures. In addition, consider the venue's proximity to public transportation to minimize the carbon footprint of your event.
An inclusive event welcomes and accommodates attendees of all backgrounds, abilities and needs.
To ensure your event is accessible, choose a venue that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and offers accommodations such as ramps, elevators and accessible restrooms. In addition, consider attendees' cultural and dietary requirements when planning menus and programming.
The venue should foster a collaborative environment where attendees can easily engage and network.
Look for spaces with comfortable seating, breakout areas and ample space for mingling. Additionally, consider the venue's staff and their willingness to collaborate with you on planning and executing your event. A venue committed to working together will help create a successful and enjoyable experience.
The well-being of attendees is paramount, so consider venues that prioritize wellness. This can include spaces with natural light, air quality control and outdoor access.
In addition, venues that offer wellness amenities, such as on-site fitness centers, healthy catering options and relaxation zones, can significantly impact the overall attendee experience.
When choosing a venue, flexibility is crucial. The space should accommodate various event formats and sizes, from intimate meetings to large conferences.
Look for venues with multiple rooms, flexible layouts and the option to expand or contract the space as needed. This will ensure your event can adapt to any last-minute changes and accommodate diverse needs.
Every event is unique, and the venue should reflect that. An ideal location will offer assorted options for personalization, allowing you to create a tailored experience for attendees. This may include customizable menus, décor and branding opportunities.
A venue supporting your creative vision will help make your event memorable.
Local Accommodations and Hotels
When choosing a venue for out-of-town attendees, prioritize convenient and comfortable accommodation options.
Look for nearby hotels within walking distance or a short drive away to minimize transportation issues. One option: Partner with local hotels to offer attendees special rates or room blocks. Also, provide a list of recommended hotels with different prices and amenities.
Likewise, suggest alternative lodging options such as vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels for attendees who want a unique experience.
Easy Transportation and Accessibility
Choose a venue that is easily accessible for attendees, considering car accessibility, public transportation and walkability.
Select locations with convenient access to major highways, parking, public transit hubs and high walkability scores. This ensures a seamless experience and minimizes potential barriers for attendees.
Nearby Attractions and Points of Interest
A venue near local attractions, points of interest and entertainment options can contribute to a more memorable event experience. Attendees may want to explore the area during downtime or extend their stay to discover what the destination offers.
By selecting a venue close to well-known sights, shopping districts, high-rated restaurants and cultural institutions, you encourage guests to make the most of their visit.
Provide a list of nearby attractions and recommendations for dining, sightseeing and leisure activities in the event materials. This information will help attendees plan their trip, promote the host city, and support local businesses.