When getting started on your conference organising, it is best to decide on one key issue before you start sending out the invites, namely, the conference venue. Whether you will be inviting 500, 1,000 or even 3,000 delegates, there are several common decisions that you should be prepared to make early on in your venue hunt. Let’s take a look:
- Where? Looking for a venue in the Square Mile? Perhaps even around posh Bloomsbury or the West End? Or maybe you’re looking to lower some of your overhead costs by looking outside the centre in Stratford, or even further out, near Heathrow? Choose wisely, your attendees need to be able to access the venues easily. Also, make sure that hotel rooms are easily sourced and booked if needed. Remember, as you seeking a quite large venue, your location choice might be hampered by the availability of suitably sized venues.
- Purpose? What type of conference will you this be? If it’s a trade show or other sort of conference, you will need a large open exhibit space for displays and booths. If it’s a sales kickoff or other corporate event, you will need sufficient seating and speaking areas, as well as possibly smaller meetings for panels or coffee breaks. Consider your specific needs and be prepared to discuss them with venue managers on site.
- Equipment? A modern conference venue will need to offer the expertise and equipment to allow you to take advantage of the most modern equipment that attendees will expect. Whether it is a video wall or other types of LCD displays, drop-down screens and digital projectors, interactive whiteboards, sound systems powerful enough for large spaces, solid WiFi, or even reliable video conferencing, the venue should be able to help you meet your requirements in-house or with reliable vendors.
When hunting for big event spaces consider the following types of venues:
- Large hotel venues might suit your needs up to a certain size, and also offer the convenience of rooms for out-of-town delegates. The Leonardo Royal Hotel Tower Bridge, for example, can easily fit 400 in their Minories large meeting room in the centre of London.
- If you are looking for other types of venues, you might want to make a splash with some quirky and special choices that are sure to ‘wow’ your attendees. You can choose some amazing traditional listed buildings that have been repurposed with modern conveniences, the Royal Horticultural Halls-Lindley, for example, has a full glass ceiling and has been refitted for modern use without losing any of the breathtaking period accents.
- For a striking look consider modern venues, which includes large halls, theatres or stadiums, such as the Congress Centre at Tottenham Court Road.
- For truly large scale events of more than 2,000 consider the Grand Hall at Old Billingsgate or the Royal Festival Hall Auditorium at Southbank Centre, both can hold 2,500.