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Finding The Right Venue In London

Aug 17, 2007
London is an amazing location to hold any event large or small. England's capital city offers a wide range of venues from converted breweries and fish markets, to some of the leading hotels of the world and indeed London has venues to meet every brief.

The difficult part is finding the correct venue and this is where venue finding agencies can really help.

There are many factors in finding a venue in London, however there are 4 major fundamental aspects that are of most importance. The first factor is understanding what the end goal of the event is and also to understand all the specific details of the event, the more information the better!

By understanding all the requirements it will be more simple to match the event to a selection of London's venues. London has venues that are ideal for everything from training courses to sales meetings and from boardroom meetings for 10 senior directors to award dinners for over 1000 people.

The Second factor is to work with experts who have a broad knowledge of venues in London. Many people when looking for venues in London choose to rely on non-specialist agencies that work purely from databases and have not actually experienced these London venues in person.

Our recommendation is to check out the credentials of the people working on your brief, in many cases using companies local to London is the best bet and ask if they have seen the venues that are recommended.

The Third factor is to ensure that you have the location correct for your event. You will need to carefully consider the most appropriate location for your venue to be in.

It's simple to say that you need a venue that is near to a tube station, however is that enough? If you are holding an event that is attracting people from all around the world then you need to consider airport access.

If your event is pulling people from all around the UK then access from mainline stations will also need to be considered.

London has venues throughout many areas and indeed knowledge of what these venues have to offer also plays a hand in your decision.

A good example of this is the number of people who want a venue in London, but because of their lack of local knowledge only, look in the west end for a venue. (a safe bet as they know the location well)

Many people rule out Kensington, Belgravia and the City when venues in these areas of London have much to offer. One major benefit of these areas is that the venues are often far more reasonably priced and often parking and access is better.

Over the past 2 years the introduction of the Congestion Charging Zone has again seen venues outside the zone become more attractive.

The forth factor that needs consideration when selecting venues in London is 'time'. This affects conferences and events in London in 2 ways. When considering finding selecting a venue in London the lead time is essential.

If you are looking for a large venue for an awards dinner, many organisers work at least 12 months in advance, with many booking annual events for several years in advance.

For instance if you are looking for an event for 600 + people and only have 3 months until the planned event you will find your selection of venues in London is greatly reduced and indeed many of venues that you would have expected to see as potential choices will be ruled out.

The second implication of time factor is the timing of the event. London has many large seasonal events that affect the availability and cost of your London veneu. Examples of this are Wimbledon, The Chelsea Flower Show, Easter, Bank Holidays and also major sporting events.

Our advice is also to check the events planned at Excel, The QE2 Exhibition Centre and also the Earls Court, Olympia and Wembley.

Many people have had big problems gaining accommodation for their planned event due to sell out gigs by Robbie Williams, coinciding with a large event like the Boat Show. A little planning and foresight can avoid this.

One final consideration is that of seeing the venue prior to committing to it. This is not always essential but it is recommended. Websites, virtual tours and recommendations can all help, but seeing the venue is always best.

In many cases taking an industry professional like a venue finding agent with you will also help as there experience will be able to give you a second opinion you can trust. Having a clear idea of what you are looking for on a site visit is essential and recording it can help when making a decision.

By following these 4 factors finding the perfect venue in London will become simpler! Organisers can then be left to concentrate on the other key areas like sourcing speakers, arranging AV, not to mention dealing with the actual agenda and content of your meeting or event.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been at the forefront of the London Venues industry for 14 years. For more information, visit the website at http://www.venueteam.co.uk
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