I am the CEO of www.meetingsbooker.com we help thousands of companies to find the right conference venue for their events. Most of our website users are looking to find a conference or meeting venue in another country which makes it even harder.
Here are some tips that I hope you find helpful.
Before you start looking for a suitable venue for your event make sure you have a accurate idea of your budget. This should cover meeting room hire (if any), equipment costs, food and beverage costs. Once you know how much you can spend on a venue you can then start looking at venues you can afford. Too many event organisers want 5 star hotels when their budget is more realistic for a 4 star conference hotel.
2) Haggle hard
Venues will reduce their costs if you haggle hard. There are some key factors to keep in mind. If you start looking early and the lead time before the event is a few months long you often have a better chance to get a good deal or at least you will have more choice. Closer to the time of the event you might get some venues reducing costs but you will have much less choice.
If you require bedrooms this is always a very strong bargaining tool. In many cases the hotel will provide the conference room hire for free if you have enough bedrooms. Some US hotels wont accept conference bookings without bedroom reservations as well.
In some cases city centre hotels who dont have many weddings find it hard to sell conference and meeting space over weekends and traditionally on Mondays and Fridays. So if you have flexible dates the hotel might find the same conference room on a different date at a lower price.
Be upfront about your budget. Conference venues like to know how much you have to spend and will be open with you if its not enough. So dont be afraid to tell them. This year we added a new feature on Meetingsbooker.com to accommodate this so it shows you that its useful to include your budget.
3) Location, location, location
Location is vital. If your attendees are travelling from overseas to the venue then airport connections are important. But even for local attendees they need to be able to find and travel to your venue with the minimum of ease. So ask the conference venues do they charge for parking, check the location of the local train or metro stations etc.
4) Conference room
Check the small details in relation to the conference room proposed by the hotel or venue. Ceiling height is very important especially for larger events, natural daylight and columns blocking the view can all be key factors. So ask for a recent image of the room as well as the floorplan.
We have over 50,000 meeting rooms on www.meetingsbooker.com and the first thing we ask venues for are images!
I hope these short tips will help you find the right venue for your next event.