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Top 6 Factors for Choosing a Conference Venue

Are you looking for the best conference venue for your upcoming event?  If so, then we’ve got you covered.

We recommend approaching the process of choosing a venue one step at a time.  Start your search for a venue as early as you can, so you can book your ideal event venue.  

If you are organizing a large conference for 500 or more people, it’s especially important to start finding a conference venue in advance because there are often a smaller number of large venues that accommodate up to 1,000 people.

Another consideration is the purpose of your conference; some venues might be more suitable for a corporate conference than an academic conference.  

Where to Start Looking for Conference Event Venues
 
Popular conference venues include hotels, conference centers, universities, and convention centres.  Depending on the size of the event, clubhouses are also an option for smaller conferences and can offer a cozy feel for attendees.  You can search for conference venues by city on HelloRSVP to find venues in your area.  From the search results, you can quickly get an idea of which venues align with your needs - here’s an example of what you’ll find when you search for conference venues located in Toronto, ON.  

When looking at conference venues, here are the top 6 factors to consider when choosing the perfect venue:  

1.  Conference Venue Location

When deciding on your conference event location, consider the following:

Accessibility

  • Close to public transportation?

  • Large number of parking spaces nearby?

  • Are shuttle services available?

  • Weather during event

  • Is the venue ADA accessible?

  • Is it conveniently located near restaurants and nightlife for out-of-town conference attendees staying at hotels?


Accommodations

If you have many attendees traveling to your event, keep in mind the conference venue’s distance from hotels and airports.

You can speak with the venue you’re interested in about putting together a list of lodging recommendations for multi-day events.  Then, see if the venue can arrange a discount for event attendees.

Conference Event Objectives and Themes

It’s also helpful to think about your conference goals.  Does your corporate event have a theme?  Look at how the venue can add to the overall theme and event experience.  For example, you can incorporate decor, lighting, and 3D displays.

2.  Conference Amenities

Think about your preferred room layouts for the venue and how many people the event space can accommodate.  You can find room layout options and event space capacity in the venue listings on HelloRSVP.

Consider the schedule and flow of the event for ideas on what types of amenities are needed.  Some examples include:  breakout rooms, exhibition spaces, lounges, banquet rooms, and outdoor event spaces.  Aesthetic factors you might want to note include decor, scenic views, and prominent event signage.  Contact venues to arrange a site visit, so you can go over the details.

3.  Conference Venue Services 

  • Inquire about high-speed internet access, audio visual needs, presentation equipment rental, lighting, and staging.

  • Will the venue have staff present on-site on event day?

  • What are your security staffing needs?

  • When can event staff start setting up?  What are the event breakdown / cleanup times?


It’s also helpful if the venue has experience hosting conferences.  If you know about a conference that’s been hosted at the particular venue, look at how the event used the space.

4.  Food and Beverage

When deciding on food and beverage, think about whether you want to go with the venue’s in-house caterer or use an outside vendor.

It’s best to compare the costs of using an in-house caterer versus an outside caterer first.  Also, let the venue coordinator know whether you will provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, or refreshments for conference attendees.

Note any food allergies or special diet preferences (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) of your attendees.

If you want to use an outside caterer, check with the venue about any restrictions and if they have a list of approved caterers.

5.  Venue Costs

First, let the venue know your event budget.  They will provide suggestions and work with your budget to meet your needs.  Costs will vary depending on the number of conference attendees, food and beverage selections, services needed, length of event, and type of venue.

6.  Choosing a Conference or Convention Event Date

Remember, the earlier you start looking for a conference venue, the more available dates to choose from.  While you may already have an event date in mind, we recommend that you check if there are other events occurring at the same time, which may impact traffic flow.  You can ask the venue manager about what other events are happening in the area during that time.  

You can search and browse conference venues anytime to put these tips into action and start looking for the best conference venue for your event!  


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