Choosing the right venue for an exhibition

Hosting an exhibition or large event for a specific business sector is a huge undertaking; and one of the first items on the agenda when commencing the exhibition planning, is finding perfect venue to maximise effectiveness, sustainability and client satisfaction. It can be one of the most critical aspects of an exhibition or event’s success and there are a number of factors that can influence the all-important selection criteria

Reed Exhibitions does not compromise when it comes to selecting venue partners for its events, and we consider it one of the most successful elements of why our events are sought after year after year.

Three key factors are at the first stages of seeking out a perfect venue:

• Budget
• Target audience, visitor and exhibitor
• Business sector

Once the three key factors have been established, the hunt for the most suitable venue can begin. The furthest in advance you can book the venue the better. 12 months in advance is the most ideal, but even sooner is better when locking in your plans. Recurring dates on an annual event should also be secured as much as 4/5 years in advance.

Budget

When fitting the venue you have selected into the set budget, it is recommended to remain flexible with dates in order to secure the best option. The day of the week or month of the year can all play a part in what is available as an option. When partnering with the venues, ensure you consider all the package options that are available in order to create the right financial fit for your event. Consider if the aesthetics match your objectives, and if not how much additional budget you would need to create the desired effect.
Facilities and services

Consider the following when making your selection

• What services and facilities does the venue offer? Is catering included?
• Is there a kitchen on the premises or is catering outsourced?
• If the cost does not fit in your budget can you bring in your own caterer?
• Will you be provided with installation and clean up staff?
• What about technology and equipment? What will be available and what do you have to arrange on your own?

Location

Depending on the goals and objectives, consider the convenience of your exhibitors and visitors. If the target audience is in the same city, then ease of access is key. If the visitors will come from afar then consider accessibility from the airport, the range of accommodation options nearby and whether there are other interesting reasons to visit a particular city or town. For smaller events consider hosting the event at a hotel venue that can hold the exhibition and accommodate all delegates at the same time.

Size

Ensure the correct analysis is done on the size of the venue to meet the needs of the event. Establish if the venue is large enough to accommodate different forms of layout. Scrutinise the limitations on catering and outside suppliers, the availability and costs of parking, storage and delivery areas etc.

The suitability of the venue

Based on the theme and flow of your event, ensure that the the venue’s floor plan allows for a smooth flow of processes and activities. Ensure the lighting is sufficient for the needs of the exhibitors. Make sure there is access to a stage and seating if you are planning seminars and Q&A sessions. If accessibility for people with special needs is a requirement then ensure that it has the correct facilities. Test out the acoustics in the appropriate areas to ensure no issues arise in that regard.

Other essentials elements to take into consideration

• Payment terms. Do they suit your own contractual arrangements?
• Consider all insurance requirements.
• Does the venue have a sustainability policy?
• Analyse the venue’s safety and security policies.
• What are the obstacles to hosting your event and can they be overcome?

We would love to hear your experience with venue selection and your tips. Tag us on Twitter (@ThebeReed) or reach out to us on Facebook with your comments and tips!