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Selecting Conference Venues Wisely

Aug 18, 2007
There is an ever growing choice when looking for conference venues in the UK at present. Every possible type of venue now suggests that it is capable of being a conference venue, ranging from farms to 5 star hotels, from rugby grounds to racecourses. The problem a conference organiser faces is how to narrow down this choice.

The first thing to bear in mind it the suitability of conference venues to your requirements. While a fancy 5 star hotel may sound very appealing, you have to be confident that the layout can work for your event. For example, some conference venues are unable to supply break out rooms close to the main area, causing logistical issues for the organiser. It is important to ensure you check the internal layout of conference venues and not just the beautiful brochure pictures taken from the outside.

It is also important to look into the IT capabilities of conference venues. Many of the newer properties that offers the facility for conferences are not fully equipped with an in-house IT and audio-visual team. Unless you are prepared to bring this team in yourself, ensure you have a venue that is experienced in this area.

There is no easier way to ruin a conference than to have constantly failing Audio Visual through the key-note speeches. A good conference venue finding agency should always be able to suggest independent technical teams, but its far easier if conference venues can provide this service themselves.

The overnight delegate needs are also a key factor when choosing conference venues. There is little point impressing your guests with a 15th century coach house for the main event, only to then have to bus them 30 miles to the nearest accommodation for the evening. This is where the more traditional conference venues come to the fore.

As with many industries where new players have tried to break into an established market, there are very few that succeed. By far the most successful and well organised conference venues are the large hotel chains and bespoke city centre venues.

While the information that agencies and conference venues can provide by email, over the phone or by post, there is no substitute for visiting the conference venues before you decide. What many people do not realise is that you can view several venues for free without any obligation to decide there and then. A common preconception is that the venue will be over zealous in their efforts to convince you to sign the deal immediately. At reputable conference venues this practice is now extinct.

With all of the above in mind, and with many more factors to be taken into account, it can seem a daunting task trying to find the right conference venues for your events. While there can be advantages to completing this whole process yourself, most people nowadays use a conference venue finding agency.

These agencies can range from system based call centres, to small knowledgeable regionally focussed agencies. These agencies can arrange several viewings in one day based on your requirements. Their key advantage is often their geographical knowledge, they can match your requirements to a range of conference venues in a specific geographic area (usually the key consideration when organising a conference, and a decision that is unlikely to be changed once made).

To get a guide on the quality of these agencies, it's a good idea to ensure you have all of your key requirements listed, plus a few nice to have extras, when you first contact them.

A good agency should get back to you within a day with a range of venues that fit your needs. If they haven't taken the time to know your requirements, and have come back with totally unsuitable conference venues then try a different agency immediately, it wont take long to find an agency who you can confidently use over and over again, saving you many hours of fruitless searches and sales pitches, and leaving you to get on with organising the conference itself.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been at the cutting edge of locating confence venues. for more information view Conference Venues at site Venue Team.
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