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As we all know selecting the correct venue for your event can be a tough one. Particularly as there are so many factors to consider, such as cost, location, meeting space etc.

Many companies decide to find and contract the venue themselves while others use a venue finding agency to do the work for them. Either way the actual search for the venue is not necessarily done at the right time in the event planning process and this can often lead to challenges along the way.

It is quite often the way that the agency or end client will contract an AV supplier or even go out to pitch on the AV side of the event after the venue has already been selected and agreed. Admittedly this does mean that you will get a more ‘true’ costing of the AV to be supplied but it could also add in additional costs or limitations that you had not previously considered.

As we all know when searching for a venue the size of the event space is one of the main factors, so the search will have been done to provide an event space within a venue that can accommodate the expected number of guests.

We do, however, have to ask ourselves if this room will also allow the additional space required to house the stage set and any other elements for the event. A room for 200 guests theatre style is fine but if you need space for rear projection and a full stage set you really should be looking for a room that will hold 300 guests theatre style.

Less space can mean less creativity as there will be quite a few limits with what you can do in the space.

There can also be issues with access times at a lot of venues and you may find that you end up spending more money on crew (which is always a very large part of an overall AV cost anyway) as you have such a tight rig and de-rig window.

Once you have signed a contract with a hotel your powers of negotiation are dramatically reduced so you may find yourself with a hefty bill to pay for longer access time.

With all of that in mind it would perhaps be more prudent to get your AV Company or Production agency involved right at the beginning of your event process. This way you can all agree on the direction of the event and what you are trying to achieve and therefore look for a venue that will meet these requirements (along with your original list of budget, location etc). This also gives you the opportunity to negotiate additional access times (as advised by the Production agency) during the main contract negotiations with the venue. You are much more likely to get a lot more for your money this way.

So in essence, the way to select a perfect venue is to know what you want to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it and have all of your suppliers on board before you even pick up the phone to a venue….

This is a guest post by Joanna Martin & Louise Hayler – Directors at Charm Event Directors Ltd. Charm-ed is a newly formed business in the events sector providing Event Management, Production, Project Management, Show calling and Venue Finding services. Louise and Joanna each have over 8 years experience in the events industry in both production and logistic management. Follow them on Twitter

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