Venue Selection: Avoid the Gotchas with These Rules (by Nick Catanella III, Sr. Project Manager)

Finding a new venue can be both a scary and exciting experience. There are a few key things to keep in mind when evaluating any new venue as a potential event space to make sure you aren’t overspending or under planning. Here are three main factors to consider:

Venue Occupancy: The first and probably the most obvious, it’s important to find a balance that not only accommodates the target guest count but also achieves the best look and feel for those guests within the available space.

  • A rule of thumb when calculating space for theater / conference style seating is 10 square feet per person (for groups over 300) divided by the total square footage of the meeting space.
  • Keep in mind, the meeting space is defined as the clear, usable area of the room and would exclude any back of house, storage or technical footprints.
  • I would also suggest subtracting 15% from the meeting space to account for aisles between seats.

Interior Infrastructure: Ideally, your next venue should be able to support all key elements of the event. My top three are:

  • Power: Power is the backbone of every event and experiencing power issues could lead to the loss of programming, and worse, your client.
  • Public Restrooms: Not having proper restroom facilities is a sure-fire way to create a negative guest experience. Restroom trailers are a great solution but are expensive and will then require power and water.
  • Back of House Space: Is there ample storage available on site for dead cases? If not, labor may increase to handle properly and cross-load gear and cases plus the potential increase to truck rental costs if the cases now need to live in a box truck parked offsite due to lack of storage.

Neglecting any of these items while planning can lead to a drastic increase in costs and time. It’s best to know from day one of planning what is and what is not available at each venue.

Access and Flow: Take a good look at the exterior of the venue, including any available loading docks and any surrounding areas that could potentially impact your event. Time equals money, so any delays loading in (or out) could have residual effects on the remaining timeline of your event, and there are numerous factors that can come into play. Guests should also have an easy time finding and entering the venue; this includes parking in the vicinity.

None of these items are deal breakers so remember not to get discouraged if things are not falling in line like you planned. By accurately selecting the right venue for your event from the start you can be better equipped to manage the other stresses and surprises that can arise out of the blue. And remember for those unique events that require extra attention to these types of details you can hire professional event producers to help you oversee the whole thing – ensuring that your diamond shines from start to finish.

 


by Nick Catanella III, Sr. Project Manager, AVT Productions

Nick is a recent addition to the AVT Productions team that will help to enhance creative guest experience services. Nick’s experience includes producing large scale outdoor events, such as the legendary Summerthing Festival for KCBS in Golden Gate Park. He has had the pleasure of designing and managing luxury brand experiences for Restoration Hardware and Heineken, amongst others.