Need to find an event location and don't know where to start?
The perfect event location is more than just a pretty interior and a great view. In this episode, event and floral styling specialist Tess Hodgkinson from The Style Maison gives you an overview of what you should be thinking about before you look for an event space and what you should consider when you've found some you like. It turns out, there's more to booking event locations than you thought!
“It's really important you have a clear idea of what your event objective and goals are before you start looking for a space”
4 STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT PR EVENT LOCATION
Determine what kind of event you want to hold. You should already have worked out what the goals are for the event so what does your ideal event look like? A small intimate dinner, a cocktail party for 40 - 50 people, an end-of-year Christmas event for 300 staff or a knock-your-socks-off celebrity event for the launch of a new product?
Understand what are the must-haves. Is it essential your venue has water views? Is the most important thing that you have Mexican food? Do you want to keep the event to just 20 people so you need a space that feels intimate? Do you need enough room to have a stage for a band? Do you need it to feel summery or are you going for a dark, moody feel?
Know what your total budget is and what portion of that you want to allocate to the venue hire. An event with the total budget of $5,000 will look very different to one of $50,000, let alone $500,000. The suppliers and opportunities available to you will be tailored to that budget so you need to know what you've got to work with
Give yourself enough time to find a location. You'll need to spend a number of hours researching, then shortlisting your favourite venues. Then you'll need to visit them to see how they compare to each other and what they're like in reality. This is a great time to bring your event stylist as they can provide invaluable feedback on things you wouldn't have considered. Once you've got a few you think would work, you'll have to bring your manager/team/client back to get approval before you move forward. And, if they don't like it, you're back to the drawing board so always have 1-2 back-up options!
Listen to the full episode on The PR Pod podcast for more tips and insight on event locations. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, just search "The PR Pod".
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND WITH LARGE EVENT SPACES
Be mindful you want the space to feel reasonably full so you need to make sure you have enough furniture and styling elements to fill the area. If there's too much empty space, the event can feel disjointed and the atmosphere dull
Check there are enough bathrooms. It may sound ridiculous but some event spaces just don't have adequate infrastructure. If there's only two bathrooms for two hundred people you're going to have a lot of unhappy guests
If you're bringing in a caterer, does the venue have adequate kitchen facilities? If not, you're going to have to include those extra hire costs
If the venue comes with furniture, is it in line with your style and theme? If not, you may have to hire it in. It can really effect the feel of an event to have furniture that is opposed to your theme
Think about accessibility. If the venue is in an industrial park or somewhere off-the-beaten track, are there parking and public transport links? If it's in an unusual location, not easily accessible, this may result in less attendance. In addition, what's access like for bumping in/out?
If you're planning on hosting your event outside, always have a wet weather contingency plan
The types of event spaces you should look at include corporate event spaces, warehouses, parks/gardens and restaurants
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND WITH SMALLER EVENT SPACES
Even if you're in a small space, you will still need a variety of furniture options to ensure your guests' comfort. High tables, comfy lounges etc. Different heights like high cocktail tables plus low sofas help provide a more cozy atmosphere
As with large event spaces, make sure the furniture is in line with your style/theme. If you're going for a beach theme and all the furniture that comes with the event space is glossy black, it's going to look strange
If you're hosting a media dinner, one or two long tables are the best arrangement to create a buzzy atmosphere. Smaller tables can impact the general ambiance and it restricts the conversation and networking opportunities
Private dining rooms at restaurants, bars, small corporate event spaces and private apartments are good places to start when finding a smaller space
TIPS FOR ANY EVENT SPACE
Understand the restrictions a venue may have. E.g. can you have open flame (candles), are you allowed pegged marquees, are there rigging points if you need something suspended from the roof, are the bump-in/bump-out times in line with your requirements, does it have loading dock access?
Pop-up spaces may not be as cool as you think they are... They sound ideal as they're essentially a blank canvas but there's pros and cons. Sure, you can style the space however you want and use any supplier you prefer but there's probably no infrastructure in place so it means paying for every single supplier. Plus, the space is unlikely to have a venue manager so you'll need to be liaising with those suppliers yourself throughout the night instead of shmoozing your guests (unless you use an event stylist and they can do all that for you!)
Restaurants and bars are an easy choice. You may be restricted with what you can do in the space in terms of styling but everything else like furniture, kitchen and pretty interiors are likely to be there for you. Plus, there' a venue manager to ensure the event is executed perfectly. If you have a smaller budget, this is likely to be the most economical option
Also keep in mind, when using a restaurant or bar it means you can tap into the existing credibility/reputation of the venue and its offering, which may appeal to your guests. However, these venues will be very expensive on Friday and Saturday nights as this is when they're the most busy. They'll have a high minimum spend in order for you to take over the space. Look at those venues for events earlier in the week and you'll save yourself thousands of dollars
Outsource finding an event location to an event stylist. Event stylists have been to HEAPS of event spaces in your city so they'll have a much better idea than you as to what will meet your brief and what the best options are
Not sure what kind of services an event stylist can provide? There's a whole other episode dedicated to just that! You'll find it here.