Venue booking is at the heart of a great business event. Here at Capita Travel and Events, we book the right venues for hundreds of thousands of meetings every year on behalf of our customers. This is our essential checklist for getting the best value every time you plan a meeting and book a venue.
1. Don’t overlook internal meeting space
Before you even think about booking an external venue, make sure you’ve checked out the availability of internal meeting space. If your office conference room is booked, but it meets your needs, double-check with the booker to see if it could become available.
2. Be flexible with dates when venue booking
You could save, on average, 22% on both meetings and travel costs if you book during quieter periods. Venues can often be cheaper on Mondays, Fridays and during bank holiday weeks.
3. Offer food for thought
When venue booking, making sure that the lunch you select covers a range of dietary requirements is the norm these days – but how about picking food that inspires your delegates?
Interesting food at a meeting can provide lasting memories – why not mix up the usual sandwiches and snacks with sharing platters, fun finger food, local specialities or even a themed menu? Healthy items and nibbles such as avocado or nuts can keep delegates’ energy levels up, encouraging them to keep listening and learning.
4. Provide parking
If your delegates are travelling by car, consider venues outside the city centre (if that fits with your company travel and meetings policy). These venues are often more easily accessible to drivers, and may offer better value for money than centrally located properties.
5. Make it easy to get there
Look at where your attendees are travelling from, and how they will travel to and from the venue. By starting a meeting a little later and avoiding peak-time journeys, you could save up to 38% on the cost of your delegates’ travel. For more tips on keeping meeting costs to a minimum, read our advice here.
6. Don’t get caught out by cancellation policies
Always check the cancellation policy for the venue’s proposed rate before confirming your booking. If your plans are not yet cemented, don’t commit to a contract. Get more advice on getting the venue contract right in our expert guide.
7. Factor in your accommodation needs up front
If the majority of your meeting delegates need a room for the night, a 24-hour rate at a venue might be more cost-effective than booking a meeting room and bedrooms separately.
8. Bundle your bookings
The more flexible you can be when venue booking, the more likely you’ll be to save money and make your budget go further.
For example, if you are responsible for regular venue bookings with similar requirements, such as training courses, bundling the events together when negotiating could get you better value for money.
And think wider than your own immediate team: are there other people in your company with similar venue needs that you could team up with?
Check your company calendar to see if your event could be run on either side of a company conference that already has a confirmed date. You may be able to negotiate a two-day event rate at the same venue.
9. Be creative with spaces
Consider the objective of your meeting. Are you concentrating so hard on your return on investment (ROI) that you’re overlooking the meeting’s return on experience (ROE)? A standard meeting room might not motivate your delegates to take the right kind of action.
How about a venue on the water, a property that’s perfect for animal lovers, or somewhere with acres of outdoor space to get active? Bold and creative spaces, or something a little bit different, such as a walking meeting, might inspire a different outcome.
10. Keep safety and security in mind
Traveller safety is more of a priority than ever to business travellers. Think about whether your chosen venue meets your company’s security and safety requirements – and don’t miss our tips to help keep your delegates and their belongings safe on the move.
Leigh Cowlishaw is director of supplier partnerships for Capita Travel and Events. Want to find out more about how we could help you book the right venue for your event? Get in touch today.