If you have a corporate event coming up – a holiday party, employee retreat, or customer appreciation banquet – there are an endless number of details that need your attention. One decision that you need to make as soon as possible is finalizing the venue where you will host your event. Choosing the right business event venue will have a huge impact on the overall success of your occasion.
If you are planning an event for your business, the first thing that needs to be determined is where your event will be held. Not all event venues are right for a corporate event. Your venue must suit the number of guests, offer menu and/or catering options, be in a convenient location, and offer other amenities that you want for either your guests or your business functions at the event. Because you are hosting a corporate event, the venue also needs to offer a professional environment that fits with your business brand.
It’s very important to look for a venue that is centrally located. If your guests are coming from various locations, you want your venue to be easily accessible. A location that is close to major highways and roads will make it easier for your guests. If your event is voluntary, more people will attend if it is convenient for them to get to.
Of course before finalizing your corporate event, the size of the space must be considered. While most people realize the venue must have the capacity to hold the expected number of guests, many organizers forget that some venues are too big. You don’t want your event space to seem too vacant and empty if you only expect a quarter of its capacity. This can make your event look unsuccessful, simply by hosting it in a space that is too large. Additionally, consider all the other aspects of your event activities. Do you need a space for people to get ready or change clothes. Will you have special guests that need some private space to ready themselves to present. If people are traveling distances, does the venue offer overnight accommodations.
Keep in mind the parking availability at the venue you are considering. If the location doesn’t have adequate parking space, you will have a parking mess on your hands. The complaints will come in before your event even kicks off! Look for a venue that has ample space for the number of guests you anticipate to park their vehicles with the utmost ease and convenience. If the venue is perfect, but lacks parking, see if you can reserve a nearby parking area. Offer a shuttle service so people don’t have to walk far distances, or consider valet parking.
Determine whether or not the venue can take care of food and drinks, or if you need to hire an outside caterer. If the venue offers food and beverage service, ask about minimum requirements on spending. If you will need to bring in a caterer, find out what accommodation they have for your caterer’s needs. Are there kitchen, cooler and other food service facilities, is there a separate loading and parking area for the caterer, how can the venue assist your caterer to do their very best.
There are tons of logistics that go into hosting a corporate event. When finding the perfect location, you need to think about how else the venue can help you with the details. Check on if the venue offers tables, chairs, linens, and dishes. Do they have modern audio and sound equipment on site. Are these items included or are they additional rental fees. If you have to rent every aspect of hosting your event, the costs will increase considerably.
Most event venues have limits around start and finish times, food service and bar schedules, the use and volume of music and other audio equipment, and decorating and layout restrictions. Ask about these aspects of your event right up front to avoid disappointment or embarrassment later on during your party.
Professional event venues do this sort of thing all the time. Consequently, they know local, quality vendors to fill your other needs. Ask your venue host about referrals for linens, caterers, photographers, sound/DJ services, and other set up needs you may have. They want your event to go as smoothly and successfully as you do, so don’t hesitate to pick their brain!
Forget the stuffy, dated banquet center or windowless event hall. Break away from the side room at the local sports bar. Look for a new establishment to the area that is trying to build clientele. Consider untraditional event spaces such as barns, local educational facilities, and historic locations. Give your guests something to remember and leave them talking about your event when it’s over.
Once you’ve found the right venue, book it immediately! Many people wait and keep considering their options or hope for a cheaper location to pop up. Good locations book up quickly, some months or even years in advance. It is always best to get the booking of your space done well in advance so you can move on to the other details that you need to plan.
At River Winds, we offer a variety of spaces that accommodate a wide range of business and corporate event needs. We have a gorgeous event barn, several clean and lovely outdoor spaces, a historic farmhouse with catering kitchen, large dining and relaxing spaces, as well as overnight accommodations. We have ample parking available, onsite event staff to assist your vendors, and we are conveniently located just minutes from downtown Saco and the Maine Turnpike.
Contact us to see how we can host your next corporate event, customer appreciation, or staff retreat!